Just another new member thread - couple of electrostats, etc

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Fidji99

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Wanted to introduce myself - in my 40ties, hi-fi addiction as genetic pre-disposition, Central Europe.

Usual path - some unspeakable Pioneer/JVC/Sony set-up as teenager, "real" hifi started with Dali/Denon setup, then went up the B&W ladder + Accuphase.
Circa 2010, while hunting for some Focals I bumped on ML Summits and I was lost [fact that it was 2nd hand at dealer for the price of bookshelf Utopias helped too]. Always on digital path [Theta Digital, Ayre and now Linn], amplification settled on Ayre.

Audio neurosis after couple of years forced me to change to WA Sasha, but it never really worked for me [tried to convince myself it does, but it did not], but this period taught me one valuable lesson - you do not solve room acoustics issues with cables, and you will not force tube amplifier to play well with difficult loads.

Back to square one - Expressions [ARC being THE selling point] to fit to my new dedicated listening room [30 sqm - FYI this is considered big here [same like BMW 5 is considered to be big car, you need special driving license for your usual family pick-up here] - tested Renaissances but it was just too much for listening distance of 2.8m , trade off being that it was sold to my wife as OUR cinema room. So it morphed from nice and simple 2 channel with 65inches TV into 7.2 cinema setup with Expressions, 50XT as center, 2x Source as SRB and 2x Motion 8 as SR, with 1x Dynamo 1100X as LFE channel and Dynamo 800X as bass extension for Surrounds. 2 seater cinema.

Acoustics - concrete walls + big glass windows on one side, so tough one, 3.1 meter high ceilings with ceiling cooling system [no treatment on ceiling possible + no in-ceiling speakers for Atmos], initial RT60 before treatment [just carpet] 0.82 sec, almost 6 dB gain on 18-22Hz . Current state: 2 layers of thick drapes on each side combined with absorption panel behind them, diffusion on front wall behind planars [same behind Sources]. Now at RT60 0.32, some bass traps in the corner usual stuff.

Rest solved with ARC, no tinkering with frequencies above 300 Hz, need to say for 2 channel I am always amazed how good it sounds. And HT is loud ;-).

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[Theta and book] + IsoAcoustics stand - waiting for 40cm tall stand for Center, amps, processor, streamer etc - in the separate room, so some long cabling involved

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Side view , same for the other wall.
 

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Fidji99

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Stopped for the excellent coffee at my friendly [and really knowledgeable] ML dealer here in Prague and left with the pair of M4i's, put some diffusion around them, spent another half day of trying to re-adjust the whole thing. Need to say, I have been always a bit skeptical to height layer and Atmos but now I am believer and trying to get my head around, how can I squeeze at least 2 speakers more.

My concern, is that if I place them on the front wall above L+R, there will be no real sound separation between front and height on one side and a "hole" between Height Front and Height Middle. Right now L-C-R section sounds very finely balanced for movie watching, sound having the right "size" compared to the screen, so I am bit afraid of overcooking it. Panels now approx 3M from listening position add 1.5M or so, to the upper corner and it seems to me, that M4i would be strained if it would be required to make real impact for that distance, just adding distortion ....

Anybody with experience on similar topic/setup?

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JonFo

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Hi, First, nice system, good to see you focusing on acoustic treatments, as concrete walls are a real challenge for line arrays that put out so much mid and high-frequency energy.

As for Atmos, you really need to put the overheads well away from the tops of the panels, which in most rooms (including yours) will be actually on the ceiling. I do not believe any on-wall (side or front) will ever work as 'heights' with tall main speakers.

So find a creative way of hanging the 4i from a cross-bar between the sidewalls (about 0.25m ahead of the MLP), then disguise the thing with some stretch acoustically transparent fabric wrapped over a cool shape that will act as a 'speaker grill' that is the full width of the room and the same color as the ceiling to hide the speakers, wires, and mounts.

Think of those modern floor standing lamps that are basically a wire-frame with some stretchy material wrapped on them to diffuse the light. Similar idea, but using a light open-weave stretch material.
 

Fidji99

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Thanks a lot - and creative idea. This is how it looks under the paint [no idea how it is called in English - plaster?] - my best shot is to use area around the lamp to attach the whole construction, but will still need to get the guy with thermo-camera not to drill a hole into 3 Bars worth of water pressure. [it seems like a lot of hassle - but having no A/C with fan in the room and being able to keep 22-24C constantly is worth it]. I envisage some square shaped console with size of this green markings sturdy enough to accept 4 Motions + weight of consoles + 2m long arms. Probably some industrial looking black painted stuff.

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Do you know of anything that would hold Motion 4s with enough tilt - almost down-firing? All I was able to find was usual pro-market going to max 15% tilt, where I need approx. 45%...
 

