Figuring out what to do for 7.1 or 6.1… recommendations please!

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  • Sonnie Parker
    • Jan 2002
    • 2858

    Figuring out what to do for 7.1 or 6.1… recommendations please!

    It’s lookin’ like there’s only one way to do this but before I proceed I’d like to get some opinions and/or possible recommendations. I’m sure I’m missing something in my thoughts. Expect nothing less from a hillbilly home-theaterphile wannabe.

    I think I would like to upgrade from 5.1 to either 6.1 or 7.1. Our room is a family room/HT and is less than symmetrical when it comes to installing surround speakers. I don’t know where my priorities were when I designed this room but it wasn’t in the best interest of 7.1, that’s for sure.

    Here’s a few pic’s of our room:

    This is the back wall and the one side with the windows:



    …..

    Here’s the other side:



    …..

    And a straight on view from the RPTV:



    This is pretty much what I am forced to work with for now.


    The surround speaker dilemma: As you can see I have our PSB Image 10S bipolar surrounds in the corners on the “built into the wall” stands positioned just above head level (while sitting). As well you can plainly see that there is no place to install side speakers short of installing them way up high centered at approximately 9½ feet. I wouldn’t think this would be too appropriate (but I’m not sure). The only place down lower would be in between the window and french doors on one side, but that won’t happen because there’s just not enough width there. Then on the other side of the room is a door opening. (NO!, I can’t enclose the window.)

    I suppose 6.1 is lookin’ more acceptable. My thinkin’ is to keep the 10S’s where they are in the corners and add an in-wall speaker to the center of the rear wall (just left of the big hanging picture). I can’t buy the 10S as a single however PSB does offer an in-wall model M6x6.1 that is timbre balanced to our PSB Images. I’m guessin’ this would be sufficient for a rear center channel. I’m not sure on how high to mount the rear center though. Maybe the same height as the 10S’s? If so it will be 3 to 4 feet from the back of our heads. Seems like it would be too much rear and not enough sides – maybe?


    The amp dilemma:: Currently we have the Sunfire Cinema Grand (5 X 200) amp. I could pick up a relatively inexpensive amp and bridge it to run the rear center. OR… I can probably find another Sunfire amp (Load Invariant 2 X 300) for $900obo. This amp is about 8 years old and retailed for $2200 new in 1995. While I believe it would match up fine with our current Sunfire and I could use it for the front mains and use 4 channels of the Cinema Grand for centers and surrounds, I’m just not so sure it’s worth nine bills. Should I be concerned about matching up amps?

    And finally, will there be enough improvement to justify the cost? I don’t know where to draw the line cost wise while considering our room circumstances.

    Your ideas and suggestions are appreciated.

    Thanks!






    SONNIE

    Cedar Creek Cinema

    DVD Collection

    BFD Comprehensive Setup Guide
  • David Meek
    Moderator Emeritus
    • Aug 2000
    • 8938

    #2
    Sonnie, it's great to see you posting again, bud! :T The business finally settle down?

    Part 1 - speakers: for my 6.1 set up in the old house, I had a similar situation to yours with the seating right on the back wall. I purchased a second pair of Boston Acoustics VRS Pro di-poles (matching the side surrounds) and mounted them on the ceiling - wired in parallel. It worked superbly! Being di-poles, they were hard to localize as a point source and gave a great sensation of panning across the rear soundstage. I'll see if I can find an image and post it this evening.

    I wouldn't recommend putting the speaker(s) too close to your seating. They can become too easily distracting if they are going off right next to your ears. Get them up higher, maybe not up to the ceiling, but at least further away from your head.

    Part 2- amps:

    Oh, gotta go work, I'll be back. . . .




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    • Andrew Pratt
      Moderator Emeritus
      • Aug 2000
      • 16507

      #3
      Looks like you've considered all the options as far as speaker placement. I'd prefer if it you were able to move your current speakers further long the side walls but as you say that poses a problem on the one side. Adding the inwall that close could work providing the Rotel allows you to enter a value that low (or adjust the other channels to accomodate) but again being that close might seem a little much...how far away are the sides at the moment? I rear centre is about 5 feet from my back row and it works fine there but then the sides aren't much further away either so its ballenced in that regard.

      As for amps do you have need for a second zone at all? If so you might consider just getting a cheaper 3-5 channel amp to power the rear centre and the second zone speakers. I wouldn't spend too much on it though so if you just go for one speaker I'd look at something like a marantz monoblock that you see used all the time.




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      • Sonnie Parker
        • Jan 2002
        • 2858

        #4
        Thanks David, work has gotten to a smooth groove for now. It will get really busy in Nov/Dec though. It's still hard for me to get in a lot of posting at work. I actually wrote this post up last night at home. And of course today is my day off. Working on the 1066 install right now.

        As far as the corners, I just don't have anywhere to re-locate them but I could do ceiling speaker(s). My ceiling is 10 feet or install a center up higher on the back wall.


        Andrew, the sides (or corners) are right at 9 feet from the center seating position. The back wall is 3.5 feet from the where my head would be while sitting. I can move the rear center up higher on the back wall to about 6 feet from my head. I would think I could get them balanced out fairly well being only 3 feet difference.

        As far as second zones, I really don't need right now. We have a dedicated Denon receiver in the Florida room where we spend most of our secondary time. After sleeping on it last night I don't believe I want to spend $900 on an amp just to power one rear center. Maybe I came to my senses... lol. The one PSB in-wall speaker will cost me about $300 as it is... so maybe a couple to three hundred on an amp is more reasonble.


        So, you guys think if I installed just one of the PSB in-walls about 8-9 feet up in the center of the back wall that it would produce good results?






