Matching front and rear speakers or not?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Norris, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. Norris

    Norris Stunt Coordinator

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    I know it's crucial to have the fronts and center to match, as in using the same brand. What about the rears and rear surrounds? I have Energy C-9s (right and left) and C-C3 (center) in the front. Nothing for the rear yet, and am wondering if I can just get any brand, as long as it's not bottom of the line stuff.

    Thanks,
     
  2. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Anything will give you sound and will work somewhat. It all depends on how picky you are. Your sound will be best with surrounds that come from the same family of speakers that your mains do, but other speakers that have a similar character will still work. You just want to avoid getting something that sounds noticably different from your mains.
     
  3. John_RO

    John_RO Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Mr. Garcia. I used the infamous el-cheapo Radio Shack Minimus 7's for many years as rear surrounds and was quite pleased with the performance. I now have a matching Boston Acoustic surrounds (CR-65's) to compliment my CR-8 bookshelves up front. The difference in sound was noticeable but not overwhelming. If you are on a budget, look for speakers with the same basic characteristics...ie. soft dome tweeters with soft dome tweeters, etc. That said, my recommendation would be to go for the Energy c-3 or the c-1 bookshelves since they use the same tweets as your mains.
     
  4. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Like John said, it all depends how picky you are. Think about this for a minute: movie theaters never use the same speakers for surrounds as they do for the front.

    Going from no surrounds to any surround speaker will make 1000 times more difference than going from lesser surrounds to Energy surrounds.

    If you have the money to get Energy, that is fine. If not, don't sweat it.
     
  5. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    In my case, my fronts are 98db sensitive, my rears are 86. Fronts are horn loaded, rears are standard. I really can't say it bothers me audibly, but psyco., it's in my mind.

    I'll DIY some rears to match the mid/highs of the fronts, because I know I'll sleep better at night.
     
  6. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    FYI: Dolby Labs: 5.1-Channel Music Production Guidelines - partially copied below (click link to read entire White Paper)...

    ======
    With the advent of high-quality multichannel consumer music formats, 5.1-channel music producers may benefit from a standardized set of production practices. This document guides the multichannel music professional, working in small- to mediumsized control rooms, in the production of high-quality, 5.1-channel music intended for playback in consumer environments. If followed, these guidelines will facilitate interchangeable critical listening judgments between various locations.

    ... Many aspects of 5.1-channel music mixing are covered in this document, including monitoring, recording levels, practical setup guidelines, and program interchange standards. Subjects such as room design are discussed with recommended target parameter values.

    This manual can be used as a quick setup reference (starting in Section 3.3) or as an in-depth sourcebook for the multichannel music creator.

    This manual is written from the perspective that:

    • 5.1-channel music intended for home enjoyment is a unique art with its own requirements, but these requirements can co-exist with 5.1-channel production practices already established for cinema or broadcast applications.

    • It would be harmful to the advancement of 5.1-channel music if every industry using it made conflicting demands on the consumer playback environment.

    • A universal multichannel sound system applicable to music, cinema, and broadcasting would be beneficial to the listener.

    • Flexibility within these guidelines may be necessary to ensure that the system is as universal and as practical as possible.

    -----------------------
    3.2 Monitoring

    3.2.1 Reference Monitors


    Note: All five loudspeakers (L, R, C, Ls, Rs) should be identical.

    One of the main differences between 5.1-channel setups for music and those for home theater playback is the type of speakers used for the surround positions. The goal of surround reproduction in the cinema (accomplished using multiple speaker arrays) is to provide surround playback to large audiences.

    Surround effects are often very diffuse, ambient soundscapes. Dipole speakers are sometimes used in the home environment (rarely used in movie theatres) at the surround locations to help create the wide wash of sound created using an array of speakers in the cinema.

