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  • Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

    I've just started looking in to the world of DIY audio projects. I have 2 goals. One is designing and building a relatively low cost pair of stereo speakers and an amplifier to drive them. I've found lots of how-to guides to get me started on this around these forums and elsewhere.

    My second goal is to upgrade the fronts in my 5.1 setup. I'm struggling with researching this one. I've found lots of great speaker designs that interest me. I particularly like what I've read of the Zaph ZRT design. The problem is that none of the higher end designs I'm looking at, including the ZRT's, have a matching center.

    I know using the same speaker as a vertical center is often recommended but I don't have the space for a vertical placement with the entertainment center in the way.

    This would be replacing Klipsch fronts: 2x VF-36s and a VC-25 center. The speakers will be driven by an Emotiva XPA-5(200Wx5). My sub is an SVS PB12/ISD2 so I don't necessarily need good bass extension in the fronts but I do like my bass. Also, this system is used 80/10/10 for movies/games/music.

    So, I'm wondering what advice can you guys give on this subject? Do you have any recommendations that are great for home theater use? Thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

    How much space do you have for the center channel speaker?

    Dan
    _____________________________
    Tall Boys
    NRNP Computer Sub
    The Boxers
    The Hurricanes
    The Baronettes
    Conneccentric
    UX3

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    • #3
      Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

      I'm not at home to measure but the top of the entertainment center is empty and it measures ~6' wide, maybe 18" deep and I'm guessing 15" between the entertainment center and the bottom of the TV. And I have the entertainment center probably 6" from the wall if that matters. These are pretty rough estimates but I'm thinking they're close.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

        Some more info would be helpful.

        what is your budget?
        what are your musical tastes?
        how big is the room?
        do you want towers, mtm's, etc

        to wet your appetite you might want to check out these links:

        https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/swope-ht
        Paul also has a 3-way tower if you are interested.

        On the higher end money wise you might concider the following:

        http://speakerdesignworks.com/Statements.html
        Curts statements are legendary and somewhat costly. But let us know more info and we can make better recommendations to you.

        Kevin
        Shaken, not stirred...

        Classix II
        OS MTM's
        Digger 8 sub
        Overnight Sensations Center Channel
        Sprite Build
        Wolf's PC Speakers
        Minions III with Voxel Sub

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

          Budget: Maybe $600-$800 per speaker for each of the 3 fronts. Depending on how big the quality jump is, I'm possibly flexible here. I can do 2 now and center later to ease the budget a little if it's a big improvement.

          Musical Tastes: Rock/Metal/Electronic and I'm sure my wife will play a variety of things, but like I said in the first post, this is primarily for movies so I'm not sure if that should be a major consideration.

          Room size: 16' x 14', but it opens up in to a ~20' by 14' Dining/Kitchen area, only partially divided by a 3' section of wall.

          Preference: Towers for LR and Horitontal oriented center due to space. I'm not completely set on towers. I like the look of towers in the front a lot, but I'm looking for the biggest quality upgrade I can get more than anything.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

            The Statements line-up could offer a good solution for you. Full Statements for L/R, Statements Monitors for surrounds, and Statements Center for, obviously, center. Meniscus audio sells the kits HERE. These are great designs with very high value drivers that should fit into your budget even with the cost of enclosures.

            Dan
            _____________________________
            Tall Boys
            NRNP Computer Sub
            The Boxers
            The Hurricanes
            The Baronettes
            Conneccentric
            UX3

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

              Thanks for your help Dan. I already looked at the Statements earlier and somehow overlooked the center. This is definitely a serious contender for what I'll be choosing and under my max budget at that. Do you have any other recommendations, especially maybe a speaker set that is a step up from the Statements? I won't necessarily go that route but I like to thoroughly research things so I'd like to have another to consider/compare to.

              Thanks again,

              Greg

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                Jed Kunz, Clearwave loudspeakers still makes kits for his Dynamic series. Maybe other items also.

                http://www.clearwavespeakers.com/web...5/300200/82317

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                • #9
                  Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                  The Dynamic series is beautiful as well. That's one I hadn't heard of before. Thanks for the suggestion and now I have some more research to do.

                  I have one more question. Both speakers appear to need some room to breathe, which isn't too hard to accomplish with the towers, but is it okay for the center channel to sit on top of the entertainment center under the TV, probably 1 foot off the wall max? There's really not much flexibility on that position. I might be able to get it a little further from the wall, but it'll always be sitting on the entertainment center or within a couple inches probably.

                  Edit: And this may be a stupid question, but I'm not sure where you measure from. Is it from the back of the speaker or from the driver? And when you toe it in, does this change how you measure at all or do you measure from the closest point or midline of back to the wall?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                    After years of using a dedicated center speaker for HT, I have found after building Curt's Stentorians that I no longer use a dedicated center speaker. I even built his Sten II for center use and with even dead center listening, it does not compare to the phantom speaker the Stentorians create.

