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More floorstanders - Better sound?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by jules8104, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. jules8104

    jules8104
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    Uncle Eric (et al),

    I was going to reply into the "...centre speaker..." thread with this query but I think that my questions are not quite relevant and connected to that thread (although I've quoted a fragment of one message below), so here I go with a new one...

    While I've been into hi-fi for many years, I have a relatively modest AV setup (it's a 36" Toshiba with built in DD5.1 and small satellites).

    I've just moved to a large Victorian detached house and I want to upgrade my home cinema to fill a very large rectangular living room and will be purchasing a 6.1 or 7.1 receiver as my decoder / amplifier.

    I see (at least) three speaker config options:

    1 .. The standard : 2 bigger fronts, 2 (or 3 or 4) smaller rears/effects plus centre and a sub.

    2 .. Upgrade 1? : 2 bigger fronts plus same (big) rears/effects plus centre and a sub.

    3 .. Upgrade 2?: 4 floor standers for fronts/rears plus a centre. NO SUB.
    - For 6.1 or 7.1, would that require more floor standers for the extra channels or would smaller wall mounted speakers be OK.

    BTW - I can handle it if I get told I'm mad for even thinking the above!!

    For the floorstanders, I am considering some of the cheaply available ones from Richer Sounds or HyperFi etc. like Eltax Liberty 5+, Mission 773e, 775e or Wharfdale Pacifica Pi-40 or similar. I can't help thinking they would be ideal in my room (big, loud and cheap with quality sound thrown in!)

    So would more floorstanders sound better (with no sub) or would the effects in the quote below be an issue). Alternatively, would a standard 4,5 or 6 speaker with sub be better?

    In the floorstander scenario, what would be the right way of choosing the centre speaker (clearly it couldn't easily be the same as the fronts). I have an old AE centre I could use but I'm sure it wouldn't be a good match.

    Quite a bit to digest I know. Hope it makes sense!


    Cheers!

    Jules


     
  2. jules8104

    jules8104
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    One other thing...

    How would / could dipole or bipolar speakers figure in the setups I was talking about?

    Jules
     
  3. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    My preference (in a bigger room, purely for music) are floorstanders for L/R use.

    Trying to use (esp) satellites for L/R, then dialling in a subwoofer can be difficult. You need a very high quality sub to integrated well (to the L/R speakers) Using standmounts with a subwoofer is a bit easier - because the standmounts go a bit lower, you set the subwoofer crossover a bit lower, therefore the subwoofer doesn't have to reproduce the slightly higher freqencies, which can be more directional.

    Uncle Eric does give good advice, he recommends monopoles for rears- I prefer dipoles. Each to their own. My head won't explode if I choose the (wrong) option. So choose whatever YOU prefer.

    Since you're on a budget, that limits you to high quality sats and subwoofer (ie you won't be able to use all M&K 150THX speakers, and very high quality subwoofer)

    I would say put as much dosh into the L/R speakers for now. Then buy a high quality, matching centre.

    Demo bipole, dipoles and the same speakers as the L/R's. Try using the three different types for rears. Also compare 5.1 to 7.1, switching the Surround back speakers on/off.

    Then get a decent subwoofer, at least £500.

    Nathan
     
  4. jules8104

    jules8104
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    Thanks for taking the time...

    You made me think of a followup question or two:

    1. With 6.1, should the rear centre supposedly be the same as the rear L/R?
    2. With 7.2, should the two center rears (theoretically) be bipolars?
      [/list=1]

      Thanks again.

      Jules
     
  5. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    6.1 is pretty much dead- DTS had a 6.1 codec, but it was replaced with 7.1.

    There is no rear centre anymore. You now have Left, Right, Centre, Side Left, Side Right, Rear Surround Left, Rear Surround Right.

    There is no 7.2- it's 7.1

    Dolby recommends using dipoles for the sides, and bipoles for the rear surrounds. hers a pic.

    The rectangular speakers in the pic are dipoles. The trapezoidal are bipoles.

    Nathan
     

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  6. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    Whoops, think I'm incorrect on the Dolby qoute - they recommend identical speakers all round.

    Try for yourself, compare identical speakers. And then compare dipoles/bipoles/monopoles/tripoles for the sides/back.
     
  7. bob007

    bob007
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    I think The THX Ultra II specs state that sides should be Di-Poles and the surround backs monopoles.

    This is how my system is configured, I also have floorstanders up front for the main pair, I personally prefer these as you get the best of both worlds, for movies they are set to small (xover 80Hz) and act like satellites which I think are prefered for movies.
    Then when listening to music (direct mode) they default to large, as they have a good frequency rating I sometimes prefer not to have to sub switched on, something I would not find exceptable if they were satellites due to their higher frequency rating.

