Please post your home theater questions or comments here….


Multi-use room, with light colored walls
Projector: RS-25
Used only in the evening – what type of screen material would you recommend?


Forgot to mention – screen size ~100″ diagonal. Projector against back wall, ~12 feet from screen.


Hi –
Ceiling mounted projector – screen will be a tensioned drop down (over a plasma) -so top or slightly above with a little lens shift.

W. Jeff Meier

I would get samples of Stewart Grayhawk, Stewart Firehawk and Black Diamond II 1.4. Screens are very personal and you should compare before buying.


I was under the impression that these surfaces excelled in situations were there was actual ambient light. We plan to watch with lights off. Is there a reason that the Studiotec 130 is not recommended?

W. Jeff Meier

The StudioTek 130 is not as effective at reducing reflections. Those other materials are actually higher gain material than the ST 130 with a coating to reduce the effective gain, but they retain the narrow viewind angle of the higher gain material. The BD 1.4 for example is actually a gain of 6.0 with a coating.

The ST 130 will be much better than a low gain screen. A Solar HD 1.3 is very similar to the ST130 if you want to go that route. It would be better to paint the walls a darker color and use the ST 130 or Solar HD, but it sounded like that was not an option. Light colored walls in a front projection system are not the best combination.

The impact of the walls will depend on their distance from the screen. Since your rear wall is only 12′ from the screen that sounds like a very challenging room which should be painted instead of trying to solve a room problem with a screen.


Hi Jeff,

I have an MJ Acoustics sub that uses a speakon connector like the REL’s. The sub has 2 xovers. One for the left and right or LFE lo inputs and one for the speakon hi input. It’s connected to my receiver using the LFE lo input and the speakon hi input together. If I disconnect the speakon connector as you suggest how will I incorporate bass into my system when the source does not have a dedicated low frequency channel?



I have a Pioneer VSX-59txi. Do you know if it has that capability? If the source does not have a dedicated low frequency channel like blu ray/sacd/dvd-a do will it still engage the subwoofer connected via the LFE only? I’ve already implemented the auto setup. Thanks.

W. Jeff Meier


All home theater receivers have this capability. Auto setup in the Pioneer is not a good way to get quality sound. These auto setup systems work very poorly. It must be done manually. Look at my audio setup guide for how to do this.

The LFE channel does not contain all low frequency information. It is an effects channel that is primarily used for bumps and thumps. You must use bass management on all sources to get extended frequency response for your speakers.



You had favorable impressions of both the Marantz AV7005 and the Emotive UMC-1. Can you tell me which of the two you would prefer and why? Thanks.

W. Jeff Meier


The Emotiva UMC-1 is a very good unit, but it has had many annoying bugs that make it more of a hassle to use than other products. I would go with the Marantz if it was my money to have a more trouble free product.

William Elfarr

I am building a new house and finishing out my media room. My room is 24×16 ft. The 2 rows of seats will be 15 and 20 ft from the 144 inch screen. The walls are painted flat dark blue and the room will be completely dark for viewing. What do you think about the stewart studiotech 130 screen? curved or flat? And which type of masking? Should I spend the extra $ for the lateral masking with the anamorphic lens?

W. Jeff Meier

William I do not believe the StudioTek 130 is available in that size. They call it UltraMatte 130 when you get that big.

Stewart screens are some of the best materials in the business. Lateral masking with an anamorphic lens is a great way to go. A curved screen with gain will also improve contrast by reducing reflections to side walls. The screen material should also match the projector. You need enough light to work with that size screen. Note that most projectors overstate the actual lumens and lamps dim up to 50 percent in about 500 to 1000 hours of operation.

Be sure the projector is mounted such that keystone correction will not be needed. That type of correction will reduce image resolution.

Also be sure you use a high quality anamorphic lens like an ISCO III or a Panamorph UH480 or your image quality may suffer. A CineSlide is a good thing to use with these.

I do offer calibration services in a large part of the country. You can check out my services at http://www.accucalhd.com. This will bring the quality of your home theater experience to the best it can be. All systems are way off without my service. I can also help you with selection of your equipment to get the most value for your money.



I have a Marantz AV7005. I know your not impressed with the Audyssey auto calibration. Would it be more effective using a better microphone than the stock one? If so, can you recommend a good one? Thanks.

