Oh, I forgot a couple things. This will all be run through a Pioneer VSX-33. Is it time for me to start reading up on amps?
Ceiling height is 8' and it's one of those popcorn crap ceilings.
Now that I've got my shnazzy VT30 all set up, it's time to start thinking about speakers.
First! The room layout. I live in a first floor apartment with shared walls. One thing about my diagram that is a little misleading, the 6'6" wall that is by the front doorway actually extends all the way down and that is the part that is shared with the neighbor. The void there is a long walk in closet.
The room has changed slightly from when I made this picture. The 11' wall that is shared with the kitchen (where the TV is mounted) is no longer a large entertainment hutch that takes up the whole wall. It looks like this now:
I ended up dismantling the whole thing and just using the bottom portion, which you can see. I wanted to be able to have room for a proper speaker set up. There is a little bit of an issue with the couch and the clearance to the rear wall and right wall (right, when facing the TV.) and I don't know how much of a problem this is, but as you can see the room is quite irregular and I"m curious about problems that may arise with the left surround placement. At any rate, I'd love to hear your guys thoughts on my choices with placement. A little more on that later.
On to the speakers I'm planning on auditioning and I would love some critique, opinions on brand and model choice.
So far I'm planning on auditioning B&W and Paradigm. I already own a BIC F12 and I won't be upgrading the sub for quite some time, although I would like to know your guys thoughts on this sub and how it will go with the speakers I'm looking at purchasing. These are the sets I'm looking at:
SUR: Here is where I have a question. My couch is flush against the right wall and has about 1 ft of clearance from the rear wall (it would be possible for me to move the couch up a bit, maybe another foot). Initially I was thinking about going with CM1's for surround, but after doing some reading it seems I may be better suited to use B&W's dipole DS3's. I imagine there isn't enough clearance to use bookshelves as the surrounds. Any thoughts on this? Will the DS3's match with the rest? What are my options in terms of placement? How will the open space to the left of this area affect placement? etc. etc.!(This goes for the Paradigm's too, just unsure about placement in general.)
L/R: Studio 20
SUR: Either Studio 10 or ADP-390 depending on your guys thoughts about my situation detailed above. Another question I had about this set in particular, since there are options in the bipole/dipole department with Paradigm. From what I'm reading, it isn't really necessary to pay top dollar for surrounds. What do you guys think about that line of thinking? I was considering the ADP-590's until I started reading peoples thoughts on surrounds.
I have some more budget type sets for Paradigm that I'm planning on auditioning, just so I can hear the difference between the Monitor series (specifcally, the Titans and Atoms) and see if I feel like the higher tier is worth it to my amateur ears. Here is what I'm looking at in that regard:
L/R: Titan Monitor
L/R: Atom Monitor
Any help is greatly appreciated. Now back to reading more owner's threads!
Oh, I forgot a couple things. This will all be run through a Pioneer VSX-33. Is it time for me to start reading up on amps?
Ceiling height is 8' and it's one of those popcorn crap ceilings.
How concerned are you with sound transferrance to the neighbors? Any decent speakers you play at any kind of volume will be loud enough for your neighbors to hear (and maybe complain, unless you have something worked out in advance...)