    Something to consider when choosing the surrounds. If you are seated close by to the surrounds then may be Di-Poles would be more suitable, but if you have a good distance then monopoles.

    IMO both work but it is down to the individuale to evaluate which work/sounds the best for their particular set up. ;)
     
  8. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Sorry but am I going mad here? I didn't think there was any such thing as 7.1 - I thought there was Dolby Digital (THX) EX, DTS-ES, and DTS-ES discrete and that all of these are 6.1 soundtracks (the first two being matrixed, the third being discrete) i.e. there is just one "surround back" channel that just happens to often be replayed through 2 speakers (with THX EX insisting on it).

    Matt.
     
  9. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    I think DTS Discrete is proper 7.1 (stereo surround back), wheras DTS-ES has mono surround back.

    Confusing! :rolleyes:
     
  10. sounddog

    sounddog
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    DTS-ES Matrix, DTS-ES Discrete and DD-EX are all 6.1 modes.

    DTS-ES Discrete has a completely separate channel encoded onto the disc (in the same way as the other 5.1 channels are encoded).

    DTS-ES Matrix and DD-EX both use similar method to encode an extra channel into 5.1 channels on the disc (in the same way as Pro Logic encoded extra channels into a 2ch soundtrack).

    There are a few processors that will create a separate left and right "centre" back channels ... but there is no (domestic) sound format that are true 7.1 DTS has the capability to be 10.2 - but that capability is not currently used.
     
  11. nathan_silly

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    Cheers for that info. When DTS started bringing out more than 5.1 I didn't bother follow the variants, too much bother!

    ps. is there DTS 24/96?
     
  12. EvilMudge

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    Yeah, there's DTS 24bit at 96KHz sampling rate.
    Normal DTS is limited to 5.1 channels and 48Khz sampling rate. In order to maintain compatibility with older decoders extension data was invented - this can be used to give a discrete sixth channel and the extra frequency range.
    DTS Discrete still contains a matrixed rear channel though - it's just processed and then thrown away by the decoder, leaving a stereo pair and a discrete rear centre - this is why 6.1 Discrete doesn't have that much of an advantage over 6.1 Matrix.
     
  13. jules8104

    jules8104
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    'scuse my ignorance again but what are the characteristics that define dipole and bipole speakers and what purpose does each aim to serve?

    Cheers!

    Jules
     
  14. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    bipoles- tweeter and mid are opposite facing, but in phase.

    dipoles- tweeter and mid are opposite facing, but reversed phase.


    Bipoles offer a wider dispersion of sound than monopoles, but they can still be directional.

    Dipoles offer a even wider dispersion of sound than bipoles, the sound is not directional- it's spread forwards and backwards. if you close your eyes, it's pretty hard to locate the speaker.

    [edit] used for side/rear speakers, depending on room and listener's preference.

    Nathan
     
  15. jules8104

    jules8104
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    Well thanks all for replying on this topic (and others :) )...

    I am now going to consider something more conventional then (without many big bass producers in the mix - Per Uncle Eric)!

    Of course, I should listening to these options not requesting the answer in writing, but hey, what the hell.

    Let me take a nice simple Wharfdale diamond solution and make an assertion -

    If I was to use say Diamond 8.2 for all seven speakers plus a center and decent sub, surely this would produce a much better sound (admittedly for more money) than amost any of the sub satellite solutions out there. True or false? (Note: V. large room)

    Is it possible and or preferable to use another Diamond 8.2 as the center speaker as well? In fact, could I wire TWO Diamond 8.2s as one center channel without another amp? How would these compare to say the Diamond 8 Center speaker?

    In fact, why should a center speaker be any different from the others speakers in a home cinema setup???

    Would the above benefit at all from upgrading the front left / rights to say 8.4s? If so, surely the tonal differences (8.2s vs 8.4s) would be as evident as the sonic benefits of the bigger speakers?

    Oh jeez - another question (sorry): Does a sub in a 5.1 / 7.1 system operate equally for all channels - i.e it produces all LF sound generated on any of the channels? If so, that would suggest (bearing Uncle Eric's comments in mind) that the rule must be, the bigger and deeper the sub the better. However, **if** each channel had its own sub **and** they were all in phase (how???), that would proably be even better - right?

    Cheers!

    Jules
     
  16. nathan_silly

    nathan_silly
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    Most speakers that are designed for L/R use arn't that great for centre channel- something to do with horizontol or vertical dispersion (can't remember which) UNLESS the whole package was designed for same-speaker/home theatre use, for example the M&K 150THX cube speakers.

    You want all speakers in phase. And yes you want the best subwoofer you can afford- in a big room, say 10'x10' or bigger, you want to spend at least £700 for a subwoofer.

