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5.1 speaker questions

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by michaelab, Sep 27, 2002.

  1. michaelab

    michaelab
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    So 5.1 sound is 5 speakers (2 front, 2 rear, 1 front centre) and a sub woofer. OK, but what if I don't get all my speakes at once?

    I only have 2 stereo speakers at the moment (Tannoy MX2s). I'm planning to get a couple of MX3s to be my fronts, move the MX2s to the rear, get an MXC centre and I think Tannoy have make a sub in the MX range also.

    However, what if I just get the MX3s first so I end up with only 4 speakers for the time being (no centre and no sub) - if I hook these up to my AV receiver will that still work? Will I still get dialogue for example?

    I'm not sure how discreet the channels are on 5.1 - does all the dialogue go only to the centre speaker? Similarly, does all the bass sound go only to the sub?

    Michael.
     
  2. Dom H

    Dom H
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    You can run 2.0/2.1/4.0/4.1 no problem at all.

    I dispise center speakers (and would highly reccomend you atleast consider not using one atall) I started of with 4 speakers (no center or sub), center information is sent to the fronts giving you a phantom central image (just like 2ch music) This gave a great sound only lacking in low end kick (because of the lack of sub)but it's perfectly adequate to live with. The .1 low frequency channel is redirected to your mains.

    I then added a sub, so you could call it 4.1 and I wouldn't change it for the world. Now I have my 4 speakers set so thier bass (below 80Hz) is diverted to the sub PLUS the .1 channel is obviously sent to the sub.


    Hope that helps


    Dom.
     
  3. michaelab

    michaelab
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    Thanks Dom. So presumably you can configure the AV receiver to tell it you've only got 4.0 and it sorts out the redirection? Otherwise how does it 'know' that you've only got 4 speakers?

    How do you send all <80Hz sounds to the sub - is this all configurable in any AV receiver or only more high spec ones?

    Thanks,
    Michael.
     
  4. Dom H

    Dom H
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    All is configurable in the reciever, you get a choice for each speaker, usually;

    NONE : SMALL : LARGE

    small means all bass sent to that channel will be redirected to LARGE speakers or a sub if you have one. LARGE means that channel recievers a full range signal. If you have no center you set center to NONE and it reidrects it to the mains.

    My settings are as follows;

    Front : SMALL
    Center : NONE
    Rear : SMALL
    Sub : LFE + MAINS
    Crossover : 80Hz


    This gives me 4 channels of > 80Hz audio, their bass routed to the sub plus LFE channel going to the sub. Center info is routed to the mains.

    These options are present on all recievers, the only difference you will find will be the flexibility in the crossover setting, some may have a single fixed (usually 100/120Hz) some like mine have a choice of 3, some I think have a fully adjustable in 10Hz increments also.


    Dom.
     
  5. bob007

    bob007
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    The centre speaker is the most important speaker in the system, it locks the dialogue to the screen and with the lefts and right set either side of the TV gives you the perfect sound stage, with no centre all you are doing is listening to a matrixed/downmixed signal, to benefit from 5.1 you need 5speakers + sub. Also when you listen of axis with no centre you have no soundstage at all, it all breaks up, crap comes to mind IMO.

    Have just offloaded 3 MX2's onto my son as he has just upgraded his amp, took a bit of advice from Uncle Eric and placed these across the front doing away with the so called "dedicated centre" speaker, all set at the same height, first thing you notice is the test tone, the white noise is identical from all three speakers, anyone who has a "dedicated centre" will notice more often than not when the signal reaches the centre the white noise changes tonally. Upon listening to a dvd the results are amazing, nothing changes tonally across the fronts, dialogue/ f/x all match.

    I love the MX2's, though only used them for surround duties, now hooked up as the front soundstage for my sons system I have just noticed how really nice these speakers are, you wouldn't go far wrong with getting another 2xpair of MX2's, the spare would come in handy if you were to upgrade to 6.1 in the future.

    Three identical speakers for the fronts seems the best way to go, though no good if you have/want floorstanders, unless you have a screen, and it is high enough so that the speaker doesn't interfere with viewing. Think it is worth considering, the difference we noticed was very noticable. :)
     
  6. michaelab

    michaelab
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    Well my MX2s are currently on stands - I don't want to get another pair of stands so I thought about the MX3s for the fronts and moving the MX2s (plus stands) to the rear. That way I'd have the slightly better MX3s for stereo music aswell.

    I am planning eventually to get a projector and screen so if I get a centre it will probably be a dedicated MXC (I was surprised how small they are).

    To start with though I'm going to see how 4.0 works.

    Michael.
     
  7. Dom H

    Dom H
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    I disagree about the center speaker, 'if' you sit in the sweet spot I think there is no need for one atall.

    Center speakers are usually vastly inferior in terms of dialogue reproduction than the euquivalent standmount speaker. They are usually horizontal for a start which doesn't help, plus they are usually placed in a far from ideal position (top of tv) and they won't match the timbre of the mains perfectly.

    IMO center speakers are put in place to lock dialogue to the screen for off-center listeners and to help imaging in a accoustically 'bad' room.

    If you sit in the center (even 1ft either way doesn't ruin the imaging) and your main speakers image well (which they should) don't bother with a centre.
     
  8. bob007

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    When moving the MX2's to the back for the surround duties ideally you want to position them 2foot/3foot above your ears when seated in the listening position, and on the side walls infront/level/just behind the listening position.

    That was one of my points I was putting over, how can a small dedicated centre compete with floorstanders, tonally it can't.
    Nowt wrong with that, just take your time and choose the right speakers and don't short cut, but you will need 5 speakers and a sub to listen to 5.1 or you will be loosing out. :)
     
  9. bob007

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    Sit in the sweet spot and you will get a stereo image, move away and it's gone. OK if you are the only person in the room but IMO not ideal. You are listening to a matrixed/downmixed signal, left/right/centre all mixed together, not the way it is intended to be listened to, it is similar to listening to 5.1 in a matrixed 6.1 sound format, works with some soundtracks but not with others. But if you are happy with it that's all that matters.

    The "dedicated centre", agree most are inferior, thats why three identical speakers across the front as mentioned in my first post seems to give best results.
     
  10. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Now that the original question has been answered it could be the right time for a little gentle hijacking.

    I have quoted Bob's phrase as it is an expression that appears regularly in answers.

    Does it mean that the reproduction of music and film is so subjective that it doesn't matter what you do if you like the result, or is it a polite way of saying that you disagree but don't wish to argue.
     
  11. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Without rigourous scientific testing (reviewed by peers) then it can't be objective.

    Witness recent discussions about cables. A few people have done ad-hoc trials and got one set of results, someone else has done something similar and got completely different results. Without writing up in some detail, including all pertainent information about the setup (including verification that it is working correctly - maybe the person that got different results with the cables had one set wired backwards causing the speakers to be driven out of phase), then it is impossible to come up with definitive answers.

    And that doesn't even begin to address the subjectivity of enjoying music...
     
  12. bob007

    bob007
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    I think that in the world of HC nothing is written in stone, there are so many variations. Many interperete sound and how it should sound in different ways.

    Though I may disagree with how someone has his/her home cinema set up and don't think he/she is getting the best out of it, I can't really argue on how he/she interperetes the sound coming from it. To me it's a polite way of saying I disagree but can't argue, and if you want to carry on listening to a crappy system then who am I to say different. :D
     
  13. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Interesting that the views expressed by Liam and Bob are different but if you are happy with them that's all that matters
     
  14. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    lol
    :D

    Anyway, I disagree - Bob's just plain wrong...
     
  15. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Wrong maybe but he would be insulted at being called plain.
     

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