can you mix floorstanding and sat speakers

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steve12

Active Member
Hi,
I currently have a 5.1 Kef 2005.2 egg sat system. i was wondering if i could keep 2 of the speakers and use them as rear left and right speakers and buy 2 new floor standers and a center, would i have to stick to the same manufacturer or could i mix them.
Or would i be better to buy a new 5.1 system? was just thinking that the sat speakers would blend in easier and take less room than bookshelf speakers.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
Steve
 

gingerone

Well-known Member
I used to have the kef eggs and I thought they were great as rears, you don't have to stay with the same brand but it can help with the blend from front to back
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Sounds like your looking for an upgrade in one form or another? Floor standers can work well, but personally I dont think they will offer you anything a good sub sat system can at least match or even exceed. If you run floorstanders, but still run a sub, and cross the floorstanders over at 80hz or higher anyway, then pouring money into those kinds of speakers seems kind of pointless to me.

Personally, unless you have a specific reason to go floorstanders or standmount, I would stick with a sub sat system, especially in a domestic environment. If you thinking of upgrading, then a budget will help narrow down some products that will likely fit the bill for you. If this is a stepping stone, as is often the case with upgrading, then my advice would be to replace the front 3 with superior sats, and look at a sub upgrade. I think those 2 things alone will make the biggest difference to your system in terms of improving it. We do offer a range of satalite speakers and subwoofers that would give you the upgrade your looking for, so if that interests you, then feel free to ask away.

Hope that helps

Regards

Dan
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
Ive been there , Satellite/Sub systems are simply no good with some material.

For me the clincher was when I got the Neil Young Archives on Blu ray , the high res stereo tracks cannot be played pure over a SAT/Sub system.

I replaced front left and right with Monitor Audio Floorstanders , Satellites are fine for rears and center due to limited freq. response of those channels in any case , but the limited freq. response of front left and right severely hampers some material , especially high res music based material because in a lot of cases your forced to a downmix to utilise the sub.
 

steve12

Active Member
Hi,
Thanks for the replies, on closer inspection the sats i have are the kef 2001.3 model. i mostly watch sky hd and blurays, my budget would be around £800. I am not completely unhappy with the sat system that i have i just always thought bigger speakers such as floor standers would be better for my needs, maybe just upgrading to better sats could be the answer? Any recommendations for an upgrade from the 2001.3
Steve
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Hi,
Thanks for the replies, on closer inspection the sats i have are the kef 2001.3 model. i mostly watch sky hd and blurays, my budget would be around £800. I am not completely unhappy with the sat system that i have i just always thought bigger speakers such as floor standers would be better for my needs, maybe just upgrading to better sats could be the answer? Any recommendations for an upgrade from the 2001.3
Steve

Why not take a look at the MK M series sats, they will be a nice step up on the Kefs you have. The sub is just as important in a sub/sat system though, so its worth bearing that in mind for the future as well.
 

Soundmangt4

Well-known Member
I had a full Harman Kardon BDS870 system, and for movies it was great, and the quality of the sat speakers was genuinely quite astounding, but when it came to music, it just didn't do it justice. I started with B&W fronts and centre, and it was great with the discrete HK sats as the rears. TBH I only upgraded the rears so they matched, and to allow me to sell the whole HK system as a whole which fetched a lot more money.
If it's just for movies, I don't see going to floorstanders as a huge advantage.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Hi,
I currently have a 5.1 Kef 2005.2 egg sat system. i was wondering if i could keep 2 of the speakers and use them as rear left and right speakers and buy 2 new floor standers and a center, would i have to stick to the same manufacturer or could i mix them.
Or would i be better to buy a new 5.1 system? was just thinking that the sat speakers would blend in easier and take less room than bookshelf speakers.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Thanks
Steve
We've had numerous KHT2005 and 3005 owners upgrade their fronts and keep their rear speakers in place (sometimes using the front pair to move to 7.1), and quite a few people who are currently buying Q and particularly R Series and either adding T series rears or a pair of 2005 or 3005 satellites to complete the system, as they don't want a anything too bulky mounted on the walls around them. As they all use the UniQ idea, they all gel very well. I did a demo on Saturday of R500 floorstanders with the R200c centre with the new E305 satellites at the rear, and it all worked beautifully. As the UniQ has a particular radiation pattern, it is advantageous to stick to KEF all round, as they really do work together very well.

