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Speaker suggestions for a 9.2.6 Home Theatre

DrShall

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Hello everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum so please bare with me as this is my first post! Anyway, I already thank everyone in advance for any advice regarding this setup :)
We recently built a house in which part of the cave will be a dedicated home theatre (room dimensions : 9,66 x 6,58 x 3,19 m) with a 9.2.6 setup as shown in the following drawing :
1690893933194.png

With the following audio equipments :
- LCR's will be 3*JTR 212 RT's ;
- Surrounds and backs : Well, we're not sure about these and, as we keep reading more and more, it for sure doesn't make things easier :p. For now we're considering :
  • JTR's 110 HT, would these be good enough as surround/backs speakers ? Can you mount them in walls without decreasing their performances ? ;
  • JBL Synthesis SCL-6, I heard a lot of good things about these speakers (saw Erin's review too, thank you Erin!) and my wife likes the fact they can be mounted in walls. Do you think they'd match the LCR's and would offer sufficient impact ?
  • JTR 212 RT's. I know a lot of people will probably say this is the ultimate option but it's our least preferable one as my wife really prefer something we could mount in wall (JTR 212 RT's take a lot more space, are also more expensive and... I dunno if they'd be really worth it as surrounds/backs).
- Atmos speakers : Well, difficult choice here too. As far as I know, those don't need to be super expensive speakers as they don't have to deliver as much. Do you have any good suggestions ?

- Subwoofers : 2*JTR RS2.

All driven by an Anthem AVM70 (or 90 but I think 70 will be enough as I don't think we'd need more subs) and powered by Emotiva XPA Gen3 amps.

Once again, thanks everyone in advance for your help regarding this project! Any suggestion's of course welcome :)

Best regards,
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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You may want to move the couches forward, at least a little bit. Reference a room mode calculator to determine how sub & seat placement impacts bass performance.
https://www.harman.com/documents/Room Mode Calculator_0.xls
https://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?17643-JBL-room-mode-calculator

There are also videos out there regarding this topic. Generally speaking, 4 subs placed at 1/4 and 3/4 the way along the front and back walls will make the middle of the room have a wide area of similar bass performance, and then EQ is used to correct for the response.

(Of course if you've already done this, then great!)

Now on to speaker placement:
You place your subs to provide even bass coverage, and then place your speakers using the dolby / DTS specs, unless your processor is one of the fancy new ones that maps out the physical speaker locations (Trinnov or supposedly Sony's new ones)
You pretty much have to do this because the processor and soundtrack is assuming that your speakers are placed to spec, and deviating from the spec will harm the imaging accuracy of the system.
https://www.dolby.com/about/support/guide/speaker-setup-guides/9.1.6-overhead-speaker-setup-guide/

I also like to have the speakers at a similar-ish distance from each other, in order to match the direct sound / reflections balance with the other speakers. Your rear surround speakers look like they are really close to the back seats, so once again, I would move the couches forward if that's possible.

Lastly, speaker choice:
I haven't heard any of the JTR stuff, but I have heard JBL's synthesis lineup and quite like it. I would caution against the 110HT since it's a coaxial design and pro audio coaxials tend to have messy high-frequency response.
https://www.parts-express.com/pedocs/specs/294-5962--bc-speakers-10cxn64-8-spec-sheet.PDF
This is a spec sheet for a good 10" coaxial pro-audio driver. The red line on the left chart on the 2nd page is the tweeter frequency response, and as you can see it isn't very smooth, especially compared to normal horns and non-pro coaxials like the KEF UNI-Q driver.

I would say that the JBL synthesis lineup (SCL-6, SCL-7, etc) would be able to keep up with a JTR front stage, as surrounds aren't usually abused as much as the mains. JBL has some pretty monster tweeters, so that's not a concern. Surrounds aren't going to be as taxing on the woofers anyways, so that isn't a huge concern either unless you want to wreck your hearing. If in-wall is worth it to you, then I wouldn't worry about their performance, especially since they have good horns which will probably sound better than the JTR coaxial.

