Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater

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jwjarch

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Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« on: 15 Nov 2020, 05:09 am »
Hello All. Getting pretty close to the speaker building stage of my listening room/home theater, as you can see from the photo. The wide angle may be a bit misleading but should give a good idea of the space. It’s about 13’X17’ and 9’ tall in the center. The soffit runs all the way around the room.


So I have already prewired for a 9.1.6 speaker setup per the image below. I will be getting an Emotiva XMC-2 and using a variety of DIY amplifiers to power the speakers. I would like to use the X-Voce for the center and either keep my DIY Lii Audio Crystal 10’s with dual GRS 15-PF8’s per side or build a pair of X-Statiks. I am trying to figure out the best kits for the surround channels. I like the idea of using the A/V1-rs everywhere. That would be 6 pairs. My question is, is this the best idea for this room size and speaker configuration? I’m afraid with other speakers such as the X-Omni’s or the X-SLS’ I wouldn’t have enough room to get them far enough away from the walls and still have room for seating. Curious to hear what you all think.


RonP

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #1 on: 15 Nov 2020, 03:47 pm »
Don't forget about Room Treatment!

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #2 on: 15 Nov 2020, 03:57 pm »
Using the x-series (encore for the x-ls and x-sls) speakers would make for a better (all but perfect) tonal match to your mains if you did the x-statik and x-voce at the front because they all share the same drivers (the a/v-series use a different tweeter and the a/v-1rs use a different but similar woofer).  Most folks would say for surrounds you'd be fine either way, but it is something to consider if you're chasing max performance first.

You can flip the ports on the x-omni and x-sls (per Danny, IIRC) to the front, so you could put either against the wall if needed.  Although clearly not ideal particularly for the x-omni to be up against the wall, in this use case, they're kind of behaving like floorstanding a/v-1rs with their indirect/upfiring woofer (although admittedly the a/v-1rs are designed intentionally to be up/angled firing).

If you went a/v1-rs, I'm not sure how low you'd want to mount them on the wall so that you aren't firing them into the soffit instead of at the ceiling proper (or how that would affect their performance).

At 13' of width, with a 7' wide couch, and if you gave a foot each for depth for the side speakers, you'd have 2' worth of walking space beside the couch to either side.  From personal experience, that's enough to walk around it, but for some people (I've got some really big friends) it feels a little tight to move around where 3' to either side of the couch might be better.

If it were me, and the plan was to go x-statik up front, and I had the opportunity where you're at with fresh construction to make running additional wiring easy, I'd actually do 6 of the x-ls encore and run them up near the soffit, wall mounted and angled down to the listening area.  You'd have the best tonal match all around and still get the speakers off the floor so no problem walking around the furniture.  If you went floor standers, the x-omni would be smaller in depth so you'd have more room to walk, and although they work great as omni mains, I think their original intent when sold by av123 as complete speakers was to be surrounds for the x-statik/x-voce anyway.

Nice room!  Congrats!

Early B.

Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #3 on: 15 Nov 2020, 04:19 pm »
That's such a small room for so many speakers. More isn't necessarily better. And only one sub???? Maybe start out with a 5.2 system and add speakers until you reach a saturation point.

jwjarch

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #4 on: 15 Nov 2020, 05:44 pm »
Absolutely Ronp. Treatment is a top priority. I did size the room using Amroc according to Bonello modes per third. So hopefully I am at a good starting point to minimize the required room treatment. We’ll see when I start taking measurements once my current equipment is at least set up.

Thanks for the post Jonathon. That’s some great food for thought. I had read about other people putting the ports in the front side of the X-Omni or X-SLS but didn’t see any definitive review of the sound created in that situation. Also, you make a good point about the rs’ and how they may or may not work with the soffit. Voicing if the system is also a concern of mine. I figured though that Danny voices all of his speakers in his style so it might be okay to mix the A/V and X collections a bit? But if the consensus is to stick with all X series I’m leaning towards X-Omni’s up against the wall for the side surrounds. The rears I could pull away from the wall 18-24 inches. And for the ceiling I would go with the X-ls.

Yes, Early B. does seem like a lot of speakers but with the Emotiva handling the mixing duties I should be able to achieve seamless surround in Atmos. And I’m trying to use smaller speakers so as not to crowd the room too much.

jwjarch

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #5 on: 15 Nov 2020, 05:59 pm »
Okay, let’s throw some questions out here. On the fronts what are everyone’s thoughts on fully upgraded X-Statiks vs NX-Studios for the mains. I’m planning on 70/30 music to HT right now. I am willing to move the front speakers out to where they need to be to achieve the best sound with OB and move them back a bit when in HT mode if needed. I also plan on starting with one F12SE sub from Rythmik to fill in the lows. I don’t think I will have the room for multiple OB subs unfortunately. As budget allows I will add another F12.

