Cinema Loft Conversion

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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Hi Guys,

Planning to convert the loft into a Cinema room with plenty of sound proofing going on in there to reduce the leakage of sound and especially Bass.

I have set myself a 20k budget for a speaker setup and currently have the following in mind.

MK S300 (triple fronts

MKS300 T (pair of tripoles, possible 4 for 7.1)

MK X12 sub x2

I have had a demo of this system and it sounds sensational! Mind you the demo room had 8 Subs powering this and it was sheer bliss, not practical in a loft however, so downscaling the subs to 2 only (I know, the shame)

Next package I looked at was the B&W 800 D Series, I have yet to demo this system with its matching Center and Rears. This is where my Dilemma begins....

Most retailers (all so far) who deal with MK, only deal with MK and nothing else, so running a comparison is difficult. Going two weeks between demos will probably skew your memory of that experience.

So my questions is, are the MK speakers worth the money. Is there a better alternative that we can buy in the UK? I am conscious of the import tax on the speakers and often wonder if we are getting true value for money in comparison to other brands that may be equally as good and cheaper. For instance the MA PL300 range

Room dimensions 5.75m (L) x 4.8m (W) x 3m (H). I have not considered the AV processor and power amp yet.

Thank you in advance guys
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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With that budget I would be looking at a good pre/pro and actives. And a good budget for room treatment, not merely for sound proofing.
 

ellisdj

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Dec 11, 2008
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Ben Law is right about room treatments - £2k on room treatments £18k on speakers otherwise you might as well spend £5k on speakers and save the rest - you wont be getting the benefits.

PL300s I have heard in stereo - awesome speakers the imaging was incredible but that was in a fully treated room.

WHF absolueltely love B&W 800's (might be 802) I think if you check older publications. You need a lot of space for speakers of this size. I dont think putting them up against a wall would be a good idea to get the best from them - give them room to image properly

Good fun spending £20k on speakers, loads of options - shop about, extra time spent upfront demoing will mean you will be happier in the long run
 

HomeSound

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Feb 15, 2014
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Plenty to consider here. Do you have the full height across the room or are your ceilings coombed? Are you going to run a projector and a transparent screen? The MK speakers are very good and if you are building a dedicated room then they are well worth considering. The other speakers mentioned will give you great results as well. You have a good space there - almost the same size as my demo room - and you have a real oppurtunity with your budget. My advice would be to get to a few dealers and installers to see what can be achieved.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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duaplex said:
Next package I looked at was the B&W 800 D Series, I have yet to demo this system with its matching Center and Rears. This is where my Dilemma begins....

Most retailers (all so far) who deal with MK, only deal with MK and nothing else, so running a comparison is difficult. Going two weeks between demos will probably skew your memory of that experience.
You'll normally find those type of products at places that are more installation orientated, so don't have hi-fi speakers on their profile.

Over the past few years, many speaker manufacturers have greatly improved their speaker ranges, so much so that hi-fi speakers are now much better than they used to be for movie reproduction.

PMC's Twenty Series sounds amazing in our less than perfect demo room, producing a big wide open, ultra detailed soundstage that never got tiring to listen to. In many ways, they reminded me a lot of the older M&Ks we used to use. Made in UK.

KEF's Reference range has always been good for movies due to the UniQ driver array. Their wide soundstage has always helped produce an expansive soundfield which is good for a number of viewers, not just one or two. These are also one of the more dynamic sounding hi-fi speaker ranges, which is a desirable quality for movie playback. Made in UK.

Sonus Faber's Olympica range aren't too dissimilar to KEF's Reference range - they seem to have very similar qualities, which again lend themselves very well to movie soundtracks as well as music.

ATC's loudspeakers, being sealed boxes, tend to produce good results in awkward rooms, and with their studio background you know you're getting something that is going to be "fit for purpose". Plenty of detail, thanks to very little unwanted additional colouration. Made in UK.

I can't speak for B&W's 800 series as I'm not familiar with them.

So my questions is, are the MK speakers worth the money. Is there a better alternative that we can buy in the UK? I am conscious of the import tax on the speakers and often wonder if we are getting true value for money in comparison to other brands that may be equally as good and cheaper. For instance the MA PL300 range
It depends on a few things. Many British speaker manufacturers have many of their ranges built overseas (in their own factories, I may add) in order to keep the costs down and the products as competitive as possible, whereas some other overseas manufacturers will build them in their own country, then you usually have the added cost of a distributor in the chain. Swings and roundabouts.

