Ideal speaker set-up to use with an RX-v577 Receiver

Cardamom

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Dear All,

I am presently building my house, and am looking for guidance towards the "right" speaker set-up for my eventual stereo needs. We won’t watch so many films inside – mostly, the system is for nice-quality background music. But sometimes, it’s nice to party also, and I'd the the luxury of the best sound possible given my space.

About the indoor space: it's a large common room (combined kitchen/living-room) 19ft x 30ft, with 9'5" ceilings. Floors will be hardwood, walls are plastered bricks, with a considerable amount of sliding glass doors. In most of the space, While I'm unconvinced how desirable they would be,,in-ceiling speakers would be possible in the narrow 6in clearance I'll have above the sheetrock.

So, first off, thanks so much for bearing with my long message and detailed questions. I've been trying to figuring this out myself, but I've never done it before and have lots of doubts. For a start, I don't know how to calculate how much power I'll need for my space, nor how that relates to my receiver's output wattage, nor what impedance has to do with my choices.

As for my present kit: I already have a Yamaha Receiver (RX-V577), and a pair of out-door speakers (Yamaha NS-AW294) for an outdoor "Zone B." I'm writing now, specifically, about speakers for the main (indoor) listening area.

Already, Yamaha's receiver specs are written quite confusingly:

115 W per channel (8 ohms, 1 kHz, 0.9% THD, 1-ch driven)
80 W per channel (8 ohms, 20 Hz-20 kHz, 0.09% THD, 2-ch driven)

I suppose the relevant information here is the 2nd line (since I'll be running a pair of wires to each speaker), which means I've only got 80 W per speaker [Please correct me if I'm wrong]. This is actually a bit less than I'd imagined I'd be getting, and I'm worried that I'm now underpowered for the space (over 5000 ft3). Do I worry for nothing?

In any case, since this is the receiver I have for now, do I understand correctly that I can use speakers that are rated for no more than 80W of nominal input, or maximum input (at 8 ohms)? Assuming a separate sub-woofer, how many such speakers would I need for my space? Which makes/models/specs would you suggest? And at 50W/100W (nominal/maximum) input, are the outdoor speakers I've bought appropriate for use with this receiver?

Layout of the space (and possible speaker placement): the front of the room is bound by a 19' wall, made entirely of sliding glass panels. In the corners above these, there is place for two front-channel speakers to hang on the walls. The opposites corners of the room are filled with an L-shaped kitchen, (on one side) and an L-shaped wooden staircase (on the other). If a center (and/or rear-channel) speaker(s) are needed, I could find places for them along that back wall.

There is also space (and power) for a sub-woofer beneath the staircase. While not strictly ideal, the side of the staircase is fully open to the room, so I hope it will still contribute as I'd like. Do you think this could be a viable solution? If so, in light of the rest of my kit, which model would you suggest? Of course, if you think under-stair placement is a recipe for disappointment - please, could you tell me why that's the case? Also - what on earth does down-firing, rear-firing or front-firing have to do with my choice?

Another question: Is there any way that in-ceiling speakers would be a better option? A priori I'd thought not - since people don't have ears on top of their heads. But manufacturers do produce an awful lot of these in-ceiling models, so maybe I'm thinking about this wrong. What are your thoughts?

Thanks so much in advance for any and all advice/suggestions you can make. I really appreciate the help.

(By the way - the system is for installation in Brazil, but to get better quality components at a reasonable price, I'll buy it all in the US. This is cost-effective, but leaves no margin for error, as returns are basically impossible).
 
1. The more speakers connected to the receiver the less power it can produce in total due to power supply limitations. 1 channel driven means only one speaker playing, 2 channels means 2 speakers playing. That receiver doesn't even give real power figures when used in surround sound with 5 or 7 speakers. The power may be as little at 30-40 watts per speaker at 8 ohms. Not a lot for a big room but won't hurt to try it. If you get speakers with lower impedance ( 4-6 ohms) the receiver will make a bit more power.
2. If you are doing surround sound the optimum placement of the front speakers would be the wall where the TV was placed. In wall would be fine. The surround speakers could go in the ceiling or the walls.
3. The sub could go in the location you suggest. It should be front firing only. If you get a subwoofer with room correction built in that would compensate for any placement issues. A new receiver could have room correction.
4. For background listening you think of speakers are light fixtures. You want an even spread of sound so there are no loud spots. In ceiling work well for this just like in ceiling light fixtures do for light. Surround sound is directional (front, center, side, rear) so optimal placement is often impossible in many room, In ceiling speakers work pretty well for the surround side and rears but in wall, on wall or box speakers are better for the front three, Given the high ceilings in ceiling front would not work well.
5. Your room could work with a 7.1 system. You would need an additional amp for the outside speakers in zone two.
 
