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Does size matter....?

RobM

Distinguished Member
Does speaker size matter, when it comes to home audio and the sound generated?

My current speaker setup consists of Mordaunt Short 902i, 903i & 905i as the center, surround and fronts respectively. The surrounds are wall mounted, the center sits directly beneath the wall mounted TV on a mantle piece and the fronts sit on the side of the same mantle piece, about half a meter from the center and TV.

I'm very pleased with the sound. It's warm and easy to listen to (driven by Onkyo 605). My problem is with the size of them though, as the center and fronts are not exactly small speakers and don't look particularly pretty with the black grills on them and without the grills the silver is somewhat dominating. They looked fine in my old house, but not so great where I live now. And yes, I am a tart who likes things to look good ;)

I've considered changing them for something like the Mordaunt Short Genies or KEF Eggs, but will I lose anything from the sound? The center especially worries me, as the sound is so nice and deep and warm now I'd be worried about losing that by having a smaller driver.

Any thoughts would be appreciated :)
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Yep, size matters.
The lifestyle speakers you mention will all be a downgrade, IMO.
I suppose it depends how fussy you are, but you aren't going to get a small centre to approach the 905, it's a cracker.
 

RobM

Distinguished Member
I kinda thought as much, but was hoping to hear comments like 'sound much bigger than they are' or 'punch above their weight' :rotfl:
 

RossFlet

Active Member
If you want warmth and good bass extension you need a larger enclosure purely because speakers are acoustic devices and in order to produce good bass they need to move a good volume air. If the black bothers you so much either replace the grilles with lighter coloured material or have the room lights off when you are watching a movie so the speakers blend into the darkness. But as Badger says, don't toss out your centre speaker for a smaller and lesser performing one. How they sound (not how they look) is what it's about.
 

DolbyDan

Well-known Member
Kinda like boxing, a top of range boxer i.e. Ricky Hatton are top in their class and size, but go a size bigger, but of lower quality then the boxer will compete, but of equal quality, the bigger size boxer i.e. mayweather will have more punch power and the boxer/speaker won't compare.

Like you said punching above its weight.
 

RobM

Distinguished Member
Cheers for the advice guys, and I love the boxing analogy! Looks like Im sticking with what I have then, which Im happy with. Looks are all well and good but, as said above already, its the sound that counts!

Thanks :)
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Strangely enough, seeing as they're a box, I actually think they're one of the best looking on the market in the mainstream stuff, especially with the covers off.

I agree, stick with what you have, especially if you're happy with the sound.
 

RobM

Distinguished Member
Can you buy different grills for speakers like these? I do love the look of them, but they stand out too much in my current living room, both with grills on (big black boxes) and grills off (shiny big boxes) :)
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
You can certainly buy different colour cloths at the likes of maplins, to DIY.

but they stand out too much in my current living room

:rotfl:

You ought to see my gaff :eek:
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
I agree with all this, but only to a degree... If you do not go very loud, and have a capable sub, you just need main speakers going down to 80Hz, and set the crossover at 100Hz or 120Hz. If the speakers go down to 80Hz without great output (for moderate listening levels), you can live with much smaller speakers. Still with a limit in size, but they can be quite small. I am thinking for example about the Castle compact set, which I had the pleasure to listen to. Amazing sound and really small speakers, at 8x5.5x6.5 inches. They go quite loud, too, although they lost composure at some point.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Cribeiro,
I see where you're coming from re: the bass side of things, but I've always found the small speakers to be thin when it comes to midrange, even the likes of the Gallos etc and as for Kef, well.

I suppose the best neutral advice is go and listen to some small speakers if at all possible :smashin:
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
Cribeiro,
I see where you're coming from re: the bass side of things, but I've always found the small speakers to be thin when it comes to midrange, even the likes of the Gallos etc and as for Kef, well.

I suppose the best neutral advice is go and listen to some small speakers if at all possible :smashin:

Yes, listening is believing :D

Well, as I said, there is still a size limitation, and probably Kef eggs go too far, and Gallos too (4 inch sphere! :eek: I think as a kid I had marbles bigger than that :rotfl: Well, not really).
 

DolbyDan

Well-known Member
I personally think the MA Radius range are a terrific range, the R225, R250 & R270 have still got big enough cabinets to easily be able to handle mid range and a bit more leaving the sub for deep stuff.
 

TheHobbit

Active Member
Cribeiro,
I see where you're coming from re: the bass side of things, but I've always found the small speakers to be thin when it comes to midrange, even the likes of the Gallos etc and as for Kef, well.

I suppose the best neutral advice is go and listen to some small speakers if at all possible :smashin:

I'm only just stqarting to audition speakers, but listened to some Alumnis last week against some Mezzos and agree that size does matter.

