3rd home theater, trying to do it right....

Posted by: aarons

3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/17/16 08:15 PM

Starting to gather up components for my third home theater. I have a grand master on wall Axiom system which I ran on a few different receivers in my last2 theaters. Trying to get more clarity from my sound in the new room I am building and considering getting a preamp- amp combo which I have never done before. First receiver was an old Denon with 100w per 5.1. Second was a Yamaha with 125 per 7.1 Now considering going with a preamp and amplifier as I hear I will get better sound and clarity at higher volumes. One of the websites our there had a rep who recommended the Yamaha CX-A5000 along with the MX-A5000. Was a bit pricey for my taste.

Should I go with the preamp-amp combo to improve clarity at volume? Is it worth spending the money? My room is about 20X17. my Grand Master is a 7.1 on wall. Once I get this down I'll need to figure out projector / screen and such. I may also add a second sub. not sure
Posted by: SteveInCC

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/18/16 12:09 AM

It's been a while since I went with separates. I did it then because I had speakers that required more power than available receivers had. Now most speakers can run on a lot less. I recently chose a Marantz SR7010 AV Rcvr over their pre-amp and a separate power amp. The 125W/ch is plenty for my (mostly) Axiom speakers. It has the same processing / switching capabilities as the Pre-amp. It can be used as an 11ch pre-amp if I go to less efficient speakers somewhere down the road (not likely), and costs half as much (which is why I can go 11.x / 7.x.4 now, and add Auro-3D).
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/18/16 10:45 AM

Thanks, that helps. The recommendation from the "expert" was the Yamaha pre amp paired with the Yamaha amp. Why would a 150watt pre amp use a 150watt amp? What is different about the 150watts in the amp that a 150 watt receiver cant do? I am leaning to Yamaha only due to familiarity with it. the Yamaha RX-A3050 is a 150watt per channel 9.2. Is there a reason I should spend extra for the pre-amp and amp really or will the RX-A3050 give me the same performance?
Posted by: Mojo

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/18/16 10:22 PM

If you want more clarity, get rid of the on - walls and go with M80s.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/18/16 10:53 PM

Welcome to Axiom. What you've heard about "better sound and clarity" is almost certainly wrong. If your present receiver isn't being operated at an extremely loud level(dangerous to hearing)which exceeds its designed power limits(unlikely), spending money on a unit with a still higher power limit can't improve "clarity". This is the situation regardless of whether the amplifier is inside a receiver or is a separate unit.

If you want new features, consider a receiver that has them. A higher maximum power limit in a separate box is about the least likely change to be helpful.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/18/16 11:23 PM

I toyed with that Yamaha combo, but went with an Anthem MRX-1120 receiver and never looked back. It can be spendy, but it is a huge jump up in audio quality over my 5 year old Onkyo receiver (was about $900 at the time) and that Onkyo was a massive leap forward from my previous Pioneer Elite receiver.

So yes, you can get better sound quality depending on the system, and while the Yamaha is nice, it still falls into the same or similar sound camp that lessor expensive receivers do (again, another reason why I stayed with a receiver vs. separates which I really thought that I wanted to go with).

That said, you can only push on-walls so far. I love my 8 M3 on-walls, but they are for surround and Atmos duty only. I have M60 fronts and VP180 center. I don't know if I would have really noticed so much of a night and day improvement in receiver with smaller speakers (on-walls) all around.
Posted by: 2x6spds

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/19/16 02:18 AM

I'd go with a good receiver and an outboard 2 channel amp for front L/R. Pioneer, Onkyo (watch out for HDMI board failure), Denon, Yamaha, Sony, make excellent mid-range AVR receivers ($1,000-2,000).

I had an Onkyo 1003 and replaced it with a Pioneer 9.2 receiver with a gaggle of SABRE ESS 32 DACS. I use an Integra M504 2 channel (big power meters) for front L/R (Thiel CS 3.6s) center VP180.

Sound quality is ridiculously good.
Posted by: MatManhasgone

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/19/16 07:33 AM

Aarons. I fell into the same trap as you with the going MYTH that separates will give you better sound. That may have been true 30 years ago when the vast majority of receivers were crap and used high voltage no current to get impressive numbers on paper but could not drive a speaker.

I spent too much money trying to get better sound with big box store components that never worked. I ended up like Nickbuol and bought an Anthem pre-amp as I owned external amps already. Can't say why but the sound quality was night and day better.

You can buy the MRX-720 if you don't need the atmos right away and save some coin. They have some of the best room correction out there,

But reality is, a better designed room will give you better sound. That is where i would start looking.
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/19/16 10:17 AM

Originally Posted By MatManBobbleHead
But reality is, a better designed room will give you better sound. That is where i would start looking.

