Why smaller speakers for HT only setups?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by jeff morris, Dec 4, 2001.

  1. jeff morris

    jeff morris Agent

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    I have noticed a trend that people have been recommending smaller speakers-with sub of course- for HT only setups.

    I had been planning on purchasing Polk RT25i's, CS245i and RT15i's(rear). My local retailers have been suggesting the RM6600 system, saying I won't need such large speakers as HT doesn't need the punch that a music system requires. I will be using the setup for movie watching only. Would I be better off? The only difference I can hear is that the larger system plays considerably louder, but at normal listening levels, there doesn't seem to be that much of a difference.

    thanks!!
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    It depends on your speaker usage: Do you use them more for music of HT.

    If it's mainly 2-channel music, invest in a good pair of floor-standers might make for a more enjoyable setup than some small bookshelf-sized speakers that need a sub to fill in the low end.
     
  3. jeff morris

    jeff morris Agent

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    I will be listening to HT only. It seems that most HT systems tend to come with smaller speakers, as if there was less 'bandwidth' to HT, and I was wondering why this trend is so.
     
  4. Kendal Kirk

    Kendal Kirk Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff:

    Actually HT has a much wider 'bandwidth' than music. There are a few CD's that have sub 20Hz material, but they are few and far between.

    I believe that the reason for smaller speakers in HT packages is economics and estetics. Many of the marketers want the speaker packages to be unapposing to the J6P croud both financially and in deciding here to place them.

    I primarily use my system for HT, yet I have very large floorstanders that can reproduce down to 24Hz. They are perfect for music, but I need a sub to produce the lowest of the lows for HT.
     
  5. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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  6. Tom Tubbiola

    Tom Tubbiola Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a question stemming from what Brian just said. Can I use my Klipsch RC-3 (or 7, I haven't bought it yet) standing on it's end? Will it affect the sound in any way?
    We have two 27" TVs on top of our big screen for watching multiple football games on sunday (ok, so we are four guys who like sports [​IMG] ) and it would be infinitely easier to just turn the center on it's side instead of building a platform for the other TVs.
    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  7. Micah Cohen

    Micah Cohen Screenwriter

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    Hey Jeff, I tried to tackle this up on your other post, but I see you're aching for more more more! So I'm trying to catch up and help out.

    Anyone who tells you HT won't have much "punch" needs to go back to the DVD drawing board. Kendal is correct -- most DVD digital multichannel material (movies) has way more dynamic range than your average CD. A big bold full range HT system is super impressive, and really gets to show more of its chops on the average DVD than with the average CD.

    You have to choose your system according to where it'll play -- big room, or little room? Want it really really loud, or is moderate volume okay? Want full range, or limited range?

    It is my opinion that the industry (and we are as guilty of this as anyone) has made a mistake putting the emphasis on inexpensive "HTiB" systems. It makes it seem like the feature we're most proud of in this product is... That it comes in a box. How is that a real feature or benefit?

    What we should be doing is educating the consumer to help them choose what speakers and speaker systems and electronics are right for their lives.

    Sorry, I'm ranting.

    About center channels, I could be wrong, since I'm no techie, but there is a difference between how speakers work when a speaker with multiple drivers is placed horizontally as opposed to vertically. The signals cancel each other out (unless one is rolled off sooner than the other) making for some bad interference issues. It's a crossover thing which may affect off-axis listeners. Don't hold me to it, tho.

    Email me and I'll see what I can do to help you out.

    MC
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    I think it's economics.
    With music, the speaker industry has tried to get you to buy more and more expensive speakers. Since you only buy 2 of them, it's acceptiable. Suddenly along comes Dolby Digital that wants 5 speakers (preferably identical). So they take the same drivers, crossover from the $1300 towers, put it in a smaller box and sell it for $500.
    It really shows how much mark-up there is in the speaker industry.
    So they go back to the drawing board and find that 5 identical speakers with a sub does nearly as good a job for movies, and there is a much higher spousal-acceptance for 5 small box's rather than 5 tower speakers in a living room.
    But, it's just an opinion[​IMG]
     
  10. Thomas_Berg

    Thomas_Berg Screenwriter

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  11. jeff morris

    jeff morris Agent

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    hey John Garcia....
    Why do you reccomend the RT25's for the rear also?
    I thought the rear channels don't contain as much info as the fronts/center, so the rears would be of a smaller yet matched pair, like the RT15's.
    Thanks alot!!
    jeff[​IMG]
     
  12. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    Generally speaking, and by that, I mean speaking for all the HT enthusiasts who don't frequent HTF, I'd say that smaller speakers can be quite impressive for movie watching.
    Movie watching is about impact. That is, big bass (explosions for example), clearly hearing the dialog, and decent enough sounding soundtrack. And sound coming from all directions. Sure, all these things would sound better with big floor standing speakers, but it really doesn't sound bad with the small speakers. Little speakers and a subwoofer do a great job in the high end, and sub 100hz, but generally leave something to be desired in the middle ranges. But you're watching a movie, so who cares? Most people could tell the difference in a head to head comparison, but they aren't going to have that opportunity, so they effectively don't miss it. Again, I'm not talking about the HT nuts who post here! I'm talking about the other 99% of the HT population.
    Two channel music listening is about a nice flat response across the whole range, and great stereo imaging. For that, big responsive speakers are better. And since there's only two speakers to worry about, you can afford to pay more per speaker.
    I think I'm case in point: I have the Energy Take 5, and movies are great. Music listening, however, is awful.
    ALL IMHO!!!
    Martin.
     
  13. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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  14. Saurav

    Saurav Cinematographer

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    This is all IMO, of course. HT needs more impact than music. What music needs is detail, because when you're listening to music you're paying much more attention to what your speakers are producing than you are when you're watching a movie. You also need more accurate and detailed speakers to bring out the differences in tone between different musical instruments. All this adds up to a different set of requirements for the speaker.
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    4 identical speakers just sounds better to me - the sound is more ballanced. With a good receiver, the sound in the rears is just as loud and demanding as the mains, though they are not constantly playing. Even the small speaker packages normally use identical speakers front and rear.
    The 25s are better than the 15s also. Actually, I would say go with 35s up front, and 25s or 15s in the rear... IMO, both the 15 and 25 are pushing it for bass response, eventhough you will most definitely have them set to "small".
    My original setup was 2 Paradigm Titans (6-1/2") in the front and 2 Atoms (5-1/4") in the rear, and it sounded OK, but the Atoms were lacking some "punch". After only a few weeks, I took the Atoms in and got another pair of Titans and things sounded much more ballanced. After about a year with that setup, I recently traded up the front pair for a pair of (Paradigm) Mini-Monitors, and I am extremely pleased.
    Basically, I prefer no smaller than a 6 1/2" for mains, with at least 50-60hz response. Depending on the material, the rears can have quite a bit of sound coming from them [​IMG] That's just my preference though, and I think you would be fine with the 25/15 setup.
     
  16. jeff morris

    jeff morris Agent

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    Thanks John!
    I'll probably get the 4 RT25's as they are the same price-right now- as the 15"s.
    BTW- indoor karting---too cool!!!! I love arena-cross myself. They must have an enormous building, like maybe 100K sq/ft?
    cool[​IMG]
     

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