W. Jeff Meier

No. They use the wrong target and corrupt the data with their tens of thousands of parameters per channel. Even Audyssey Pro which uses a better microphone and allows customization is not very good.

Don Bush

Hi Jeff-
I Had the pleasure of watching this film on my system that you calibrated last year (video and audio) and WOW, the experience was AWESOME:


Incredible PQ and the AQ is top notch!

And turn up the volume before the film starts, the Dolby TrueHD intro is really cool. I think it’s as good as the THX trailer at the end of Avatar.



Hi Jeff,

I need some advice / help please. My PS 3 Fat died the other night so I purchased a Slim model. What setting should I be using Slim PS 3?

Thanks for your time and help.


W. Jeff Meier

Hi Mike,

Which settings are you talking about?

RGB should be set to limited.

Audio Dynamic Range should be off.

Scaling should be normal.

Super White should be on.



Could you recommend me a good parametric eq unit to use in my ht? It’s a 5.1(might be 5.2 soon) setup and I do not envision adding heights or sides anytime soon.



Well, I actually meant a 4-8 channel unit separate unit. 4 channels in order to calibrate my lcr and a single sub, and an 8 channel unit to potentially calibrate lcr, 2 subs and surrounds. I would like the option of 4K in the next year and I’m not optimistic on emotiva meeting a deadline with their processors.

W. Jeff Meier

I would look at a Classe SSP-800 if you want the best unit I have encountered. They are likely to upgrade to 4K. They have upgraded that unit several times.

W. Jeff Meier

They have had some serious lip sync problems with these new units that are pretty frustrating. I would get a Sony unless you need some of the features Oppo offers because you are likely to have some issues with these products. Sony owns Blu-Ray and tends to offer the most up to date firmware for playing movies.

David Bigelow

1.I have PSB speakers, Alpha series T1 for fronts, C1 center and B1 for surround sides with Onkyo high front and rear surround. My question is for a 7.2 would it be best to purchase another set of B1 for rear surrounds to match or buy some bipole or dipole speakers? if the latter which do you suggest?(I only have the front wides since my receiver will support it in a function but run rear 7.2 all the time)
2. Subs are PSB subsonic 5i and a Onkyo sub should I look for a different sub? when set with audyssey XT32 it has sub set so low not much effect

W. Jeff Meier


1. I would use the B1 for the rear surrounds. I prefer bipole speakrs for the side surrounds like the Klipsch RS-42. You should read these blog posts on surrounds.




2. Subwoofers are an area where extra dollars can deliver good value. I would consider replacing the Onkyo subwoofer with a 12″-15″ PSB, Klipsch or Rythmik unit. I am no fan of Audyssey and offer services to deliver much improved results over that method. More information on that is available here https://www.accucalav.com/thx-audio-calibration/ and https://www.accucalav.com/reviews/. You should also read these blog posts.





What surge protector do you recommend and should I run the coax cable and Ethernet thru it?

W. Jeff Meier

This blog post contains recommendations on surge protection. To meet IEEE recommendations surge protection should be present at the entrance to the building and at the device supply for sensitive equipment. Brands are less important than where they are located relative to the grounding system. All communications and electrical equipment should be tied to the service ground where they penetrate the building.


Mixmastered Acoustics

Hi –

Just stumbled on to the site and saw that you have a list of acoustic treatment companies. Mixmastered Acoustics would be happy to offer our assistance as well to anyone with acoustical treatment questions and advice.


Mixmastered Acoustics

I can appreciate that and respect your authenticity and high standards. We can live up to them. That is why we are confident that it would make sense to explore working together in the future in the event that have a need for our products.

Warm Regards,




My name is Amanda Alcott and I am a recent college graduate working and writing for Home Theater Solutions. I’m contacting you today because I came across your website and would like to contribute content to your blog.

In addition to being a writer and blogger, I have a design background, and have been at the helm of the HTSFL Blog for the last 8 months.
If you are currently accepting guest articles and this is a collaboration that interests you, please send me an email.

Thanks so much,
I hope to hear from you soon.

Amanda Alcott


Fascinated by your tweets about the JVC autocal software undermining overall projector output. How do you reverse that?

W Meier

You have to manually calibrate the projector. Auto calibration for video and audio generally comes far short of what the product is capable of.


