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Speaker Matching


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8 replies to this topic

#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Carlo S

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Posted February 11 2009 - 09:05 PM

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 of 9 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted February 11 2009 - 09:44 PM

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 of 9 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted February 12 2009 - 06:06 AM

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 of 9 OFFLINE   SHS

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Posted February 12 2009 - 10:22 AM

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.
.....this is truly an illness

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   SethH

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Posted February 12 2009 - 11:43 AM

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 of 9 OFFLINE   Carlo S

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Posted February 12 2009 - 12:36 PM

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 of 9 OFFLINE   Torgny Nilsson

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Posted February 18 2009 - 03:53 AM

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 of 9 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted February 18 2009 - 09:39 AM

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? Posted Image
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#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Phil Iturralde

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Posted February 18 2009 - 11:42 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlo S
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?

So far the discussion has been informative and interesting.

When I did my research back around 1997 about Dolby Digital 5.1, ... it made sense to review what the Movie / Music Mixing Studios were doing to jump from ...

Dolby Pro Logic Matrixed Surround (DPL)

... to ...

Dolby Digital Discrete 5.1 Surround (DD-5.1)

-----------------------------
1998 - From the Creator's of Dolby Digital 5.1, ... Dolby Labs, they provided a White Paper document entitled ...

"Dolby Digital Professional Encoding Manual" (Issue 01 / Part No. 91535 / 1998)

Dolby Labs official recommendation is ...

Quote:
2.3 Speaker Design and Complement (pg.16)

2.3.1 Center Speaker

It is important that the three front speakers be either identical or similar in design. This is essential to avoid differences in the sound when panning across speakers. However, this does not mean that they all need to be the same size. Although identical speakers are preferred, it is acceptable to use large Left and Right speakers and a smaller Center speaker from the same product line.

2.3.2 Surround Speakers (pg.16)
Full range, direct radiator speakers are highly recommended for the Surrounds. They may either be identical or similar in design to the Center or Left and Right speakers.

-----------------------------
2000 - The "Dolby Digital Professional Encoding Manual" was replaced by ...

"5.1-Channel Production Guidelines" (Issue 01 / Part No. S00/12957 / 2000)

Dolby Labs official recommendation is the same ...

Quote:
3.2.1 Front Speakers (pg. 24)
To promote good imaging, all three should be identical, just as conventional L and R stereo speakers must be matched. If all three cannot be the same model, the center speaker may be a smaller model from the same product line.

3.2.2 Surround Speakers (pg. 25)
Whenever possible, use the same speakers all around to achieve uniformity.

-----------------------------
2005 - The latest version of Dolby Lab's ...

"5.1-Channel Production Guidelines" (Issue 02 / Part No. 91536 / 2005).

And, ... Dolby Labs official recommendation remains the same ...

Quote:
2.3.1 Speakers and Amplifiers (pg.14)
Front speaker setup may be accomplished two ways. One, add a Center speaker that matches the acoustic characteristics of the existing Left and Right soffit speakers or two, install three identical near-field monitors. In either case, the design of all three front speakers must be identical; panning from one type of speaker to another causes great differences in the sound. This does not mean that they all have to be the same size. Large Left and Right speakers and a smaller Center speaker from the same product line are acceptable. If possible, the Center speaker should have the same high- and mid-frequency drivers as the Left and Right speakers.


2.3.4 Surround Channel Speakers (pg. 19)
For normal Dolby Surround installations, small bookshelf speakers will suffice. However, you may wish to consider planning for the future. The 5.1-channel mixing format shown in Figure 2-15, is currently the format of choice for mixing motion picture.

This format uses the standard three full range front channels, two full-range Surround channels and one Low Frequency Effects (LFE) or boom channel.

To be 5.1-channel ready, use full-range speakers in each location. If a smaller Center channel speaker is used, the same model may also be used for the Surround speakers.

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 ...

Posted Image

... 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. Posted Image
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