For atmos speakers, just get something decent. Klipsch / JBL / Revel in-ceiling speakers are good. KEF's are overpriced, and nobody else really seems to know what they are doing. I don't have tons of experience here, but the general agreement seems to be you don't need anything crazy, though with your space I would recommend at least an 8" woofer, or multiple smaller ones.

Lastly:
I would personally draw out your room like you have done, and draw out the rated coverage angles of each speaker, with the goal being to have all the seats inside the rated coverage pattern of each speaker.
For example, the 212RT has a 60x60 horn, so draw out lines which match that.

1690905121309.png

These aren't perfect, but pretty close. You can see that your front speakers (if you use the 212RT), will easily cover the whole listening area, even if the couches are moved forwards.
Now to add in the surrounds. For these I used the rated coverage angles of the JBL SCL-6 (80 degrees).
1690906620301.png

Notice that a lot of energy is going onto the walls, and the rearmost 4 speakers don't fully cover the listening area. This could be fixed by toeing in the speakers, moving the seats forwards, or using speakers with offset horns, like the JBL SCL-7 (30L,60R):

1690906931631.png

This helps direct the sound energy to where we want it, but we still have one problem: Level consistency over the listening area.
The rear seats are very close to the rear speakers, while the front seats aren't nearly as close. This cannot be corrected by adjusting speaker levels, and could lead to a degraded experience for those in the rear seats, where surround effects are too loud, or the opposite for the front seats.
Moving the seating position forwards could help fix this.

So in conclusion, you really should download something like Meyer sound's MAPP XT software, and map out your space. They have various speakers which can help you see the coverage, and if you mess with it enough you can predict the bass performance as well.
https://meyersound.com/product/mapp-xt/#software

With your budget, you may also be able to hire someone to help with the system design if time is a factor.
I would move the couches forwards if it's possible.
And I would also re-locate the speakers to match dolby's specs (I didn't bother to check if you already placed them there, because seat coverage was a bigger issue.)

Let me know if you have any questions, this may look crazy, but it really is just the basics.
 
OP
D

DrShall

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You may want to move the couches forward, at least a little bit. Reference a room mode calculator to determine how sub & seat placement impacts bass performance.
https://www.harman.com/documents/Room Mode Calculator_0.xls
https://audioheritage.org/vbulletin/showthread.php?17643-JBL-room-mode-calculator

There are also videos out there regarding this topic. Generally speaking, 4 subs placed at 1/4 and 3/4 the way along the front and back walls will make the middle of the room have a wide area of similar bass performance, and then EQ is used to correct for the response.

(Of course if you've already done this, then great!)

Now on to speaker placement:
You place your subs to provide even bass coverage, and then place your speakers using the dolby / DTS specs, unless your processor is one of the fancy new ones that maps out the physical speaker locations (Trinnov or supposedly Sony's new ones)
You pretty much have to do this because the processor and soundtrack is assuming that your speakers are placed to spec, and deviating from the spec will harm the imaging accuracy of the system.
https://www.dolby.com/about/support/guide/speaker-setup-guides/9.1.6-overhead-speaker-setup-guide/

I also like to have the speakers at a similar-ish distance from each other, in order to match the direct sound / reflections balance with the other speakers. Your rear surround speakers look like they are really close to the back seats, so once again, I would move the couches forward if that's possible.

Lastly, speaker choice:
I haven't heard any of the JTR stuff, but I have heard JBL's synthesis lineup and quite like it. I would caution against the 110HT since it's a coaxial design and pro audio coaxials tend to have messy high-frequency response.
https://www.parts-express.com/pedocs/specs/294-5962--bc-speakers-10cxn64-8-spec-sheet.PDF
This is a spec sheet for a good 10" coaxial pro-audio driver. The red line on the left chart on the 2nd page is the tweeter frequency response, and as you can see it isn't very smooth, especially compared to normal horns and non-pro coaxials like the KEF UNI-Q driver.