This ^^

If Axiom made VP160 or VP180 on-wall center channels one of those would be nice too.

EDIT - hey, I just noticed there are "in-cabinet" versions of VP160 and VP180... if you are making a new room then it may not be too late to frame a horizontal opening for one of those.

I do think this would get you more "great sound for the $$" than new electronics.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 02:23 PM

I have the VP150 and M22s along with 4 QS8's and 1 EP350. I may add another EP350 if budget allows in the end. I'll certainly run the cable as well as the wires for resonance speakers to utilize all 9 channels eventually. Doing my best not to change my current speakers again. My currents are already upgrades from the smaller on wall package. I went with the Yamaha RX A3050 mostly because I have a confident familiarity with the brand, it got good reviews all around and I have a feeling with proper set up I will be happier. One thing I am working on is room set up and sound insulation. I've been reading a lot up on that and excited to hear any helpful advice. One question I have is I have seen some hang their QS8's on the wall and other hang off the ceiling and angled slightly downward. Any comments on that? What about acoustic panels versus movie posters? Love my posters but if it's a huge hindrance for sound I'd look at other options...
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 03:32 PM

Just FYI that the latest Sound & Vision magazine has the Anthem 1120 on the cover.
Per the Anthem Facebook page about the article, it states:
Quote:
David Vaughn praises the MRX 1210, saying "the MRX, through countless hours of music listening and movie watching, provided the escape I was looking for without introducing any of the fatigue I've experienced with lesser products. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better-sounding solution short of going with separates. Highly recommended."

It was also awarded Sound & Vision's Top Pick!




Also, Home Theater HiFi just published a raving review.
In the conclusion section it states:
"I dont think Id be overstating it if I said that the sound quality you get from this unit is comparable to having separates from some other manufacturers."

and

"The Anthem MRX 1120 is the best home theater receiver that I have had the pleasure of ever using."

Link to the article: Anthem 1120 Review

Sorry, I had to put in another "plug" for the Anthem.
Posted by: brendo

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 05:52 PM

A couple of sound panels would make a huge difference over posters. For me I made my own with the thickest insulation{sound proofing} one, and it was a huge improvement in my sound stage. I have them only in the front reflection spots and one in the middle rear. Instantly felt like a much wider larger room.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 08:14 PM

Wow really. Thx I'll read up on that.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 08:48 PM

Found a site called greatbigcanvas.com. Basically movie poster on canvas stretched over wooded frames. Assume those would work good with sound insulation stuffed in the back? I'm sure many of you have done this?
Posted by: Gr8_White_North

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 10:08 PM

Cotton is the preferred material. You don't want the sound reflecting off the front of your panel, it needs to be absorbed. You can tell how lively a room is by clapping your hands.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/20/16 11:54 PM

Actually cotton/denim (cut up jeans material basically) insulation is pretty good, but usually too soft. Also not "preferred" as there are products made specifically for acoustical treatments...

I know a few things about movie poster acoustical panels. While I am pretty quiet around here, I am the resident "expert" over at AVS...

Check this thread out... Start around the middle as things have greatly improved over the years. You can get a great improvement in room acoustics for really not a terrible amount of money, and they look cool too (don't have to be movie posters either, can be anything)...

DIY Custom-Printed Movie Poster Acoustic Panels - cheap!
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/21/16 10:11 AM

This is great stuff! I love learning something new. Thanks a million. Saving me some money too!
Posted by: Gr8_White_North

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/21/16 11:05 AM

Nick, I was referring to the covering of the panel. I use roxul safe and sound for the absorption material which is one of many materials available. Given my remote location and the fact that some of the boutique products are stupid expensive I use what is close at hand. The coverings on the website Aarons linked to is not appropriate imho.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/21/16 11:24 AM

Let's talk about speaker placement a little. I have been looking at photos of rooms in the Axiom gallery and mostly QS4's or QS8's are hung about 2/3's of the way up on the side and rear walls. I have seen a few on ceiling mounts and angled downward slightly. Is there a school of thought on those ceiling installs?
Posted by: Gr8_White_North

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/21/16 08:56 PM

I have qs8's and qs4's . Originally started with the 4's then moved them to my bedroom and bought the 8's for my theater room.
I originally had them down low but was advised to move them up to about 2/3's and a bit forward of LP. When I moved the 4's to the bedroom I put the about 6" from the ceiling and that turned out to be a really good spot for them. I have the 8's also about 6" down and it works great. I was able to localize the sounds from them before but now they blend in well with the rest of my system. If you can try them in various spots to find what works best for you. The height of your couch,whether you recline and your ceiling height play an important role. If you have low ceilings or are close to the back wall you may want to ceiling mount and tilt them down though I don't think this type of speaker really requires it. You will have to hit studs if you ceiling mount them which may limit where you can put them.
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/22/16 06:37 AM

Until I read Socketman's post I was about to say "everyone mounts on the walls unless they don't have walls in the right place", but maybe I'll re-think that now.

