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  1. #1

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    Default Recommendations Needed

    Hi everyone. I'm completely new to system building so I could use some advice.

    I have a 2 story home which has several "pre-wired" rooms. I called the contractor to get info... and all they wanted to do was refer me to a sub-contractor... who wanted basically a ton of money to install a system. Since I am not a money tree, I am going it on my own... and I have all the time in the world to learn how to do it right.

    Ok. I have one of those "great rooms" (kitchen area that spills into a family room area) that is pre-wired for 5.1 in the family/media niche area. I am thinking of going (5) TC80i's with sub. All basically connected to a Harman Kardon 3600.

    Any glaring problems doing all TC80is? I suppose I'd use the sound system for music, and an occasional movie... but I'd hardly call myself an audiophile...

    So any "range" of sound concerns? Power handling concerns? Perhaps pre-wired is a big scam which I should avoid in lieu of traditional speakers? Maybe I should go with less expensive stuff?

    I'd really appreciate any comments before I go off and start buying stuff... or "tips" on questions I should be asking (but don't realize it yet).

    Thanks.

    Jason

  2. #2

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    Nothing wrong with pre-wired rooms other than it limits the placement options. All you need are some bookshelf speakers and mounts and you're set. I'd probably go with the same speakers all the way around.

    I didn't get whether they're in walls or on the surface of the wall.

  3. #3

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    Just caught they're in walls. You might want to get some directional inwalls to help with directionality.

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    By directional i mean inwalls in which you can aim the tweeter, speakercraft has some.

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    Check this out in the flea market - http://www.polkaudio.com/forums/showthread.php?t=108457

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the info! I "could" do in-wall speakers (like a left, right, and perhaps a very high "center") since running the wire wouldn't be too difficult with a fish-tape... but the LCi recommendation has me a little confused given the 4 ohm rating (whereas all of the TC80i's would be 8 ohm)... would I need a separate amp for the LCi speakers? Or could I really expect the AVR to do it all? (Harmon Kardon 3600).. or would TC265s provide similar results?

    ... and wouldn't that essentially make it a 7.1 set-up? (a front-heavy conversion of a typical 5.1 set-up?) Sounds like it would be awesome to me... but I don't know important relative speaker placement is...

    Thanks again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by entgegnen View Post
    Thanks for the info! I "could" do in-wall speakers (like a left, right, and perhaps a very high "center") since running the wire wouldn't be too difficult with a fish-tape... but the LCi recommendation has me a little confused given the 4 ohm rating (whereas all of the TC80i's would be 8 ohm)... would I need a separate amp for the LCi speakers? Or could I really expect the AVR to do it all? (Harmon Kardon 3600).. or would TC265s provide similar results?

    ... and wouldn't that essentially make it a 7.1 set-up? (a front-heavy conversion of a typical 5.1 set-up?) Sounds like it would be awesome to me... but I don't know important relative speaker placement is...

    Thanks again!
    Don't worry about the impedence rating. The speakers typically run at a nominal resistance where they deviate from but typically stay within the range. You will not need a separate amp unless you plan on pushing loud SPL's but your HK should do fine, you would probably just need to adjust the speaker levels so you volume match them. The Lsi 4ohm speakers may demand a little more from your receiver but should not be too taxing hopefully. If you think you do not have enough power you can always add a power amp down the road if you think you need the power if the HK has preouts which I think it does.

    As I suggested earlier since ceilings are little harder to aim, tweeters which you can aim will benefit you more, but matching speakers would probably be more important.

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    Quote Originally Posted by codyc1ark View Post
    Welcome to Club Polk entgegnen

    While the deal cody has led you to would save you substantial money, unfortunately your HK doesn't seem to support 4 ohms as the user manual only refers to 8 ohms in the tech spec section; http://www.harmankardon.com/resource...Manual_Eng.pdf

    I often had to repair amps, receivers and AVR for the simple reason of improper speaker impedance matching with the equipment. Eventually you wind up blowing the output chip so I would suggest you check for speakers that have the appropriate ohmnic value for your receiver.

