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  1. #1
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    Question You guys crewed me... Now, you need to help me!

    I'm moving to a new home and I'm trying to buy an HDTV and Home Theatre system
    for the living room. I am not very knowledgeable in either of the areas.

    The new place has 4 pre-wired surround speaker locations on the ceiling and I was
    looking for HTIB that comes with 4+ speakers that are small enough to put on the
    ceiling. I went to a Bose store this afternoon and thought the lifestyle 28 was
    reasonably good. Came back and did some web surfing and made an order.

    I remember someone telling me about this website and I was just stopping by to
    make sure that I made the right decision.

    Then, I found hundreds of negative postings about Bose and felt terrible/stupid.
    I did not even know that Bose is an over-priced brand.

    So, I hurried sending emails to the internet shops canceling the orders. I hope they
    would cancel it tomorrow morning.

    After that, I started reading many posts here to figure out what to buy.

    And, I'm LOST. There are too many opinions and too many options and brands
    and I don't even know what to buy.

    Can someone help me choosing HTIB models that may be better than or equivalent
    to Bose Lifestyle 28 series? Here is the situation.

    - Thinking of buying a 50" Pioneer PDP-5060
    - Need a progressive scan DVD player (DVD/CD changer would be nice, but not a
    must)
    - Need 4 small speakers to hang on the ceiling. I read some negative postings on
    ceiling mounting, but there are holes and wires waiting for the speakers and I have
    no choice. The seller of the house took the speakers out of the home and there
    are just loose wires coming out of the corners of the ceilings
    - Total budget for the HTIB is around $1000~$1500 (given that Bose is WAY
    overpriced, according to you guys). It does not have to be over $1000. As long as
    the product has a good quality for my needs (watching TV & movie, listening to
    classical music casually), it's okay.
    - I prefer buying a set (i.e. HTIB) including everything, but if someone can pick exact
    items one by one, it'll be great as well. (don't give me multiple choice options...
    it'll make me more lost.)

    By the way, the wires on the ceilings are located at the corners and I think I need
    some brackets or legs to put the speakers in the correct directions. If someone
    can help me where/what to buy, it'll be great.

    Thanks in advance.

    Byungwook

  2. #2
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Good call on cancelling the Bose... You are right that ceiling mounting is far from ideal... However, since you have to go that way...

    HTIB is also a bad idea, IMO. Most companies do not specialize in all the included components, and as such, one or more (or all) of them are substantially lacking.

    I would recommend you look at the Definitive Technology ProCinema 80 sub/sat system for about $800-$1000 -- that will get you all of your speakers and subwoofer. A used Denon 1600 DVD player (no longer made) for about $115 on audiogon.com would do the trick, leaving you about $400-$500 for an entry level receiver by a reliable brand name like Yamaha, Denon or Marantz.

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  3. #3
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Well, here's a start for ya.

    Initially listed @ $600 and garnered rave reviews at that price. At thi price they are a steal and, yes,they will beat the living urine out of those Bose speakers.

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1077624907950

    Remember, "small" and wall mounted will necessate certain compromises in your music listening.

    Now, that leaves you with about $750 for a receiver and DVD player/changer. I'm sure others will be able to guide you there.

    Stick to the big league players and make sure it has the features you need. I'm partial to Denon myself, but Marantz, Onkyo or other big names would satisfy me as well.

  4. #4
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Well, as others have said, ceiling mounting is hardly ideal, but let's work with the cards we've been dealt. If you want to stay with little cubes like the Bose, I'd check out this HSU Ventriloquist system, one of these Cambridge Soundworks packages, Mirage Omnisats, a Gallo Nucleus system, or perhaps a JM Lab Sib/Cub system or KEF KHT series system. The JM Lab system is the most expensive at around $1,100, but you can still get a nice entry level receiver such as the Denon 1706 for around $250 (B-Stock w/ full factory warranty) and add a prog scan dvd player from Panny, Pio, or Sony and still be under $1,500. Plus, it will kick the snot out of the Bose.

    Hope this helps.

