Speaker upgrade (and placement) advice

ddjmagic

Active Member
Hi all,

Sorry quite a long post.

I've recently purchased a house I've been long time renting and we are in the current stages of rewiring and renovating.
I have a small living room (4.55m x 3.66m) that I use for my home cinema/music.
Current setup is 5.1.4 consisting of:
Polk Audio Monitor 70 towers front L/R (1070mm H x 197mm W x 375mm D)
Polk Audio CS2 Centre (197mm H X 540mm W X 280mm D)
Polk Audio Monitor 40 bookshelf rear surround (400mm H x 178mm W X 309mm D)
KEF Eggs X 4 mounted upside down for front and rear height speakers
Wharfdale SW150 Sub
A rough drawing/layout is below (speaker angles/size not correct but just showing positions)

Living Room.jpg

I have a 58" DX902B and Denon x 4300H along with various other equipment all on a unit that the TV sits on.

I'm completely happy with everything, even though the layout it has flaws, the movie and music experience is good.
The main reasons for a changes is cosmetic, my significant other wants a cleaner look (currently lots of cable/trunking etc as couldn't channel the walls or cut holes in ceiling when rented) and if we're changing I'm thinking might as well upgrade the quality/sound of the speakers too as they are all over 10 years old now.
Musts:
1. Speakers must be white to match the new decor.
2. Ideally want towers at the front, not a fan of bookshelf/stands from a visual point of view.
3. Rear corner speakers must be smaller than they are currently.
4. Budget around £2500 - £3000 (excluding sub)

First thing we've decided is all the AV equipment from the unit will be moved outside of the room in an accessible cupboard, the TV will then be wall mounted with the centre 'floating' on a shelf below it, no cables will be visible in the room from main seating position.

Floor level speakers - I've been eying Monitor Audio Silver 200 towers, Silver C150 centre and Silver 50's in white for the replacing the 5 floor level channels.
The look of these are really nice and stood out, I haven't heard them yet though. What we be the thoughts on these? Anything else that stands out as suitable?
One of the main concerns I have is having too much for the size of room.

Height speakers - This is where I need the most help, currently the KEF eggs are mounted on the ceiling roughly at either end of the room and the front and rear set kind of point at each other as this was the only way I could mount them without looking silly at the time, the Atmos experience still seems good, but I know the positioning isn't ideal currently. I definitely want in ceiling speakers, I've seen Monitor Audio C265 ceiling speakers that seem like they would work nicely.
Main questions here - Are the C265 speakers a good match? Is 4 ceiling speakers overkill in this room or would they be fine if placed better? I'm thinking the rear set should be as far back as possible with the front set being moved nearer the listening position.

Sub - I'll be going with a BK sub, a friend has a Gemini model and I'm really impressed with it, so I think my minds made up on this one.

Any advice or thoughts on the upgrade/setup is appreciated.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
You have good plan and i don´t see any reason why the models you chose wouldn´t work. Silver 200s are slim very small speakers when you see em. Just leave some space behind them and you are good to go. You have probably some stands for the surround speakeras already there, later can swap those for white ones too. Fisual Dynami Uno white 600-700mm is cheap and should be ideal for Silver 50.

165 or 265 depending how much you want to spend. You can even use other brand ceiling speakers, it won´t be issue. If you can move couch little bit forward leaving space for the 2nd pair behind the listener then 5.1.4 without doubt! Kef is cheap choice and they are well known from the UniQ drivers for decades so no doubt good choice and you would save 158£ per pair (vs. 265). That money could be spent elsewhere.

I think you should ask prices from 3-4 dealers as there can easily be differences. Never pay list price!

5.1.4 angles (overhead in-ceiling)

5_1_4_overhead_spkrplc.jpg

5_1_4_overhead_pov.jpg



Only change i would make is the subwoofer. Having owned Gemini II for quite long time in the past i wouldn´t choose it for such nice 5.1.2/5.1.4 movie system. It would be the first thing to upgrade in near future. It just can´t dig low enough with impact for blockbuster movies, small 10" sealed sub can only do so much. More ideal for small hifi system. If you have space at the right front corner i would consider these which would be quite dramatic change at least the first two models:

A) P12-300SB in FF/DF driver orientation or the PR version (stronger low end)




B) Double Gem if you have tight space width wise. This is 283mm wide. Has larger cabinet, twice the power and two 10" drivers.