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #6 on: 15 Nov 2020, 08:42 pm »
The x-statik/x-voce are more efficient of the two, so you'll get more sound with less power, but (and take this from someone who hasn't heard the nx-studios, just read others' impressions), the nx-studio is notably the more refined speaker as far as sound quality (although admittedly, the x-statik/x-voce is probably a little more forgiving of not so great recordings). 

Considering the size of your space, unless you are aiming for reference volume rock or orchestral concerts, I could see you just as easily doing nx-studio all the way around (all the non-ceiling channels) with a pair (quad down the road maybe?) of Rhythmik subs and doing very well for yourself (the nx-studio was designed for desk/near-wall placement and doesn't play really low but gets you the magic of the ob neo tweeter, so it feels like a really good fit for what you're doing here). 

If you went that way, I'd maybe then look to see if I could find a half dozen of the neo3 with the deep back cups to make pairs of N1X for the ceiling (same tweeter, just sealed rather than OB, and using the M130 woofer so a smaller box overall to be less obtrusive hanging from the ceiling).  Since the ceiling channels would really only be for movie effects, the timbre matching I don't think would be as important if you needed to make a compromise somewhere (but with the same tweeter all the way around, you're still well in that ballpark).

I'd either go x-statik/x-voce across the front or nx-studio times three for your LCR rather than mixing/matching between the x-voce and nx-studio to get the best possible timbre match across your front three for sure.  How you mix and match the rest kind of depends on your priorities for sound (if the surrounds are really just for movie effects and your music is 2-channel, it may not be so critical to you, but if you listen to a lot of multichannel music, it would be worth being more picky about matching speakers all around.

jwjarch

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #7 on: 18 Nov 2020, 11:09 pm »
So giving this all some more thought I'm pretty sure I would like to go with X-Statiks up front along with the X-Voce, X-Omnis for all surrounds, and X-LS for the 6 ceiling height speakers.  Here's the layout of how that would all fit in the space.  I would plan on installing a pair of speakers at a time and if the sound starts to get cluttered in the space it would be time to re-evaluate how many speakers I want to have in the room.  This drawing is exactly to scale along with the speaker footprints.


Danny Richie

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #8 on: 19 Nov 2020, 12:39 am »
Hold on there fellows.

Any omni speaker like the X-Omni or A/V-O requires them to be placed at least three feet away from ANY wall. So that is not going to fit too well in a room of this size.

The A/V-1RS on the other hand will work great in this application. It is what they were designed for. And I don't think that soffit will be that much of an issue with them. Just mount them 16" down from the surface right above them.

The A/V-1RS takes into account the wall and ceiling reflection. And they will give you the large un-localized sound field that you need when the room is not that big.

Ceiling speakers might be a bit much and become very localized. They really only begin to work well when the ceiling is 12 feet high or higher. And the X-LS Encore was not designed to be mount in or on a ceiling.

Three pairs of A/V-1RS's in there and you might not need or want any more surround speakers.

Also check with your processor. Some of them only send what was recorded as rear information to the surrounds and placing some of them ahead of you might make things sound pretty odd.

And the X-Staik and X-Voce up front will be great if they are three feet or more out into the room and you treat everything well.

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #9 on: 19 Nov 2020, 01:25 am »
Any omni speaker like the X-Omni or A/V-O requires them to be placed at least three feet away from ANY wall. So that is not going to fit too well in a room of this size.

So just for sake of knowledge, Danny, where was AV123 going when they promoted the x-omni as a surround speaker for the x-statik?  Were they thinking plopped in the middle of the room next to/behind the couch?  Was this really just some wishful thinking marketing to create a complete product line on paper?

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The A/V-1RS on the other hand will work great in this application. It is what they were designed for. And I don't think that soffit will be that much of an issue with them. Just mount them 16" down from the surface right above them.

The A/V-1RS takes into account the wall and ceiling reflection. And they will give you the large un-localized sound field that you need when the room is not that big.

Again, just picking your brain out of curiosity, do you still think diffuse surrounds are the way to go in general in spite of (AFAIK) just about every flavor of home theater surround processing calling for direct radiating speakers in all locations?

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Ceiling speakers might be a bit much and become very localized. They really only begin to work well when the ceiling is 12 feet high or higher. And the X-LS Encore was not designed to be mount in or on a ceiling.

Maybe in this case, the room is just too small to put in ceiling speakers, unless they were true in-ceiling mount?  If they are just being used for movie effects, I can't see that being much of a problem if the speakers were at least halfway decent because timbre matching the mains is at that point no longer a priority (if the plan is to actually get all those speaker channels in this much space).

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Three pairs of A/V-1RS's in there and you might not need or want any more surround speakers.

