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Old 04-13-2017, 05:56 AM   #1
yevilinho yevilinho is offline
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Jan 2017
Default Thoughts on upgrading an oddly installed 5.1 system

I have recently bought an apartment, with which I have inherited a 5.1 audio system (in-wall speakers made by Definitive Technology). I am by no means an expert on audio systems, but the way this system was assembled and installed appears to be a bit odd. The 3 center speakers and subwoofer are fine, but the remaining two speakers are mounted in the ceiling, a full 16 feet behind the sitting area, and at a distance of only around 4 feet from each other. They appear to be DI 4.5R speakers, which I believe are properly used as rear speakers (as opposed to side speakers). There are no other speakers installed with the system.

I already have an LG 2016 OLED hanging in this room and an Onkyo NR646 receiver set up. My Oppo 203 is on its way. This equipment allows me to upgrade either to 5.1.2 or to 7.1. Because I do not actually have a blu-ray player right now, I have used this set-up basically to watch only Netflix via the LG OLED's built-in app. The sound quality has been fine for my relatively non-picky ears.

So, here is my question: given the length of the room and the fact that I have no side speakers, the obvious upgrade to this system would be to a 7.1 (by installing two side speakers), and not to a 5.1.2 (which would leave me with 4 rear ceiling speakers), correct?
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Old 04-13-2017, 12:51 PM   #2
dobyblue dobyblue is offline
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Jul 2006
Ontario, Canada

16ft behind the seating area is really puzzling, are they angled towards the seating area?
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Old 04-13-2017, 01:06 PM   #3
Gravy4547 Gravy4547 is offline
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Sep 2015
Glenview IL, Chicago Suburb

Your speaker placement is vital. If your front stage is OK then I would consider moving the tops and buying wall mounted surround speakers. It would be helpful if you tried to draw a mock up of your room. We could better advise.

What I would do is remove one of the ceiling mounted speakers, stick your head in that hole and look to see where the wire goes. If you are a Lucky Dog, those wires will head back towards the front stage and you will be able to easily move those speakers to a top front position in an Atmos set up. Then buy some bipole/dipole surrounds and some clever wiring and you will be set up. Please note, with my plan, you will have two big unused holes in your ceiling, which will suck, but it is nothing a bit of, drywall, mud, tape and hard work cant overcome. You also might have to repaint your ceiling. But at the end of the day, perfect speaker placement will be supremely rewarding.
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Old 04-13-2017, 05:41 PM   #4
Dwayne Dwayne is offline
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Oct 2008
Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex

The rear ceiling mounted speakers 16' behind the seating area will not provide near enough audio even if they are angled. That is a lot of room behind the seating area so a standard 7.1 balanced set up would be best to start with. You will need to purchase better side/surround speakers to make this happen. You very well may get away with a 5.1 set up by just purchasing better surround speakers,, but without room measurements, its kind of hard to tell at this point. What Gravy4547 said about the moving the ceiling rears to the front is a good idea if ATMOS/DTS-X is something you might be interested in later on. IMHO this is the way to go. Good luck on how you decide to go .
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