Current TV: Panasonic TCP65VT50
Current Receiver: Yamaha Aventage RX-3000
Current Speakers : L/C/R = Goldenear SuperSat 50, Surrounds = GoldenEar Supersat 3s,Sub 1 = REL R-305, Sub 2= GoldenEar Forcefield 3
Blue Ray Players: PS3 (fat and slim), Oppo BDP-93
MISC: Panamax M5300 Ex Power conditioner, Xbox 360 (fat and slim), BDI Avion Series II 8927 Espresso Oak
So far it has been a non-issue. Right now I've got Axiom's VP150 and 2 MP22's. The sub will arrive tomorrow (this might change things but I'll be turning it down when necessary). I like to think that I'm a very conscientious neighbor. I make sure to only crank it up during the day on weekends and the rare time that I'm at home during that time on a weekday. My neighbors actually comment about how quiet I am, they had a real asshole for a neighbor before he got kicked out and I moved in. So that probably helps to lower expectations lol
Oh I should probably mention that this will be about 90/10 movies/music
You really need to let your ears be the judge, I can tell you that you are looking at some very fine speakers. B&W is a little over priced IMO, that being said Paradigm is one of the leaders in bang for the buck no matter if it is the monitor series on up to the signature series IMO, they just offer allot for the money. Now I own the Atoms and can say that they for the money are simply amazing, I could not find a speaker that had the imaging, transparency, and detail for more than twice the money.The studio 20's are a major major drool fest, those things will blow you away, If you like those and decide to go that route consider using another studio 20 for the center, I have not heard it in that configuration, but have heard of allot of people doing that because the 20's are just that good and you can save a few bucks that way.
Personally I don't care for bipole/dipole surrounds, but that is me, only you can be the judge of what sounds best for you. If you go with the monitor line and want a monopole speaker for the rears seek the micro monitors a.k.a cinema micros they work very well in rear sound stage and won't break the bank. If you are in the studio line and prefer a monopole than probably look to the studio 10's, now you could go with some micro monitors there too if it comes down to money. While you are checking out the atoms and the titans be sure to give the minis a listen too.
I would highly recommend that threw your auditioning period you check out PSB speakers they too are an amazing speaker that offers allot for the money. If I may ask why are you replacing your Axiom's, are you just looking for something of better quality or is it that you are not happy with them?
Unfortunately, I don't have the vertical clearance between my entertainment center and the TV to use a bookshelf as my center channel. Little less flexibility there
I've never heard of PSB speakers, I'll be sure to check them out.
As for the Axiom's, it's a bit of both, better quality and not all that happy with them. To be fair though, I have never properly set them up lol I'm finally getting some stands for the L/R and a sub to round it out. I'm starting to read about calibrating with a SPL meter, but I'm having trouble finding a comprehensive guide to audio calibration. The information is spread out all over the place. One of the problems I've always had is dialogue clarity from the center channel and the L/R speakers dwarfing it.
I still don't know if I'm going to be selling them though, I may hold onto them for the bedroom.
Like you said, it's all about auditioning the speakers. I was more interested in hearing peoples opinions about how the sets I'm looking at match together, what your guys general opinion/experience is of the brands/series I mentioned, what technical information I may not know about the gear, and how I should go about speaker placement with my strange room. I'm also wondering now if treatments are going to be necessary and how I should go about using them in the space.
Calibration on the current setup may have you reassessing your thoughts. If you get new high end speakers, they will not make you happy wither unless you calibrate the system. Have you run the Pioneer's auto setup?
Also, I find that placement is very important when using dipoles. They can help opr hurt the experience. I also think they're a bit mnore difficult to incorporate correctly. Make sure you're up to the task.
1. bipole/dipole. I really like the directional sound that monopole's generate in the rear sound feild. bipole/dipole create more of a non localized sound. I just prefer them, plus they are pretty expensive within the paradigm line and do not warrant the extra money for me. Now if monopoles aren't going to work for you as far as mounting abilities then that pretty much solves it.
2. my experience with the above speakers. Like I said I am a paradigm lover and def. think you should audition them. The studio 20's in particular are in a class of their own. I feel B&W while amazing speakers are over priced for what you get, but you might feel differently and should surely give them a listen.
3. on the technical side Paradigm's are easy to drive they are highly efficient, meaning you do not need a ton of power to drive them. Klipsch is another brand you migh want to consider, and they are highly efficient, your Axioms are highly efficient as well. Which makes me wonder, why not spend some time and get what you have calibrated first? We can surely help you to do that, who knows there could be a night and day difference, those are some damn fine speakers that you have there. Your dialogue should not be difficult to hear, I say give calibration a shot and see how you feel about spending a couple grand on new speakers, just a thought. Either we will help you with what we can to the best of our ability, just a thought.
