Survey: Do you believe in "overkill for HT" speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Arnel Enero, May 4, 2002.

  1. Arnel Enero

    Arnel Enero Stunt Coordinator

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    Some people say buying an over-$1000 speaker, for example, for surround channel is simply overkill, if not crazy altogether, as it is meant to reproduce "effects" only and seldom will its full potential be of any use. Some would argue, on the other extreme end, that the surround speaker is just as important as any of the front channels, considering that DD and DTS soundtracks should treat all discrete channels equally.

    There are also people saying that it's also overkill to buy a speaker system costing more than $5000 for HT, unless your priorities include music as well.

    Oh heck, a friend of mine told me I'm totally nuts for buying bass-capable speakers for my surround channel. In fact, he calls it a total waste to put the Sonus Faber speaker (which is not even a floorstander) to the rear, as it's good enough to be main speakers.

    So, I got these questions for you:

    1. Do you think expensive speaker systems can be justified for HT, as much as they are in "audiophile" terms?

    2. Do you think surround speakers need to be of the same "caliber" as the front array?

    3. Do you think center and surround speakers need to have deep bass output? Or you prefer bass re-direction?

    Thanks for the responses.
     
  2. rich wu

    rich wu Auditioning

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    For many years I felt the same way and didn't believe that the surround speakers were all that important. For the last 2 years, I was using Mirage M3Si as rear speakers and they are excellent speakers but I recently replaced them with Revel Embrace. What a difference it made. The difference is not so much the bass but the subtle sounds such as birds chirping and leaves rustling in the wind that I never heard before. These little details just makes everying more real.

    The Revel Embrace is very expensive but it does match very well with my Revel Studios and Voice. So I now beleive that the surround speakers should match the other speakers.

    I don't think the center and surround speakers really need to reproduce deep bass. It's just physically too difficult to do without compromising the mids and highs. Futhermore, it would be very heavy and large so it would be impractical. If you really want low end in the center, add a sub.
     
  3. I can tell you that I might fit into the overkill catagory. My dual BPD1503 with a crown K2 ..some would say is way overkill. My set of 5 EGO's could be construed as overkill (on the surround end),...but I also use my system for music, so I don't really consider the EGO's overkill....even though their 1st class design (by geoffrey dillon) is over kill for just HT.

    so to answer you questions:

    1) NO ..if and only if the system is a DEDICATED HT.

    2) Yes, if they are not too expensive....otherwise see #1

    3) All speakers set to small...LFE channel can take all the taxing I can dish out!
     
  4. Peter Overduin

    Peter Overduin Supporting Actor

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  5. Russell _T

    Russell _T Supporting Actor

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    I think that most people on a reasonable budget quickly reach the point of diminishing returns much past two or three grand for a 5.1 speaker system. While all the points here are valid, they can be achieved very nicely in this price range.
     
  6. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    I just have finished a round of upgrades on my Ken. 504. It is in my opinion you can get 90 - 95 % or more from cheaper speakers. Say around $150 to $400 for the mains. Same for the surrounds.You need decent surrounds. Now the sub is a different't story, but a good sub is my true passion. I run in 5.1 and have tried mains as large and will not try again. My mains go down to 35. A test showed me this does not compare with the sub that I run. A good sub will add more to HT than any thing? Just one guys opinion. The question was for HT.
     
  7. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    Arnel,

    IMO, although when putting together an HT system (speakers, amps, processors, etc.) we pretty quickly get to an area of diminishing returns (probably much quicker than from a music perspective), that doesn't mean that it can't/won't sound better as you keep going--it sure can, it just may wind up costing a whole lot more to do it.

    A friend of mine is using Aerial 10T's in all five positions (plus subs), and would NEVER go back from full-range floorstanders (and pricey ones, at that). He's got the money, he can hear the difference, and for him it's an easy choice.
     
  8. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

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    I listen to a lot of 2 channel music as well as 5.1 channel DVD-a/SACD and DVD concerts, so IMHO the center channel can be most important (or as important as the 2 mains) in this situation, many time the lead singers vocals are coming out of the center channel only, that being said, I run significantly "inferior" speakers for the rears (B&W 601, vs CDM7NT mains and CDMCNT center). They are "important" but IMHO, less so than the front sound stage, but it is important that they "timbre match" as close as possible. Everything is relative, if I had a ton of $, I would own 804 mains, HTM1 and 805 rears, but I don't so some things have to sacrifice.
     
  9. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    The best kept secret of high performance HT is that the charactertistics of your room, and the placement of your speakers within that room (and attendant calibration) matters *far* more than the actual quality of your loudspeakers. There is a difference in sound between a $5k and a $500 5.1 speaker set, but the $500 set properly placed in a good room will sound as good or better than the $5k set improperly placed in a poor room.

    Returns diminish on loudspeakers starting at $500 and up for a 5.0 set, and *severly* diminish (to a point of near imperceptibility) at about $3K. This is just for the "5" part, not the .1. For a subwoofer for HT purposes, you are seriously justified in spending up to a full grand. Even that limit assumes you are getting great bargain brands like Hsu, SVS, Adire, DIY, etc. If for some reason you insist upon paying full MSRP for commerical brands, up to $2500 can easily be justified.
     
  10. steve nn

    steve nn Cinematographer

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    Well said EricHaas.
     
  11. Will Gatlin Jr

    Will Gatlin Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    In some of today's major blockbuster soundtracks, there's plenty of bass in them there rears. NHT VT-2's make up my front/rear spks with Super 2's for the side channels. A double centre (NHT VS-2A/+3db gain) completes my line up.
     
  12. MarkO

    MarkO Second Unit

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    Arnel,, which Sonus Fabers? I use 4 concertinos in my system.
     
  13. JohnEF

    JohnEF Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the Pinnacle gold reference tower speakers for mains, the gold reference mini-monitors for the surrounds and Pinnacle's Wide Center speaker. I was thinking of upgrading my center to the gold reference center speaker (at a cost of $380 as per one Internet dealer which I have had positive experiences in the past).

    I do feel that my current center speaker has sometimes hard to hear dialogue but is upgrading to the gold reference version version overkill? I am trying to make up my mind.

    Thanks.

    John
     
  14. Arnel Enero

    Arnel Enero Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Mike Matheson

    Mike Matheson Second Unit

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    John,

    Upgrading the center is rarely a BAD thing. It really should be of similar quality to your mains rather than your rears/sides.

    Does the dealer offer a return policy? That way you could be sure it really was of benefit for your situations. . .
     
  16. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    To me it's only overkill if it hurts your budget enough in other things that are more important (bills, grocery, insurance, etc).
     
  17. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    given that speaker technology is relatively static, compared to, say, receivers/processors and decoding technology or formats (see thread on upgrading receivers), how often you lot upgrade speakers and why?

    I'm considering spending a reasonable amount on the speakers, with a view to NOT changing them for a while (i.e. at least 5 years or so). any thoughts? I will have to resist upgraditis since the S.O. will not approve; at least with receivers one can always plead that new formats and technology have far surpassed the current model, but with speakers that argument doesn't seem to hold water (and I can't fool her on this one 'cos she used to date an audiophile).
     
  18. Steve_Ma

    Steve_Ma Second Unit

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    Everything is relative. If you've got the money, you can afford some kick a$% surrounds. Also, if you accept that multi-channel music will become more popular (and I believe it will), spending more money on quality surrounds makes even more sense. Though I think Eric's point of diminishing marginal returns still applies.

    --Steve
     

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