I would say that the JBL synthesis lineup (SCL-6, SCL-7, etc) would be able to keep up with a JTR front stage, as surrounds aren't usually abused as much as the mains. JBL has some pretty monster tweeters, so that's not a concern. Surrounds aren't going to be as taxing on the woofers anyways, so that isn't a huge concern either unless you want to wreck your hearing. If in-wall is worth it to you, then I wouldn't worry about their performance, especially since they have good horns which will probably sound better than the JTR coaxial.

For atmos speakers, just get something decent. Klipsch / JBL / Revel in-ceiling speakers are good. KEF's are overpriced, and nobody else really seems to know what they are doing. I don't have tons of experience here, but the general agreement seems to be you don't need anything crazy, though with your space I would recommend at least an 8" woofer, or multiple smaller ones.

Lastly:
I would personally draw out your room like you have done, and draw out the rated coverage angles of each speaker, with the goal being to have all the seats inside the rated coverage pattern of each speaker.
For example, the 212RT has a 60x60 horn, so draw out lines which match that.

View attachment 302652
These aren't perfect, but pretty close. You can see that your front speakers (if you use the 212RT), will easily cover the whole listening area, even if the couches are moved forwards.
Now to add in the surrounds. For these I used the rated coverage angles of the JBL SCL-6 (80 degrees).
View attachment 302657
Notice that a lot of energy is going onto the walls, and the rearmost 4 speakers don't fully cover the listening area. This could be fixed by toeing in the speakers, moving the seats forwards, or using speakers with offset horns, like the JBL SCL-7 (30L,60R):

View attachment 302659
This helps direct the sound energy to where we want it, but we still have one problem: Level consistency over the listening area.
The rear seats are very close to the rear speakers, while the front seats aren't nearly as close. This cannot be corrected by adjusting speaker levels, and could lead to a degraded experience for those in the rear seats, where surround effects are too loud, or the opposite for the front seats.
Moving the seating position forwards could help fix this.

So in conclusion, you really should download something like Meyer sound's MAPP XT software, and map out your space. They have various speakers which can help you see the coverage, and if you mess with it enough you can predict the bass performance as well.
https://meyersound.com/product/mapp-xt/#software

With your budget, you may also be able to hire someone to help with the system design if time is a factor.
I would move the couches forwards if it's possible.
And I would also re-locate the speakers to match dolby's specs (I didn't bother to check if you already placed them there, because seat coverage was a bigger issue.)

Let me know if you have any questions, this may look crazy, but it really is just the basics.
First, thank you for your reply!

I completely understand your concern about the couches positions. We were initially considering a 11.2.4 system and were positioning the couches closer to the screen as this first drawing I did is showing (note that the screen base will be around 450cm long) :
1690913467064.png

Both this older drawing and the new one took the frequency nulls into considerations (I used the Harman Room Mode calculator as you suggested too). The main concern we had was our viewing angle... We were indeed hearing a bit of everything about this. Some people were saying you must absolutely have a viewing angle < 45°, some others loved wider viewing angle of around 60°. My wife was clearly fearing we were gonna get too close, hence why I moved the 2 couches further back, though I indeed preferred this first version as I found the transition between each speaker to be better (positioning's perfect and follows Dolby/Trinnov recommendations perfectly, the new drawing appears to be a bit more problematic regarding this indeed !).
Out of curiosity, do you think we should keep this 11.2.4 system in place of the 9.2.6 ? It for sure offered better overall coverage!

I didn't know this MAPP XT software you're suggesting so I'm for sure gonna go take a look!

