Fireplace where center channel should be...HELP!

 

New member
Username: Lones0me4

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-06
Hey everyone. I just bought a new townhouse and an starting to plan my home theater system. I plan on getting a plasma and setting it up above the fireplace, but dont know where to put the center channel. I was planning on putting the LR on either side of the fireplace, but am unsure about the center. Any advice would be great. I've attached a photo to give you a better idea of the setup.

On a sidenote, do you think above hte fireplace is too high for the plasma? I'm in a tight spot because this is hte only room that has space for a nice setup!!!!Upload
 

Silver Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 827
Registered: Apr-05
It's too high for my taste. I don't know if you won't strain your neck looking up at that for a long period of time.

The problem with the HT system is that it becomes the focal point of your furniture. Right now that furniture is all focused around the fireplace. If you want to do this right, I would do some rearranging of the furniture.



 

Frank1203
Unregistered guest
Hello Jim,

I had the exact same issue as you. I'll tell you waht I did..

What you do , will depend on what type of surround sound system that you purchased and the types of speakers / sizes you have.

Just to get this out of the way first... You will get alot of comments about the Plasma being too high above your fireplace or that the fireplace hear will ruin your Plasma. Wrong and Wrong. I too thought my Plama would be too high and that my neck would be strained.. Out of all the things I had to compromise on to place my Home Theater in my room - that was the easiest!

Now about the Center Channel issue... I have a Paradigm CC-570 which is a huge Center Channel by all counts (approx 26" long, by 9 1/2" high). Obvioulsy, you can't put it on your mantle because of its size, but here's what I did.. I put it on a Speaker Stand in front of my fireplace on the hearth, but the trick here was that I had my installer use wall plates and connect the wires with Bananas so that removing the Center Speaker when you want to use the fireplace is very easy. My hearth is black, so I also colored in the speaker wire to be a black so it all blends in. To be honest this is your only option depending on what size center speaker you plan to purchase and this sticking point held up my purchase for almost 3 months. One installer suggested installing a small Center speaker in the ceiling, and then to tilt the tweeters down, but it would have been a mismatch a definite compromise in sound. I guess the speaker is a little bit of an eye sore due to its size, but even though I'm a novice with Home Theater, but if there's anything I learned, it's how important it is to have a very good center speaker. It makes all the difference!

One other option is to put your center speaker in the back of the room between your two rear speakers.

I hope I helped... Frank
 

Bronze Member
Username: Westcott

League City, Texas

Post Number: 77
Registered: Oct-05
I had the very same problem.

See the "His and Her Room" to see how it was resolved.

Good Luck!
 

New member
Username: Lones0me4

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-06
Thanks for the advice Everyone. It looks like I need to do some serious planning to get this right.

Frank, I'm glad you are happy with your plasma above the fireplace. Stof's post got me a little worried!
 

Silver Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 838
Registered: Apr-05
I'm glad you are no longer worried Jim, that wasn't the point of my post. As helpful as Frank is he does not explain how the placement of the monitor above the fireplace does not strain the neck when viewing for a long period of time.

From what I can see on this picture, I think your couch is only 4 - 5 feet away from the placement of the screen, yet the screen is about 5-6 feet high. If you end up getting a 50 inch plasma screen, it would be akin to sitting close to the screen in a theater watching a movie. That can't be a good experience. All I'm saying is give this some thought.

 

New member
Username: Lones0me4

Post Number: 3
Registered: Mar-06
Stof, you make a good point. The more I think about it I may try and do something like in the "His and Her" room post. The only problem is that on the walls on either side of the fireplace are large windows. I really didn't want to block them, and dont know how good it will be to have a light source right behind the television. But I think I may have to.
 

