Question Speakers in Apartment Living Room

Hasch

Novice Member
I want to set up a home cinema in my apartment living room and could use some help.
In the past I've used Logitech Z-5500 for my 5.1 sound and an 80" home-made projector screen and now I want to take my first step into a more "serious" setup.

I have a living room that is roughly 12.5x18.2 ft with 7.5 ft ceiling height.
I've attached a poorly made room sketch (not my forte) and a picture taken from the entrance to the room to show the slanted ceiling I have on one end where the balcony is.
The idea that I have is to try and fit the entire setup (speakers, screen, couch etc) within the "alcove" or whatever it's called where the ceiling isn't slanted and across the room on it's short side and place black drapes going across on both sides to kill off reflections from the projector since the entire room is white (re-painting is not an option).

Room Sketch: http://i.imgur.com/e0U69TO.jpg
Room Photo: http://i.imgur.com/f0GgwNA.jpg

This then brings me to the sound;
I don't have the possibility to listen to anything that I buy before-hand and as such have to rely on reviews and forum posts to guide my decision.
I'm thinking about buying Dali Zensor 7 as fronts, Zensor Vokal as Center, Zensor 1 as Surround, XTZ 12.17 for the Sub and Denon AVR-X2200W for receiver.
It will be used for movies, games and music.

- Would a setup like that work in the space that I have do you think?
Or would you recommend anything else for my room and potential drape solution?

- Would black drapes (Molton fabric, 96% light absorbent) affect the sound in a negative way? If so; just how badly? Within the drapes the area would be roughly 12.5x9.7 ft.

- How should I position the Surround speakers? There seems to be a lot of different opinions on this so I thought I'd ask in specific regard to my circumstances.
Where and how should I place them? Stand or wall/ceiling mounted, to the side or slightly behind, angled downwards towards MLP or not etc?

- I heard the Zensor 7 should not be toed-in but face straight, is this true even for cinema?

I think that about covers my sound-related questions.
For anyone interested I'll be using my Mitsubishi HC5500 and am looking to buy a Kingpin Velvet Framed 104" screen.
I discounted using a high-contrast screen due to cost and my limited experience with one which I didn't care for.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
The Zensor 7 are pretty big speakers for that space, I would consider the Zensor 5 as an alternative

Also the Monitor Audio Bronze 5 as an alternative to those.

Can you explain why you can't audition systems? I'm not saying you don't have a valid reason, I'm just curious about the circumstances that prevent this. Most of the equipment I've bought over the years I've mail ordered unheard, and I've done very well with that.

The biggest factor is the overall sound of the speakers. Some speakers like B&W and Wharfedale are a bit laid back, very smooth and easy to listen to. Others like some Dali and perhaps Monitor Audio are a bit more forward and present. That makes for very lively sound, but to some it can be fatiguing. Though I can't say how you will react. Also, all these are highly rated well liked speakers, so the difference is Subtle. But while Subtle, you want to do the best to gear the speakers toward your personal taste and how you will use them. In your case, I would say generally that the Zensor are a safe bet.

As to your question, I'll do my best to give my opinion -

- Would that setup work in that space?
- Yes, the question isn't IF, but rather how well? Though if you feel strongly about it, then it is probably fine, but, in my opinion, speakers with TWO 7" bass drivers each, are really pushing it to the edge. To the Edge, whether it is beyond is debatable

It is all about your priorities ...and...sadly.... about your neighbors, and whether they can tolerate those big speakers in your lounge.

I would at least give some consideration to the Dali Zensor 5 with 2x5" bass drivers.

- Would black drapes ... affect the sound? - Yes, but in a positive way by absorbing and diffusing reflections.

- How should I position the Surround speakers?
- Always a problem. In the ideal space, you would place the SIDE Surrounds back and to the side of the Prime Seat by a considerable distance, but neither you or anyone else has the ideal space. So we do the best we can with what we've got

I don't know how it fits your budget, but you might want to consider the Dali FAZON at the Sides. This, I suspect, can very easily be wall mounted, which might work better in your space. They could either be place on the side walls, or above your head (while seated) on the wall behind (I assume) the Sofa.

Dali Fazon Sat Bookshelf/Wallmount Speaker (Single) - Superfi

As a broad and general rule, stand mount or floorstanding speakers are ear level while you are seated. Wall mounted Satellites are between chest level and ear level while you are standing.

The most important tonal match of speakers is across the Front (Left/Center/Right). Subwoofers don't matter in terms of matching, it is just a matter of making sure you have one sufficient to your needs. Satellites or Surrounds matter less for matching, but you don't want them grossly different.

