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Installs Professional Dorm Room Setup?

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by anonymous381, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    I got thinking today about the possibilites of what I could set up in my FUTURE dorm room and i came up with a basica plan that would provide some pretty good flexibility but I know I'm missing some major aspects. Basically it goes as follows:

    There are 5 inputs that will be sent to what I envision as a crude "8/4.1" "coverage" system. each input can be sent to Person 1's speakers (Right side), Person 2's speakers (Left side) or Both. The 5 inputs consist of 2 Computers that hook up to either Headphones or the "Main mix", a radio and two Auxiliary Devices.

    This is where my basic theater sound system knowlege runs dry...

    I work with 5 wonderful QSC amps that power highs, lows, downfills, delays and monitors so I have a vague understanding of the division of sound but I really can't figure out how I could set up a system, basically what seems to be just simply a series of switches to route the sound to where I want it to be.

    Like for example I can work on my computer and have the sound going only to my headphones so the audio wouldn't even go to an amp/mixer. When my roomate leaves I would be able to send the Computer output to all 8 speakers, or just my 4 speakers.

    It's a weird neat little idea I had. Just thought I'd share and see if I could get some more ideas about an overcomplicated sound system!

    [​IMG]

    RFL = Right (side), Front, Left (channel)
    LRR = Left (side), Rear, Right (channel)
    so on and so forth...
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I would focus more on building an isolation chamber so you don't have to hear your roommate typing a paper at 4am.

    Just a heads up... I would not go springing this setup on your roommate during move in, I foresee some issues with it. You will find very few people in dorms anymore that even bring stereo systems at all.

    ...eh... makes me even shutter to think about living in one of those places again.

    You are also missing a center ch., which is a must for any type of home theatre setup. I have seen 5.1 done in a dorm room, it does not work unless everyone wants to sit on someones bed...

    Overall, an interesting idea.... lets see if any of the dorm rats around here can shed some light on it...
     
  3. mixmaster

    mixmaster Active Member

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    OK, setting practical concerns like 1)space to put stuff in a dorm room, and 2) funding, I see three big concerns:
    Number one, source material. 5.1 works as a standard for home theater use because everyone makes movies in 5.1 surround format. There are even functions on most recievers to translate a stereo source into a sort-of 5.1 sounding thing. I'm not aware of any commonly availabe (at the consumer level) 8.1 format. Nor am I aware of the Hardware to do 8.1 processing at the consumer level. You're going to need to find some sort of processor or receiver that takes 8.1, 5.1, and stereo signals in, and outputs an 8.1 signal to 9 channels of amplification. That a lot of amplifiers
    Number two. Where is you center channel speaker? you need a center channel to anchor your center imaged information in from of you. and don't say you'll send it to the RFR and LFL because that will screw up far left to far right movement of sound
    Number three. If you cram all this into a real small dorm room (have you ever been in a big one?) you will be sitting closer to one speaker than the others, witch may really screw up your perception of where audio images sit in the sound field. You could solve this problem by delaying the sound or playing with system gains but then you are going to screw things up more for some other seat in the "theater"
    As to the switching aspect, stereo sources could be routed through a stereo mixer before hitting the amps and then muted if you only wanted to listen to headphones. Anything more than stereo,... best thing might be to only turn on the amps when you want the whole system to make noise and use headphones the rest of the time.
    Or concentrate on your studies like a good student, and buy a movie theater when you graduate. :lol: Seriously, while this may be a fun project to do for the sake of doing, I don't know that it is going to net you any greater return than standard 5.1. But hey, lack of return never kept me from doing things. Wish you well.
    Matt
     
  4. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    In my now pretty ancient experience, "professional" and "dorm room" are a contradiction. Kyle noted some of the potential issues and while I knew some people with very nice systems at college, those were almost always after a couple of years of finding the right roommates and learning to work with their neighbors (one would call their neighbors ahead of time so they could take the pictures off the common wall between the rooms).

