LCR: Dual 4" vs single 8" woofer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm looking at some various 2-way speakers (<$300 each) for the front LCR, and really wondering the difference between going with one with a larger single woofer (plus tweeter) vs. tweeter + 2 smaller woofers.

I take it the advantage to the larger woofer would be a lower bass response (and I'm not sure if that will be necessary with a decent sub to fill in for it); but what is the advantage of two smaller woofers? Can one be dedicated to mids while the other is pumping out the lows? Or is it just to have smaller mass and thus a tighter response time?

What I am currently debating between is a Polk Audio LCR (two RC85i w/ 8" woofer for L/R, flanking 255c-RT w/ 2 smaller woofers for center; total price ~$400) and Episode LCR (three idential LCRs containing double 4" woofers each)
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post #2 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 04:28 PM
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Why would you need 8" woofers if you have an adequate sub? Let the sub do the heavy lifting. And with two 4" woofers you will have an additional driver in each speaker.
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post #3 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 06:01 PM
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An 8 inch woofer, does not guarantee the best all around sound. Sometimes that
so-called extra bass, can get in the way of a clear midrange. Also, I do not buy
based on the so-called best specs.

For the fun of it and exploration, I would look at Mordaunt Short
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/MORDAW161/MORDAUNT-SHORT-Aw161-6-in-Inwall-Speaker-White-Each/1.html#!specifications

http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/MORDAW153/MORDAUNT-SHORT-Aw153-Dual-5-Inwall-Center-Channel-Speaker-White/1.html

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post #4 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fookoo_2010 View Post

Why would you need 8" woofers if you have an adequate sub? Let the sub do the heavy lifting. And with two 4" woofers you will have an additional driver in each speaker.

True, I don't necessarily need a lower response -- and I would be much more concerned about the fidelity of the mids and highs -- but I suppose I was thinking that having lows that could come from the front instead of subwoofer would help them be more directional...

And what does having an additional driver get me? (forgive me, I'm very tech savvy, but know very little about audio physics/dynamics)
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post #5 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 09:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

An 8 inch woofer, does not guarantee the best all around sound. Sometimes that
so-called extra bass, can get in the way of a clear midrange. Also, I do not buy
based on the so-called best specs.
For the fun of it and exploration, I would look at Mordaunt Short
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/MORDAW161/MORDAUNT-SHORT-Aw161-6-in-Inwall-Speaker-White-Each/1.html#!specifications
http://www.accessories4less.com/make-a-store/item/MORDAW153/MORDAUNT-SHORT-Aw153-Dual-5-Inwall-Center-Channel-Speaker-White/1.html

Hmmm, these are interesting. Why do you say for fun and exploration? Are these actually viable speakers? They look nice, and certainly have a nice pricetag (and again, good specs, but like you said the specs don't tell a whole story), but I've never heard of them
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post #6 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 09:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

Hmmm, these are interesting. Why do you say for fun and exploration? Are these actually viable speakers? They look nice, and certainly have a nice pricetag (and again, good specs, but like you said the specs don't tell a whole story), but I've never heard of them

Mordaunt Short is a well known company from England, and they make
good speakers. The Avant series, is real popular and well received.
I would put them on a short list, along with the Boston VSi speakers.

The popular Cambridge Audio speakers, come from the same company.
http://www.audiopartnership.com/index.php
http://www.audiopartnership.com/product-development.php

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post #7 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

True, I don't necessarily need a lower response -- and I would be much more concerned about the fidelity of the mids and highs -- but I suppose I was thinking that having lows that could come from the front instead of subwoofer would help them be more directional...
And what does having an additional driver get me? (forgive me, I'm very tech savvy, but know very little about audio physics/dynamics)

Moves more air. Subs are not suppose to be directional, if they are the crossover is probably set too high. The number of drivers in each speaker is important, but is only one factor and not necessarily the deciding one. If you have nothing else to go by, then buy a speaker on specs, but it is preferable to at least listen to it and in a home theater system, not in a store. But if you are satisfied with your choice of speakers, then go for it. Bass is extremely important and is the back bone of music which is why you should buy a sub, a good one. If this is your first music system in awhile, then just dive in and don't be surprised if you end up upgrading your components over time.
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post #8 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 10:41 PM
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I think using dual four inch woofers definitely has the potential to produce improved mid frequencies vs. a single 8" woofer, but there's been many 8" 2-ways sold over the years that I and many other think sound excellent.* Plus I believe the eight inch woofer, even entry-level models like Sony sells, will have more than enough capability to handle the standard 80Hz crossover point than many less-expensive dual 4" models. Personally I would not use any speaker with less than either dual 5.25" woofers or a single 6.5" woofer, especially for music-oriented systems, but that's just me. There's still lots of energy at the 80Hz xover point & I've seen quite a few small "satellites" struggle with it.......

