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Questions about using 5 IDENTICAL speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_M, Jul 26, 2002.

  1. Jeff_M

    Jeff_M Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently moved to a front projection setup (what fun!). One of the ancillary benefits that this provides me with is the ability to use 5 identical speakers. Obviously with a tube or RPTV, there is no way to put a standard speaker in the center. My question is whether using a horizontally oriented center channel is a compromise over using a speaker that matches the the others exactly(?). Has anyone here switched from a "voice matched" center to an identical speaker? What type of improvements did you hear?
     
  2. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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    Depending on your speakers you'll hear a difference. I have tried 3 B&W 303's up front and it sounded great.

    I currently have 2 Studio 40's and a CC and it seems to match perfectly, so I'm not sure I will bother with the middle studio 40 setup.

    If you can do it easily I would, but again it depends how good your center really is.

    P.S. You can use a standard speaker with a tube or RPTV, put it below or above the TV, it can be done. And I've seen it done well a couple of times.
     
  3. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

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    If you can have the L&R speaker tweeters at ear level along with the center channel being the same height then I can tell you that you can't beat having identical speakers up front unless you have no center channel but then that option is still up for debate. I have my front three at matching ear level and instead of having the center channel up high on top of my TV, I instead raised the TV up accommodate the center channels height. Some people thought it was odd that my TV was up high but when they sat down they realized that their head was positioned perfectly to the height of the TV similar to the movie theater. The screen is usually higher then your seating position when at the theater which promotes yo to sit back and rest your head on the back of the seat. That's exactly how people now sit when watching a movie in my room as opposed to looking down or straight ahead.

    So I killed 2 birds with one stone by readjusting the TV to allow for the upright position of my speaker for exact sound field match and also to promote a more natural seating position when watching a movie.

    Also, I'm sure that some center channels are awesome and may do wonderful jobs matching the L&R speakers but my thinking is that they may be timbre matched but they may not match the L&R in dynamics and sound stage capability. If they did, well then we could all just buy three center channels and be done with it. Besides, I've yet to see any engineers mixing these very movies with a consumer style center channel as opposed to a identical center speaker.
     
  4. PatrickM

    PatrickM Screenwriter

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    Most definitely a horizontally oriented center channel is a compromise. The design was forced to be horizontal due to space and placement considerations of the majority of people. Since you have space for a speaker that's identical to your others you will have great timber matching and an incredible pan across the front soundstage not to mention a great 5.1 music setup.

    Patrick
     
  5. Robert G

    Robert G Stunt Coordinator

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    Since I'm lazy I'll direct you to this thread where I talked about using three identical speakers up front versus my old setup with a "center channel" speaker. In short I am very pleased with the results. My RPTV is high enough to accommodate the "normal" speaker in front of it on a very short customized stand.
     
  6. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Thanks Robert G.

    Identical speakers are absolutely optimal. Particularly the front three. I really like the sound of them in my house.
     
  7. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Yes, use three identical vertical speakers up front. That's exactly how movies and music are mastered in a professional mixing booth.

    In fact, having 7 identical primary speakers in a 7.1 surround setup, if you have the room and money, is the ultimate experience.

    I've heard that type of system before and I was floored!

    Dan
     
  8. Abdul Jalib

    Abdul Jalib Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm trying to find 5 identical speakers to use with my RPTV. My plan is to place the center below and angle it up at about 7 degrees to point at my listening area and probably do the mains likewise. The bottom of the screen is at 24", though I could raise it.
    Candidates:
    $3800 = 5 x VMPS 626R Neo Ribbons (24", shieldable)
    $2000?= 5 x GR Research Criterion* Ribbons (12", shieldable?)
    $1500 = 5 x B&W 602's (9.3", not shieldable?)
    $900 = 5 x Paradigm Mini Monitor (11.25", not shieldable?)
    $625 = 5 x NHT SuperOnes (11.65", all shielded)
    (* Criterion will be a kit, still in vaporware phase.)
    Any suggestions?
    My wife thinks I'm insane to consider spending more than $1000 on five speakers, but I'm trying to avoid the trap of incremental upgrades that wind up being more expensive, thus wide range of prices I'm considering. Our listening at present is almost 100% HDTV, so it's DD5.1 movies and DD2.0 CBS-HD. Is the difference between the bottom and top of that price range like night and day for home theater?
     