I'm not you, so take this with a gain of salt, but in that space, I would go with the Dali Zensor 5 and the Dali Zenor Center across the front. For Subs, XTZ is great, but at least look at BK Electronics. Many here in the Forum are using BK Elecrtonics Subs.

Sub Woofers - Sub Bass - Subwoofer

In my view, though not absolute, I would suggest the £315 BK XLS200 in either Down Firing or Front Firing in your choice of finishes. Then with Dali Fazon SATs at the Side or Rear. Again, that is your call.

Though of limited value, here is a well recorded Video of the Dali Zensor 7. While this is well recorded, about 80% of the YouTube video are absolute crap. And are never more than an indicator. You haven't truly heard this speaker.



Be very wary when using YouTube as a source. So many factors come into play - Room Acoustic, Amp Settings, Camera Microphone, Recording Volume, and many more. Under the best of circumstances what you hear is compromised, but you can get some sense that a given speaker is not crap from a well recorded video. Though absolutely do not take what you hear as absolute.

Also keep in mind that the bigger the speaker is, the more room it needs around it. You shouldn't push any speaker up against the wall. However, in a AV system with a Subwoofer, you have more flexibility in placement. Front Ports are also a bit less picky. But you are going to need between 10" and 12" behind the Zensor 7 and about 8" to 10" behind the Zensor 5. Keep that in mind.

Here is a generally positive review of the Dali Zensor 5 -


Unfortunately, I could not find any decent video demonstrating the Dali Zensor 5 speakers.

Any thoughts on those suggestions?

Steve/bluewizard
 

Hasch

Novice Member
Thank you very much for your response BlueWizard!

I shouldn't have spoken in such final terms, of course I can drive to some retailer and demo some speakers. The main issue would be that I don't live very close to any such place and that they don't have a very big selection of different brands in the price range I'm looking at, which makes it less desirable for me to make the effort.
Especially when no matter what I choose I'm fairly sure it will be a considerable upgrade over my Z-5500 that I've used for the past decade now. But perhaps I'm being foolhardy.

The Audio Bronze 5 are roughly ~130 dollars more and with the setup I mentioned I'm already stretching my budget pretty thin.
But maybe you are right about the 7 vs 5, I read a lot about that but never managed to come to a consensus based on the threads I read (obviously it's hard when we all have different room layouts and sizes) and just sort of went with the simpleton "7 is higher than 5" way of thinking and stretched my budget a bit to accommodate.

It is all about your priorities ...and...sadly.... about your neighbors, and whether they can tolerate those big speakers in your lounge.
-
It seems very well isolated here and I never hear any sound coming from my neighbors, but then again they live beneath me and I have no idea what they can hear coming from me.

I don't know how it fits your budget, but you might want to consider the Dali FAZON at the Sides. This, I suspect, can very easily be wall mounted, which might work better in your space. They could either be place on the side walls, or above your head (while seated) on the wall behind (I assume) the Sofa.
- They run about ~300 dollars more than the Zensor 1 and as mentioned above I'm already stretching my budget thin. Even if I were to go down to Zensor 5 instead of Zensor 7 it would still be a ~125 dollar increase.
They are tempting though due to seemingly comparable ease to place.

For Subs, XTZ is great, but at least look at BK Electronics. Many here in the Forum are using BK Elecrtonics Subs.
- Can't find the BK Sub from any local retailer and I would prefer it if I could order or buy everything from within my home country. I guess this limits my possibilities somewhat though.

Under the best of circumstances what you hear is compromised, but you can get some sense that a given speaker is not crap from a well recorded video. Though absolutely do not take what you hear as absolute.
- I've looked at those videos before from another thread where I think you posted them as well and they sound really good considering the circumstances.

But you are going to need between 10" and 12" behind the Zensor 7 and about 8" to 10" behind the Zensor 5. Keep that in mind.
- The wall where the fronts will be placed at is straight and pushing them out 12" isn't a problem. Not in terms of space anyway.

