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Can satellite speakers ever sound as good as full size speakers

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by paulr, Sep 16, 2002.

  1. paulr

    paulr
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    One of the most difficult choices when buying a home cinema setup is the speakers.For me it was a compromise between sound and size.Small speakers are easier on the eye,but large speakers sound better,usually.
    My question is,can you ever get satellite speakers to sound as good as the equivalent full size speakers.

    Is there a scientific reason why full size ones give a bigger and fuller sound.Is it because they can move more air(ie bigger cones) or is there some other reason.I'd be interested to know.

    My a/v setup has the Energy take 5 sats.At the weekend i did a bit of experimenting adding in my full size Tannoys.For music there was quite a difference.The small seakers just couldnt compete.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway,the point i'm trying to make is,is the aim of getting a sat system to sound as good as a full size one a fruitless one.If you buy a satellite speaker package,however good it may be,should you just accept that ,for music especially,it will sound inferior to a full size speaker package.

    I look forward to your opinions.
    Paul.
     
  2. buns

    buns
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    Im sure you can get a sat system to sound as good, but you may have to pay alot more.

    There are very simple reasons why bigger speakers sound bigger, you hit one of them on the head. Also, the enclosure resonates. the available frequencies of this are restricted by the size of the enclosure.

    hold on.......errrmm, take that with a pinch of salt, i have a conflict in my mind! Suffice to say, large enclosure gives more ability to move air.

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  3. bob007

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    Don't know how far wrong I am but this is my perception on this.

    If the amp has bass management and you set all speakers to small then you are effectively cutting all frequencies (say from my denon) 80Hz and below from those speakers, now whether they are satellites, floorstanders or bookshelf all will be producing 80Hz and above. Now I think it's the quality/make of the speaker that comes into play, you can have a pair of satellites costing £300 and a pair of floorstanders costing £150 which should sound better?

    I only have to mention NM's, from what I have heard from those that have actually listened to these up against a system in excess of £9k, they were far from sounding inferior. :D
     
  4. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Paul,

    I have tried everything and I think that Bob hit the nail on the head when talking about price. You can buy floorstanders from our old friends for £30 per pair yet you can buy satellites at £5,000 per pair.

    I have had floorstanding Tannoys which produced a great sound in a large room and followed them up with the Definitive Technology Pro Cinema setup which also sounded great so went from one extreme to another.

    I now have a sub sat setup with a difference as they are expensive M&K mini monitors (down to 80Hz so they qualify as satellites) with a REL Storm and that is by far the sound that I have owned.
     
  5. MikeK

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    :D Can I suggest you work on your speaker positioning a bit :D


    Although you can generalise (wildly) that larger speaker may be better than smaller ones, it really comes down to which products you are comparing.

    There's also the issue of perceived value to overcome - people think they are getting more with a pair of floorstanders (not surprising really, as I suppose technically they are :) )

    My own opinion is that generally speaking it's much harder to get a sub/sat combination right, but get it right and it can be even more convincing than traditional floorstanders.
    There are limits to how small you can realistically go though with the sats. Low frequencies ARE directional - the smaller the sats become, the more critical the sub design and room placement in relation to the sats, becomes. Eventually it becomes impossible - the sub ends up producing all the bass, even mid and upper bass, and stereo imaging and soundstaging go out of the window.
    (although 2 subs might well get round this).

    That said, few floorstanders can compete with competently designed subwoofers for low end extension - and relieved of having to produce large bass currents, some amps performance can seem to improve (and speakers too - quite a few people have discovered that their main speakers - even floorstanders - can seem to improve once they no longer have to produce deep bass).

    So, IMO, it's horses for courses and it's very hard to generalise - you really have to make the comparison on an individual basis.
     
  6. paulr

    paulr
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    1.When i'm comparing sats with full size obviously i mean in simillair price ranges.My Energys were £600,my Tannoys approx £500.