Hello Jeff
I own my own small home cinema, and due to the fact that I had an apprenticeship as television and radio electrician, as well as in electronics, people often ask me for advice e.g. when it comes to calibration of their home cinema system(s).
Question: Am I right when I say, that one aspect of a calibration (among others aspects like frequency response or propagation delay) is, that all speakers should have the when ever possible the same volume in a defined listening area? For example, if a main front speaker reproduces a predefined pink noise with a volume level of 75db(C), all other speakers should reproduce the same predefined pink noise with the same volume level of 75db(C)? (Exception: if someone uses two subwoofers, they sum up its level, so they have to be quieter for approx. 6db).
Is this assumption correct?
Kind regards

Alexa Jordan

Hi Jeff. I am kind of a newbie in the home theater scene. We are putting in a Kaleidescape home theater system and want speakers that will match the quality. I was recently told Bose aren’t as almighty as I thought (see? newbie), so what would you recommend?

W Meier

I would look at the products I link to at the bottom of this website. These are the manufacturers I find to deliver value for their price point.

Julian White

Hi Jeff. I have read your audio setup guide which was very useful. When adjusting the speaker levels would you do this with them set to ‘Large’ without the crossovers in place or ‘Small’ with the bass management working? Also, in your guide you state “Verify each speaker and subwoofer are in-phase to ensure they do not interfere at the crossover. Simplistically this is matching the red and black terminals on the receiver and speakers. The problem is many subwoofers and speakers have this wrong internally so the black and red or polarity switch are frequently wrong. A real time analyzer can be used to detect the problem and an absolute phase meter with test tones will also help get it right.” How would a speaker appear out-of-phase vs in-phase when looking at a real time analyzer? Thank you for your awesome website. It has been an immense help so far. Jules.

W Meier

Hi Jules,

I should mention first I have a YouTube channel where I will be posting info on how to calibrate your audio and video https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrEJ-tq7eME6OZsKQug0fwA.

I also offer remote audio calibration assistance https://www.accucalav.com/thx-audio-calibration/ at a cost of $100 per hour. I have a pdf that shows what I recommend to use this service https://www.accucalav.com/wp-content/uploads/Remote-Audio-Calibration-Requirements.pdf.

What you will see on your RTA is a dip in the response at the crossover. When everything phases well there should not be a significant drop in level at the crossover point for all speakers. The visibility of this dip will depend on the resolution of your analyzer. 1/24 octave is the best at finding this because you can most clearly see the steep slope of this problem. A way to test this is to raise the crossover point and see if it moves with the crossover frequency. Some subwoofers also delay the response from signal processing that may require shifting the distance to bring it into phase with the speakers.

Julian White

Thank you for the lightening-fast response Jeff. That was super helpful. I won’t ask lots of questions here if you are now offering a remote service. May I just ask that first question again regarding speakers set to small vs large when using the SPL to dial-in 75dB please. Does it not matter which they are set to?

W Meier

No problem. I forgot to answer your other question.

Bass management does not matter if you use a proper band limited test tone (approx 250Hz – 2kHz) like that found on Avia. The practical reality is that most sources are not delivered at reference levels. This makes the setup step of setting levels to a specific dBC level of little to no value because you will need to adjust the volume for most sources. The most important thing with levels is to balance the levels and not under or over drive the subwoofer output. It is also important to verify the channel levels by ear because omni-directional microphones do not work the same as human hearing. I use a band limited pink noise tone that moves quickly around the room for this. It is also important not to use receiver/preamp level test tones because none are done properly.

Simon Richards

Hello Jeff,

I use Dolby Atmos upward firing speakers. I appreciate that they aren’t as good as the in-ceiling options but I cannot get those past my wife!
When measuring the distances for these, should they be from the speaker to the main listening position or from the speaker to the ceiling and then the MLP please?

Thanks, Simon.

W Meier

Hi Simon,

Many people have limitations, but working around them as best as possible is the trick many times.

The distance entered in the home theater processor for Atmos enabled speakers (bounce) should be the distance from your ears in the primary seat to the speaker directly. The reason for this is that the frequencies below 200 Hz where bass management occurs are much less directional than the high frequencies. Sound at these frequencies will mostly go from the speaker directly to your ear and not bounce off the ceiling and return to your seat. This can be seen when you look at how well the bass integrates with an RTA using this distance instead of the route from bouncing off the ceiling. Unfortunately, automatic audio calibration processes found in receivers and preamplifiers tend to get this wrong.

