Cheap mismatched surrounds or no surrounds at all?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by BrianGC, Apr 28, 2003.

  1. BrianGC

    BrianGC Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello,
    I'm considering getting JBL N26IIs and an N-Center for the front and maybe a Sony SA-WM500 sub at some point.

    I wasn't really planning on getting surrounds because of the size of the room and also the money. But I saw some cheap KLH speaker (911B) at BestBuy and thought they might work as surrounds.

    Would having these mistmatched speakers as surrounds be better than no surrounds at all or would the mismatch be more distracting than helpful?

    Thanks,
    BrianGC
     
  2. Khoa Tran

    Khoa Tran Supporting Actor

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    it's ok to use different surrounds just as long as your three fronts are similar...
     
  3. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I agree. Most of the audio action in a flic is in the front 3 channels, so having them be (matching) good quality speakers is more important than the surrounds.

    I can't remember the reference, but I have read/heard more than once, that even cheap surround sound will sound "better" than great 2 ch stereo. Has to do the 3-D effect of the soundfield on the brain or something... It's a psychological effect, or something.

    I personally wouldn't use any DSP on 2 ch recordings, but that's what I've heard/read! [​IMG]
     
  4. Marcel_V

    Marcel_V Stunt Coordinator

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    Not sure exactly what youve priced on the cheapo surrounds, but if you go with a jbl nsp package from an online vendor, for ~220$ you can get the N center plus 4 N24's. Then you get the ncenter, a pair of n24's with the wall brackets for surrounds, and you can save the 2 extras for 7.1 someday, or just if you break/blow a speaker =P. Since the N center alone costs about 100 bucks, and another pair of speakers is usually around 100, its a pretty good deal.

    Some kind of surround is better than nothing I suppose, but if you have a picky ear im pretty sure you will notice problems with panning and timbre matching.

    If spending more on surrounds means skimping out on a sub though, I would definitely take a sub and go with the cheaper surrounds. Makes much more of a difference. [​IMG]
     
  5. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    Will you notice a difference? If you're listening somewhat critically, then yes, and easily so if the speakers are vastly different in voicing and quality.

    Some people seem to think certain compromised systems are nonetheless "close enough for movies", that is, that it would be more important for music listening to have matching speakers. I disagree, as I think it's equally important to have matching timbres for music and movies. But I think perhaps some movie-only folks simply don't care so much about timbral accuracy (or equivalency, I guess), whereas the music folks are exceedingly aware of any discrepancies. So, I think it depends on what kind of listener you are. It will certainly sound different... but will that bug you?

    If it were me, I'd wait however much time it took to put together sufficient funds to get matching speakers. If you can get a pair cheap enough to hold you over, then perhaps this would be a good choice. But don't pay too much for non-matching speakers. I think you'll ultimately find them to be a waste of money.
     
  6. Franklin

    Franklin Agent

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    i'm kind'a in the same boat as the original poster...rediculously small space and not alot of cash to toss around. right now, i have klipsch SB2 mains and klipsch SC1 for my center, along with a KSW-12 sub. i'm very happy with it, but for my surrounds i have a pair of KLH sattelites that were "freebies" when i bought my reciever last summer. the KLHs don't keep up with the fronts at all, and i get little impact from the surround field...it works for now, but i'm deffinately looking to to get a matching set when i get a better space (soon!)
    Frank
     
  7. Jerome Grate

    Jerome Grate Cinematographer

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    Sometimes it's good to keep an eye on "open box items", you can get some really good sounding speakers for a fraction of what they really cost. I got my rear center channel Polk RT25i for $25.00, nothing was wrong with it, I guess they only had one and that's why it so cheap.
     
  8. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    It's funny in that people keep emphasizing the use of "timbre matched" speakers between the front and back of a system. I agree, but with the following caveat: because of how the human head and ears are shaped, even with identical speakers front and back, they *will* sound different. There is no way around that. Obviously, the brain compensates some, and the goal is too minimze that within your system, but that's how it is in real life. Some of the higher end processors *can* compensate for that, but we're talking above the $3500 level.
     
  9. Greg Bright

    Greg Bright Second Unit

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    Interesting point Kevin. But should there be any *compensation* at all? All sounds that we hear originate identically whether coming from the front, sides, or rear. To have a speaker or processor adjust for timbral differences because of location strikes me as absurd. We should all wear these processors designed into hearing aids so that coins dropped behind us will sound the same as coins dropped in front. Oops, there goes the spatial cues.

    Greg
     
  10. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    I say no surrounds at all until u get the right ones.

    I guess surround sound isn't that important to me as it sometimes distracts from the movie as if the sound guy added in extra things just to take advantage of the surrounds. Of course there are exceptions and I love it when music is played and properly matched. I just don't think it's worth buying some "temporary" speakers for.

    Without them being matched, you lose some sense 3D involvment and you start hearing simple "sounds" that are coming from speakers behind you rather than an immersed experience. I think mismatched surrounds can even be distracting from watching movies.

    Sometimes I actually prefer a non-matching center front three rather than having mismatched surrounds. With the front 3 mismatched, the vocals primarily come from the center while the sound track comes from the mains. Since they are playing different things, it doesn't seem that obvious.
     
  11. BrianGC

    BrianGC Stunt Coordinator

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