How to timbre match speakers?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by seth_petry_john, Sep 15, 2004.

  1. seth_petry_john

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    I currently own two B&W DM602-S3s as mains and a LCR600 S3 center channel speaker.

    I'm looking to (finally) purchase surrounds to complete my system. I want to buy dipoles, which B&W does not offer in my price range (~$350-$400/pair).

    So as I evaluate dipoles to purchase, how do I "timbre match" them against my B&Ws? Or in other words, how do I narrow my choices to speakers that won't conflict with what I already own?

    So far I've identified these choices from Internet research, I haven't actually listened to any of them.

    Paradigm ADP-170
    Klipsch RS-25 or RS-35 [is this a tripole?]

    Can anyone comment on how well these choices might mix with my B&Ws, or tell me how to make that determination on my own? Are there any other dipole options I should consider?

    Thanks,
    Seth
     
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Seth,

    You’ll never be able to truly timbre-match if you go with something from another manufacturer. The best you can hope for is “in the ballpark.”

    Your best bet is to duplicate the B&W’s attributes and design as close as possible. Look for tweeters that are similar to the B&W’ design. If the tweets are metal dome, you want your choice to have the same material – aluminum, titanium, etc. Similarly-designed crossovers – slope and frequency – will make a difference, too.

    Likewise, look for woofers that are similar in material to the B&W’s, likewise with sealed vs. ported designs.

    As you can see, timbre-matching speakers from two manufacturers can be fairly difficult and will require a lot of time and effort.

    Is your room and configuration really conducive to delivering the full benefits of dipoles? Dipoles rely on reflections from the front and side walls for their ambient qualities. This means (a) you need a fully symmetrical room, (b) the speakers should be several feet from the back wall, and (c) your seating should also be several feet from the back wall.

    If your situation doesn’t meet all these qualifications you’re not going to get the full benefits of dipolar. If that’s the case I’d go with the 600 or 601 instead. If they are positioned correctly, and aren’t too close to the seating, direct radiating rear speakers work great and actually do a better job with rear panning effects than dipolars.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  3. seth_petry_john

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    Wayne,

    Thanks for the reply. You're always a source of good info.


    I don't know if my room is FULLY conducive to optimizing dipoles, but I'm thinking its close.

    Here's a drawing I've been working with to plan my placement.
    [​IMG]

    We don't close on the house until the 24th so everything is theoretical right now. Most measurements are accurate, although I don't have an accurate measurement for the amount of space behind the bar. My RPTV will be flush mounted through the left hand wall, and my gear will be mounted in the wall behind the bar, everything else on the diagram should be self explanatory.

    With this setup I have about 32 to 36" between the sweet spot couch and the back wall. I was afraid that this would put direct radiators too close to the seating and would create very localized surround sound unless someone sits in the exact center of the couch, which never happens.

    My idea was to place dipoles on either side of the main couch, one mounted on the botom wall and one mounted either on the bar or suspended from the drop ceiling. I was hoping this would create a larger soundfield, and perhaps give the poor suckers on the loveseat SOME semblance of ambient sound [​IMG]

    If you think I'd be better off with the B&W 600s in this room then I'll take it into consideration. My receiver can do 7.1, and I've read that the optimal 7.1 setup uses one pair of direct radiators, so I'll need to buy them sooner or later anyway.

    Thanks again for your advice and comments, they are always welcome!

    Seth
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Thanks for the kind words, Seth. [​IMG]

    The picture certainly helps give some needed perspective, so brace yourself for a few more thoughts.

    IMO this isn’t the best room for dipolars. It’s not symmetrical (e.g., think “shoebox”) and probably too small on top of that.

    They could perhaps be positioned forward of the main seat, to give some more distance between them and the rear wall. But since the left and right walls (top and bottom in this picture) are so different, the reflections you would get would not sound the same. That could possibly – probably even - be very distracting.

    The direct radiating speakers don’t necessarily have to be on the rear wall. In fact, that’s not what I’d do in this room. I’d put them on the side walls, on axis with the line you have labeled “170.33,” or perhaps slightly forward of that. This would give you more distance between the speakers and the seating compared to the back wall location. More distance allows for better dispersion and decreased localization. Also, it will allow sound to reflect off the rear wall, which will improve ambience.

    One of the biggest factors for localizing near-field direct radiating speakers is high frequency response. Namely, the closer you are to the speakers, the brighter they sound. So if you find a pair of 600s or 601’s are too easily localized, you might take some steps to attenuate high frequency response. The easiest way to accomplish that would be the receiver's tone controls, if they allow for separate adjustment for the rear channels.

    If not, a less glamorous but as-effective remedy would be to cover the tweeters with some cloth. The crucial factor here is the thickness and/or thread count of the material. Namely, the less daylight you can see through it, the more it blocks and attenuates the high frequency soundwave.

    Regarding a 7.1 set up, I’ve never used one, but it seems to me they are most effective in big rooms where you can’t get adequate coverage to the entire seating area with only two rear speakers. In your situation, where the rear speakers would be so close to the rear couch, and therefore extremely easy to localize, I can see more detriment than benefit. I’d stick with the two side-mounted direct radiating speakers.

    Oh yes - don’t even waste any effort or lose any sleep over how things are going to sound at the love seat.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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  6. seth_petry_john

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    In regards to dipoles you said:
    Heading over there now. I'm still amazed that I've spent the last week trawling the 'net for info on dipoles versus direct radiators, and all I'm really learning is how much else there is to learn [​IMG]

    Thanks again for the help!

    Seth
     
  7. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    I use series 1 601s for my rears (604s and CC6 up front). My room only allows for the rears to be stand mounted, at the ends of the couch, slightly behind me. At best, they are maybe 5 feet from my ears.

    What I found to work well (and by happy accident) is that I have them firing straight forward, such that I am way off axis when I am sitting in the sweet spot.

    But for films, the fact that I am off axis and thus in a very rolled off treble area seems to help with the sense of ambience. And for MC music, it tends to diminish some of the "hey look at me" quality you tend to get in the rear channels of certain 5.1 mixes.

    I didn't really notice the roll off until one day while playing some MC music, I leaned forward a couple feet to get a remote off of the ottoman, and the treble rise was quite noticeable. Now, if the room were different, I might try some alternate placements, but in this configuration, I am pleasantly surprised with what I am hearing.

    BGL
     
  8. Dan Halchak

    Dan Halchak Stunt Coordinator

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    Just place them (suggest 602,601,600 in that order depending on your price range) right behind the couch, equal distance apart. Facing straight forward, maybe a little bit toed in to get the middle seat a slight bit more.

    Once you calibrate everything you should have no problems with them "standing out" or sounding bad. I think they will sound just about perfect for your seating situation.

    If you can't put them on the wall (shelving or what have you), then put them on stands at seating height and enjoy! [​IMG]
     
  9. Jake S

    Jake S Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow, while I agree with the voice match arguement, I could see the benifits of dipoles null even with the sofa (and also direct radiators at the back wall for 7.1)
    ...voice matching wins out though
     

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