Big speakers worth it, if you have a good Sub? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 02-11-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Not really sure where to post this but this section seems like the best.

I bought a set of Klipsch RF-7 II almost a year ago and recently bought a Seaton Submersive HP sub. K, I am running a Denon amp (989) with a Rotel 1075 Amp. I'm sure there are lots of others out there with big speakers and amps with a really good sub as well so the reason for my post.

I honestly think I could have saved a lot of money by buying a good set of book shelf speakers instead of large speakers after hearing a good sub. I have A/B my speakers with music with just my mains set to large ( No sub) and than with my sub with the speakers set to small using 80hz crossever. It seems to be the standard recommendation no matter what size of speaker.

Ok, above 40h hz these speakers play just as good as the HP when they are set to large with no sub, honestly I can't tell a difference, they sound bassy and tight, but when I play music with really low end the sub just kicks their ass. ie: play this song with just your mains and than using your sub with mains set to small, its rap but it proves my point, at least to me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knWnMKKEt88.

I believe I could get the same sound with good bookshelves and a good sub.

Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 21 Old 02-11-2012, 10:35 PM
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I think the answer is somewhere in between. The particular speakers you have chosen are designed for lots of low end frequency response (down to 30 Hz), which makes them a good option in a system without any subwoofer. That's not to say performance isn't better with a subwoofer, because it is.

Assuming you're going to have a quality subwoofer though, I think you can do better dollar for dollar passing more of the non-directional sound to the subwoofer, and buying speakers that don't produce all the way down to 30 Hz, maybe 50 Hz or so, with room to cross over to the sub a little bit above this.

That doesn't put you in typical bookshelf territory, although larger stand mount speakers can do this. Lots of floor standing speakers have that type of frequency response too. Your speakers just happen to really deliver the bass goods.

Any individual driver can only span so much frequency range. So it becomes a question of what drivers will best span that whole range. By default you've got a tweeter, then a mid-bass which could be anywhere from ~5.5"-10". The bigger your subwoofer driver, the bigger you'll need your mid-bass driver to be to get proper integration. Considering your sub has 15" drivers (I think), you're probably benefiting from the large floor standers. If you had say a 12" sub, I think you would be better off with smaller main speakers.
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post #3 of 21 Old 02-11-2012, 11:05 PM
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Much of it gets down to how loud you like to play. Generally speaking, big speakers can reproduce high volume with much less dynamic compression than small speakers. This is true even with the use of a sub. Mid and upper bass also requires a good deal of air movement to reproduce high volume levels without compression. Larger speakers can typically do this more effortlessly.
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post #4 of 21 Old 02-11-2012, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike View Post

Much of it gets down to how loud you like to play. Generally speaking, big speakers can reproduce high volume with much less dynamic compression than small speakers. This is true even with the use of a sub. Mid and upper bass also requires a good deal of air movement to reproduce high volume levels without compression. Larger speakers can typically do this more effortlessly.

Well said and I'd like to add more on to this but I'm tired. Lol.

Just general fyi, even if you have the best subwoofer system in the world, it doesn't mean one should cut corners wrt their 'mains'.

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post #5 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 12:06 AM
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Even if you're not using all your main speakers range, that doesn't mean they then sound like their comparable smaller model. For example, I have a set of Paradigm Studio 60's and 100's, both used in the same setup and crossed over at the typical 80 Hz, but the 100's still sound better producing the same frequency range.
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post #6 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tuskenraider View Post

Even if you're not using all your main speakers range, that doesn't mean they then sound like their comparable smaller model. For example, I have a set of Paradigm Studio 60's and 100's, both used in the same setup and crossed over at the typical 80 Hz, but the 100's still sound better producing the same frequency range.

That's because the larger speaker (100) fills the room more evenly with sound then the slightly smaller speaker (60) using smaller woofers for mid-range and bass. For home theater using 60's with a sub is necessary to getting that bass punch when necessary. With using the 100's your subwoofer doesn't need to be as present. Going to smaller bookcase speakers the subwoofer really has to blend well to not dominate what you are hearing from the L+R. Admittedly some bookcase combo with subwoofers fare really well, but its not even close as the large speaker (better bass) you go, the better audio presentation you hear when using a sub.

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post #7 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 09:57 AM
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Well yes, I was aware of the various reasons larger speakers typically sound better, I just wanted to share a bit of my experience with the reasons already stated by previous posts.
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post #8 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 11:13 AM
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If possible, adjust the crossover to a lower frequency 60Hz or even 40Hz and see how that sounds.
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post #9 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 11:32 AM
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It all depends on the speaker!
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post #10 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKtheater View Post

It all depends on the speaker!

