Powered towers. What's the deal?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jedd, Feb 15, 2002.

  1. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    I was told couple times by different people that it's bad idea to have powered woofer in the tower. It's bad for music and even worse for HT. Can you explain why?
     
  2. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Its usually not good placement for a sub. Subs are usually best in a corner. And with dual subs placed in different parts of the room you may experience cancellation and phase issues.
     
  3. Thomas_A

    Thomas_A Second Unit

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    You will get different opinions on this subject. I have powered towers and a sub..and love them. You may have to "tweek" the system a bit more..but the results can be awesome.

    It is a matter of taste in the end wich you'd rather go for.. Best listen for yourself then take someones word on it
     
  4. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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  5. Kerry Hackney

    Kerry Hackney Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    A well-designed powered tower can be well worth the money IMHO. You should consider a powered tower to be not so different from any other near full range speaker. One really nice thing about powered towers is that the blending process is controlled entirely by the manufacturer. Another nice thing is that you have volume knobs for each speaker which can help to even out response in your room. Finally, you have a speaker which can generally be effectively crossed over anywhere between 40-80Hz when used with an external sub.

    Having near full range capability from your main channel speakers should be considered to be very desireable IMHO, particularly if you use your system for music and movies, and particularly if you have a relatively large room and can give these speakers some room to breathe. There is a coherence of soundstage and a superb blending between highs/mids/lows which truly needs to be heard (in a good setup) to be appreciated.
     
  7. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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  8. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    I just wonder why people say(I heard from an audio dealer) that it's a bad design, all company quit it, there is no real good speakers with powered subs in, companies who make good speakers have no idea how to make subs and if they do they do it separately etc. etc.

    At the first my ideas was to buy a powered towers and skip the sub, now I start to think that I might be wrong...

    P.S. my room is not too big (20x12)
     
  9. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Jedd, that is just not true IMHO.
    You should look at some powered towers from Definitive Technology (www.definitivetech.com)...they are tremendous. You do not necessarily need an external subwoofer, but it can certainly add to the experience. Powered towers + external sub(s) should be totally killer. At the least, you should try them out at home. Just make sure to give the speakers as much space as possible to the outsides (assuming that you initially set up the speakers with woofers firing outward). But who knows...in your room, you might even find it preferrable to use bookshelf-type speakers. I recommend buying the "best" loudspeakers that you can afford, and then add external woofage when convenient. Experiment as much as possible. Good luck!
     
  10. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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  11. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    So I still didnt figure it out: what will be the better deal

    1) buy powered towers for $900

    2) buy the same towers in unpowered mode for $600 and add a sub for $300
     
  12. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    jeff, one of these days I'll turn off the bass section for one of my powered towers, and I'll let you guys know how it goes [​IMG]
     
  13. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I'd almost always take option #2.

    Like Bob said, powered towers are more like almost full range towers than speakers with a sub added on. That is unless you feed the amp on the tower the LFE output and set the sub to yes on your receiver or pre/pro.

    A good sub will almost always do better in the last octave than a powered tower and will allow for proper room placement.

    My almost is if you compare a particularly well executed powered tower with a poorly executed seperate sub.
     
  14. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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  15. Shane G

    Shane G Agent

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    Powered towers give you the following benefits over regular full range speakers;

    1)ability to control bass volume levels independantly

    2)Built in amplifier takes over the bass loading duties. This frees up your main amps for the midrange and treble, allowing them to operate with less strain, achieving higher headroom. Essentially Bi-amping each speaker.

    3)No worries of where to put the big black box.

    4)As a result of 2) a big bruit of a power amp is not necessary.

    I own Paradigm 70P's with built in subs, they satisfied my bass needs for several years until I could afford a decent quality sub (Paradigm PW200)that would give the extra volume/oomf at the lowest octaves. Utilizing both the speakers subs and the corner loaded PW2200 gives very satisfying musical bass. I found the setup to be time consuming with lots of experimentation, but found by sharing the Bass duties between the speakers (upper-middle bass to give a fast tight sound) and the sub (lowest octaves only/throb shake the floor) each works at its peak.
     
  16. John Doran

    John Doran Screenwriter

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  17. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

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    Hi john, nice to see you here [​IMG]
    Some good points made here. Besides Def Tech, Mirage, Paradigm, Dynaudio, etc. you can find people who like to use nOrh 9.0's on top of the nOrh sub, AV Reality 3d's on top of the 3d sub, ACI Jaguar LE/LFM combo, etc. All of these solutions give these users near full range response from their main channels.
    I agree that the bp2000TL's shake the house...but adding a quality external sub(s) makes sense because 1) You are adding extra headroom down low (which will effectively take some burden away from the loudspeaker to reproduce the very low frequencies), and 2) You are able to benefit from the extra output and reduced distortion associated with the design of a quality external sub and the positioning (ie. boundary reinforcement) of a external sub(s).
     
  18. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Bob,
    Just a guess here, but I think the Jag LE/LFM combo will be in a league all their own compared to the other combo's mentioned. The LFM is what might actually be considered a powered sub in that it has dual 10" drivers that actually have enough Xmax to qualify as a sub. The 2 band parametric EQ is what sets these apart from the competition.
    Now the Talisman (the true powered tower from ACI) is more in line with some of the others mentioned accept that it too has the 2 band parametric EQ built in!
    Sorry for my rambling, but I'm a huge Jaguar fan and will probably build my own DIY Jag/LFM combo at some point![​IMG]
    Brian
     
  19. Tom Vodhanel

    Tom Vodhanel Cinematographer

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    Bass reproduction in a room is going to be governed almost entirely on the room modal patterns. This is an acoustical fact...not to be confused with opinion. Optimizng the placement of the sub is the best way to work *with* the modal patterns of the room.

    The smoothest,deepest,cleanest bass performance is always going to be dependent on your ability to optimize the location of the bass producing speaker(s) in the room. If you have subs built in to a full range speaker...then you have compromised prehaps the greatest method of achieving good bass performance because the subwoofer is locked into a single position.(the full range speaker has to be located for imaging/directional cues). This is also basic acoustical fact.

    Multiple speakers in mutliple locations almost invariably cause destructive cancelation in a room and will tend to degrade bass performance a good deal(compared to a single *point source* producing all the bass). Again, basic acoustics.

    Thus, the most accurate audio reproduction is usually goinbg to result from NOT using *powered* towers or even full range speakers on any channel. Highpassing all channels in the 60-100hz range and having one quality sub(or even two placed near one another)will usually result in the most accurate audio reproduction. Of course,accuracy might not be the goal...and all bets are off then...

    TV
     
  20. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

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    Ok, now I'm totally confused [​IMG]
    Probably it's a good time to show my room plan: (2squares = 1 foot)
    [​IMG]
    (don't ask me who built it that way)
    it is roughly 20'x12' and has to contain my bed (6'x8'), computer table (5'x3') and HT (all the rsst [​IMG]).
    Any suggestions?
    P.S.
    Could I listen to music sitting behind the table and watch movies lying in the bed I wonder.
     

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