Thanks again and I can't wait for your feedback :)
 
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AwesomeSauce2015

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Re: screen viewing angles:
I'm not an expert here. Most of what I've done has been close to the THX "max allowable" spec. Ie, a 65' TV at around 8-10 ft viewing distance. I find this to be pretty comfortable, but if you want an immersive experience for just movies / games, then you may want to go to the normal THX spec, it just might not be as comfortable if you are watching sports or the news and are laying down on the couch.

If you haven't bought the screen yet, you can always get a smaller one. Alternatively, if the space is already built, or if you have a similarly-sized space, you can maybe use a tarp or sheet (and some imagination) to experiment with possible screen sizes.

I will get back to you later (probably tomorrow morning) with regards to the sound bits.
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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So... About the 11.2.4 vs 9.2.6:
I think both will perform well, you aren't in that huge of a room where the extra base-layer surround channels would make a big difference, in my opinion.

My recommendation would be to go with whatever you want, if you care more about the height effects, then go 9.2.6, if you care more about an immersive surround field in the base layer, then go with 11.2.4.

One other thing you may want to look at would be this: https://professionalsupport.dolby.com/s/article/HE-DARDT-Quick-Start-Video-Series
I haven't played with it yet, but supposedly it is a tool that can help design dolby atmos rooms.


My series of recommendations for the 9.2.6 setup is as follows:
1. Move the seats forward as indicated by the blue line. This will get both the front and rear seats into the L/R angle targets in the dolby guidelines.
2. Relocate the surround speakers as shown, in order to properly line up with the dolby guidelines.
1690987948757.png


Assuming your drawing is to scale and that the door is where it is shown, you won't be able to place the rear speakers widely enough to hit the dolby guidelines, but that shouldn't be a huge issue, as long as they are placed as widely apart as you can.

If you were to use these locations, and if you wanted in-wall speakers, I would encourage using an offset tweeter like the JBL SCL-7 for the front-most surround speaker, and SCL-6 for the rest of the locations. If you just used normal speakers, then the obvious solution is to just point them at your listening position.
(Note that I am just using the JBL line as an example here, since their specs are readily available and generally reliable, any speaker with similar characteristics will probably work)

Let me know if you have any questions!

Also, if you haven't already, posting on a more home-theater centric forum like AVSForum may net more results.
 

polmuaddib

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As for the viewing angle, the wider, the better. I think that all the recommendations for keeping the viewer angles small are for watching sitcoms and news. For that you don’t need a dedicated high end ht room. Just put a 40inch tv in the kitchen for that.
I, obviously, vote also for moving the couches forward. It will be better for video and audio.
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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Actually, that brings up a good question that I forgot to include:
OP, what do you plan to use this space for? Is it a dedicated movie room? Or are you planning on watching TV shows, sports, news, etc as well?

Also, regarding TV sizes, 55-65" TVs are the best value right now, so that is the generally recommended size to get maximum performance per dollar. Of course, OLEDs and other unique display technologies are different due to limited production.
 

polmuaddib

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55-65" TVs are the best value right now, so that is the generally recommended size to get maximum performance per dollar
He said that screen base is 450cm wide. I am assuming OP will use projector. And no TV size is gonna cut it in that room.
 

AwesomeSauce2015

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He said that screen base is 450cm wide. I am assuming OP will use projector. And no TV size is gonna cut it in that room.
I figured that as well, my comment was more of a response to your suggestion of a 40" TV. Basically, unless you are space constrained down to that size, getting a bigger TV will probably get you a better image for not much more price.
I should have clarified that in the previous post.

And also, I'm not an expert on projection systems, so if OP has any questions about that then asking on a dedicated HT forum is probably a better bet. My only recommendation there is to use a good acoustically transparent screen and have the center speaker vertically oriented (woofers above and/or below the horn) behind the middle of it
 

rynberg

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If it provides enough space between rows, you will want to locate the main row at 3/5 of the distance back and the second row at 4/5 of the distance back to place listeners at the best overall modal performance (for the room length, anyway).
 