I agree
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post #11 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 12:15 PM
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Yes, I have heard great sounding and big sounding small speakers and crappy large or tower speakers. Right now I have a bookshelf(19 inches cubed) crossing over to a sub at 150hz and I have not heard a tower better for 10 times the price. Of course my room is a dedicated theater. There are some great traits from both bookshelves and towers and I wanted the best of both for the best price.
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post #12 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 12:32 PM
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I was always under the impression that if you had a quality bookshelf speaker that could play below the x-over range(80hz for me) that they were the better value. Say you only had 3K to spend on both. Wouldn't it be better to buy bookshelf speakers and a nice sub? That's not really "skimping on the speakers" as someone above mentioned. Generally the bookshelf equivalent uses the same tweeter so I guess I don't quite understand. If you x-over at 80hz(i know it's not a direct cut-off) then everything below will go to the sub. So what is the difference if you are using bookshelfs or floorstanding? Neither will be playing those frequencies. Unless you are referring to the bass above 80hz...and are saying that is where you'd get more mid-bass punch. But, then I'd think this would be highly dependent on the speaker? And that kind of shoots holes in any speaker that has to be crossed with a sub at 120hz. I think I would buy bookshelf every time even with increase in budget. The biggest thing for me would be that they are dynamic enough to handle movies.

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post #13 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by benclement11 View Post

I was always under the impression that if you had a quality bookshelf speaker that could play below the x-over range(80hz for me) that they were the better value. Say you only had 3K to spend on both. Wouldn't it be better to buy bookshelf speakers and a nice sub? That's not really "skimping on the speakers" as someone above mentioned. Generally the bookshelf equivalent uses the same tweeter so I guess I don't quite understand. If you x-over at 80hz(i know it's not a direct cut-off) then everything below will go to the sub. So what is the difference if you are using bookshelfs or floorstanding? Neither will be playing those frequencies. Unless you are referring to the bass above 80hz...and are saying that is where you'd get more mid-bass punch. But, then I'd think this would be highly dependent on the speaker? And that kind of shoots holes in any speaker that has to be crossed with a sub at 120hz. I think I would buy bookshelf every time even with increase in budget. The biggest thing for me would be that they are dynamic enough to handle movies.

Again it depends on the speaker and what one's goals are. If someone is not used to great Midbass then they think bookshelves are awesome. It really depends. There is also the soundstage that a tower just seems well, bigger. I have used awesome sounding bookshelves but they sound small and lack Midbass only when I compared them to large towers. The bookshelves had better high frequencies but I was OK with it for a while. Now I have heard the high frequencies again and I wanted both so I started testing again. People can get small bookshelves and cross over to subs for great Midbass but that big dynamic sound might be missing compared to the subs. It is all a balance and when I match not only the size of the sound with the bookshelf with the subs I also match the dynamics with each other for a much better balanced system.
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post #14 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 01:02 PM
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It's not hard to find a bookshelf speaker with a 5 or 6 inch woofer that can play down to 50hz. Someone might typically cross a speaker such as that over at 80hz. It is very unlikely that such a speaker is going to be able to move enough air to reproduce 90 or 100hz with sufficient dynamics and low enough distortion to sound realistic at high volume.
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post #15 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojomike View Post

It's not hard to find a bookshelf speaker with a 5 or 6 inch woofer that can play down to 50hz. Someone might typically cross a speaker such as that over at 80hz. It is very unlikely that such a speaker is going to be able to move enough air to reproduce 90 or 100hz with sufficient dynamics and low enough distortion to sound realistic at high volume.

So you would never recommend an all bookshelf 5.1 speaker system on say a $3K budget. Cause if you go floor standing you are going to have step down in speaker quality to be able to pay the extra for the floor-standing speakers. The reason I ask is because this was my budget and it seemed that if I wanted to buy floorstanding mains, I was not able to get as nice of a brand and sacrifice on tweeter quality for the low end. Maybe I made the wrong decision and I'm not trying to be argumentative. Just trying to learn. It just makes more sense to me at a lower budget to go bookshelf.

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post #16 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 01:26 PM
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There is no hard fast rule. There are some basic generalities and some exceptions. For example, there are some bookshelf speakers that are designed for high output and high dynamics like the CHT Pro-10 and Sho-10 or the eD Cinema line. Speakers like these will have better output and dynamics than even large floorstanders, but speakers like that are the exception to the norm.
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post #17 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 02:28 PM
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One other consideration: the size of your room. In a small room, you probably wouldn't need the larger sound stage of towers. But in a large room, that sound stage would be important.

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post #18 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

One other consideration: the size of your room. In a small room, you probably wouldn't need the larger sound stage of towers. But in a large room, that sound stage would be important.

In a similar light, the distance from the speakers can make a big difference as well. Even small, inefficiant speakers can sound dynamic if you're only a few feet away from them.
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post #19 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 03:51 PM
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I sold my RF7's, RC7 and RS7's for the much smaller Paradigm Millenia One's 5 speaker system for my bedroom. I really don't miss the RF7 setup. The little Millenia one's are insane with my SVS PB12 NSD sub.

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post #20 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 03:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Great responses everyone.

I never thought about better sounding mid bass with larger speakers in general. Plus, my rec room is @8000 cubic feet so smaller speakers probably would not fill the room with sound. I do enjoy listening to them at fairly loud levels, say 90-100 db on average with the occasional push to 110 db or more.

I certainly don't have buyers remorse, I love the sound off my system but if ever move to a place with a smaller rec room, than I probably would consider getting a good set of bookshelf's.
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post #21 of 21 Old 02-12-2012, 04:14 PM
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Mojo mike has a good point. Listening distance and room size will make the differences more or less noticeable. Maybe this is why chasls2 doesn't miss his rf7s? I listen at 20' away in a 6000cf room, and big mains made a tremendous difference for me.

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