EDIT:
Should I mount the Surround speakers somewhere where I've marked with the red line? That's about the right height if I go by the rule of thumb mentioned I believe.
If you could imagine that the sofa will be placed in the middle of those sloped walls and a bit out in front of the window frame or whatever it's called that is sticking out.
Would it be an issue that they are too close to the sofa?
The area in between those slanted walls is roughly 3 meters (~9.8 ft) and the sofa I'm potentially buying is 213 cm (~7 ft) and will obviously be centered in position. So they would be fairly close on each side.
The only other option, outside of ceiling mounting, would be to push them further to the sides and underneath the sloped ceiling/walls but that would mean they have to come down quite a bit in height if they should be a bit behind me as well. Not to mention that they wouldn't be squared up with the fronts if that matters (it seems to in every picture I've seen).
NmDYjD6.jpg
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
The Monitor Audio Bronze 5 are about the same price as the Dali Zensor 5 package. Both about £1500 -

http://exceptional-av.co.uk/monitor-audio-bronze-5-av-package-5-1.html

Dali Zensor 5 Speaker Package (5.1)

I'm not proposing a complete Dali Fuzon system, just a pair of Satellite speakers for the rear. That's a very small amount more ($199 = Zensor 1 pair, $229/pr = Fazon Sats). And this is only if you need it. You want the Side Surround to spread out so everyone can hear both speakers. If you have a bookshelf Surround on each side, the person sitting closest to that side speaker is going to have their experience dominated by that one side speaker. However, Satellites can be more easily wall mounted and places high to give a more diffused sound; a sound that is more likely reach each listener more evenly.

As to the SUBS, the Monitor Audio Bronze Sub is £500, equally the Dali Sub is £500. The BK Electronics XLS200 Sub is £315. That is about £200 into your pocket, or money to buy cable and wire.

BK Electronics only sells Subs directly. But if you search the forums for BK Electronics or just BK Subs, you will find nothing but positive comments, and many members of this forum are using BK Sub because not only are the high-value, but they are high-quality.

The difference between the Zensor 5 and the Zensor 7 is considerable, though less so in the package deals. The Zensor 5 are about £1430/5.1_set and the Zensor 7 are about £1600/5.1_set.

http://exceptional-av.co.uk/dali-zensor-5-speaker-pack-5-1-open.html

Dali Zensor 5 Speaker Package (5.1)

Still that's £170 different, it is up to you to determine whether it is worth it. In pairs the price is Zensor 5 = £549 and Zensor 7 = £729 -

Dali Zensor 7 Speakers

http://exceptional-av.co.uk/monitor-audio-bronze-5.html

I can't say the Zensor 7 will not work in that room. But without acoustic treatment, two 7" drivers each are bouncing a lot of air around a small space. There are way, like acoustic panels, that can reduce this effect. If your space were a bit larger, I would have no trouble with the Zensor 7.

This Speakers Size vs Room Size thing is more intuition than science. It is a very difficult call and is easily overridden by personal preference.

Little known fact, but a 7" (180mm) driver is MORE THAN TWICE as big as a 5" (130mm) driver.

Curious ... what is your home country??? I was assuming you were in the UK.

Also, I was under the impression from your original drawing that the Sofa would be on the flat wall to the right and the system would be in front of the window on the left. Is that an incorrect assumption? Is the sofa by the window and the Sound system on the flat wall to the right in the photo?

Warning: If you are thinking of a Projection Screen DO NOT make the screen so big that there is no place to put the speakers. A very common mistake.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Also, you have other options besides the Dali Fazon Sats. Really any decent compact Satellite speaker will do.

B&W M1ii Speaker (Single) - Superfi

Q Acoustics 7000LRi Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

Dali Fazon Sat Bookshelf/Wallmount Speaker (Single) - Superfi

KEF E301 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

Kef T101 Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

SORRY - Just realizes the Dali Fazon are priced EACH, not per pair. But it was more the concept I was illustrating, than the specific speakers. The Kef E301 are £250/pair, and can most certainly be wall mounted.

I would think this would be an especially good option if your Sofa is by the window. The distance between those sloping walls and the sofa is going to be small. That makes Bookshelf a bit less appealing. But it is still your choice as to what you do.

Just about any reasonable Satellite Surround that can be wall mounted would work. Just make sure it can be wall mounted. Again, you want those speakers mounted about CHEST high when standing.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Hasch

Novice Member
I'm resided in Sweden, so availability and prices here are a bit different.
The Audio Bronze 5 fronts (pair) run about £735 while the Zensor 7 runs £640 and 5 are £519.
The Fazon Satellites runs £216 each, so £432 for a pair, whereas the Zensor 1 runs for £225 for a pair.
What do you think about the Zensor Pico though? They are even smaller than the Zensor 1 but people have said good things about them, they run for about £173 for a pair and is actually sold in a 5.1 package from the same dealer with the Zensor 5 as fronts.
I won't be going for that package either way since I don't want the Dali sub which is included, but it's an indication that they think they would be a good fit in terms of sound at least.
The pico has a depth of 19.6 cm (7.7") compared to Fazons 12.5 cm (4.9") so they'll obviously still take up more space, but could potentially be mounted with Vogel VLB200 I'm thinking.