In my case I didn't have walls or ceiling in the right place (it's a loft, where walls angle down at 45 degrees) so I used stands... soup cans and leftover furniture at the previous house, then home-made stands, now FMS QS Axiom stands.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/25/16 11:04 PM

Good stuff. How about my center channel? I have the VP 150 and if I mount below my screen it wil be slightly below ear level for the front row ans significantly below for second row. Was considering buying a acoustic screen and mounting behind it. Are those screens decent for sound transmission as well as allowing for good picture quality?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/26/16 09:01 AM

I have a Seymour XD screen and it is awesome. I have my M60s and VP180 behind it and any slight adjustment to sound will be either accounted for by your receiver/processor or not even noticed by your ears.

Since it is a woven product, it looks solid (no pin-holes like the old style acoustically transparent screens) and has one of the best gains for an A.T. screen.

Either buy their DIY material and build your own frame to keep costs down, or go to Jamestown HT Screens and buy a kit with an easy to assemble frame and Seymour XD material. I mean you can get a 150" Seymour XD screen with a Jamestown frame for $600. A MAJOR bargain for a screen that costs twice that price (and is still a bargain) direct from Seymour.
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/26/16 10:05 PM

nickbuol did you ever post a picture of your setup ? Just did a bit of quick reading on the XD - either AT screens have progressed a lot since I last looked or they were always better than I realized.

I am still happy with my 4x8 sheet of Formica and had a tough time justifying the purchase of a real screen, but just got a feeling that an AT screen might be what I have been waiting for.

Going with an AT screen would help in a couple of ways: (a) right now my speakers have to be further apart than I like to avoid blocking the screen (although the Big Honkin' VP180 helps to fill the gap), and (b) just realized that if I moved the screen further out in the room I could move the projector back to a much more convenient mounting point.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 09:00 AM

The key to the AT screens is you want a woven screen, not the perforated screens like their used to be. A woven screen lets a lot more sound through, and doesn't have the "dots" from the holes.

Viewing distance on the Seymour XD is really no closer than about 12 feet. I am at about that distance and wouldn't want to go any closer as you will start to see the texture of the weave.

As for my setup, there is an entire build thread here on it. I will grab some pics and link them into an additional post in a bit.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 09:18 AM

Well, I don't think that I have a current image, but these are close to being current....

Atmos speakers installed


Front screen wall.


And with the screen down (this was a slightly older speaker configuration, but it gives you the idea.


And 2 "pre-Atmos" pictures. Pretty much all of the speakers have been moved since this picture was taken (except the center channel), but it gives a feel for the overall room. There are also missing the 2 additional acoustical panels that I've added and the upgraded and rotated star ceiling (which also does some absorption for the ceiling).






And here are the current side walls with the 2 additional panels:


Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 09:49 AM

I see you went with the M3's surround rather than QS8's. Mind giving a little insight into that? Also do you see a big value in upgrading my center channel from the current VP150? The 160 and 180 appear to be nice but rather expensive
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 10:22 AM

Yeah, quite a few changes...

I stared with a 5.1 system with M60 L/R, VP150 Center, and a pair of QS8s. Then I went 7.1 and added another pair of QS8s it was also at that time that I upgraded from the VP150 to the VP180. The VP150 was a great upgrade from the crappy system that I had before that, but it started to be noticeable as the weakest link in my setup. The VP160 wasn't announced yet, and the VP180 was just released. So my only option was the VP180. I have no regrets in the sound quality of the VP180, but I wonder if I could have done just as well with the VP160 for a little less money. No regrets there though.

It was after CEDIA 2014 where I heard Dolby Atmos for the first time that I knew that another change was in my future.

Atmos does best with monopole speakers, and QS8s were about as far away from that as you can get. Some people have used QS8s with an Atmos setup, but mostly because they didn't want to swap speakers. It "works" but is, as Dolby put it, "less than ideal."

Without getting into all of the technical details, the reasoning and science behind it was enough for me to trade in my QS8s for on-wall M3s. So I ran a 7.1 setup with four M3s for surrounds for about a year or so, knowing that I would eventually add four more speakers overhead once receivers became more available for Atmos. I actually liked the M3s as the rear speakers as I could finally actually "hear" them when I sat in the front row.

Fast forward to March of this year. This was the next big step. I ordered an Anthem MRX-1120 receiver, and four more on-wall M3s for mounting on the ceiling.

I've never looked back. The sound in my room has never been better. I upmix everything to Atmos now, and having a top tier receiver in the Anthem MRX-1120 really makes the Axioms sing.

