Question Recommended AV setup for large kitchen

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by TrevorPage, Apr 11, 2016.

  1. TrevorPage

    TrevorPage
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    Hello,

    We are having a new kitchen built. I plan to install a TV and audio system, and would be extremely appreciative of any ideas and suggestions. The main area I'd really like advice on is the audio setup in terms of receiver and speaker selection. I have some ideas for what I would like to achieve out of the system which I'll list further below. First, I'll show you the room layout.

    The following images show our new kitchen being built. So far, the new extension has been built, which measures six metres wide by four metres in depth. Later this week, the side house wall and dividing wall will be knocked through completely, to form a kitchen that will be about 6m by 7m.

    This first image shows the side of the new extension where the kitchen units will be situated in an L-formation. The original house wall on the left will be knocked through.

    [​IMG]

    The other side of the extension which will be reasonably free of furniture.

    There will also be an island situated roughly in the centre of the new section.

    [​IMG]

    The original house side wall, and perpendicular dividing wall, will be completely knocked through, forming one large area.

    [​IMG]

    Another view of the original small kitchen which will be completely knocked through. The wall where you see the plug socket remaining wall unit will become a nice large back wall on which I plan to place the TV. The centre of the TV screen would probably be situated between where you can see that plug socket and the existing dividing wall.

    [​IMG]

    The other side of the dividing wall that will be knocked away (the original dining area), showing the other part of the wall that I plan to become the TV wall. (The area boarded up leads into the lounge. The boards will become a stud wall.)

    [​IMG]

    So, in brief, the actual kitchen area (L-section and island) goes in the new extension. A TV is planned for the original back dining/kitchen wall.

    A further thing worth mentioning is that there is a new utility room being built that leads from the original kitchen area. It is in this utility room that my 19" equipment wall rack shall be situated, with plenty of CAT6 runs to all rooms. I intend for AV equipment associated with the kitchen to be placed in here (within the rack).

    [​IMG]


    In terms of what I have planned so far, what any constraints are, and what I would like to achieve:

    - Smart TV on wall as stated. 40-something inches. CAT6 will be provided for built-in services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer. Connections to TV disguised by locating sockets and brush-plates directly behind it.

    - As it's a large area, I like the idea of installing several speakers to achieve a nice uniform level of audio about the room if possible. Not only would this be nice for "occasions", but I'm also concerned that relying on speakers located at just the TV itself (such as a sound bar for instance) could be too boomy and echoey. Furthermore, needing to have speakers located near the TV turned up loud (so I can hear them from further back) could be unpleasant for people walking in from one of the doors. (The "TV wall" has a door to the hallway, and then nearby is the utility room door as shown.) It therefore makes sense to me to have at least one pair of speakers in the new extension part.

    - We do like our music, so as well as for TV use, we'll be listening to stuff ranging from psytrance to metal. Probably sometimes quite loudly. Some speakers capable of listening to that kind of music quite hard would be desirable.

    - The ability to stream easily from devices is an obvious must. I have been recently introduced to Sonos gear, and it is a concept I want to have (although I am certainly not set on specifically using Sonos). We use a lot of online services such as Bandcamp, so the ability to very easily stream from such sources would be great.

    - I will probably provide coax feeds for Freesat, plus several HDMI leads, and perhaps an optical lead all running to the adjacent utility room rack. I'm not entirely sure what services we will actually use yet, so I'll just install all cable types I can think of.

    - The area will be occasionally used for my wife's child minding occupation, so speakers and equipment at kiddie level is to be avoided.

    - I actually really like using cables and now is a great opportunity to shove lots of it in wherever I like, so there is absolutely no requirement for anything to be RF based.

    What I have thought of doing so far is as follows:

    - Pair of 8" ceiling speakers placed into the drywall roof ceiling of the new extension. The ceiling speaker could be placed somewhere near the skylight, perhaps just below the skylight near the wall, on either side. The only problem I see with this is that this could maximise audio blaring through the new roof. We are in a detached property and the neighbours are quite well spaced apart, but I'd still rather minimise how much of my horrible noise I inflict on anyone.

    - Pair of in-wall rectangular speakers placed either side of the TV.

    - All speakers would be wired to amplifier/receiver in utility room rack. Magic Eye would be used for receiver audio control. A Sonos receiver, or equivalent, would be used for mobile app music streaming. HDMI audio return or optical cable would be used to convey TV audio from built-in services.