Regarding the sub I'll take a closer look at the BK subs, but I have to be honest and say I'm leaning towards XTZ not only due to ease of availability within my country but also all the glowing reviews and feedback the 12.17 have gotten (tons on Swedish forums especially).
I don't know however if the same argument you made regarding the Zensor 7 vs 5 could perhaps be made here for a 10 vs 12 inch sub?
On Swedish forums people still seem to like the 12.17 even for rooms around my size but then I don't know their personal preference when it comes to bass and thus whether I would agree with them or not.

I haven't purchased anything in the sound department yet though, only the projector screen has been ordered, so I'm keeping an open mind until I make my final decisions.
Actually to be honest I'll probably buy the Denon AVR-X2200W tomorrow if they have it in stock since it really seems to give the most "bang for the buck" in terms of features and being future proof.
But you have made me lean more towards the Zensor 5 however as it may be the more sensible choice and free up about £120 or so to spend elsewhere.

Also, I was under the impression from your original drawing that the Sofa would be on the flat wall to the right and the system would be in front of the window on the left. Is that an incorrect assumption? Is the sofa by the window and the Sound system on the flat wall to the right in the photo?
- Yeah the sofa will be by the windows and the projector screen on the flat wall.
If you look at the drawing again I have marked the balcony door in green and windows in blue behind the sofa and the projector screen in orange on the opposite wall.
I'm terrible at drawing though so I may have made everything too thin perhaps.

Warning: If you are thinking of a Projection Screen DO NOT make the screen so big that there is no place to put the speakers. A very common mistake.
- If I haven't measured incorrectly I should be able to just snugly fit a 104" screen and the Zensor 5 within that space.
 

Hasch

Novice Member
Would it be better to mount the speakers on the slanted walls and get the height correct but have to deal with them being quite close to the sofa (whether it's satellites or bookshelf speakers) or to get them on stands and push them further away to the sides underneath the slanted walls and thus get more space but less height?
I quickly drew (I'm a regular Picasso) a picture to illustrate what I mean. Obviously nothing is correct in scale nor perspective here, but it should give an idea of what I mean.
A downside, other than that the speakers aren't in the ideal height, is that the drapes I'm planning on putting in on both sides would have to stop short of the speaker (as illustrated in my beautiful drawing below) so that the sound doesn't have to go through the thick fabric (I assume?) and thus more of the white surrounding walls etc will be exposed. But that's fairly negligible I believe.
I have roughly 134 cm (4.4 ft) and 124 cm (4 ft) extra length underneath the slanted walls on each side respectively.

cpHqZ8e.jpg

The red would be a speaker on a stand and the black next to it the drape that would be on that side (there will be drapes on the opposite side as well).
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
104" screen sounds pretty big. There are charts on the Internet that recommend Screen Size relative to Seating Distance. It would be wise to check them out.

I think you could mount the side speaker on the triangle wall right next to the sofa. If you mount them on the slope part of the ceiling, then of course they are going to have to be pointed to the side at the listening position.

The Zensor 1 are 22cm deep or about 8.7 inches. The Zensor Pico are 19.6cm deep or about 7.7 inches. About a 1 inch difference. Those are workable speakers. The Dali website on the Pico indicates they can be well mounted. That I can tell, either the Zensor 1 or the Pico can be mounted directly to a screw in the wall, probably through a Keyhole mount.

That might be an advantage. Both can literally be mounted on the wall surface rather than standing out on some type of bracket.

I searched Google Images, and both speakers do seem to have a Keyhole Mount so they can be attached directly to the wall.

http://exceptional-av.co.uk/speakers/home-cinema-packs/dali-zensor-pico-5-1-speaker-package.html

zensor-pico-wall-mount_2.jpg


So, either of those speakers might work for you. You just have to evaluate how much space you have.

As to the Sub, no denying that XTZ makes great stuff. I would be inclined to go with a 10", but ultimately that decision is up to you.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Hasch

Novice Member
104" screen sounds pretty big. There are charts on the Internet that recommend Screen Size relative to Seating Distance. It would be wise to check them out.
- Yeah I used Projector Central's calculator for my projector and it gave me 3.2 meters as minimum viewing/seating distance at that size which I'll manage.
I also did a test projection with the projector standing on my Z-5500 sub which was standing on a chair and while it most likely wasn't perfectly precise I then proceeded to measure the image and it seemed to project 2.3m width fine and it didn't seem too big to me.
I will do more tests tomorrow though when I can get some help and get measurements etc down correctly.
Worst case scenario I'll send the screen back and order a smaller one, but I should be fine I think.

