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GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 27, 2018
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I’ve been working on my setups for about a year and half, going slowly and testing different concepts, layouts, and equipment, while always chasing the best possible performance to price ratio. My design challenge: I have a large bonus room above my garage that is very nice and spacious, but kind of awkward to utilize.  The door opening into the middle of the room on one side was surprisingly difficult to deal with because it essentially meant that the flow of the room had to allow for a large open space down the middle. Making good use of the space around the door was the key to taking full advantage of the room. While I don’t bow to the whole “my wife won’t let me…” thing, I do have a family of five and lots of friends, guests, parties, etc., so I also wanted to make the space inviting and visually appealing, not a black foam-covered studio. So here’s what I landed on:
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I basically turned the space into three separate “rooms”: a home theater, a chill-out listening area, and a retro video game area. While the video game zone is cheap, retro-cool, I think folks here would be mostly interested in the other two. For this post I’ll focus on the home theater. Functionality: Seats 9 adults comfortably, and easily handled a gaggle of 10 pre-teen girls for a sleepover. Drinks and snacks work out fine, and the clutter fighting storage works for blankets, blu-rays, remotes, and all the other little stuff that goes along with a theater, without looking too bulky or having a mess of cables.
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Components: 65” LG C7 OLED TV; Denon AVR-X4300H Receiver; Klipsch Reference Premiere 7.2.2 speakers(RP-280F fronts, RP-450C center, RP250S surrounds, RP-160M rears, R-112SW subs, & CDT-5800-CII in ceiling); Samsung  UBD K8500 UHD Blu-ray player; XBOX One X;  Sony CDP-CE 500 CD changer; TEAC TN-400 turntable (just upgraded – my old TN-200 is in the pictures), Sennheiser RS-160 wireless headphones (x4).
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Performance: The outcome has been fantastic. Best picture quality I’ve ever experienced, and my home theater sounds MUCH better than any of the actual movie theaters near me. When it comes to movies, just as with music, the mastering and source quality are critical. This setup does a nice job bringing out the potential of every soundtrack. Clear dialogue, enveloping ambiance, excellent localization, and room-shaking explosions all play clearly if they are in the mix. Lessons Learned: The biggest lesson I learned was the value of acoustic treatment. While the Audyssey room correction on the Denon definitely helped, finding creative and attractive ways to treat the room itself made a huge difference. I’m not exaggerating when I say that it gave the system at least a 50% performance boost. 
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By addressing the acoustics of the room, the inherent clarity of the system stands out. The stereo soundstage, already a strength of the Klipsch’s, became almost 3D. One of the first things I do when people ask to see my system (and sometimes I have to hint A LOT to get them to ask 😊) is play a well-mastered stereo tune. To a person they’ve all commented on what a big difference the surround sound makes with music – even though it’s only playing from the two fronts. I’ve had people literally walk around touching the other speakers in disbelief to verify that they aren’t playing. And with a well-mastered movie soundtrack, the experience is even more amazing, creating a completely immersive experience.  Cool Stuff: And for the finishing touch, I added Hue lighting throughout the room, which provides great visual ambiance options for movies, music, or whatever we’re doing.
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This takes concert DVDs/Blu-rays to a whole new level as well. It’s hard to get the full effect with a phone camera, but the video below provides a hint of how the pulsing lights give you an awesome “you are there” experience with concerts (give it about 30 secs.) https://youtu.be/DS0wLElV2jg I’ll do a run-through of my listening station on in another post, but right now I think I need to put one of those seizure disclaimers on door of the theater.
Oct 27, 2018
rastus
830
Oct 27, 2018
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Not showing my theater room above the garage,, but it does have Klipsch's. Damn nice what you did, great 3D trick...
Oct 27, 2018
Megazine
465
Oct 28, 2018
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Looks really great. Seems you made a very wide sound. Why are your side speakers pointed in an angle? I'm surprised you don't have them directly on the Sid of your ears? From what I understand, picture audio production are recorded for the side-surround-speakers sound, to travel towards the side of our heads. I love the lighting and design of the room. The table is dope, since you can eat or be on your computer while watching a video. Great job and great post.
Oct 28, 2018
pslayer1
222
Oct 28, 2018
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Fantastic space. Thumbs up!
Oct 28, 2018
GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 28, 2018
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Thanks man, appreciate it!
Oct 28, 2018
GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 28, 2018
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Thanks! You nailed it on the wide sound description. The field is very deep, and dome-like when listening to a good Atmos track or even a 5.1 or 7.1 track (the new upmixing techniques from Dolby and DTS are surprisingly good with the older tracks). The side speakers are actually positioned exactly where you expected them to be, though I completely understand why you asked. Klipsch's side speakers are two sided, but there is no way you could tell that from the camera angle. The premise is that they fill up the center of the room with a more enveloping sound since the side channels are often less directional than the fronts and rears (though they work well for directionality too). Here's what they look like head on:
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Oct 28, 2018
erickong
3875
Audiophile Moderator
Oct 28, 2018
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This is awesome! Saving Private Ryan, hands down my favorite war movie
Oct 28, 2018
GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 29, 2018
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Thanks, man! Not only is Saving Private Ryan my favorite movie, it's also one of a limited number of older movies that is fully worth the UHD upgrade.
Oct 29, 2018
DenonFanboy
691
Oct 29, 2018
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Very nice dude, u have impeccable taste! My only suggestions would be sound absorption on the ceiling arches where the sound reflects from the towers to the sofa and a Emotiva A-5175 amp. The reason for the power amp is because u have 9 speakers running off a 125w RMS x 2 receiver, that's around 25w RMS x 9 when all the speakers are working simultaneously. In heavy surround scenes like in Private Ryan the final standoff when everything is blowing up around you, the power amp will definitely make things sound a bit cleaner and more dynamic during these high stress scenes, leave no performance left on the table! Nice setup!
