Klipsch 5.1 setup review
Klipsch had a Christmas in July sale last year where I picked up some new speakers and now have a 5.1 setup consisting of an older reference 12 subwoofer I purchased with my receiver a few years ago, r-51m front speakers, r-41m rears and the r-52c center channel. Often new deals for this include the r-100sw and that is what my brother purchased after hearing my setup.
Now to set the stage I was upgrading the 5 channels from an RCA home theater in a box setup that I purchased in 2000 from radioshack for $300 with a subwoofer and receiver included. Clearly not audiophile grade, but at least it did dolby digital which was fairly new at the time.
This upgrade has been so noticeable. The first thing you notice is how much more sound you can get from the center channel and it really helps with clarity on the dialogue. The front channels are still bookshelves, but much clearer and the r-51m can handle some decent mid-bass until the crossover point with the subwoofer which I have set at 80hz. The rears are r-41m and not as much bass, but I can still hear some booms that make you turn your head with the right movie.
The clarity has been the biggest thing I noticed, dynamic range is greatly improved and even at low volumes it is much easier to understand what is going on. I also like movies that have helicopters flying around you as you can feel the bass from the sub, and the location from the rest of the speakers fairly evenly with this setup.
My next upgrade would probably to add atmos ceiling speakers, but that would need a new receiver and some wiring too. The other part that I'm still interested in is how those would balance as ceiling speakers would likely have less power handling and a higher cutover frequency. Something I'm sure I'll research more and hopefully get to hear somewhere else before making a purchase, but if I do tests I'll try to report that on the forum as well.
I'd be happy to answer any other questions about this setup and if anyone isn't quite sure if they can build a system I would recommend this as sort of a sweet spot of quality for your money. Sure you can buy a better system, but the deals they have periodically on Klipsch speakers are hard to beat.
The picture is the center and fronts.
Hi again Eric,
As I said in the setup post I made, we just need to compare a few graphs. We are in luck because Klipsch is a popular brand so we should be able to find the needed graphs for comparison quite easily. If you could post the model numbers or the series of speakers then I could have a look for the graphs for you and help you compare them to various in-ceiling speakers you like the look of. As for bass integration, as long as your sub plays cleanly up to about 120-150hz, nearly all good in-ceiling speakers would work great. Otherwise, another viable (and probably cheaper) option would be to get another 2 or 4 of the bookshelf speakers, and as they are so light, use them as heights, I'm guessing because you live in America (I think I remember you saying that's where you were from), that your ceilings are fairly high, in which case this could be a really good option for you if you are up for it. Denon does some good cheap atmos processors, but you might want to save up for something better, maybe with bass management and other room correction features, it just depends on what you want. 🙂
I had included all the main model numbers, but I left out my specific subwoofer model which is the RW-12D I got in 2011. I also actually have another 2 R-41M speakers. With my current receiver I could run them as 7channel, but wiring/mounting for the walls didn't seem worth it as after I put a speaker in the ceiling in my kitchen that overhead feeling seemed to be something that would make more of a difference than more side speakers. That being said they are sort of sitting around so I guess if I really got the itch I could just run the wires on the floor for a test fit and hold them or prop them somehow temporarily at the right wall height.
My couch is against the back wall and my ceilings are ~91 inches high.
I'm sure I should test more, but I'm not sure I'd like the crossover range in the 120-150hz range. It feels high but depending on the impact it would make to an overall setup matching from rear, top and front it might be worth it.
Firstly, you are right about the model numbers sorry I missed them. Also, Dolby seems to think 120Hz is a suitable crossover point for in-ceiling speakers. 80Hz is apparently so omnidirectional we can't notice its position at all but if you can find an in-ceiling speaker that goes down to 80Hz go-ahead, I just think you'll find one with that higher sensitivity you were after if you don't prioritise that bass response so much, but that is all good if you choose that.
Also, are you thinking of running a 2 channel Atmos system? If you are then the 5.1.2 setup is to have the speakers slightly forward of the listening position so the height speakers would actually give a steep enough angle to be more than enough effective! If not then you might struggle with the layout with 5.1.4 as you kind of need two of the ceiling/height speakers to be behind you.
I just had a look online, the speakers you have listed seem to be powered, not passive speakers, so I guess you are running line-outs to them. Also, the strangest thing, I haven't seen a single response graph for either the 41 or 51 speakers. So strange! Without these, it would be very difficult to voice match a ceiling speaker to them. So unless you want to get a measurement microphone and take your laptop and speaker into the middle of a field or large garden and record measurements, there isn't much I can help with in terms of that. The only things I can suggest unless you can find a graph for me to look at is diving in with a random but good pair of flat (sounding) ceiling speakers or to work with those r-41s and use a speaker wall bracket that allows you to angle them down (as you know they will sound the same as your surround channels).
