Surround speakers going below 80hz

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by SteveCallas, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    If the added cost is not too much of a concern, is it worth it to get speakers that are better suited to go below 80hz but not full range than standard dipole or bipole surround speakers?

    Using Paradigm Studios as an example, with 100's and a 570 up front, would using 40's for surrounds and rears with all speakers having a cutoff of 50 or 60hz sound that much better than using ADP's and 20's cutoff at 80hz? I know 20-30hz isn't that wide of a range, but below 100hz that range becomes quite noticable.

    I know this has been talked about many times before, but just to double check, if I did this, the entire LFE channel would still be intact, right? Just the redirected bass from the speakers will have lost that range of 20-30hz, yes?

    I would imagine you would hear a pretty nice improvement, you would get some directional bass. Any thoughts are appreciated.
     
  2. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    I have surround sides that go down to 45 Hz and and rears that go down to 38Hz. They sound much better when I set them to Large in AVR setup than when I set them to Small to offload bass to the sub.

    I've also tried setting the surrounds and the center all to Small (fronts go down to 28 Hz) with the sub xover at 50 Hz. Still sounds better when the surrounds are just set to large. Also the Small setting for the surrounds has a negative effect on soundstage imaging. I do have the Center set to Small with a 80Hz xover, but the sub sits right next to it.

    But each setup is different. What works for me may not work for you.

    Dean
     
  3. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    With your surrounds, rears, and fronts set to large, do you notice a lack of potent bass that would have been coming from the subwoofer or does that bass coming from the individual speakers seem even more dynamic?

    In other words, do you feel you are shortchanging your subwoofer or does the LFE provide enough information to keep it on its toes?
     
  4. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Steve,

    Typically bass sounds best from a single sub, or perhaps two co-located ones. It’s generally accepted that the more sources you have generating low frequencies – especially of they have different extension ratings – the worse bass response becomes. Sure, it may “boom” louder, but “louder” is not the same as “better.” If you take some room measurements you can see how bad it really is.

    That said, there is merit to having speakers rated lower than 80Hz. For one thing, a lower rating typically means you have better power handling capabilities, so you can safely play the system louder if you have more substantial speakers, even if they are set to “small.”


    Um, no. Inserting high pass filtering into the signal chain has no effect on imaging.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  5. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    No, my system sounds better: better detail and clarity, more dynamic, and better imaging. I've tried it both ways and keep coming back to Large settings. When playing LOTR DT-ES and Master and Commander, it sounds less satisfying when setting the surrounds to Small.
     
  6. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    I disagree, and it doesn't matter how you come to your conclusion. Maybe it's true on your system, but not mine. And the rest of your reasoning doesn't follow my experience either.

    I've tried it several different ways. One of the very reasons I did change my speakers back to Large is because imaging wasn't the same. I know what I heard, and I don't like it as much with Small settings. My system is very revealing, so that may have something to do with it.

    And there's definitely no reason to set my fronts to Small. They go +-3db down to 28Hz. Why add another xover into the mix? They sound excellent without help from the sub.

    Dean
     
  7. Dean Wette

    Dean Wette Stunt Coordinator

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    The bottom line for my setup is:

    If I setup my speakers for Small, I have more power available from the amp for the speakers. If I set them to Large, it simply sounds better. Since I have enough amplifier power to drive my speakers to reasonably loud volume levels, I leave them set to Large. It's the most satisfying result for me, with my gear in my room.

    But I would not make that into a blanket generalization for other people's setups.

    Dean
     
  8. SteveCallas

    SteveCallas Second Unit

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    Dean, thanks for your thoughts on the matter. It looks like I will plan on going with 4 40's when the time comes. I would have to agree that with suitable power available and able speakers, setting all speakers below 80hz or even full range might be my best option. That is the way it was originally intended anyway.

    I have read the numerous reasons as to why I should stick with an 80hz crossover, but with 100's, a 570, and 40's, and say either that new Outlaw amp or the ATI that will do 300watts x 7, I believe I would be better suited not to.

    Wayne, why would it necessarily have to "boom louder" as opposed to sounding more enveloping? I have read numerous reviews of the Studios and how tight and detailed the bass is. I realize that bass around or below the area of 50hz is supposed to be nondirectional, that's why I'm leaning towards a 50hz crossover. But I think that statement holds true more so when you have a subwoofer near a corner or a wall, and all of the reflections make it harder to locate. I would imagine that having the speakers pointed at you would make it somewhat easier to locate, up to a point.

    To add to this, even after all of the things I have read and discussed, I still don't like the idea of having 7 discrete channels of sound below 80hz mushed into one and played through a subwoofer.
     

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