  5. #5
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    I think you would be better served by visiting a local custom installer. From your description theres' potential for several headaches, i.e. wrong speaker placement= poor sound, questionable wiring, wrong type of display, etc.. While there is a degree of enjoyment from "doing it yourself " it's better to be safe than sorry ( just look at the Bose purchase, not to mention the high possibility of an illegal purchase), let a pro help you!!!

  6. #6
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    Thanks all for your kind advices.
    Unfortunately, it looks like you're giving me more options, while I'd like
    to narrow the selections...

    Can I ask why HTIB is not a good option? For a new comer like me,
    if I have to buy each module separately, it'll be complicated to wire
    them & use them and I thought it's easier to buy a set and deal with
    it. I still very afraid of buying each module from different brands as
    I have no idea on what to consider for each and how they will be hooked
    up and their inter-compatibility.

    Well, if you think it's okay to go with one of the HTIB models, here are
    what I found from the web based on the brand names that I got from
    this site after posting the original question last night..

    - Marantz - ER2500 Home Theater System ($1099.00) - DVD

    - Denon - [DHT-486DV] Complete 7.1 Home Theater System ($749) - DVD

    - Boston Acoustics - AvideaŽ 610 Home Theater ($799.00) - DVD

    - SVS - SBS-01 5.1 Set with PB10-NSD ($999)

    - PSB Speakers - Alpha Mini Theater System ($895)

    I guess the latter two models don't have DVD and/or receivers, which I
    have to buy separately, I assume.

    As for the sound, our living room is very spacious with many windows,
    I don't think it can create the best sound (not to mention the ceiling wiring)
    and I may not need to buy the highest-end models as I would not benefit
    much from them. I'm not sure if this is another stupid comment, but that's
    what I felt.

    Please advise me.

    Thanks,

    Byungwook

  7. #7
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    Okay, I guess I'm learning a lot (maybe too much in a couple of days).
    Please forget about what I wrote above.

    I did a lot of surfing again and it looks like most of those companies that I listed
    above for the HTIB, they may not necessarily be making best speakers and I guess
    that's one of the main reasons why you guys are advising me to buy speaker set
    separately from the receiver and the dvd player.

    So, I decided to start with the speaker systems first and looked at the websites
    of those brands that drseid, markw, and topspeed suggested. (Thanks a lot!)
    (and some other brands that I read from other threads as well).

    Right now, I'm thinking of around $1000 for the speakers, but flexible. Total budget
    can be over $1500. (Initially spent $2200 for Bose anyways...)


    Here is what I think so far:

    - Marantz, Onkyo, Denon, Boston Acoustic - may not be specialized in speaker
    and I'll skip them for speakers.

    - Athena, HSU, Mirage, Gallo, B&W - I don't like their designs. I prefer not too
    modern looks.

    - JM lab - Guess they are too expensive for my budget?

    - SVS - SBS-01 5.1 Set - Read good things about it, but unfortunately their
    speakers look too big to be put on the corners on the ceiling. So, I'll skip it.


    Then, I liked the sizes/looks of the following brands/models. Of course, their
    sound must be good as well. Let me know what you guys think about these
    and their pros and cons. Preferrably, your recommendation would be great.


    - PSB Speakers - Alpha Mini Theater System ($895)

    - Definitive ProCinema80 ($1000)

    - Cambridge soundworks - Various small speakers

    - Paradigm Cinema (CT) series


    I guess I can't go wrong with any of these, but if you can help me learning,
    it'll be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Byungwook

  8. #8
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    Decent Speakers

    Quote Originally Posted by byungwook
    Okay, I guess I'm learning a lot (maybe too much in a couple of days).
    Please forget about what I wrote above.

    I did a lot of surfing again and it looks like most of those companies that I listed
    above for the HTIB, they may not necessarily be making best speakers and I guess
    that's one of the main reasons why you guys are advising me to buy speaker set
    separately from the receiver and the dvd player.

    So, I decided to start with the speaker systems first and looked at the websites
    of those brands that drseid, markw, and topspeed suggested. (Thanks a lot!)
    (and some other brands that I read from other threads as well).

