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#314496 - 07/13/10 11:54 AM Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please
pastuch Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 29
Loc: Ottawa
About 8 months ago I setup a home theater in my basement. The room is 113 Inches Wide, 83 inches tall (7 foot ceiling), and 316 Inches Deep (great for multi rowed seating). I used Sinclair Audio Speakers (Cheap but decent) and an SVS PB10-NSD Sub. The speakers are towers and they are stuck in the extreme corners of the room to accommodate the largest screen I can get. Pictures of my theater can be found at the links below.

Right now the projector screen wall is six coats of a custom paint mix, it looks great but I want to build a screen out of counter-top laminate (Wilsonart Designer White) of 118 inches. In order to go with a larger screen I will need to
get rid of my tower speakers and that is where Axiom comes in.

When I bought my Sinclair speakers I had never heard of Axiom. I prefer to buy Canadian when I can. I have spent the last 8 months reading speaker reviews and trying to educate myself on audio. I have a Pioneer 1019 receiver and a lack of space on the sides of my projector screen.

Click below for a web-album. I used a crappy camera, sorry.
http://picasaweb.google.ca/lh/sredir...sgE&feat=email

AVS BUILD THREAD:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1176908

1. I've been looking at the Axiom M22s because they are short enough that I could put them underneath the screen. I would love to buy Axiom M80s but my receiver won't be able to handle the 4 ohm load and they are wide enough that a 110 inch screen is all I can do. If I were to get the M60s then my receiver would be sufficient but I still would be limiting the size of the screen and the speakers would be in the corners.

Acoustically would I be better off with M60s in the corners or M22s under the screen about 2 feet from the walls? I plan on buying the center and surrounds from axiom over the next year.

2. I'm thinking of putting new carpet in my basement. Is it a bad Idea to put the speaker wire under the carpet? I will be hiring a professional for this. What kind of padding should I use under the carpet for the best audio?

3. Acoustics: I have no clue what I'm doing. What should I do to improve the sound in my room? Please see post below for room and equipment details.

Bass traps? Acoustic panels? I want to go the DIY route to save money.

4. Any clue what my SVS PB-10 NSD crossover should be? Should it be "enabled or not"? I have enabled and at 80 right now. What is the phase and what should it be set to?
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#314499 - 07/13/10 12:03 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: pastuch]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3466
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
I'll take #4.

When using a receiver which does it's own crossover processing, like the 1019 does, you should disable, or set the crossover in the sub's amp to its max. Since yours has a bypass switch, I'd use that (and set it to max).

The phase is more difficult. Unfortunately the right answer is, "what ever works best in your room", but again since you're using a Pioneer with phase alignment, the best may be to just set it to 0°, and let the receiver's MCACC do the adjustment.
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Axiom M5HP, VP160HP, QS8
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#314502 - 07/13/10 12:36 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: pastuch]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Originally Posted By: pastuch

1. I've been looking at the Axiom M22s because they are short enough that I could put them underneath the screen. I would love to buy Axiom M80s but my receiver won't be able to handle the 4 ohm load and they are wide enough that a 110 inch screen is all I can do. If I were to get the M60s then my receiver would be sufficient but I still would be limiting the size of the screen and the speakers would be in the corners.

Acoustically would I be better off with M60s in the corners or M22s under the screen about 2 feet from the walls? I plan on buying the center and surrounds from axiom over the next year


Despite your room being very long it’s not really that big volume-wise so I think you could use the M22s very effectively. I and others have compared the M22s to the M80s and when used with a good subwoofer like you have they sound almost the same. The only difference I can detect is that there is a little less mid-upper bass in a large room using the M22s + sub vs the M80s +sub.

I was in the same situation as you in deciding screen size and went with one size smaller than I could have fit just so that I could fit my front 3 speakers under the screen giving me full placement flexibility for the best front soundstage. IMO you will have a better overall theater system if you use a speaker screen combo that lets you get the speakers out of the corners.

Though I’m not a big fan of them but in your situation with a room that long have you considered using an acoustically transparent screen? It would allow you to have the M80s you want and still have some placement flexibility to move them around behind the screen so they aren’t in the corners. It will cost more both in screen and speakers but if you really want towers. . . .