    However, in 5.1-channel music production, as well as in films, the surrounds are sometimes used for distinct placement of featured performers. Accurate reproduction in this case requires the use of direct-firing speakers that match the overall characteristics of the front speakers. Use of matched direct radiator or monopole speakers in 5.1-channel music production is recommended for achieving the greatest control of level, timbre, and image location. Due to their dependence on null spot positioning, reflective front and rear listening room walls, and preference of a diffuse surround field, dipole speaker monitoring is not ideal for critical 5.1-channel music production.
    =====

    Phil
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Phil

    That thing is 5.1 Music Production Guidelines. While it has several references to HT, and I agree that ideally all speakers should be the same, I would hardly agree with the statement that it is crucial.

    Also note that 5.1 music in the form of SACD and DVD-A are all but dead.

    Also note that direct radiators may be important for music but are far less important for HT.

    That quote is pretty much passe as 5.1 music simply bombed.
     
  8. John_RO

    John_RO Stunt Coordinator

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    Unless you are a freak about multi-channel audio (SACD, DVD-A), any surround that generally matches the sound characteristics of your fronts will be fine for movies, TV, etc.

    I admit that I use a Polk CSi center channel with my BA setup and it works out fine. Note: The Boston CR series centers are not well shielded and they use a 4.5 driver and a 4.5 passive radiator instead of two identical drivers. The result is a thin sounding center that interferes with my TV at higher volumes. But I digress...

    Mixing and matching is fine as long as the general sound is the same. Run a test using your reciever and it should give you some idea of how they will sound in a real world situation. Ironically, my matched surrounds don't sound exactly like my mains...probably due to my restricted placement issues along with the different size enclosures and bass drivers. In fact, my mis-matched center sounds more in tune with my mains. Go figure.

    My suggestion would be to buy locally from a merchant with a liberal return policy so you can try them out and ultimately find something that will fit your needs.
     
  9. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Arthur S - you're probably not aware that Dolby Labs latest document I quoted is pretty much identical to their Pre-5.1 DD/DTS MUSIC, ... 1998 "Dolby Digital Professional Encoding Manual"


    Gee, ... their 1998 & 2000 5.1-Channel Guidelines reads like the their latest 2005 "Dolby Labs: 5.1-Channel Music Production Guidelines"!!! Imagine that!?!?!?

    So, since my blockbuster DD/DTS-5.1/6.1 DVD's are Encoded using identical direct radiator speakers, it made sense to me to buy and setup my HT playback system(s) to reproduce that very same sonic, Mixing/Monitoring Studio 5.1/6.1-Channel, discreet and seamless surround environment to playback those DVD's in my HT/family room.

    Phil
     
  10. Norris

    Norris Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks guys!
    99% of my usage is for home theater, not for 5.1 music, although I have several 5.1 concert DVDs in the collection. I'll probably just go with Energy brand to make it easy.
     
  11. SummyD

    SummyD Stunt Coordinator

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    I am using Energy C-R1 bipoles (
     
  12. Norris

    Norris Stunt Coordinator

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    What's the difference between "bookshelf" speakers and "surround" speakers? Is one type supposed to be higher quality than the other? Specifically, should I get the bookshelf C-3 speakers at $250 each (discounted from $500), or the surround CR-3 speakers at $300 each? With the difference in price of $50 each, it's insignificant in the long run. I'd prefer to get the better pair, put them up, and forget about any "upgrade" for a looooong time.

    Thanks!
     
  13. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Any speaker set up to receive the surround channels would be a surround speaker. There are specialized speakers called dipoles or bipoles that are made for surround duty ONLY. They are diffuse and spray sound all around them, whereas direct radiators (typical) are directional out the front.

    You need to decide what style suits you.
     
  14. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Phil

    I responded to your post. I'm not the one who posted a piece entititled 5.1 music reproduction.

    Norris

    Colin answered your question pretty well. You might want to go to a few high end stores and see if they have any rooms set up with dipole surrounds to see if you like that sound. I have not shopped for surround speakers for years and don't know what the high end stores are using, however, bipoles, dipoles and even tripoles are still around.

    I would also suggest to you that this is not a make or break decision. We are only talking about degrees of difference as well as personal preference.
     
  15. Norris

    Norris Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks!
    I already ordered a pair of C-3s, should be here in a couple of days.

    [​IMG]
     

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