New member
Username: Lones0me4

Post Number: 4
Registered: Mar-06
Here are two more pictures of hte side walls and windows. Also, this is the old owners furniture. I am going to get all new furntiure, so am open to all possibilities.
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Bronze Member
Username: Jay_l

Quad Cities, Il

Post Number: 18
Registered: Feb-06
Make a HIS room down those stairs!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Em69

OttawaCanada

Post Number: 72
Registered: Mar-05
Frank's suggestion of placing the centre on the hearth would be an incorrect set-up. This speaker too far from the TV screen therefore not giving a true to life sound. In addition, this means you could not use your centre channel with the fireplace on.

You would be better off adding in some wood work above the TV and recess the centre into this cabinet.
 

Silver Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 840
Registered: Apr-05
I see your point. Is it possible to work with that right (of the fireplace) cabinet and either restructure it or remove it to place the entertainment center there?

The only other thing I can see is that space behind where the couch is currently.

 

Bronze Member
Username: Westcott

League City, Texas

Post Number: 78
Registered: Oct-05
There is one other major reason I did not put a display above the fireplace. It seems that when it is on, the heat just rolls up the mantle and straight up the side of the wall. It gets hot! Real hot!
 

New member
Username: Frank1203

Post Number: 2
Registered: Mar-06
I have been quietly reading the responses to Jim's original question for the past couple days and now feel the need to respond. It seems to me that everyone of you who has responded have only provided your thoughts based on speculation and not really experiencing the actual set up.

Someone thinks their neck is going to hurt; another thinks the Center Channel is too far removed from the TV and someone even thinks that the TV will burn up when the fireplace is on.

Well guys, I'm here to give you actual answers based on experience since I have the setup.

(1) Myself and my three kids have never needed the services of a chiropractor due to neck problems from watching a plasma that is hung above a fireplace. As mentioned in my first post, this was a conecern of mine but out of all the things we had to compromise on with our home theater system, this was by far and away the easist one! Try this (which is what we did).. Make a cardboard template of the exact size TV you wish to buy and hang it above the fireplace for a given period of time to see what you think. Another idea is to move your furniture back a little bit from the TV which will create even less neck strain (my couch is about 10-12 feet away from the TV). We have no problems.. as a matter of fact, the kids and I feel like we're in a movie theater as I have two eye ball lights that are mounted on the ceiling above the TV and when dimmed, gives that cozy movie theater effect.

(2) My Center Channel is on a stand and the height of this speaker is about 3 1/2 - 4 feet off the ground set in the middle of the hearth. The distance from the center channel and the TV is about 2-3 feet and I get incredibly true to life sound. Also Jim, please make sure you know that you need a high quality Center Channel (which I have) to make the system work to its capabilities. (Maybe "em69" has a cheaper center channel and thats the basis for his comments). Also, I use my fireplace constantly. As mentioned in my original post, I had the installer use bananas into speaker wall plates so it literally takes about 5 seconds to disconnect and move the center channel if I want to use the fireplace. I will tell you that this was my one area of compromise from an aesthetic point of view, because the center channel is a bit of an eye sore..

Finally - the heat issue.. I have a B-vented fireplace with a 9" flu that burns wood. This is hotter than a gas fireplace. Before I did anything, I contacted the contractor who installed my fireplace and asked him about the heat issue or damage to my Plasma and he said that the Flu was far enough to the back of the firebox that the outer walls would not even get hot and the fact that I have a mantle that protrudes about 10 inches from the wall also blocks any chance of the outside heat rising up to hurt the Plasma.

The bottom line Jim is to do what you want not what a bunch of dudes on the internet say. Run tests before you do anything. With the way my Family Room is set up, I really did not have much of a choice if I wanted the kind of equipment I now have which is basically all Rotel and Paradigm equipment. There are smaller less bulkier products out there that might fit the room a little nicer but you might potentially compromise on sound quality. It's all personal preference. I'd be happy to send you some pictures if you'd like.
 

