Where does the bass driver take over?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Gary TP, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. Gary TP

    Gary TP Stunt Coordinator

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    I am interested in two different paradigm speakers as surrounds- the only difference between them is the inclusion of a bass driver...

    Where does the bass driver typically take over in a speaker (Hz)?

    If I set the speakers to small, will the speaker not really even use it (the bass driver) thus nullifying the reason to step up to the one that has it?
     
  2. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    Which models are you looking at?
    Usually a smaller driver can not go as low, which isn't a big deal because of the sub. But a smaller speaker will generally have a little more trouble with midrange as well. The size of the driver is not the only factor either. If the speaker has a smaller driver, it probably has a smaller cabinet, which will effect the sound throughout the entire range. Listen to each with a sub and see which sounds better, and base your decision on that, not the drivers inside.
     
  3. Gary TP

    Gary TP Stunt Coordinator

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    The Mini-Monitor and Monitor 5...
     
  4. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    OK, now we are talking about a lot more than just bass drivers. The Mini is a 2-way with a single midbass driver. The Monitor 5 (v3) is a 2 1/2 way design with 2 midbass drivers. The lower driver is the same, but it gets a high pass filter at 400hz, so it can concentrate on producing the lower frequencies better. Being that all the drivers in question are the same 6 1/2", you do not get much of a difference in bass response. The 5s go a little lower more because of the bigger cabinet. And the 2 1/2 way design makes the midrange much smoother. With these 2 speakers you do not need to be concerned with bass response (that is what the sub is for). The difference is in the midrange.

    That being said, I think the Minis will be just fine as surrounds. The 5s are almost too much for surround duty. You will have to listen to both and decide if the 5s sound better overall to justify the extra $200 as surrounds. For front speakers, I would go with the 5s, but for surrounds the Minis should be fine.
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    There are two different questions (or concepts) included in your post: (1)the frequency separation within a speaker between the various drivers and (2) the frequency separation between the subwoofer the other speakers within your system.

    Taking the second point first, one way that your system decides where to send the lower frequencies and at what point to cut off the frequencies is determined by the way you set some of the options in your receiver. Setting any speaker to ‘small’ means that the lower (bass) frequencies will not be sent to that speaker. Many (but not all) receivers also allow you to decide the cutoff point where the bass is not sent to the small speakers. Many systems are set at around 80hz—100hz, which means that in a system where all speakers are set to small and the cutoff point is set at 90hz, your subwoofer will get all of the bass below 90hz and your other speakers will get the notes of 90hz and above (it is somewhat more complicated than this, in reality and there are a couple of other ways to achieve this outcome).

    Now each one of your individual speakers is getting information for sound reproduction between 90hz and 20,000hz. Because of the difficulty in making a driver that covers this very big range, most individual speakers (even small ones) have two or three drivers. Electronic circuitry contained within the speaker sends the correct frequencies to each driver. The points where the change from one driver to another is called the ‘crossover’, point and this point (or these points) are determined by the physical characteristics of the drivers themselves, as well as the type of sound the speaker designer is trying to achieve. This circuitry is called the ‘crossover network’. This is not something that can be changed by an individual user. It is set by the designer. Technically the crossover points are not discrete points, but as the crossover point is reached, less and less signal is sent to one driver and more and more is sent to the next driver, until at some point past the crossover, all of the signal will be sent to the next driver. This allows for a smooth transfer of sound between one driver and another.

    If you set your speaker to small, as in the case above, the bass/mid-range driver will begin being used at about 80hz or so and will handle all of the 100% of all the frequencies until the crossover point is approached (your can check the manufacturer’s specs if you really care). At that point this driver will begin to be used less and less until at some point past the crossover point where all of the signals will be carried by the next driver.

    Most speakers that do not have a larger driver are somewhat weak in the upper bass and lower mid-range area. The lack of good performance in this area can somewhat be compensated for by sending higher frequencies to the subwoofer (say 150hz), but many subwoofers (especially ones with large drivers) begin to not reproduce these higher sounds as well as they handle the lower ones.
     

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