                    If your viewing seats are between the front L/R speakers, they will create a "phantom" center and sound in many cases better. It is only when you sit beyond the center of the speakers that you notice the sound coming from one or the other and not blending as a phantom center.

                    At a minimum, save the center speaker for the last build as you may find you don't really need one.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                      Originally posted by Singularity View Post
                      Thanks for your help Dan. I already looked at the Statements earlier and somehow overlooked the center. This is definitely a serious contender for what I'll be choosing and under my max budget at that. Do you have any other recommendations, especially maybe a speaker set that is a step up from the Statements? I won't necessarily go that route but I like to thoroughly research things so I'd like to have another to consider/compare to.

                      Thanks again,

                      Greg
                      It would be hard to step up from the Statements without a huge jump in price, and then I don't think you'd have a full suite of options for rear and center channels. Another option could be to pick an existing smaller 2-way design and use it for all 5 speakers (15" is a good amount of height for a 6-7" 2-way to stand vertically). You could then build a set of L/R subs to use for stands for the L/R mains or just stick with the current sub you have if you're happy with it. You could even get back to Zaph's ZRT if you resize the center channel to fit (I'd probably make it sealed with a 9" x 15ish" baffle and as deep as you can in the allotted space). Yes, changing the baffle shape will alter the sound a bit, but center channels always suffer from being surrounded by diffraction inducing structures anyway.

                      Dan
                      _____________________________
                      Tall Boys
                      NRNP Computer Sub
                      The Boxers
                      The Hurricanes
                      The Baronettes
                      Conneccentric
                      UX3

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                        Well then, looks like I'll most likely be picking between the Statements and Dynamics. I'm not fond the of using 5 smaller 2 ways idea personally. And the idea of using a Zaph ZRT as a center scares me. Changing the shape and having it way too close to the wall is 2 strikes against the intended design of such nice speakers. I'm afraid the result would possibly make it pointless to spend so much on the nice drivers.

                        The idea of using a phantom center does open a lot of possibilities including the option of the Zaph ZRT and substantial savings with one less speaker to build. But this is one of those cases where I'd hate to do it without hearing the result first hand and that probably isn't happening with the ZRT.

                        I'm not sure if you guys can help me further, unless someone has an answer to that distance question. What is that in reference to when people say distance from wall. I've seen some speaker placement graphs that seem to indicate from the mid point of the drivers but I've seen some other posts that seem to be referring to the back of the speaker enclosure.

                        Thanks again guys.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                          Originally posted by Singularity View Post

                          I'm not sure if you guys can help me further, unless someone has an answer to that distance question. What is that in reference to when people say distance from wall. I've seen some speaker placement graphs that seem to indicate from the mid point of the drivers but I've seen some other posts that seem to be referring to the back of the speaker enclosure.

                          Thanks again guys.
                          In the case of the Statements, I believe Jim recommends 12-18 inches between the rear of the speaker and the front wall. This is to allow ample room for the rear wave of the TL mid to reflect off the wall. Toe in will not help the reflected sound.

                          Have you seen Jim / Curt's Finalist design? Comparable to Statements in a smaller package. You can build them as towers if you prefer.

                          Marv

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                          • #14
                            Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                            Shouldn't be a surprise, here's a quaote from Curt "Important Note: Unlike many of my other MTM designs, the Sten II is not designed to provide acceptable performance when used on its side as a center channel speaker. Unless your worst seat in the house is within 10 degrees of on-axis, don't even consider it."



                            Originally posted by Uncle Bob View Post
                            After years of using a dedicated center speaker for HT, I have found after building Curt's Stentorians that I no longer use a dedicated center speaker. I even built his Sten II for center use and with even dead center listening, it does not compare to the phantom speaker the Stentorians create.

                            If your viewing seats are between the front L/R speakers, they will create a "phantom" center and sound in many cases better. It is only when you sit beyond the center of the speakers that you notice the sound coming from one or the other and not blending as a phantom center.

                            At a minimum, save the center speaker for the last build as you may find you don't really need one.
                            I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
                            OS MTMs http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=220388
                            Swope TM http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=221818
                            Econowave and Audio Nirvana AN10 fullrange http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=216841
                            Imperial Russian Stouts http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...=1#post1840444
                            LECBOS. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...ghlight=lecbos

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Advice on upgrades for Home Theater use

                              Originally posted by Singularity View Post
                              Well then, looks like I'll most likely be picking between the Statements and Dynamics. ...

                              The idea of using a phantom center does open a lot of possibilities including the option of the Zaph ZRT and substantial savings with one less speaker to build. But this is one of those cases where I'd hate to do it without hearing the result first hand and that probably isn't happening with the ZRT. ...

                              Thanks again guys.
                              If you want to hear the statements in a phantom center setup, I can help with that. ...but you have to be able to get to Iowa. If so, pm me.

                              Comment

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