I'd agree that less is more might be the way I'd go myself (put a really nice 5.2 (or 5.4) instead of trying to fit 15 channels of speakers not including subs), but it is interesting that you mentioned localization of the audio from each channel before as a detriment.  I think the point of these high channel count formats is actually specifically to increase the capability of the system to localize audio from each sound source.  Then, by filling the space (room) with individual sound sources, the signal processor is able to use all these sources to artificially create (kind of by brute force so to speak) whatever the intended sound field is supposed to be.  I see this as kind of the complete opposite of 2-channel stereo and an intriguing thought exercise on the benefits and detriments of two very different approaches to solving the same problem.

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Also check with your processor. Some of them only send what was recorded as rear information to the surrounds and placing some of them ahead of you might make things sound pretty odd.

I'll take this a step further and say that you need to check out the documentation and specifications for whatever audio format(s) you want to use that your processor can output and use those as your speaker placement guide (for the reason Danny pointed out above).  As a point of note, I've seen this arrangement before (at least for all but the ceiling speakers) with a 'wide left' and 'wide right' speaker flanking the main LCR and sitting ahead of the listening position.  I can't remember which audio format it supports, but it is intended specifically for some format or another (sorry I haven't looked in to surround formats in a long time).  There are a couple of pretty lengthy threads elsewhere on AudioCircle discussing multichannel that might be of some help to you as well!

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And the X-Staik and X-Voce up front will be great if they are three feet or more out into the room and you treat everything well.

and with that room layout, it doesn't look like you'd have to push them against the wall and pull them out when you want to listen either; it looks like you've got plenty of room to walk with the speakers out in the room.  :thumb:

corndog71

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #10 on: 19 Nov 2020, 04:05 am »
In my previous apartment I had a big living room.  14x25-ish with 10’ ceiling.  X-Statiks and X-Voce up front.  X-Omnis in the rear.  One was in a corner and the other along a wall where my room extended further into the apartment.  Only 1 single sealed servo sub.  It worked very well.

With a more closed in room you might be better off with the AV-1RS for rear at minimum or with another pair on the side walls.


jwjarch

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #11 on: 19 Nov 2020, 06:41 am »
Thank you Danny for your info on the X-Omni vs the RS. That is really what I was originally thinking when reading about the Omni’s. Hence my original thought that the RS’ might be the way to go. There may be more to it though. I do think Jonathon has a point regarding reflected vs direct radiated sound. I do wonder how the processor would handle the sound from the RS’. Here is a blurb from the owner’s manual of the Emotiva XMC-2.

“ The latest immersive surround sound formats, the most popular of which are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, have broken this barrier by encoding audio content based on object location rather than static speaker channels. As a result, when decoded properly, this new immersive content can
take full advantage of larger numbers of speakers, which can include both surround speakers in a wider variety of locations, and height speakers, specifically positioned to enable sounds to appear above the listener, for a truly immersive three dimensional listening experience.
 
  In order to take full advantage of this new technology, a surround sound processor must both include the advanced technology necessary to decode it properly, and support enough channels to deliver a compelling immersive experience. The Emotiva XMC-2 provides support for sixteen audiophile quality fully balanced audio output channels, which can be configured as fifteen full-range channels and one subwoofer output, or thirteen full-range channels and up to three subwoofer outputs.”

So the latest formats really seem to take advantage of greater number of direct radiating speakers.

I’d certainly be willing to build some RS’ and test them out though. Worst case, I can sell some nice speakers to someone that really needs them.

Danny Richie

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #12 on: 19 Nov 2020, 02:55 pm »
So just for sake of knowledge, Danny, where was AV123 going when they promoted the x-omni as a surround speaker for the x-statik?  Were they thinking plopped in the middle of the room next to/behind the couch?  Was this really just some wishful thinking marketing to create a complete product line on paper?

They are great rear surround speakers. But ideally you want the rear channels to be as far away from you as the front channels. And the X-omni is perfect for that application. But if they are only a few feet away from your head or right next to a wall then they are not going to work out so well.

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Again, just picking your brain out of curiosity, do you still think diffuse surrounds are the way to go in general in spite of (AFAIK) just about every flavor of home theater surround processing calling for direct radiating speakers in all locations?

Again, direct radiating speakers are ideal if they are all far enough away from you.

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Maybe in this case, the room is just too small to put in ceiling speakers, unless they were true in-ceiling mount?  If they are just being used for movie effects, I can't see that being much of a problem if the speakers were at least halfway decent because timbre matching the mains is at that point no longer a priority (if the plan is to actually get all those speaker channels in this much space).

The problem is when you are sitting right under one of them. Then the whole effect that they are trying to create doesn't work.


Danny Richie

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #13 on: 19 Nov 2020, 03:07 pm »
Thank you Danny for your info on the X-Omni vs the RS. That is really what I was originally thinking when reading about the Omni’s. Hence my original thought that the RS’ might be the way to go. There may be more to it though. I do think Jonathon has a point regarding reflected vs direct radiated sound. I do wonder how the processor would handle the sound from the RS’. Here is a blurb from the owner’s manual of the Emotiva XMC-2.