    Right now, I'm thinking of around $1000 for the speakers, but flexible. Total budget
    can be over $1500. (Initially spent $2200 for Bose anyways...)


    Here is what I think so far:

    - Marantz, Onkyo, Denon, Boston Acoustic - may not be specialized in speaker
    and I'll skip them for speakers.

    - Athena, HSU, Mirage, Gallo, B&W - I don't like their designs. I prefer not too
    modern looks.

    - JM lab - Guess they are too expensive for my budget?

    - SVS - SBS-01 5.1 Set - Read good things about it, but unfortunately their
    speakers look too big to be put on the corners on the ceiling. So, I'll skip it.


    Then, I liked the sizes/looks of the following brands/models. Of course, their
    sound must be good as well. Let me know what you guys think about these
    and their pros and cons. Preferrably, your recommendation would be great.


    - PSB Speakers - Alpha Mini Theater System ($895)

    - Definitive ProCinema80 ($1000)

    - Cambridge soundworks - Various small speakers

    - Paradigm Cinema (CT) series


    I guess I can't go wrong with any of these, but if you can help me learning,
    it'll be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Byungwook
    Cambridge Soundworks offers some pretty decent speakers at REASONABLE prices. I have listened to these at several friends homes and they sound good and are a very good value. They would certainly be an imrovement over the Bose. I believe they offer a money back guarantee.


    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...999=WGOCAMSDA5

  9. #9
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    I definately know how you feel and can remember my first time playing around with HT equipment a couple of years ago. Here is my two cents...

    I currently have the SVS - SBS-01 5.1 Set-up in my apartment living room and it is a GREAT set (one of the best for its price range), BUT not good for corner placement. You are right about the size, they are on the large size for bookshelf speakers and they would not fit well into corners. You will lose a lot of sound due to acoustics by placing them in corners.

    Out of the speaker sets you listed:

    - PSB Speakers - Alpha Mini Theater System ($895)
    - Definitive ProCinema80 ($1000)

    Are the best for your specifications in my opinion. I have auditioned both sets in neighbor's houses. I just feel they will create the best acoustic blend for your room and can still produce quality sound throughout your corner placement.

    Let us know when you are ready to look at receivers and DVD players and I would be happy to list a few good ones once we know which speaker set you choose.

    Happy Hunting!

  10. #10
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Only problem is...

    Quote Originally Posted by byungwook
    Then, I found hundreds of negative postings about Bose and felt terrible/stupid.
    I did not even know that Bose is an over-priced brand.
    ...if you take the words you read as gospel and follow some of the advice found on these interweb sites, you will need to spend $1000US for interconnects and similar amounts for speaker wire...that hospital-grade electrical outlets will improve the sound of your system...believe that tone controls and equalizers are the work of the Devil...that CD transports affect the sound...that you need brass cones, granite slabs, sandbags and piles of otherwise inert materials to stabilize your components...that all electro-dynamic loudspeakers are inferior...that high prices equate to better performance...that...that...well, you get the picture...

    Yes Bose is over-priced...you can't swing a dead cat without seeing their advertising in one form of media or another, and someone has to pay for it...guess who? Their Lifestyle systems are closed-loop, meaning they can't be used with other components...the reasoning being it provides installation simplicity...the size of the components (particularly the loudspeakers) get high WAF(Wife Approval Factor) for being unobtrusive...there are, obviously, trade-offs as there are with most products or services...

    Ther bottom line is that if you like the way they sound, why would you listen to anyone else's opinion? Who is paying for it you or them? If you don't like it, that's one thing, but to let a bunch of anonymous, opinionated dingbats make up your mind for you is foolish IMHO...

    jimHJJ(...just this dingbat's POV...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  11. #11
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Jim,
    Calling us opinionated dingbats was the nicest thing you have ever said LOL. I real step up for me!

    I am not concerned as much with the equipment of choice as I am with the idea of putting any speakers in the corners of the room. Both the ceiling and corners are horrible for any speaker. The ceiling position doesn't work very well with our ears ability to detect direction. The corner location introduces spurious early arriving reflections, and introduces the boundary effect which artifically boosts the bass performance at the expense of imaging and signal clarity.