OP
D

DrShall

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If it provides enough space between rows, you will want to locate the main row at 3/5 of the distance back and the second row at 4/5 of the distance back to place listeners at the best overall modal performance (for the room length, anyway).
Hello, thank you for your reply!
That is exactly what was initially planned ! As you can see in my drawing of the 11.2.4 setup, the couches were placed at 0,6 (3/5) and 0,8 (4/5) of the total room length :).
Problem was because of the viewing angles, my wife wanted us to get the couches further away from the screen and I came up with that 9.2.6 setup that I first posted but which I honestly find way less optimal.
Do you think 4 atmos would be enough or would you suggest a 11.2.6 ? Problem with that setup is that I'd need another more expensive preamp :/

Best regards,
 
OP
D

DrShall

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Actually, that brings up a good question that I forgot to include:
OP, what do you plan to use this space for? Is it a dedicated movie room? Or are you planning on watching TV shows, sports, news, etc as well?

Also, regarding TV sizes, 55-65" TVs are the best value right now, so that is the generally recommended size to get maximum performance per dollar. Of course, OLEDs and other unique display technologies are different due to limited production.
Usage of that room will be 90% 4k movies and some Netflix series for my wife :)
We had a 65" TV in our living room that we just upgraded to a 85" but we still need to install it. We went for the Sony X95L.
The dedicated home theatre will provide a 450cm width screen and a projector, no tv :)
 
OP
D

DrShall

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As for the viewing angle, the wider, the better. I think that all the recommendations for keeping the viewer angles small are for watching sitcoms and news. For that you don’t need a dedicated high end ht room. Just put a 40inch tv in the kitchen for that.
I, obviously, vote also for moving the couches forward. It will be better for video and audio.
Hello, thank you for your reply!
The viewing angle is a big question for us, THX recommendation going from 36 to 61° with an optimal @ 45° from what I read.
The way the couches are placed on the 11.2.4 setup (0,6 and 0,8 of the room length) would get us viewing angles of 49° for the first raw and 36° for the second row. Do you think those viewing angles would be good or would you suggest getting even closer ?

Best regards,
 

polmuaddib

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Usage of that room will be 90% 4k movies and some Netflix series for my wife :)
We had a 65" TV in our living room that we just upgraded to a 85" but we still need to install it. We went for the Sony X95L.
The dedicated home theatre will provide a 450cm width screen and a projector, no tv :)
Perfect. Good for you. Your family is gonna enjoy that room very much.
A lot of us envy you on the size of the room.
I am sure you are gonna add two more subs eventually.
 

OCA

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You might find many of this guy's videos helpful:

 
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polmuaddib

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Take what I am saying purely as my opinion, not a fact. I don’t have research data, but I would go as near as possible to the screen. Closer than you are now, for sure.
I read somewhere, long time ago, when Japanese company researched some 22 channel audio system and a very big screen, that they found that when the viewer can’t see the borders of the screen, then the immersion is absolute.
IMHO, it is gonna be better for audio and video. It’s gonna feel like you are there.
As for the wife, she will get used to it. You might hear her complain here and there, but that’s inevitable. Wives are smart and they always advise caution, saying that it’s not about the size and all that… But we know that the bigger, the better.
 

polmuaddib

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Keep in mind that most movies and tv shows nowadays are at least 1.85 aspect ratio and a lot of big blockbuster movies are 2.35. But most of all the action is in the middle of the screen. So, the argument, that you are too close and can’t see all the action, doesn’t hold. You don’t have to tilt your head left and right, because the action stays in the middle. All the surrounding image is there for immersion.
Also, the embedded subtitles are getting smaller, because the screens are getting bigger.
 
OP
D

DrShall

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You might find many this guy's videos helpful:

Saw a lot of that guy's videos. I really like the way he's covering things! He also covered well the way the angles between each speakers are important to avoid any void of sound and allow best immersion! My drawings take a lot of that into account.
Thanks for the link :)
 
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