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Medium sized living room: To do or not to do (5.1 HT setup), that is the question

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liverpool_for_life

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First steps first:

Before I decide on what HT system I'd like to get, I wanted some feedback on whether my living room lends itself to the setup of a 5.1 HT system.

The room is 12 ft long (listening distance slightly shorter because of a sofa lined up right against the wall opposite to the TV mount). Floor standers (mostly) ruled out because of a door 3 ft wide opening in to the room, leaving us only 2 ft from where the door ends to one of the TV edges. The width of the room is 13.5 ft, although this is effectively 10.5 ft for purposes of speaker placement (front and rear) because of the presence of 2 doors on both walls about 3 ft wide. The ceiling is about 10 ft high.

There are 2 single-seater sofas against the wall to the left of the TV (from viewing position). On the other side, there is a door + wall portion that is roughly 6 ft wide. The rest of that side is open and leads to the dining.

Given all of this, is a meaningful 5.1 HT setup possible? Thanks in advance for all your responses!
 
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kanna.sridharan

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To do or Not do - should be at your discretion.

you ask our FM's on how do I make it and you'll have endless support on what can be done, where you would be left with what can you afford.

Anything is possible - there are so many options. I would suggest you to first go around all the HT dealers in Chennai, there are so many and by time you visit the 4th dealer you would have an idea of what to do.

Good luck
 

liverpool_for_life

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To do or Not do
Sridharan,

The thread title was simply a play on Shakespeare's words and possibly a little misleading. I didn't mean to ask if I ought to go with a 5.1 setup (I understand that decision is completely mine), only if I could get meaningful 5.1 given my living room (as the last line in my post makes clear).

Anything is possible - there are so many options.
Understand. My question is one of effectiveness. I am perfectly fine with being told that a 5.1 setup won't really work given my living room and that I'd be better off sticking to a 2.1 or 3.1 setup.

I would suggest you to first go around all the HT dealers in Chennai [...]
Any one that you'd recommend in particular? At this point, I am not looking to go any further than 1.5 L for the speakers, AVR and installation.

Thanks for your help!
 

musicbee

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It will work anywhere, no issues with that. I've used in rooms that are huge 600-800 sft and small-medium bedrooms (using HT in my bedroom at present) though note it will limit movies at nighttime and even late night TV watching especially if Tata Sky HD is connected to an AVR.

Go for satellites instead of floor standers and spend on a good center speaker, subwoofer and AVR. Dialogues are the most important and nothing will make sense if they are not clear and then the subwoofer for explosions and every type of booming sound. The surrounds will be served best by satellite speakers as they are mainly for the surround sound FX like doors creaking, footsteps, ringing, buzzing, pedestrians talking and walking, cars honking, etc.

For AVR ensure connectivity options like WiFi and Ethernet as well as any internet radio services like Spotify (optional but helpful) are there. WiFi is a must IMHO as it will let you play contents off a PC located in another room... no need to build a specific HTPC for the HT setup... or you can simply plug in an external HDD to the router. But being able to stream music and movies will give you amazing freedom from wires and also put all other smart devices like smartphones, tablets, etc. to good use.

Most important of all, go listen and audition as much as you can. Even carry your own music CDs and Blu-ray discs or DVDs to check out your favorite songs and scenes. This alone will make 90% of the decision for you... simply listen and let your ears be the judge.
 

kanna.sridharan

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Sridharan,

Any one that you'd recommend in particular? At this point, I am not looking to go any further than 1.5 L for the speakers, AVR and installation.



Thanks for your help!

A few people I've bought equipments from listed below

1.) Grand Cinema - Ajmal +91 90-03-094477
2.) Cressida AV Zone - Ravi +91 95-00-137182
3.) Decibel - Raghu +91 99-40-672834

Your budget would get you a good entry level 5.1 if you want it all in one shot or you could build step by step. First go with AVR + Center, front speaker, Sub. Surrounds can be filled in later, you could also push the sub for later if it's pushing your budget high.

Good luck.
Regards,
Kannan
 

liverpool_for_life

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I'm guessing you are not married... [...]
You'd guess wrong:)


I am and my wife does not necessarily enjoy loud explosions, gunfire and blasts past 10 pm.
Fair enough! Most of our movie watching is reserved for late Friday and Saturday nights.

Action movies are not our thing though, with the odd exception. Which provides a nice segue to what we are likely to be listening to on our system:

1. Movies: English from our Tata Sky HD STB primarily, while allowing for streaming via Netflix/iTunes. Tamil movies will primarily be streamed from a PC/iPad. I'd agree with you that clarity of dialogues is the foremost determinant in this case.

2. Music from iDevices/PC (primarily tamil film music - melodies going as far back as the pre-independence era and Carnatic - vocal and instrumental)

The ratio of music:movies is likely to be somewhere around 70:30. Any recommendations on what I ought to be auditioning based on all of this?

Thanks!
 

koushik

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The ratio of music:movies is likely to be somewhere around 70:30. Any recommendations on what I ought to be auditioning based on all of this?
If that is the ratio then I would strongly recommend a good stereo setup which will sound good for movies as well. A pair of decent Bookshelves and a stereo amp for music and may be a decent sub to be used only during movies.
 

musicbee

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If that is the ratio then I would strongly recommend a good stereo setup which will sound good for movies as well. A pair of decent Bookshelves and a stereo amp for music and may be a decent sub to be used only during movies.
+1 to this (though I'd agree on using the sub always as it rounds out most genres of music pretty well).

