Setup, positioning and gear advice - PMC TB2, Sony STR-DN1080, Flying Mole DAD M100s, etc

danburne

Member
We’re (hopefully) moving next month, and I’m wondering whether to revisit, and how to position, my current living room hi-fi / home cinema speaker setup, since the new room is much bigger. Ideally I’d not buy (any/much!) more kit, but trying to keep an open mind. Suggestions on speaker positioning / general setup / relatively low cost upgrades (preferably easy/impactful wins) most welcome!

The room: 6.1m x 4.6m max, ceilings c. 2.4m. But the space opens out into a much larger (9.36x6.9m) living aream, some of which has higher ceilings (see plan/photos). The photos should previous owner’s kit/furniture.

View attachment 2849

View attachment 2850

The rest of the space (entrance to the living room to the right of the piano)

View attachment 2851

Speakers:
  • 5 x PMC TB2 / TB2+ (a centre and 4 speakers).
  • I also have some others I could use –
  • Rega Kytes, Gale Monitor (Gold, maybe) as upward firing speakers in a 7.0 / 7.1 system. (I;'m currently using the Gales with the PMCs are a 7.0 system - not sure how much value added the extra 2 speakers gives though...)
  • 2 more PMC TB2 (or TB2+) – either in a 7.0 / 7.1 system (probably overkill/better used elsewhere), or as secondary speakers in the adjoining (dining) room (makes more sense).
  • I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about switching out the front TB2+s for (probably PMC – for best integration) floorstanders of some kind, but probably not worthwhile / sensible, especially given positioning restrictions. That said, front firing ports makes sense, and if the TB2s do end up on stands, then a floorstand is similarly intrusive (and aesthetically nicer, IMHO).
  • Another option would be to replace all the PMCs with something cheaper but probably still fine (given the compromises in positioning and the acoustics of the space) for the job (e.g. Monitor Audio Bronze BX2, about £100/pair s/h, with have front firing ports and sound pretty decent for the money), and use (or possibly upgrade) the sub.
Amps/receivers:
  • Sony STR-DN1080 7-2 surround amp/receiver (min 100w channel into 6 ohm – 120w in stereo, 165w in surround mode output)
  • Not currently in use, but I have at least a couple (potentially 5) Flying Mole DAD M100 100w (into 8 ohms)/160 watt (into 4 ohms) class D monoblocks I can pinch from other systems to power the front L and R, and possibly also the centre, possible also rears, in place of the Sony amp section – which I’d expect ought to be quite an upgrade).
Sub: I have a Definitive Technology Pro Sub 60 I was planning to use, if there’s any sense in that. It can be used in active (150W) or passive mode – I’m guessing active would be best (i.e. fed by the line level sub out from the Sony, rather than strapping it across the front L&R from the Flying Moles). This is probably the weakest link, so (given the low end performance of the PMCs), I might be better off without, or upgrading this if there a sensible budget option, preferably s/h.

Stands/speaker positioning:
  • I have 3 x Atacama SE24 stands, 2 x SE26, all 60cm high and sand filled.
  • I may replace some or all of the stands with sand filled Atacama Moseco 6 (white/bamboo bass) or similar for purely aesthetic reasons.
  • There’s nowhere sensible to put the centre on one of these stands. Possibly it could go on a floor stand near(ish) the fire, but it’s probably “better” (er, well, aesthetically acceptable) – if it’s needed a at all, where marked on the plan/photos.
  • If the fronts are replaced with floorstanders, or on stands, I might mount them where the green squares are.
  • It’d be aesthetically neatest to mount the L/C/R on the cupboard cabinets (e.g. with MoPads underneath), or possibly mount all 5 speakers on wall brackets (possibly even as high as the wall/ceiling corners). The advantage is more consistent distance to the main listening position (the sofa). Acoustically undesirable, however, and made worse by the PMCs having rear firing transmission line exists, so ideally they’d have some space behind them. Unfortunately some serious compromises are likely to be necessary!
TV - TV is to be replaced with something larger (75-85” – current one is 55-60”). There might also be a projector setup (I have an Optomo UHD40 but might sell it). It seems it’ll need to go in the alcove, as indicated, given potential heat damage and the position being too high for comfortable viewing if it goes on the chimney breast above the fire.