The other factors going into my decision, I've got upgraditis and I really like the aesthetics of the speakers I'm looking at. Obviously, nothing vitally important but I think both brands I'm looking at will be a sizable upgrade and I tend to hold onto stuff like TV's and speakers for a long time. I think I should also mention that I'm not planning on auditioning speakers this weekend and buying everything right then. I'll be saving up, probably purchase L/C/R around Thanksgiving/Christmas time and the surrounds a little further down the line.
As for MCACC, I have used it and am using the settings it created currently. I've also read the advanced MCACC thread on AVS for pointers. The major issue I had is that I couldn't even place my speakers in a decent arrangement, but my stands and subwoofer should be arriving today or tomorrow and hopefully with that I will be able to get better results.
Interesting about the difficult of placing and incorporating dipoles, I hadn't heard that before. I definitely think I'm up to the task of searching out the information needed to undertake all of this and I sure hope that I'm competent enough to handle it
2. To be honest, right now I'm making my decision on factors that have very little to do with the speakers sound (how I perceive them, anyway), in an effort to narrow down the field. Hearing your guys and other opinions about each brand/model, the brands reputation and the aesthetics are what I'm basing my choices on now. Obviously, auditioning may change the landscape quite a bit but for now finding out what I should be auditioning is my goal here. Especially others auditioning experiences and whether or not the speakers I'm planning on auditioning even match, so as not to waste my and the salesman's time.
3. So most of the speakers I'm looking at could be run off of my Pioneer VSX-33 with no problems? Is there any benefit to adding an amp? I thought I read people talking about adding a sub and noticing a clarity to the sound that they had not previously heard, and I'm not talking about high volumes, just in general. Another thing, the other day someone mentioned in the VT30 owners thread that they had heard people complain about problems with the center speaker that I own (Axiom VP150), so I'm not sure how much that is contributing to my sound problems. I would absolutely love any help in regards to calibrating my speakers.
I had written a much clearer response and had some more questions, but stupid VBulletin decided to delete it. I just got 4 wisdom teeth pulled and I'm a little hopped up on drugs right now. Hopefully everything I just wrote makes sense and thank you guys a ton for replying. Need all the help I can get
Ok so I think I have answered you question on what speakers to audition correct? Just to clarify I will say that you should check out Paradigm,PSB,Klipsch, and Kef, a r all brands that you should consider during your audtion if they are available. So the other big question is Placement/calibration. First the front sound stage, your left and right fronts should be roughly 36" off the floor or ear height. Now if you can get your center on the same plain that would be ideal, but is usually tough to acheive. So if you can't get the center up that high you should angle it upwards, using a laser pen works really well for this put it on top of the center pointed to the main listening position and prop up the speaker till the laser is at ear height at the main listening position (rubber door stops work great for proping up the center channel and the look nice too). I noticed on from your picture that your front right is towed way to far inward straighten it up and tow it ever so slightly inward, also try to pull it out from the corner a bit. Now onto placing the surrounds I took your picture and drew out where I would put them if I was you the arrows indicate which direction the drivers would face using a monopole speaker.
After we get placement figured out we will go over mcacc.
I am sick as well! So I hope this sounds competent. Radioshack has SPL meters. I would grab one, run some test tone CDs from the internet and check what's going on. There could be many things that cause what you're experiencing. However, when calibrated, the center shouldn't be overpowered by others unless you're running it loud and the L/R are more capable. However, most speakers can get very loud, so this shouldn't be an issue with Axioms. I wish you luck, and hope we can help you in this matter.
So the sub came today, but the stands did not. After reading your guys posts, I decided to improvise and try to set the speakers up as well as I could and run a proper MCACC calibration. One question, should the L/R speakers be equidistant from the center?
