Need good off-axis response bookshelfs < $400 each

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by HarpSingh, Feb 15, 2006.

  1. HarpSingh

    HarpSingh Agent

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    I’ve been reading about speakers for a while now, and am finally ready to buy my first 5.1 HT. I am looking for speakers for my 18x12 with 9 feet ceiling family room, open on one side and a doorway on another. My budget for 5 bookshelfs is $1000 to $2000. I will be using a SVS Plus sub, and either a Denon 3806 or Pioneer Elite 74txvi. Because of WAF and her HT-stand/shelf, the speakers will have to be low profile bookshelf speakers, with height less than 15” and width less than 10”. Lots of good speakers fit this.

    However, one problem I have is, because of the layout of the room, the 50" plasma is on the wider side. Thus I would like to have speakers that have good off-axis frequency response. Can I get some help in creating a short-list of speakers that would have good response off-axis?

    Thanks.
     
  2. HarpSingh

    HarpSingh Agent

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    No responses, so let me add some more questions and info.

    I have read in one post at AVSforum that Swans have good off-axis response. Revel and NHT are also recommended.

    Any comments on these brands?
     
  3. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    I'm not sure of the specifics of your room, but can't you point the speakers toward the listening position? As far as speakers with good off-axis response, that's going to be kind of a hard search criteria. You can make a list of speakers in your price range, and then look for reviews that include off-axis frequency response graphs. Obviously you want the ones that stay flatter as you go off-axis horizontally.

    Also, THX speakers have good horizontal dispersion as one of their requirements, but you may or may not like the sound of a particular model.

    One thing I will say is don't get a horizontal MTM center speaker (woofer - tweeter - woofer). They generally have poor horizontal dispersion.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'm not sure I understand the need for off axis response? If you are putting the speakers into a shelf unit, off axis response is already going to be more or less limited regardless of the speaker. How far off axis? Most speakers start to suffer at about 30 degrees off axis.

    I would probably just look for speakers with good sensitivity to fill the room well.

    You might consider some Mirage Omnis too - about as wide a dispersion as you are going to get.


    That's a bit too general. It really depends on the design of a given speaker. My speakers are identical MTMs all the way around and they have excellent response both horizontal and vertical off axis.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Harp,

    I’m also at a loss for the wide dispersion requirement. The screen width doesn’t matter terribly, because the bigger it is, the further back you sit. A standard rule for speaker width is about as far apart as they are from you. With a 50” screen you’ll be sitting at least 10 ft away from it (120 inches). That’s well within the standard spread requirements, and well within the 30 degree coverage John mentioned. In fact, at 10-12 ft, you’d want to move them further away from the screen to get good imaging.

    Worse case, the speakers can be toed in towards the seating, to make sure you get good response and imaging.

    Perhaps there’s some other info related to your requirement that you forgot to mention. That said, if you still need better-than-average off-axis response, look for speakers that have the tweeter element fully flush with the front panel, or even with the dome slightly protruding. The more it’s recessed into the housing, the more dispersion is focused.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I can think of two points:

    1) APL and Harman both hold to the following beliefs as far as speaker design go:

    a) Smooth freq response
    b) Low distortion
    c) Good off-axis response

    Good off-axis is response is a good feature for a speaker to have because even if a speaker is a "direct radiator", you will still have a very large component of the sound that is from reflections. Ceiling, floor, sidewalls, the back and front walls.

    A lot of other speaker manufacturers may also design to these 3 criteria, but I know that these two do. Harman comprises JBL, Infinity, and Revel. APL builds Energy, Mirage, and Athena. Now that I think about it, B&W also designs this way too.

    b) If you want the best example of good off-axis response, you should take a look at bipolar and omnipolar speakers. Both of these designs actively transmit a flat freq response off-axis, in fact, it's pretty much a 360 deg thing. Def Tech and Mirage are the two big names for this kind of radiating pattern.

    I've had all kinds of speakers in my system, and personally, I prefer bipolar/omnipolar designs because they have the best compromise of imaging and diffuseness for multichannel music and movie soundtracks.

    Plus, the sweet spot is larger. And I believe that speaker placement is easier with bipolar/omnipolar speakers to get "good" sound vs direct radiators. Bipolar/omnipolar speakers are more forgiving closer to walls than monopoles are. But it can be more "difficult" to get great sound with omnipoles/bipoles as far as placement goes. But it's worth it IMO. [​IMG]
     

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