Setup, positioning and gear advice - PMC TB2, Sony STR-DN1080, Flying Mole DAD M100s, etc

danobo

Active member
Oct 17, 2021
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We’re (hopefully) moving next month, and I’m wondering whether to revisit, and how to position, my current living room hi-fi / home cinema speaker setup, since the new room is much bigger. Ideally I’d not buy (any/much!) more kit, but trying to keep an open mind. Suggestions on speaker positioning / general setup / relatively low cost upgrades (preferably easy/impactful wins) most welcome!

The room: 6.1m x 4.6m max, ceilings c. 2.4m. But the space opens out into a much larger (9.36x6.9m) living aream, some of which has higher ceilings (see plan/photos). The photos show the previous owner’s kit/furniture.

Floorplan - Living area - speaker setup.jpg

Speaker positioning.jpg

The rest of the space (entrance to the living room to the right of the piano)

Living room.jpg

Speakers:
  • 5 x PMC TB2 / TB2+ (a centre and 4 speakers).
  • I also have some others I could use –
  • Rega Kytes, Gale Monitor (Gold, maybe) as upward firing speakers in a 7.0 / 7.1 system. (I;'m currently using the Gales with the PMCs are a 7.0 system - not sure how much value added the extra 2 speakers gives though...)
  • 2 more PMC TB2 (or TB2+) – either in a 7.0 / 7.1 system (probably overkill/better used elsewhere), or as secondary speakers in the adjoining (dining) room (makes more sense).
  • I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought about switching out the front TB2+s for (probably PMC – for best integration) floorstanders of some kind, but probably not worthwhile / sensible, especially given positioning restrictions. That said, front firing ports makes sense, and if the TB2s do end up on stands, then a floorstand is similarly intrusive (and aesthetically nicer, IMHO).
  • Another option would be to replace all the PMCs with something cheaper but probably still fine (given the compromises in positioning and the acoustics of the space) for the job (e.g. Monitor Audio Bronze BX2, about £100/pair s/h, with have front firing ports and sound pretty decent for the money), and use (or possibly upgrade) the sub.
Amps/receivers:
  • Sony STR-DN1080 7-2 surround amp/receiver (min 100w channel into 6 ohm – 120w in stereo, 165w in surround mode output)
  • Not currently in use, but I have at least a couple (potentially 5) Flying Mole DAD M100 100w (into 8 ohms)/160 watt (into 4 ohms) class D monoblocks I can pinch from other systems to power the front L and R, and possibly also the centre, possible also rears, in place of the Sony amp section – which I’d expect ought to be quite an upgrade).
Sub: I have a Definitive Technology Pro Sub 60 I was planning to use, if there’s any sense in that. It can be used in active (150W) or passive mode – I’m guessing active would be best (i.e. fed by the line level sub out from the Sony, rather than strapping it across the front L&R from the Flying Moles). This is probably the weakest link, so (given the low end performance of the PMCs), I might be better off without, or upgrading this if there a sensible budget option, preferably s/h.

Stands/speaker positioning:
  • I have 3 x Atacama SE24 stands, 2 x SE26, all 60cm high and sand filled.
  • I may replace some or all of the stands with sand filled Atacama Moseco 6 (white/bamboo bass) or similar for purely aesthetic reasons.
  • There’s nowhere sensible to put the centre on one of these stands. Possibly it could go on a floor stand near(ish) the fire, but it’s probably “better” (er, well, aesthetically acceptable) – if it’s needed a at all, where marked on the plan/photos.
  • If the fronts are replaced with floorstanders, or on stands, I might mount them where the green squares are.
  • It’d be aesthetically neatest to mount the L/C/R on the cupboard cabinets (e.g. with MoPads underneath), or possibly mount all 5 speakers on wall brackets (possibly even as high as the wall/ceiling corners). The advantage is more consistent distance to the main listening position (the sofa). Acoustically undesirable, however, and made worse by the PMCs having rear firing transmission line exists, so ideally they’d have some space behind them. Unfortunately some serious compromises are likely to be necessary!
TV - TV is to be replaced with something larger (75-85” – current one is 55-60”). There might also be a projector setup (I have an Optomo UHD40 but might sell it). It seems it’ll need to go in the alcove, as indicated, given potential heat damage and the position being too high for comfortable viewing if it goes on the chimney breast above the fire.

Source: Computer (HDMI audio out from soundcard into Sony)

Cables: are all pretty cheap and cheerful (must confess, based on experience as a recording engineer, I’m not a huge believer that it’s particularly beneficial to spend a lot, but feel free to try to persuade me otherwise). I may need to wire them under the floor boards (with flat cables) or as discrete white cables along the skirting board.