    HTIB have compromises necessary to meet certain price points. Why introduce one compromise (the system) with another compromise (the placement of the equipment)?
    Sir Terrence

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    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
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  12. #12
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    And I agree...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I am not concerned as much with the equipment of choice as I am with the idea of putting any speakers in the corners of the room. Both the ceiling and corners are horrible for any speaker. The ceiling position doesn't work very well with our ears ability to detect direction. The corner location introduces spurious early arriving reflections, and introduces the boundary effect which artifically boosts the bass performance at the expense of imaging and signal clarity.
    ...up 'til now, that is...

    Quote Originally Posted by TtT
    HTIB have compromises necessary to meet certain price points. Why introduce one compromise (the system) with another compromise (the placement of the equipment)?
    Just what part of the whole chain isn't a compromise? D@mn, HT is only tee-vee...ear/eye candy...and HTIB is Cracker Jack's, "...candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize..."(does it still contain a useless trinket?)...what's really involved with transporting the laser-totin' mechanical lizards into your living room? What part of any of it is realistic?

    jimHJJ(...none of which was my original point anyway...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  13. #13
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Jim,
    Calling us opinionated dingbats was the nicest thing you have ever said LOL. I real step up for me!

    I am not concerned as much with the equipment of choice as I am with the idea of putting any speakers in the corners of the room. Both the ceiling and corners are horrible for any speaker. The ceiling position doesn't work very well with our ears ability to detect direction. The corner location introduces spurious early arriving reflections, and introduces the boundary effect which artifically boosts the bass performance at the expense of imaging and signal clarity.

    HTIB have compromises necessary to meet certain price points. Why introduce one compromise (the system) with another compromise (the placement of the equipment)?
    I don't think he has much choice for location. He bought a house and it had the holes already cut out.

    I think the four brands you narowed it down to:
    - PSB Speakers - Alpha Mini Theater System ($895)
    - Definitive ProCinema80 ($1000)
    - Cambridge soundworks - Various small speakers (these get my vote)
    - Paradigm Cinema (CT) series

    Are all good. But Sir TT knows his stuff. If he says that corners are bad, then you can bet that they are. Do you have any other options available?
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  14. #14
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    We all agree the location sucks for regular speakers, so my question is whether in-wall/in-ceiling speakers might be a better solution. Certainly, it will have better WAF. Niles, Boston, Paradigm, NHT, hell...just about everybody makes "architectual" speakers these days. Would they be a better solution for his location problem?

  15. #15
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Resident Loser
    ...up 'til now, that is...



    Just what part of the whole chain isn't a compromise? D@mn, HT is only tee-vee...ear/eye candy...and HTIB is Cracker Jack's, "...candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize..."(does it still contain a useless trinket?)...what's really involved with transporting the laser-totin' mechanical lizards into your living room? What part of any of it is realistic?

    jimHJJ(...none of which was my original point anyway...)
    One compromise comes in the form of the main speakers melding( $1 to spock) with the subwoofer. Most HTIB have tiny speakers with a low frequency cutoff of about 120hz or higher. Most receivers have their crossover at 80hz. Every HTIB I have ever heard this hole was very audible. Alot of HTIB have pretty small subwoofers that cannot play back deep bass without compression or alot of distortion. Considering the fact that the sub in this kind of system has to handle the LFE, and the bass from all of the other channels this constitutes a compromise in my opinion which may not be to others with less of a desire for quality bass.

    When I started working at Paramount many years ago, they were just reopening their rebuilt and remodeled sound and dubbing stages. My first job with them was to completely rebuild their sound effects library. 100% of what I recorded over those first couple of years came from nature, or sources in real life. So while you laser totin lizards are not real, the sounds that derive its roar and its walk came from sources that are noted in real life, they are just combined together to get a certain sound effect.

    The production value of film scores these days is very high. I know that in the last 4 years or so every film score I have recorded has been done with very high quality electronics at 24/96khz. Shawn Murphy who is a well known scoring engineer and several others that are not so well known all use very high quality electronic and also record at 24/96khz. The idea that film soundtracks are just a lo fi medium is totally old school. The thought that high quality high resolution speakers are not required to get the best out of soundtracks is also a old school notion.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
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    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
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    THX Style Baffle wall

  16. #16
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    Thanks all for your continued help.