Seeing Netflix is on the agenda I'd also again +1 the AVR (or stereo amplifier) with WiFi, you can stream a ton of free music for free that pretty much beats WorldSpace both in terms of catalog and quality.

You should also look at adding a HTPC with a local media server as it will nicely aggregate all of your music and movies into one central location and will also centralize all of your media streaming like NetFlix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, etc. Don't need to buy anything here... any existing or old PC/laptop will do.
 
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elangoas

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A lil more than 10 x 10 room is good enough for a good 5.1 HT set-up... If you wish you can go up-to 7.1 (Using Front heights)...

Try to put your room dimensions in a pic, and placement of furniture.. This will roughly give some idea for FM to give options....

1.5L is very good budget for 5.1 setup... Installation you can do it yourself, with some reading of the AVR & speaker manual...
 

liverpool_for_life

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Your budget would get you a good entry level 5.1 if you want it all in one shot [...]
Kannan,

Entry level? I told the Mrs. about your comment. We haven't spoken since:)

The contact at Grand Cinema wasn't reachable at that number, but I ended up talking to them anyway from looking at their website. I will be auditioning at all 3 places. Will also be going to Cinebels.

Thanks much!
 

shibashis

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I'm guessing you are not married... I am and my wife does not necessarily enjoy loud explosions, gunfire and blasts past 10 pm.
Sorry to butt in like this but my wife does not enjoy loud explosions and gunfires ever....sigh.
 

shibashis

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1.5L is a very decent budget, if you audition some combinations and with a clear plan it will yield a very good setup.
Unless you are looking for acoustic treatment then installation can be done on your own I suppose as Elango pointed out.
 

liverpool_for_life

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A pair of decent Bookshelves and a stereo amp for music and may be a decent sub to be used only during movies.
koushik,

I thought the odds were quite high someone was going to tell me I didn't need a 5.1 system for what I wanted to do:). Appreciate your response tho'!

Any recommendations for bookshelves and a stereo amp?

Would the Andrew Jones Pioneer bookshelves qualify in your book?

musicbee,

Will look into a HTPC setup, but that's only likely after I've made a decision on the speakers.


A lil more than 10 x 10 room is good enough for a good 5.1 HT set-up... [...]
elangoas,

Thanks for that confirmation. Certainly puts my mind at ease when I hear that from someone who is not selling the system to me:).

Try to put your room dimensions in a pic, and placement of furniture.. This will roughly give some idea for FM to give options....
Will try and post some actual pics.

1.5L is very good budget for 5.1 setup... Installation you can do it yourself, with some reading of the AVR & speaker manual...
I didn't mean to make this about my budget.
But for someone like me, whose most expensive audio-related purchase (after serious review) so far has been a portable bluetooth speaker that cost $59 (ignoring the HTIB I currently have that I purchased without a clue in the world), this is an utterly huge leap.

As for DIY installation, you probably wouldn't suggest it if you knew me at all:)

shibashis,

That is the maximum I am willing to spend, for something that blows us away. Here's hoping we can find something for less!
 

koushik

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koushik,

I thought the odds were quite high someone was going to tell me I didn't need a 5.1 system for what I wanted to do:). Appreciate your response tho'!

Any recommendations for bookshelves and a stereo amp?

Would the Andrew Jones Pioneer bookshelves qualify in your book?
If it is 70% of time music then you must get a better music system rather than a home theatre system. If I were to response reading only your thread's title then my answer would also be "to do 5.1 HT" but then I read your later comment.

To be honest, I have not heard Andrew Jones Pioneer BS. They have rave reviews but I don't buy on reviews. For me, I would go with a MA BX2 or Aviano 2. With a decent Marantz Amp. Aviano 2 can be clubbed with a Cambridge Audio amp. The combo I listened to was sounding very decent.

Regards,
 

htfan17

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The ratio of music:movies is likely to be somewhere around 70:30. Any recommendations on what I ought to be auditioning based on all of this?

Thanks!
Music is encoded in 2.0 and is MEANT to be heard that way.

Movies are encoded in 5.1 and is MEANT to be heard that way.

If you truly love the way your source is encoded, and care for the way its meant to be heard, Nothing else in the world should be deciding factor of this. But hey... thats just me.
 

kanna.sridharan

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Music is encoded in 2.0 and is MEANT to be heard that way.

Movies are encoded in 5.1 and is MEANT to be heard that way.

If you truly love the way your source is encoded, and care for the way its meant to be heard, Nothing else in the world should be deciding factor of this. But hey... thats just me.
A sub in a stereo system if setup correctly to be in sync with the speakers, adds a lot of dynamism in most genres of music. Preferably a sealed sub and crossed as low as where your speakers roll off, it blends really well. I have it on my PC setup and sounds really good, but those are satellites which are a different story on the whole.

Whatever the OP plans to go with either an AVR / Stereo setup, adding a subwoofer would definitely enhance the listening experience.
 

Naturelover

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I have found an excellent integrated amp for you at an unbeatable price. At 24.5K it is a steal.

http://www.hifivision.com/sale-owner/55576-acoustic-portrait-solid-state-dual-mono-integrated-amplifier.html
I would second that. I have an older version of Acoustic Portrait and it's amazing.
have heard their flagship pre-power set at three places. Unfortunately they don't make it any more.

And, yes, if your ratio is 70% music, a stereo amp is definitely the way to go.
 
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