        SONNIE

        Cedar Creek Cinema

        DVD Collection

        BFD Comprehensive Setup Guide

        Comment

        • Andrew Pratt
          Moderator Emeritus
          • Aug 2000
          • 16507

          #5
          I think its worth a try at the least. Don't spend much on the amp for now (borrow something) until you decided if you really like it then look at adding something more permanent...there's no room for inwalls on the side of the room is there?




          Comment

          • Sonnie Parker
            • Jan 2002
            • 2858

            #6
            Here's a couple of pics of each side... as you can see there's just no place on the sides unless I go really high... about 9.5 feet up.







            If I could satify myself that there would absolutely no localization I'd try the sides.... but if it didn't work I'd be upset with myself at spending the time and effort, and money for 2 side speakers ($600). I think about the panning effects starting down low with the front mains, panning high to the sides and back down lower to the rear.






            SONNIE

            Cedar Creek Cinema

            DVD Collection

            BFD Comprehensive Setup Guide

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            • Andrew Pratt
              Moderator Emeritus
              • Aug 2000
              • 16507

              #7
              Hmm that's a bit of a problem room isn't it for 6.1 Maybe its time to remodel the goat shed in to a dedicated theater




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              • Sonnie Parker
                • Jan 2002
                • 2858

                #8
                LOL... That's a thought.


                I've got Monsters, Inc. DVD playing right now through the new 1066 and 5.1 sounds pretty sweet itself.

                I know I would probably get some improvement by adding a rear center so I might go that way and try to keep the cost down.






                SONNIE

                Cedar Creek Cinema

                DVD Collection

                BFD Comprehensive Setup Guide

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                • Lex
                  Moderator Emeritus
                  • Apr 2001
                  • 27461

                  #9
                  Do you have sound modes for either 6 or 7 channel? My first choice would be 7.1 even if you have to strap the side speakers on a goat.

                  You face many of the problems I do with a combined room. Make the best of it, that the wife will put up with. Of course, no wife would put up with my great room at all, lol.

                  Lex
                  Doug
                  "I'm out there Jerry, and I'm loving every minute of it!" - Kramer

                  Comment

                  • David Meek
                    Moderator Emeritus
                    • Aug 2000
                    • 8938

                    #10
                    Sonnie, here's an image of the old set-up. The couch is out from the rear wall far enough that the listener's head is 24" from the wall. The surrounds - side and "rear" (above) - are all 24" from the rear wall. That lines the listener up directly in the null area produced by the di-poles. The ceiling mounts worked surprisingly well - there wasn't a sense of misplaced sounds as the di-poles make localization difficult.






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                    • David Meek
                      Moderator Emeritus
                      • Aug 2000
                      • 8938

                      #11
                      One other thing, having the side surrounds high is not a problem. In fact, IIRC Dolby recommends them placed above the listener's head-level.




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                      • Sonnie Parker
                        • Jan 2002
                        • 2858

                        #12
                        lol Lex.... maybe you need to go ahead and get married so you'll have someone to complain at you. Okay... baddddd recommendation!

                        Yes, I have the new 1066 and it has 6 and 7 channel modes. I'd rather have a 7.1 setup if possible too.


                        David, how high though? Is 9 1/2 feet not tooooo high? I always thought they were suppose to be just a little over head level. I could move my sides to a position just in front of the backside lights (this would locate them approximately 2/3's down the side wall) and pick up two more 10S's for the rear and keep them up high as well... the 10S's are bipolar so that would give me an array of 8 speakers (4 pairings) for surround:




                        I haven't been to a really good public movie theater in a long time but seems like that last one I did go to had their speakers up about 10-12 feet on the sides.

                        Maybe this will be a good question to ask in a new thread? "How high are your surround speakers mounted?"


                        Do you guys think this would give me the best possible with my situation?






                        SONNIE

                        Cedar Creek Cinema

                        DVD Collection

                        BFD Comprehensive Setup Guide

                        Comment

                        • David Meek
                          Moderator Emeritus
                          • Aug 2000
                          • 8938

                          #13
                          I haven't been to a really good public movie theater in a long time but seems like that last one I did go to had their speakers up about 10-12 feet on the sides.

                          Yessir, all the theaters I regularly go to, have the side/surround speakers up at least 12'-15' above head level. BUT, they are broadcasting across a 60-80' wide theater. If you took that same elevation angle from the center seats and converted it to a home-sized environment, it'd be 4'-5' above your head, or so.




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                          • George Bellefontaine
                            Moderator Emeritus
                            • Jan 2001
                            • 7637

                            #14
                            Sonnie, I agree with Lex re: 7.1 channels over 6.1 if you can go that route. I once shut off my back wall channels just to see what I was missing without them and I tell you, you miss plenty of added ambience, not to mention extra goodies when playing a DTS 6.1 discrete dvd like Gladiator.




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                            • Sonnie Parker
                              • Jan 2002
                              • 2858

                              #15
                              David, 4-5' would put them right at 8-9' on my walls so in a room the size of mine (17' X 19' or so) this should work fairly well.

                              Yep George, I think I'll have to agree to... I really think if I'm gonna do it that 7.1 is the way.






                              SONNIE

                              Cedar Creek Cinema

                              DVD Collection

                              BFD Comprehensive Setup Guide

                              Comment

                              • Andrew Pratt
                                Moderator Emeritus
                                • Aug 2000
                                • 16507

                                #16
                                the 6.1 or 7.1 argument really IMO boils down to the width of the room. given my room's only 12 feet wide there's no need for two surrounds but if it were 20 feet across it might be worth while. That said I too really notice a big difference between 6.1 and 5.1 so its worth it if you can get it to work in your room




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