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#429549 - 06/15/18 03:20 PM What would you do, home theater 101 questions?
Cognoquest Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 05/31/18
Posts: 15
I have multiple questions and most likely of basic knowledge nature. I need some help walking through all the speaker types for a room: Family Room Plan. I wish to start with the front speakers: fl, fr & center and will trickle through the other types later in this thread.
Note: The receiver is a Denon AVR-4400H, the selected subwoofer is an EP500. I am currently dabbling with a pair of M22 and one M2 for the center, all bookshelves speakers. I believe the speakers vintage to be the first version. Front speakers must sit on a bookshelf: Family Room Bookshelves, note: the current speakers will be removed.

I have recently learned that bookshelves speakers are not designed for bookshelves. It sounds to me like there is no speakers that where designed for existing bookshelves?
If you use a plug on bookshelves speakers does that make them equivalent to cabinet speakers?
Should I be using on-wall speaker in my bookshelves?
What changes could I expect if I upgraded to version 4 or possibly M5?

Thank you for your interest, more pictures of our Family Room.

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#429551 - 06/15/18 06:01 PM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
aarons Offline
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Registered: 10/17/16
Posts: 132
Any chance you can upload some photos of the proposed spaces (bookshelves) for your New speakers?
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#429552 - 06/15/18 06:33 PM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
Mojo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 4915
Please, please tell me that in this wonderful place you have, you've planned for a dedicated audio or A/V room. If not, you can buy the best speakers in the world, and it won't make a damned bit of difference compared to spending $140 on a pair of Bluetooth speakers. The room, and your position within it, is 90% of the experience. With the way your room is jigged, you are hosed!

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#429553 - 06/15/18 09:05 PM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
nickbuol Offline
axiomite

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5338
Loc: Marion, IA
That is a tough layout. Lots of glass, and I mean a LOT of glass. That will bounce around an unwanted amount of sound energy in the room, and the more speakers you add, the more muddled it will be. You will have peaks and nulls all over the place, unfortunately. If you had sliding doors, but not windows, or windows but not sliding doors, you would have some room for some tasteful acoustical absorption panels (you can make them look like artwork for pretty cheap.)

That is a really tough room, but to answer your other questions, in-wall speakers are better designed to be "put into a box" like a bookshelf, but you would want the front of the speaker to be flush with the front of the bookshelf.

I wouldn't worry about different versions of the speakers since your room will be much more impactful to the sound than a difference in version.

You have a great looking space, so I understand why you want to be in there. You could try upgrading your curtains to something MASSIVELY thick, but I tell people elsewhere when I talk about room treatments that curtains for absorption is a myth and a lie for the most part (they help with only the upper frequencies), but in your case, even that will help with the room sound itself, but you would need to put some decent money down on them and keep them closed to really try to enjoy a movie experience.
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#429555 - 06/16/18 11:02 AM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
aarons Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/17/16
Posts: 132
Ha! I completely missed your link with photos. Now that others have commented I saw it and see what you mean.

I agree your room will be a much bigger impact on the sound you have than a change from the M22 to another version or even the M5. I’d put most of your money and effort into sound absorption materials, perhaps MASSIVELY thick curtains as nickboul said.

If you are totally focused on upgrading then go to the M5. I spoke with Debbie and there really isn’t enough difference in versions (according to her) in the M22 from the first versions to the lmost recent to warrant an upgrade unless yours are damaged somehow. They will accept yours as trade Ins as well. The M5 should have a notable performance improvement.
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#429556 - 06/16/18 12:53 PM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6142
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
OK,let's see...

First, you didn't mention if anyone had a strong sentimental attachment to the bookcase. If not, then that makes one part of your task a lot easier. Find another place somewhere else in the house for the bookcase, hang the TV on the wall (or on a small shelf), and make small shelves for the speakers (or, again, brackets) that hold them some distance from the wall.

In terms of window treatments, my first thought would be to do something like alternating the curtains you have (or something heavier) with wood-slatted blinds that you can angle for some diffusion. The only catch with those is that you wouldn't get light blocking when they were angled for best sound, so maybe a cheap pulldown blackout shade behind them ?

I had a heck of a time getting good bass in my living room with a similar cathedral ceiling (I was using M60ti's without a subwoofer); what I found was that having the speakers against a wall and the listening position at the mid-point worked even worse than it usually would - big speakers, big amp, no bass. I finally found all the bass in another part of the house (my house is more open than yours)... it was actually up in the loft.

In your case you have an easier time because you are using a subwoofer, so it's only the subwoofer that needs to be in a good spot relative to your listening position. My first thought when I saw just the diagram was to put it between the two chairs (yeah wiring would be a problem but looks like you are pulling wires right now anyways), but from seeing the photos it doesn't look like there would be room.

I would probably start with the sub in one of the recommended places (the left and right sides of the room are going to be best as recommended) and if you don't find good bass in the listening position then either do a sub crawl or try putting the sub where the coffee table is now, and if necessary build a different table over the sub.

I don't see upgrading hardware (other than the sub, you are going to really enjoy that) as an important part of this unless you find you regularly want to play more loudly than the speakers are comfortable with... and even in that case I would look at upgrading your center rather than mains first.

I looked at the "rear speakers" picture but don't think I saw any rear speakers - looked more like a pot light than a speaker... or is it some exotic rear/surround speaker I have not seen before ?


Edited by bridgman (06/16/18 12:53 PM)
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#429557 - 06/18/18 11:33 AM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
alan Offline

connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3267
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound
Hi,
No one has mentioned area rugs, and I don't see any in the pictures. As lovely as wood floors are, several thick area rugs can be very effective acoustic absorbers, or thick carpet, and also thick curtains when they're partly or fully closed are very effective. Left open, they are minimally absorbent.