The alumnis were good with detailed top end and surpisingly good base, but sounded 'thin' (I think thats the term) in the mid range, compared to the Mezzos - which were very impressive.

Audition some and se if you can live with the compromise.
 

RobM

Distinguished Member
I worry more about midrange than I do bass, so I certainly do not want to give that up. Most of my listening involves a lot of vocals, as my taste in music is fairly vocal and I watch a lot of TV through my setup, as well as films. So losing the depth in midrange isn't something I'm happy with.
 

iainsilvester

Active Member
I worry more about midrange than I do bass, so I certainly do not want to give that up. Most of my listening involves a lot of vocals, as my taste in music is fairly vocal and I watch a lot of TV through my setup, as well as films. So losing the depth in midrange isn't something I'm happy with.

Yes but voice is usually screen centric and will come from your accoustically small centre. This is always so. If you need to double your system up as a traditional stereo pair with add ons for surround then you may prefer larger left and right, ie a stereo pair. We choose music speakers by the flavour of sound they produce, but how a vocalist should actually sound is anyones guess, and do we care? But listen to TV, say the 10 o'clock news and your world may fall apart. Warmth in mid range is often bass induced intermodulation distortion that isn't actually supposed to be there. Again, so what if you like your music warm and cuddly, but the foxy Fiona Bruce really shouldn't sound like a male baritone.
 

RobM

Distinguished Member
Yes but voice is usually screen centric and will come from your accoustically small centre. This is always so. If you need to double your system up as a traditional stereo pair with add ons for surround then you may prefer larger left and right, ie a stereo pair. We choose music speakers by the flavour of sound they produce, but how a vocalist should actually sound is anyones guess, and do we care? But listen to TV, say the 10 o'clock news and your world may fall apart. Warmth in mid range is often bass induced intermodulation distortion that isn't actually supposed to be there. Again, so what if you like your music warm and cuddly, but the foxy Fiona Bruce really shouldn't sound like a male baritone.

Very good points, I should have been clearer in my previous post. My current setup has a natural feeling to it, Fiona Bruce sounds very lady like ;) and as I would expect, which is what I like the most. I've never listened to a TV program and thought 'that sounds odd'. The reason I bought my current center speaker was because I wasn't happy with the depth of vocals I had before, they always sounded empty (I hope that makes sense), but now I think I have the right balance without giving Fiona an adams-apple!

Music is well catered for with the stereo pair of fronts, which match the center (great for TV and films), but the center isn't used for music, as I keep it in stereo (2.1). So in reality, I guess my system is a jack-of-all-trades system as the same speaker setup and amp is used for everything from Wii and XBox to films, TV and music. So finding the right mix to cater for all that is important.

BUT... this thread was started as I still like things to look good in my living room. Currently the big, black squares aren't the most attractive things to have sat either side and underneath the screen (which is also big and black :rolleyes: ), so I was hoping, somewhat unrealistically I guess, that the likes of the Kef eggs or the Genies or anything else like that would be able to match the sound from my current setup.

Best of both worlds, pretty and great sound? Somewhat a dream I think, without spending a small fortune! :)
 

iainsilvester

Active Member
Well I suspect it won't match the sound and as you are happy with what you have you may have problems! Going too small forces the sub to go beyond it's comfort zone (unless designed to push to 200Hz), and forces it to produce directional sounds, poor for imaging of course.

I guess my point is warm mid bass isn't always natural, but this doesn't sound like an issue for you. Going from a large stereo pair to dedicated centre and getting better voicing is one of the most common topics on this forum, though I'm not sure folk always appreciate what is going on.
 

cribeiro

Well-known Member
I'm only just stqarting to audition speakers, but listened to some Alumnis last week against some Mezzos and agree that size does matter.

The alumnis were good with detailed top end and surpisingly good base, but sounded 'thin' (I think thats the term) in the mid range, compared to the Mezzos - which were very impressive.

Audition some and se if you can live with the compromise.


Do you think it has something to do with the size, or rather with the fact that similar sized mezzos cost 3x more than the alumnis? I assume that the drivers are better, cabinet, etc. I am not so sure that the difference is size related...
 

Lord Bunky

Active Member
Hi Rob,

I had B&W 600's before i got my M&K Xenons. To be honest in this case, size didnt matter. If set right, the sub+sat system is Great for movies. Clear treble and mid-range, topped by trouser flapping bass from the sub. Cost a fair bit more than my old B&W ones, but i guess thats why the M&K's produce fantastic sound.

I even like it for music, as i have a lot of bass heavy music. The M&K's are studio monitor quality (what Ken Kreisel wanted) and play vocals with nice crisp quality. I have them all on the wall around my TV, and it looks very nice and flush.

I also play movies at -15 to -10 so its loud. Have my bass roll off at 100Hz. Used bass test tones to get a smooth roll-off.

Happy days! :thumbsup:
 

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