Frequency Response - A General Question - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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On paper, if one was to compare response specs without listening, which, in theory, should sound better:

A. 90Hz - 50KHz sats, crossover at 4KHz. Sub-woofer 28Hz - 200Hz

B. 115Hz - 20KHz sats, crossover at 2.9KHz. Sub-woofer 33Hz - 150Hz.

Obviously these are small speaker sets and leave a lot to be desired in overall fidelity but I'm trying to get a general feeling on how to interpret the limited specs that some mfrs list. A starting point for learning how to shop intelligently.
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post #2 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 01:58 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

On paper, if one was to compare response specs without listening, which, in theory, should sound better:
A. 90Hz - 50KHz sats, crossover at 4KHz. Sub-woofer 28Hz - 200Hz
B. 115Hz - 20KHz sats, crossover at 2.9KHz. Sub-woofer 33Hz - 150Hz.
Obviously these are small speaker sets and leave a lot to be desired in overall fidelity but I'm trying to get a general feeling on how to interpret the limited specs that some mfrs list. A starting point for learning how to shop intelligently.

If LFE and speaker bass is bass managed at 120Hz, then "A" as "A's" subwoofer digs deeper; more impact bass, bigger sound.

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post #3 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 02:02 PM
 
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Dbl post; "D'oh!"
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post #4 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 02:21 PM
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Main L/R speakers should have the capability to go down to 60 Hz IMO, and the subwoofer should be used only below 80 Hz. If you think about it for a minute isn't it kind of ridiculous to have 5 speakers and then have only ONE speaker operating all the way up to 120 Hz or higher?

The center and satellite speakers should have the capability to go down to around 80 Hz.

You also DO NOT want a subwoofer operating at the same frequencies as the other speakers, because they can cancel each other out at frequencies where they are out of phase.
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post #5 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^^ neither example goes anywhere 60Hz so it would be safe to assume then that the lower the speakers (L/R, center, sats) can go, the better. The upper end doesn't make as much difference because we can't hear over 20-22KHz, right? What is the signifigance of the crossovers at 2.9KHz and 4KHz? In my case, the L/R, center, and sats will be the same size for reasons that aren't important to the general question. If all of the speakers have the same rated response (as they examples above) then leaving the sub at a crossover point of 80Hz will be sufficient?

Edit: Forgot to add but A has a sensitivity (efficiency) of 83dB whereas B has an efficiency of 89dB. I'm looking for a little better loudness, better definition, but still keeping the small bookshelf format. Again, knowing that I'm sacrificing fidelity for the small size. Oh, and the speakers (L/F, center, and sats) are kept at Small.
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post #6 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 02:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

Main L/R speakers should have the capability to go down to 60 Hz IMO, and the subwoofer should be used only below 80 Hz. If you think about it for a minute isn't it kind of ridiculous to have 5 speakers and then have only ONE speaker operating all the way up to 120 Hz or higher?

If every speaker is LPF to 80Hz and the sub set to 120Hz, then you have bloating and boominess as the bass of the mains and the other speakers are now fighting with the sound waves the sub is recreating. You know this? ??? What am I missing that you seem to not be sharing or I'm not understanding in your comment? ???
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post #7 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

^^^^ neither example goes anywhere 60Hz so it would be safe to assume then that the lower the speakers (L/R, center, sats) can go, the better. The upper end doesn't make as much difference because we can't hear over 20-22KHz, right? What is the signifigance of the crossovers at 2.9KHz and 4KHz? In my case, the L/R, center, and sats will be the same size for reasons that aren't important to the general question. If all of the speakers have the same rated response (as they examples above) then leaving the sub at a crossover point of 80Hz will be sufficient?
Edit: Forgot to add but A has a sensitivity (efficiency) of 83dB whereas B has an efficiency of 89dB. I'm looking for a little better loudness, better definition, but still keeping the small bookshelf format. Again, knowing that I'm sacrificing fidelity for the small size. Oh, and the speakers (L/F, center, and sats) are kept at Small.

Listening tests have indicated that most people cannot localize bass below 80hz. And most speakers are not going to outperform a quality subwoofer in the 60-80hz range in terms of overall output and extension. I would daresay very few. I would concentrate on buying a good subwoofer that has solid extension and output and then getting speakers that perform well to at least to the 80hz range. Once you get to the 80hz+ range you might be able to localize the bass in your room, so you may want to test it out. Many good bookshelves are designed to rolloff in the 70-80hz range.