So that is a history of my setup and changes since I first bought my original Axioms back in 2004.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 10:35 AM

I'll be running a 9.2 system I think. I still need to buy the second subwoofer. Cash will get tight. If it's a decision to upgrade the center 150 to a 160 / 180 versus upgrading the QS8s to M3's which do you think would be a better decision?
Posted by: MatManhasgone

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 12:52 PM

They have a very impressive EP800 in the refurb section
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 05:01 PM

9.1 system with a second sub (sorry, trying to stay technically correct since there is no such thing as a 9.2 system, just like my 7.1.4 system with 2 subs isn't a 7.2.4 system. It isn't a count of speakers, but a count of the audio "channels" and there is only 1 single sub/LFE "channel" even if you have more than 1 connection on your receiver).

Anyway. If not going Atmos, then go for a better center channel. The center channel is the single most used speaker in a home theater setup. More detail and audio comes out of it than anything else, and it is so critical. For way too long people have skimped on their center channels and had these larger, better quality left and right channels, but for straight home theater that isn't good.

So better center channel gets my vote if I had to pick.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 05:41 PM

Hmmm, I believe my Yamaha RX A3050 9.2 has 2 subwoofer outputs. Are you saying the two outputs is only in fact one channel? So what is the .2 in the 9.2? It also has Dolby Atmos so I figured I would use it. Am I mistaken about something?
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/27/16 07:29 PM

Originally Posted By nickbuol
As for my setup, there is an entire build thread here on it. I will grab some pics and link them into an additional post in a bit.


Oh it's *that* home theater smile

VERY nice. I have already started copying ideas from it, beginning with the speaker stands for the mains, so I guess this would just be the next logical step towards stealing the whole design.

It answers one of my other questions as well, which was whether the mains needed to be entirely behind the screen or whether the woofers could hang out below it. Thanks !!
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/28/16 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By aarons
Hmmm, I believe my Yamaha RX A3050 9.2 has 2 subwoofer outputs. Are you saying the two outputs is only in fact one channel? So what is the .2 in the 9.2? It also has Dolby Atmos so I figured I would use it. Am I mistaken about something?


Yes. It is marketing gimmicky. My previous Onkyo receiver had 2 subwoofer outputs, was labeled "7.2" right on the box, but there is no movie to date that has ever been encoded on to a DVD, blu-ray, or UHD 4K disc that has anything beyond a ".1" mix for the subwoofer channel. The Onkyo simply had 2 subwoofer connections that were internally connected to the same subwoofer processing (both output the exact same). Your Yamaha is doing the same thing.

You get the exact same effect by using a Y-cable splitter and a single subwoofer output as you do using 2. The receiver basically just splits/duplicates the same .1 output to both subwoofer connections.

My current Anthem MRX-1120 even says "11.2" on the packaging and manuals... Even their website says it, but they at least note it as: "Two Sub Out Jacks (parallel)" meaning that both subwoofer outs are getting the same signal.

MRX-1120 Overview

In the manual for your Yahama, on page 19 it states about the subwoofer processing:
"Produces LFE (low-frequency effect) channel sounds and reinforces bass parts of other channels.
This channel is counted as 0.1. You can connect 2 subwoofers to the unit and place them on the left/right (or front/rear) sides of the room." It even admits that it is just ".1" even though you can connect 2 subwoofers.

MARKETING!! All the big players do it.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/28/16 08:53 AM

Gotcha! Thanks. Is there a real value in adding a second sub then?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/28/16 10:55 AM

Absolutely. You get much improved subwoofer/bass/LFE response throughout more of your room with more subwoofers.

Low frequency audio is really tough to control in any regular or even large size room in your home. Peaks and nulls are rampant. Adding a 2nd sub (and placing it in a complimentary location) will help to smooth those peaks and nulls so that more and more seats sound good.

Generally the "ideal" subwoofer setup includes 4 subwoofers, each one at the midpoint of each wall or possibly some other layouts like these:


I wouldn't recommend the "four corners" approach as putting subs in a corner is considered boomy, but each room is different, and you want to balance out your subs out as evenly as possible in the space (opposite ends/sides kind of thing).

That said, the biggest bang for your buck is going from 1 to 2 subwoofers. Adding a 3rd helps a lot too, but not as much, and the 4th sub still helps, but even less than the 3rd, so the cost/performance decreases, but is still valuable up to 4 subs...

Here is a video, made by Axiom years ago, about multiple subwoofers.

I am sure that there are others, but hopefully this helps.
Axiom - Mutliple Subwoofers
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/28/16 04:08 PM

For my front sub am I better of putting it behind the screen to keep it out of the corner? If not behind the screen it's going to have to go in the front corner.