20200123_170142-jpg.1291432


P12300DF_White_Front.png


P12-300SB-FF_White_WG.png
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Hi

Here's my thoughts:

I have a small living room (4.55m x 3.66m) that I use for my home cinema/music.
Good size room that. I'm running (or will be when it's all set up) a 5.2.4 system, in a similar size room.

Floor level speakers - I've been eying Monitor Audio Silver 200 towers, Silver C150 centre and Silver 50's in white for the replacing the 5 floor level channels.
The look of these are really nice and stood out, I haven't heard them yet though. What we be the thoughts on these? Anything else that stands out as suitable?
One of the main concerns I have is having too much for the size of room.

I have the Monitor Audio Silver 100's which are bookshelf speakers. I also auditioned the 200's at the same time. Both were very good. Positioning, was what make me go bookshelf though as my speakers are quite close to side walls.

If you have the space - which you do looking at your floor plan the 200's are great and will not dominate the room at all.

While the C150 is a good match for the 200's, I actually bought it's much bigger brother (C350). This is imo a very worthwile upgrade and worth the extra. Here's a thread where a forum member upgraded to the C350 (with Silver 200's). Have a read through it. If the budget allows and (you can fit it!). It's strongly worth considering the swap.


The Silver 50's are great for rears. Will they be wall mounted (on brackets), or on stands? The 50's don't come with keyhole mounting points. Alternatives in the MA range are the Silver FX. these are designed to be wall mounted, but need at least 30cm gap from any adjacent wall.


They are ideal if your sofa is close to, or against a wall, but are a bit bigger than the 50's in size.

You could also wall mount 2 Monitor Audio Soundframes on the side walls as surrounds:


These can even have customised grille designs to help them blend in more!

There is no technical requirement to brand match the surrounds, so as long as they are available in satin white, you can use another brand.

All base (floor level) speakers should be positioned so their tweeters are at approximately ear level when seated.

Height speakers - This is where I need the most help, currently the KEF eggs are mounted on the ceiling roughly at either end of the room and the front and rear set kind of point at each other as this was the only way I could mount them without looking silly at the time, the Atmos experience still seems good, but I know the positioning isn't ideal currently. I definitely want in ceiling speakers, I've seen Monitor Audio C265 ceiling speakers that seem like they would work nicely.
Main questions here - Are the C265 speakers a good match? Is 4 ceiling speakers overkill in this room or would they be fine if placed better? I'm thinking the rear set should be as far back as possible with the front set being moved nearer the listening position.

Here's what Dolby recommend in terms of 4 in ceiling speakers, positioning wise:

153913854_DolbyAtmos5.1.4.JPG.2eff9823083509879a9607f980209b38.jpeg


You'll see that the rear 2 ceiling speakers should (ideally) be behind the sofa. Also note the surrounds are positioned to angle in (or on side wall). So as long as you can pull your sofa forward enough (usually 1m), to roughly match this, you'll be fine.

The front ceiling speakers are generally positioned just above your knees when seated (ideally)*

It's worth stating that Dolby's recommend positions are just that. Unless fortunate enough to have a dedicated room, we all have to.make compromises regarding speaker positions especially. As long as the speakers are positioned as near as possible to the recommended layout, your receivers' calibration software will do a good job and compensate for this.

Sub - I'll be going with a BK sub, a friend has a Gemini model and I'm really impressed with it, so I think my minds made up on this one.

The Gemini is one of BK's smaller subs and whilst good, there are better subs in the BK range.

I had a P12-300SB-PR in my similar sized room and it was fabulous. I only sold it as I wanted to go dual subs and couldn't fit too. It's well worth the extra money imo. Yes it's double the money, but it's double the sub!

If physical size is an issue look at the BK Double Gem:


Small size, big performance! But if you really like the Gemini, I'd get 2 and go dual! Here's an article explaining why. It's from SVS but relevant for all subs:


Hope this helps!