    - Another consideration is to use a Sonos PLAY BAR in place of the front speakers. This, I understand, has the great convenience of utilising the TV remote control for volume adjustment and so forth. I also understand that I could link a further Sonos amplifier to drive the additional speakers, or even install Sonos speakers throughout and link them. It would make control far easier than if if the receiver were located in the utility room. I don't have any first-hand experience however at how sound bars compare with a set of component speakers.

    In terms of budget, this is the tough one. I'm going to say £500 to £1000 for the audio equipment and speakers, not including the TV.

    I hope I haven't rambled on too much. Again, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Trev
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2016
  2. Member 581642

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    Will answer more fully tomorrow but Sonos connect Amp and 2 x speakercraft 8" ceiling speakers with smaller in wall speakers . Arc or optical back from tv to Sonos connect amp

    However final decision will depend on what you are proposing for video distribution and other Audio requirements
     
  3. TrevorPage

    TrevorPage
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    Thanks ever so for the response. First, I have some new images showing the finished knock-through.

    This is one end of the new large kitchen, the original old part of the house:

    [​IMG]

    This is the new part:

    [​IMG]

    And here is a panoramic image that I've marked up with some locations of key items and ideas I have for speaker placement:

    [​IMG]

    What that is showing is:

    - The new section has an L-formation kitchen cabinet run (marked 'kitchen units') and an island in the location marked.

    - The location of the dining table is going to be somewhere around the bottom-left of the image, kind of where you can see a box on an existing table.

    - 40" TV to be placed on wall indicated. Ignore the Welsh dresser as that will be moved elsewhere.

    - The "AV rack" is a hole in the wall which will become a 12U 19" rack. (I'm making use of the fact that there's a larder doorway there which is being blocked up. I've had it blocked up only so high to leave the hole. The depth won't be a problem, despite being a 300mm cavity wall, because I will frame more depth over it on the other side, which is in the utility room.)


    Now the ideas I have for speaker placement are marked by X's.

    If I go for ceiling speakers, the green X's show proposed locations. In the old building section, two ceiling speakers would be located as shown to create a stereo field about the TV. Having said that, I would possibly 'stagger' them (rather than trying to align them symmetrically) to ensure that one isn't sat above the dining table. In the new section, the only place I'd be able to put ceiling speakers according to my builder's advice is in the centre flat section (the pink plasterboard), so it makes sense to place them as marked. I would have thought these would be placed quite well for when you're sat at the island or cooking.

    If I go for wall speakers, then the pink X's show the locations I'm thinking.

    In the old building section, the ceiling speakers would be placed under the bathroom and one of the bedrooms. I'd propose to acoustically insulate it as much as possible by building a plasterboard box over it under the bedroom floorboards.

    Noise escaping through the roof of the new section does worry me.

    I think my preferred approach at the moment is to go for two ceiling speakers in the old area (i.e. the dining / TV area, on the left of the image) but in the new section I'd go for wall speakers in the locations shown, just to ensure excessive noise isn't emitted outside.


    I must confess that this is turning more specifically into a speaker selection and placement question.
     
  4. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    TV positioning - think about where you will 'natural' be looking when using the kitchen, will you normally sit/stand with your back to the glass wall?

    TV positioning - directly opposite the glass wall could be an issue when it's bright sunshine.

    Audio - I'd separate the TV and Music playback. Having done a few kitchen/dinner areas I'd stick with a budget Soundbar to enhance the TV audio and then keep the In-ceiling/On-wall dedicated to the Music playback. Quite often I find folk like to have 'both' audio sources running in an open plan the arrangement.

    Audio - you mention 'outside', any plans to extend the speaker system to cover a patio?

    AV rack - ensure you have enough throughput of cool air and exhaust of hot air.

    Joe
     
  5. TrevorPage

    TrevorPage
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    Hi Joe,

    Thanks ever so for your advice - I'm extremely grateful for all given so far.

    TV position: I confess that it won't be an entirely natural 'straight ahead' position for anyone while cooking, dining, or the breakfast bar (unless I rethink the worktop overhang and seating at the breakfast bar). By process of elimination, that wall is the only realistic place to put it. However, having thought this through some more, the real purpose of the TV is probably going to be to provide a bit of background (e.g. news), to augment music listening (e.g. music videos, displaying music apps, etc.). Another key purpose of it will be for occasional (but strictly limited) entertainment to small kids, in which case they would pull up bean bags or a mat to watch it.

