Audio Equipment

Stereodude

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What kind of Bluetooth speakers did you try and how close were they? The Sony BT speakers I have (SRS-XB3) can easily overpower the noise from my shower for listening to music if I put it on the top of the glass "stall" wall pointing in with them blasting at some crazy volume. Heck, my tablet's speakers can easily be heard for listening to a podcast over the shower if placed in the same location.

My plan is to put marine grade rated car audio speakers in the ceiling over the shower and the sinks in the master bathroom for audio listening. I bought the speakers a while back, but I've finally gotten motivated and have been acquiring all the parts for the project. Right now I'm trying to buy a nice used Denon to power them and the eventual 15" sub I won't be able to resist putting in the ceiling too (I already have the sub driver and the amp).
 

LunarMist

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What kind of Bluetooth speakers did you try and how close were they? The Sony BT speakers I have (SRS-XB3) can easily overpower the noise from my shower for listening to music if I put it on the top of the glass "stall" wall pointing in with them blasting at some crazy volume. Heck, my tablet's speakers can easily be heard for listening to a podcast over the shower if placed in the same location.

My plan is to put marine grade rated car audio speakers in the ceiling over the shower and the sinks in the master bathroom for audio listening. I bought the speakers a while back, but I've finally gotten motivated and have been acquiring all the parts for the project. Right now I'm trying to buy a nice used Denon to power them and the eventual 15" sub I won't be able to resist putting in the ceiling too (I already have the sub driver and the amp).
I used one of the Sony speakers. Maybe it could overcome the water, but I'm not into "blasting at some crazy volume" early in the morning. :)
 

Stereodude

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None of them have much separation due to how close together the drivers are. IMHO, the XB40 sounds similar to the XB3. It can play a little louder though.
 

Stereodude

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I put up some acoustic panels on the back wall of my office / library at home over the weekend to minimize the acoustic reflections since my head is so close to the back wall. I also swapped out the Sherbourn PT-7200A pre-pro for a used Denon AVR-4520CI I picked up last week. I like Audyssey XT32 + the Dynamic EQ function. I really like what it did in my great room with my other Denon 4520CI that I've had for a few years which is what drove me to buy something with it for the office / library.



The perceptual difference is quite stark. Acoustically it's like the back wall isn't right there behind me anymore.

acoustic_panels_sm.jpg .
 
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Nice. I've gone a bit nuts with acoustic panels in the last 7 years or so. Adding more always seems to make things better. 30sqft+ in the office at this point. The wall closest and the wall behind (where the speakers are pointed) seem to make the most difference.
 

Stereodude

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Nice. I've gone a bit nuts with acoustic panels in the last 7 years or so. Adding more always seems to make things better. 30sqft+ in the office at this point. The wall closest and the wall behind (where the speakers are pointed) seem to make the most difference.
Generally you want to kill off all the first reflection points, so a panel or two on the ceiling, a panel or two on the side walls and the wall immediately behind the speaker. However, for 2 channel you'll end up deadening the room too much if you're not careful. You don't want to cover every wall with loads of absorption and want to use diffusion where helpful or necessary. If I was sitting further from the back wall I would have gone with diffusion on it instead of absorption. I can't treat the side walls in this room. The first reflection points are a set of glass double doors on one side and a window on the other. However they're better than a flat wall. The windows has blinds to diffuse the sound some and the glass door I leave open a few inches so it's really bouncing the sound elsewhere in the room. The ceiling I'm leaving alone for now. I plan to make absorptive panels to put behind the speakers on the front wall. One of them needs a hole for a light switch.
 
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Can you elaborate on "deadening the room too much"? I don't know a lot about this stuff, and my assumption was that I want the sound coming from my speakers.
 

Stereodude

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Can you elaborate on "deadening the room too much"? I don't know a lot about this stuff, and my assumption was that I want the sound coming from my speakers.
Not exactly. You want the sound to only come directly from your speakers. However, you don't want to make your room an anechoic chamber. For 2 channel music you don't want a totally dead room with no acoustic reflections. It perceptually won't sound right even if the speakers measure very well in it (for frequency response). If you've ever been to a concert hall or room designed for live audio production with minimal amplification you probably noted the room isn't dead (acoustically). There is some life to the room, it has some natural echoes & reverb. You pretty much only want to eliminate the first reflection points in a 2 channel room, but not more than that. So on the some of the wall behind the speakers, limited areas on the side walls (only first reflection points), first reflection points on the ceiling, and first reflection points on the back wall. The ceiling and rear wall may benefit from diffusion instead of absorption. Other indirect acoustic reflections that bounce around the room and eventually make it to your room aren't bad. They're what give the room ambience.

