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Outfitting a less than perfect room...

peteroz

New Member
Joined
May 28, 2023
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Location
Melbourne, Australia
Hi All. I’ve been a long term reader of content here but never signed up as I don’t have the expertise or experience to add a lot but really enjoyed many of the discussions, particularly around new AVR releases. I thought I’d explain my current audio challenge to get people’s opinions on the way they would approach it.

I’m coming from a home with a great separate rectangular room for home theatre which we had setup for around 15 years. 5.1 surround with a projector and the family loved it. Now we are downsizing and I no longer have a dedicated HT room. We have one Living Room where we will spend most of out time and its shape, layout and materials make it far from ideal for any sort of sound reproduction. I’ve attached some jpegs to give you an idea.

That’s the challenge.

The most obvious areas of concern/limitations are :
  • Hard Surfaces – a lot of glass at the rear and on one side. The flooring is timber beams while the ceiling will be composite timber panels
  • Room Shape – The TV will be mounted on the right most wall in the diagram with the ceiling sloping up on two planes from the TV to the right most wall. The rear wall(left on the diagram) is mainly glass sliding doors(orange lines indicate glass) as is the left wall(top of diagram)
  • Limited options for rear speakers – there is a beam between the sliding glass doors and the small windows above them, but the beam and doors run at an angle to the TV wall so any inbuilt speakers in the beam will be at different distances to the TV and the couch
  • In-ceiling speakers are not an option
  • Changes in room profile – During the day the rear and left walls will be glass, at night they will be curtained which will dramatically change the audio profile of the room
At this point I thought it’s probably a good idea to think about how the sound system, whatever it is, will be used. Our current usage can probably be broken down to the following :
  • 40% - Movies & TV. Here we are sitting in the ‘primary listening position’
  • 20% - TV on in the background, low volume say watching sport as we move around the house/room
  • 20% - Music. Streaming via Spotify or from FLAC files on my home server at moderate volumes as we move around the house/room
  • 10% - Music. Low volume ‘guests over with music in the background’ stuff
  • 10% - Music. Moderate volume sitting in the ‘primary listening position’
At this point I’ve had some basic discussions with a couple of Hi-Fi stores with wildly differing opinions of course. From one insisting that I need to get whatever sized rear speakers I can into the system while the other suggesting that with so many hard surfaces you are better off with a simple stereo system with more sophisticated room correction using something like a Lyngdorf amp.

My current gut feel is to look at a 3.0 or 3.1 system with descent room correction(if that’s even possible).

I know there is no perfect answer to this question, even with an unlimited budget, but it would be great to get the thoughts from those who have faced similar challenges.

To give you an idea of budget, one suggested system that just falls within the right dollar amount was a Denon x4800h with a pair of Monitor Audio Silver 300 7G Floorstanding Speakers and matching Silver C250 7G Centre Channel Speaker. This allows for possible MA in-wall speakers in the rear.

I guess I’m using this as a strawman configuration at the moment.

Anyway, If you’ve read all of the above you need a gold medal! Love to hear from folks who have faced similar challenges, or anyone else with an opinion ;)
 

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I also struggle to see how rear speakers can be implemented in your room.

If it's only used for serious music listening 10% of the time, a 3.0 system should be fine, unless you highly value those 10%.
If you choose to go with subs, add at least 2 for an even bass response across multiple seats.

Have you considered a corner setup like in the attached picture?
It would ensure the side reflections arrive at the same time at the MLP and also distribute the sound more evenly across the room.
 

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Thanks @flipflop . Unfortunately the CDO (Chief Décor Officer) won't approve the corner installation as it would require a reconfiguration of the furniture.

We have been living in a rental property the past year while the new place is being built and that's with a 'kinda 3.0' audio configuration(Sonos playbar and two bookshelf speakers hooked up to a Connetct:AMP). While not really immersive it sort of worked. It has made me realise that I can survive without rear speakers and that I'd really like better quality speakers for music!

Thanks again for reading my waffle!
 
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