1. The more speakers connected to the receiver the less power it can produce in total due to power supply limitations. 1 channel driven means only one speaker playing, 2 channels means 2 speakers playing. That receiver doesn't even give real power figures when used in surround sound with 5 or 7 speakers. The power may be as little at 30-40 watts per speaker at 8 ohms. Not a lot for a big room but won't hurt to try it. If you get speakers with lower impedance ( 4-6 ohms) the receiver will make a bit more power.
2. If you are doing surround sound the optimum placement of the front speakers would be the wall where the TV was placed. In wall would be fine. The surround speakers could go in the ceiling or the walls.
3. The sub could go in the location you suggest. It should be front firing only. If you get a subwoofer with room correction built in that would compensate for any placement issues. A new receiver could have room correction.
4. For background listening you think of speakers are light fixtures. You want an even spread of sound so there are no loud spots. In ceiling work well for this just like in ceiling light fixtures do for light. Surround sound is directional (front, center, side, rear) so optimal placement is often impossible in many room, In ceiling speakers work pretty well for the surround side and rears but in wall, on wall or box speakers are better for the front three, Given the high ceilings in ceiling front would not work well.
5. Your room could work with a 7.1 system. You would need an additional amp for the outside speakers in zone two.
 

Cardamom

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Dear americanaudiophile,

Thanks so much for the detailed reply. If you don't mind, though, I have a few more doubts. Please find these detailed in the comments/questions I've inserted to your response below:


At first, your reply totally scared me that I had gravely erred in my receiver purchase. To double-check, I've found the full published specs for this receiver (direct from Yamaha) as follows:

Channels: 7.2
Rated Output Power (1kHz, 1ch driven): 115 W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD)
Rated Output Power (1kHz, 2ch driven): 95 W (8 ohms, 0.9% THD)
Rated Output Power (20Hz-20kHz, 2ch driven): 80 W (8 ohms, 0.09% THD)
Dynamic Power per Channel (8/6/4/2 ohms): 120 / 140 / 170 / 190 W

Can I take some solace from the bolded line above that I'll have more than just 30-40w per speaker at 8ohm? Or am I still mis-reading this [admittedly, a distinct possibility]? Worst case - I can sell the Yamaha and start over... Would be a pity to compound the error of an under-powered receiver by adding a bunch of under-powered speakers!


It's not really a home-cinema set-up... so a full surround experience isn't relevant. But we would like proper stereo sound.


Thanks for the reassurance. Front firing it is then - with a "room correction" if I can find it. Can you suggest a make/model? And given my receiver (presuming I keep it), what wattage & impedance should I look for?


Light fixtures are a helpful analogy, but - forgive me - I'm still a bit confused. On the one hand, since full surround experience isn't an issue, I take it that ceiling speakers might be a good solution. But on the other hand, because of my room-height (9 1/2"), ceiling speakers might not work super well.

Striking a balance between these perspectives, I could install a pair of wall-mounted speakers in the front corners of the room, while to ensure good sound in the rear, I could add-in an additional wall-mounted speaker, or alternatively a pair of in-ceiling speakers. Would that make sense - given our desire to enjoy stereophonic music? And as for the sub-woofer: Can you suggest a make/model, and given my existing receiver, what wattage & impedance should I look for?


With the additional specs provided - do you still think I'll need an additional amp for zone 2?

Thanks so much for your time and expertise. I really and truly appreciate it.
 

ien2222

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A few questions here, first how much are you looking to spend (before shipping) also, it sounds like you're wanting a 2.1 system (two main speakers plus a sub) and I just want to make sure of that. As for shipping, are you dependent upon the seller to do the shipping, or will you have your own method setup for shipping? And is there any size limitations for the speakers and sub?

So, first don't worry too much about wattage, speakers and amps don't have to match and neither has to be more than the other. You can run 500watt max rms speakers on a 20watt amp or the other way around, what matters is if you are running either past it's rated specs. Any suggestions you'll get will have max power handling well above your AVR's in this case. As for your outdoor speakers, they won't be the loudest but if they aren't distorting when you are playing them, then I don't see any problems if you like them.

