How important are matched speakers in 6.1 system?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff D, Nov 7, 2001.

  1. Jeff D

    Jeff D Supporting Actor

    Apr 6, 1999
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    My system is a mix of several different speaker lines. The front three are all boston acoustics. The back three... well, I don't have three yet, this is the reason for the question.
    My back 2 are JBL bookshelf speakers, which I like. They recently replaced my old main JBLs I've had since the mid 80's which were the rears.
    With a new 6.1 system how important is it to have the balanced or matched set of speakers. I've heard that the front's and back don't need to be matched, but what about all three rear channels?
    While on the subject. How important is a true center channel speaker? Could a third bookshelf work in place of a center channel?
  2. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

    Mar 8, 2000
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    I guess it really depends on how important it is to you. The difference in brands doesn't really matter... it's the quality of sound is what you are looking for.
    You are trying to acheive a seamless transition as sound moves from one channel to another. This is easiest to obtain with all of the speakers matching, obviously. But, not impossible with mismatched speakers.
    Since you have the speakers already, I would say, hook 'em up, if you don't like 'em, get new ones.
    As far as a center channel goes, the same rules apply. A 2-way bookshelf would work fine.. if the sound is comparable to your other channels. In fact, a lot of people prefer the sound of a 2-way standing upright to an MTM lying on it's side. Another option, is to split the CC signal to the left & right mains as "Phantom" mode. This focuses the sound more on the screen (rather than from atop the TV where most CC's are placed). The drawback is that you have to be sitting in the "sweet spot" between the two mains for it to sound correctly. I prefer phantom mode when I am watching by myself and I can sit in the best spot.
    Good luck.
  3. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

    Nov 1, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Lou Sytsma
    From what I have discovered, timbre matched speakers do make a difference.
    This is more true for the front 3 speakers though. Having your mains and the centre timbre matched is essential to creating a seamless front soundstage.
    Matching the rear speakers to the front is a good goal to attain but you could go with different speakers. You should at least make sure your rear speakers match one another though!
    As for your front centre speaker - in mine experience - a dedicated centre channel speaker makes a big difference. The centre channel is responsible for the majority of the dialogue and sound effects and the design of it should reflect that. I use a Paradigm Reference CC. It is truly a major piece of work and does the job much better than a bookshelf speaker would be able to.
    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.

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