Upgrading my current system to 5.1.4

Exeon

Standard Member
I've been given a budget to do some changes to my home cinema setup.
Main use would be movies, with a mix between 4k disks and streaming services (30%/70%)
My current setup:
B&W 683 2xTowers
B&W 686 2xRears
B&W HTM61 S2 center (3 way)
Denon X2400h
Monolith 15" sub
This is the room layout:

Room size is above 4000 cubit feet(without counting the open door), which is why I opted for the single sub, as dual anything below that are never going to pressurize that room.
A second sub isn't an option at the moment.
Changes I'm thinking about:
  • Adding a door to seal the room, should improve the bass I believe
  • Adding 4 atmos height channels (as shown in the layout, in-ceiling isn't an option)
  • Upgrading the receiver to a Denon X3700/X4700 Or an Onkyo TX-RZ50/Integra/Pioneer equivalent
This raises the following questions for me:
  • Are these upgrades worth it, considering the room and that most of the content will still be from streaming?
  • Does upgrading the rears to the the bigger B&W 685's make sense for surrounds?
  • Is Auro 3D something I need to worry about?
  • Does the quality of atmos speakers matter much? I can basically get 4 atmos speakers for 600€ by getting the Dali Alteco C1's while something like the KEF Q50A or Klipsch RP500 cost 600€ a pair.
  • My wife prefers all speaker stereo to just stereo when she listens to music, since B&W doesn't sell height speakers (and regular bookshelves aren't an option for my room) would these be detrimental to the sound signature, or do I have some way to turn these off when listening to all speaker stereo?
  • Is there a different upgrade path alltogether that I'm missing?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Had a quick look of REWs room sim, while your room has the little odd shape at left, but otherwise is fairly normal. The room sim showed with the current MLP and sub location that you should sit left side of the couch as possible. Would be intresting can you hear difference if you watch few flicks sitting more toward right vs. the left corner seat. There was huge drop in the chest slam region if you sitting middle width wise. How accurate the room sim is in this case i don´t know, but just something you might find intresting.

@John24ssj is most vocal Auro 3D / Auro Upmixer man at AVF. Maybe he can say few words why he went with that route over Atmos and perhaps show the speaker configuration with height channels (you can also send PM him).

Surround speakers are very close to listeners now, 685s have fuller sound as mains at least and are easier to drive due to higher sensitivity and also higher power handling. If you can get them used for low cost and then sell 686 for decent money then why not. I would do this as last thing though as i don´t believe it makes night and day difference, but seeing you have the big front three with 6,5" drivers and the massive subwoofer then yeah no compromises!

The Altecos have great feedback when used as heights. Dali is well known from wide dispersion and not requiring toe in. They have drivers, waweguide etc. from Spektor range. @Jester1066 has been quite vokal about them and you can ask any questions from him. Altecos are fairly compact sized which might be requirement? If not and you would want something slightly better performing then perhaps consider the larger SVS Prime Elevations. You are sitting fairly far away from them though. I think SVS main site has 5 pages of owner reviews for them.




PS. You could also consider mounting them high up on side walls one pair slightly ahead of listeners and 2nd pair behind listeners. This way they wouldn´t be 4 - 4,5m away.

Did you buy the 3-way HTM 61 S2 after we talked in some other thread with couple members? How does it sound after the smaller one?
 

Exeon

Standard Member
Would be intresting can you hear difference if you watch few flicks sitting more toward right vs. the left corner seat. There was huge drop in the chest slam region if you sitting middle width wise. How accurate the room sim is in this case i don´t know.

The Altecos have great feedback when used as heights. Dali is well known from wide dispersion and not requiring toe in. They have drivers, waweguide etc. from Spektor range. @Jester1066 has been quite vokal about them and you can ask any questions from him. Altecos are fairly compact sized which might be requirement? If not and you would want something slightly better performing then perhaps consider the larger SVS Prime Elevations. You are sitting fairly far away from them though. I think SVS main site has 5 pages of owner reviews for them.