I'd skip ceiling speakers, they are sort of a last resort option, unless the goal is some sort of whole house ambient situation that needs to blend well moving from room to room.

Putting a sub into an semi-enclosed space isn't recommended, there are a couple of things happening but the end result is that the sub will most likely have a boomy quality to it, certain frequencies will be greatly increased in volume and others will be severely decreased. You can try it, but I'd plan on having it in the room and have at least a couple of spots in mind as placement is crucial for subs.

As far as the room itself, you have a lot of very reflective surfaces. I would suggest adding things to the room to help absorb sound; throw rug, heavy curtains/drapes, acoustic panels on the walls (which can be disguised as art). This probably isn't feasible, but I wanted to at least make you aware of it since it'll affect the sound quality of any speaker you end up using.

Edit: Sorry, I thought I sent this last night, but guess I forgot to post it before I went to bed.
 

Cardamom

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Dear ien2222,

Thanks also for your reply. My answers to your questions are as follows:

a) Shipping isn't an issue, since I can collect the items when I pass through Miami (work obliges quite frequently). Weight/size limits are same as airline baggage allowance. For customs purposes, budget is limited to us$500 per trip. For the indoor speakers + subwoofer, I guess one trip (or at most, two) would do the job, non?

b) As for 2.1 or more: if 2 front speakers plus a sub would do the job, I'd be happy with that. But if room size suggests that something in the rear would also be needed an extra speaker or two (wired as a back pair, or a center speaker) could also be included. Ideally, sound would be of decent stereo quality in both ends of the space.

c) At first, I thought I was worrying too much about wattage - but the comments from americanaudiophile have now spooked me about the suitability of my receiver for the space I have. As for the rated specs of the Amp I do have, see my previous for more detail. In my case: what are the outside wattage limits I should consider for the speakers (and at which impedance)? I don't want to overheat things.

d) For the the outdoor speakers, all we can do is give them a shot.

e) For ceiling speakers, skepticism noted, and shared. Only a last resort.

f) For the sub placement: since it needs power, I don't have a lot of options... but will try to think of some other possibilities.

g) For surfaces - acoustic panels might not be so impossible... will keep it in mind as we move forward, thanks.
 

ien2222

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Hey,

Your welcome.

a) Never had to work with what you could take on planes before, no worries though, however I need a couple of clarifications. First we will be limited to bookshelves which I'm sure you were expecting, but in case the speakers you are looking at are packed as pairs are you able to repackage since it might go over the 62 inch limitation? Then, is the $500 per trip the total amount brought back, or per item/bag? Right now I'm assuming total which means you'll want to split the speakers and sub into 2 trips. Also for the weight, I just want to make sure that to Brazil it's 70lb instead of the 50lb to most other places, for the speakers it won't matter, but it could for the sub.

b) I would start with 2 speakers (plus sub), since you said you'd prefer to keep the stereo positioning, adding more speakers as main left/right on the other side of the room will detract from that . However, if you are interested there is something to be said for multichannel audio or even surround matrixing to an extent.

c) It's not a particularly powerful AVR, but it's probably sufficient. When you are looking at speakers, you'll see a sensitivity rating for it, such as 89dB, 89dB/w/meter, or 89dB/2.83volts/meter. They all mean...mostly the same thing: If you play them using roughly one watt of power, they will play with a loudness (spl or sound pressure level) of 89dB at one meter from the speaker (on axis meaning straight out in front, usually at the level of the tweeter).

So, starting off at one watt it's pretty loud as most speakers have a sensitivity above 87dB. Then for every +3db you double the power or -3db it's half the power. So, for an average speaker or 89dB, at +18db which means it's playing at 107dB it takes 64watts, which is under the 80wpc your AVR produces. If you have zone 2 playing at the same time you might be looking at 50wpc which means you could do +15dB at 32watts so it's playing at 104dB at one meter.

This is best case scenario, other factors come into play where you won't get quite as much out of a speaker than that, however it'll be close. As you can see, it'll play most speakers quite loud, definitely more than sufficient for ambient music.

f) It's something to keep in mind anyways. Sub placement is very much an art, how it interacts with everything is just something at can't quite be planned out. It may work under the stairs, but have other options available.
 

Cardamom

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This is all very helpful already, thanks again!.