MisterB

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Very nice looking system! I'm also in the process of trying to get more separation of my Atmos channels from surround channels. I'm using 4i's for side surrounds and have them mounted high on the wall, tweeters on the bottom. For Atmos, I'm using B&W M1's, mounted on the side wall at ceiling height. With only an 8' (~2.4m) ceiling height, I think that's limiting the effect of Atmos. I've played around with moving the side surrounds down to ear height to increase the separation from the Atmos channels, but that didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference for Atmos, and actually had a detrimental effect on the surround imaging. Next up on my things to try is to move the Atmos channels to the front wall at ceiling height. I just need to find a creative, non-permanent way to try it. Thinking of something with heavy duty 3M Command strips/hooks. If that makes a noticeable improvement, I will likely swap out the B&W's for 2 more 4i's and permanently mount them on the front wall.

Just curious -- what projector are you using?
 

barjohn

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I disagree with @JonFo as both Auro3D and now Atmos specify that the height speakers can be on the wall next to the ceiling in line with the main L&R speakers with a 30 degree down angle. The effect can be even more realistic. Another new technology that is spatial and called even more realistic using just two speakers is making its way from the lab to the consumer. I haven't tried it yet but I may soon. The software only version (runs on a Mac) feeding your amplifier casts $1,000 and the versions that include hardware but not an M1 Mac start at about $6K. I may test the $1K version as they offer a money back trial period.
 

Fidji99

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Just curious -- what projector are you using?
I have settled on SONY UST

handles realistically 120inches screen. ideal for 3.6m viewing distance. I have tested also normal SONY in that range - vpl-vw760es [lowest laser based model] - there is probably slightly lower picture quality on my UST, but deciding factor was at the end the noise - hidden beneath L-C-R vs above head.

Pairs well with Elite Screen Aeon CLR screen.
 

JonFo

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I disagree with @JonFo as both Auro3D and now Atmos specify that the height speakers can be on the wall next to the ceiling in line with the main L&R speakers with a 30 degree down angle.
while the latest iterations of the guidelines were revised to allow cover for some installers who were being denied access to the ceilings by their customer or circumstances, it remains true that on-ceiling or in-ceiling locations at the ideal angles are still the best in terms of re-creating the 3D audio bubble.

... put the overheads well away from the tops of the panels, which in most rooms (including yours) will be actually on the ceiling. I do not believe any on-wall (side or front) will ever work as 'heights' with tall main speakers.
I quote myself to be clear that what we are talking about here are tall line arrays, not point source speakers. A point source L/C/R at 3' height for the tweeter might be separated enough from a speaker at 9' on the front wall/ceiling boundary (and tilted down 30 degrees), but an ESL at 5+' tall for the upper end of the panel will not have enough separation from the wall-mounted unit to create any kind of bubble, much less meet the minimum separation guideline of 30 degrees.

And even more problematic, the wall-ceiling boundary is usually 3 to 5' behind the L/R ESL (as shown in the pic in the OP), which makes the location totally unusable for 'overheads', as the angles to the MLP would be below the tops of the panels.

Even in my setup, the 6' ESLs are not quite as separated from the overheads as I'd like, even though my overheads are at the prescribed 45-degree angles from the MLP and meet the 30-degree minimum separation between the base layer and the overheads. And they are true cinema-spec Atmos overheads (JBL SCS8), being coaxials with coincident radiation and 120-degree dispersion, and aimed at the MLP. The 3D bubble is definitely there but is not as sharp as my other system with point source (coaxial) bed speakers, and not as sharp as the Smyth A16 headphone Atmos processor.

The point is: there needs to be enough separation between the base layer and overheads, and tall ESLs make wall boundary mounting not work due to the math.
 

spkrdctr

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Very nice system! You really did a good job with acoustically treating the room. I have to say I wish you were close enough for me to just drop in and watch a movie!
 

ttocs

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For a little math exercise . . . .

Using the minimum angle suggested by Dolby, 30°, and using 42" ear height if I sit with perfect posture in my seat, the MLP will need to be at the following distances in order for the 30° minimum angle to be achieved with the different heights.

A speaker mounted at a 7' height will need 6' from front wall to MLP for a 30.26° angle.
A speaker mounted at a 8' height will need 7'-9" from front wall to MLP for a 30.14° angle.
A speaker mounted at a 9' height will need 9'-6" from front wall to MLP for a 30.07° angle.
(In each example, adding 1" more distance would result in the angle being less than 30°.)

For comparison, my MLP is more than 10' from the front wall, so mounting on the front wall - which is 8' high - would mean the speaker would be about a half foot lower, so my seat would need to move about 3 feet closer to the front wall.
 