    Some surround processors/preamps can support various listening formats and address more than one zone or set of outputs. However, as Kyle noted, you are going to have a difficult time with actually having a listening position where you might want it. Beyond that, your dorm room is probably not going to have a cinema or theatre acoustical environment and will likely not provide any real acoustical separation of the two 'sides'. I don't know what you plan for the low frequency speaker or for headphones, but most headphones would provide little isolation of what is coming from the LF speaker.

    Perhaps your situation is different but you might also want to verify that the regulations and physical limitations of the space even make such a system viable. How you can mount all those speakers and get cabling to them may be restricted and you may have limited power provisions. The school or your roommate may not appreciate cables and power cords run everywhere, much less the times you accidentally hit the wrong thing and activate all the speakers during the middle of an all-nighter.

    I would keep it simple until you know for sure that your plan is compatible with both the people and physical space involved.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I agree with the above and recommend a good pair of headphones for one's iPod-like device and laptop computer. Living (most likely) for the first time in a 9'x12' room with a stranger on a floor with 30-100 others is not the best time to go about developing an ideal home theater. Two beds, two desks, and two chairs doesn't allow much space for AV equipment. Dormitories and college students are transitory by definition. All one's worldly possessions should fit in the back of one's 1971 Ford Pinto. There'll be plenty of time for the 50" plasma TV once one owns a house, preferably with some room between one's neighbors.:)
     

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  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Same thing goes for the freelancer. I can pack enough stuff in my car to live off of for 12-14 weeks, as long as I have pots and pans and a bed provided. Don't put to much crap in your dorm room, wait till you move off campus then you can do whatever you want. Also, if you are a theatre major, you won't spend any time in your room anway.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  7. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    1) It isn't actually a true 8.1 system. It acts more like a 4.1 with a shared low
    2) My roommate already approved the plans :)
    3) The satellites will be small, somewhere on the order of 6x6x4 (WHD)
    4) Something like a simple 2-way switch will direct the PC output to the headphones or main mix
    5) We have agreed to build this after we've moved in so the cables can be custom fit and tacked to the walls with something non-destructive
    6) I have talked with an RA and I have plenty of power ;) after all it is a technical school!
    7) I've been in the dorm before. The beds can stack above the computer desks like this.
    8) I do realize now the 8.1 thing would really screw with the transitions. Maybe instead of sending audio to all channels you could cut out the middle 4 and it'll just be switched to a larger 4.1
    9) Because of the geographic isolation from everywhere else this college is far from transitory. Many students stay in their dorms over break because of all the festivals the town has.

    I think that cleared up some stuff?

    EDIT: derekleffew, OMG that is fraggin marvelous..me wants...:mrgreen:
     
  8. waynehoskins

    waynehoskins Active Member

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    Absolutely.

    Even out of college three-and-a-half years now and in a career, I'm only at my compartment usually between the hours of midnight and 8 AM, horizontally polarized on my unfancy bed.

    Decent stereo in college, sure .. but that's about it. A plain old television and a plain old stereo are all you need .. and really, all there's room for. If even that.
     
  9. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    While it's a good idea, I can't see it happening here in my 10'x16' dorm room... One of my friends has a 52" HD plasma and huge stereo system. This setup literally takes up the entire space under a lofted bed (which is about 1/6 of the room) and when 1/2 of the room is already taken over by desks and closet space that doesn't leave much room for anything else.

    Not to mention the fact that if you get this setup, once you turn up the volume you will start to make your neighbors angry. (In this case, maybe even the people two or three doors down.)

    In all honesty, even though it would be cool and even though home based systems might not provide top quality sound; if you have the money for all this just go buy a nice, compact, home surround sound system at your local big box store. Plenty of people here have sub-$100 Wal-mart systems that are more than adequate, only at about 70 watts total. Top that off with a modest HD TV (perhaps something in the 28"-42" range) and Blu-Ray player (such as the PS3) and your room will be the envy of the building. Just don't forget to lock your door!
     