Edit: I see @Gasp3621 and I share similar thoughts and have similar tastes! 😂👍🏼😉
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
Kef is cheap choice and they are well known from the UniQ drivers for decades so no doubt good choice and you would save 158£ per pair (vs. 265). That money could be spent elsewhere.
Totally agree with @Gasp3621 here. Spend less on the ceiling speakers and put the money saved into a better (or 2nd) subwoofer.
 

ddjmagic

Active Member
Thanks for all the good info and suggestions.
The ceiling speakers are probably going to be the first thing I buy.
How does the C165 compare to the Ci130ER? I do prefer the look of the grille on the Monitor Audio one.

The surrounds are currently on stands, which was the plan to re use for now, but wall mounting does sound like a potential bonus, are there any positives/negatives when comparing the 50's, FX & Soundframe from an audio perspective - is one much better performing than the other or are they similar and just depends what look you need?

I think I might move up from the Gemini II as suggested, I was impressed with it compared to my current sub but I'm liking the look/size of the Double Gem even more to be honest, not sure if the P12 will be a little too big size wise, I'd have to check.
Same with the C150, it looks like the C350 might be a worthy upgrade for the cost difference.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
@Gaz020 just bought Silver 200 and C350 based system. Apart from the "must keep wife happy" center channel location it looks quite nice and sounds great, perhaps Gaz as owner can say few words. :)

img_20210416_133024-jpg.1495887



No idea about the in-ceiling model differences, but if i had to guess the Kef might have wider dispersion. Monitor Audio recommends the 265-IDC model for Atmos, but the price is so salty. You can choose freely, no matching requirements.

If the couch is so close to speakers i would lean toward the 50s at the rear corners so you get them bit further away from listeners and they can be mounted roughly seated ear height so 60cm speaker stands. If you go with the FX / SoundFrame then they should be mounted slightly higher (1feet or so) from ears, but you also have overhead channels so you can´t place them too high or they will "battle" each other. So in that sense the lower they are the better. FX speakers has bipole mode so they are firing each side creating bit more dispersed soundfield which is ideal if the speakers are close to listeners. However Dolby recommends direct radiating surround speakers for Atmos, but they have also said bipoles are ok! Also you probably have preference one to other so that needs to be thought too. I wouldn´t use Soundframes if no need cause direct radiating and close to listeners ears = annoying.

For the subwoofer check the dimensions of P12 FF and DF if one fits better:

DF Dimensions: 400D x 460H x 400W

FF Dimensions: 450D x 400H x 400W
 

Gaz020

Active Member
@Gaz020 just bought Silver 200 and C350 based system. Apart from the "must keep wife happy" center channel location it looks quite nice and sounds great, perhaps Gaz as owner can say few words. :)

img_20210416_133024-jpg.1495887



No idea about the in-ceiling model differences, but if i had to guess the Kef might have wider dispersion. Monitor Audio recommends the 265-IDC model for Atmos, but the price is so salty. You can choose freely, no matching requirements.

If the couch is so close to speakers i would lean toward the 50s at the rear corners so you get them bit further away from listeners and they can be mounted roughly seated ear height so 60cm speaker stands. If you go with the FX / SoundFrame then they should be mounted slightly higher (1feet or so) from ears, but you also have overhead channels so you can´t place them too high or they will "battle" each other. So in that sense the lower they are the better. FX speakers has bipole mode so they are firing each side creating bit more dispersed soundfield which is ideal if the speakers are close to listeners. However Dolby recommends direct radiating surround speakers for Atmos, but they have also said bipoles are ok! Also you probably have preference one to other so that needs to be thought too. I wouldn´t use Soundframes if no need cause direct radiating and close to listeners ears = annoying.

For the subwoofer check the dimensions of P12 FF and DF if one fits better:

DF Dimensions: 400D x 460H x 400W

FF Dimensions: 450D x 400H x 400W
Sorry, only just saw the notification for the mention this morning.

Most of what I could tell you is based on reading and advise from others, but my main driver was an upgrade from bronze to silver, which in hindsight is something I would have done in the first place but hey, sometimes you have to start somewhere and learn from experience.