My responses to your questions are as follows:

a) For transport: no problem to repackage. 70lbs per bag is the limit, as is 62" in overall size. The customs limit is us$500 total per trip.

b) Two bookshelf speakers + a sub was also what I'd initially imagined - and it's reassuring you also think it's viable. I (obviously) don't know much about multichannel audio (and even less about surround matrixing) - but if it would make for drastic improvements in my sound quality, I'd be keen to learn more.

c) A relief as well that the AVR will probably do the job. (Would have been tough explaining to the wife why I was replacing our brand-new receiver before even hooking it up!) As for which speakers to choose, I'm still a bit lost in the weeds. 2-way or 3-way? In addition to sensitivity, there's also something called frequency response - that I gather is also important. Could you please suggest some models (or at least parameter ranges) that would work for me? I'd be very grateful.

 

ien2222

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Hey,

Ok, I'll get a list together, normally people don't have such strict limitations so I'll have to run though a list of speakers and subs to see which ones are feasible. I'm a bit busy here this weekend but I should have some good suggestions by monday or tuesday.
 

Cardamom

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Thanks so much for taking the time, whenever you have the time. My next trip to Miami is only in early-March, so I have a few weeks still to put in an order for items to be delivered to my hotel there...


 

ien2222

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Hey,

The diagram did help out to see what's going on. And as a side note, that's a pretty nice view you have there.

There's a couple of things I forgot to mention before, since you may end up spending a decent amount of money I wanted to let you know as far as expectations go.

The first is; as you go up in frequency, the more it wants to beam from a point source such as a tweeter. What that means is that most of the energy will be directed straight out along the axis of the tweeter and will fall off faster as you move off-axis. Because of this, usually you want the tweeter at ear level or average ear level throughout the room to give you the best response over the most area.

Since you will be placing the speakers higher up and pointed down into the room, you'll have a larger area of the room that will be off-axis. This probably won't matter much(if at all) since critical listening wasn't part of your criteria just background listening mostly. Also, even if you do notice it in the beginning, you may find that after a while you'll get used to it.

At the other end of the spectrum, as you go lower, the more even the energy is radiated in all directions. This creates a problem where low frequencies are "seeing" the whole room since that energy is dissipated throughout the whole room. The end result is that the larger the room, the more more you need from your sub to stay even with the mids and highs. You have a very large space at over 5400 cubic feet which usually comes with expensive recommendations. However, this is again mitigated by the fact that you are looking at ambiance mostly.

Neither of these may really affect you given your goals, but I wanted you to at least be aware of them.

So, subs is the easy part. You have a large room with a $500 limit and that really narrows the options. I have 2 in mind, maybe three depending on the circumstances.

First is the Hsu Research VTF-1 MK2 sub at $459.

http://www.hsuresearch.com/subwoofers.html

I think this is your best option. It's a variable tuning sub that allows you to select a little bit more output above 30Hz at the expense of lower extension or you can tune it the other way around. Regardless at this price point we are going to sacrifice output under 30Hz. For general music it won't matter that much, most content will at most play down to 35Hz. The exceptions would be pipe organ music and certain electronica music where they are using synth to play really low. Also, it'll affect that low end rumble you get when watching movies.

The maybe would be the VTF-2 MK4 sub at $559.
This is a more capable sub that will level the content between 20Hz and 30Hz with the higher frequencies over 30Hz to a greater extent than the VTF-1. You'd want this if you are looking for that lower end extension. The problem here is the price since it's over $500, however one of the speakers I was going to mention is the HB-1 MK2 by them. As a package 2.1 system maybe they could invoice it at $500 and then invoice the speakers the difference. It's something you could ask them.

The other sub I was thinking about is the SVS PB-1000 at $499.

http://www.svsound.com/collections/ported-subwoofers/products/pb-1000

It's comparable to the VTF-1, the differences are that you lose the variable tuning and I believe it has a lower total output above 30Hz but you gain more lower end extension. I'm thinking with the large room you may want the total output of the VTF-1 for parties, but if you're looking for that lower end extension and it's not possible to get the VTF-2, this could be a good choice.

As an alternative to purchasing a sub, you could build your own cabinet and purchase the other components (driver, posts, wiring, amp) separately. This will get you more sub for the money since you don't have to worry about the price of the cabinet and labor for assembly and finishing contributing towards the $500 limit.

I'm running out of time here and need to go, I'll finish posting tomorrow.

 

Cardamom

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Thanks for all this so far. Lots to think about.

Already, I've had a look at the three subs you suggested, and one difference that jumps out is that both the HSU models are down-firing, while the SVS is front-firing.