Many people will choose floorstanders for the front pair if they're important for music, but with a capable sub, they're not necessarily needed - which way you choose to go can only be decided with a demo. I would be tempted to look at the Q300 or R100 speakers, with the R100's being quite a step up in particular. Your Denon 3310 will be plenty powerful enough for either range. I would say of all the manufacturers we have on demo, the R Series is the most popular choice for AV systems. Have a demo and see what you think.
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
Ive laid out exactly what title Im talking about and exactly what a Sub/sat cannot do here.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Neil-Young-...368516960&sr=8-1&keywords=neil+young+archives

http://www.neilyoungarchives.com/NYAFAQ.html#brvsdvd

The BD track in this case is Stereo 24bit/192Khz , there is no LFE on the title.

Play it direct and front left and right have no bottom end , you lose all the bass. ( unless you know of sat speakers that range down as far as floorstanders on the bottom end )

Force a Front and sub utilisation and you lose the high res due to downmixing.

I did plenty of research at the time , and came to the conclusion that if you want to hear material like this without compromising the material on the disc then you need full range fronts.

Simple as that , there are situations where a sub sat combo simply does not work.

If you know of a system that does not compromise such material for playback over Sat/Sub setups , please link to it.
 
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Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Simply put, there is nothing a sub sat system cannot do when the components used are correct. A sub sat system doesnt need an LFE signal and the LFE channel itself isnt even actually required these days. Any bass present in the speaker channel is re-directed to a subwoofer in a sub sat system, and re-directed bass, and LFE bass are two distinct entities. A sub sat system simply uses a subwoofer for the bass rather than expecting a speaker to handle frequencies its simply cannot do as well.

Companies like Genelec, MK Sound, KK Sound, and even companies like Wisdom Audio and Steinway Lyngdorf are all using sub/sat setups, and all are simply stunning within their respective categorised. For the best performance, a pair of subwoofers should be used, and all the components should be high quality, but when they are they deliver performance most standard full range speakers simply cannot compete with. There is a misconception among many that sub/sat systems are fraught with limitation, and with certain products its certainly the case, but its absolutely not the case when you use the right sub/sats. Your welcome to come for a demonstration of our sub/sat systems and put my claims to the test.

As a side note, its worth bearing in mind that a huge amount of the audio material used in the world today, is all mastered in studios using sub/sat systems. There is a good reason for this. When it comes to normal rooms, the best place from which to produce low frequency bass is almost never the same place at which its best to produce the higher frequencies, and any speaker that forces the two to be produced from the same source represents a compromise in this regard, which is why the sub/sat system was invented in the first place, to ensure people who dont want to compromise, dont have to.
 
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mattkhan

Distinguished Member
Simply put, there is nothing a sub sat system cannot do when the components used are correct.
my bold

isn't that the point being made? i.e. that processors downsample 192kHz sources unless in direct mode

it's academic in some respects anyway as the question is ultimately, for a given budget & mix of source material, will your system sound better with a sub+sat setup with eq/bass mgmt/downsampling when necessary/etc or with full range speakers in direct mode? I imagine the right answer depends on your mix of sources (and how important the high res ones are) & your budget (might a sub/sat system might be cheaper to get high quality results?)
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
The results with the sub/sat are a significant improvement in lowering distortion, increasing dynamic headroom
how do you get reduced distortion & increased headroom when you're giving it a full range signal? the "it" being the mains as I was under the impression direct mode means no bass management (and I am assuming there is no external cross in front of them)
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
how do you get reduced distortion & increased headroom when you're giving it a full range signal? the "it" being the mains as I was under the impression direct mode means no bass management (and I am assuming there is no external cross in front of them)
There are two ways, and remember this is in relation to comparing a sub/sat system to full range speakers. Firstly, many sats will already filter the low end off anyway, either by a function of their design, by their internal crossover, or both. This allows small satalite speakers to go remarkably loud compared to their fully range counterparts, and do so with much less power needed. This increases headroom as far as listening levels goes, because your max output is a greater distance from your average listening level, and it increases amplifier headroom due to it not having to drive low bass content in the speaker, which reduces amplifier derived distortion. Greater headroom in the speaker also has the effect of less overall distortion being produced.
The second method is to use a subwoofer with speaker level filtering built in, like you get on MK subwoofers, and this will filter the sats for you in the absence of bass management in that system. Your new subwoofer has this capability BTW :smashin:
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
But if thats a concern, then you can simply run a sub with a high level input, and the issue doesnt exist.
Running high level inputs on a lot of receivers means telling the receiver you have no sub !

In which case , by the Dolby and DTS downmixing specs , downmixing automatically applies .... So it very much is an issue.

This is the case with my receiver ( Yamaha ) , there is no way to play that material in direct mode without downmixing , floorstanders were my "only" option within a reasonable budget.
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Running high level inputs on a lot of receivers means telling the receiver you have no sub !