    For your information, here is a photo of the living room.
    You can find 2 speakers over the window next to the TV.
    The seller took the speakers away. There are two other
    locations above the sofa in front. Probably, I'll put the
    TV at the same location.

    http://home.bawi.org/~bwkim/others/livingroom.jpg

    Please let me know if this location is really bad as Sir TT
    wrote and I have to re-consider using those wire connection.

    Thanks,

    Byungwook

  17. #17
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    well,...

    Quote Originally Posted by byungwook
    Probably, I'll put the TV at the same location.

    Please let me know if this location is really bad as Sir TTwrote and I have to re-consider using those wire connection.
    Their locations may be fine for low level, uncritical listening, say background music in a restaurant, but they are not in a location to do any good at all for a HT system and, I doubt, for any semi-serious music system.. for HT, the TV should be somewhat centrally located between the two front speakers, and this scenario is nowhere near that.
    Last edited by markw; 06-13-2006 at 01:32 PM.

  18. #18
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    hey byougwook, where is this house located, i looked at the pic and it seemed very familiar

    lol

  19. #19
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by byungwook
    Thanks all for your continued help.

    For your information, here is a photo of the living room.
    You can find 2 speakers over the window next to the TV.
    The seller took the speakers away. There are two other
    locations above the sofa in front. Probably, I'll put the
    TV at the same location.

    http://home.bawi.org/~bwkim/others/livingroom.jpg

    Please let me know if this location is really bad as Sir TT
    wrote and I have to re-consider using those wire connection.

    Thanks,

    Byungwook
    Nice room. Beautiful. But a challenge sonically.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  20. #20
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GMichael
    Nice room. Beautiful. But a challenge sonically.
    This would be the understatement of the year!
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
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    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  21. #21
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Beautiful room.

    Too bad it's an acoustic nightmare. It's a good thing you're a casual listener Byung, because getting it right in that room would require some serious room treatments.

    Your speaker locations suck. Sorry, there's just no way to dilute that. From the picture, it looks like the best location would be to get a flat panel monitor, mount it above the fireplace and then have your speakers located on that wall (the left wall in the pic).

  22. #22
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    Mmm... it's very frustrating replies... But, I guess I have to live with what I've got.

    Yesterday was the close of escrow and I went to our new home and checked
    the speaker wires. There are big holes and nails already and I am gonna be using
    those locations.

    We'll see how bad it will be.

    Thanks.

    p.s.
    By the way, I'm in CA. Far from where you are, audio_dude.

  23. #23
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    This would be the understatement of the year!
    My first thought was, "Beautiful room. Too bad it's an acoustic nightmare." But I thought that might sound harsh.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  24. #24
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    Hello byungwook,

    Let me finally chime in with my $.02. Since you will apparently be using the same speaker positions you'll obviously want something small. And, as a casual listener an HTIB probably has some merit for simplicity in selection, operation and installation. But, since there is no reason to compromise more than you have to sonically might I suggest this one:

    http://www.cambridgesoundworks.com/s...&item=c1mt610e

    One of my brothers-in-law just picked one up and it sounds quite good for the category. The MC100 main speakers are fairly small, but large enough for decent midbass blend with a subwoofer. They work with standard omnimount brackets.

  25. #25
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    The seller must have been a piece of work to go to the trouble of removing his precious littel speekers. You should have written that they were to be included in the purchase and sale agreement. FYI quite often real estate law requires fixtues attached to the property such as speakers are to remain unless there is an agreement for removal by the seller. Did your realtor explain this to you?

    As noted above your room has so many challenges that our answers might seem a bit blunt. Putting a plasma/LCD above the fireplace will force the view to look up to watch a movie and ther will be some drywall work power and cable. As others point out where do you put the center left and right front speakers and rear.

    Is there a better room in the house for home theater so this room can be just for casual ambient listening using ceiling speakers and a subwoofer?

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