Source: Computer (HDMI audio out from soundcard into Sony)

Cables: are all pretty cheap and cheerful (must confess, based on experience as a recording engineer, I’m not a huge believer that it’s particularly beneficial to spend a lot, but feel free to try to persuade me otherwise). I may need to wire them under the floor boards (with flat cables) or as discrete white cables along the skirting board.

Any thoughts - whether that be on gear, positioning, etc - welcome and very much appreciated!
 

Roohster

Distinguished Member
Do you have any more pictures of the room? The ones you posted aren't much help unfortunately - the first one is broken, the second is a b/w still from a film and I'm not sure what the third one is :p

Also, when you've attached photos you can place them into your post:

Upload a photo using the "attach files" button (bottom left)
At the top right of the uploaded file you'll see an "insert" option, choose "full image".
Like this:

ron2.jpg


If you can post a sketch of the room layout it'll help people advise you. A proper floor plan would be even better.

Once you've done that I'm sure you'll get some decent advice.

One initial thought though - I think you'd regret replacing the PMCs with something cheaper. You didn't say how much you wanted to spend but if you decide on floorstanders at the front, PMC do some excellent ones.
 
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danburne

Member
Well that is bizarre! Not seen those pics before - definitely not what I attached, so I've not idea what happened there!

So, trying again:

Photos of the room, and the floor plan, showing potential positions for speakers, TV and acoustic panels ... (NB white walls - it's the same room but different decor and furniture)
 

Attachments

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Roohster

Distinguished Member
That's a lovely room and a great size, but a bit of a nightmare for speaker placement. o_O
The front right and centre are way too close together and a centre above the TV isn't ideal.

Depending on your furniture, I might be tempted to put a sofa across the north (on your plan) wall with the TV and front three opposite. Is that a door in the south wall though?

If so the TV and centre would still be offset a bit... but not as much as in your original diagram.

Sorry, I know I've probably thrown up more questions than answers, just trying to think of options :p
 
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danburne

Member
Thanks for your reply.

Yup - acoustically it's a nightmare, not least: lots of glass and other reflective surfaces; very little absorption or diffusion; set up in a non-symmetrical way across the short, rather than long dimension of the room.

The PMCs have good off axis response, so I don't think having the centre above the screen (angled down slightly on a bracket) will be too much of an issue. The TV would be too high if the centre was underneath it on the shelf; and it at least keeps the speaker off the floor where it would be at the floor/wall corner (which would lead to exaggerated and uneven bass response) - and block the cupboards (or be in front of the fire!).

Alas, that is a door across the north wall (window on the south). I'm not sure I'll persuade the family to go for an option that acoustically better but which is practically and/or aesthetically a downgrade (e.g. blocking off doors with sofa; large TVs with windows behind them; TVs a long way from the seating, etc).

Given the likely compromises, I think the space and layout will be the limitation, so don't think they'll be much sense in upgrading anything. So I'll probably keep the 5 PMCs, power them with the Sonys (possibly using Flying Moles amps for the L / R / C - rears too - if I can spare them), and keep my existing sub (which is the weakest link and I might eventually upgrade). The sub may not even be needed - given the transmission lines, the PMCs have good low end extension for their size. I suspect this'll all be overkill for the space, but there's probably not much £££ to be had selling it and replacing it with something cheaper and worse (especially for the hassle involved).
 

Roohster

Distinguished Member
Compromises = happy family and that's important, totally understand.

One thought - could you sacrifice some cupboard space to put the centre under the TV?
It could be disguised with some speaker cloth the same colour as the cupboard doors to make a screen, or even replace one of the cupboard doors entirely with an acoustically transparent panel.

I've no idea how the PMCs will sound sitting on top of the cupboards but as they're "front ported" it doesn't seem a bad option.
As you mentioned, the TB2s go pretty low but it's always nice to have a sub for those really low frequencies.
 

danburne

Member
Thanks. Interesting thought re the cupboard - will chew on it.

Alas, the PMC TB2s have a rear (transmission line) port, so ideally benefit from some space behind them. Better on stands too, than on a cabinet or (in the case of the centre) probably on a wall bracket. But we're back to the art of compromise! Anything that goes on the cabinet will have some kind of decoupler - I have so Auralex Mopads, which would work but aren't the prettiest of things; Isopucks would be great but spending. There are probably some other, cheaper isolation puck type options that'd be fine.
 

Roohster

Distinguished Member
Thanks. Interesting thought re the cupboard - will chew on it.

Alas, the PMC TB2s have a rear (transmission line) port,
Oops, of course they do! >.<
 

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