You need to read Robert Harley's Complete Guide To Home Theater. As you typed most people haven't a clue as to where to start, nor what they are doing. That is the same fore most people on here.
Notice I got only one post on this thread!!!!
This just solidifies what I've found over the years, and that's that people really don't know what they're doing when they put all this together!...whoooopie!!!!
Yeah, most are all poking around there on the gon for used gear that they'll likely shove into some space in their living room, and hope for the best.
Let me just inform anyone peaking in on this thread, that they are in for a general sonic dissapointment likely! That's the deal. Seen it all a thousand times over the years. People read about what are all the hot items to buy. Then they buy em, thinking all is as good as it gets, only to set up a rather lackluster system....
...shoulda got home theater in a box and saved a fortune!(lol)
The Cardas Website has some excellent material on setting up main speakers.
The link below provides a solid starting point for integrating your subwoofer.
You are on your own for the center & rear speaker placement. I use a phantom center which makes the center integration a no-brainer.
Flrnlamb I agree, This hobby if full of New & Best. Everytime I read a magazine I will read about the "Worlds Best" or "Best Buy" or sounds better than units costing many times more. Home theater is the worst by far. Here are the options fore rear speakers. Tripole,bipole,dipole,fullrange,bookshelf that many options would scare me away. I guess it did I have four systems & none of them are surround sound. People do think I have it when I play movies the reason for that is I have my systems set up correctly. The reason I think people do not know how to setup a system is there is way to many options for almost everything & everyone has there own opinion. Wish I could type more but I must go.
Mitch41, don't get me wrong. Anyone here that's even remotely "electronics savy", can piece a system together, sure! Any weekend warrior who can plug wires into jacks, or rca's into the right socket can put a 7.1 system together, no sweat! Then you ask these people what they think off the bat, and how things sound to them an all, and they say "WOW, that sounds great!!!"
Sure they got sound pounding out of their sub, and lots of sound blairing from their rear surrounds and all, any maybe their center cranked up to loud and all. But the reality is that it's usually so "low fidelity", off balance, and so far out of whack from what the original engineers designed the sound to be like, that they coulda got the same sound from a little cheap HT in a box system! You know it's the truth! Anyway...
Obrown, the only people I need to impress are clients I do design and install work for, cause they pay money!
I'm just stimulating threads,and really asking for input from people that might help someone actually go about getting better results with their sytem, mainly the week-end warrior/DIY'ers. Nothing more really.
Totally dissagree Nrchy and Krellm7.
Just as with a properly setup 2 channel system, and 7 channel (er, whatever) system needs balance and some careful consideration to achieve proper performance. You don't need to be watching Jurrasic Park or some Action flick to enjoy what mixing engineers are recording on movies these day's, to appreciate a multi-ch system, sorry. Lot's of great suttle mixes with a smidge of drama and dynamics mixed in for effect in toms of movies! And they're always better played back how they were originally mixed, if done properly. So yes, I disagree politely, thank you.
I've been to hundreds of homes over the years of people who have ill-setup 2 channel systems, let alone multi-channel systems...not even remotely getting the sound quality potential they paid for, I can tell you that right now!
I can't tell you how many times I've been to homes with Martin Logans, B&W Matrix/Sig's, Theils, or some other expensive 2 channel speaker setup, only to hear some aweful, aweful unbalanced sound, with imaging problems, acoustic nightmares,you name it! You'd have one speaker out in front of an open hall way, and one stuck in a corner! One speaker's pumping out fat bloated distorted bass in the room, and the other's got week feable bass with a huge hole in the response! Or, you got a speaker too near side/back walls, with zero acoustical help in the room...seats all stuck up against the back wall...or some chair in the single worst place in the room, killing all hope for even sound...maybe speakers set to wide with a weak image, And that's not even considering all the equipment mismatches, adjustements, tweaks, extensive acoustical factors, and more...
Let's face it, most people don't even know that where they place the speakers has a tremendous impact on the response, and thus the accuracy from each speaker in their system!
Nor to they even know why that matters. They figure you should probably stick a speaker here or there, based strickly on a guess, or asthetic judgement call, nothing more. And this is to their sonic demise most every time, I assure you!
I'll list the biggest area's of neglect and lack of consideration I think most people fall into when setting up a system (multi-channel specifically)...
First is poor speaker placement(including sub) and seating consideraion, and a totaly screwed up response from the system! Basically, the flat response the mixing engineers and speaker manufactures designed you to hear, is totaly shot! Thus leaving distorted fundamental sound, lousy dynamic range, and a boomy, unatural acoustical experience.