Every room is different. You could make a great 2 channel room that doesn't need treatment. It would just have to be a rather large room without parallel walls with a tall ceiling (2 stories or more) ideally not parallel to the floor with the speakers something like 8-10' from any wall. Then you'd sit near the center of the room which would place you closer to the speakers than any of the walls and you'd have a good start. A typical room isn't like that. They're much smaller. They have parallel surfaces. The speakers end up close to the walls. In a typical room if you have tile or hardwood floors the amount of absorption necessary is more than if you have carpet. The furniture in the room makes a difference too. A big plush fabric couch will absorb sound and not reflect it. Wood furniture does the opposite. There are general guidelines, not hard absolute rules.

You can do the clap test. In a totally reflective room like a typical bathroom with lots of hard surfaces if you clap your hands once you'll hear the room ring as the sound slowly dies out. If you clap your hands outside in an large open grassy area the clap sounds totally different to the bathroom. You will hear only the initial clap and no ringing or reflections. You want your listening room to be somewhere in between. There's a measurement for how lively/dead a room is. It's RT60. You measure the time for sound to decay to 60dB.

For Home Theater the liveliness of the room doesn't matter as much because much of the "ambience" of the audio content comes from the extra surround speakers. Overdeadening a room for HT use is likely to be less objectionable than under doing it. Still, it's best not to overdeaden a room for HT use.
 

Handruin

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I'm in the process of redoing my new office at home (changed rooms) and I was looking to revisit my audio config. I've been using the Emotiva Airmotiv 4s that I bought from DD several years back and they still work great. I was thinking of upgrading them to something else but I haven't yet decided what I want to do yet. I was considering the Adam AX8 or the Emotiva Stealth 8. I know that both of these have been used by SD and DD for some time now and I was wondering if either of you would still recommend them after extensive use or are their other powered monitors I should be considering for desk use? This will be 100% connected to my PC.

In addition to that I'd like to find a way to drive these with a smaller processor than my Marantz AV7005 which takes up significant desk space. I realize the word "drive" is not exactly correct because each of those monitors are self-amplified. I'd like something with a convenient volume adjustment and small-ish amount of desk space. I'm just not familiar enough with the combination of a DAC/processor that is commonly used with this type of monitor speaker. Would something like the Emotiva MC-700 make sense or maybe something like the Bel Canto DAC 2.7? This would also get me processing for my 15" sub.
 

Stereodude

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What do you mean by "desk use"? How close are you planning to sit to them? I wouldn't want to sit close to the Emotiva Stealth 8 if they haven't improved the amp from what's in my pair. They have an audible hiss that would be much more apparent if I were sitting closer.

Are you planning to run a 2.1 system or no subwoofer? If no sub I'd recommend a USB DAC headphone / pre-amp product like the Grace M9XX/M900. You mention a sub which makes things more complicated.
 

Handruin

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The desk use comment would mean they're sitting on a desk in front of me. I remember now that you mentioning the audible hiss back in your original assessment so if that hasn't been addressed it would be an issue for me as well.

I'm on the fence with the 2.0 vs 2.1 because of similar complications you've mentioned. There seems to be a sincere lack of 2.1 DAC/processors on the market for a reasonably affordable price which is why I had been using my AV7005 pre/pro for this task. The Marantz is bulky and takes up a lot of space which is why I'm looking into other options.
 

Stereodude

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I'm on the fence with the 2.0 vs 2.1 because of similar complications you've mentioned. There seems to be a sincere lack of 2.1 DAC/processors on the market for a reasonably affordable price which is why I had been using my AV7005 pre/pro for this task. The Marantz is bulky and takes up a lot of space which is why I'm looking into other options.
Why does it need to be on the desk? It has a remote so it seems like you can put it elsewhere in the room.
 
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I have the Adam A8X within 18" of each ear, with a 12" sub at my feet. The sound is incredible. I'm particularly impressed with the sound at very low volume levels; they can be as quiet as I can hear without any change of tone. Of course, they can also blast out the entire room if you like with equal clarity.
 