I was able to get the L/R at nearly the same height, I used the subwoofer as a stand for the L speaker. I know, terrible. I also rotated the right speaker a little bit so that it wasn't at such an extreme angle, so funny that you mentioned that! The MCACC process went smoothly, until I got to the reverb measurement stage. The guide told me to look at that graph to gauge where I should set the speaker delay. I had no idea what I was looking at or what I should be looking for. Basically, I just chose the ms delay where each frequency came together the best, closest to a single line. Not sure if I'm describing that well.
At any rate, I think it sounds much better! I can't wait until the stands come so I can try to dial it in even better. I haven't been able to test much, but it seems like it helped my dialogue issue. I'll have to get back to you guys on that when I've listened more.
Once I've got the stands, looks like Monday when those arrive, I'll be able to better place the L/R speakers. The stands are 24", the speakers themselves are 19.75". One issue was the right speaker being behind one of the couch arms, this should bring the speaker just above that. The center speaker is roughly 31.5 inches, measuring to the top. Great idea with the laser pointer, I'll have to pick one of those up. It's just shy of ear level by a couple inches, I think. As for the clearance for the right speaker, how far away from the wall should it be? I actually pulled it a little further out and a little closer in. Here's a picture of how it is now (sorry, DSLR battery is dead. Good ol' mobile phone):
Thanks so much for the surround placement diagram! With the right surround in the corner, how much clearance should I allow to the rear? I do have a little room to play with, but not much. Behind the couch there is about 1' of clearance and maybe room to move it another foot. To the right there is about 5" and I could maybe get another 5". Here is a picture of the rear:
From looking at your diagram, it seems like I don't have to worry too much about the right side clearance. I could just place the right surround speaker on a stand behind the couch, facing left. How much clearance would I need behind the speaker to the right wall? Is there any issue with how close the rear wall will be to the right of the right surround? Hopefully that wording isn't as confusing as it seems to be lol Thanks so much again, caliber. I feel like I'm well on my way!
You guys are the bees knees, thanks so much!
I have a corner in my room that is just like yours, where my right rear speaker goes. So I have mine on a shelf directly on the back wall and pointed slightly into the room, and set off the right wall about 8". Here is a picture of my rear sound stage, I would suggest shelf's rather than stands in the back for two reasons shelf's can be cheaper, and you need to have the rears set two feet higher than the fronts. I don't know if you have rears set up now, but if they aren't higher that could possibly be part of your dialog issue.
So I think we need to get your stands up and going and your rears all setup before we start messing around with MCACC. Between now and then feel free to ask all the questions you need. Oh to answer your question about the left and right distance off of the center, yes it would be ideal to have them equally spaced off of the center, this isn't crucial but ideal.
Basically the SPL meter will show what dbs the different speakers at putting out at the different frequencies at different measuring points. I try to set it up from where I sit, as I use it the most. So you check and tweak until you get it close enough for your tastes. This will help you understand whether you really have a problem with dialogue or if its a perception thing. If the L/R are consistently 5 dbs higher than the center, just trim the center up 5 dbs, or trim the L/R down 5 dbs. Once you have tyhe rears setup, then make them all the same from your position.
Another note, most people like to run the sub 3 dbs hot, or higher than the rest, I know I do. In an apartment, this may create issues during night listening.
No surround speakers as of yet, I was looking at the Axiom QS4's before I decided I was going to change out the whole set.
I didn't know that about sub calibration, I think I'll try that when I get the meter. See how I like it and then just use that setting for daytime listening.
This is a little off topic, but while I'm at it... Have any of you guys used rack mount solutions before? Eventually I'd like to swap out the A/V furniture piece I'm using and add a separate rack mount piece too. What I'm wondering is how people use the rack mount to house things that aren't rack mountable. Such as an xbox or something of that nature. I saw that you could install trays (sliding or not), but I was looking for a solution that's a little more rack mounty and a little less shelf like lol
Helpful as always, gentlemen.
Is something like this what you are looking for, LINK
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