If you had to choose, Sub or Surrounds??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Johnston, Jan 30, 2002.

  1. Brian Johnston

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    After months of research and lots of time spent reading the posts on this forum, not to mention a recent move and budget availability, I am finally ready to take the plunge and begin to build my Home Theatre.

    Now, the budget is not yet at the stage that I can do everything at once, but I can wait no longer. So my question is, if you had to choose, as I do, between starting off with fronts and a sub or fronts and surrounds what would you choose?

    I have my heart set on the Paradigm Reference Line of speakers so let's say the choice is between the Servo-15 sub and the Studio ADP surrounds. The usage will likely be 70/30 movies/music. Right now I am leaning towards the surrounds. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Brandon_S

    Brandon_S Second Unit

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  3. Scott Bourden

    Scott Bourden Second Unit

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    A close friend of mine had the same budget issue's, he could only afford one or the other. In the end, he went with the surrounds, because his speakers were half way decent on their own for music and to him having the 5 channels of sound was ore important then having the impact of a good sub.

    As for yours, if you are having budget problems, you could always consider the PW-2200, awesome sub. (imo)
     
  4. Sebastien David

    Sebastien David Second Unit

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    The sub, most definitely, is what made the most difference in my setup, definitely more than the surrounds.

    Scott is right, I would consider the PW-2200 if your room isn't that big, or else try and go with two PW-2200 or if possible SVS or Velodyne or other high-end brands. The Servo is a great sub,. but I don't think it's worth the extra amount compared to the PW-2200. You can find better deals at the price of the Servo-15, IMO.
     
  5. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Sub for sure!

    When you go to the theater, which do you notice more, Bass from the subs or surround effects? Without the sub you miss half the movie. Without the surrounds you miss about 10% of the flick.
     
  6. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    Yep, get the sub. They beat me to the punch recommending the PW2200. I demoed both and they are pretty much on par at different price points IMO. Also consider SVS or even something like the HSU VTF-2 which you can get for about $450 right now and it almost on par with either of those Paradigm subs. This would allow for your Studio ADP's. If you go for a more expensive sub, you might just a get cheap ($50) pair of satellites to act as surrounds until you can afford the ADP's. It is much better to have a rear surround field even with cheap speakers than none at all.

    You didn't say what you have or are planning to purchase for mains/center?
     
  7. Brian Johnston

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    Everyone, thanks for you quick replies. I will definitely consider the PW2200, I am heading out this weekend to do so listening.

    Eric, I haven't decided on the mains yet, I am hoping to decide between the 60, 80 or 100's this weekend. I am scared the 100's might be to power hungry and be overkill for the condo I am in at the moment. As for the centre, I am actually going to go without one to start with, two reasons for this 1) budget, 2) I have been reading interesting threads about phantom centres (sending the centre signal to the front L+R ) here on the forum so I thought I would give it a try.

    Thanks,

    Brian.
     
  8. Ron Shaw

    Ron Shaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, Im going to be different and recommend surrounds first. Thats where I feel the most bang for the buck will be realized.
     
  9. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

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    You could get the sub and use something cheap for surrounds temporarily, but you cannot do the reverse. Fair quality surrounds are tolerable, but a weak sub is worse than no sub.
     
  10. Ned

    Ned Supporting Actor

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    Brian-

    Whichever you get first, go with an SVS CS+ instead of the servo-15. Don't worry about mixing brands, subs and speakers don't cover the same octaves so theres nothing to "match".
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Unless you're getting front speakers with limited bass extension, I'd go for the surrounds. I've always used floor-standing full-range speakers for my front left and right, and it was literally years before I added a sub. When I did, there was instant improvement but not (to my ears) as much as when I added surround speakers.

    It's really a question of your priorities and what aspects of film audio are more important to you. (For music, the sub easily wins out; most music recordings are 2-channel, and surround speakers just aren't necessary, IMO.)

    If pounding, rattle-the-furniture effects are what will make you feel most involved in the movie (and you tend to watch movies that have those effects), give priority to the sub. OTOH, if it's more important for you to experience the immersive effect of a true surround experience, with rear channel effects placed precisely, then go for the surrounds. To use one concrete example: In Cast Away, would you rather get knocked back by the plane crash and roar of the waves, or would you rather get spooked by all the sounds of the island that surround Chuck when he arrives?

    M.
     