    You normally just one subwoofer, for the .1 LFE channel (subwofer channel)

    Don't have much experience with Wharfdale-have heard a few of them going- there are better speakers out there

    [edit] regarding sat/sub setup- I don't think they perform well in a large room. You need a REALLY high quality subwoofer to blend well. Best to use floorstanders for L/R, and matching centre, and either monopoles/bipoles/dipoles/tripoles for rears.
     
  17. jules8104

    jules8104
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    Thanks again!

    If the room was only 10' by 10' maybe I would not worry: however, it's actually more than 4 metres by 5 metres!!!

    So maybe I'm right back in the Diamond 8.4 or Pacifica i40 floorstander market again for my fronts (and other channels maybe). Still, going back to Uncle Eric's comments, multiple deep bass producers may be an issue too.

    See you around...

    Jules
     
  18. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Just a few thoughts on this subject.

    My take is that if you are going to get a decent subwoofer which you need for home cinema, unless you are going to spend a fortune on a pair of floorstanders, then there is no real need to go for a pair of floorstanders for your front left/right speakers. Remember that the 5 or 6 main channels in DD/DTS can drop down to 20Hz and hardly any main speakers can go this low. The .1 LFE channel goes even lower – down to 10Hz and below in some cases – a lot of subs can’t get this low, let alone floorstanders.

    You would be better off, IMO, going for small standmount speakers all round – the smallest of the Wharfedale Diamonds (if those are what you want) or alternatives such as B&W 600 S3’s, KEF Q1’s etc. Couple these with something like a Velodyne CHT10 and you will be laughing.

    Whilst we’re on the subject of small speakers, there does seem to be a general confusion over what constitutes a satellite speaker. There are a number of people who say satellites are rubbish but they are talking only about the poxy “fag packet sized” silver boxes that you see in Dixons. An alternative view (that I happen to agree with) is that any speaker that drops no lower than 80Hz (and hence must be used with a sub) is a satellite – this makes all the M&K models including the lovely MPS1510’s (which I own) and the awesome (£3K plus a pair) MPS2510P’s satellite speakers and you can be assured that they are not rubbish.

    Regarding centre speakers, you asked why they should be any different to the other speakers – in theory they shouldn’t but in practice they have to, in most situations, be placed above or below a TV and therefore the horizontally arranged design was born. If you can accommodate a “normal” speaker for centre duties (i.e. an identical speaker to those being used for the front left/right channels) then please do so as this will give you perfect tonal cohesion across the front 3 channels. If you can’t fit a normal speaker in then a dedicated centre it will have to be.

    The problem with using an identical centre is buying a single unit, of course, but you could get around this in a 6.1 set up by buying 3 identical pairs of speakers and using one as a centre and one as a single “surround back” channel. So, something like 3 pairs of B&W 600 S3 would do the trick. If you wanted 2 “surround back” speakers then, using the B&W example again, you could buy the LCR6 speaker (to use as the centre) in addition to the 3 pairs of 600’s.

    Hope these comments are helpful.

    Matt.
     
  19. jules8104

    jules8104
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    Yes, your comments were indeed helpful. Thanks for taking the time!

    Observation: This whole thing is so contentious - right?

    I have a few questions (as always):

    1 .. Let's say I bought a decent sub and went with some Diamond 8.1s or whatever for the "satellites". Is there any way to assure a seamless integration between the satellites and the sub (frequency and volume wise)?

    2 .. Secondly, let me re-ask my question about using 2 speakers for the center channel. Is there a way to drive 2 speakers instead of 1 without using the center pre-out and a separate poweramp? Presumably, it would not be good to just wire them in parallel (presenting half the load) or in series (presenting twice the load) - right?

    3 .. For the center back speakers in a 7.1 setup, I think 2 are required - right? What position would I put 2 regular monopoles to achieve the right effect (back to back facing the side walls maybe)?

    Thanks again.

    Jules
     
  20. jules8104

    jules8104
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    Should I start a new thread with my last questions maybe?

    Jules
     
  21. nathan_silly

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    No- I'm still here.. to answer your Q's

    1) Yes. Buy the best subwoofer you can afford, at least £500. Decent subs are alot easier to integrated between the main L/R speakers.

    2) Don't do it. It messes the sound up. Use a single dedicated centre speaker, ie Kef Model 100 is a excellent centre.


    3) Depending on your room. Use dipoles for the sides, monopoles for the surround back.

    Nathan
     
  22. uncle eric

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    Jules,
    I think you had most of the answers you were looking for.
    Stay away from dual centre speakers. Not needed at all.
    Even if you were to level match them with the rest of the sats, dual centre speakers would simply raise your awareness of the prominence of this already very busy centre channel.
    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=69164&perpage=15&pagenumber=2

    My favourite configuration is tri-poles for the side surrounds and mono-poles for the rears.
     

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