Room dimensions 5.75m (L) x 4.8m (W) x 3m (H). I have not considered the AV processor and power amp yet.
Overall that's not to dissimilar to our main AV demo room, although ours is a little more square, so you have a nice space there to do more or less anything you want to. As Nick has mentioned, you need to decide if your speakers are going to be behind an acoustically transparent screen, or whether speakers will be on show. You need to decide what sort of level you require from the system - are you the type that will watch films at Reference Level, or are you more reserved (say -30/-20dB volume)? For AV, you don't need huge speakers, so floorstanders aren't required, standmounts will do the job just fine, and can cut down the cost considerably when choosing a hi-fi speaker package for movie use. I would highly recommend using the same centre as the front pair though, even if this means buying a pair of standmounts to use one as a centre (if the manufacturer won't supply one on its own).

For AV processors, the likes of the Marantz AV8801 and the Yamaha CXA5000 should be your first port of call, and there may be one or two more excellent options available soon.
 

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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Thanks guys, I will look into the acoustic treatment of the room too. I was told not to worry about that provided the room was built solidly (no rattle, no echo, solid when you pam each wall). But I will have a look now that it was mentioned again.

To answer the question about the transparent screen and speakers. I don’t mind having the speakers behind the screen or even a traditional floor stand speaker. I would rather have the better speaker than concealment.

David - I have a demo arranged for the 800 series and PMC. I may need to take a trip down to you to demo the rest. Besides you having a similar room size for demos means something too!

I will certainly take pictures once I am underway with the conversion :)
 

RobinKidderminster

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May 27, 2009
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duaplex said:
Thanks guys, I will look into the acoustic treatment of the room too. I was told not to worry about that provided the room was built solidly (no rattle, no echo, solid when you pam each wall). But I will have a look now that it was mentioned again.

Without seeming rude I would be very sceptical about that advice. Why do concert halls (especially) spend millions on acoustic treatments? I would say dont worry about any equipment until your room is sorted acoustically - would be better advice!

Have fun anyway.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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RobinKidderminster said:
duaplex said:
Thanks guys, I will look into the acoustic treatment of the room too. I was told not to worry about that provided the room was built solidly (no rattle, no echo, solid when you pam each wall). But I will have a look now that it was mentioned again.

Without seeming rude I would be very sceptical about that advice. Why do concert halls (especially) spend millions on acoustic treatments? I would say dont worry about any equipment until your room is sorted acoustically - would be better advice!

Have fun anyway.

I think he's still going to look into room treatment, but if I read it correctly, he's been advised not to worry at this stage as it can be added afterwards when and if any major issues have been detected. The main thing is to make sure the room is as solid as possible - the more solid the walls/floor/ceiling, the better the bass performance will be, and you'll not be hearing vibrations and noises coming from the room during bass notes.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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David@FrankHarvey said:
duaplex said:
Next package I looked at was the B&W 800 D Series, I have yet to demo this system with its matching Center and Rears. This is where my Dilemma begins....

Most retailers (all so far) who deal with MK, only deal with MK and nothing else, so running a comparison is difficult. Going two weeks between demos will probably skew your memory of that experience.
You'll normally find those type of products at places that are more installation orientated, so don't have hi-fi speakers on their profile.

Over the past few years, many speaker manufacturers have greatly improved their speaker ranges, so much so that hi-fi speakers are now much better than they used to be for movie reproduction.

PMC's Twenty Series sounds amazing in our less than perfect demo room, producing a big wide open, ultra detailed soundstage that never got tiring to listen to. In many ways, they reminded me a lot of the older M&Ks we used to use. Made in UK.

KEF's Reference range has always been good for movies due to the UniQ driver array. Their wide soundstage has always helped produce an expansive soundfield which is good for a number of viewers, not just one or two. These are also one of the more dynamic sounding hi-fi speaker ranges, which is a desirable quality for movie playback. Made in UK.

Sonus Faber's Olympica range aren't too dissimilar to KEF's Reference range - they seem to have very similar qualities, which again lend themselves very well to movie soundtracks as well as music.

ATC's loudspeakers, being sealed boxes, tend to produce good results in awkward rooms, and with their studio background you know you're getting something that is going to be "fit for purpose". Plenty of detail, thanks to very little unwanted additional colouration. Made in UK.

I can't speak for B&W's 800 series as I'm not familiar with them.