  12. Jason Wolters

    Jason Wolters Stunt Coordinator

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    sub
     
  13. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    I say go for the surrounds. My HT was subless for about a year, and yes adding a sub improved the bottom end tremendously over the full range fronts. But at least for me, nothing is cooler than the gee-whiz factor a movie that utilizes the surrounds aggresively provides. Something like Dragonheart where the dragon is flying around the screen and his voice follows him, shifting from speaker to speaker. Can't get that with just a sub, need surrounds for that.

    Andrej
     
  14. Neil Weinstock

    Neil Weinstock Stunt Coordinator

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    As mentioned above, I'd think that the bass capability of your mains should factor into the decision. Those big Studios should give you at least some bass oomph, though obviously not as much as a sub. Therefore I'd lean towards the surrounds.

    I also second the recommendation for SVS, but here's another important issue: what kind of condo are you living in? Are you really going to be able to thump a big sub without incurring the wrath of your neighbors (especially if you have people below you)? Is it possible that the Studios will give you as much bass as you can safely use in the condo?

    It is also true that you could get a pair of temporary cheapie surrounds which would be better than nothing.

    I dunno, tough call.
     
  15. MichaelGomez

    MichaelGomez Stunt Coordinator

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    What receiver do you have. I have a sony ES and it has a virtual surround mode. Granted it isn't the best but using a sub and a virtual suround mode is much better than using surrounds and no sub. Not to mention that you could could buy some cheap speakers at a pawn shop or walmart that will "do" until you can get the new ones.

    Mike
     
  16. Ryan Schnacke

    Ryan Schnacke Supporting Actor

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    Get the (SVS) sub first.
     
  17. Dan Hotch

    Dan Hotch Agent

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    Just a suggestion, but you could ask your local Paradigm dealer if they will price match dollar for dollar on trade-ups. I think that quite a few do, at least for the first year. If they do you could get the Mains that you want and then look at getting something a little lower on the performance list for the sub and surrounds as something temporary until you can justify the rest. Take a listen and see if it sounds acceptable.

    Would Atoms or Titans and an ADP-10 be too low quality as a temporary fix?
     
  18. Sebastien David

    Sebastien David Second Unit

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    another thing: definitely take a listen to the 40s for your mains. some people actually think they sound better than even the more expensive speakers in the studio line, and pretty much everyone agrees that they are definitely the best value. that could leave you enough cash for BOTH a very good sub and some acceptable surrounds.

    just to restate my opinions on surrounds, the facts that

    1) the sounds coming from the rear are either diffuse and low in level, therefore not requiring amazing speakers to reproduce, or used to reproduce quick effects that only happen like two dozen times per movie, and

    2) our ears are made to listen from the front and we are pretty darn bad at differentiating subtle differences in tonal accuracy and soundstage from the back,

    indicate to me that your money would be better spent on the front soundstage until you have really good performance, then you can upgrade your rears to better ones. I plan on running a full Klipsch Reference setup in front and keeping my trusty ol' JBL and Sony speakers for the rear for a while. you need surrounds, you just don't need to invest a lot of money in them, at least not until you don't have anything better to spend it on. and that is of course assuming you don't listen to a lot of multichannel music, which makes more use of the surrounds (at least in the mixes I've heard).

    but that's just my opinion.
     
  19. Kevin. W

    Kevin. W Screenwriter

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    Brian,

    When you first stated your question it sounded like you were getting L/R/C then deciding between a sub and rears. Now you say your going to go without the centre for now, but its the centre that does 70% off the work especially in movies. My suggestion is move down to the Monitor line of speakers which could allow you to get the whole setup(eg: (2)Mini Monitors/CC-370/PS-1000 $1550CDN). I would demo both lines and see what kinda price your dealer gives. Also you say your in a Condo and a large sub would be a bit of overkill something you neighbours may not like it.

    Kevin
     
  20. Sebastien David

    Sebastien David Second Unit

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    going without a center may be a very reasonable option if you're the only listener (or the others don't care) and can position yourself in the sweet spot.

    I wouldn't go with an inferior range of speakers, I'd definitely start with less, but better, speakers and then add rather then have to replace speakers later.

    I would go L/R/Sub, then add the surrounds, then add the center. a better option would be to add the surrounds and center at the same time, as soon as possible. but there are monetary considerations coming into play... And that's just IMO, again.
     

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