What exactly is timber matching?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Robert Mayrand, Oct 29, 2001.

  1. Robert Mayrand

    Robert Mayrand Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm new to this, and altough i may sound stupid I got to ask! Does that mean that I have to absolutely buy the two main speaker and the center at the same time? How do I check this?
    I'm on a budget and want to slowly build my system, i don't even have a receiver for god sake. So i use my Harmon Kardon ampli to get to speakers. My plan was to buy a good pair of main speaker first, then later a second pair (surround).To at least reach the surround effect. Then the center one and a good receiver and at the end of the list the subwoofer. I thought that this way i could enjoy more and more my system, with reasonnable investment on a longer schedule. But for sure if i buy 3 speaker at the same time it will only postpone the rest, and i won't even be able to enjoy it before the last stage of my plans. Is it really necessary?
    Thanks!
    Any comments on my planifications are welcome.
    Rob
     
  2. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    Timbre matching isn't about buying the front 3 speakers at the same time. It's about making sure your front 3 (and all 5 if possible) speakers are from the same product line of the same amnufacturer. That way, you get similar drivers and crossovers used in all your speakers, which ensures that they all sound the same, i.e., they're matched in their timbre. If your speakers aren't timbrally matched, the sound of a voice will change as the speaker walks from the left of your screen to the right (and the sound moves from the left speaker to the center to the right). As you can easily see, that wouldn't be a good thing if an actor's voice sounded different when it came from different speakers.
    Having said that, I don't know what's the best sequence in which to purchase your equipment. In my opinion you're definitely doing the right thing by saving up for the stuff you want, instead of getting cheap equipment that you'll throw out in a few months. Some people here might recommend getting a subwoofer before getting your surrounds, I don't know about that. Also, people say a good center channel is pretty important, I think there's another thread going on that topic, you might want to read peoples' opinions on that.
     
  3. Tim Hoover

    Tim Hoover Screenwriter

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    Timbre matching refers to matching the tone of all speakers. As you know, all speakers sound different. Matching the tone, or timbre, allows for a smoother soundfield because you don't notice the change as the sound moves from one speaker to another. With speakers that are different in tone, you would easily perceive the "jump" from one speaker to the other.
     
  4. Ron Eastman

    Ron Eastman Second Unit

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    Nothing wrong with your purchasing plans. You've gotta start somewhere!
    Timbre matching refers to the matching of the "voice" qualities of the speakers. Every speaker will sound different from another non-identical speaker. This can be caused by the drivers, enclosure, crossover, etc. The same tone in one speaker may sound like "aaaah" while in another speaker may sound like "ooooh". The easiest way to timbre match is to surround yourself with identical speakers. This isn't possible for everyone so an alternative is to choose speakers from the same model line which use the same drivers with the most important driver to match being the tweeter.
    Most will agree that having timbre matched speakers across the front is more important than having the rears matched to the front. So buying rears from a different line is a better compromise than having your center come from a different brand than the mains. My advice is to get the mains and center first and follow with the rears when you can afford to add them to your system.
    ------------------
    "The last thing I want to remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth." - Del Griffith
    my home theater
    my DVD collection
     
  5. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    As well as I can with written words, here's an example...
    With properly matched speakers, the sound of a truck driving from the left speaker, to the center, then off to the right should sound like this...
    VROOOMMM >> VROOOOMM >> VROOOMMM
    Left Center Right
    Now, same senario with speakers that are NOT matched...
    VROOOMM >> VROOOMMM >> VROOOMM
    Left Center Right
    Notice how the sound of the truck got louder in the center speaker when NOT matched proprly? The sound should remain the same both in tone and overall volume.
    The human voice is very good at checking your speakers for this, but you'll be fine as long as all of your speakers are from the same manufacturer, and are all from the same line of speakers, this way all of the woofers and drivers will be indentical, and all will share the same traits.
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    God bless the USA and the men and woman of our military and their families!
     
  6. Adam Barratt

    Adam Barratt Cinematographer

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    The volume shouldn't change with poorly matched speakers (assuming they're correctly calibrated), but the character of the sound certainly can.
    On an extremely mismatched system I once heard, Arnold's Harley in Terminator 2 changed to a Vespa and back as it drove across the front soundstage.
    Adam
    PS John, I'm pretty sure there's more than just one woman in the US military. [​IMG]
     
  7. Mike Voigt

    Mike Voigt Supporting Actor

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    Let's see, to match timbers you'd have to ensure that the grain is matched, any warpage is roughly similar, and that none of the boards are twisted.
    [​IMG]
    Oh, you meant timbre matching!
    Well, for that, make sure that (largely) your tweeters and midrange have the same sound, meaning they react similarly to input. Usually, this can be accomplished by ensuring the tweeters are identical, but it does sometimes (IMHO often) extend into the midrange. A good place to start is with frequency response charts.
    By far the easiest way to handle this is with identical speakers. Bookshelf size comes to mind mostly because it is at least moderately easy to use them as center speakers. Not quite so easy to do with towers - though if you have a FPTV and a sound-transparent screen, identical floorstanders would also be nice.
    The biggest problem occurs across the front 3 speakers, which carries anywhere from 60-100% of the sound content.
    Be warned that so-called matching center speakers rarely do. They might include the same speakers (a great place to start) but because of their design may not match the sound of the other speakers.
    It is best to try them out - at home, with a guarantee to return them if they don't work as well as desired.
    Mike
     
  8. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    AR High-Res Series Speakers are 100% Exact Timbre Matched.
    My AR4C sounds "Exactly" the same as my AR9 Towers. As it
    should, it uses the "Exact" same X-Over,Midranges and Tweet
    as the Towers.
    Now if only AR would make a Hi-Res Series Dipole [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  9. Inspector Hammer!