I think you could mount the side speaker on the triangle wall right next to the sofa.
- Yeah that's what I meant in regards to mounting it on the slanted wall, I apologize for being unclear.

So, either of those speakers might work for you. You just have to evaluate how much space you have.
- This is where I'm most bewildered and frustrated at the moment since I don't know if the Pico or Zensor 1 will be too close when mounted on the slanted wall (the flat triangle part) and sound terrible or not. And also how much difference Fazon would make and if it would warrant the extra money.
It's really eating away at me right now.

As to the Sub, no denying that XTZ makes great stuff. I would be inclined to go with a 10", but ultimately that decision is up to you.
- Right now my line of thinking is that I ought to be able to turn it down if it becomes too overpowering and be more "future proof" with the 12" over the 10", but seeing as how I'm here asking for help due to really knowing jack all regarding this stuff perhaps I'm going about it wrong?
The 10" XTZ is about £86 cheaper (I'm using xe.com for all my conversions btw, not sure how accurate it is).

Thank you once again by the way for helping me out, it's greatly appreciated!
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Curious, have you looked over the complete XTZ line. They make some pretty impressive speaker at a pretty reasonable price.

I always thought the XTZ Series 95 looked pretty cool -

95 Series

Notice the XTZ 95.22 is very shallow -

95.22

The 95.22 does have two Keyhole Connectors on the back for wall mounting.

I think the full system price might get a bit steep though.

€750/pr = Front Floorstanding
€330/ea = Center
€380/pr = 95.22 Surrounds
€545/ea = 10.17 10" Subwoofer
----------------------
€2005 = total (euros)

That's about £1600 which is a bit over the Dali Zensor 5 or Monitor Audio 5, but still worth considering.

Steve/bluewizard
 

Hasch

Novice Member
I looked at their 95 series package before as they offer the 95.44 fronts, 95.33 center, 95.24 surround and the 12.17 sub for about £1300, but I didn't notice they had the 95.22 at the time since I just looked at that package deal.
XTZ also offers Buy & Try for up to three weeks as well which is certainly a benefit.

After having frantically scoured the internet for solutions to my proximity problem it seems some people are recommending dipole/bipole speakers as a solution.
I didn't even know there was such a thing so I'm trying to read as much as I can to try and get some sort of picture of what people think. So far results have been mixed.
 
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BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
As it happens, I have graphics -

bi-di-pole-1-jpg.535579


bi-di-tri-pole1-jpg.557148


Most easily illustrated by this Monitor Audio FX speaker -

Monitor Audio Bronze FX Surround Speakers (Pair) - Superfi

34267_5_.jpg


Though there are other variations on this. In this case, only the tweeters face to the sides.

In some case, complete woofer/tweeter configurations face to the side.

Focal Aria SR900 Bi Polar Speakers (Pair)

aria-sr-900.jpg


These are usually speakers specifically designed to hang on the wall.

The purpose is to give a very wide dispersed sound.

Many of the speaker can be switched between Di-Pole and Bi-Pole. I think depending on whether they are at the side in a 7.1 system or whether they are near the back in a 5.1 system.

Of this type of speakers, the Monitor Audio Bronze are probably the most affordable.

I believe XTZ has their own unique design variation on this in the Cinema Series, though pretty expensive -

XTZ - S5 Surround Speakers

The Cinema S5 can be switched between a variety of configurations - like 3 or 4 different variations. Crazy out of your budget though. But it illustrated one of the many variation of Di/Bi-Pole speakers.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Hasch

Novice Member
I have to thank you again for bearing with me, Steve!
While I have to say it's a neat idea the opinions on dipole/bipole vs monopole seems to be very split from what I've gathered.
Due to that and the higher price I think I might just go with the Zensor Pico and try and make the best of it and see if I can get them in a position where they don't sound terrible or their position too easily identified.
I'll give it some further thought though before I make my final decision. I also cancelled my screen order because I think it might get a bit too snug even if it will for sure fit.
Since I have white walls I figured the best idea might be to get the screen last, that way I can test shoot on the wall when everything else is in place and make a better judgement.
I know you said that the drapes might improve the acoustics but perhaps they still shouldn't be right up next to the Zensor 5 fronts? If I go down to 90" screen they will get ~7.8-9-8" (20-25cm) of breathing room from the drapes as well (I'll of course also pull them out from the wall behind them).