Thanks, the r-41pm would be the powered models I believe. Mine are passive powered by my pioneer receiver, other than the subwoofer obviously using an LFE out. So I did a quick rough room mock up. Speakers are either side of the tv, left is the subwoofer. Either side of the sofa is an end table with the r-41 surrounds on it. I also marked in white the spots I am roughly thinking for the ceiling speakers. I know the chair isn't a sweet spot, but it is a position and this isn't a theatre only room as you can tell. In fact there is a treadmill in front of the chair even haha. Yeah I haven't been able to find a response curve either, was sort of surprised by that myself. there are 3 walkways and 2 windows in the room so perfection isn't going to happen.
Firstly, what a great illustration, if I were to do that it would be a black line with text box windows paint job.
By the way, your setup is actually quite good. In terms of windows using something like curtains or even blinds can help but honestly isn't that important. I assume the white squares are to represent the two channels of in-ceiling speakers. As for the sofa, you probably have quite a few bass peaks (boominess in bass response). Even just a few inches of forward movement for that sofa (not noticeable) will improve the response. I digress...
If you were to use in-ceiling speakers where suggested, you would get some significant diffraction problems off of that bookshelf (unless it is a table, I can't tell). Mounting those height speakers on the side walls (tilted downwards) would significantly reduce this as they are more directive. Have you decided on what method you are using yet? If so, please tell me so I can help you get the best audio out of your situation. ;D
Haha, I was 2 seconds from using paint then realized size would be hard to scale and knew there had to be software that was available. This was https://planner5d.com/ and the left is a fireplace mantle I had meant to mention that but it is 58 inches high. So the reason for the rough placement is looking where the joists are and how i can get wires up from the stairway to the right side just by the doorway near the couch. Also if I move the couch forward it really chokes off the area between it and the chair, it's tighter than it looks, and there is also some other "stuff" in the room than these main items too.
I'm leaning towards a 5.1.2 in the future for Atmos and those ceiling spots would be ok (probably adjusted some) if it would work well. The r-41ms high on the wall are an other idea, maybe over the window and doorway sideways tilted down? Is that an option?
Thanks again for your replies and hopefully this discussion will be relevant for others thinking of making a jump to 3d sound too.
Yes, having the speakers above the window and door is a very good option if the brackets fit. I'll speak more tomorrow, but I'm heading off now. I'm glad I was able to help.
I'll have to see what sort of brackets would work, definitely open to suggestions there too. Looking on Parts express for ceiling speakers I found these and they say they go down to 50hz so hopefully the 80hz cutoff I have would work for them too: https://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-me620c-6-1-2-2-way-micro-edge-ceiling-speaker-pair--300-432
These are around a third the price of a Klipsch model ceiling speaker (RIC-65 or others) and it looks like the mounting hole is nearly the same size so I guess I could always upgrade if not good enough and use these somewhere else.
And for yet another odd, creative (likely bad) idea maybe a stereo ceiling speaker like the R-1650-CSM and put it in the center of the marks for the ceiling speakers. I don't think any atmos call for that, but I'm curious how much difference there will be if that just can add the height and other speakers would pick up left right etc.
Those speakers you linked to, are the ones I put up in a house near where you live. I am sure they would let you go listen to them if you like. I set up an entire theater in their basement. IMO, they sound really good for what they offer. And for atmos speakers, you aren't asking for the world. I completely agree that you would get a lot more out of an atmos setup than a 7.1 setup. You just don't have the room behind you that you would want for 7.1 Unless you put them in the ceiling....but if you do that, lol, might as well just switch up to atmos. DIY Soundgroup also sells some atmos speakers called the Volt. I've never personally heard them, so I can't speak to their quality. However, I haven't heard a bad thing from them yet. Still for the price difference, the Dayton Audio seems like a better deal.
Hmm, these are even cheaper, seems difference is the cone of poly instead of Kevlar. I don't have any other Kevlar speakers so not sure what that would do from a sound perspective, but the specs look the same.
Now at just $57 for a pair it sounds worth the attempt (this doesn't include a new receiver cost though haha)
Yeah there is always that one hidden cost. hahaha. Those look like they are the 6.5" version versus the 8" version
All the links were 6.5" I think, they just need an 8.25 inch cutout.
I hope you are happy with the decision you end up making, the single ceiling speaker to cover the gap between heights L and R is an amazing idea, I wish I had thought of that, any idea on how you are going to mix the channels without worrying about impedance or distortion problems though. :/
I wish I had thought of that, I might add a single ceiling speaker between my 4 heights now, just tell us if you managed to get that stereo to mono conversion working, and how. I want to hear this! I am very excited about this project!
For the center speaker I would use a speaker designed to accept stereo inputs, here's a picture of the front of the one I mentioned:
this one is the next model up, but shows the back:
Also, I looked up and realized this won't work for me since I have a ceiling fan that would impact a center location for me.
I'm excited, but please don't hold your breath for me on this project as I'll be waiting for a great receiver/4k tv deal before I really jump into the next level. I mean I had those RCA speakers for almost 20 years before the jump to these =)