Given what you know of my intended placement - and the preponderance of hard surfaces (glass/hardwood/plaster) in my space - what should I make of this difference in my deliberations?
 

ien2222

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As far as the hard surfaces goes, that doesn't matter much as it'll affect front firing and down firing subs the same. What could matter is the shape of that corner, unfortunately there is no way of telling if one will be better than the other except to have both subs there to test which isn't feasible. If it's going to be under the lower level steps, the front firing will give you the best odds. If it's under the higher level steps it may not matter that much.

Do the stairs begin in the middle (by the entrance to the hallway) and go up as you move to the side of the house? On your diagram, that would be ground level where the center "? speaker" is and the top of the stairs would be above the sub placement? If this is the case and it's all open at that spot then forward or downward probably won't matter much.

Now for the speakers. Usually I recommend mostly internet direct brands in the $200-$1500/pair range, I think that the best performance to price ratio can be had there. Since it is ID unfortunately it's a blind buy for most people, however all the companies offer an in-home trial period which makes up for that. I don't think you'll have that opportunity to take advantage of that so I'll list some speakers that you can find in retail stores so you can listen to them also.

Also, since you mentioned that you were going to mount them to the ceiling I have a lot of rear ported speakers. With these you'll need to have them away from the wall, not much mind you at most you're looking at 4-5 inches though 2-3 inches might be all you need. If it's too close you'll get some unwanted noise with the air coming out of the port and hitting the surface behind it.

I'm running out of time here so I'm just going to list the speakers, hopefully this weekend (maybe friday night) I'll be able to talk a little bit about them.

ID brands:

I already mention the Hsu HB-1 Mk2 speaker.
Ascend Acoustic CBM-170SE
Wave Crest Audio HVL-1
Emp Tek R5Bi
NHT Absolute Wall Speaker
SVS Prime Bookshelf

Non-ID:
Infinity Primus P163
JBL Studio 230
Klipsch RP-150M
Paradigm Mini Monitor v7
Martin Logan Motion 4
 

Cardamom

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For the stairs & sub placement: Sorry, should have indicated better on the diagram. Bottom is actually on the long side (platform will be about 6 ft high), and top is near the entrance hall. Which I think means the SVS (forward firing) sub is safest option.

The only other solution I could think of would be to install an in-floor junction-box where we plan to put the sofa, running both 110v power and the interconnect cable together, allowing for possible placement beside the sofa (like an end-table). However, I'd always thought it was a bad idea to run sound & power beside one another, so perhaps this is a non-starter. (Not to mention how tough it would be to sell this idea to my wife).

For speakers - thanks for the list. I'll look closely at the units you've mentioned, and look forward to your further thoughts on them. Already though, the mounting point you mention is a good one. Relatedly - must I leave much space on the sides, or (provided I leave enough space behind them) can I truly nestle the two speakers into the corners (probably set on triangle shelves)?

Lastly: thanks again for taking all this time to help me. Since I am basically buying blind, it's tremendously reassuring to have this experienced advice.
 

ien2222

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Hey, my monitor decided to it's own thing this weekend and is unusable. Therefore this isn't going to be as informative as I had hoped since this is going to be done on a phone.

It's too bad about the stairs, that would have been great if it was the other way around, oh well. For sub placement there, are you able to place it most anywhere along that "L"? could you even bring it out a little, say a couple of feet off the wall?

On the subject of the sub, there are wireless kits that you can use so you don't have to figure out how to place a run of interconnect.

As far as mounting, I'm not too sure about that. Usually you want to keep the speakers at least a foot and a half off the side walls. However we are dealing with a different case here as you are probably going to point them into the room at around 45 degree angle and down at least 10 degrees. I think what I'm going to do is to ask on another forum and get a few other opinions on the matter. I'll ask about the sub issue also.

As for the mounting itself, you'll need to do something more than just a shelf. since it'll be 8ft up you'll need to angle it down, probably more than 10 degrees. At that point you will need to secure it as you don't want it tipping over for any reason and falling to it's death.

I'll be able to get a spare monitor tomorrow so I can actually look up multiple items and link them.
 

Cardamom

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The tread width is 80cm [about 32 inches], and I'd imagined the the front face of the sub would be aligned with the staircase stringer. So if I take the SVS, that would leaving about 14" between the back of the sub and the wall. As for placement along the "L" - we plan on a built-in sofa of sorts under the stair - so there's not a lot of space to work with. [The sub would be in the end-table position]. But it's not so tight either - maybe 4-5 feet of clear space towards the bottom of the stair, 2 feet (or more?) above the sub, and a foot (or less?) towards the platform.

