Speaker Matching

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Carlo S, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. Carlo S

    Carlo S Stunt Coordinator

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    Just wanted to know from others here that when it comes to speaker matching, is my information correct that the most cruical is the front L/R and Centre speakers should be as close a match as possible? And that the rear speakers when it comes to speaker matching is not as crucial? For movies anyway. (I am currently only using 5.1 setup, and for my room size, it is not worth the bother to even contemplate doing a 7.1 setup, considering I don't own Blue Ray, and may not for some time. I am still satisfied with my existing DVD collection.

    I am always hearing many sides when it comes to this. I am certain there may be others here that probably have their fronts and rears as a different brands, and yet is still acceptable?
     
  2. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    While it is certainly ideal to have all your speakers match, it is not uncommon for people to have rear speaker that do no match their fronts.

    I, for instance, have SVS speakers across the front and some Cambridge Soundworks switchable (di/bi/mono) speakers for my surrounds. I've been very pleased with my setup.
     
  3. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Producer

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    SethH, what model # surround are you using? I was looking at their website yesterday. I'm trying to figure out what to use for my surrounds, and then I'm going to upgrade all 5 of my speakers. My problem is my ears are only about 2' from rear wall when seated. Thanks.
     
  4. SHS

    SHS Stunt Coordinator

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    It is the timbre of the speakers that is critical. They do not have to be the same brand. In some cases the front and center speakers of the same line might not be very well matched. You usually get what you pay for in this scenario.

    However.....and this is big, matching unlike brands is not always easy as it takes side by side comparisons with various recordings. Some would say why not just measure with a device.

    Well, with that said I prefer to think of it this way. Matching timbre is comparable to matching instruments. You may play the same note on a trombone and a trumpet but they will not sound the same. ( pick any two instruments for this analogy ) If you have three trumpets they will most likely be timbre matched but not always. Different brands or types of trumpets might have a timbre difference. Of course not all trumpets are the same size or made of the same material nor will they all be played by the same person, so with speakers it is similar. Three alike SHOULD be the same, however there are variables of placement, source, source settings, enclosure, and ad nauseum....

    EDIT: I was rushing through the above post as the pretty one was standing with arms crossed, one hip jutted out, and that look(you know exactly what look) wanting me to put steaks on....welll, that task is now complete LOL!

    The whole point I was trying to make is that timbre matching is the issue. In front it is more obvious because of content mostly coming from the front, we are used to these sounds being similar and the sides and surrounds not being AS critical. Panning of voices is usually from center to front right or left and even if it pans all the way to the sides or back we are used to sound changing as it moves around us. I think you could say it is a type of "psychological timbre adaptation" to the sides and rear along with a raised sensitivity toward the front.

    The side and/or rear surround may not be as critical for several reasons. These reasons include; placement, source material (surround material being more filler than main content), as well as we are used to things from the back and sides sounding different because of the doppler effect and other causes.
     
  5. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    My surrounds are the CSW Newton S300's.

    And Scott is absolutely correct that timbre matching is what you need to look for. However, it is quite difficult to find speakers across brands that are timbre matched. This would typically require the speakers to have almost identical tweeters and use similar, if not identical, crossover frequencies within the speakers.
     
  6. Carlo S

    Carlo S Stunt Coordinator

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    I have no understanding when it comes to crossover frequencies on speakers, as all those numbers make no sense to me lol. And its even more confusing when I see it in a 3 way speakers.

    The only sure way I suppose when it comes to matching is to have your front L/R, Centre, Surrounds all the exact same speaker same model and so on, but in reality, I don't think this is always the case. And something that SHS said earlier on about the doppler effect makes sense when I think about it.

    Unless I am mistaken, many people will end up having to compromise one way or another. With my front and centre, I do believe thay are as close a match as possible, cos I tried it with music, swithcign between 2ch stereo, and 3way, and it was very similar.
     
  7. Torgny Nilsson

    Torgny Nilsson Second Unit

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    As stated above, you get what you pay for in accurate sound reproduction. I think it is generally well accepted that the following is true:

    Best: identical speakers all the way around.
    2nd best: identical fronts and timbre-matched surrounds.
    3rd best: identical L and R front, timbre-matched C front, and timbre-matched surrounds.
    4th best: identical L and R front, timbre-matched C front, and decent surrounds of some sort.
    Etc.

    All of the above assume that you also have a decent sub. Even if you have floor-standers, you will still benefit from a sub. And any differences in your speakers will be most apparent in music, less so with most DVDs (though that is changing).
     
  8. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Unless you are interested in spending a lot of effort doing careful comparisons, it's best to just get the same brand and model for your front L/C/R speakers. The majority of sound in the rears is effects (at least when it comes to movies), so while it's good to match them, it's not as important.

    And remember: always heed the advice of Paradigm owners in the 33436 area code. Right, Scott? [​IMG]
     
  9. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    So, ... in all three documents, Dolby Lab's basically recommended that the speakers ...

    1) Should be identical
    and
    2) Have the same high- and mid-frequency drivers

    So since 1999, I've setup my family/HT room w/six (6) identical bookshelf & timbre-matching center and for LFE duties, a SVS sub of course!

    Budget, room size, space and brand loyalty will dictate what anyone will choose for their HT setup and for me, ... it was to basically setup my family/HT 20' x 30' room ...

    [​IMG]

    ... to reproduce the same Mixing Studio 360-degree 5.1/6.1/7.1 sound design seamlessly by choosing timbre-matched speakers (6 identical + timbre-matched center) and locate them around me, ... kinda' like a Mixing Studio. [​IMG]
     

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