    Now, your first step should be to check all those pre-wired runs to make sure they are suitable for your install. Check for potential shorts and-or opens. Once you have determine this cabling is suitable and ready to connect your AVR to your potential speakers, you can then search an audition speakers of your liking for the install.

    Again, welcome to Club Polk and happy speaker auditionning

    TK

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    Quote Originally Posted by TECHNOKID View Post
    Welcome to Club Polk entgegnen

    While the deal cody has led you to would save you substantial money, unfortunately your HK doesn't seem to support 4 ohms as the user manual only refers to 8 ohms in the tech spec section; http://www.harmankardon.com/resource...Manual_Eng.pdf

    I often had to repair amps, receivers and AVR for the simple reason of improper speaker impedance matching with the equipment. Eventually you wind up blowing the output chip so I would suggest you check for speakers that have the appropriate ohmnic value for your receiver.

    Now, your first step should be to check all those pre-wired runs to make sure they are suitable for your install. Check for potential shorts and-or opens. Once you have determine this cabling is suitable and ready to connect your AVR to your potential speakers, you can then search an audition speakers of your liking for the install.

    Again, welcome to Club Polk and happy speaker auditionning

    TK
    Yeap agreed. I didn't want to go too far into detail but yes, you run the risk with any other speaker of blowing your receiver using lower ohmic speakers. Every speaker deviates from its nominal impedance and you would have to inspect the speakers too see if it doesn't dip too much to outpace your receiver.

    This is true especially of a set of Paradigm Studio 60 v1 which would blow amps because it would dip below 2ohms even though it was rated at 8ohms and overtax the amp and blow it. However in your case, the HK which I have had have been very capable of driving 6ohm and 4ohm loads if it doesn't dip too low. Of course you would need to inspect the speakers to check the impedance curve but I trust Polks usually don't do that. The LCi center seems to be very efficient at 91db and the power handling seems very reasonable. As long as you don't crank it and demand too much from the amp, you should be fine with the HK. Usually receivers are not "rated" for 4ohm or even 6ohm speakers but normally people have no problems with running those loads. I would trust the HK rating of 85 watts which is plenty to drive those speakers, because they usually conservatively rate their amps unlike others such as Onkyo (not just to pick on them).
    Last edited by aboroth00; 12-15-2010 at 04:04 AM.

  10. #10

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    aboroth00, AVR are not typically met to drive such loads. AVR are a compromised and definitely not met for quality speakers which normally are rated at 4 ohms. The more expensive receivers may have the ability to auto drop when they see lower load speakers but this is normally stated in the user manual specs section. I may be wrong but personally, I wouldn't drive 4 ohms speakers with this AVR. I have seen way to many people having to pay good $$$ to get amps or receivers or AVR repaired for such a silly move as to using the wrong impedance for the gear. This was my bread and butter then but while I pocketing the $$$, I always felt for them having to waste their cash on such silly mistake which could have been avoided with a little knowledge

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by TECHNOKID View Post
    aboroth00, AVR are not typically met to drive such loads. AVR are a compromised and definitely not met for quality speakers which normally are rated at 4 ohms. The more expensive receivers may have the ability to auto drop when they see lower load speakers but this is normally stated in the user manual specs section. I may be wrong but personally, I wouldn't drive 4 ohms speakers with this AVR. I have seen way to many people having to pay good $$$ to get amps or receivers or AVR repaired for such a silly move as to using the wrong impedance for the gear. This was my bread and butter then but while I pocketing the $$$, I always felt for them having to waste their cash on such silly mistake which could have been avoided with a little knowledge
    I definitely agree, but I do not mean to misinform the OP as well. While I do not necessarily recommend this, but I think the rating should not deter him from getting the speaker.