Silver Member
Username: Chitown

Post Number: 841
Registered: Apr-05
I absolutely agree that Jim should test this out for himself, however your statement:
"Another idea is to move your furniture back a little bit from the TV which will create even less neck strain (my couch is about 10-12 feet away from the TV). " bears witness to what I have been saying. His couch does not seem more that 5 feet (at best) away from the screen which will be 5.5 - 6 feet above ground. This is not conjecture or speculation. It's geometry. If you were to draw a triangle from the top of the TV to where you sit and back to the bottom of the TV. That's probably a 30 - 45 degree angle that you have to tilt your head upward. This can't be that compfortable for watching TV sitting straight away, let alone in those chair on the side.

 

Bronze Member
Username: Jay_l

Quad Cities, Il

Post Number: 21
Registered: Feb-06
Why not put the plasma on a wall mount with a tilt option. Most of the mounts can tilt 5 degrees. That would also give you a space for your center channel right on the mantle.

About the only thing I can agree with in Franks pompous post is the heat issue. Most gas fireplaces are going to average 90 degrees at at the mantle area. You should be ok there.

You've got a wonderful room and I would not want my home theater intruding into that space. You might not get the best set up for the equipment, but your going to be close enough to get the enjoyment you planned on.
 

New member
Username: Lones0me4

Post Number: 5
Registered: Mar-06
Thanks everyone for all these responses. I definitely have a lot to think about.

To give a little more information, the couch in the picture was the previous owners. I need to get new forniture for the room. However, I did some measuring, and the back of whatever couch I get will be 11 feet from the mantel....quite a bit more than 5 or 6 it looks like. The previous owners had the couch pushed up closer than need be.

As far as the fireplace, I don't think I will use it much if any (I'm in Texas), so the heat issue is not a big deal. I'm a single male right now, so having nice speakers is more important to me than having the asthetics of the room. Maybe that will change if I get married!

Anyways, thanks for all the input. I will be out of town for a few days and won't be able to respond to anything.

Frank, I'd really like to see some pictures of your setup. Please send them to me if you can.
Thanks
 

New member
Username: Pq3

Illinois

Post Number: 1
Registered: Mar-06
You can easily put a plasma above the fireplace. Use gas logs instead of burning wodd. The heat is not an issue.
You can have a wooden facade built above the fireplace and hang the plasma using a tilt mount. The facade will allow you to hide all the wiring behind. It will also allow you to have the center channel mounted above or below the plasma.
I had all the A/V equipment hidden inside a cabinet. Buy a remote that will work through your cabinet and it will be a "clean" look. You do have to be careful will overheating with an in-cabinet setup.
I sat about 12 feet away and my plasma was a 43 inch elite. Never a need for chiropractor.
good luck. Sorry I was a little longwooded. I'm new to this.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Westcott

League City, Texas

Post Number: 81
Registered: Oct-05
There are other considerations, not the least of which is speaker location.

The fireplace wall just does not provide the space necessary to place speakers the proper distance from the wall, speakers the proper distance apart, and at the proper height in relation to one another and the display.

Although having a glass wall behind the speakers in not ideal, this could be remedies with black out curtains. Placing the system so the speakers and display are on a short wall in relation to the side walls will also provide better acoustics and potentially better video viewing.

All to often I see beautiful entertainment systems that are built in and the speakers placed inside. It looks beautiful but is the worst thing you can do to your sound system.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Em69

OttawaCanada

Post Number: 75
Registered: Mar-05
Frank,
Maybe you should read the recommended set-up on the Dobly Digital site. This is the basis for my comments.

You have quite the anger built up inside of you over some little post.
 

Gold Member
Username: Thx_3417

Post Number: 1383
Registered: May-05
Jim

Hi there and welcome to the Ecoustics.

Well the front loudspeakers should be placed at the same height and should all be on the same horizontal plane, they shouldn't be placed to high, very to the ceiling will kill the sound imaging, or rather you will playing around with what's called psychoacoustics, the way we perceive sound.

Take a look at my home cinema; it may not look smart, but its sure sounds like I'm in the Empire Leicester Square.

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