Please help with speaker setup...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by TommyB, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    I have two sofas set up in my veiwing room...one in front of the display and one to the left. I currently have the raer surrounds on either side of the main listening position, but I want to put surrounds on the sides of the sofa on the left.
    I am planning on using an A/B speaker switch between the receiver and the 4 surrounds. I am using the Kenwood HTB-504 (VR-507 receiver). I am using the front speakers that came with the system as my main surrounds and the rear speakers for the "secondary" surrounds (I already had a pair of Pioneer towers for the fronts).
    My question is, will this setup work? Am I going to notice a loss of sound quality from having the 4 speakers run off the two outputs (I believe that each put out 100w)? Will the secondary surrounds be distracting to the main listening position? Also, what kind of speaker switch should I be looking for...I figured I would get the one from Radio Shack.
    Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!! [​IMG]
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    So many problems with this. Let's start with the basics.

    I think you have a problem. For a HT system, it's important that the front 3 speakers be close to identical. Mixing the Kenwood speakers with the Pioneer towers is going to cause sounds to change tone if they move from center to the L or R. This will spoil the illusion of movement. You really want to use all 3 Kenwood speakers up front if possible.

    Every room is different so we compensate for different seating distances by using a Radio Shack SPL meter and a copy of Avia or Video Essentials. Your receiver has a setup menu that allows you to add/subtract a bit of volume from the center, left-rear and right-rear.

    You COULD use this to bump the rear-volume to compensate for the extra set of speakers. But yes, I fear that the second set of speakers will draw your attention.

    Could you put your 2 couches in a "V" shape in front of the TV? This would give you extra seats within your original set of speakers.

    If you cannot, go ahead and get a A/B speaker switch and try it. But I also suggest you use the Radio Shack meter and Avia (or the built-in test tones) to adjust the rear volume at the Primary listening position.

    Good Luck.
     
  3. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob...thanks for the prompt answer.
    I know when I first began my venture into HT and posting a few questions on this board, I was told that mixing speakers was a no-no because they had different timbres. I did hook up both the Kenwoods and the Pioneers to the fronts, but could not tell much of a difference (probably my newbie ears), so I decided to keep the Pioneers up front.
    We live in an apartment and have limited space in the room, so the "V" suggestion would not be feasible (although it is a good idea that I'll have to remember in the future).
    I'm going to try out the A/B switch and bumping up the rear surround output on the receiver. Also, this set-up is only going to be used a small percentage of the time. Right now it is just me and my wife, so we would only have to have the main surrounds on. The only time I want the extra ones is when we have friends over (usually our puppy lays on the extra couch while we're watching movies...but I think I'll let him suffer with no surround sound [​IMG]).
    While I am Radio Shack, I will also pick up the SPL meter. I have the Avia disc (to set up my Tosh 50H81) and have been meaning to acurately calibrate the audio (right now it is only calibrated by ear).
    Thanks again for your advice!!
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    One suggestion: for the "B" speakers, flip the left and right so they are backwards.

    Here is the theory: when sounds come out the right-rear speaker and the B speakers are turned on, you will hear the sounds from your right-rear, and the other couches right-rear which is on your LEFT side.

    By flipping the B side connections you will put more distance away from the primary speakers.

    (Yes, it sounds complicated. Just humor me and try it.)

    When you use Avia to calibrate, do this:

    Calibrate with just the primary speakers. Record the settings for the right-rear and left-rear speaker on a piece of paper.

    Turn on both the A & B rear speakers. Your rear volume should drop because of the extra load. Leaving the SPL meter at the primary position, adjust only the rear volume to get the speakers leveled with all 4 rear speakers. Record these settings.

    Now fire up a favorite, effects heavy movie and check the sound from both the primary position, and the side couch to see if it's acceptible.

    Now you should be able to quickly set the rear levels for you/your wife, or change the values for the rears if you have company.

    Good Luck.
     
  5. TommyB

    TommyB Stunt Coordinator

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    Bob...you have been a wealth of help...maybe you can answer one more question before I set-up and calibrate.

    Radio shack has a few different switches. A basic "4 Speaker Switcher" (#40-132). A "3-way Speaker Selector" (#40-240) rated at 50 watts/channel. And a "4-way Speaker Selector" (#40-244) rated at 100 watts/channel. The prices ar $9.99, $19.99, and $29.99 respectively

    The Kenwood HTB-504 says it puts out 100 watts to the surrounds, so would you recommend me going with the 4-way switch?
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    In truth, your receiver only pushes about 6 watts of power to each speaker on average, and the rear speakers are only active about ... 20% of the time.

    So I'd split the difference and go with the 40-240 unit for $20 (3 way switch).
     
  7. David Guill

    David Guill Extra

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    There is a difference between a switch and a selector. A switch will choose between 2,3 or more options. All power will go to the option selected. A selector allows more than one option to be active at any given time. Activating more "selections" (speakers) will decrease the amount of power going to any one set of speakers. This will also have the effect of decreasing the impedance as seen by your receiver. That can have a detrimental effect on your receiver, that is the receivers amplifiers will fry if the impedance is too low. If this is the case, you will need to get a selector that has impedance protection. This in turn also reduces the amount of power used to drive the speakers. In short, with the equipment you appear to possess you may end up burning out your receiver.
     
  8. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    just some random thoughts:
    most importantly...if you like the way something sounds, then that's all that matters.
    that being said... [​IMG]
    why are you adding additional surrounds? for a more party-like atmosphere? i would think that adding the surrounds to the side would cause too much distraction? also, if you have a surround right next to the couch and someone sits there, won't that be distracting to that person?
    timbre-matching is important. but, for giggles, you should run the same three speakers up front for a while, then switch back to your other speakers and see if you notice a difference. try to listen to materials with lots of left/center/right type action...i think the terminator 2 dvd (the motorcycle in the gully sequence) is pretty good...that motorcycle engine zooms all over the place. i'll bet you notice that the tonal quality of that motorcycle changes as it shifts from speaker to speaker
    regarding switch boxes - if you're concerned about exceeding the impedance load of your rears, some companys such as Niles Audio makes selectors with built in protection circuitry.
     

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