In which case , by the Dolby and DTS downmixing specs , downmixing automatically applies .... So it very much is an issue.

This is the case with my receiver ( Yamaha ) , there is no way to play that material in direct mode without downmixing , floorstanders were my "only" option within a reasonable budget.
You can get subs that will run both high and low level simultaneously. You can get receivers that will also do this. There is always a way to achieve what you want to. A lot of receivers now have options like double bass, which will run the LFE and let speakers run full range, so which ever way you want to configure your particular system, there is always a solution. The fact you may not be able to configure your particular system how you want isnt a failing of the sub/sat design.

In any case, at what ever level you wish to aim at, you will always find a fully capable sub/sat system that can do the job, and do it better then full range floor standers, at all budgets.

As Mat also point out, there is also the question of does such a down mixed track actually sound inferior if played on a sub sat system of high quality, compared to playing a non down mixed track on a less dynamic and less capable system. Speakers are the most critical part of any system, and setting them up correctly is critical to maximising performance, where as a well mixed sound track, and even a down mixed one, can often exhibit little or no loss in perceived quality.

You asked if there was any systems which do not compromise sound quality and program material, and to that end, I would highlight the systems we showcase at the Gecko demo facility. Your more than welcome to book a visit and come and test your theory.
 

steve12

Active Member
Wow, you guys certainly know a hell of a lot more than me, I've just read through it all and even more confused than i was at the beginning which doesn't take much i admit :laugh:. Would this combination work?

Rears - 2 sats from kef egg 2001.3
Front - 2 floorstanding speakers
Centre - Kef 3005se centre speaker
Sub - kef cube , to be updated soon
Thanks,
Steve
 

Member 639844

Former Advertiser
Wow, you guys certainly know a hell of a lot more than me, I've just read through it all and even more confused than i was at the beginning which doesn't take much i admit :laugh:. Would this combination work?

Rears - 2 sats from kef egg 2001.3
Front - 2 floorstanding speakers
Centre - Kef 3005se centre speaker
Sub - kef cube , to be updated soon
Thanks,
Steve
The combination is workable, but I wouldnt say its perfect, but then compromise is often part of life when trying to fit the audio we would like, into the living room the other half would like.

The shining weakness in your system to me is the sub. With a high quality subwoofer, 3 sats up front would deliver just as good sound quality IMHO as would running the proposed setup you have pitched. If you end up not running the front speakers full range at all, or most of the time, I would question their value in the system at all personally. If you can keep the front 3 speakers identical, its much better for movie playback and music from multi channel discs, and for me, keeping the front 3 speakers as close to identical as possible makes as much sense as keeping the front left and right speakers identical as well.
 

Member 116841

Distinguished Member
Wow, you guys certainly know a hell of a lot more than me, I've just read through it all and even more confused than i was at the beginning which doesn't take much i admit :laugh:. Would this combination work?

Rears - 2 sats from kef egg 2001.3
Front - 2 floorstanding speakers
Centre - Kef 3005se centre speaker
Sub - kef cube , to be updated soon
Thanks,
Steve
Yes. Set the rears and centre to small with a crossover of about 100Hz. The fronts can be set to large so that the sub and front left/right share the work. If you had a better sub, I'd be tempted to set the front left and right to small too and cross them over at about 60Hz.
 

steve12

Active Member
My main concern regarding the centre is the size, i will be putting it on a shelf in a false chimney breast that i am building so the depth of the centre speaker is important as I wouldn't have much more than around 180mm to play with.
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
You can get subs that will run both high and low level simultaneously. You can get receivers that will also do this. There is always a way to achieve what you want to. A lot of receivers now have options like double bass, which will run the LFE and let speakers run full range, so which ever way you want to configure your particular system, there is always a solution. The fact you may not be able to configure your particular system how you want isnt a failing of the sub/sat design.
I'd argue that differently , the fact that most receivers out there downmix on high level inputs "is" a failing of the sub sat design when it comes to playing the material I'm talking about playing.

There may well be units out there that will do the job , but the fact is all floorstanders will give a better result than most sat speakers when it comes to my situation (i.e. more low end and no downmixing ), so how can you argue that is not fault of the Sub/Sat design is beyond me.

As Mat also point out, there is also the question of does such a down mixed track actually sound inferior if played on a sub sat system of high quality, compared to playing a non down mixed track on a less dynamic and less capable system. Speakers are the most critical part of any system, and setting them up correctly is critical to maximising performance, where as a well mixed sound track, and even a down mixed one, can often exhibit little or no loss in perceived quality.
This is a very poor argument , were not talking about spending a hundred or so on an MP3 player here , so dont start telling me that compromised material sounds just as good as the real thing in most cases. I personally know that's a crock , and once this argument is resorted too , then in my mind the system is a failure!