If behind the screen (I do have space) it will sit below the screen so I guess I leave that open and maybe hang an AT curtain below the screen to the floor?
Posted by: Mojo

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/28/16 05:48 PM

Regarding Atmos, I think if you have QS8s and perhaps the "right room", you don't need it.

My buddy and I were watching the Blu-Ray, Atmos season 5 episode 1 where the imp was inside the box struggling to get out. Holy shit! We were in that effin' box! The ceiling was coming down on top of us. We just looked at each other in utter disbelief, cackled and watched it over and over again. We couldn't believe it!

Now I know Atmos is extra channels that I don't have but I'm just telling you what we both heard. I actually didn't know it was Atmos until we were checking out the liner notes.
Posted by: Jc

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/29/16 11:08 AM

I'm not surprised !

First time I heard about Atmos I wrote to my colleague, Alan, or to Ian (may be booth) that if Dolby had used Axiom QS surround speakers they would have never felt the need for overhead speakers.

Have a great weekend !

jc
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/29/16 01:00 PM

Probably the biggest thing for people to remember is that you need to have a properly set up 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 system before even looking at Atmos. Just adding more speakers overhead won't magically fix things. That is why I spent a solid year (all of 2015 plus a few extra months) doing the tweaks that I should have done years ago. I got my bed layer 7.1 system sounding as good as possible before adding overheads for Atmos.

That said, Atmos is no gimmick. It isn't about just putting sound in more areas around you, if done well, you literally get a pinpoint 3D experience. 2015 CEDIA they used a demo at so many booths that was from Star Trek Into Darkness' opening scene. I think that it was Golden Ear's booth where they actually took the time to do an A/B switch of that same clip back and forth a couple of times. Atmos vs. non-Atmos. The sound without Atmos was quite good (solid setup of their bed layer 7.1 system) but when Atmos was enabled, it filled the room more (as would QS8 speakers for the surround sound), but then when they pinpointed one piece. It was where one of the natives of that planet throws a spear straight at "you" (middle of the screen throw right at the camera), you could literally hear the spear coming straight at you. That can't be done without Atmos (or DTS:X) regardless of speakers.

It isn't just about overhead sounds. It is about being able to precisely place sound objects anywhere in the space. That is something that is done significantly better with monopole speakers all around.

You need to be able to map a point in space, do you use all lasers for pinpoint accuracy, or a combination of lasers and a few flashlights? You will still get some decent sound area generalizations, but not pinpoint accuracy.

So I know that I talk about switching from QS8s to M3s for my own room, but understand that while monopoles are scientifically better and in practice noticeably better, it isn't like you couldn't get decent Atmos/DTS:X sound using quadpoles. And it isn't like people are able to do an A/B test at home between a full monopole system and a mix with bi/di/quad-pole so most people won't know any different. I mean the QS speakers are absolutely AWESOME for 5.1, 7.1, and 9.1 setups for surround speakers. I am just a crazy person that never wanted to know what I was compromising by not having monopoles.

One last note that was part of a key deciding factor for what I did. I have experienced SOOOO many Atmos setups that I knew that I had to have it. I needed 4 additional overhead speakers. I wanted my overheads and surrounds to be identical speakers for even better sound matching (I know that my receiver can tweak them to sound the same), but I also wanted the larger woofer and lower frequency capability since you need to have "full range" speakers overhead, even with bass management. I certainly wasn't going to put QS8's on my ceiling since that isn't precise enough, so that also pushed my decision to replace the QS8 surrounds with whatever I ended up putting on the ceiling, which was 4 M3s.

Anyway, I've rambled on long enough.

Can you do Atmos with QS surrounds? Yes
Will you enjoy it? Yes
Is a traditional 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 setup with QS surrounds the same as Atmos? No
Is a solid 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 setup key to anything (Atmos or not)? Absolutely
Do you need to use monopoles all around for the most accurate immersive 3D audio (Atmos/DTS:X)? Yes
Posted by: AAAA

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/29/16 01:23 PM

My advice is listen to Nick. I did a lot of research and planning during my build. He was a big help along the way. Probably the most comprehensive, experienced and practical advice you will get in this forum is from him. Just do what he tells you to do. wink

If you are the same fellow that jumped into my build thread a while back, well, welcome back. smile
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/29/16 03:17 PM

Wow. That is quite the compliment. Thank you.

