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Powered vs. nonpowered speakers for HT???

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by marion.r, Oct 1, 2003.

  1. marion.r

    marion.r Extra

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    I have been searching for very good/excellent speakers for a home theater system. The home theater installers say use Genelec for great home theater. The music guys say use Wilson Watt Puppy 7's or Vandersteen 5A's.

    There is a price difference, but when all is considered it doesn't seem to be much.

    Is there a consensus opinion of what would be the best to use...powered vs. high end Wilson/Vandersteen type speakers?

    Thanks for the help,
     
  2. george_k

    george_k Agent

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    I curious about this myself.

    I'm considering a pair of JBL EON10 G2's to use for fronts by hooking them up my receivers Front L/R preouts. Mind you, my choice of speakers aren't in the same league as yours.
     
  3. marion.r

    marion.r Extra

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    george_k,

    It seems to me that weather you are at a level one in speaker selection, or the highest level...this issue should be easy to resolve. But, I have not read anywhere, or had postive proof one way or the other.

    The HT guys say, you can reach easily 105 db in an explosion scene and return to quiet instantly. Although a music speaker may not reach the 105 db level, it certainly could reach 90 db, which is as much as I could probably accept in my room.

    I feel certain some gurus are in this group and can help up both.

    Thanks for your reply.
     
  4. Arthur Vino

    Arthur Vino Stunt Coordinator

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    Dedicated amp is a better idea...
    George, JBL EON10 G2's are more of DJ speakers
     
  5. george_k

    george_k Agent

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  6. marion.r

    marion.r Extra

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    It is difficult for me to understand much of the jargon used. I would like to know if there is a consensus of HT builders/end users, and music audiophiles that have listened to the difference to determine what is the best for HT.

    Some people who produce SACD use ATC powered speakers for replay while recording. I wonder if this is because they are portable, and easy to set up, or if they really are as good as traditional music listening speakers.

    Wilson Audio advertises that many film studios use their speakers.

    I listened to SACD on Vandersteen 5A's in surround recently. The room was very well set up, and indeed it sounded great. I just wonder if movies with explosions and then dead quiet intervals are better with one or the other?

    Thanks
     
  7. CarlV

    CarlV Stunt Coordinator

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    I would go with the active/powered speakers, they are so much more realistic than regular speakers. The amps are meant to match the speakers perfectly. I've owned B&W 804s, ML Aeon, Klipsch KLF30s setups and they just don't compare to my current Hafler TRM8 speakers. I have 5 of these for full surround and I'm blown away by them every time I watch a movie or listen to music. Go with the Genelec's...
     
  8. marion.r

    marion.r Extra

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    I have compared ATC and Genelec in an A/B test. The ATC's are the 150 actives, with the C6 center. The Genelec's are 2 way.

    The ATC's are considerably smoother, and much better as far as range, stage, and dimension.

    The Genelec's are much better at effects...breaking glass, explosions, etc.

    In my application, I will have to use the ATC's and the Genelecs...side by side to get the full dimension.

    If anyone is interested, I can explain more.

    Thanks
     
  9. John Robert

    John Robert Stunt Coordinator

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    In normal HT, "active" and "powered" mean two different things. Active speakers have amps the power all the drivers - woofer, mid and tweeter. Powered speakers have a single amp that powers the woofer only, and need a separate receiver or amp for the mids and highs.

    Powered speakers are less, starting at
     
  10. WayneO

    WayneO Supporting Actor

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    And I think most would agree, powered(active) or not, if it sounds great for music, it should be great for HT.
     
  11. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    Wow, if you're really at that level, you owe it to yourself to consider ADAM speakers. They use a folded ribbon tweeter, and the higher up models have a folded ribbon midrange. These speakers are UNREAL. The only warning I would give for them is that they will absolutely reveal your source material, so you may find some older recordings harsh and unlistenable.

    There are many benefits to an active design over standard passive. But, an active speaker isn't automatically better for music/HT use than a similarly priced passive speaker/amp matchup. Keep that in mind as well.
     
  12. marion.r

    marion.r Extra

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    John, Richard, et al,

    The test I did was with active ATCs and active Genelecs. I was trying to determine which would be better in my application.

    The ATC C6 (active) center was very good...dimension, stage, and range. Since the center in intended to deliver mostly voice and the like, the C6 was excellent.

    For the front L and R (mains) I first used the Genelecs. They were good in listening to breaking glass, explosions, etc. But they missed some of the midrange. They are 2 way, and had a tweeter as well as a 10" cone. When played alone, they missed much of the range and the stage was very narrow. They also did not add depth.

    I then played the ATC 150's (active) as the mains. They had a wide stage...from one side of the room to the other. They had depth and presented a smooth almost silky sound. But, when glass broke, or explosions happened, there was not the very high glass tinkling sounds or if a triangle was played, it didn't sound as bright. This made for a smooth listening experience, but did not give the dynamics I would expect for a theater.

    There were two issues. The Genelecs did not deliver the stage I expected, and the ATC's did not give the very highs.

    Then, I combined them, and voila...the full range, width, depth, and breaking glass felt like it landed in the chair with me. The explosions destroyed the chair I was sitting in.

    I was very suprised that they would even funtion together. However, since they were all active, with balanced inputs, it was simply a matter of plug and play.

    The sounds were musical, with the addition of high frequency effects. I haven't yet added the sub in the system, nor have a added the surrounds.

    The test was basically to determine which would be better for theater...ATC...or Genelec. It seems, it is not either, but both. The combination is not just dynamite...but a nuclear explosion...
     
  13. marion.r

    marion.r Extra

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    Richard,

    I am aware of the changes with bad source material. I have a setup in my bedroom that is a combination theater/music system. I am using B&W Nautilus 800's with 805 surrounds. The A/V controller is an Arcam AV8, the pre is a BAT VK 51SE, the amp a BAT VK6200. My DVD is an Arcam DV 27a. The setup is great, and bad source is so obvious. It makes watching regular TV very difficult.

    Now, I am very careful about buying DVD's. If it is an old classic, I have to accept what is available.

    I was, at first, very unaware that there were different levels of DVD's. A few years ago, I only had a 4:3 TV, so I was buying...4:3 format movies. Bad choice. I have mostly converted all of them...where possible to widescreen format, and as high a level sound as possible...i.e. DTS, THX certified, etc.

    The new system I am building, has better sound already than the B&W...and I really like the B&W setup. The center is the HTM1, and the sub is an SVS. Although good, it is not the best.

    Another very interesting thing I have found about the B&W setup room. ACOUSTICS!!! I cannot believe the difference with just a little acoustic treatment. I am having to retrofit these rooms into an existing house... Even with this, adding drapes, acoustic panels where they are not seen (in the bedroom environment) and acoustic panels in cavities have made a dramatic difference in sound quality.
     

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