    The problem lies with basically Ohm's law. V(voltage) = I(current measured in Amps) x Resistance (Ohms) and P (watts) = I^2x R

    So to attain the same amount of Power (watts) and if the resistance were lower you would need to square the amount of current to get that increase. So you need more CURRENT to increase power with less resistance. This can mean demanding more current from your receiver which MIGHT overload it as TK said. This is why some receivers are said to be "high current" and be able to handle lower impedance loads (higher current). I had a NAD which claimed to be so which was rated 50wx5 into 8ohms which was never rated for 4ohms but ran 4ohm speakers like a champ.

    As long as you don't demand too many watts (P) then you wont need as much I(current). Sorry to get all mathematical but it's basically "why." Remember 1W put in means 91db @1m from these sensitive speakers. So if you plug in more numbers, I'm just kidding.
    Last edited by aboroth00; 12-15-2010 at 04:33 AM.

  12. #12

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    DISCLAIMER: I am not a physicist so someone who is one can check my equations to make sure they're sound.

  13. #13

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    Thanks for all of the info. This forum seems like a great resource. But can anyone weigh in on the ceiling/in-wall issue?

    My house was pre-wired for a 5.1 in ceiling (sub-in wall)... in a typical 5.1 set-up (essentially 3 speakers that are more forward left, right, center and 2 rear left/right) so if I were to install in-wall, say on each side of my TV... should I have any worries about being "front heavy"? Since I'd essentially have 5 speakers more to the front (wall and ceiling) of the room... and only 2 speakers in the rear (ceiling)?

    Center (Ceiling)
    In-Wall (L) In Wall (R)
    Ceiling (L) Ceiling (R)


    Sub XX
    XX
    XX (VERY BIG L-Shaped Couch)
    XX
    XX
    XX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Ceiling (L-Rear) Ceiling (R-Rear)

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by entgegnen View Post
    Thanks for all of the info. This forum seems like a great resource. But can anyone weigh in on the ceiling/in-wall issue?

    My house was pre-wired for a 5.1 in ceiling (sub-in wall)... in a typical 5.1 set-up (essentially 3 speakers that are more forward left, right, center and 2 rear left/right) so if I were to install in-wall, say on each side of my TV... should I have any worries about being "front heavy"? Since I'd essentially have 5 speakers more to the front (wall and ceiling) of the room... and only 2 speakers in the rear (ceiling)?

    Center (Ceiling)
    In-Wall (L) In Wall (R)
    Ceiling (L) Ceiling (R)


    Sub XX
    XX
    XX (VERY BIG L-Shaped Couch)
    XX
    XX
    XX
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    Ceiling (L-Rear) Ceiling (R-Rear)
    Nice illustration it took me a while to get what you're trying to portray .

    I'm not quite sure what you're trying to do, run 5 speakers in front with a sub? Or run 3 speakers in front with a sub. For 5.1 you only need 3 front speakers, L, C, R. You wouldn't need those extra front speakers unless you plan doing things such as 9.1 with highs or wides.

    Hope I got your intent and my comment helps. PM me if you want to clear up some more details.

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    Quote Originally Posted by aboroth00 View Post
    Nice illustration it took me a while to get what you're trying to portray .

    I'm not quite sure what you're trying to do, run 5 speakers in front with a sub? Or run 3 speakers in front with a sub. For 5.1 you only need 3 front speakers, L, C, R. You wouldn't need those extra front speakers unless you plan doing things such as 9.1 with highs or wides.

    Hope I got your intent and my comment helps. PM me if you want to clear up some more details.
    The extra front speakers could be run as presence which reiforce the sound stage which is definitely not a bad thing.

    entgegnen, as far as all of the front speakers I would strongly suggest that you install them on wall rather than ceiling in order to provide you with a better soundstage. The should be tweeter levelled to your hears as much as possible. As far as the surrounds, they can be mounted in ceiling without any big issues if you so wish. The same applies with your presence if you intend touse them to rinforce your soundstage, wallmount would be preferable but ceiling is acceptable.