It really isn't about direct verses reflected sound. It is more about time and distance. When you are sitting way too close to one or two speakers verses the others then the whole thing doesn't work. The A/V-1RS adds a lot of time and space that allows it all to work really well. 

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“ The latest immersive surround sound formats, the most popular of which are Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, have broken this barrier by encoding audio content based on object location rather than static speaker channels. As a result, when decoded properly, this new immersive content can
take full advantage of larger numbers of speakers, which can include both surround speakers in a wider variety of locations, and height speakers, specifically positioned to enable sounds to appear above the listener, for a truly immersive three dimensional listening experience.

Yes, but only when time arrival and amplitude are balanced from all speakers. And even if you could electronically delay and turn down speakers that are setting closer to you, it is still screwed up for all other seating locations. 
 
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  In order to take full advantage of this new technology, a surround sound processor must both include the advanced technology necessary to decode it properly, and support enough channels to deliver a compelling immersive experience. The Emotiva XMC-2 provides support for sixteen audiophile quality fully balanced audio output channels, which can be configured as fifteen full-range channels and one subwoofer output, or thirteen full-range channels and up to three subwoofer outputs.”

Yep, so tell me what new movies, that you want to watch, are recorded this way?

Now, how many movies are in your library that are not recorded this way?

So the question is what does this processor do to a movie recorded in these older formats? 

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So the latest formats really seem to take advantage of greater number of direct radiating speakers.

It could in a perfect room with close to equal distances from each speaker and with the right recorded movie format.

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I’d certainly be willing to build some RS’ and test them out though. Worst case, I can sell some nice speakers to someone that really needs them.

Those will present the best case scenario to making surround speakers work in that room. 

mojave

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #14 on: 19 Nov 2020, 11:35 pm »

Yep, so tell me what new movies, that you want to watch, are recorded this way?
I'll answer for myself.

About 95% - Most UHD Blu-ray discs have a either a Dolby Atmos track or a DTS:X track. However, the Disney Atmos tracks are printed out in 7.1.4. This only accounts for a handful or movies, though. Dolby Atmos supports 24.1.10 and DTS:X Pro supports 30.2 channels.

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Now, how many movies are in your library that are not recorded this way?
About 50% (the amount of Blu-ray vs UHD Blu-rays I have) - There are currently over 500 movies with Dolby Atmos, Auro-3D, or DTS:X with more coming out every week. Obviously going forward my percentage will continue to decline.

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So the question is what does this processor do to a movie recorded in these older formats?
You can either play in the native format or upmix using Dolby Surround Upmixer (DSU), DTS Neural:x, or Auro-Matic.

jwjarch

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #15 on: 23 Nov 2020, 06:36 pm »
Danny, I'm definitely going to go with the RS' for the surrounds based on all of the conversation.  Thank you for all the feedback. 

Regarding the movie surround formats I'm in the same boat as mojave.  Thanks for the post mojave!  I would say any movies I buy going forward with be Atmos or DTS-X, so good to have the capability to play back those formats.  I may be going with a Denon X4700H AVR and later upgrade to the Emotiva.  The Denon still has capability for 7.2.4.  If I feel the need for more speakers I'll upgrade, but for now the extra money can go towards two Rythmik subs!   :D

All that said, here is an updated plan showing the RS locations.  I would still like to install some ceiling speakers but not sure what those should be yet.  Any comments to that are much appreciated.





WGH

Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #16 on: 23 Nov 2020, 07:53 pm »
I would still like to install some ceiling speakers but not sure what those should be yet.  Any comments to that are much appreciated.

The RSL C34E is always at the top of ceiling speaker lists
https://rslspeakers.com/c34e-ceiling-speaker/

Danny Richie

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #17 on: 23 Nov 2020, 09:42 pm »
Looks like a really good plan now.

WC

Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #18 on: 24 Nov 2020, 02:20 am »
While it would be cool looking to have all your subs at the front of the room, it will not provide the most even bass in the room at all your seating positions. Keep the one right in that position and place the other one at the back next to the AV rack. That will even out the bass in the room.

jwjarch

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Re: Best way to do a 9.1.6 home theater
« Reply #19 on: 24 Nov 2020, 06:50 pm »
@WGH - Thanks for the suggestion on the ceiling speakers.  Ideally I would like to have something that matches the GR speaker timber but it could be worth trying these out since they're just for overhead effects.

@Danny - Great!  Just need to wait for the M130's to come back in stock an order the RS'.

@WC - Yes, thanks for pointing the subwoofer placement out.  I will definitely be experimenting with ideal placement as well as room treatment, which isn't shown in the current layout.