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Speaker pairing

CuriousAV

Novice Member
Hi All.

I currently have a NAD av receiver with a Boston sub and two Wharfedale bookshelf speakers. I'm looking to add surround/rear speakers to my set-up. My wharfedales have 89db sensitivity and I currently run the sub cross-over at 80hz. (the wharfedales can go as low as 40hz). Due to aesthetic considerations (all us gentlemen need to adhere to) I'm considering small satellite speakers to the likes of Boston's Soundwire speakers. These are very small speakers that basically fit the palm of your hand, but is very versatile in terms of fitment. They have 85 db sensitivity and have a range of 150hz - 20khz. I mainly listen to music and live music dvds.

I have the following question.
  1. What would the impact be if I listen to music, but the front speakers only cross-over to the sub at 80hz, but 150hz for the rear speakers, will the overlap cause issues?
  2. Will the lower sensitivity of the satellite speakers cause issues with the balance of the sound - front vs rear?
  3. Would you recommend this pairing at all?
thanks in advance.
 

PSM1

Distinguished Member
Does your AV allow separate crossovers for each speaker (some do but some do not)?
The sensitivity of the speakers should not be an issue since the AVR should adjust for this so all speakers give the same level of sound at the listening position.
Small speakers are never going to be great with music and especially small budget speakers like the Bostons. That said a lot will depend on your personal expectations so they may be fine for you.
 

CuriousAV

Novice Member
Yes, the av allows for speaker specific adjustment on the cross-over. The one option I have is to set it at 150hz for all the speakers and that would eliminate any overlap in cross-over frequencies between the front and rear speakers. I'll first have to check how that affects my current set-up's sound as I'll be removing the 80 - 150hz currently handled by my bookshelf speakers and moving it to the sub. What would you recommend as an alternative to the Bostons?
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Can your sub handle up to 150hz?

It's very rear that surround frequencies would be below 150hz. I believe my rears and atmos are crossing over higher than my fronts but i am at work so cannot check.

The only way to really see if it works is to try and see what works best. I'd personally run the fronts to deal with the 80-150 rather than handing that over to the sub and just keep that at 80hz

depends on what budget you have. I do not have much experience with boston speakers but size generally matters when it comes to speakers; however there are some great sat speakers, especially for surrounds.

You would ideally want a matching centre speaker with the L&R's to keep the tonal balance across the front.
 

CuriousAV

Novice Member
Hi Dollag.

My sub can do up to 180hz (on paper, have not tried it). I hear you on the frequencies on the rear, but I suspect that will only apply to movies and perhaps concert dvds, normal CDs or other digital media will still send sub 150hz frequencies in a "5 channel stereo" set-up. Where my concern comes in (don't know if it's founded or not) is that if I have music going to both front and rear, my fronts will handle everything 80hz and higher, which is fine. To deal with the satellites only crossing over at 150hz, the sub will take all the frequencies up to that point which means my fronts and subs will overlap from 80 - 150hz and that may cause some muddynes, but I would need to test that using the manual cross-over on the sub because the av currently does the bass management.

Please let me know what the extent of cross-over difference is between your front and rear and how it affects your sound.

I'm with you on this "You would ideally want a matching centre speaker with the L&R's to keep the tonal balance across the front."

My other option is to let normal music run through the sub and fronts and only do concerts and movies through the rear.

Thanks for your input.
 

dollag

Well-known Member
Music is best played back in 2 channel config; however i know some people do like multi channel. It could be a trade off as I would assume it will sound unbalanced in multichannel.

I will have a look when i get home; however unless i am playing computer or watching tv/movie, my avr is in 2 channel mode for all other use
 

gibbsy

Moderator
I always play music from CDs in stereo, not however from my receiver but through my integrated stereo amp which is fitted into the system. With the small speakers at the rear and playing all channel stereo then this may cause an issue in sound balance and therefore you may very well be better off playing in stereo with the sub used.

For DVD concerts in 5.1 then the problem goes away as the vast majority of concerts are still mixed for the fronts to carry the sound with just crowd noise and some reverb coming from the surrounds. I've got quite a few old DVD concerts and even newer blu rays where the track is essentially 4.1 with the centre channel being mute.
 

CuriousAV

Novice Member
Hi Gibbsy.

Regarding this:
"For DVD concerts in 5.1 then the problem goes away as the vast majority of concerts are still mixed for the fronts to carry the sound with just crowd noise and some reverb coming from the surrounds."

I will then probably stick to your recommendation of doing music in stereo and use the surrounds for concerts as reverb and crowd noise should for 99%+ of the time not go below 150hz. I can always later get a proper HT speaker package that has speakers well suited for music.

Thanks
 
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