So my questions is, are the MK speakers worth the money. Is there a better alternative that we can buy in the UK? I am conscious of the import tax on the speakers and often wonder if we are getting true value for money in comparison to other brands that may be equally as good and cheaper. For instance the MA PL300 range
It depends on a few things. Many British speaker manufacturers have many of their ranges built overseas (in their own factories, I may add) in order to keep the costs down and the products as competitive as possible, whereas some other overseas manufacturers will build them in their own country, then you usually have the added cost of a distributor in the chain. Swings and roundabouts.

Room dimensions 5.75m (L) x 4.8m (W) x 3m (H). I have not considered the AV processor and power amp yet.
Overall that's not to dissimilar to our main AV demo room, although ours is a little more square, so you have a nice space there to do more or less anything you want to. As Nick has mentioned, you need to decide if your speakers are going to be behind an acoustically transparent screen, or whether speakers will be on show. You need to decide what sort of level you require from the system - are you the type that will watch films at Reference Level, or are you more reserved (say -30/-20dB volume)? For AV, you don't need huge speakers, so floorstanders aren't required, standmounts will do the job just fine, and can cut down the cost considerably when choosing a hi-fi speaker package for movie use. I would highly recommend using the same centre as the front pair though, even if this means buying a pair of standmounts to use one as a centre (if the manufacturer won't supply one on its own).

For AV processors, the likes of the Marantz AV8801 and the Yamaha CXA5000 should be your first port of call, and there may be one or two more excellent options available soon.

Presumably Ken Kreisel would also be a kick ass option David?
 

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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Indeed, David is correct.

Robin you are 100% correct in your argument. I have spoken with a company and they will be in after the room is built, will cost about 1.5k. I just need it built solidly first otherwise no amount of treatment will help in the loft. Ironically the weakest link in this May even be the rooms around it and not the room itself....

Sorry for about the clarity earlier on.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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BenLaw said:
Presumably Ken Kreisel would also be a kick ass option David?

Very predictable Ben. As soon as I posted, I knew you'd have another pop. Feel free to continue if you have no other useful purpose for this forum.
 

BenLaw

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Nov 21, 2010
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David@FrankHarvey said:
BenLaw said:
Presumably Ken Kreisel would also be a kick ass option David?

Very predictable Ben. As soon as I posted, I knew you'd have another pop. Feel free to continue if you have no other useful purpose for this forum.

A serious question. Given the praise I've read from you about these speakers, they would seem to meet the criteria wouldn't they? You were effusive about them as a sub sat system and about their stacks of subs.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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BenLaw said:
A serious question. Given the praise I've read from you about these speakers, they would seem to meet the criteria wouldn't they? You were effusive about them as a sub sat system and about their stacks of subs.

I used to be an MK Sound dealer too. And a Miller & Kreisel dealer - three different companies. I've dealt with other brands in the past as well, shall we include those?

If you pull yourself away from nitpicking on this forum for a little while, you'll find that I take part in threads for these manufacturers on other forums every now and again with whatever help I can give those that ask for it (as not all info regarding these manufacturers can be trusted). As I have said before, people contact me privately to ask various questions too, and if they ask, I give them an honest answer - again, if anyone I've dealt with before has views to the contrary, they are free to speak up. So far in this thread, I have given the OP my recommendations and few pointers, which he seems to be quite happy with (unlike yourself, but then, this isn't your thread) - it is now up to him who he approaches for a demo or more information.
 

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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Thanks David.

I am off for a demo of the 804's soon and PMC's. The rest I need to demo with you, something I keep meaning to do, but always seem to be derailed. Still you have a room that is roughly the shape of mine and that to me is a good starting point. Of course there are other factors like acoustic treatments and building materials used in your room etc. Also I find it hard to remember exactly how good a system sounded, unless I do the demo on he day. Bottom line, you are the only retailer with the stuff all under one roof (shades of toys r us there).

Hopefully, by the time this loft is ready those 4k projectors will drop in price..... Let's not even talk about 8k :) for another thread perhaps.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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duaplex said:
Still you have a room that is roughly the shape of mine and that to me is a good starting point. Of course there are other factors like acoustic treatments and building materials used in your room etc.
We have no room acoustic treatments in our room - with a timber frame, which is then battened out with a layer of plasterboard, it's a nightmare of a room, particularly for bass, as any real impact is just sucked out by the 'flexible' walls.

Also I find it hard to remember exactly how good a system sounded, unless I do the demo on he day. Bottom line, you are the only retailer with the stuff all under one roof (shades of toys r us there).
:grin:

If you have trouble remembering what things sound like, I would make notes of which aspects impress you during the demo. You won't need to remember exactly what a system sounds like, just what made the system sound good. You may find some systems do dynamics better than others, or one produces a better soundfield and blend together better, and others might reproduce dialogue better. You could even write down different aspects and rate each one out of ten - of course, on different days, your mood may vary and affect the outcome, but it'll give a guide.