I'm also thinking about returning the Denon AVR-X2200W and replace it with the X1200W instead since it has all the features I wanted from the X2200W and is cheaper, do you have an opinion on this?
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Di/Bi-Pole vs Monopole - Think of a scene outdoors in the woods. The wind rustling in the trees. That is a very diffused sound and works well, and is probably enhanced, with Di/Bi-pole speakers. Now imagine a single bird in a single tree chirping. That is a Point Source sound, it is distinct sound from a distinct location.

Monopole lend themselves better to locating a point source.

Bi/Do-Pole lend themselves better to creating a very diffused spacial effect.

Both will do what the other will do, but equally each does what it does best.

The Bi/Di-Pole are typically very shallow speaker meant to be mounted on the walls. That shallowness may be an advantage in your case, but since I'm not there, I can't say the job won't be done by compact monopole speakers.

I suspect, the PICO are going to do a fine job in that space.

The Screen -
Projection screens are not just white. In fact they are typically a pale gray to enhance darker colors, but they are also highly reflective so you get the brightest possible picture. Think of the paint they use to make reflective Highway stripes. The screen paint has glass crystals in it to make it more reflective.

They do make paint, special reflective paint, just for projection walls. These are pretty reasonably priced, and typically come in a kit with everything you need to get the job done. However, the wall needs to be very FLAT, not just generally flat, but VERY flat and smooth. Though a typical wall can simply be sanded smooth enough.

The thing is, any texture to the wall is going to show up when you shine that bright projection light on it.

Here is one video about painting your own screen. There is another that I'm specifically looking for by a company that makes this paint and if I find it I will post it.


Typically there is a darker gray undercoat, then the reflective screen paint, then a tape on black boarder.

Again, I urge you not to get too carried away with screen size. It is extremely common for people to make the screen so big it compromises the placement of the speakers. Even so big there is no place to put the Center speaker. Yes, you want a big screen, but keep it reasonable.

Keep in mind you can probably paint a reflective screen on the wall, if you are willing to do some work, for about £100 (best guess). You won't find a good projection screen for that price.

I think the video I was looking for was this GOO Paint video -


But I know there is an even better one if I can find it. I think this is it, this is a video from the GOO company. (Goo being the brand name). Notice when the paint goes on the white sheet-rock, it has a pale gray color. GOO Central should have more videos to watch on their YouTube channel.

Goo projevtion screen paint - Google Search

Actually I think this might be the video I was looking for. You can see the entire kit.


DAPES
- I assumed the Drapes or curtains were going to be on he windows. Having curtain on the windows is certainly to your advantage. At the sides, depending on how handy you are, put a couple of Acoustic Panels. You can find reasonably price places to buy these, but you can make them yourself with only the most minimal tools. Check YouTube for Acoustic Panels and Bass Traps and you will find many Do-It-Yourself videos. Basically you need ridged fiberglass (Owens Corning 703), which is not really all that ridged.

owens corning 703 - Google Search

Or Rockwool, which is more readily available in the UK

Rockwool - Google Search

Then you have two choices, one is to simply cover it in cloth, the other is to build a simple wooden frame and cover that in cloth. Again, countless video on YouTube.

I'm curious, are you buying these heavy light blocking drapes or do you have them laying around? If you are buying them, I would consider the cost of those vs some good Acoustic Panels strategically placed.

Also, the drapes don't necessarily have to hang in the air, you can place them back against the wall and still get a good effect from them. As long as they have rolls or curves, that is, as long as the are not laying flat, they will get the job done.

AV Receiver - On this, it is completely up to you, though I will express my opinion. I would not go down on the Receiver. The Denon 2200 is a nice amp, and considering you are saving money on the speakers, perhaps you can afford to keep that amp. I really can't say, it is your money, and it is easy for me to spend.

Although I expect it was originally about £500, I've seen the Denon 2200 for as low as £380. That puts it in about the right range. I'm very reluctant to recommend AVRs of less than £500. Though you can frequently find more expensive, last years model, AVR on sale for considerably less. As is the case of the Denon 2200 for £380.

I would not go less than that. Though you might find a good AVR on sale if you shop around. I would recommend any brand except Onkyo. Though for pure Movies Onkyo can be very good. But with emphasis on music - Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, and Pioneer are probably better. Though I'm sure others would disagree.

I would be more inclined to recommend the Denon 4200, but now the price is getting way too excessive for your budget. I think the Denon 2200 is just about right - all things considered.

But then ... THAT is just MY opinion.