BTW an 8" woofer is probably the largest most people would ever need for a "sane" biggrin.gif HT system, and part of that belief is based on (for example) the fact JBL used one for the PT800 model in their upscale "Performance" series of speakers that was finally discontinued about three(?) years ago. Here's an owner's experience with them, with pics, at the excellent audioheritage.org site.



* before HT became so popular; British brands were particularly good at designing these, though Americans had their fair share too, like those from Advent, Boston Acoustics, EPI and Klipsch
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post #9 of 20 Old 06-20-2012, 10:49 PM
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FYI in JBL's Project Array series, they sell an 8" woofer version, the 800 Array, which they classify as a bookshelf speaker. Definitely low on WAF with its exposed mid and tweeter horns (I like it!), but this series of speakers usually receive great reviews.
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post #10 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 06:08 AM
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I went from Onkyo HTIB speakers with dual 5" woofer/mids to BIC Acoustech Speakers with dual 8" woofers. The difference is night and day but part of that is cuz the Onkyos were crap and the Acoustechs aren't. My center has dual 8" woofers and is 10" high so depending on your setup placement of such a high center could be an issue. I have no problem with mids or highs not being clear with my setup.

Shawn
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post #11 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 06:57 AM
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The diameter of the woofer cone does not determine the bass response of the speaker!

It is only one factor; the enclosure volume, the internal design of the enclosure, the type of porting, the power of the voice coil, and the throw of the woofer are all factors that matter a lot in determining the low-frequency response of the speaker.

You need to look at the overall frequency response curve of the speaker to know what sort of bass response it has.

My experience is that to have adequate front speakers, they need to go down to below 40 Hz if no subwoofer is used, and around 50 Hz IF a subwoofer is going to be used. I refer to the -3db point (half-power point) of the response curve.

Do not make the mistake of operating a subwooofer above 60 Hz; the main speakers need to go lower than that, and the subwoofer must only be used at the lowest frequencies that the main speakers CANNOT cover. That is how you get good-quality sound from the system.



Quote:
Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

I'm looking at some various 2-way speakers (<$300 each) for the front LCR, and really wondering the difference between going with one with a larger single woofer (plus tweeter) vs. tweeter + 2 smaller woofers.
I take it the advantage to the larger woofer would be a lower bass response (and I'm not sure if that will be necessary with a decent sub to fill in for it); but what is the advantage of two smaller woofers? Can one be dedicated to mids while the other is pumping out the lows? Or is it just to have smaller mass and thus a tighter response time?
What I am currently debating between is a Polk Audio LCR (two RC85i w/ 8" woofer for L/R, flanking 255c-RT w/ 2 smaller woofers for center; total price ~$400) and Episode LCR (three idential LCRs containing double 4" woofers each)
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post #12 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Do not make the mistake of operating a subwooofer above 60 Hz; the main speakers need to go lower than that, and the subwoofer must only be used at the lowest frequencies that the main speakers CANNOT cover. That is how you get good-quality sound from the system.

I can't say I agree with that statement.... Many subwoofers do a better job of reproducing sounds below 60 or 80 hz than speakers do. Also it takes away some of the stress of the AVR having the sub xover at 80hz instead of let's say 40hz. Also depending on the speaker even tho it may have a -3db point of 40hz that doesn't mean it sounds good down to that point. It may start to sound muddy or boomy or start to take away from the mids and the highs. Now if someone has a big budget and can afford seperate amps rather than just an AVR and if they can afford speakers that can accurately reproduce sounds down to a low hz then yes you maybe right (but this isn't the case for most ppl).

Shawn
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post #13 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 08:54 AM
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Some people just live on their own Island of sound. The Boston E60 with a -3db of 65hz, has no problem
crossing over at 80hz to a sub. The Cambridge S30 with a -3db at 60hz, also has no problem crossing to
a sub at 80hz.cool.gifsmile.gif

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post #14 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 09:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

I think using dual four inch woofers definitely has the potential to produce improved mid frequencies vs. a single 8" woofer,
Production of mids isn't the issue, dispersing them is. Dual fours vertically aligned will have roughly twice the horizontal dispersion of an eight, allowing them to be crossed over to the tweeter at a higher frequency, allowing the tweeter to be smaller, allowing the tweeter to have wider dispersion. But if the fours have the same xmax as the eight two of them won't have the same low frequency output capacity, four would be more like it. That may or may not be an issue. I use fours myself, crossed at 80Hz., but I have eight per side in my L/R mains and six in my center, so their displacement isn't a problem.