The rest of the advice from other forum members is generally good. Sticking good speakers like the M22s inside enclosed bookshelves like those pictured is the worst thing you can do -- highly colored and "boxy" sound will result.

Regards,
Alan
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#429558 - 06/18/18 12:53 PM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
Cognoquest Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 05/31/18
Posts: 15
Wow all great suggestions you have. The only difficulty is I have to make sure that I do not end up sleeping in the dog house sharing her home. I love this little project but keeping my marriage intact would also be nice. Yes, I have just given away who is the boss.

aarons, this might help: front speakers test layout. Thanks for the info about the speaker versions and I am not focused on upgrading to the M5. I like the M22's, nice to heard that even after all these years they still hold their own.

Mojo maybe one day I will be able to build a dedicated audio or A/V room and you could be right, I might be hosed. I see this as a challenge and adds to the fun of rebuilding the room so I hope you can stick around for the challenge.

bridgman, the pictures that I made for the bookshelves is not showing very well the role they play in the room. I have made some additional pictures: bookshelves 1, bookshelves 2. I hope it gives a better sense of the layout. As you can see the bookshelves are the wall, removing them would be a big job. Also the front of the bookshelves acts as a corridor in the room to access the gazebo, not a very good spot to have components in front of the bookshelves. The receiver in its position on the floor is temporary for testing purposes. I could install a retractable projector screen: Family Room Plan A Front Screen in that corridor but that would complicate things even more for my speaker layout. I like your input about the subwoofer, thanks.

alan, good point there is a floor rug and possibly a replacement one coming? It has been put away for the renovations. Me posting here and the sound project was a last minute decision when I started wiring another Wifi unit in that room. This is why the pot lights are sticking out (Lights and ceiling is open for replacement). The thinking behind me making this post was to understand the difference between this setup: front speakers test layout and the use of on wall speakers in the bookshelves or do they have to stick out more and how much?

The curtains as first suggested by nickbuol and reaffirmed by more confirms the 101 title for this thread to be more exact than I anticipated. I admit I did not see that one coming. Seems to me that there is a consensus here for me to work on the room curtains. My wife is very much on board with your suggestion, hmm... have you guys been plotting this with my wife? My wife is thinking that linen curtains such as the curtains that we have in our dining room could potentially be a better choice than the family room curtains that we currently have in the family room. No question the linen curtains weight much more than the ones we have in the family room. I wonder when the curtains are closed will it make a difference for sound if the material is stretch out or the more pleats the better? bridgman blinds suggestion did not go very well with the boss but would the curtains pleats provide similar goal?

The topic on back speakers by bridgman is a good question and possibly also ceiling speakers is another topic that I do not know how to approach. I do have speakers in the back: a pair of well hidden QS4 surround speakers. I have been playing with 2 pairs of M2 bookshelves speakers for the back to get them out of the curtains, not bad. But the wife would prefer if the speakers stayed on the wall (that one is negotiable). I was thinking for a while going Dolby atmos, the lights that you see hanging could be replaced by speakers but I might be digging a hole for myself on this one. From what I understand from this thread is the more speakers the more window reflection? and curtains might not help that much?

I am very appreciative to all for your feedback and the time you are spending helping me.

Note: All the windows and doors for the family room are up for replacement in the next two weeks, so more to come. More curtains pictures, etc..: Family Room Curtains


Edited by Cognoquest (06/18/18 12:55 PM)

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#429559 - 06/19/18 01:36 AM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6142
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the additional pictures - that helps a lot.

I have to admit my first thought when you said "the bookshelves are the wall; removing them would be a big job" was "hey that means they would both come out at the same time"... but I'll hold that thought.

Alternative suggestion - put the speakers on sliding shelves from your local big box store that you can pull out a few inches for best sound and push back the rest of the time... at least for the M22's.

Other random thoughts:

- your ceiling is maybe half cathedral, half flat - not 100% sure but I think that is a Good Thing from a sound perspective

- we will all take turns reminding you that surround speakers are supposed to go at the side (maybe just a bit behind you) rather than at the back, but (a) mounting in the ideal position seems like it wouldn't be easy because of the windows, and (b) I know a lot of people with surround speakers at the back and they are quite happy with them, particularly if they are Axiom's QS speakers - I would leave them alone for now

- if you can raise the M2 up somehow so it's close to the bottom of the TV I'm sure that would help... I would probably sit it on the cardboard box the speaker came in, but you can do better than that

I don't know how much difference the curtain pleats will make in terms of diffusion but my first thought is that they have to be better than nothing. Main concern is that they will only have effect in a relatively narrow range of frequencies... the reason I suggested wooden slat blinds was that they would almost definitely diffuse a DIFFERENT range of frequencies from the curtain pleats. I was concerned about having too much absorption and not enough diffusion but the angled ceiling above the rear wall should help a bit there... I think.

EDIT - looks like pleats do help more than I expected, at least with absorption:

Absorption Coefficients

Anyways, don't let us get you too worried about all the changes you have to make. The main message is that you already have good equipment and that the next round of improvements will probably come from tweaking the room a bit, possibly including sub location, and now you have a pile of ideas you can play with over time.

That is a good looking doghouse, but it looks a bit short for you (and that's a *big* dog to share it with) so agree that a bit of consideration is probably a good idea.

Last thing - in the front speaker test layout picture, I think there might be something wrong with your cat smile


Edited by bridgman (06/19/18 01:56 AM)
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#429560 - 06/19/18 09:49 AM Re: What would you do, home theater 101 questions? [Re: Cognoquest]
Cognoquest Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 05/31/18
Posts: 15
bridgman, thank you for all the feedback, especially the link about Absorption Coefficients, quite interesting.

About Zen-Beau our kitty cat, I know it seems for unknown reason to me like that one has taken up yoga?

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