speakers for music vs HT

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by DavidAM, Jun 13, 2002.

  1. DavidAM

    DavidAM Second Unit

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    I'm just curious how people can think a speaker sounds great for music, but not for HT or vice versa. I don't have enough experience to have heard this firsthand, but it just seems a good speaker that can produce sound from 20hz-20khz should be able to produce music and HT equally. Now I can see how a certain speaker may empahasize a certain frequency range that would be more beneficial to music or HT to make one of the other sound better, but it also seems like that could be equalized out which would allow you to tweak a speaker to your liking for whichever source you're listening to. So, what am I missing?
     
  2. Mike Strassburg

    Mike Strassburg Second Unit

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    Not sure either. My Klipsch Legends sound awesome for both!! That's why I bought 10 of them...Mike
     
  3. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Sound-wise, I think reference level HT requires a speaker to be able to hit decibel levels that most people don't get to with music. If you play your music that loud, then of course you'll need the same capability. Since I don't have a home theater and don't know what reference level is, this is a guess.

    The other non-sonic factor that may make a speaker unsuitable for HT use is video shielding.
     
  4. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Not everything could be fixed with EQ. I think only Consumer Report emphasize on the freq resp of a speaker. Liquid midrange, 3-D soundstage and razor sharp imaging are things that has nothing to do with freq resp.
     
  5. Jeffrey Forner

    Jeffrey Forner Screenwriter

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    I've wondered this same question myself, and I finally believe that I have the answer.

    The difference between home theater and two-channel audio speakers lies with the demands to create a sound stage. With only two channels at your disposal, the challenge is much greater. Hard core audiophiles will not only want a set of speakers that can produce a clean, lively sound, but also speakers with superb imaging capabilities. Those with systems good enough (and the rooms to support them) will boast a sound stage that has a three-dimensional quality. On good recordings you will be able to pin-point where instruments are in relation to each other across the stage (i.e. right or left), the height of each instrument, and the depth of placement. In other words, if the lead singer is in front of the saxophone player you will be able to hear that. Similarly, if the sax player is standing on platform above the singer, you'll be able to hear that in the recording as well.

    With home theater the needs imposed on the speaker are less demanding. You have 5, 6, or even 7 channels working together to fill the room with sound. When you watch a movie, these speakers will often be used for directional effects and ambiance. For instance, a jet may pass over the your head from the rear channels to the front allowing you to follow its movement. However, the depth and height of the sound is of less concern; we just don't pay attention to those things when watching a movie. As long as we know where a sound is in relation to it's position on-screen (in front of us, behind us to the left, etc.) that's all that matters. Hence, speakers used for home theater do not need to be as "good" as those used for two-channel audio systems because they don't have to image as well. They just have to produce a nice, clean sound.

    At least I hope that's the right answer!
     
  6. Henry_W

    Henry_W Stunt Coordinator

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    I have found that for my ears -

    If you get speakers that sparkle with your music, they will sparkle with HT. If you are serious about both music and HT sound and do not have (or want) separate rooms/systems I wholeheartedly recommend auditioning speakers for music. I am confident that you will be pleased on both fronts.
     
  7. Arron H

    Arron H Second Unit

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    Henry,

    I'm not so sure. I really liked the Vienna Haydns for 2 channel stereo but did not like them for HT. Somehow, they just seemed kind of soft, maybe too laid back - something about them for HT just did not seem right. This could have been the way that the dealer had them set up or perhaps I'm used to hearing something a little brighter for HT. The Haydyns did seem to sparkle for 2 channel stereo.
     
  8. Roger Kint

    Roger Kint Stunt Coordinator

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  9. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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  10. DavidAM

    DavidAM Second Unit

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    Thanks for the input....now I see probably 99% of that philosophy is B.S. [​IMG] I figured it was anyway, but wanted to see how people deferienated between the two. It just seems to me that if you have a good sounding, quality speaker, then it should excel with music and HT and I still believe that, but I wanted to see if anyone had a good argument as to say speaker X is made for music while speaker Y is strictly for HT. And someone had a good analogy about the 3D imaging and stuff and I see your point on what you're looking for when listening to music vs. HT, but I don't see that as being a reason for one speaker being used strictly for HT and another for music. That is more just the effects of a good speaker giving off the wide spacial imaging and 3D sound. I'm just thinking you were stating 2 speaker stereo vs. say 5.1....that is 2 totally different setups and doesn't really say the 2 speaker stereo setup wouldn't sound great as a 5.1 system if you added 3 more of the same speakers. This all started because I read a post about Martin Logan's and the poster said they sounded great for music but sucked for HT. Again, I just wanted to see what others thought of this, cause I think its mostly B.S. Once you find a great pair of speakers, they should rock with music and HT, but like anything else, your mileage may vary [​IMG]
     
  11. Mark Austin

    Mark Austin Supporting Actor

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    I think Jeffrey, Saurav, and Aaron make very excellent points.
    In my experience HT relies on a very dynamic speaker. One that hits very high spl levels. Unless you play rock, you probably don't necessarily need that in a speaker that is best for music. I think several "high end" speakers exhibit decreased dynamics for better imaging, and soundstage qualities. There's a trade off. It's a lot cheaper to build a speaker that plays loudly, than to build one that images precisely and gives a convincing soundstage. When I listen to speakers that specialize in HT with 2 channel sources, you just don't get that "you are there" experience. Conversely, speakers that specialize is music, don't give as exciting of a movie experience.
    Roger,
     