  9. Matt Jesty

    Matt Jesty Second Unit

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    Yes , I think that having all speakers identical is great, but there are some speaker designers that believe that the benifits of different dispersion characteristics of "matched" speakers designed specifically for the application of center and surround usage may yield better results in certain room applications than the identical speaker all around...prefered non-localizable surrounds placed above ear level for example is one variation and changed dispersion characteristics of center tweeter,would be another.... bi-pole/ di-pole side surrounds in combination with direct radiating rear surrounds is a third...and the list goes on...If I didn't have to care how strange it looked, however, I would probably try balancing the system w/7 identicals mounted in some strange ways...
     
  10. Abdul Jalib

    Abdul Jalib Stunt Coordinator

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    I just had a crazy idea. How about five Monsoon / Level 9 / Sonigistix MM-702 computer speaker systems? You can get five MM-702's for $540 from Dell, and that includes free overnight shipping (offer expires Monday.) Each includes two extended midrange planar speakers most similar to those in the highly aclaimed VMPS ribbon speakers. My idea is to stack the pairs of planar speakers vertically, though I'll experiment with putting them side-by-side.
    The MM-702 also includes a subwoofer that should really just be considered a woofer, so you'd use five of those for woofers, and you'd still need a real subwoofer crossed over around 80 Hz. If you use the woofer boxes to power the planar speakers, they will hand off to the planars at 225 Hz, comparable to VMPS' crossover of 200 Hz. Unfortunately, the woofer box doesn't have much juice (49 Wmax, 35 Wrms), and these planars can benefit from a lot more. The quality of the amp output is suspect too, of course.
    There is a much bigger subwoofer with much a stronger amp in the MM-2000 package, but I've heard that the subwoofer doesn't reach the crossover, so that kind of rules that one out. Also, the MM-702's speakers are improved over earlier models, offering greater clarity on the highs.
    It could be a gentle introduction to do-it-yourself, being able to get it running in a few minutes and then upgrading the amp, upgrading the woofer, and adding a tweeter over time.
    Am I crazy to order this?
     
  11. Abdul Jalib

    Abdul Jalib Stunt Coordinator

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    I tried what I said above, 5 identical speakers, each consisting of a Monsoon MM-702 package, and it actually works surprisingly well. I stacked each pair of ribbon panels vertically. Each 16" composite ribbon then gets put on a woofer box, which also amps itself and the ribbons, so I use the pre-outs from my receiver.

    The overall volume it puts out is actually plenty for me. It's 49 watts (35 Wrms) per channel.

    The ribbons sound amazing, especially stacked like that. The midrange is crystal clear, superior IMO to a nOrh 4.0. Some might find them harsh, but I find them detailed. I didn't notice any lack of performance on the high frequency end.

    The woofer is not a good design, but with its limited range (crossovers to the ribbons at 225 Hz and to your sub at 80 Hz or whatever), it's not too much of a nuisance. Deep voices tend to get muddied, so I do plan to eventually replace the woofer boxes.

    At $108 per speaker shipped, I would be surprised if there is anything better.
     
  12. Will Gatlin Jr

    Will Gatlin Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    I use a double centre set-up of NHT's VS-2A with a Nak PA-5A II power amp, it matches the upper half of my VT-2's. One centre spk wasn't doing the job. The VS-2A's happend to have a tilt bracket (wall mounting) on the back that locks both spks together. Two 1-inch fluid cooled tweets, and four 5.25 inch long throw woofers form quite a centre. They are locked together and look like one huge spk.
     

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