I am very passionate about this stuff. I try to expose myself to as much of the technology as I can, and I love sharing what I know, and will tell you what is ideal, what is a slight compromise but good, what is a bigger compromise but still OK, and what just won't work. Everyone has limits of what they can do, or what they want to do. We can't all have massively expensive setups in dedicated spaces that are professionally designed and built. In fact, I don't think that I know of anyone here that has all of that. Those people generally don't know what they want, and just want to pay for someone else to tell them. I would like to think that people here want to understand the options better and take more control into their own hands.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 10/29/16 04:23 PM

Yes good chance I am the same fellow that jumped in a while back. I've moved a lot in the past several years and this will be my third theater room. Each time I chimed into the forum for advice. This is going to be my best set up yet as I am finally feeling enough stability in my current home to justify doing a nice job on the room. should be here a long time. I'm about done with my speakers. Really can't spend more on upgrades and I have just enough to fill my 9.1 system. 2 M22's 1 VP180 2 Yamaha in ceiling (will use for height speakers above the M22's, 4 QS8's and an EP350.

I assume I should use the Atmos feature to set up the speakers after install?
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/01/16 08:12 PM

Also putting my EP350 behind / below my screen but there is barely enough space behind the sub if it is flush with the screen underneath. I will probably have about 1" between the back of the sub and the drywall. The space above the sub will be open air to the 8' ceiling. Will it be a problem having the back of the sub that close to the rear wall?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/02/16 06:44 PM

Front facing subs like that are fine close to the wall since the air movement and sound is coming out of the other side.

The reason you don't want many tower speakers close to the wall is because they have ports on the back, and there is some level of audio resonating from/through the cabinet itself, but with a sub, while that still happens, the lower frequencies aren't impacted the same way due to how long the wavelengths are.

Now, close to a side wall (but still facing forward) will definitely change the subwoofer output into the room a little, and a corner is just nasty. Yes, it will "excite more room modes" but it usually comes across as boomy and muddy.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/03/16 04:05 PM

Does anyone have any familiarity with the Sunfire HSR IW8 subwoofer / amplifier set up? I have decided to go with something that has a remote control for the sub. I typically have to make adjustments (when the wife chimes in lol) and I don't want to have to remove my screen every time...

Any suggestions other than the Subfire well appreciated.
Posted by: AAAA

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/03/16 04:11 PM

Most AVRs have a quick bass level button or a night mode option right on the remote. This allows you to cut the bass without going into menu level settings or settings on the sub itself.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/03/16 09:28 PM

Yeah, I agree. Use your receiver to do it and don't worry about another limiting factor in subwoofer choice (remote control).

Plus if you have a remotely controllable sub, it will just be too temping to "fiddle" with things all of the time instead of enjoying movies.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/04/16 10:01 AM

Hmmmm I'll have to look at my Yamaha, I am used to getting up and fiddling with the volume on the back of my sub. With it parked behind my screen I won't be able to do that. If I'm going to control bass volume with my receiver what level manual volume do I leave my sub on permenantly?
Posted by: cb919

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 11/04/16 10:44 AM

Agree with using the receiver. I calibrate my sub into my system with sub level set to 0 in my system. I consider this my movie watching setting. Then if I need less bass I have a shortcut programmed into my Harmony remote to access the channel levels in the receiver and I back the sub off from there.
With that in mind, you could likely do the same with an RF Harmony remote that talks to an IR blaster behind your screen where you could turn your sub down directly. I would consider that plan B though as I am guessing you will not be able to easily return your sub to a known calibrated setting without being able to see where the gain is actually set. Hope that helps.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/22/16 11:59 AM

Hello, back again. Got a lot of great insight from this forum and my room is nearly done. I would like to share some photos. What is the best way to get them uploaded without buying into a domain for photo sharing?
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/22/16 12:49 PM

Got it! Photos coming soon.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/22/16 01:16 PM

Okay, here are some photos of my partially finished room.....as it was coming together....







Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/22/16 01:24 PM

















Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/24/16 06:21 AM

Okay! Paint is happening and stone walls going in this weekend! Getting a home theater for Christmas! I'll post more pics as it goes.
Posted by: AAAA

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/24/16 07:23 AM

We like pictures. cool looking good so far.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 08:59 AM

Okay here are some more pics....
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 11:59 AM











Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 12:00 PM

Should have rotated the photos for the AV cabinet but you get the idea... sliding drawers for easier access to rear of components. space above cabinet is all open and the front of the cabinet will have a wire mesh grill for ventilation. Carpet going in soon... I'll keep posting as I go. Hope everyone likes what I have done. I sure do..
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 04:02 PM

It's looking great... the wall & stone colours go together really well, although if I had looked at them separately I would not have believed it.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 04:17 PM

I know! My wife and I almost got a divorce (not really) over picking the paint and stone. Of course...she was right. Now in regards to most everything else, luckily she deferred to my knowledge of AV which I can attribute much of to reading posts on this forum. Thanks to all. I'll post more pics tomorrow or Thursday. Carpet goes in today, furniture delivery tomorrow and I will start installing my equipment.