  12. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    If I absolutely had to make a call, I would say that a speaker that's better for HT than for music is one that is designed to be impressive rather than refined. This is because with a movie, your attention is on the images, and the audio, while important, is secondary. Also, given the nature of the source, you don't pay as much attention to the audio as you would if you were just listening to music. I know, several movies have very well recorded scores, and so on, but overall, when you're watching a movie, you don't pay as much attention to the sound as you would if you were just listening to music. Also, given the number of movies with action sequences in them, loud explosions, jets and bullets whizzing by, and so on, IMO a very laid-back speaker will not be a good choice for HT.

    While we're talking about accuracy - sure, if you have a perfectly accurate speaker, it will function perfectly with both music and movies. However, such a speaker does not exist, so you have to decide what aspects you want to maximise, and what compromises you're willing to live with.

    S.. moving on, with music, now your full attention is on the sound, so you want something that captures little details and nuances better, depicts the sound of the instruments more accurately, you don't care as much for raw SPL capability, and so on.

    I hope that makes some kind of sense.
     
  13. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    Here are my thoughts on the subject.

    Music for me has an emotional impact and involves using one's imagination to fill in the visuals. This calls for music to sound however possible to sound euphonic and pleasing to the ears. A speaker can entrance the listener in sounds and engulf an individual in audio heaven.

    Home theater is designed specifically so a directors intent is portrayed. So if the director wants a gunshot, then a THX certified theater will portray that gunshot as harsh and boomy. This sound is supposed to be the same in every single home theater. The story is designed to be a certain way.. since the visual and audio is given, it leaves the viewer's imagination enveloped in the storyline where it should be. HT speakers should be designed purely by specification, DB levels, and ability to produce the correct tones that the director intended. Not produce highs that sound pleasant to the ear.

    I know that audio recorders want their music to be listened to a certain way, but because it lacks a visual... that it remains more flexible for the way it sounds.

    Since home theater has a visual.. if a glass breaking on the screen sounds pleasant and smooth, then it is unrealistic and the movie fails to deliver its message and realism.

    When it's audio only, and one hears a glass breaking and no echoes, the imagination takes over and ppl can envision how glass would sound that way to make it real.

    What they both have in common is they both deliver a message, music is audio, and home theater is audio/visual.
     
  14. Roger Kint

    Roger Kint Stunt Coordinator

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    Since we are on the subject, does anyone know which speakers 'image well' and among them which ones 'image' better than the other? Or is this a subjective opinion?
    Clearly, if one says this images well and that one doesn't there must be some opinions out there, a consensus or not, about what the better imaging speakers are, no?
     
  15. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Roger:

    Though out of most people's price range, the Watt Puppy is the best imaging speaker I have heard. But please note that superb imaging is not solely a reflection of the speaker; it also requires top-notch electronics.

    Larry

    P.S. Does anyone know where I can find the recent thread on B& W speakers and neutrality? I came across something I want to post there. Thanks...
     
  16. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    To summarize some of the excellent points raised above, and to throw in my own 2 cents:
    If a speaker were perfect, it would work well for music and HT. However, as noted above, no speaker is perfect (nope, not even DIY speakers [​IMG] ). Thus, every speaker designer has to make compromises, dependent on his/her budget, and outlook. Among the factors to be considered are macro- and micor-dynamics, tonal balance, imaging, soundstage, achievable volumes, etc. For reasons stated above, the properties which are most important for HT are different from those which are most important for music. Accordingly, speakers tend to be better at one than the other although, in general, a well-designed and constructed speaker will perform well in either format.
    Larry
    Edited for spelling.
     
  17. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    I can't belive all the insane theories why HT speakers should sound better. If building a speaker is solely based on specifications, then it is almost guranteed to sound bad. Look at Consumer Report's speaker ranking, always those no-fi brands being on top.

    Those movie sounds mixing occur in a completely artificial environment. The reverb is artificial, the placement of it on the soundstage is artificial, heck sometimes the sound is not even created by the same source, but instead made up by the Foley with whatever wierd combination they could think up.

    In fact, there is absolutely nothing natural about the sound of a movie soundtrack. Even the dialogue is dubbed in a studio, they don't even attempt to simulate the environment the actors are in and how the actual dialogue would sound if a person was actually there listening to them.


    I would have to agree with Larry, the most real holographic experieince I've ever had were a pair of WATT/Puppies, but the recent HE2002 demo of them left me feeling empty.
     
  18. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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    Ling:

     
  19. Larry B

    Larry B Screenwriter

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  20. ling_w

    ling_w Second Unit

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    Larry,

    I hear the WATT/Puppies here and there. The first time I heard them, it was in the original Stereophile show in the early 90's. It took place in the NYC at the Millenium hotel, which is no more. Innovative needs appointments and I usually go into a stereo store when I feel like it.
     

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