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post #15 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post

Some people just live on their own Island of sound. The Boston E60 with a -3db of 65hz, has no problem
crossing over at 80hz to a sub. The Cambridge S30 with a -3db at 60hz, also has no problem crossing to
a sub at 80hz.cool.gifsmile.gif
Not surprising since those are quite well-built. To add to that: I auditioned a pair of the original series of Vienna Acoustics "Hadyns" at Tweeter (remember them? smile.gif) and if I didn't know beforehand they only used one 5.5" woofer per speaker, I would have thought they used a 6.5" or maybe even an 8". But then again, they cost nearly $1,000 per pair, so they had better be more capable than a pair of larger-but-cheaper speakers!

I don't always know the price range of the person asking which speakers to use, so I usually start near the bottom of the price scale when recommending certain models.
Quote:
Production of mids isn't the issue, dispersing them is.
I agree. But finding speaker systems with good horizontal dispersion, sufficient bass output at 80Hz, having that "slim" look so many people want AND being affordable isn't easy. Btw one of my favorite speakers I used to recommend that I thought covered everything but the slim issue was the Cambridge SoundWorks M80, a 3-way bookshelf with an 8" woofer (acoustic-suspension initially, then for some reason CS changed it to a ported design). Plus its rotatable mid/tweeter plate - a useful design detail typical of a Henry Kloss product - allowed it to be used as a matching center channel. And the beech-veneered version looked great!
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post #16 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Sounds very logical to run the subs at the lowest frequencies necessary to fill in the gaps for the front speakers... this is why they have variable crossover knobs, correct?

Sorry for my ignorance, I am a complete noob with the HT/surround sound thing. I have had a HT setup for years, but it has been very basic HTIB stuff (first InFocus ScreenPlay DLP + some HTIB surround sound which was pretty sub-par, followed by Optoma HD-20 + Sony DAV-HDX275, which were both much better than the previous setup, but now I'm ready to upgrade the speakers and have hidden wires and a nicer appearance... I will continue to use the HD20, which has been great.)

I have not yet bought any speakers; I am considering between different models like:

Polk RC85i
Polk 255ct-RT
Mordaunt Short Aw152
Episode ES-500-IWLCR-4


In addition to not understanding the difference between single large woofer vs various smaller ones, I'm also unclear on things like the difference between soft vs. metal domes, and about the purpose/effect of waveguides (which are present in some Snell in-ceilings I am looking at for the rear...)
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post #17 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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PS. Another reason I am looking at small woofers vs. larger ones (or a combination of both) is because of space limitations: I am doing in-wall speakers for sure, and I have a very narrow area of wall (about 5" between the studs) below my screen, whereas the sides have a good 14" or so of width, so large woofers for center is really not an option, but on the sides I can either go tall and narrow 3-driver 2-ways, or 2-driver 2-ways with a bigger woofer... so I'm trying to figure out as much as I can like, would it be nice to mix and match smaller and higher in center with lower and mids on sides, or better to have 3 identical LCRs (which looks like it's usually 2 smallish woofers + tweeter in a D'Appolito array)
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post #18 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guru20 View Post

In addition to not understanding the difference between single large woofer vs various smaller ones, I'm also unclear on things like the difference between soft vs. metal domes, and about the purpose/effect of waveguides (which are present in some Snell in-ceilings I am looking at for the rear...)
http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?219617-The-Speaker-Building-Bible

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post #19 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 08:32 PM
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I can't say I agree with that statement.

+1

I think a majority of people on AVS would disagree with that statement. THX recommends an 80hz crossover. Doubtful he knows something that they don't.

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post #20 of 20 Old 06-21-2012, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donutfan View Post

Not surprising since those are quite well-built. To add to that: I auditioned a pair of the original series of Vienna Acoustics "Hadyns" at Tweeter (remember them? smile.gif) and if I didn't know beforehand they only used one 5.5" woofer per speaker, I would have thought they used a 6.5" or maybe even an 8". But then again, they cost nearly $1,000 per pair, so they had better be more capable than a pair of larger-but-cheaper speakers!
I don't always know the price range of the person asking which speakers to use, so I usually start near the bottom of the price scale when recommending certain models.

The Vienna still pops up on Ebay from time to time. Also, finding bargains for reccomendations
is the name of the game.

Also, on Audiogon
http://app.audiogon.com/listings/vienna-acoustics-haydn-classic-bookshelf-speaker-pair-b--2

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