Speaker match up?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Miki<>C, May 6, 2006.

  1. Miki<>C

    Miki<>C Agent

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    How do you match speakers accordingly, Im looking into some Polk's any suggestions?
     
  2. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    Polk's suggestion

    Listen before you buy.


    Here's my complete home theater saga. You might learn something from it.

    I had a old technics receiver and a pair of Infinity RS-9 speakers. Neither of them were up to the task of reproducing surround sound, though the RS-9 had a beguiling quality. And they did not even come close to matching my grado SR-80 headphones for sheer music quality.

    I began with a mistake, and a gem. On the recomendation of a review, I purchased an Onkyo 502 receiver, and a ste of polk surround speakers. For some reason, I did not buy a subwoofer.

    A few moths later, disturbed that I was hearing distortion from the lower registers, I took the advice of many and bought a Dayton 10 inch subwoofer, which allowed me to set my fronts to small, and enjoy the flap of a nazgul's wing.

    Then, I noticed that my center channel, which was small, didn't quite match the boomy response of my RS-9 speakers. So I picked up a pair of Polk R15 speakers, and used one as a center. It worked so, so. At least it gave depth to male voices.

    I purchased an Oppo 971H DVD player, as my then current laptop couldn't drive my new widescreen monitor (which I had gotten to compliment an ATSC tuner) without problems. I noticed that the player supported DVD-Audio, and decided to try it out. Picked up a few discs and noticed that my surrounds didn't do such a great job of reproducing vocals.

    So, I went back to the store, and tried out center channels. The CS-1 among them. Decided that this would actually match my fronts. The Monitor 40 speakers had gotten some good reviews, so I figured I'd pick up the matching center. Brought it home, unpacked the other R15, and set up a surround setup, which sounded awesome. Later, I acquired a SACD player to enjoy the wider selection.

    Then, my roommate complained about my music habits. I started listening more carefully, and realized that my front speakers were deficient. So off to the store with a music disc (ones I really enjoyed on my headphones) in tow to listen to front speakers. My primary test was an opera aria that I very much enjoyed on my headphones, but my Infinities could not reproduce.

    So, I listened. The Polk Monitors seemed uninspiring. I thought:
    I stopped by a higher end store and listen. The speakers I demoed (Polk Rti4) transformed the melodic fluidity of the mezzo soprano into shrillness. Despairing, I went home, and read some more reviews. I came across the B&W 303. Same general price range. Great reviews.

    Determined not to make a mistake, I carefully compiled a disc of my favorite music on headphones, and then I listened to the CDR on my speakers, noting the flaws. Then, I went down to the store, and carefully listened. Instantly, I knew that these were my speakers. After two listening sessions I bought the speakers. A few days later, I spotted the "matching center" on ebay, and pulled the trigger.

    It was very helpful to have a reference that I could use to dissect my favorite pieces and explain why I liked them. It was also helpful to have deficient speakers, so that I could keep an ear for particularly difficult, but sonically important passages.

    One last thing. The subwoofer I use, (no longer in production) is best known as a cheap way to hit 25 Hz. The fronts I enjoy don't go down very far, and I often run them without a subwoofer. There's very little contradiction here. I like hearing the flap of a nazgul's wing, but I don't listen to a lot of contrabass instruments. Your taste in movies may similarly depart from your taste in music.
     
  3. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    There are many popular answers to this question. Stay within the same series, all speakers should be the same, don't mix the largest mains with the smallest surrounds, etc. All very good advice. But too me, matching the mid-range between the mains and center is also very important. What I would do is pick a series, decide on the mains or center, and then try and match the mid-range to whats left. They should all have the same tweeter so I would concentrate on the mids. In the RTi line, matching the size of the driver seems to work the best. Example: RTi8's with it's 6" mids seem to sound more like the CSi5 center while the RTi10 with it's 5 1/4" mids is more like the CSi3. I currently have a CSi5 center RTi6's for mains and RTi4's as surrounds. I would like to move the 6's to the rear and get 8's for the front but haven't done so yet. In short, while most concentrate on the bass and hi's, don't ignore the mid-range.
     
  4. JeremyErwin

    JeremyErwin Producer

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    one last thing. Don't be too afraid to get a non-matching subwoofer. That's how SVS earned its reputation.
     

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