    2.I'd also like to know more on the reasons why big speakers sound fuller and imo,give a more complete sound.I'm sure the volume of air movement has a lot to do with it.(not a very scientific comment i know)
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    There are no technical reasons a sub sat system can't compete with the biggest floorstanders and Gallo owners are fiding out. It is just down to doing it correctly. It is basically what M and K have said for years.....

    you don't have to compromise, let the sub (s!) take the slack :D
     
  8. Ian J

    Ian J
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    The Energies are £600 for five satellites and a sub - is the price of £500 for two speakers ?
     
  9. paulr

    paulr
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    Ian...the Tannoys are 15 years old.They cost me £250.
     
  10. buns

    buns
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    Is there not something of a skill required to get a sub integrated with a sat system? With larger main speakers, surely the poor setup of a sub can be masked.

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  11. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Paul,

    You are probably not comparing like with like if you are comparing five sats and a sub that costs £600 with a much more expensive pair of floorstanders.

    If you bought a matching centre and another pair for rears the total costs would be well above what the Energy's cost.

    Part of the solution lies in the bass handling as the sub / sats have a subwoofer that doesn't really plum the depths but fills in the lower mid range.

    If you were to try your Energies with a REL I think that you may be surprised at how much the sound fills out.

    If you want to know what a sub sat combo is capable of I'm only just over an hour down the motorway and I would even buy you a beer. :)
     
  12. paulr

    paulr
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    Ian...what set-up do you have?.....I live in Lincolnshire btw:)
     
  13. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Three M&K Pro equivalent of the S85 and a REL Storm with a pair of Mission M7DS bringing upm the rear (which Eric is urging me to get rid of).

    I had the idea that you lived in Leeds. Don't where that came from
     
  14. paulr

    paulr
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    Ian......i think i'll get my local hi-fi shop to come round and set up my sub.At the same time they can bring a few better subs for me to audition.
    Thanks...Paul.
     
  15. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Don't forget the second hand route as there are often REL Strata's up for sale at good prices which would make a huge improvement to your system.
     
  16. paulr

    paulr
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    Ok thanks Ian..
    btw..I've just been reading the thread on the Gallo's.There's some more info on the small/big speaker debate.

    As i said earlier,to me this is the hardest decision when buying a HTS system,........choosing and then setting up the speakers.

    Paul.
     
  17. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Only the old stagers like Eric and Nic find it easy. I've been into Home Cinema for ten years but when Eric was up recently he still fiddled with my sub and got it sounding better.

    No missquoting me please lads. It was only my sub he fiddled with :D
     
  18. juboy

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    Can you define or explain 'better' Ian?

    Did he move the sub to a new location or was it adjustment of the volume and crossover levels?

    Do you know how he achieved the improvement?
     
  19. Ian J

    Ian J
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    He moved it a couple of inches only further away from the wall and fiddled very slightly with the volume and crossover on the amp.

    I'm afraid that I didn't take too much notice of what he was doing as I was watching the film.
     
  20. uncle eric

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    Ian, tell the truth. I replaced it with Gozilla HGS-18 :D while you wasn't looking.

    Actually, we were watching Frank Darabont's "The Majestic" with Jim Carrey. There is a particular sequence (can't remember the chapter off hand) that is a brilliant test for sub/sats and how good the marriage is between them.

    When Jim Carrey walks into the basement of the old cinema (The Majestic) he finds (Gerry Black) the old guy who was once the doorman. A gentle conversation ensues for around 2-3 minutes or so.

    This sequence to my mind does for sound what the opening sequence of "Star Trek insurection" does for de-interlacing testing for video. Its brilliant.

    Both Carrey and Black's voices seem to come across fairly deep and chesty during this sequence. The frequency levels that these voices are at, sort of lays the emphasis into the lower mid range areas while at the same time, occasionally crossing over "the overlay" between the sub and sats. If the settings are not perfect (and they seldom are on many a system) a boomyness ensues which is obvious instantly.

    All I did was pull Ians downward firer out into the room a little (just a few inches) and re-adjust the settings. Problem solved.
     
  21. spikeyboyo

    spikeyboyo
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    Eric fancy popping round mine to get my sub working better - i live in Kent :)

    Main Speakers: Ruark Prologue one's
    Center: Ruark Dialogue 1
    Rears: Mission 77DS
    Sub: Padigram 1000PS


    Spike
     

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