Nothing will be perfect, so it is a case of either choosing a system with flaws/drawbacks you can live with, or the one with storing points that float your boat. Trying to remember what other systems sound like will just confuse you put you under pressure, so listening to a system on its own and noting its strong points can take away that pressure.
 

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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I hear you on the bass! This is why I will double plasterboard the wall, extra insulation, thinker timber frames, stone walls etc. being in the loft will mean the roof and floor need to be solidified too. If only I had a basement :(

On a positive note this is excellent for demos as it creates a realistic environment for people in their homes. Dare I say it will sound better in my room (hopefully)

I will certainly take notes as recommended when going for the next demo.

Finally, I'm reading about these ATC speakers, very interesting I must admit.

Would you say the sub/sat logic still applies at this price point for cinema, or can we tear that one up? One thing MK boasts is their gear being used by studios. A bold statement indeed.
 

Frank Harvey

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duaplex said:
Finally, I'm reading about these ATC speakers, very interesting I must admit.
They're one of the few manufacturers nowadays that use sealed designs (in their entry level stuff). Genuine sub/sat designs use this approach to minimise the effects of the room boundary on the speakers within it. Many artists use ATC for monitoring purposes - Lenny Kravitz and Trent Reznor for example - so they have a history in audio monitoring for the music industry (as do PMC).

Would you say the sub/sat logic still applies at this price point for cinema, or can we tear that one up? One thing MK boasts is their gear being used by studios. A bold statement indeed.
Floorstanders aren't needed for home cinema. Many people still go for them as their system doubles up as a hi-fi system too, as a sub/sat system that is good with music is generally quite expensive.

MK is used in some studios, but it's not an exclusive claim. Many studios used to use USA based Miller & Kreisel (set up by Ken Kreisel in 1974) and still do, as many use what they have until they die, and don't change unnecessarily. MK Sound were born in 2008 when a European company bought certain rights to the M&K brand after Ken Kreisel closed down M&K (2007), which continued the same models designed by Ken. Some studios changed over to this brand. Since then, Ken Kreisel has come back with his own company in 2011, Ken Kreisel Professional Sound, and is slowly updating his original designs that played various important parts in cinema and music history, winning numerous awards for sound production ( http://www.kkprofessionalsound.com/timeline.htm ). Again, some studios have changed over to KK Sound. I would guess that there are more studios still using the original Miller & Kreisel models (MP2510P in particular).

That aside, many audio mastering suites use a number of different brands of speakers (Blue Sky, Genelec, JBL etc) for different duties, and it is worth noting that different speakers are used for recording and mastering movie scores than those that are used for post processing (dialogue/effects etc).

Another thing to note, is that most studios use active loudspeakers. The aforementioned brands do produce active models (Ken Kreisel's new ones are imminent), but most of the domestic models are passive based, so while they boast studios use their speakers, they're rarely the ones chosen to perform domestic duties.
 

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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Superb! Thank you for that detailed answer! Suddenly the allure of the MK is fading and now I may need to look at KK. I better keep it to a few manufacturers, because at this rate I will listen to everything and choose nothing :oops:

I have the go ahead from the bank to proceed with this project, so the only thing left is to decide which speakers go in the room. Today the PMC Wafer 2 was mentioned to me. I wonder how these will compare to the MK S300?

I need to come see you for a demo, so will give the store a call tomorrow and arrange something for next week perhaps?

I am about 80% sure that floorstands are not the way to go (or a necessity as mentioned), but I am open to trying and hearing it.

Thanks
 

JohnHolmes

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Mar 6, 2009
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Check out the pictures on the KK facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KenKreiselSound

for some teasers of what will be available soon.

the MK300 just looks like a larger s150,hardly groundbreaking compared to the funky looking push pull speakers on the KK facebook page.
 

duaplex

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Feb 22, 2011
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Thanks John, those look interesting!

When do we expect to see these? Second quarter maybe?
 

JohnHolmes

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No idea sorry, if I was you I would fire off an email to Ken himself, he is very approachable for advice.

Did you compare the s300 against the 150s?
 

CnoEvil

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My suggestion would be to try an Arcam AVR750 with Kef LS50s and a really good Sub from Velodyne, Paradigm or JL Audio.

EDIT. Apologies if you aren't looking for an amp.
 

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