Panasonic AE8000U projector
Yamaha 3050BL receiver
Axiom M22's
Axiom VP160
4 Axiom QS8's
2 directional HTD presence over M22's
Dual 8" Sunfire HRS IW8 with 520w amp

I am quite excited I must say....
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 08:52 PM

Got more pics after carpet install and some finish work....







Furniture arrives in the am!!
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 09:58 PM

Originally Posted By aarons
Now in regards to most everything else, luckily she deferred to my knowledge of AV which I can attribute much of to reading posts on this forum.

If you find the system sounds a bit dull when it's finished try it without the plastic wrap on the M22's grin
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 10:26 PM

sitting that far back are you doing projector or a very large TV?
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 11:46 PM

Ha! Man I really thought I was on to something there! Okay FINE! No plastic wrap!
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/27/16 11:47 PM

I have a projector with a 92" AT screen. That large hole in the middle of the front wall is for my center channel. The front row seating position is just over 10' from the screen surface.
Posted by: cb919

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 01:00 PM

Looks very nice.
What's the inset for on the front wall above the VP160 hole? Will the screen cover the VP160 once installed?
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 03:03 PM

Originally Posted By cb919

What's the inset for on the front wall above the VP160 hole? Will the screen cover the VP160 once installed?


Actually The inset is for the VP160. The hole you are looking at is the cut out where the sunfire in wall dual 8" sub will be installed. The screen will completely cover the inset for the VP160 and run edge to edge with the stone.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 10:49 PM

Getting to the fun stuff now. Here are some photos of equipment install...
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 10:51 PM







Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 10:55 PM













More to come tomorrow..... organizing AV cabinet then...
Posted by: CV

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 11:02 PM

Very nice work!
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/28/16 11:18 PM

thank you, I'm having a ton of fun doing it. This forum has been amazingly helpful. Gotta give my wife credit for the AV cabinet look. I was going to do a typical framed in wall shelving unit. She had the idea for the rustic door with wire mesh grill.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/29/16 10:08 PM

Finished Product









http://i1371.photobucket.com/albums/ag298/aspicer75/pic_zps0w7ts3gr.jpg

Love the room. Messing around with the settings on the receiver. I waa quite surprised that the auto configuration using the microphone really didnt seem to work at all. It programmed in the incorrect amount of speakers, used 10ft for all distances and left channel levels all the same. Playing around with it manually seems to be the best way to go. Any thoughts on that? Any specific things to look for in terms of setup with Yamaha 3050 receiver?
Posted by: bridgman

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/30/16 12:46 AM

Wow, that sure came together quickly. Every time I came back to the forum you had another few days of work completed. Looks great !!

I have never trusted auto-calibration so can't really comment other than "+1 for manual" smile
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/30/16 01:30 PM

Thanks a bunch. Working on the settings some more tonight. There is more in there than I probably really need but thats always a good thing.

Posted by: AAAA

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/31/16 08:42 AM

The room looks great. Nice work.

Can't comment specifically on the Yamaha, but I would second setting speaker size manually and measuring distances and spl per channel. I'm not sure about your in-wall subwoofer setup options, but I would recommend spending some time trying to align it with your main channels. Almost always the subs lag behind the mains in time (phase) so it is a good idea to set the distance in your AVR longer than its physical location. You can determine the correct length by playing a sine tone at your crossover frequency and measuring spl at your listening location. Max output means you are in phase. To really get things dialed in you can look at impulse plots and advance as many cycles or "wraps" required to align the sub to mains as closely as possible in the time domain.

It's also probably a good idea to WOW\DVE\MUNSIL disc your PJ as well. Every 6 months is a good idea to keep it on track as the bulb temp and brightness drifts, depending on usage. Takes 10 mins once you get the hang of it. WOW also comes with a pretty handy tool for dialing in lipsync delay. Technical tweaking is the fun part where you can really unlock every last drop of performance you paid for. All the little improvements added up equal a big change.

Looks like a nice spot to watch the big game. cool The grill mesh on your gear cupboard is a great and stylish idea.
Posted by: aarons

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 12/31/16 10:58 AM

Thanks very much. I will try your advice on the subwoofer. right now it is set at the same distance as the mains. I was considering one of the discs for my projector. Last night I watch Don't Breath. Most of the movie is in the dark with the characters using flashlights and such. The blacks looked TERRIBLE, very pixelated. I was at first quite disheartened. I did some quick manual adjusting and was able to improve it greatly so clearly the projector needs calibration. That made me feel a bit better. I may play with it manually for a while and see if I can dial it in myself. I used the WOW DVD with a Mitsubishi rear projection TV once and it didn't seem to make a difference. The TV may have been calibrated to its best potential out of the box, not sure. My projector sure wasnt I know that. Perhaps the DVD will be better used with a PJ?

