Last August (2017) I embarked on a project to create an excellent room for both Home Theater and Audio listening. Here's what I did in case the readers here find it interesting.
The room is 13x16' with 11' ceilings, dark brown
flat paint, and no windows so light control is a given. A lot of the
wall/ceiling junctions have angles (they are not right angle connections) which
is good for minimizing bass modes.
Given my slightly conflicting requirements (it would be better to have dedicated rooms in some respects, one for audio and another for theater) and relatively small room I realized some compromises would be necessary. I was fortunate to be able to buy quality equipment, but I'm all about tangible value. No thousand dollar cables or 5-figure amps for me!
- Excellent for both 2-channel audio and home
- Current version, or one version behind, flagship receiver (or one step down) from a value brand with Audyssey
- Two subwoofers to control room modes
- I initially was going to punt on Atmos/ceiling speakers, but later relented as I didn't want to make compromises - and it would be easier to install the ceiling speakers before all the equipment was installed
- Dolby Atmos 5.2.4: Given the small room I determined I didn't really need, or have room for, properly positioned side speakers, so I landed on a L/C/R and LR and RR surround configuration - so it's a 5.2.4 setup where the 2 is for 2 subs. Here's a Dolby Guide to 5.1.4 setup (just add another sub somewhere!)
- 4K projector
- Excellent screen that takes advantage of the light control - i.e., it doesn't have to work well if the room is bright
- Bass traps and acoustic panels in appropriate locations
- The room is upstairs so the weight of the equipment and my ability to haul it upstairs was a concern
- Upgraded turntable (my old Pro-Ject had a hum problem I couldn't shake)
Denon AVR-X6400H, 11.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD Network AV Receiver with HEOS rated at 140 watts RMS (Denon downloads link here) (this powers the 4 ceiling "height" speakers and two rear surround speakers only)
Oppo UDP-205 (Oppo 205 info & support link here)
Rythmik F15HP Direct Servo subwoofer X 2 (Rythmik F15HP specifications page here) Dimensions 19"(W) x 19 " (H )x 20 "(D) - (21-1/2" D with grille)
RSL C34E In-Ceiling Speakers * 4 for a 5.2.4 setup
JVC 4K projector DLA-RS640U - awesome!
Stewart Filmscreen Cima Neve 110" diagonal 16:9 Cima Neve fixed screen with 1.1 gain, size 96"x 54" Sound and Vision review here - awesome!
VPI Prime Scout Turntable with Ortofon Quintet Black S MC Phono Cartridge
Parasound Zphono MM/MC Phono Preamplifier Black (needed due to the length of the run between my turntable & receiver, and also needed as the Denon does not have a moving coil cartridge level input option)
Emotiva XPA-3 Gen3 3 Channel Amp (275 watts RMS/channel; THD<0.1%; 8 Ohms; ALL THREE channels driven) to give the Denon a break
GIK Bass Traps and other acoustic panels (16 total), for example you can see 4 Soffit Bass Traps behind the L/R speakers, two stacked in each corner - these help control room frequency response modes especially in the bass region. They are covered with Guilford of Maine GOM FR701 Chocolate 793 fabric.
Cables & Interconnects: HDMI Fiber Cable RUIPRO 4K60HZ HDR 50 feet Light Speed HDMI2.0b Cable; old Monster 10 gauge speaker cable for L/R, InstallGear 12 Gauge Speaker Wire - 99.9% OFC Soft Touch Cable for RR, and LR; Monoprice Nimbus Series 12AWG for center; Blue Jeans Cable BJC LC-1 subwoofer cables (8 & 27'), LC1 Stereo Audio Cables 18' for turntable, 4' Belden 1505A RF Cable, LC-1 Stereo cables (4' for turntable to Phono Preamp), Monoprice Certified Premium High Speed HDMI cables (various lengths); Sewell Direct SW-29863-12 Deadbolt Banana Plugs.
Some pictures of the setup follow. There's more about the decision-making process after that.
The Salk speaker veneer is "Chen Chen" with a dark walnut dye & bust (darkened) edges
and satin matte finish. The natural wood has more contrast but I asked Jim
Salk to darken them up for my home theater application. The character of
the wood still comes through nicely. Salk speakers are known not only for
their sound but for the incredible cabinets and finishing. I'll probably
put the grille cover on the center channel at some point & leave the L/R au
It's quite a challenge getting a good rendition of the exact colors as there's no natural light in the HT room. I used a tripod, the room's incandescent lights, and a long exposure to get these shots. (I'm not really interested in dragging the speakers into another room after getting them set up at 72lb each.) This is low view shot with a wide-angle lens on a tripod, the speakers are rectangular though this shot makes the cabinets look asymmetrical.
I had a lot going on in my life and I reached out to several local installers with the above requirements. This is really not the best way to go, because they want to push equipment they carry so they get a mark-up, and because they just aren't a great source of info... AVS forums etc. is a much better place for that. Plus the installation costs I was quoted were really $2-3K. Installation has it's challenges but I'm slightly handy and in the end was able to install the projector, screen, and ceiling speakers without too much trauma. Note, the ceiling was pre-wired for speakers, pulling wire would have been a different thing and I would have hired someone to do that with my attic configuration.
Focusing on the speaker process... Having already had two Rythmik products that perform great I tried to figure out what would work best for my room. I posted a few times here and corresponded with Enrico. Despite the idea of two 18" sounding like fun I decided I did not want to try to get those up the stairs. I ended up with two Rythmik F15HP that work great, I have one up front and one in the back of the room. These have plenty of output, enough to frighten my wife during the opening scenes of the new Blade Runner movie for sure!
I decided tower speakers with a really solid center channel were needed for the room. I really like my Ascend Sierra Towers with RAAL ribbons and matching Horizon center channel, and though abut using those or acquiring a second set... But I decided I really wanted something a bit more upscale and got with Jim Salk. (I have WOW1 monitors in my computer room and am super happy with them.) Jim was very helpful in identifying what would work well from my dual-purpose room and I ended up with Song3-A's for L/R, and Song3 Center, and two WOW1's for the rear. Just got those last week but I am super happy with them.
There's a picture of the front of the room attached.
For more on what I ended up buying, and more pics, see my web page here.
Hope this is interesting to at least some of you, and let me know if there are questions! It's a heck of a thing to embark on a project like this and it's nice to pretty much be at the finish line save for a little fine-tuning!
Below: More on the Salk WOW1 Speakers
Notice the symmetry of the veneering on the two different speakers.
The nature of the lighting makes the top appear much redder than it is in this pic.
|RAAL 64-10 ribbon|
Response +/- 3db
|33Hz - 40kHz|
|Ported (front or rear)|
|9.5" W x 14.5" D x 44.5" H|
Above: Salk Song3-A Specifications
|Tweeter||RAAL 64-10 ribbon|
|Woofer||(2) Seas ER15|
|Response +/- 3db||35Hz - 40kHz|
|Dimensions||12.5" H x 24.5" W x 12.75" D|
Above: Salk Song3 Center Specifications
|Response +/- 3db||48Hz - 20kHz|
|Dimensions||7 W x 9 D x 10.75 H|
Above: Salk WOW1 Specifications
Contact and Image Use Information
If you have questions or comments you can reach me at dtlnew at yahoo dot com.