Specifying home cinema systems

Specifying home cinema systems ..

Or, how not to !.  In an “open check book” cinema install for a very serious client, the installer managed to let the client dictate the speaker system, despite it not being the client’s previously owned and loved system, (which he would like to keep and re-use) and, despite the fact it was, arguably the wrong choice !.  A classic case of the wrong kit the wrong place. See the wrong kit  right place post !
The speakers in question, for rear of perforated screen mounting, were “in wall”. That’s fine of course, should there be a wall !.


But, since the room design dictated that the screen should be mounted at 45 degrees across a room corner, there simply isn’t a wall, just a triangular space formed by the screen, it’s frame, masking and decorative timber surround.

specifying home cinema systems speaker position blue print.jpg

We are now faced with 2 potential but both equally un necessary “work-arounds”.
1) Build a wall.
2) Construct individual “little wall sections” (effectively cabinets) to support and house the steel in wall trays.
One thing is for sure, if your going to construct anything that’s remotely like a cabinet, you might just as well start with a traditional free standing cabinet speaker design.
And, in the particular circumstances, to build an entire wall was a near impossibility, as every trade under the sun had already earmarked little bits of the rear of screen triangular area for themselves. From Electricians, to air conditioning, every one wanted a little bit of this. For them at least, a God given space, rapidly turning into one of the biggest service ducts in living memory. Only being made slightly worse, by the need of some kind of service access.
The fight for space is even further exacerbated by the question of where exactly to put the sub, given that all the other services were closing in on, and eating up it’s proposed location with alarming speed.
In a moment of exasperation, I check (that’s me, NOT the installer !) the main “in wall” speaker’s specification.
Unbelievable though it is, it seems that the speakers really are “full range” and perhaps you don’t even need a sub at all  !!!.
Further, I checked with the manufacturer: the validity of their specification, in particular, how the frequency response was measured, and how the speaker was mounted during the measurement tests.
At the end of that conversation, it seemed very likely that in fact a sub wasn’t really needed.
Of course, this one little aspect, rather negates a whole load of inter trade fighting, and instantly relieves the installer of the problem complete with all the ensuing “design” meetings about: alternative locations, additional cabling routes and arty ways of disguising the fact.
In short, a whole load of hassle and accidental system design (or un design) came about due to the client calling inappropriate shots, rather than the installer, in all the specialist experience prowess he can muster, actually remaining in charge of the very thing he’s supposed to be doing.
The words “ear”, “pig”, “dog” and “breakfast” spring to my mind ….
While I personally have nothing against the art of gentle negotiation between a client and his installer, for an installer to let a situation sink so low, causing completely un necessary complications in it’s wake, seems to me, in my own sweet, simplistic little way, nothing other than very nearly gutless. It’s certainly nothing like correctly specifying cinema systems !.