    Inspector Hammer! Executive Producer

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    DOAH!! (smacks forehead) I've had my signature like that for almost two months! Thanks.
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    God bless the USA and the men and women of our military and their families!
     
  10. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Stunt Coordinator

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    What does Lucasfilms mean by timbre matching in this context?
    Excerpt from THX FAQ About Home THX:
    quote: Home THX Controller - includes multi-channel circuitry and the necessary electronic enhancements (Re-equalization™, Timbre Matching™, and Decorrelation™, and more) to successfully render the film sound experience in a home.
    Thanks.
    Larry
    [Edited last by Larry Chanin on October 30, 2001 at 10:26 AM]
     
  11. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Larry,
    Good question... Re-EQ rehash's the sound to take out some
    of the trebbel (the theory is that sound tracks produced for
    movie theaters are too harsn when played in a small theater
    environment.)
    Decoralation I beleive effects the spaciousness of the sound
    so that theater sound tracks are not presented as echo boxes
    in the small theater environment.
    As for Timbre Matching via THX I have no clue.. Perhaps one
    of the many experts here can help.
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Brett DiMichele
    My Home Theater Site!
    [email protected]
     
  12. Tom Morgan

    Tom Morgan Stunt Coordinator

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    I bought Polk Audio RT600's for the front which came with a free CS175 for the center. I used my old DCM's for the rear and bought a sub. Then I bought RT800's for the front moved the RT600's to the rear and gave my wife the DCM's. Then I bought a CS400 for the center and saved the CS175 for later. Then I bought a new 6.1 receiver and put the CS175 as the rear center. This has worked well for me.
    BTW going without a center channel for a while is better than going without the sub IMHO. I only have two chairs in my room and can not get to far from the sweet spot and I have the fronts placed so I get good stereo imaging.
    Good luck
    ------------------
    [​IMG]
    Tom&Amy's DVD's
     
  13. Jack Lee

    Jack Lee Extra

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    Even identical LCR speakers can have different timbres because of room coloration and speaker placement (acoustic modes, reflections,echoes, dispersion patterns). Imagine the pink noise test tones from each speaker: they almost always sound slightly different from one another as the test signal circles around you, even when the speakers are completely identical at the same SPL.
    As far as THX timbre matching goes, the idea is to electronically equalize the frequency responses of each speaker to make them as similar as possible at the listener's position.
    The true diehard gets identical speakers, optimizes speaker/listener placement and acoustic treatments to reduce room coloration, and then electronically equalizes the responses of each speaker to compensate for any residual effects.
    The more pragmatic approach is to keep trying to match things until you can't single out a given speaker during a pan/flyby/circle/dialogue (or you run out of time and money). [​IMG]
    For many, it's enough to buy a center speaker that is from the same brand as the fronts.
    Personally, I have a strong preference for identical speakers.
     
  14. Shad R

    Shad R Supporting Actor

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    Given my budget...and the fact that a friend GAVE me his Reference series JBL's(too bad I had to replace the woof's with el cheapo RCA brand replacement woofers until I have the $$), my center, fronts and backs are all different brands! It doesn't sound too bad...my JBL's sound a lot like my Polk Audio center, which is cool. my Onkyo reciever has the re-EQ thingy on, that might be helping. I couldn't find a perfectly matched center, and I sure wasn't going to give up my JBL's(that tweeter goes HIGH in frequency, super tweeters, actually), and I didn't have $$$, so I settled. IMO, It doesn't sound too bad, the JBL's have a little more clarity when voices go from left-center-right, but it was a small price to pay for awesome 2 channel music. Anyway, try to get same speakers if you can, but for me, I'm fine with non-same speakers.
     
  15. Luis M

    Luis M Second Unit

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    I happen to have JBL floor standing speakers(HP-520-4 way) basically stereo speakers and JBL surrounds that are also music speakers, they all have titanium tweeters and they are pretty good reproducing music as well as digital soundtracks, but my center is the Klipsh KLF-C7( a great sounding center channel) and when I run tests, there is a slight difference in coloration, but also the same happens in my brother's system that has all same drives on all five speakers (Energys). I have my Denon 3801 running the center and back speakers and an ADCOM 555II running the left and right channels and it blows away my brothers set up, He has a Denon 2800. Even though perfect match speakers is the ideal set up, it doesn't always sounds the best. Quality speakers make a bigger difference. My two cents.
     
  16. Sean Oneil

    Sean Oneil Supporting Actor

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    Starting a forest fire?
     
  17. Luis M

    Luis M Second Unit

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    Let the burnings begin!
     
  18. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  19. Karim Nogas

    Karim Nogas Stunt Coordinator

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    You don't really need a centre channel and should concentrate on high-quality loudspeakers instead. But I'm in the minority when it comes to that if you read the other thread on centre channels.
    If you do have a lot of seating off axis and you find a phantom image too difuse, you should stick with the same manufacturer's model line as has been mentioned.
    You might want to also pick up a copy of AVIA for calibration purposes. There's one test for the left front and centre channel that will immediately let you know whether the timbre is matched.
     
  20. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    everyone's done a great job explaining timbre matching...i always the use the scooter/harley/scooter example too.
     

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