    BTW, on another note, make sure to use the crawl method to find the best suited placement for your sub as placement is crucial for optimum bass effect.
    Last edited by TECHNOKID; 12-15-2010 at 01:36 PM.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by TECHNOKID View Post
    The extra front speakers could be run as presence which reiforce the sound stage which is definitely not a bad thing.
    .
    It is generally not advisable to run two sets of stereo speakers at once. There are many threads out there with people trying to run two pairs of speakers at once for stereo which only makes things more complicated and worse. This is just a clarification and I'm not too sure what TK is getting at.

    However, highs and wides such as associated with 9.1 to produce "effects" are usually done through the receiver by processing but I don't believe the HK he has, has these features so having 4 front speakers is moot unless he runs 2 as Front LR and then Surround LR, but being in the front that isn't advisable either.
    Last edited by aboroth00; 12-15-2010 at 01:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TECHNOKID View Post
    entgegnen, as far as all of the front speakers I would strongly suggest that you install them on wall rather than ceiling in order to provide you with a better soundstage. The should be tweeter levelled to your hears as much as possible. As far as the surrounds, they can be mounted in ceiling without any big issues if you so wish.

    BTW, on another note, make sure to use the crawl method to find the best suited placement for your sub as placement is crucial for optimum bass effect.
    Def agree with this, great general advice.

  18. #18

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    Thanks everyone -

    Ok here is the thing: the house is pre-wired for 5.1 IN THE CEILING

    So, I started off thinking, I'll make use of the IN CEILING pre-wiring and install some TC80is FOR ALL FIVE SPEAKERS.

    Then some folks have suggested having IN-WALL models for the front... making me think, that I'd be adding (2) in wall front speakers to the (5) pre-wired CEILING speakers?

    This is where I was wondering if that amounted to a conversion of the 5.1 to a 7.1... and my concern that 3 CEILING SPEAKERS that are pretty much in the "front" as part of a common 5.1 ceiling placement might be too much "in the front of the room" when I add (2) IN WALL speakers...

    Essentially, i'd have (2) in wall and (3) ceiling speakers on one side of the room and (2) ceiling speakers towards the back of the room....

    For better of worse, the house was pre-wired in the CEILING for 5.1... when it is starting to sounds like that would have been better of the builder pre-wired for IN WALL...

    ?? Am I making any sense?

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    Yes, basically you are going to run presence speakers if you do both front in-ceiling and say a pair of bookshelfs or in-walls. The easiest thing would be to stick to in-ceiling, and this would probably be *fine* for casual tv and movie watching, but for music you want the tweeters about ear height as already mentioned. But this is really also true for your center channel speaker (that's why you'll see lots of people with in ceiling surrounds but with booksehelfs or towers for front speakers). One option is to put in 5 in-ceiling speakers for movies and tv, and then two bookshelfs for music, and buy and external aplifier that can switch between channels so that you can turn listen to stereo music through the booksehelfs and movies through the in-ceiling. Does that make sense?
    Peace,
    Paul
    HT Rig:
    Mains, Center Surround - Klipsch KHC - 6 In-Ceiling
    Center - Polk cs400i
    Surrounds - Monoprice in-ceiling
    Sub - SVS PB10-ISD
    Receiver - Pioneer VSX-1018ah-k
    Server - Logitech Squeezebox Duet
    Blu-ray - Sony BDP-S390
    DVR - DirecTV Genie + AM21
    Display - Samsung PN43E450 Plasma


    Two Channel PC Rig (In progress)
    Dell Studio 540s-->Pangea USB Cable-->HRT Music Streamer II DAC-->MIT AVT1-->Dayton DTA 100a-->MIT EXP2-->Polk Monitor 5 w/Peerless

  20. #20

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    Cool idea. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind as I move forward. For now, I am slowly accumulating speakers... then I'll have to "tone out" the pre-wire and install some wall-plates for the various cable runs (I have several rooms that were apparently pre-wired for ceiling speakers...)