I realize now that anyone else who might be reading this will be totally confused, for not having the floor-plan, which I wasn't sure how to upload into my previous post. Here's a link from where it can be downloaded as a PDF: https://www.sendspace.com/file/ei9m4e

p.s. - Sorry to hear about your monitor - this kind of thing always happens at the most annoying times...


 

Cardamom

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If you mean the long kitchen counter that terminates on it's wall roughly where the staircase begins just opposite: this isn't impossible. Though not explicitly indicated on the drawing, the end of the counter is actually the nook for our refrigerator/freezer. We might be able to put the sub beside that, which would be easy enough to wire. Only drawback is that we'd had that space earmarked for a side-bar, in front of which would be somewhat awkward to have a knee-height speaker.

Also: by concentrating both the bookshelf pair and the sub so far to one side of the room, how might that affect sound in the kitchen (and in the under-stair sitting area)?

So much to think about...
 

Cardamom

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Re: the bookshelf mounting, buried in the FAQ on HSU's webside, I found a recommendation to these (http://www.bracketsandstands.com/SCL_SCM_Side_Clamping_Speaker_Wall_Mount_p/scl-scm.htm), which tilt up to 10 degrees. Is that the kind of thing you'd had in mind? Or to be safe, must I find/make something that tilts even further?

 

ien2222

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Heh, oh well, I saw the space so I thought I'd ask.

I think we'll just have to hope for the best there. If it turns out to be a problematic, probably the best you can do is make sure the front face is at least level with outside of the stairs, so it's not tucked into that space. Then, to further help out you'd want to fill in the space around the sub especially on the lower side where the stairs end. You could do that by simply building a facade around the sub so it becomes a closed off space, or something more practical like stacking some large decorative pillows inside that space.

As for mounting, I was thinking something that allowed tilt up to 30 degrees, 10 will most likely be too little. Given your example, is wall mounting fine then? I had a couple in mind:

Vantage Point BSM-B
Omnipoint 25.0 W

And these would be for some of the heavier speakers, I believe I listed a couple of speakers that were lighter and other mounts can be found for them. We'll just have to look at whatever speaker you decide upon as to what to get.

I'm still trying to get a little input on the speakers so I'll post on that a little later.

---------

I never asked what you're total budget was for this project, one thing that would help with the sub if there ends up being problems with certain notes that the Yamaha cannot correct, would be getting a DSP for it. This would also mean that you'll have to get an spl meter, or a calibrated mic for a computer so you know the specifics of what's wrong. A good combination to get would be a miniDSP 2x4 with a UMIK-1 and use REW.

https://www.minidsp.com/
http://www.roomeqwizard.com/

$175 for both the dsp and mic, REW is free. I personally have not played with either however others really like using this combination, though there is a bit of a learning curve (which is true with using any dsp).

It's something to keep in mind for future reference.
 

Cardamom

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For the mounts, Vantage Point BSM-B look perfect - much more discreet than the one I'd initially mentioned, and with more vertical tilting range - both great points. It's harder to tell from the drawing though how much horizontal pivot this alternative offers, as well as whether it allows me to keep the speaker far-enough from the wall. What do you think?

In any case - mounts like these would open the possibility of mounting the speakers horizontally rather than vertically, which might be aesthetically nicer along the front wall, say, a few feet in from each corner. It's not certain we'll want to do that - but the flexibility to do so is cool. In any case, we'd only consdier it if it wouldn't harm sound quality.

As for the speakers: I've looked-up specs of all those you'd mentioned, and saw quite a range in sensitivity. For my purposes, greater is better, right? HSU & Klipsch scored quite well here (92db / 2.83v / 1m)

In my excitement about all this, I sent my wife some pics of the speakers I was looking at - and she in turn got very excited about the redwood veneer available on HB-1 MK2 from HSU. I admit to also finding these beautiful, and note they are on sale at the moment for $189 each. Obviously, one should pick speakers primarily with the ears and not with the eyes. But looks are also now a consideration - with a preference for real wood.

As for total budget: I suppose about $1000 for the 2.1 system, which would cover any of the subwoofers you'd suggested, plus a pair of the HSU speakers (or similar) w/mounts. Cables I have aplenty - it's really just the speakers I need. (And such a budget would let me bring the stuff to Brazil in just two trips).

In future, if the DSP proves necessary, I can always invest when cash & travel plans allow.


 
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