  10. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    I have a Cyber Acoustics CA-4100rb 45 Watts 4.1 Speaker in my room right now and my roommate and I don't watch TV or play console games, we do everything on the computers. The average rom is 12x15 so it's about the norm
     
  11. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    My words of wisdom are take any more you have set aside for this porject and buy a decent office chair. You will be spending the better part of four years sitting in it. The stock ones that come with the room will not be very comfortable. I got a nice chair for graduation and it has been a god sent. It is a pain in the rear to pack because of its odd shape but its so worth it. I wouldn't want to spend 6 hours typing a paper.
     
  12. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    And the largest monitor possible for your laptop, which I assume you are going that route. If not, I would suggest having a laptop along with the desktop.
     
  13. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    I have a really nice meshback chair thats really comfy, two monitors and a Lenovo X200 laptop....back to the sound aspect. What kind of hardware would I need to look into (forget about budget) and plan on some sort of rackmount configuration. I have this Dia'd for a 4U rackmount box with a custom panel. The local college has this custom rack thing setup for the media bays in the lecture rooms and it looks really good and between the two of us, with a little outside help could rig it. Here's the rough sketch of the front panel
     
  14. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    You need a mixer, badly. This all could easily be accomplished with an off the shelf behringer mixer, for about $250. I would also buy headphone amps if you feel like running cable more then 10'. The "switched" thing will put more noise on the line then you know what to do with. Don't go this route.

    Also, when one runs a webserver out of their house, one should not have copyrighted content on it publicly.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2008
  15. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    Yeah I'm looking to get that password protected but that would almost defeat the purpose of what I use it for 80% of the time

    Anyway so you're saying that something like this or this would induce noise? The headphones would be basically what you would hear if you were to plug them right into the computer (hopefully). I doubt the cable will be longer than 10'
     
  16. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Depends on how well its built. Everything makes noise, and the more stuff you run a signal through, the more noise you will get. Running it through a homemade switcher will, along with the oodles a issues you will have with physical switching the inputs/outputs. If you have a switch that is not designed for audio, you also run the risk of blowing an amp or other piece of gear during the switching.
     
    nolhay and (deleted member) like this.
  17. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    ok so that raises the next question, what kinda of switches are approved for audio or what are the tech specs on a piece of hardware like that?
     
  18. techieman33

    techieman33 Well-Known Member

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    Honestly I would just get a nice set of 5.1 computer speakers and call it a day. I had this
    http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/speakers_audio/home_pc_speakers/devices/224&cl=us,en
    when I was in the dorms and it was more than loud enough to get me into all kinds of trouble. Anything over half volume and the windows would rattle and the people above and below us would call and complain. There just isn't room in a dorm for some crazy system, the best advice I can give you is to just keep it simple.
     
  19. anonymous381

    anonymous381 Member

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    KISSing it is the complete opposite topic of this thread!! LOL I'm sure my CA 4.1 would do fine and it does but whats the fun in trying to imagine what i could do with just my CA's? I'm really curious about how this system WOULD work this way and what components it would actually need. I personally think its a fantastic idea no matter how unreal it is or not and I think the topic confuses this size issue. A 4U rackmount box is only a little bit larger than a full backpack
     
  20. 3dB

    3dB Member

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    nolhay, I think during the first few weeks of school, I'd put those 5 wonderful QSC amps to work for me by renting them @ $50.00 per night each to local band wanna-be's. I would then take my rental loot and purchase a good entry level (Onkyo, Yamaha, etc) receiver - an overachieving 5.1 bookshelf speaker system (Energy, Cambridge, Infinity, etc)., buy a small mini-mixer to handle all the inputs, drop the mixed signal down to -10dB consumer level and go wild. All of the stereo sources could be broken out into 5.1 surround via the receiver's Dolby Pro-Logic 2 (or other equal) surround matrixing circuitry. You could still run two sets of headphones from the headphone out of the phone out of the receiver. And, the best part is - it'll sound great, fit your space and those 5 wonderful QSC amps are still working for you providing rental income to fund future upgrades, pizza parties, tuition - whatever ... My humble .02. Have fun in school.

    Mark
     
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