Ideas for HT Speaker Setup

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by EdReed, Jul 4, 2002.

  1. EdReed

    EdReed Auditioning

    Jun 20, 2002
    Likes Received:
    New System is waiting for our family room to be finished.
    Speakers are as follows:
    Mains: Infinity IL 50 Towers w/250w powered subs
    Center, surrounds and powered sub are all by Cambridge Soundworks. I also have a passive sub kicking around and might throw it in the mix.
    The questions:

    What is best to connect to LFE?

    Should I connect a sub to the center channel?

    Should I run the IL 50's strictly as mains?

    System is for 75 percent HT and 25 music.

    Thanks for any and all suggestions.

  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    May 22, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Hi Ed. Welcome to HTF! [​IMG]
    ISSUE 1:
    Your first problem is you have a polygot mix of speakers in the front. When the sound travels from the center speaker to either L/R, it will change tone. But the actors voice/special effect should move position without changing tone to create the illusion of movement.
    Does Infinity make another speaker that matches the IL towers that you can use for a center? The rears are less important to match, but the front 3 speakers should be as close to identical as possible.
    ISSUE 2:
    A single subwoofer in a system tends to give you superior performance to multiple subs.
    Think of a rectangular baking pan filled with water. Drop some water in a corner and watch the waves as they reflect off of the sides into the pan. This looks like the sound in your room from a corner-loaded sub.
    Do the above again, but drop 2 drops where your L/R speakers would be, and one drop in the corner. The resulting waves are very complex & messy.
    With 3 subs working, the sound will add in some spots, subtract in others. You can even hear a large change in volume just by moving your head a few inches.
    So should you go with the subs in the towers, or the single self-powered sub? Easy: the self powered sub.
    Your 5 speakers are arranged for the benifit of the dialog/music/special effect sounds. But these locations in the room are not optimal for low-frequency sounds. Most people like putting the sub in a corner to give the sounds some large surface area to reflect from.
    I would suggest you start by turning the subs in your towers off, and just using the self-powered sub in a corner. Tell your receiver that all your speakers are SMALL and it will route all the lower-frequency sounds to the sub.
    Yes: Your receiver will send to the sub:
    - All the ".1" sounds from a movie
    - All the sounds below about 120 hz that was going to go to any SMALL speaker. (This is why you DONT need a sub on the center speaker)
    Set the system up this way and get used to it for a few weeks. Then for fun:
    - Fire up the opening chapter of Toy Story 2
    - Listen to this chapter 2 or 3 times.
    - Pause the movie, tell your receiver that your L/R speakers ARE LARGE, and turn on the subs in the tower.
    - Listen to the chapter again
    While 3 subs will be louder/more impressive, you should notice that the sound is a lot rougher, less pleasant.
    Yes, some people do run multiple subwoofers. But the guys who build them/know what they are doing put them both in the same corner right next to each other. This acts like one larger drop of water in the pan.
    Hope this helps.
    PS: I have 500 watt self powered subs in my DefTech towers. When I added an external sub, I played with various combinations and now, the subs in the towers are silent in favor of the single sub in the corner. There is a lot of this type of discussion in the "Speakers and Subwoofers" section. Just jump over there and search for "dual subs".

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