The mesh grill was my wifes idea. Pretty good one for sure. I will say it was actually surprisingly hard to find and they are quite expensive if you want something pre-finished. $200-$400 for a 24"x48" sheet. There are some unfinished options out there that are a TON cheaper but then you are looking at spray painting and that may not get you the look you want.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/01/17 02:06 PM

any pics of your ceiling M3's Nick in relation to your seats? I am trying to get an idea of where I could do the same thing. Also, I assume the M3's are turned sideways since the horizontal pattern would then hit the seating are better? If they were mounted like your side surrounds vertically, unless you really angled them I wouldn't think that would not be ideal.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/01/17 11:13 PM

I will get you some better photos showing the relationship to the seats, but yes, I put them "on their sides" so to speak.

The front and rears need to be at an angle due to my lower ceiling height of 7' 8" or something close to that. The front two are mounted the front ones on Axiom Full Metal Brackets. They are towards the front of the room a little more than standard Atmos angles to 1) allow for more dispersion across more of the seating area (not to hot spot), and 2) so that they also fall within the DTS:X range which is usually a lot closer to the walls.

The rear speakers are more close to the seating area since my 2nd row of seats are closer to the rear wall, so there isn't much difference in the Atmos recommendation and DTS:X recommendation. The angle of the speakers is a lot less because of this location. Since we usually sit in the front row, there isn't any hot spotting. For this lower degree angle, I simply used a cut piece of wood at an angle.

Anyway, here is an image from my build thread until I can get you some current photos. These front ones aren't at this drastic of an angle any more. I also have them "toed in" a hair too.



I will try to get some current photos tomorrow.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/01/17 11:46 PM

Since I have close to 9ft ceilings I will have to look at my different options on which speakers to consider. Also, many years ago I enclosed my theater area from the rest of the rec room, so it is much smaller than when you came over. I think from the screen to the rear wall is only like 16ft now. My rear seats are up against that rear wall as well like yours with Q's about in the same spot as your rear m3s. The problem is my side Q's are much higher and angled downward. Will have to figure out what to do with that situation.

Thanks, Randy
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/02/17 12:01 AM

Yeah, my current space is 24 feet deep for physical room, remove about 3 feet or a hair more for the false front screen wall. My rear seats are about 2.5 feet from the rear wall.

The biggest thing to keep in mind for Atmos is getting a good amount of separation between your "bed layer" speakers (5.1 or 7.1 speaker configuration) from the overheads (#.#.2, #.#.4, etc)

Get your bed layer right, and you will get a bit more flexibility in your overhead placements.
Posted by: SirQuack

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/02/17 11:42 AM

I already have a pair of m22 on walls in storage, I could get another pair for my main surrounds, thoughts over m3s?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/02/17 06:28 PM

OK. This is still somewhat distorted since I did a panoramic picture, but you get the idea. I focused on sound for the front row since that is used exclusively 98% of the time. You still get a good Atmos experience in the second row though.

Originally I had the front overheads a little closer to the front row, and the rear overheads tucked back really close to the rear soffit. Now I decreased the angle of both pairs and put them so that they put the front row almost smack-dab in the middle of the front & rear overheads (the panoramic distortion makes it not look that way though), just with slightly different angles to also provide coverage to the 2nd row.

Posted by: SirQuack

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/02/17 06:46 PM

That does help a lot. I will try and take a pic of my room. Today I took off my rear wall Qs8's, and put on my onwall 22's, dropped them about 2 ft. Will need to figure out what to do with side Q's as they are much higher, and on one side I had to use the flat speaker wire axiom offers with terminal block. I have some extra of that if I could figure out how to splice to my existing run and repaint. To be honest I usually sit in the back chairs as I have a better line of site to my AV rack so ceiling placement will be interesting. I like the inwall ones with adjustable tweeter but the woofer would not be angled. Is there a problem with putting them closer to the seating areas?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 3rd home theater, trying to do it right.... - 01/02/17 07:06 PM

I didn't note it in the photo, but you can see that my side surrounds are down to just above ear level and slightly in front of where your head would go (once reclined) so that the sound isn't blocked by seat backs or heads, and to also put some of that side surround sound in front of the listening area for a more smooth transition from the front mains. The rear surrounds are just above the backs of the 2nd row of seats and as wide as I could go in my room without being on the "columns" in the back. The goal there was to get the bed layer speakers more evenly distributed around the listening space for more smooth 7.1 sound first, before even adding overheads (I actually tore down my front false wall, bumped it about 16" more into the room so that my front corner bass traps weren't in the way of my widening my front sound stage as well. It made my screen bigger looking (and brighter since it was closer to the projector), so bonuses all around.