Next, is a subwoofer level too high usually, usually drowing out the rest of the sound in the system. That, and an out of phase sub setting. Also, a big hole in most small sub/sat system, because of all the above mentioned considerations. Sometimes there's overlapping and filtered bass response from mains that crossover to subwoofers improperly as well.
Next I'd say is speakers that use an open driver layout, with tweeter over a mid/bass woofer, being used in a low ceiling, further back seating situation! The ceiling reflection kills so much of the sounic potential of a system in these cases, it's not even funny! Most should use more controlled focus designed speakers here, or have some acoustic work done to the ceiling. Most don't!
Lack of proper side-wall acoustical treatment, seats in aweful spots in the room (especially near back wall, or sidewalls), out of phase speakers in the system in relation to subs, speakers too wide or close together, or in equal distances from other boundaries/speakers in the room, causing combfiltering and boost/holes in the response.(basically poor speaker placment again).
Also, not having speakers aimed properly for tonality, in relation to all the seats in a room.
Of course there's so much more. And the smaller the room, and more "asymetrical" things are, the harder it is to get balanced sound. Basically, poeple don't understand how all these things add up to either give you breathtaking sound or poor sound, which sadely most end up with overall, from lack of knowledge.
This is just the tip of the ice-burg really. there's obviously so much to consider. The more you get right, the more rewards there are!...sooooo much potential really.
I can enjoy movies in Surround sound NOT music. Whell I can enjoy it but not as much as I can with two speakers. If you think about it if you go with surround sound you must now spread your money out at least three times as much. You are now buying three times as many speakers,amps,preamps,wire then you must set up correctly. For me seting up a surround system is easy but for Joe Six Pack it is mind blowing. I have set up many many many existing systems I cant remember one of the that was set up correctly. Most were stuck in Prologic II because they did not have the right cable or they never turned the DTS or Dolby Digital on in th on-screed display of there dvd player. Got to go..
"...If you think about it if you go with surround sound you must now spread your money out at least three times as much" (Krellm7)
Huh, my 2 channel systems have always been WAY more expensive than my multi-channel HT systems! (lol)
Let's see, last 2 ch system I had included $5k Sonus Faber Electa Amators, $450 speaker stands, $7000 Threshold amp, $4k Pass preamp, $3k in IC's and speaker wires, $1200 line conditioner, hundreds on other tweeks, not including the digial!...yada, yada, yada.
I think my current 7.1 system I use has $500 (wholesale cost) in speakers(Infinity Beta 10's and TSS750 sats in rear), $$400 (Infinity SW12, some older modified used Acurus preamp and amp(s) combo (cost me $2k for all!), some Harmonic Wires $500 or so used, a Monster power condition ($100), and a dvd player into a Panny LCD projector and DIY screen. I think I'm ahead thousands, and this current system destroys the other system overall!!!!
Not only that, I can have people over, and not enjoy the experience alone!...NICE!!!
I first got into ht 5 yrs ago. Htib, then some best buy stuff after that. I considered it as a hobby, but when i was allowed to go deeper(wife is the best). I finished my basement and purchased my system and put in together, case closed.
Now i did put thought into room symetry when i started, but of course there always has to be a dam stair case or a playroom for the kids in the way, but worked w what i had.
Bass mgt, room treatments, speaker placement, etc were terms i didnt even know existed. Most of which i obtained form your threads here on the gon.(some of which had me rolling on the floor when you get into it w other Goners.) I can honestly say that my system sounds 200% better today than from my initial set up. You showed me how crossover, speaker settings, placement can be the biggest "upgrade" as far as return on investment in this wacky hobby.
The one thing i have not done and its just because i dont know where to start is room treatments. Where place or if needed or not needed etc.
Anyways, when i saw that you initiated this thread i had to thank you for all your posts and help. I had a new 6 cyl base model mustang when i started, but your posts alone have turned it into a 500hp Shelby Cobra..
I have a question - how far into a room should the listening position be?
My room is approx 16' deep and 13' wide. Speakers are about 8' apart and the *drivers* are about 4' from
the front wall only actually 2' from the wall a s they are quite deep.
Is the distance a factor of the overall depth of the room, or distance from the back wall?
Krellm7, thanks for your professional insight.
Are you the resident Sonus faber expert, and 2 channel guru, by any chance?
Yada, yada...yes, my older 2 channel systems had better resolve, speaker per speakers, sure. The overall efffect, dynamics, coherence, involvement, envelopement, impact, and excitement factor of my system, is WAY BETTER in my multi-channel set up now, to be sure! Sorry, I know better..