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Mains and Center Channel for Music Surround System - TV/Projector Height Considerations


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I am ready to make the jump back into multichannel audio with my collection of around 700 ripped SACDS and eClassical FLAC downloads (will have to go back and extract/claim them), 95% of them classical. Once upon a time I used an Oppo 103 and Denon 4310 AVR with a quintet of Klipsch Reference line speakers, but between the room setup and fiddling with Audyssey I was never really wowed by the results, and switched exclusively to stereo after acquiring a Teac DSD-capable dac and a pair of Epos Epic 2s. Now we have moved into a house with gameroom/loft area (14ft depth x 14.5ft width, 14dx11.5w usable space excluding walkway to bedroom) that should work for a surround setup and I am ready to select new speakers for it. I will be using stand-mounted bookshelfs for the rear channels and need to select an ideal solution for the main and center channels.

 

Option 1: Three < 40in Towers:

My first inclination was to go with something like Kal Rubinson's Monitor Audio Silver 8 setup (IMG_0033a.jpg (960×720) (stereophile.com)) with a trio of tower speakers (likely will add subs eventually), as many seem to assert that traditional center channel speakers are inferior for music purposes. However I am afraid this will make setting up a mounted TV or projector less practical (we'd like the space to double for home theater) - I care less about aesthetics and more about the screen being too high on the wall for a 14ft-deep room, though shorter towers (Monitor Audio 200s) could help with TV height situation (also see option 3).

 

Option 2: Three Stand-Mounted Bookshelf Speakers (one on lower stand?)

I suspect KEF LS50 Metas would work well for this, though adding sub(s) may be more imperative. Would using a lower stand (or cabinet) for the center bookshelf speaker be problematic for imaging?

 

Option 3: Shorter Tower (or Bookshelf) from Same Family for Center

Monitor Audio's Silver series offers this option (a 35in 200 could be paired with two 40in 300s), but finding this option with other speaker brands seems unlikely, and sonic signature of a shorter/bookshelf speaker might be too different to justify selecting it over a traditional center channel.

 

Option 4: Traditional Center Channel

Would room correction/DSP be able to overcome the sonic shortcomings of this option? This would be the easiest way to go for home theater and available variety.

 

Other Considerations:

_As a Roon user I will eventually want to integrate a multichannel Roon Ready endpoint like the exaSound S88.

_Selecting speakers that could be driven by my Denon 4310, at least for the short term until I upgrade amplification, would be ideal.

_I expect I will need to use room correction software like Dirac Live to achieve the best results.

 

Thanks for you input!

 

David W.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, ClassicalDJ said:

However I am afraid this will make setting up a mounted TV or projector less practical (we'd like the space to double for home theater) - I care less about aesthetics and more about the screen being too high on the wall for a 14ft-deep room

We are comfortable with a 65" OLED that clears the MA S300 (really S8) in our 15' deep room.

 

1 hour ago, ClassicalDJ said:

Monitor Audio's Silver series offers this option (a 35in 200 could be paired with two 40in 300s),

That would be my second choice.

 

1 hour ago, ClassicalDJ said:

Would room correction/DSP be able to overcome the sonic shortcomings of this option?

Probably with the Silver 350 (3way) but less likely with the Silver 150 (2 way).

1 hour ago, ClassicalDJ said:

I suspect KEF LS50 Metas would work well for this, though adding sub(s) may be more imperative.

I've not tried this but I would be tempted.  You might need custom stands but you definitely would need subs for HT.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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4 hours ago, Kal Rubinson said:

I've not tried this but I would be tempted.  You might need custom stands but you definitely would need subs for HT.

Thanks for the reply, Kal. Based the great things I've read about the LS50's imaging this option seems very intriguing - I've become accustomed to standmount sound from my Epos Epic 2s. Any recommendation on subs under $1200?

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At that price point SVS is terrific. You could do two smaller subs or one big one easily. The sealed ones are particularly nice.

Roon + HQ Player front end; Bricasti M3 with Ethernet and headphone amp; Pro Audio Technology 2115sm active speakers and amps plus four 15" subs; Lumagen Radiance video processor; Wolf Ref 700 projector; Kii3 + Control in another room; Accourate, Trinnov, and Dirac bass management and room correction; extensive RPG room treatment; HifiMan and Focal cans; Decware Taboo Mk3; 20 amp hospital grade UPS; EtherRegen, Sonore Empirical Audio and SOTM, all on LPS, feeding DACs

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  • 3 weeks later...

I decided to go with KEF LS50 metas for my surround setup (pardon the furniture from our previous home and temporary TV setup). Without room correction the equidistant placement provides an almost near-field experience (6.5ft). I am very pleased with the sound from SACDs (Oppo 103 > Denon 4310, Mch DSD via HDMI). The LS50s' ability to "image" the placement of the the orchestral sections is very impressive. Now onto integrating multichannel files and room correction!

IMG_0027.jpg

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