With any material the goal should be to reproduce it without butchering it , and for the material in question and an existing sub/sat system , the most cost effective way to do that is to replace the front left and right sats with some full range speakers and run your setup again.

I'm very happy with my results , and didn't have to replace the entire system to get there.
 
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mattkhan

Distinguished Member
I suspect we're veering off topic but....

This is a very poor argument , were not talking about spending a hundred or so on an MP3 player here , so dont start telling me that compromised material sounds just as good as the real thing in most cases. I personally know that's a crock, and once this argument is resorted too, then in my mind the system is a failure!
my bold. You're heading into straw man territory here, the actual quotes are

for a given budget & mix of source material, will your system sound better with a sub+sat setup with eq/bass mgmt/downsampling when necessary/etc or with full range speakers in direct mode?
Speakers are the most critical part of any system, and setting them up correctly is critical to maximising performance, where as a well mixed sound track, and even a down mixed one, can often exhibit little or no loss in perceived quality.
It is stated as a question or a possibility & there are obviously many ways to setup a system to achieve results you're happy with. I don't know how you can so positively assert that full range speakers are the one true way to do this (the fact you're happy with such a setup shows that it is possible not that it is the only or best way) as that depends on the setup of the system. It seems perfectly possible that the benefits of sub(s) might at least go some way to ameliorating the effect of any downmix (if that downmix is unavoidable).
 

andy1249

Distinguished Member
It seems perfectly possible that the benefits of sub(s) might at least go some way to ameliorating the effect of any downmix (if that downmix is unavoidable).
Remember , I have a full system here , sub/satellites etc.

I also have the material in actual 24/96 as at least four of the discs included in the set were released prior to the actual box.

So I have the material on BD at 24/192 , on DVD at 24/96

A full ( at the time ) sub/sat system.

The BD had a forced downmix (to 24/96) in any combination that involved the sub. The results were markedly worse than the DVD , which did not suffer the downmix.
So whatever internal processing was happening here was more than simply reducing the resolution of the material ... but hey , thats expected , processing of such material needlessly always affects the quality.

Replacing the front left and right Satellites with the floorstanders , and after many backwards and forwards listening tests , the BD now sounds best , as it should , the DVD's follow closely , and the downmixed material the worst by far.

For my system , keeping in mind that I want the best I can for my budget , and I want to play all kinds of material as best it can be played ....that means avoiding downmixing or extra processing where at all possible , then as far as I can see , my only option was to replace the front left and right Satellite with some full range speakers , those being the only two speakers used with that particular material.

For other material , the entire speaker set is used , and even in those cases , I hear a large benefit from having the floorstanders instead of the satellites for front left and right.

I hope that clarifies my viewpoint here.

Im willing to accept that newer Sub Sat systems and newer receivers may indeed have the option of not downmixing with such material , which at the time I replaced the speakers ( Nov. 2010) was most definitely not the case , but that would involve changing out the whole system.

Other than the material in question , I was and still am very happy with my system , I spent a lot of time auditioning all the components , I am also very happy with the solution I chose.

I suspect there are a lot of people out there with sub/sat systems very similar to mine , and not in a position to replace the entire system , so as the OP asked , yes you can mix floorstanders and satellite speakers , and yes it will give a marked improvement to the majority of the systems out there, and with some material , rare though it may be , it could well be your only solution.
 
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DrH

Active Member
To the OP,

From my experience using my ears in my room.

I went the other way to a point.

I had floor standers before. Once I had the garage converted to the room where I watch my moves and listen to music, having the floor standers almost in the corners meant that I ended up with a muddled bottom end.

I then upgraded to a BKXXLS400 sub, relieved the load on the floor standers bass wise, then the mid range opened up. So when looking at a replacement for the stereo pair I went for bookshelf speakers, in my case kef Q300's. they take up as much room as floor standers but have been easier to set up.

I use this combination for music and I am more than happy, the sub adds so much bottom end to drums etc.

I guess reading all the responses my set up would be a sub sat system. Most people's perspective of a sub sat would be tiny little satellites and a sub.

Try and get some demo's and see what you think.

DrH
 

mattkhan

Distinguished Member
so to bring it back to the OP's question... nothing in the world of AV is ever as simple as it seems :smashin:
 

spyder viewer

Well-known Member
I've deleted a number of posts because this thread was turning into a discussion on the relative merits rather than answering the OP's original request for suggested speakers.
 
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