Speaker questions...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brad Craig, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. Brad Craig

    Brad Craig Stunt Coordinator

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    First of all let me say i'm not looking to spend big $$$ in speakers, I'm talking about best buy stuff...

    1 ) What is the (minimum) distance that the rear (discrete) speaker can be placed together??? Within reason because I know its impossible to give a exact number... ( a estimation of your opinion is acceptable)

    2 ) What is the difference in 2-way speaker vs 3-way speakers??? The answer would be appreciated in laymans and/ or technical terms and/or pointing out a website would be appreciated...

    3 ) If i go w/ 2-way or 3-way speakers for my 5.1 or 6.1 setup, should I use for example 3-way on the left and right fronts and 2-ways on the rear discrete speakers or should I use (2-way or 3-way) on all the speakers???

    4 ) If i put a center channel near the floor and off to the side of the TV, will that be a problem and should I angle it up??? I'm putting it in a lower cubby hole in the bottom of my entertainment cente...

    Also should the center channel be a 2-way or 3-way speaker???
     
  2. Robin Warren

    Robin Warren Second Unit

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    In regards to the center channel...I would try and get it in line with your video source as it is imitating the action in the center of your screen...Having it off to one side could be distracting...Good Luck.
     
  3. Larry Hoffman

    Larry Hoffman Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure what your first question means, so I'll leave that one for now.

    As far as 2-way verses 3-way...there are excellent 2-way and 3-way speakers. Generally, unless you are willing to spend big bucks, you are better off buying 2-way speakers. 3-way speakers are more expensive to manufacture. There is one more driver per speaker as well as a more complicated crossover. What you should probably look for is a good quality 2-way speaker that sounds good to you, and that you can afford. You can buy 4 of them as well as the matching center. (most companies make a center channel that is a sonic match to each of it's speaker lines). The center should be placed at the center of the TV. If it is on the floor, face it up towards the listeners.

    You will also need descent stands as well.

    There are many cheap 3-ways on the market, mainly floor-standing speakers that are part of a rack system. These are usually very cheaply made and sonically poor. You are better off with quality units from respected speaker manufacturers. PSB, Energy, Paradigm, Mission, Kef, Vandersteen, and many others are mentioned in this forum.They may not look as sexy, but will sound better.

    You will also need a sub of course. It does not have to be from the same manufacturer as the others.

    Spend some time looking around at the Audio stores in your area. Find one that you feel has good products in your price range and that you feel comfortable dealing with. Listen to as many speakers as you can, using 2 or 3 cd's you are familiar with. You will soon get a feel for which speakers you like. Read some of the posts on this forum that discuss speakers and read some of the audio magazines as well. It may take a lot of listening, but eventually you will find what you are looking for.

    Good Luck.

    Larry.
     
  4. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Because speakers ("drivers") cannot easily be made such as to correctly produce the whole audible frequency band, the manufacturers rather produce drivers for part of the whole gamut.

    That's why a speaker box needs more than 1 driver: they split the incoming signal according to frequency and send the proper part to each driver. If they have drivers that can produce roughly half of the 50Hz-22kHz band, you need a two-way speaker. If they divide it in three parts, you need a 3-way box. That's all there is to it. It's a bit easier to make good drivers for a smaller part of the spectrum, so they can easier make good 3-way boxes.

    But to be frank about it: I personally prefer 2-way boxes better, because the circuitry needed to split the frequencies also introduce errors (e.g. phase faults). So I agree with Larry: if you're on a budget, buy some better 2-way boxes for the fronts and the centre rather than equally expensive 3-way ones.

    The surrounds could be one-way and the distance isn't the most important parameter, just make sure each of them is on it's own side of your listening position (right and left), preferably beside it, or slightly behind. Height: slightly above ear lever seems to be the best.

    And yes, try to get a sub, one day!

    Cees
     
  5. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    I'm going to take this to an even more basic level explanation.

    A speaker "driver" is the thing inside the box that actually makes the sound. It frequently looks like a flat cone made of a paper-like substance. Woofers, midranges, and tweeters are specific types of drivers.

    A "full range" speaker is a 1 way speaker with 1 driver that tries to handle all sound frequencies.

    A 2 way speaker has 2 drivers (usually called a woofer and a tweeter). The woofer is designed to handle the lower frequencies. A 2 way speaker needs to have a "crossover" circuit built into it to split the incoming signal from your receiver and appropriately direct different parts to the woofer or the tweeter.

    A 3 way speaker introduces a third driver (usually called a midrange), which as you can guess, is designed to handle the middle frequencies. A 3 way speaker needs to have 2 crossovers to split the signal to the 3 drivers.

    One other thing about your center speaker. You want your fronts and your center to be acoustically equidistant from your listening position. Most people have these 3 speakers set up in a straight line across so they need to set a time delay in the center speaker to effectively make it a little farther away. Most receivers should have a setting to do this. Putting it on the floor is not ideal. You may be distracted if a truck moves across the screen and it sounds like it went down into a pit as it hits the center of the screen.

    As for the rears, I think you're asking how far they need to be apart. I would think that as long as they are on opposite sides of your listeners, then that's all you need. If you put them close together and you have a party where some people have both rears to one side, they will get funny sound cues.
     
  6. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Brad: First, Welcome to HTF!
    You dont need accurate (read "expensive") speakers to have a fine HT experience.
    In your case, I would strongly suggest buying a set of speakers that are designed to work together.
    For movies, it is very important that the front 3 speakers "tone-match" as many movies will move sounds across the front and you dont want the sound to change.
    A set of small, monitor-style speakers is great for this.
    At Best Buy, the JBL N1 (?) speakers have a good reputation. At places like Good Guys and Circuit City, the Energy Take 5.1 speakers have a great reputation. These things were about $500, but can now be had for about $250.
    (These small speakers cannot produce bass. So an external, self-powered subwoofer is highly recommended. The Sony SWMA40 is a nice unit for about $200).
    Another recommend system is the Kenwood HTB-504 set. This includes a budget, but decent, receiver, 5 tone matched speakers and a external powered sub. At $499 at Sears/Costco, this is a great value.
    There is also a web site that specalizes in inexpensive Home Theater equipment reviews: www.cheaphometheater.com . It's well worth your time to look at your options.
    Good Luck.
     
  7. Brad Craig

    Brad Craig Stunt Coordinator

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    "One other thing about your center speaker. You want your fronts and your center to be acoustically equidistant from your listening position. Most people have these 3 speakers set up in a straight line across so they need to set a time delay in the center speaker to effectively make it a little farther away. Most receivers should have a setting to do this."

    In the case of my Sony receiver does setting the speaker distance in feet on the receiver do this???
     
  8. Denward

    Denward Supporting Actor

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    I'm sorry, I should have been more clear about this. There's usually a time delay setting for your center channel. I forget the rules for setting this but your manual might help. Basically you want your center delayed by, say, 5 milliseconds to account for the fact that it's probably closer to you than your mains.
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Brad: Yes, that is why your Sony receiver wants to know how far away your speakers are - to set the time delays.

    Measure from your listening postion to the tweeters on each speaker and the receiver will do the math for you.

    But: this is NOT a very critical adjustment. Dont worry too much about it.
     

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