Stereodude

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Rough volume control is on the speakers and sub. Fine tuning is on the PC itself. No proper crossover; I let the monitors handle whatever they want and adjusted the sub to fill in where I thought it needed it.
Ugh... That would be a total non-starter for me. Proper bass redirection and a single volume control that keeps things balanced correctly is a must. Time alignment and dynamic EQ are like to have features also. Hence why I have a Denon AVR-4520CI driving my 2.1 system in my office/library.
 

Newtun

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Ugh... That would be a total non-starter for me. Proper bass redirection and a single volume control that keeps things balanced correctly is a must. Time alignment and dynamic EQ are like to have features also. Hence why I have a Denon AVR-4520CI driving my 2.1 system in my office/library.
Dude indeed! That unit costs more than the 3 PCs, 2 printers, and scanner in my office.
 
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I really don't want a full sized reciever in my office. The volume knob on the daskeyboard works fine. The rest would be nice, but I don't need an amp, either. Something the size of a paperback would be ideal.
 

Stereodude

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Dude indeed! That unit costs more than the 3 PCs, 2 printers, and scanner in my office.
Well, I bought it used for $350 from a guy I know locally. My other Denon AVR-4520CI that I'm using in my Great Room to drive my 7.1 system I bought was new, but was a closeout at $1100.

I really don't want a full sized reciever in my office. The volume knob on the daskeyboard works fine. The rest would be nice, but I don't need an amp, either. Something the size of a paperback would be ideal.
Unfortunately you can't get anything like the feature set I want in anything with that sort of form factor. Hence the full size Denon receiver that I use as a pre-pro. It's out of my way, so the size isn't really a factor.
 

Handruin

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Seems like there really is no good small form factor option for a 2.1 setup. From what I've read and heard from everyone here, anything I pick up for this task will be a downgrade from my Marantz AV7005 for proper bass management and single volume control. I'm sure there are better 2.1 processors for more money, but the form factor won't be any better. I think I'll just find a way to locate it in my office and use the remote like SD suggested. I suspect that moving it farther away should be ok with the balanced cables.
 

Handruin

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Bro...the price tag alone is far too large for my economic dimensions. What's with this £4000 ($5200 USD) price tag!? I enjoy your spirit here but it doesn't do what I want at that price tag. No balanced outputs at this price? My Marantz offers more functionality at less than 1/3 the price...and it's probably 7 years old. lol
 

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There"s no shortcut to the perfect sound ;) The basic function is to get great sound, if you can't get that, every other function is a waste. But it looks like it actually has balanced XLR outputs?

Unfortunately I can't afford one myself. :(
 

DrunkenBastard

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Seems like there really is no good small form factor option for a 2.1 setup. From what I've read and heard from everyone here, anything I pick up for this task will be a downgrade from my Marantz AV7005 for proper bass management and single volume control. I'm sure there are better 2.1 processors for more money, but the form factor won't be any better. I think I'll just find a way to locate it in my office and use the remote like SD suggested. I suspect that moving it farther away should be ok with the balanced cables.
I can recommend the Audioengine HD6 active speakers (amp in left channel speaker, passive connection to right speaker). It has RCA and toslink spdif inputs, in addition to Bluetooth aptx. Comes with remote control for volume, mute and power. Has rca outs for a subwoofer, I use mine with a PSA 15S sealed sub. It doesnt generate a .1 channel tho, so I just set the subs plate amp crossover to around 60Hz. Quite surprising sound quality for the price, obviously one can get more capabilty for more money. They were my primary left and right speakers in my home theater until I upgraded to diysoundgroup Titans. They now provide sound for the tv upstairs, where I dont have room for massive speakers and a pre-processor/power amp configuration.

Wife likes it because its simple to use, and she can stream audio from her phone/tablet via the Bluetooth if shes not using it via optical from a PS4.
 

Handruin

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I'm in the planning stages of building a new home theater. I was curious on the opinions of a few items but first I wanted to ask about the center channel and the pros/cons of using a full range tower that is identical in make/model to the left and right channel versus a specific center channel style speaker.

For example, if I was hypothetically considering three of the SVS Prime Pinnacle towers to use as Left, Center, and Right...is this a bad idea when compared to using their center channel speaker?

I'm also trying to weigh the pros/cons of the SVS Prime Pinnacle versus the Emotiva Airmotiv T1 or T2's, as well as the ELAC Uni-fi UF5 and any others that might make for comparable speakers for the same task. I've also seen a mixture of people suggesting Chane A5.4 for the same task but the company may be unreliable. I also plan to match speaker timbre for sides and rear.
 

