Bookshelf speakers ---> how low should they go? Is it important?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Marcus Lewis, Feb 13, 2002.

  1. Marcus Lewis

    Marcus Lewis Stunt Coordinator

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    If the bookshelf speakers in a 5.1 environment are always going to be set to small with your sub of choice (in my case a 16-46CS+) handling everything down low; how important is low end extension on the bookshelf speakers?

    Is it a factor at all? Isthere really any point with going with a bookshelf speaker that plays well down to 50hz vs a cheaper model that has the same upper frequency range but only goes down to 80hz? Or is there some hidden advantage I am unaware of of having a bookshelf with more range?

    Thanks in advance if someone can clear this up for me ...
     
  2. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    My Home Theater Direct Level III speakers can go down to the 60Hz region without any problems. They finally roll off at about 45Hz.

    Most receivers set the crossover point at about 80Hz, which means that you probably won't have to worry about any gaps in the sound spectrum, at least not with these speakers I have. The only way I could see it being a problem is if the bookshelves can't extend to where the subwoofer completely takes over, in which case you might have a slight roll off in the sound field.

    On a whole, don't expect most bookshelves to go below 40Hz
     
  3. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    That's a good question, and you will get different opinions. I assume you are talking about HT here, correct? Because with music, the analysis is different.

    For HT, my answer is, it depends on your subwoofer. If you have a good sub like that SVS then no, I do not believe the base extension of your bookshelf speakers is important at all. For me however, I have the Sony SA-Wm40 and a pair of Paradigm Studio 20's. The 20's are supposed to be great down to about 50, then rolloff to nothing at about 38. That is good extension for a bookshelf. However, I am considering moving to the 40's or 60's because I would rather not have that sub producing the mid base. It is great for moving lots of air, but you don't want it for midbase where you can localize and it and it just isn't tight enough. So even with my 20's being a good pair of bookshelves, I find I am wanting fuller range mains, OR a better sub.

    With your SVS, the base extension may not matter as much, but keep in mind that there is a lot more separating different brands and price points of bookshelf speakers than just base response.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Marcus Lewis

    Marcus Lewis Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Eric that helps somewhat, but I'm still sort of confused, lol :b

    So for music what would be the ideal scenario? Are full range speakers that much better than a quality sub/bookshelf combo?

    Is your plan to move to the 40's or 60's and run them as LARGE or full range on your receiver?

    Trying to clear things up, lol
     
  5. Ariel

    Ariel Stunt Coordinator

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    hi marcus,

    most people prefer to have a full range speaker for music but you also have to consider your room. if you have a smaller room, the bass from the big towers might be too

    "boomy". In my case, i have a small room of about 1800cuft and i cannot get a good response from tower speakers unless i move them near the center of the room. i went with the studio20 + servo15 and got a much better result. (advantage with a separate sub is that you can locate them to get the best freq. response)
     
  6. ThomasL

    ThomasL Supporting Actor

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    Marcus, the difference between the low +/- 3 db point being 80Hz vs 60Hz should not be the deciding factor for you assuming you have a decent sub. My impression is that the blending of the sub with the bookshelves is what is most important. I have a Paradigm sub with a pair of CSW Newton bookshelves which go down to 70Hz. I have my crossover set to 100 Hz and I get a pretty good blend. It is important to realize, as people here have educated me, that crossovers aren't brick walls. So, if one's crossover is set to 80Hz, it would be nice to get some type of response from the bookshelfs down below 80Hz, say down into the 40-50hz range perhaps - this will lead to a better blending of the sub with the mains. The other consideration is what range the sub handles best. Some like to have mains that go low so that they can then set their crossover frequencies low and let the sub do what it should do best - the low range of the spectrum, namely the 20Hz to 60Hz range.

    Much of this of course will be up to what you think sounds best.

    cheers,

    --tom
     
  7. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Saying "brand X plays down to 45Hz" doesn't mean anything w/o SPL and distortion figures. A tweeter will play a 20Hz tone (you just won't hear it). Many speakers can play accurately at lower SPLs... the quality products begin to seperate themselves at higher SPLs. I'd go with the one rated at the lower frequency response (it will probably have better distortion figures at 80Hz during loud passages)...
     

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