    I'm trying to plan out the whole thing now... and do the connections now... because later I'll take the plunge on the "built-in" entertainment cabinet and TV ... and once that it installed, getting behind the cabinet to the back to the wall will not be so easy.

  21. #21

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    From entgegnen;...

    1. ...So, I started off thinking, I'll make use of the IN CEILING pre-wiring and install some TC80is FOR ALL FIVE SPEAKERS.

    2. Then some folks have suggested having IN-WALL models for the front... making me think, that I'd be adding (2) in wall front speakers to the (5) pre-wired CEILING speakers?

    3. This is where I was wondering if that amounted to a conversion of the 5.1 to a 7.1...

    4. ...and my concern that 3 CEILING SPEAKERS that are pretty much in the "front" as part of a common 5.1 ceiling placement might be too much "in the front of the room" when I add (2) IN WALL speakers...

    5, Essentially, i'd have (2) in wall and (3) ceiling speakers on one side of the room and (2) ceiling speakers towards the back of the room....

    6. For better of worse, the house was pre-wired in the CEILING for 5.1... when it is starting to sounds like that would have been better of the builder pre-wired for IN WALL...??

    7. Am I making any sense?
    1. Might as well put the cabling to good use since it there and of course if your budget allows you to do so.

    2. Ceiling speakers is IMO the cheapest way to run speakers but also the least efficient. Ceiling speakers is IMO totally inefficent for 2 channels listening as soundstage is the priority and speakers facing your listening are is the most if not the only efficient way to do so. The same applies to HT as your soundstage (now comprised of 3 speakers) is imperative for efficient movie experience as you want to feel actors right in your face, centered and feel that you are immerse and part of the movie. Now, since you already have ceiling speakers, thus mentionning using PRESENCE (NOT tying-up to the ceiling front to wall front wiring) would provide you more front presence thus better soundstage.

    3. NOPE, this doesn't bring you up to a 7.1 as the added 2 speakers in a 7.1 set-up adds rears NOT extra fronts, extra fronts as presence meaning adding to the soundstage (front L + R).

    4. Not really fact is quite the opposite as the soundstage is critically your priority. Since ceiling speakers are not as efficient as wall (be in-wall or bookshelf wall mount) will compensate for the poor efficiency of the ceiling mount and at the same time accentuate your front/soundstage. As pointed out, your front in-wall speakers can also then be more efficient in 2 channels music listening.

    5. If at all possible I would even add an in-wall center for better performance during HT mode. Your center combined with your fronts are really crucial as the dialogue is all focused to the center of your listening area to provide you the experience of the actors being right on your face, feeling part of the actor dialogue.

    6. In-ceiling is better for the builter as it is the least expensive material and labor wise but in-wall is better for the user as it is a more efficient way to create the most realistic movie environment. However, in-ceiling is a good option for background music when using the room for réception/parties or other of the sort with guesses at home (IE: your Xmas or New Years parties).

    7. Yes, slowly but surely IMO we are all starting to make sense (Oups, I sure hope I do to )

    Quote Originally Posted by rooftop59 View Post
    Yes, basically you are going to run presence speakers if you do both front in-ceiling and say a pair of bookshelfs or in-walls. The easiest thing would be to stick to in-ceiling, and this would probably be *fine* for casual tv and movie watching, but for music you want the tweeters about ear height as already mentioned. But this is really also true for your center channel speaker (that's why you'll see lots of people with in ceiling surrounds but with booksehelfs or towers for front speakers). One option is to put in 5 in-ceiling speakers for movies and tv, and then two bookshelfs for music, and buy and external aplifier that can switch between channels so that you can turn listen to stereo music through the booksehelfs and movies through the in-ceiling. Does that make sense?
    Peace,
    Paul
    rooftop59 managed to express the same as I am trying to but in quite a lot fewer words, I guess it must be age kicking in in my situation Great post rooftop!
    Last edited by TECHNOKID; 12-15-2010 at 06:33 PM.

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