Quote:

2. I'm thinking of putting new carpet in my basement. Is it a bad Idea to put the speaker wire under the carpet? I will be hiring a professional for this. What kind of padding should I use under the carpet for the best audio?

I’ve never permently put wire under carpet but have put it under rugs w/o ever having a problem. Though it’s more expensive there is flat speaker wire which might help if you plan on using a wider gauge that might show under the carpet. Make sure to run all the wire you thing you might ever need like for dual surrounds (that’s a long room), height/wide speakers in case you ever might add them later.

Quote:

3. Acoustics: I have no clue what I'm doing. What should I do to improve the sound in my room? Please see post below for room and equipment details.

Bass traps? Acoustic panels? I want to go the DIY route to save money


I wouldn’t actually start treating the room until you have your speakers set up and tweaked for best sound. Then you can start listening for what treatments might help the problems you can’t deal with by positioning.

As a general rule below 200Hz is best dealt with by equalization. To be effective at very low frequencies acoustic panels (traps) must be very big and still EQ often does a better job. Also in a rectangular room running two to four subwoofers is likely to be more effective that room treatments. However, in my personal experience multiple subwoofers may not work in oddly shaped rooms. Mine is “L” shaped and dual subwoofers doesn’t work for me.

Other treatments above 200 Hz are effective for dealing with specific problems like first reflections but until you have your speaker positioning finalized it’s hard to know what they are.

Quote:

4. Any clue what my SVS PB-10 NSD crossover should be? Should it be "enabled or not"? I have enabled and at 80 right now. What is the phase and what should it be set to?


Generally it’s advised to disable/bypass the crossover on the subwoofer and use only the one on the receiver. This avoids “cascading” crossovers which might cause the roll-off of the subwoofer to be to steep. However, I remember reading an article (Alan wrote I think) where he suggested trying just that, using both the receiver and sub crossover set to the same frequency saying that in some cases it helped make a smoother transition between the speakers and the subwoofer. If I can find the article I will link to it.

A couple of other notes. My room is somewhat long 13x21 (ok not close to yours) and I find the biggest acoustic problem compared to my last more square room 12x14 is blending the front speakers with the surrounds. In the smaller room I got a perfect 360 degree soundstage using just 5.1. In the longer room I’m still getting a gap in the coverage between the mains and the surrounds using 7.1. I’ve found that using “wide” speakers really helps fill in that gap by wrapping some of the sound from the mains out and around the sides. So even if your present receiver doesn’t support wide speakers I would make sure to wire for them in case you ever want to give them a try.

Similarly you might also consider using dual surrounds at some point. If you have multiple rows of seating in a room that long I think you would get much better coverage by having more than one surround speaker on each side (just like in movie theaters). Again something you might want to consider for the future and pre-wire for.

Just my thoughts.

Cheers,
Dean





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#314503 - 07/13/10 12:38 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: ClubNeon]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
I'll throw something at # .5
I can't speak directly for the 1019 but don't assume that your receiver won't drive 4 ohm speakers just because they are not rated for it. It is rare that you will find a receiver company actually state that it is 4 ohm compatible even when most are as long as you are not pushing ridiculous volumes. They are just being overly cautious in many cases, although there are some models that have displayed problems. Your room is not very big so you won't need to push things at all to go as loud or louder than you need.

Someone else may be able to help out specifically for your model. Somewhere buried by the search feature, is a list from Axiom of recommended brands. I forget where Pioneer sat but a call to Axiom would clear it up for sure.

#1
You have a pretty good sub and again your room is not huge so I suspect that you would be Extremely happy with M22s for mains and be able to keep your screen width intact. I have not heard M22s but people here repeatedly compare M22s and a good sub as being very similar to M80s.

#2
I don't believe in putting even even low voltage wires under carpet but many do. I'd prefer to hide it behind baseboards
and such as they are easy to remove and replace, if you are very careful. If you really need to go sub carpet, try to keep near the edges of the room and other places that are less likely to be walked on. Even if there is minimal (but possible) fire hazard, a short could be hard on your equipment. I'm unsure what going with a flat wire brings to the table for durability but it might be worth looking into.

#3
I'd say start with none and try it for a while. If you feel your bass is lacking or it's weak in certain areas of the room but boomy in others, than you can try some bass traps. There are lots of good articles and posts on purchasing or DIY solutions. From there, you can tweak forever or just sit and be happy, depending on your personality. wink

#4 Neon nailed it.