PS. You could also consider mounting them high up on side walls one pair slightly ahead of listeners and 2nd pair behind listeners. This way they wouldn´t be 4 - 4,5m away.

Did you buy the 3-way HTM 61 S2 after we talked in some other thread with couple members? How does it sound after the smaller one?

Yea it's pretty obvious that the right side of the couch has noticibly less bass than the left side.
Angling the sub differently has a decent impact on this, I was hoping that by sealing the room I could even it out a little more.

Speaker size isn't that much of a concern, I mentioned the dali's because they are well reviewed and dirt cheap (290€ a pair) while svs prime elevation is between 600-700€ a pair.

I've considered mounting them to the right and left side, however there is a chimney pretty close to the right side of the couch (the fireplace is actually closer to the couch than sub)

And behind the couch is a tall large window, same deal with the back of the room.
Mounting speakers on the right side would be hard, but it may be possible.

I did buy the htm61 after seeing the advice here.
I let my wife do a blind test swapping between the 2 centers while the receiver was calibrated for the htm62.
She picked it out quite easily, calling the htm62 "veiled" in comparison.

So for 200€ which I can probably recover from selling my old one, it's a great upgrade for the money.
The only downside is size, that thing is quite a bit bigger.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
  • Does upgrading the rears to the the bigger B&W 685's make sense for surrounds?
About a year ago I swapped out by surround back channels from 686s to 685s (to match the 685s I already used as sides). IMO it made no perceivable difference at all on ambient sound effects but it gave a significant improvement on loud discrete effects e.g. gunshots in particular are now far more impactful. Being an 88dB vs 84dB sensitivity speaker, it also uses much less power so adds to overall system headroom which is useful if (like me) you're running on AVR power.

  • Is there a different upgrade path alltogether that I'm missing?
Not sure if this is feasible given window/furniture locations etc. but if this were my room I'd probably be shooting for 7.1.4 along these lines, the height channels being very discrete down firing flush mounted in-ceiling speakers sitting behind painted grills.

1650440064530.png
There's some fantastic guidance on optimising room/speaker layouts in this series of videos from Anthony Grimani (ex-Dolby/THX, custom installer and CEDIA trainer) that you might find useful. This is just part #1 of a three video series so has all the detail you'll ever need.

 

John24ssj

Well-known Member
If you set things up for Auro3D it will work for all configurations. Atmos, DTS and Auro3D. I find that the Auro3D layout is more natural sounding than just having speakers overhead. PLUS I use Auro3D upmixer (Auromatic) to upmix almost everything I listen to since it make proper use of the height speakers.

A great video to watch if you are interested:
 

Exeon

Standard Member
PS. You could also consider mounting them high up on side walls one pair slightly ahead of listeners and 2nd pair behind listeners. This way they wouldn´t be 4 - 4,5m away.
I've discussed this with my wife and at least she wants to consider it as a possibility.
I've done some extra measurements since there is a chimney on the wall, I've found out that were a bit closer to the TV then it thought, I believe it's about 3,5m rather than 4m (and probably a little less)

This is the updated layout:


I calculated the angle for front mounted again, and it looks like 34 degrees, which works, but isn't optimal I think.
The rears don't work, at 5 meters distance I cannot set them up at the back of the room.
I can however position them closer on the walls, like shown on the wall.
I am however wondering if front heights may be a better option or not considering that layout with the weird corner, I could also set them up closer to the MLP, but I believe it may be too close then? Is this something you can simulate at all? I'd really appreciate it.

Not sure if this is feasible given window/furniture locations etc. but if this were my room I'd probably be shooting for 7.1.4 along these lines, the height channels being very discrete down firing flush mounted in-ceiling speakers sitting behind painted grills.

It would be possible, if this were my home, sadly it's a lease, I would definitly go in ceiling, but cutting holes in my landlord's house is a no go.
This is however, the dream setup.
 
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