The 200s and very nice and compact and though I have the monolith sub, if I was only listening to music the 200s would do the job for me.
After I had won them on eBay I did initially start to worry that the 2.5 way floor standers would miss some of the range of the 3 way C350, but I can say it's barely noticeable so no complaints there. I actually think the floorstanders and pretty nice to look at so happy to have them on display.

The C350 was a massive upgrade on the bronze c150 from before and although placement in my setup is theoretically imperfect, having played around with positions, I have no complaints with its current location. Since the above picture was taken I constructed a wooden frame and covered in grey acoustic cloth as the work of kids finger poking it got the better of me, so from an aesthetic point of view, you wouldn't even know it's there.
It should be noted though that it's huge, if you plan on putting it on top of a TV cabinet there is no hiding it!

With regards to the sub, I have no complaints with what it can do and I see the OP is looking at the Gemini. I went for DF, again due to paranoia of little fingers. In hindsight I may have opted for a smaller pair of subs such as the Gemini, since I do get some hot spots outside of the MLP, however there is no way I'll be able to squeeze in a second monolith!
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
however there is no way I'll be able to squeeze in a second monolith!
Have you talked with wife/girlfriend that you could have one Mono at the left side near the couch as sidetable? It can also be the FF model if the height would be more ideal. You could "mask" it quite easily. There is lot of cool ideas if you google.

Another option and probably better location wise would be 2nd Mono at the opposite rear left corner and talk about masking below is Arendal Sub 3 which is even larger than Mono, it has side firing driver.

- If there is will, there is a way ;)

1337651
 
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Gaz020

Active Member
Have you talked with wife/girlfriend that you could have one Mono at the left side near the couch as sidetable? It can also be the FF model if the height would be more ideal. You could "mask" it quite easily. There is lot of cool ideas if you google.

Another option and probably better location wise would be 2nd Mono at the opposite rear left corner and talk about masking below is Arendal Sub 3 which is even larger than Mono, it has side firing driver.

- If there is will, there is a way ;)

1337651
Haha, stop trying to get me to buy stuff! I'm going to leave it along for a bit i think, we did have a plant on the sub for a bit, but the tremors sent it falling to the floor eventually!
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Haha, stop trying to get me to buy stuff! I'm going to leave it along for a bit i think, we did have a plant on the sub for a bit, but the tremors sent it falling to the floor eventually!

Haha, naah i`ll stop when you have another Mono there. 😄
 

ddjmagic

Active Member
I've been look at the ceiling speakers and came across Q Acoustics Qi65C at £119 a pair.
I'm wondering if 4 of these would do as overheads in my room and put the money saved towards elsewhere in the setup, or would I be going too low budget?
They're half price compare to the Monitor Audio CT165 and 1/3 of the price of the CT265.
 

Jester1066

Well-known Member
I've been look at the ceiling speakers and came across Q Acoustics Qi65C at £119 a pair.
I'm wondering if 4 of these would do as overheads in my room and put the money saved towards elsewhere in the setup, or would I be going too low budget?
They're half price compare to the Monitor Audio CT165 and 1/3 of the price of the CT265.
4 of the Q Acoustics in ceiling speakers will be fine. The effect of Atmos - whilst good - is overall very subtle. I see you like the BK Double Gem - it's a very good sub tbf.....

But dual subs is even better. So if you have the space I would put the money saved on the ceiling speakers towards a 2nd subwoofer. Here's an article explaining the benefits of dual subs:


Going dual subs isn’t necessarily about pure SPL output, but rather better more even bass overall. Dual subs (set up correctly) will be a far better upgrade imo.
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I've been look at the ceiling speakers and came across Q Acoustics Qi65C at £119 a pair.
I'm wondering if 4 of these would do as overheads in my room and put the money saved towards elsewhere in the setup, or would I be going too low budget?
They're half price compare to the Monitor Audio CT165 and 1/3 of the price of the CT265.
QA recommends their Performance range in-ceiling speakers for Atmos over that Professional range you linked.

If you can spend more get the Kefs. They have one of the best knowledge on coaxial drivers so this should be good choice with fairly good price. There is 13 owners reviews on the right side, check those.

 

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