Importance of tonally matched speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Dobbs, Aug 9, 2002.

  1. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    My dad and I are building a HUGE addition to our house to be used as a dedicated home theater. The dimensions of the room are approximately 16 feet wide by 30 feet long. I'm trying to convince him to upgrade our speakers since we don't have more than 2 of any kind of speaker already in our house.

    Everywhere I look I see people stressing the importance of tonally matched speakers, even going as far as saying the exact same speaker should be used for every channel. So, exactly how important is it to have tonally matched speakers?

    Also, for a room the size of ours, how important is it to have large full range speakers all around, instead of satellites?

    Can anyone recommend some speakers that are not too expensive? Ideally I'd like to have 5 identical full range speakers, with 12-15 woofer(s) inside.
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Might help if you include a budget...
    I don't see very many speakers sporting 12" drivers these days, and 15" is even more rare. Low bass is what subs are made for.
    If you are building a system for mostly movies, a good sub, or possibly even two, will go much farther than a full compliment of towers. Take a look at SVS's site. Few people will ever need more bass than two of any of those [​IMG].
    Nice towers up front is not a bad choice if the system will also see a decent amount of music duty.
    If you do a search on "timbre" match or matching, you should find more than enough answers on tonally matching your setup and why. Put it this way, when you buy headphones, you wouldn't buy a pair that had a different speaker for each ear would you?
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Many modern movies send sounds, and dialog to all 3 front speakers depending upon where the actor is shot in the scene. Not having tone-matched speakers reduces the illusion of movement.

    I also strongly suggest you run 3 runs of speaker wire to the rears to pre-wire for the rear-center speaker that is becoming popular for Dolby EX.

    And as John said: many great systems do not use full-range speakers all around. (This is a huge power load, and not very cost-effective.)

    A good system is 6 monitor-style speakers and a good external sub. All AV receivers allow you to tell which speakers are LARGE vs SMALL and will route low-frequency info to the sub. The smaller speakers also have better SAF - Spousal Acceptance Factor.

    Paradigm makes some well-thought of speakers, Swan Diva's have gotten a lot of praise. Definitive Technology has some nice bookshelf speakers with built-in powered subs if you really want them.
     
  4. Brian Dobbs

    Brian Dobbs Ambassador

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    I am planning on including subwoofers, but I still would want full range towers all around. I'm not sure of the price range quite yet, so as of right now I'll take whatever suggestions you have available.

    i'll do a search on timbre matching.

    thanks
     
  5. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    When I used totally different speakers together like Klipsch and JBL, the frequency response and tones got messed up.

    They both can produce a test tone of say 500hz, but with one sounding slightly different than the other in tonality, this harmonic imbalance creates bad sound.

    So like when I'm watching a movie and 2 different speakers are playing music... it sounds as if 2 people are trying to sing the same song except they don't match cause one of them is slightly off key.
     
  6. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Brian,

    As others have mentioned you won't find many speakers with 12" and 15" drivers in them anymore. Well, not as common and not in a reasonable price range (IMO) anyway. I think the main reason for this that smaller drivers are now able to produce a good amount of bass. For instance, I just built some bookshelf speakers using 5.25" Dayton drivers that output as much bass as a pair of Optimus speakers I have from a few years back that use 12" drivers. All that just to say that don't limit yourself just because of driver size. You'll miss out on a lot of good speakers.

    As for tonally matched speakers yes it makes a difference. I would say more so across the front than all around but that's just me.

    I've heard lots of good things about the Polk LSi series and being a Polk owner myself I'm willing to bet they do sound great. LSi 9's for the fronts and surrounds with the center would probably sound great (and look great too for that matter). Look for a sub elsewhere though. I love Polk but their subs are lacking.


    Regards,

    Dan
     

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