full range speakers set to "small"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Doran, Feb 19, 2002.

  1. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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    some questions:

    1) what's the lowest frequency that will typically be sent to a speaker set to "small"?

    2) how low does a speaker have to go before it is considered "full range"?

    3) if, as i hear on this forum all the time, the best way to have speakers set is "small", whether or not they're full range", then

    a) what's the point in having full range speakers?

    b) why do speaker manufacturers continue to make full range speakers?

    just wondering....
     
  2. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    1. This varies widely depending on processor settings, but typically 120Hz down to 40Hz. Some models are adjustable, some not.

    2. Full Range = 20Hz - 20Khz, so you could say a speaker has to do that to be 'full'. But I give credit to a speaker that can get down to 32 or so...

    3. a. Some folks like 'em.

    3. b. I can't imagine a world without them.
     
  3. Sheldon C

    Sheldon C Second Unit

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    I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that full range speakers can generally handle more power. So, even if you set them on small they can still play louder than non-full range speakers. I'm sure there are exceptions, but I think for the most part that's how it works.
     
  4. StephenL

    StephenL Second Unit

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    1) The frequency will be just as low as when the speaker is set to large, but the level will attenuated. For example, the THX high-pass filter frequency response is -12 dB per octave below the -3 dB point of 80 Hz. That means that a frequency of 40 Hz is down 12 dB and a frequency of 20 Hz is down 24 dB.

    2) If a speaker plays as low, loud and undistorted as your subwoofer then you can consider it full-range.
     
  5. Paul Clarke

    Paul Clarke Supporting Actor

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    With full range (typically frontstage) there is the 'pure' stereo option with no Sub selected. Many people still prefer this, especially for music. Also, with the 5 and 7 channel stereo options now available on many receivers, full range speaker sets can be most beneficial. I have never considered stereo sacrifices for HT experience a worthwhile practice but that's just me.
     
  6. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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  7. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    "then why do manufacturers bother to produce speakers with linear frequency responses well below 80hz"

    john, one nice thing is that great blending between highs/mids/lows is pretty much assured since the entire process is controlled by the manufacturer. Also, I suspect that there is a coherence, eveness, and fullness of sound that many people find preferrable with their music program material.
     
  8. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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    the implication being that the manufacturers, at least, actually intend for their speakers to be used as "full range" and not "small".

    and if that's true, then why do the manufacturer's intend for their speakers to be used in a way that is sonically inferior?

    i suppose i'm just looking for the reasons that are commonly relied upon by those who believe setting speakers to "small" is always the best way to go.

    i hear people saying it, but i've never really heard why it's supposed to be better.

    i need to know before i go out and buy anymore overpriced full range speakers....

    someone? anyone?
     
  9. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    There was some thread by Brian Florian (?) over at www.avsforum.com (Audio and Hi-Fi?) which talked about setting speakers to "small". I do not think that it is a problem. You can set the speaker to "small", and then (generally) cross over anywhere between 40-80Hz to the external sub...which would mean that a near full range speaker would not be a waste. For music in particular, some people prefer to run the mains "full range".
     
  10. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    John:

    Although there seems to be a sizable consensus that setting speakers to small is sonically superior for HT, I do not think you will find that consensus when it comes to music. Many still greatly prefer the sound of a pair of full range towers to any speaker combination + a subwoofer for music.

    Secondly, many believe that tower speakers have different sonic properties than bookshelf speakers, apart from base extension. This is hardly debatable, as every different enclosure adds its own sonic character. Some may prefer the sound of full range towers even where the bottom end is *not* being used, because the size and shape of the enclosure effects the sound in the mid to high frequency ranges as well. Then, of course, the bottom end is there for those who prefer to use it for music and/or HT purposes.
     
  11. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I've NEVER heard one person say small is ALWAYS the way to go. I agree with you that there is less point for manufacturers to build speakers capable of lower frequencies, but each person has an expectation and a preference, so people will still buy full range speakers.
    I prefer the sound of a good floor standing speaker for music, since one doesn't have to deal with a crossover blend, via the receiver, between the mains and the sub thanks to the built in appropriately sloped crossover(s). This is not a simple matter to get right with a sub/sat setup, it takes some tweaking, and the requirements/settings are typically different for HT vs music.
    Having said that, I have a sub/sat setup because I enjoy smaller speakers that I can run limited range which allows the amps more headroom, while the sub's amp handles the rough stuff. Tower speakers can take more power, but also REQUIRE more power, as the lower frequencies are now being hanlded by the reciever's amps, rather than a dedicated one as in a sub (unless you have powered towers, or they have power for their low freq. drivers) Over time, I have tweaked my setup for music, since I do more music listening, but it still sounds very good for HT with a sub adjustment, so I am happy. [​IMG]
    I have found that I prefer to listen to music with my mains (Paradigm Mini Monitors) set to large with and without my sub because the midrange is more full. For HT, their ~50Hz bottom is just not sufficently realistic, so they get set to small and the sub does what it's supposed to.
     
  12. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Also, companies like B&W (especially for the N series stuff), Dunlavy, Wilson, JM Lab, Dynaudio, etc are all still building speakers that primarily are geared to music people. Now most of those speakers can work very well in a home theater, so it's kind of a moot point.

    And as to the whole large/small thing in terms of your processor there is nothing wrong with running things as large, but it's going to take some power to do it. And the fact that most "full range" speakers really aren't "full range" and certainly not in the sense of what you can get with a movie soundtrack (with information dipping into the teens Hz wise). I also liked John's thread over at AVS (or at least the one that concerns this stuff) is that if you want to run "large" it's probably going to sound best if you can set all of your speakers to large, or at a minimum the front soundstage. Then you don't have something missing out of your front soundstage.

    Andrew
     
  13. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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    thanks a lot for all the help, guys.

    i really appreciate it.

    - jd
     

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