Now that your already obviously hooked......
Here is a good article on impedance that is good to know when choosing a receiver/speaker combination.
Speaker Impedance

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#314518 - 07/13/10 01:38 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: Murph]
pastuch Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 29
Loc: Ottawa
Wow. Thank all of you so much. This is probably the best response to a forum post I have ever had.

ClubNeon: I can't wait to get home and reconfig my sub and rerun MCACC. Great advice!

Grunt (Dean): Acoustically Transparent screen isn't an option for me. Most of them have too much texture and this is a MAJOR concern because my whole theater is run from an HTPC (Home theater PC). A white browser page like this forum will reveal ANY texture and imperfection in a screen.

Your advice regarding 7.1 is something I thought of initially and I agree. My Pioneer 1019 does support 7.1 audio but I thought there wasn't much point given that DTS and Dolby are only 5.1 audio paths. Does the receiver automatically duplicate the rear surrounds to the sides with 5.1 content?

Multiple subwoofers may be in the long term plan. I was debating ordering the Axiom Master System 7.1 and using the SVS 10 with the Axiom 500. I'm not sure about the Axiom 500 vs an SVS 12 though. My desk is behind the second row of seating and right now the sub is between the wall and the desk (behind the right side of the couch). See photos linked at the top to get an idea.

Subwoofer placement confuses me. In such a long theater with concrete all around I can't figure out why some people recommend the woofer on the screen wall. That's 9+ feet from the nearest seating and 12+ feet from optimal seating. By putting the woofer next to my desk behind my couch my LFE is startling for only a 10 inch sub. Lovin' the SVS! It's so good now I can't imagine a second 12 inch sub. My dog is going to hate it!

I'll wait on Acoustic treatments until I'm done. Good idea.

Murph:

1. So the M22s sound like a great idea so far. A friend of mine just upgraded to a $7000 dollar Totem Forest, Thunder surround system. He offered to let me borrow his Klipsch Heresy IIs which just happen to be the perfect height to test how much better the audio will be with speakers off the walls. 22 inches in height just barely fits under my screen. I know the Heresy IIs are horns so they won't sound like the M22 but should I try them anyway to test acoustics?

2. Speaker wire under the baseboards is a great idea but I have a 2 inch diameter spool of cables coming out of my Theater closet at the back of the room. Theoretically I'll have 7 speaker wires, a USB 3 cable, a subwoofer cable, a DVI cable for my monitor and right now I have an extension cable because there is no outlet in the closet (YET).

I'll take some photos tonight and post them.



Edited by pastuch (07/13/10 01:48 PM)
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#314528 - 07/13/10 02:35 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: pastuch]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6955
Loc: PEI, Canada
Cool! If your friend is willing to let you try some of his gear then I would definitely take him up on it. However, see if you can arrange it for the time you have the M22s for a 30 day trial period as well. That way, your comparisons can all be done at the same time.

I never heard the Heresy's but I have yet to hear horned speakers that I like. Maybe it's subliminal but they always seem to tire out my ears quickly with what I unprofessionally describes as being a bit shrill over a long term. I have heard other Klipsh speakers and still prefer the Axiom sound. However, to be fair, they were in different rooms, environments, etc and hardly a controlled listening test. I'd like to have your opportunity to hear them all in my own home.
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#314537 - 07/13/10 03:08 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: Murph]
bdpf Offline
aficionado

Registered: 06/28/08
Posts: 769
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Before pulling the trigger on Axiom, I audition the Klipsh RF-62 and RF-82. what bothered me wasn't really the horn tweeter but more the weak midrange and I also found the bass on the 82s a bit muddy. Mind you, it could have been the room as well.
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#314539 - 07/13/10 03:12 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: pastuch]
ClubNeon Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/06/09
Posts: 3466
Loc: Western Maryland, USA
Originally Posted By: pastuch
Your advice regarding 7.1 is something I thought of initially and I agree. My Pioneer 1019 does support 7.1 audio but I thought there wasn't much point given that DTS and Dolby are only 5.1 audio paths. Does the receiver automatically duplicate the rear surrounds to the sides with 5.1 content?

Dolby ProLogic IIx, don't just duplicate the side surround content to the rear, but actually looks at the content and steers it in a very convincing mix around the rear.