Steve/bluewizard
 
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Hasch

Novice Member
My walls are textured so it isn't an option to just paint on the wall.
As for building my own screen I've done that in the past and it was a nightmare to haul up to the fifth floor, I actually sawed the thing in half when I repainted the living room just now and threw it out. I did build that in MDF however and I'm sure I could build it more like the ones you buy with a frame and tighten some fabric etc, but I also found some reasonably priced screens that I'm more inclined to just buy a "real one" this time around.
But I cancelled the order because I thought it would be smarter to test shoot on the wall when I have everything else in place instead of just relying on measurements and assuming it will be fine as long as "it fits".

I assumed the Drapes or curtains were going to be on he windows. Having curtain on the windows is certainly to your advantage.
-The drapes are not intended for the windows, I already have light absorbing curtains/blinds (they still leak some light in due to how they are mounted however), but instead are meant to go across the room on both sides of the "gap" that I have towards the balcony.
If you look at my crudely drawn picture above the black at the right side is supposed to represent a drape going across the room from the window towards the flat wall where the projection screen and front speakers will be placed. There will also be another drape on the opposite side.
The reason for the drapes is to block as many reflections as I can from all my white walls in the room.
Having the drapes out would "box me in" in a space of roughly 298x380cm in the room (the width of my balcony and then across the room).
However it struck me after you pointed out the common mistake of getting too large a screen that if I go with 104" and the Zensor 5 then the drapes will almost literally be right next to the speakers on the sides, which I thought might be a bad idea since having a wall in the same spot would have been a bad idea.
Anyway the drapes are just an idea to get around the fact that I can't/won't repaint the room in a darker color and I don't have the money to blow on a high contrast screen (I also didn't like the shimmer on one that I've seen personally).

I'm curious, are you buying these heavy light blocking drapes or do you have them laying around?
- I'm buying them if I go ahead with that idea (which is likely since my test shoots revealed just how much light is reflected around the room - it's significant).

Regarding the receiver is it due to the wattage?
In features they are almost identical but the X1200W has 15 less watts (80 vs 95 in X2200W), no video upscaling and potentially worse GUI if I understand it correctly.
It does however have Full 4k support, Atmos and DTS:X support, Audyssey MultEQ XT (Silver), HDMI 2.0, 7.1 / 5.1.2 etc and thus seems to be very much "bang for the bucks".
But then I don't know maybe it's not just about watts and there's more to it than that in terms of driving a system?
According to trustedreviews.com it could run a £5k Monitor Audio Gold system though.
Denon AVR-X1200W review | TrustedReviews

You are right however in that I could afford to keep the X2200W, I just had a "oh snap" moment when I noticed the almost identical features of the X1200W, it seems I must have confused it's specs when I purchased the X2200W as I was looking at so many other receivers at the time.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
Testing on the wall to get the size right seems like a great idea. Better to test it out, than to buy a screen too big and have to send it back.

I'm just working through possibilities.
I'm not sure the White Walls are as big a problem as you think they are. Though I admit I do not have a projection screen. I think if you put the literally on the walls on each side, that would be sufficient to mute the reflection, and to give some acoustical improvement.

If you attach a basic curtain rod to the wall on each side, then slip the curtains on the Rod, I think you might get what you need. Again, the entire room doesn't have to be black. Just reduce the reflections in your field of view. I think you could do this with smaller curtains too.

Heavy drape/curtains are not cheap.

If you find some other areas where the light bothers you, simply attach some low cost black cloth from the fabric store flat on the surface and attached with Thumb Tacks.

Again, just speculating on the possibilities. But ...

Using this photo as a reference, -

http://i.imgur.com/f0GgwNA.jpg

Under the level (not sloping) part of the ceiling is a protrusion of some type - perhaps a light or fan or heater. But Mount a curtain rod under that protrusion, and place a heavy dark curtain on it. That will give you want you need. Do the same on the other side.

If you are getting reflection off he ceiling, thumb tack some black cloth flat to the ceiling. It doesn't have to cover the whole things, just in the area of the Screen. I think most fabric as a natural finished width of about 45" to 55". That should be enough to block reflection in the area of the screen. If you buy fabric remnants or on sale, you should get some bargains in fabric that will do the job.

Even the curtain at the side do not need to be light block curtains. Just find some heavy cloth at a fabric store and hang it at the sides on curtain rods. If you can't find someone to sew a fold-over on one edge to run the curtain rod through, just hold it up with pins. Fold it over the rod, and pin it up.