Any thoughts - whether that be on gear, positioning, etc - welcome and very much appreciated!
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Any thoughts - whether that be on gear, positioning, etc - welcome and very much appreciated!
I'm going to give you my thought, but you won't think much of it.
However, I can only be honest.
I admit that I looked at your photos and didn't go much further.
I know you said the photos show the current owners house - so maybe you plan changes.
You say you were a recording engineer. (I've been a live sound engineer).
I can only say that, in a much smaller room (with better starting acoustics) my sound was totally ruined by excess reverberation - only rectified by acoustic treatment.

Again, just being totally honest I would not consider putting any (worthwhile) audio equipment in that space as it stands.

Sorry.
 
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danobo

Active member
Oct 17, 2021
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25
Thanks Gary.

As it turns out, I absolutely agree that acoustics (and poor positioning) are the major limiting factors here. Having worked in a variety of rooms, from small untreated ones to well-treated treated ones, I think it's probably THE single most important thing (I'm always surprised how little attention it seems to get in the audiophile community). Even pretty inexpensive equipment can sound great in a good space; I've heard some great equipment sound pretty poor in terrible spaces. So yeah, there's an issue here!

Fortunately my critical listening space is elsewhere - though I'm wondering whether that should be where the projector and surround system go instead, and instead make this a more straightforward TV setup with a couple of front speakers, maybe some cheap sattelite reads.

In terms of layout, I don't think there's much we can sensibly do differently.

On the plus side, the room is pretty large - very large if you count the contiguous adjoining space. So that's good for room modes, etc. I'm hoping I might be able to add some room treatment, but relatively minor in the scheme of things (perhaps some 2" deep panels in the alcoves, above the windows, and a large GIK Acoustics picture/art panel or few on the chimney breast, possibly even the side walls too; a large rug or few; some ceiling panels if I really went to town).

So I guess the questions is - what's worthwhile for this space?

- The PMCs are probably overkill (especially if powered by the Flying Moles), but I already have them. Selling all 5 PMC speakers wouldn't even fund, say, a Dali Oberon 5.1 package (which is probably also overkill). I'm unsure how they'd compare in any case ... but a pair of the PMCs used to retail for the what whole 5.1 Dali package now sells for, so - even despite the passage of time and improviments in speaker tech - I'm guessing what I have is preferable.

- Very happy to downgrade (especially since I need to fund a TV!) sensibly. A simple sub and 5 speaker wallmounted tiny satelitte package might well be all that's required (and would be simpler and less intrusive in the room). Or an inexpensive, say, 5.1 bookshelf / standmount package (something like the Monitor Audio Bronze range, secondhand). Trading everything down (save for the Sony amp) would at least help fund the TV!
 
Last edited:

Gray

Well-known member
Thanks Gary.

As it turns out, I absolutely agree that acoustics (and poor positioning) are the major limiting factors here. Having worked in a variety of rooms, from small untreated ones to well-treated treated ones, I think it's probably THE single most important thing (I'm always surprised how little attention it seems to get in the audiophile community). Even pretty inexpensive equipment can sound great in a good space; I've heard some great equipment sound pretty poor in terrible spaces.
I thought you'd think that way.
In my case, in a much smaller space there was a nasty fluttery reverb. I only really found out how much the sound was being compromised after treating 2 walls (with the thickest cork tiles) and the entire ceiling (with raised-pattern polystyrene tiles).
So the room is an ugly, fire hazard 😏- but the sound became focused (like reading without / with glasses).
I've only got myself to please and I do realise that others live in the real world.
But there's a 'show off your setup' thread where so often systems are pictured amongst acres of smooth, hard reflecting surfaces, maybe with the thinnest, postage-stamp sized rug.
It makes me wince. 😦

Hopefully one of the home cinema enthusiasts will be along to advise on your equipment options (I couldn't advise as I've always been exclusively audio only).
I've heard good reports on Dali speakers, but as a PMC owner myself, I think you might indeed be right to hold on to them.

Good luck with the move.
 
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danobo

Active member
Oct 17, 2021
10
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25
Thanks!

Current plan is I think to stick with what I have, since it's the easiest option and I'm unlikely to realise much cash by downgrading. Will see how I get on with the current sub - which is the weak link in the chain (but it may be that just using a little, or not having one at all, is fine). And I'm considering some acoustic treatment (and closing the curtains!).

Must confess I'm a little tempted to switch out the front L & R for a pair of PMC GB1s (which I could do cost neutrally), but they'd be a bit more visually instrusive and I don't kno how much, if any, of an improvement that'd make ...

Proposed positioning of speakers and rockwool acoustic panels (probably GIK) - suboptimal in both cases I'm afraid (for so many reasons - not helped by the PMCs being rear ported), but it's the best I can come up with in a way that's aesthetically discrete) as pictured:

Living Room - speaker setup and acoustic panels (2).jpg


Living room - rear speaker and acoustic panels (3) with text.jpg

Living room - rear speaker and acoustic panels.jpg
 
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