Stereodude

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Three identical speakers is the best solution, but most people can't accommodate that. Hence center channels.

I've only heard the Airmotiv series of the ones you're looking at. I was quite impressed how good they were for the money. I've heard some ELAC speakers, but not those. The ELAC speakers are quite inefficient which would give me some pause depending on how loudly you listen and what you plan to drive them with. Also, be aware of the fact that the Emotiva and ELAC speakers are both 4 ohm.
 

Handruin

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That's what I had thought but wasn't sure if an additional main speaker might cause imaging issues. I know there are a ton of factors such as the room, distances, etc to account for. Having a full range tower as a center may be a bit overkill but wanted to ask.

I see what you mean by the efficiency rating on the ELACs. I didn't look at that until now. I knew about the 4ohm and wasn't that concerned but still good to consider.

Have you heard anything good/bad about the SVS line of speakers? They seems to have a decent following but I don't know anywhere or anyone local that has them to give them a try. I see they have a decent 45 day return policy so I could demo them in home first. I'm also considering height speakers and they offer Prime version of an elevated angled height speaker which is convenient and interesting.

What other brands are worth considering for a dedicated HT in the $500-$1000 range per speaker?
 

Stereodude

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Have you heard anything good/bad about the SVS line of speakers? They seems to have a decent following but I don't know anywhere or anyone local that has them to give them a try. I see they have a decent 45 day return policy so I could demo them in home first. I'm also considering height speakers and they offer Prime version of an elevated angled height speaker which is convenient and interesting.
I haven't heard anything either way. I'm sure there are lots of happy owners.

What other brands are worth considering for a dedicated HT in the $500-$1000 range per speaker?
I'm not sure. I haven't followed speakers that closely for the past 10 years or so. Have you checked out the speaker section of AVSforum?

If you like DIY, diysoundgroup has some very nice speakers kits in those ranges (or less).
 

Handruin

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That's fair. I have browsed a bit over at avs but there's so much info and so many options. I thought you stayed fairly up to date but it sounds like you're not following speakers as much as in the past.

I haven't heard of diysoundgroup but I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.
 

Stereodude

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That's fair. I have browsed a bit over at avs but there's so much info and so many options. I thought you stayed fairly up to date but it sounds like you're not following speakers as much as in the past.
I have way too many speakers as it is. I have nowhere else to put speakers and I don't have any itch to replace them all. I'm in the midst of adding Atmos to my great room (using DIYSG Volt-10 speakers). As a result it's hard to justify the effort to stay up on them.

I haven't heard of diysoundgroup but I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.
Yeah, there's a pile of companies out there. Here's another: https://www.powersoundaudio.com/collections/speakers

Ultimately, you need to hear them and find out which ones have the sound you're after (though Audyssey or similar room correction minimizes some of the differences in them). In the past owners of the internet direct speakers would often let prospective buyers audition their speakers at their house. That's probably still the case. If you find the respective owner's thread for the brand you're after you could ask if anyone in your area has the speakers from the series you're after who would be willing to let you hear them. I'd expect you'd get an offer or two.
 
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DrunkenBastard

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That's fair. I have browsed a bit over at avs but there's so much info and so many options. I thought you stayed fairly up to date but it sounds like you're not following speakers as much as in the past.

I haven't heard of diysoundgroup but I'll check it out. Thanks for the tip.
Doug, will you be going with a perforated screen in front of your tower center? Its definitely the way to go if you dont have to compromise with a horizontal center channel under your display.

If you have the room I would recommend the diysoundgroup Titan 615lx, you can buy the crossover preassembled, you just have to glue up the bass bin flat pack and waveguide bracket, all up with flat packs, waveguide bracket and prebuilt crossover should still be less than $800 each. They image very well so if its just you sitting perfectly centered they do work well with a phantom center. Also had good experience with the power sound audio 210C if you didn't want to assemble yourself, they have the 210T towers as well.

You'd want some subs with either the diy or oem options. Multiple Dayton um18-22 ultimax 18" drivers are a good value in a 4 cuft sealed box, depends on how much volume you have in your designated room. If its a larger space you may want to switch to ported for the efficiency gains.

Both the Titan and the PSA 210 are very efficient speakers and can get up to very high volume level with a handful of watts.
 
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