Speaker placement: picking among imperfect options

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Buying & Building' started by IdahoEv, Jun 19, 2015.

  1. IdahoEv

    IdahoEv
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    I'm looking to set up a DIY surround system in my living room. I'm not much of an audiophile and am not going high-end, but might as well get the best setup I can. We've decided freestanding is not an option - there's too much human and dog traffic behind the couch, they would get kicked or tripped over too often.

    At the front I can do a pretty decent setup, but for the surround channels I have three imperfect options, as shown in the attached 3D model of my living room.

    Option 1) A near-perfect position in-wall just behind the couch. But, the left speaker would be covered by a canvas print. I'd be counting on the receiver's calibration to handle whatever attenuation that causes, and I don't have the experience to know how well that will work. (The receiver I'm considering right now is a Yamaha RX-V477)

    Option 2) In-ceiling. Here I have fairly free reign and could position them pretty much wherever. They're also the easiest option for me to install, due to access from above. But ... my understanding is that in-ceiling is generally not preferred.

    Option 3) External speakers hung in the back corners. They'd have to be small (probably only 4") because they'd jut into doorways, as you can see in the picture.

    Any advice is appreciated!
     

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  2. IdahoEv

    IdahoEv
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    Oh, things I forgot to specify:
    • The room is 19' by 13'.
    • I'm leaning towards 5.1. I'm tempted by 7.1 simply because I like to geek out and overdo things, but in reality I don't think my usage really justifies 7.1. The system is used mostly for TV and a few video games, we don't actually watch movies all that often.
     
  3. sims

    sims
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    I would do option one but ust make sure the canvas print is acoustically transparent (like these http://www.acoustimac.com/acoustic-artskin-custom-printed-acoustic-fabric/). You won't hear a difference between the two sides of it is.

    I would consider putting at least the wires in for 7 channels, I feel those surround backs could sound great with the distance between your back wall and sofa.

    (Ps this area of the forum isn't visited as much as others, I think that's why you haven't got any replies. Perhaps ask the mods to move it to somewhere like the speaker forum.£
     
  4. IdahoEv

    IdahoEv
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    Sims, Thanks for the reply!

    I appreciate the suggestion of the acoustically transparent canvas, but I can't change mine. It's a print of Saturn's rings I bought my wife for our tenth anniversary, so it's not going anywhere. :) (She has a delightful Saturn/Cassini obsession.) However, what I did was purchase *another* canvas print from the exact same supplier -- the new Cassini shot from just three weeks ago, of three of Saturn's moons in conjunction -- and put it over the right surround speaker. So both speakers are covered by the same material, plus the room gets a thematic visual balance.

    My ear can barely detect the difference between the speaker with/without the painting as it is, a slight attenuation in the higher frequencies ... maybe. My wife can't hear any difference at all. The difference between the left and right room acoustics is certainly more significant than the effect of the paintings. I balanced them as best I could with the EQ and a spectrum analyzer, and I've been really happy with the results. (Photos below). Honestly with a doorway on the front left and a recliner and curtains on the right, balancing the front speakers was a lot harder than balancing the surrounds.

    Wall-E sounded great, and playing immersive games has been fantastic. Particularly Alien: Isolation, which is a truly awesome experience in the dark on my new surround system. :)

    I'll take your advice and run wires for the rear surrounds later this summer when we repaint the room. At the moment I have a 4.1 system for reasons explained in this other thread. My current receiver is only 5.1-capable, so maybe in a year or two when I save up for a matching center speaker, I'll upgrade the receiver to 7.1 and install rear in-ceiling surrounds.

    Right surround placement, with/without canvas print in place.
    IMG_20150707_090310.jpg IMG_20150707_090329.jpg

    Left surround placement, with/without canvas print in place.
    IMG_20150707_090350.jpg IMG_20150707_090410.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2015
  5. sims

    sims
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    A wife with a Saturn obsession....that's a cool wife in my books!

    Dude those look awesome and I might actually pitch something similar to my wife to help me get 5.1 in the lounge! I've got it in the cinema room but I can't live without it on every TV!

    See how you get a long with 5.1 in the room and maybe try some temporary speakers on stands in the surround back position to see if you like it. If not then it saves you hassle of running permanent wires.
     

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