I like my surround speakers directly to the side of my head (that's were my ears are), but found that with 5.1 content which pans from side to side in the surround channel, it seems to go over-head rather than around behind me.

Enabling PLIIx with rear speakers fixes that. Though another way to fix it, is to place the surrounds slightly behind the listening position.

So just because there's not much 7.1 content, doesn't mean you can't have the rears active for all material. Heck, ProLogic IIx creates a 7.1 mix from even stereo content.
_________________________
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Axiom M5HP, VP160HP, QS8
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#314544 - 07/13/10 03:26 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: pastuch]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Quote:

Grunt (Dean): Acoustically Transparent screen isn't an option for me. Most of them have too much texture and this is a MAJOR concern because my whole theater is run from an HTPC (Home theater PC). A white browser page like this forum will reveal ANY texture and imperfection in a screen.

I understand and agree with your concerns. Picture quality issues was one reason I ditched the idea of and AT screen.

Quote:

Your advice regarding 7.1 is something I thought of initially and I agree. My Pioneer 1019 does support 7.1 audio but I thought there wasn't much point given that DTS and Dolby are only 5.1 audio paths. Does the receiver automatically duplicate the rear surrounds to the sides with 5.1 content?

In my last room 12x14 I thought that 5.1 actually sounded better than 7.1 leading me to believe that 7.1 or more was just marketing hype. Now that I’m in a longer room 13x21 I’ve found that 7.1 is a huge benefit in creating a seamless rear soundstage even when using Dolby PLIIx or Neo 6 on 5.1 and 2.0 sources. I’ve even found that using DSX wide speakers in a 9.1 configuration really helps fill the gap in the transition from the front to the side soundstage now that I’m in a longer room.

There are several ways that Dolby and Neo 6 derive the rear speaker channels depending on how the recordings were mastered. In some cases a rear channel is “matrixed” in with the surround channels allowing it to be decoded and played in the rear. In other cases various algorithms are used to “pull” audio information out of either the surround channels in the case of 5.1 or the L/R channels in 2.0 and rout it to the surround and rear speakers. How effective this is depends on how the recordings were made. In all cases I find they greatly improve 5.1 sources in my longer room. As for 2.0 sources it all depends on how they were recorded. Some benefit while others seem to do nothing. In those cases I often use “All channel Stereo” mode which just duplicates the L/R channels down each side of the room. Although not “surround sound” it does create a more full and engaging audio environment for 2.0 sources like many TV shows. Again having 7.1 even benefits this in my longer room.

Quote:

Multiple subwoofers may be in the long term plan. I was debating ordering the Axiom Master System 7.1 and using the SVS 10 with the Axiom 500. I'm not sure about the Axiom 500 vs an SVS 12 though. My desk is behind the second row of seating and right now the sub is between the wall and the desk (behind the right side of the couch). See photos linked at the top to get an idea.


Generally I think it’s considered best to use identical subwoofers when running multiple ones. Though many people have had great results using very different ones. I think using different subs together may become less of an issue as more receivers allow for separate subwoofer outputs like “7.2” or more. My opinion is that if you are happy with the sub you have just get another of the same later unless you feel you are missing something on the very low end. Just understand that if one sub goes much lower than the other it won’t benefit as much at that lowest level from having another sub to even it out.

Quote:

Subwoofer placement confuses me. In such a long theater with concrete all around I can't figure out why some people recommend the woofer on the screen wall. That's 9+ feet from the nearest seating and 12+ feet from optimal seating. By putting the woofer next to my desk behind my couch my LFE is startling for only a 10 inch sub. Lovin' the SVS! It's so good now I can't imagine a second 12 inch sub. My dog is going to hate it!


Welcome to the club, subwoofer issues still baffle me. I always thought that multiple subwoofers were better than one until I recently tested that premise with a couple subs borrowed from Sean. Turns out in my “L” shaped room one subwoofer works better than 2.

As for placement there are so many variables from room/seating layout to personal preferences that IMO most generalizations break down leading to experimenting being the only way to really get things right. Still general placement guidelines are still useful for many who can’t tweak their setups and also as a common stating point from which to tweak.