JonFo

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Maybe a visualization would help, so here is a side view of my home theater room, but with the tops moved to the front wall boundary at 9' of elevation (my room has 10' ceilings. but not many others do) so we can check the angles.

We see that the separation between the top of the 'base' layer and the top front at the front wall/ceiling junction is barely 7 degrees, way off the prescribed 30°. Even the range from the front row listener to speaker is way beyond the ideal 45° (and max of 55°). and from the MLP, it is a ridiculous 73°. I did not even bother with the angles from the rear tops, as they are obviously worse.

So wall-mounted 'tops' are a spectacularly bad choice with tall line arrays that are placed multiple feet out into a room.

Atmos positioning Side-View-WallMounts.png
 

ttocs

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JonFo your illustration is a good example of what needs to be considered, even though the angles stated are from the vertical plane instead of the horizontal plane. Either way, the angles are "out of bounds".

So the angles in your illustration are really are 24.8° and 16.5° as measured from horizontal, way beyond what is expected as specified by Dolby.
 

Fidji99

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Small update for front section- just cosmetic one - new custom made stand for Center.
Now Experimenting with Subwoofer de-coupling -

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Now Experimenting with Subwoofer de-coupling - works pretty well, actually, I have settled for down-fire multi sub solution. I can go with higher SPL without distortion.

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khenegar

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Small update for front section- just cosmetic one - new custom made stand for Center.
Now Experimenting with Subwoofer de-coupling -

View attachment 22005

Now Experimenting with Subwoofer de-coupling - works pretty well, actually, I have settled for down-fire multi sub solution. I can go with higher SPL without distortion.

View attachment 22006
u want a better picture get rid of ur light colored carpet u would be surprised how much light bounces off that light carpet when ur room is dark and u fire up the projector look and see how much ur carpet shows up it tends to fade out the picture a little bounces back on the screen do u see light color carpet in the theaters?
 

Fidji99

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u want a better picture get rid of ur light colored carpet u would be surprised how much light bounces off that light carpet when ur room is dark and u fire up the projector look and see how much ur carpet shows up it tends to fade out the picture a little bounces back on the screen do u see light color carpet in the theaters?
yes, this light colored carpet is on top of my "things I would do differently if I was wiser then" list. Initially this room was supposed to be stereo listening room and it morphed into home theatre only during last 2 years. Also I should have painted at least front part of the ceiling black, but i was afraid it would be too much for my very patient wife. On the flip side, I am able to darken the room completely even during the day, so this compensates a bit.

Now I will concentrate on adding some height speakers + tweaking the acoustics. Some refurbishment will be due in 2-3 years, so I will address carpet topic then.
 

Fidji99

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Finally, got guy with a pro thermo-camera, who was willing to drill into my ceiling [and has got enough insurance coverage]. This is when this old joke comes to mind [Invoice Total 500 USD - 1 hit with hammer 5 USD, knowing where to hit 495 USD]. Got myself 2 VESA TV ceiling mounts. I have added 2 cm thick wooden boards for now. Luckily it is almost equidistant to LP, so all good here, will experiment a bit with tilt - now at 2.8m horizontal distance 90cm above the panels, tilted a bit. Will finetune during the weekend but first crude run of DRC and my usual "Inception/Ready Player One/Blade Runner 2049/Mad Max Fury Road" scenes selection - satisfying already.

I have decided to optimize my set-up for Auro 3D, as Auromatic is my favorite up-mixer of 5.1 content [in my room it beats Dolby or DTS hands down], Front Height&Surround Height, that AV switches automatically to FH/RH for Atmos content. It really creates this vertically coherent sensation of sound, Dolby/DTS seem too aggressive to me. Atmos native content is smth. different of course.[I need to admit to my guilty pleasure - I like to listen to stereo content in Auro too for some music- gives this "whole room is a headphones" sensation.

So, height layer done, now to bass section ;-) , @ttocs, you are my inspiration.

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Jules_S

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Love your room, @Fidji99, that looks amazing. I wish I had the option of a dedicated cinema room (and a hi-fi one too!)

What are the diffuser panels you are using behind your Expressions? I need to start thinking about some acoustic treatment for my lounge, and I'm looking for something suitable
 

Fidji99

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Love your room, @Fidji99, that looks amazing. I wish I had the option of a dedicated cinema room (and a hi-fi one too!)

What are the diffuser panels you are using behind your Expressions? I need to start thinking about some acoustic treatment for my lounge, and I'm looking for something suitable
I buy most of the stuff either on thomann.de or on Gik Acoustics. My experience - those "pro" oriented shops are much cheaper, without audiophile surcharge. If you look for living room level stuff - nicest things I know come from Artnovion, but they are quite expensive, compared to GIK.

for diffusers - I spray them with special EPS paint [water based] - they become nice matte [if you care for color] - I need black.
 
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