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How to improve 2-CH sound in Home theater?

Lutyn87

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Hello everyone, I have a decent home theater setup (Denon x3500h + KEF R3 fronts + REL HT/1508). Right now I am streaming music via Spotify—>HEOS and I’m not sure if I’m getting the full potential of my front speakers when listening to music. What do you think? Should I consider add some more hardware to get better listening expirience? If yes, what type of hardware? I’m also open for another provider like Qobuz/Tidal if it helps for better audio quality. What I would like is something with HT bypass to avoid cable switching or external switches.

Thank you for your help.
Lukas
 

alex-z

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1. Acoustic treatment. (Basic 3.5" and 5.5" absorption panels)

2. More acoustic treatment. (10+" bass traps, and diffusers)

3. Second sub. (Ideally matching, but a different model with similar performance is fine)

4. External DSP for bass management. (To achieve an optimal response that slowly rises from 200 to 20Hz and is time aligned with your main speakers)

There is absolutely no need to replace your existing equipment, only augment it with better room acoustics, which is what the 4 items on that list will accomplish.
 
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Lutyn87

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1. Acoustic treatment. (Basic 3.5" and 5.5" absorption panels)

2. More acoustic treatment. (10+" bass traps, and diffusers)

3. Second sub. (Ideally matching, but a different model with similar performance is fine)

4. External DSP for bass management. (To achieve an optimal response that slowly rises from 200 to 20Hz and is time aligned with your main speakers)

There is absolutely no need to replace your existing equipment, only augment it with better room acoustics, which is what the 4 items on that list will accomplish.
Hi Alex, thank you for your reply. I’ve done already some acoustic treatment. For exemple I have 4 thick absorbtion panels on the side walls and an acoustic absorbtion ceiling which is commonly used in public theaters. Attached some pictures. It isn’t perfect but at least I have no echo in my room :) so from your POV there would be no benefit for me when it comes to 2ch listening when I add something like an integrated streamer amp with HT bypass?

Thank you.
L.
 

alex-z

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Hi Alex, thank you for your reply. I’ve done already some acoustic treatment. For exemple I have 4 thick absorbtion panels on the side walls and an acoustic absorbtion ceiling which is commonly used in public theaters. Attached some pictures. It isn’t perfect but at least I have no echo in my room :) so from your POV there would be no benefit for me when it comes to 2ch listening when I add something like an integrated streamer amp with HT bypass?

Thank you.
L.

Do you have any measurements of your room? Both the frequency response, and decay rates. The panels in your picture are not thick enough to function as bass traps, so I would expect you to have some room mode issues below 200Hz, and high decay times to match. I also don't see any diffusion, so it is possible there is actually too much decay in the treble region. Need to strike a balancing act.

Integrated streamers that bypass your receiver are often a waste of money. You don't get the huge benefit of subwoofer integration, and most of them are actually lower quality than using separated components. I would look at a higher quality receiver instead of a streamer. Onkyo NR7100 and Integra DRX 3.4 for example both have Dirac LIve.
 

Vict0r

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Measure, treat your room accordingly and as good as you can, measure again, EQ what you end up with, measure again, accept that it will never be perfect, enjoy what you have. That's when the magic happens. :)
 

fieldcar

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Nice setup. It's a bit small, so you may have room mode issues with the subwoofer. It looks like your first reflection points weren't covered properly, and unfortunately, it may be at the door. Use the mirror trick to position the first reflection absorber.

As crazy as it sounds, also do the subwoofer crawl. Put the woofer closest to where your head will be, then play some low frequency sweeps and crawl the walls of the room. Front and center isn't usually the best.

Then bass traps. Yeah, a smaller room may have way too much room gain. Adding even a 2nd smaller sub would fix this a bit without room correction and bass traps.

I should ask, do you feel the bass is off? The soundstage isn't great, or you can't get it loud enough?
 

FrantzM

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Hi

Measure, it will tell you somehow what you could be missing ... I don't think (WAG wild-assed-guess :)) you are missing too much. TO make it better IMHO:

Things you can do at, or near, zero disbursement:
Measure. Carefully and don't get too worked by the measurements. You need to interpret these accurately. People will help. If you don't have it already , it will cost you the price of the go-to measurement microphone , the miniDSP Umik-1, about $100.oo on Amazon or other...
Download the Audyssey App for smartphone. And... that is where it gets a bit dicey: You need to bump up a bit the subwoofer output ... create if you will a house curve.. As it is Audyssey on the AVR or with the App, EQ the subwoofer to a bass-shy (for many people, including I), profile.. A gentle slope from 20 to 80Hz say up to 5 dB at 20 Hz to 0 dB at 80 Hz is what you should target... It is not easy, with the app, since you have to use your fingers and even if you were to use a bluetooth mouse, it would be not that perfect but it can be good enough to satisfy most... A bit of practice will take you there. The app is $20.oo on the usual IOS or Android app markets. Audyssey has now a PC app that will perform a lot more and more precisely.. I amthinking about it but $200 for a license that can't be transferred to another receiver is so far to me a non-starter... I may bite the bulet.. While you are int he APp, remove the midrange compensation, the LFC but and there I insist, please bring DEQ on... TO me a revelation.

Things that will cost you more but better results:

Of course everything in the first part (near -zero) Plus:

An additional sub. I am no fan of REL, which I find expensive for not great results, Keep it but add another subwoofer, something else, in that small room an SVS SB-1000 Pro could be all you need to get in the low teens ( under 15 Hz ...:))...
You may need to download MSO (Multiple Subwoofer Optimizer)
You absolutely need, IMHO, a miniDSP2x4 HD, for about $250.oo..
The Audyssey PC App, mentioned above at $200.oo.. I don't know it enough, but some people say it can work with two subwoofers .. IDK and since I already have the miniDSP 2x4, I wouldn't bother.. but it is powerful and make Audyssey even more flexible and more fine-grained...

As for room treatments.. my experience is to make sure your attenuate the first reflections , the floor and the ceiling .... and leave the room alone if it doesn't present too many reflective surface... Other will chime in but in my case that is what I did and am pleased.. very pleased.

In both cases you will have to research a lot, study a lot and work too, .... a lot.. At the end you will end up with a close-to-end-game system for all your needs 2-ch, MCH, HT or gaming ...

Peace
 
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Lutyn87

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Hi,

thank you all for your help and feedback. It's great to find a place where people really want to help.
I'l try to keep things organised for better understanding and reading.

Room acoustic
As for now I didn't do any room measures.
I see this as the next important step to do with the Umik and the REW software.
I know the first reflections aren't covered thats because of the door on one side :-/ I was thinking that it's better to leave it like this then cover only the first reflections from the left speaker. Or am I wrong? I just don't know how to absorb the reflections on the door. Any ideas?

Sub
Because the room is small and already filled with the big red sofa and the sub is also big and heavy i dont' have so many options where the sub can stand :-/ actually it can stand in the front or maybe rear behind the sofa.
But am I understanding it right that even two smaller subs would be better than one big? Maybe I could sell this one and get for the same price two smaller ones.

Thank you.
 
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