Dave Jones

Hey Jeff. Thanks for the excellent site. Is it possible to choose an ideal speaker crossover frequency by looking at an RTA rather than just going with the typical 80Hz or listening to different crossovers?
If this is a viable approach, what would you look for on the RTA when comparing the frequencies?
Thanks. Dave.

W Meier

80 Hz is frequently not the best setting.

With an RTA you can look at several things.

First, use wideband pink noise on the channel with the speaker set to Large.

Second, set the crossover to the lowest frequency the speaker goes to without significant loss of output when it is crossed over to the subwoofer. Use wideband pink noise to make this decision.

Third, fine tune this by inputting a sine wave into the channel at a moderate level at the crossover point. Use the lowest frequency crossover point where harmonic distortion with a sine wave at the crossover point is not rising significantly.

I also like to listen to dialog, drums and bass guitar through the speakers to verify the crossover selection is optimal.


Came over your site among many of my searches and endless scrolling.
So at the end why not test to see if you could assist me. It says Ask, so here I go.

My small home theater above garage setup.

1 seat, egoistic, I know. But she knows when I’m mad. With 10m between the house and garage. With only the mountain carrying my anger. She feels the vibration. She feels the hurt.

My setup is :

LG 65C1 2m straight ahead

Pioneer SC-LX701 7.2.4 mode

For help with them extra channels
NAD 2150




So TV wall-mounted 2m straight in front, from listening position, (actually240cm, brought out 40cm to match the center’s front), rear wall 110cm behind(again brought out). Ceiling height at 2,20m.
And with 2by4 mounted at studs, and the rest screwed to them again, its too late to turn sideways. Began 10 years ago without knowing I’d be so into this, coming from stereo audio.

Front :
Klipsch RF82mkII
Front speakers at ca 33° out
220cm from listening position
240cm apart

Klipsch RC62mkII
Tilted slightly up
Approximately 6° up
(switched from a C360 Beta)
Center below tv at
85cm from the floor
2m from listening position

Klipsch RB5bs
(switched from 1 of the pairs of SBS-01)
Side surround’s at ca 90°out
160cm from listening position
1m from the floor

Rear surround:
at 50° and 115cm from listening out from back plate.
Head ca 1m from speakers facing side
1m from the floor
150cm apart on the front nose

4 Atmos ceiling SvS SBS-01

Front Pair 140cm apart at 2m height
Rear Pair 150cm apart at 2m height
Head about 110cm from ceiling, so approximately 90cm above head, and 115cm to 90° line between front pair and 110cm at 90° line between rear pair.

Front Atmos pair hanging at 31° out from center, and at 34° up from listening position
160cm directly from listening position
2m from the floor

Rear Atmos pair on shelf at 34° out from center, and at 40° up from listening position
140cm directly from listening position
2m from floor

1 SvS Pc13 ultra
with sledge switched out to STA800D
1 SvS PB1000

But now I’m getting to my issues.
I’ve had the front SBS-01 on shelves on the front wall. And now I am trying to test if there is a big difference to get them closer.
Without putting screws in the speakers, and not to much damage in the ceiling.

Now testing top Atmos settings instead of the front/rear setting I have used.

So then there is the angle from listening position to the ceiling Atmos speakers.
Both angle upwards, but also spread from center. Front/rear.

This should also be matched with the beams in the ceiling. Because when you push for distance for height angle, follow the beans, means spread from center will be compromised.

But beeing 193cm tall, I now keep hitting my head on the fronts. And only beeing held up by strap I fear for them falling down.

So budget is of course an issue.
And the opening in the middle of my living room ceiling also rules out upfiring atmos fronts or sides, and being so close to the back wall is probably not the best option either.

Any advice to mount theese speakers better without harming them or tge garage? Right now they are held up by strips that I used on my jobb, that was somehow always in my pockets by the end of some days. Not by intention. 😏

I’ve added some pictures in an Google photos album that might shed some light on the questions .


Now, back to bullying Tidal into fixing the level difference when going between Atmos and regular stereo. My wife might think I am mad, when going back to playing non Atmos music.

Well in any case. Thank you for giving advise and letting people ask questions.

Take care.

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