    That's a very good point about bright sunshine via the windows. That makes me think I will have to consider blinds if it becomes an issue.

    There aren't plans for audio to extend outside the house. Sorry, what I meant when I mentioned outside was that I want to ensure that absolute minimal audio is heard outside.

    I like your suggestion about separating audio and playback. Before, I was too fixated on trying to arrange all speakers as if I'm building a surround system for the TV. But of course, that is not appropriate at all. After some further thought about what you said, I realise I should have speakers to: (a) provide simple stereo sound for the TV; (b) provide good music listening experience, particularly for when socialising anywhere in the kitchen (parties) or when cooking or sat at breakfast bar. So with that in mind, what I'm considering is:

    1. Either a sound bar at the TV like you suggest, or an in-wall speaker either side of the TV on that wall, or ceiling speakers such that one is placed near the AV rack area and the other is near the dining table area (but avoiding having one directly over or too close to the dining area).

    2. Then, in the 'new' section, I'd place two ceiling speakers in the pink plasterboard section of the roof, or place in-wall speakers in this wall pictured below (where stepladder/broom are leaning). These two would be mainly for music listening when at the bar or cooking. I really like the idea of ceiling speakers, but I'm concerned the audio would travel out through the roof more than if I used in-wall speakers. What do you think? Arranging the speakers in the new selection along the longest wall like this seems more natural for the arrangement of the kitchen units and island.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    TV - go with a wall mount which has a tilt and swivel option. For background viewing the position indicated ought to be fine.

    TV Audio - a Soundbar with HDMI ARC and the ability to raise/lower volume and control the TV with a single remote is likely best.

    Ceiling Speakers - budget for a 'back box' or go with a design with an integral 'can' to minimise sound leak, we use/supply the Dynabox option when using larger 'open back' speakers, Dynamat.com | DynaBox Speaker Enclosures

    Ceiling Speakers - the trick is to ensure you don't have to have them up too loud for good even coverage so x4 is often better than x2 in a big space.

    In-wall - I'd more likely go with x4 In-ceiling (with integral cans) and a stand alone hidden Sub to underpin them, Ci100QR

    Joe
     
  7. TrevorPage

    TrevorPage
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    Excellent idea about a tilt and swivel mount. I was previously thinking of building a shallow 'false chimney breast' type frame to recess the panel dead straight on the wall, but perhaps not.

    I think you've also convinced me to go for a soundbar as well. I had previously planned one of these, then for some reason went off the idea. But I reckon it would be most appropriate after all. The good thing is that I have already provided plenty of CAT6 and several HDMI feeds to that location. The convenience of being able to use the single TV remote for TV audio is again a very good point which I was previously aware of, but had overlooked.

    I like Kef speakers, so the Ci100QR looks a nice option. Where would you personally recommend placing them? Would two in the pink area, plus two in the old ceiling area as shown work OK for music?

    Perhaps this is a mad idea, but when the chippies left today, I went in and realised they had boxed around the steel beam and waste pipes with this. The nice amount of space between those noggins could make nice recesses to place a pair of white bookshelf speakers, I thought.

    [​IMG]

    The most important thing to me at the moment, thinking about it, is to work out where I'm most likely to want speakers, as I have to install the wiring this weekend. Therefore based on all suggestions (including your suggestion of a sub, which I'd overlooked), what would make sense would be to route wiring from the AV shelf location to the following points:

    (a) Under the floors of the existing house ceiling (the rear 'TV end')
    (b) Into the pink ceiling area of the new extension
    (c) To somewhere where I might want to put a sub. (Not quire sure where yet.)
    (d) To the wall where the stepladder/broom is in case I want to try wall speakers there.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2016
  8. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Ceiling Spks - two in the pink ceiling plus two in the 'old' ceiling would seem a good plan.

    Sub - you'll likely want one so lay in a screened RCA cable to a couple of potential positions.

    Pipe chase - a couple of wall mounted cabinets on tilt mounts could work well.

    Spk cables - def worth laying to any potential positions, don't bare the ends just in case you inadvertent hook them up at a later date :)

    Joe
     

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