As to the amps, these are the choices (at least in the UK) -

Denon AVRX1200W Home Cinema Receiver with Dolby Atmos - Superfi

Denon AVRX2200W 4K Home Cinema Receiver with Dolby Atmos - Superfi

Pay more attention to the Retail prices, not so much the current selling price. The ACR-X1200 is £399, the AVR-X2200 is £499. The X2200 does have additional features, but you have to weigh your working budget and your needs, and make the best decision of your. AVR under £500 are getting better as technology moves down the line. But as a general rule, I consider a £500 AVR the starting point for most people. However, £400 is not all that different than £500, so really I can't say. It is up to you to work out your priorities and budget, and do what is best to suit you. I'm OK with what ever choice you make.

Overall, despite some complications along the way, I think you are on your way to a pretty spectacular system.

Just a few thoughts.
 

Hasch

Novice Member
I'm not sure the White Walls are as big a problem as you think they are.
- In my opinion, and maybe others will disagree, it really is a significant issue.
Dark scenes are portrayed good enough that I could potentially have accepted it but bright scenes are very washed out and the whole room lights up.
I mean it's not to the point where you can't see what's going on (like if you fired it up in broad daylight with no covered windows), you can still clearly see what's happening even in the brightest scenes, but since I'm going to buy a new sound system and other stuff for the room I'd like to get it to look better than this. Otherwise it feels like the image would hold everything else back if that makes sense.
I also have a huge passion for cinema so that devil on my shoulder is pretty loud.

Regarding your ideas for solving this issue I agree with pretty much all of it.
I sort of went down that road from the beginning of putting curtains or fabric closer to the walls instead of having it hang out in the middle of the room but then I thought while it would solve the issue, and potentially doing so with less material, it wouldn't look very aesthetically pleasing and thus I thought of the drapes that I could pull back when not in use would be better.
But I'm now slowly starting to realize, especially after looking at the stage fabric I was planning on using which looks dreadful, that even that won't look very pleasing either.
So now I'm leaning towards just giving in and repainting the room after all even though I'm reluctant about it since I like how the white looks and how much bigger it makes the room feel.
I've looked around the web for inspiration and a dark grey wouldn't look terrible on the walls and would hopefully improve black levels quite a bit for my image.
I'll stick with white for the ceiling in that case and probably do something a long the lines of what you suggested with black fabric in the area in front of the screen if it's necessary.
Repainting isn't cheap but like you mentioned neither are heavy drapes so it may just be the better solution after all.
In this scenario I can utilize the entire room and not shield it off with drapery and as such I'll look into what you suggested previously regarding absorption and diffusion to improve acoustics.

As for the amp I'll give it some more thought.
If the X1200W can drive the system I end up buying without a problem however I am inclined to think it may be the better choice since the features it's missing compared to the X2200W are features I don't need nor care about from what I can tell.

Overall, despite some complications along the way, I think you are on your way to a pretty spectacular system.
- I hope so. I certainly feel closer to a solution now than when I created this thread and your help in getting there has been greatly appreciated.
 

BlueWizard

Distinguished Member
I'm not saying the White Wall and Ceiling are NOT a problem. My whole room is off-white, though I don't have a Projection Screen and I don't have an 80" or 90" Screen, but I don't really have any problem.

However, I do recognize, especially with a large reflective screen, that problem most certainly could exist.

Take a trip to a fabric store and compare Upholstery or heavy regular fabric with the Stage Curtain. Certainly the Stage Curtains are great, but I suspect the cost a King's Ransom even if you just buy unfinished fabric and make the curtains yourself.

Also check out YouTube for Acoustic Panels and Bass Traps. There are many videos on how to make you own, and this can be done with the most minimal tools. Typically nails, hammer, Hand Saw, screw driver, and perhaps a Staple Gun.

Here is a nice overview of Room Acoustics -

Primer: Acoustics - Absorption & Diffusion

Though a bit more expensive, if you look at the Video in Post #2 at the above link, you will see a guy that covered his walls in Black or Charcoal Acoustic Foam. That could easily be Thumb Tacked to the walls/ceiling in strategic places, to give better acoustics and to soften reflections.

Since not only is the foam dark, but it also has an irregular surface, any reflections that exist will be scattered.

Give what I assume is the cost of Stage Curtains, I don't see the Acoustic Foam as all that expensive. There are places in the UK, off-brand or non-brand, that have foam for very reasonable prices. I suspect if you did a Google Search of your Country, you could find similar products.

Also, because you can probably Thumb Tack much of this in place, there are not really any permanent changes to your rental property.

Again, I'm not saying this is the perfect solution, I'm simply working through possibilities.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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