Oct 29, 2018
Ociano_Rules
1
Oct 30, 2018
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That's incredible!!!
Oct 30, 2018
Megazine
465
Oct 30, 2018
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You made a great point. I went through the same fate. I have 4, FXiA6 side and rear speakers, as well as two tower speakers, and a large center channel speaker. Although my receiver is a $1600 Pioneer Elite, it doesn’t offer the power for a full 7.1 sound, even at that price; an amp is required.
Oct 30, 2018
ElectronicVices
1995
Oct 30, 2018
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I've not found a receiver that can hold a candle to a quality outboard amp. The emotiva offerings are certainly worth their asking price. I've had a UPA-2 in my system in one way or another for around a decade, as well as a pair of XPA-100 monoblocks for my L/R. I still use the receiver for surround duties.
Oct 30, 2018
GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 31, 2018
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Thanks man, appreciate the kind words! While I understand your argument for external amplification, from my focus on cost/performance ratio, I respectfully disagree.  Here’s where I’m coming from. My rule of thumb calculation yields roughly 39W of power per channel for nine channels on the Denon, but I’m ok using 25W. I typically listen to movies (and music for that matter) in the 80dB range according to my trusty SPL meter – need to keep my ears (and the kids’) in good shape. But let’s leave about 25dB of headroom for dynamic range and the occasional rock-out session.  The Klipsch’s run at 8ohms, between 95-98db/W sensitivity, depending on the speaker. Using the least sensitive of them, I get to 107db with just 16W of power. Now, keeping in mind that there are two powered subs handling the heavy lift below 80hz, the scenario where I even begin to worry is one where all 9 remaining speakers simultaneously need to sustain more than 107dB, roughly the sound of 9 chainsaws operating at full power.  Aside from the fact that that's not a realistic scenario, I’ve left the room long before that happens. I’ve been at this game long enough to identify clipping and distortion when I hear it. I’ve listened to many high intensity soundtracks on the system at this point, and the real-world experience is that it can handle anything that I throw at it, without even breaking a sweat - no clipping, no distortion and all that pristine Klipsch transparency intact.  So while I have no doubt that adding an external amp could bump the performance up a bit, the Denon/Klipsch combo is no slouch. At this level of system, the Pareto principle is already in full effect. That last few percent of potential performance gets really expensive to pursue, not just in straight cash, but in opportunity cost as well. That said, I’m glad there are people who do pursue it. They drive a lot of the advancement that has led to great quality in mainstream gear like mine. On the acoustic treatments on the angled wall, you came very close to hitting one of my annoyances square on the head. Between the focus of the Klipsch horns, and the angle of the wall, the energy from that potential reflection point on the sloped walls fires well overhead of the seating position (you can’t see it in these pictures, but I actually put a panel at the back of the room near the ceiling to absorb this energy and tame a nasty slap echo). But the light fixture on the ceiling is dead in the middle of the reflection point for the center speaker. I tell myself the fixture is really just a small diffuser and move on with life :)
Oct 31, 2018
GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 31, 2018
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I shared my thinking on the external amping in my response to DFB above. While I completely get the sentiment, that was one of the easier decisions. I’m a bit surprised people didn’t focus on the bigger picture questions that I actually had to make tough choices on, like 7.2.2 vs. 5.2.4 or not going to a full 7.2.4 setup. Those were actually the tough ones :)
Oct 31, 2018
DenonFanboy
691
Oct 31, 2018
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Well I’ll say u pretty much just schooled me right there, I can tell by the way your setup is done up that nothing in that room is an accident.
Oct 31, 2018
GunsOfBrixton
842
Oct 31, 2018
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No accidents, but plenty of compromises :). And no schooling in a negative way intended. I took the time to write out my thinking for the people who might be coming down the road. MD seems to be trying to address the HT market more lately, and you really do need to plan in depth for a good result. For example, if I had just said, ooh that copper and black looks cool, but they had 85dB sensitivity instead of 95, then my post would have been more like, hey I spent a ton of money on all this stuff, why does the sound cut out during the explosions? I've learned a lot from the headphone experts around here, so hopefully this pays something back.
Oct 31, 2018
ElectronicVices
1995
Oct 31, 2018
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Your stance on separate amps is pretty spot on, the one thing people lose sight of when considering the benefit of additional wattage is amp linearity and distortion. Distortion increases as you demand more wattage from your amplifier, if you are running at the the limit of what your amp is rated it will often be pushed into a less than ideal level of distortion and signal linearity. Think of it like an average person lifting a set of weights, while many can do it they will struggle. A weightlifter will be able to move the same weight with much less strain. Klipsch is pretty darn efficient so they may not benefit much from the extra wattage but an outboard amp provides benefits outside of simple horsepower.
Oct 31, 2018
StreetTwin70
1
Jul 18, 2019
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Sick setup! Can i get some recommendations for my Media Room? I can provide the dimensions and details of the room. I can also provide what was suggested to me by the medial pro suggested by the home builder. I would like to have something built like this BAD ASS! :)
Jul 18, 2019
GunsOfBrixton
842
Jul 19, 2019
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Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. It's only gotten better since I posted this. I'd be happy to make some recommendations, and in the old Massdrop discussion world, you'd have had a half dozen other knowledgeable people weighing in as well. We'll see if that still happens.
Jul 19, 2019
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