I found that doing the “subwoofer crawl” allowed me to find the best locations in my room to place my single subwoofer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AV3oLLMgS-M

In my last room the best place I found for my subwoofer was right behind my center seat. In my present room it’s up in the far right corner. I’ve found that room/seating layout, subwoofer output and personal preferences for bass play the biggest roles in finding the best subwoofer locations.

Note that bass is not omni-directional. I have been knocked on my ass in the direction of travel of very low frequency waves from explosions. People generalize that below 80Hz bass is non-directional because in an enclosed area bass produces standing waves (bass waves bouncing off room surfaces) making it hard to tell their original direction of travel. The smaller the room the higher the frequency these wave start to seem non-directional while the larger the room the lower the frequency before this happens. A rule evolved that 80Hz and below is “non-directional” in part because this is generally true for average sized HT rooms.

However, for many people myself included, even at or below 80Hz where the bass is coming from can be noticeable. That’s why many people recommend placing the subwoofer up front near the mains/center. Since most of the bass not in the LFE channel that is getting routed to the subwoofer by your receivers bass management settings is coming from the main left and right channels. Placing the sub near the mains minimizes the chances of “hearing” the bass coming from the wrong direction.

Some general thoughts. The closer the sub is to a wall more so a corner the greater some low frequencies are reinforced. This can help the output of a small sub in a large room but often at the expense of overemphasizing certain frequencies and causing “boomy bass.” the closer the subwoofer is to your seat the more you will feel the “mid-bass punch” (especially if it’s path to you is not blocked) but at the risk of localizing the subwoofer.

Sorry that I just took a lot of time to say all that. To put it simply the best way to place your subwoofer is to do the subwoofer crawl to find the spot that give the flattest frequency response and then experiment with placement among the best locations you find to see which also gives you the best low-bass rumble and or mid-bass punch. The difficult thing is that most locations will maximize one at the expense of another. So in the end experiment to find where the sub sounds/feels best. wink

Cheers,
Dean
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#314564 - 07/13/10 05:03 PM Re: Basement Theater Upgrade - Advice please [Re: grunt]
pastuch Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 07/13/10
Posts: 29
Loc: Ottawa
Speaker Experience:

I've never heard a horn tweeter speaker before so I have no clue if I will like it or not. I have heard most of Totems line of speakers and generally been very impressed but they cost a lot. The $7000 Winds blew my mind (store demo with full Macintosh rack). I've also generally been impressed with Energy speakers. They sound great with Rock. I have Sinclair and Mirage speakers right now and I find both sets fatiguing. They just can't do Rock or Rap the way I want them to. I think they sound too bright. I recently bought a couple of NAD amps that are excellent and I'm quite happy with.

Dolby ProLogic IIx and Neo6:
OK, I hate changing settings on my AVR. I use bitstreaming through my PC in Windows Media Center and while it's very nice that the OS doesn't mess with the audio it drives me crazy that I have to use my AVR remote to control volume.

If I set the 1019 to Prologic IIx will it still play the TrueHD or DTS HD MA tracks properly?

"I like my surround speakers directly to the side of my head (that's were my ears are), but found that with 5.1 content which pans from side to side in the surround channel, it seems to go over-head rather than around behind me. Though another way to fix it, is to place the surrounds slightly behind the listening position." < This is my current setup.

Stereo listening to 7.1: Do many of you actually listen to musc with prologic on? Do you find it enhances the music?

Grunt (Dean): I just noticed your sig. Very nice setup. Three m80s? Is one of them your center? I'm a little jealous of your Panny 4000. The only thing that scares me is the non-sealed light-path in the Panasonics. I still LOVE my Benq W5000. It's such a great projector, total reliability, amazing lumens, DLP "Film like display". My friend has the Epson 6500ub and I swear I prefer the W5000. I heard your 4000 is very comparable to the new Epson 8500ub so I'm sure you have deeper blacks. I think I'll wait for the LED bulb PJs with the 40000 hour bulb life before upgrading. Also excellent choice on the BDP83... if I didn't have a PS3 I'd buy that in a heartbeat.

Back to audio... I have to watch that subwoofer crawl video. It's bloody tempting to buy a second hand subwoofer. My local Kijiji (Used site) has so many 1k$ plus woofers for $200 to $400 it's crazy.


Edited by pastuch (07/13/10 05:06 PM)
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