In my own personal tests I have had a hard time localizing bass until I get in the 100hz range.

What is your budget, and why are you only looking at speakers with these specs?
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post #8 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 03:24 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^ I currently have set A, which sounds fine to me (you can "feel" the bass at mid-volume on the sub and can't really localize where the sound comes from) but am looking at set B for better efficiency (loudness) and maybe definition. Right now, the cross-overs for all of the speakers is set to default which in 80Hz, but I'm trying to learn the subtleties of correct settings and what they mean in terms of real-world hearing. Does it make sense to set the cross-overs for the L/R, center, and sats below their stated frequency response, or am I just missing something? Obviously, there's lots to learn as far as the basics go. Budget is tight and fixed. Set B would work as far as budget goes, current speaker stands, and aesthetics. I'm just wondering if upgrading to B would even be worth it if I'm happy with A and knowing that I can't go to full size. Besides, it's a good opportunity to learn the basics now for a good foundation later in case the situation changes.
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post #9 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

^^^ I currently have set A, which sounds fine to me (you can "feel" the bass at mid-volume on the sub and can't really localize where the sound comes from) but am looking at set B for better efficiency (loudness) and maybe definition. Right now, the cross-overs for all of the speakers is set to default which in 80Hz, but I'm trying to learn the subtleties of correct settings and what they mean in terms of real-world hearing. Does it make sense to set the cross-overs for the L/R, center, and sats below their stated frequency response, or am I just missing something? Obviously, there's lots to learn as far as the basics go. Budget is tight and fixed. Set B would work as far as budget goes, current speaker stands, and aesthetics. I'm just wondering if upgrading to B would even be worth it if I'm happy with A and knowing that I can't go to full size. Besides, it's a good opportunity to learn the basics now for a good foundation later in case the situation changes.

Do you have a subwoofer?

What is your budget?
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post #10 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by ack_bk View Post

Do you have a subwoofer?
What is your budget?

Yes. It is part of set A above. I'd like to upgrade A to B for about $300 for reasons mentioned above. I'm just trying to learn what the basic specs mean, how they interact with each other, and the best way to set cross-overs. I need to stress that I realize I'm severely limiting my choices given the specs, size, and budget but I'm trying to maximize my HTS as best as possible and learn a few things in the process.
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post #11 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 05:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

Yes. It is part of set A above. I'd like to upgrade A to B for about $300 for reasons mentioned above. I'm just trying to learn what the basic specs mean, how they interact with each other, and the best way to set cross-overs. I need to stress that I realize I'm severely limiting my choices given the specs, size, and budget but I'm trying to maximize my HTS as best as possible and learn a few things in the process.

Does your current AVR have room analyzer like Audyssey MultiEQ XT? What's your setup?
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post #12 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Does your current AVR have room analyzer like Audyssey MultiEQ XT? What's your setup?

No. The avr is a Yamaha RX-V371 which uses YPAO without a mic for calibration. Basically a manual cal.
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post #13 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 08:25 PM
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Are the speakers from the same manufacturer? If so the comparison might be valid if they use the same criteria for the specs. Specs are often inflated and rarely do companies give enough specs to show the speaker's capabilty and different manufacturers measure differently. For instance let's look at the sub specs. Is the 28hz or 33hz a flat response or -3db, -6db, or -10db? And if say they both are -3db specs how loud can they play. A bose cube can play 28hz but can probably ony be heard by a gnat at that frequency because it can't go that loud at that frequency. I'd rather a sub that can play 105db at 33hz then one that can play 28hz but only reach 85db.

Unfortunately these specs are far from complete and make it practically impossible to determine which would be a better choice.
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post #14 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 08:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BobL View Post

Are the speakers from the same manufacturer? If so the comparison might be valid if they use the same criteria for the specs. Specs are often inflated and rarely do companies give enough specs to show the speaker's capabilty and different manufacturers measure differently. For instance let's look at the sub specs. Is the 28hz or 33hz a flat response or -3db, -6db, or -10db? And if say they both are -3db specs how loud can they play. A bose cube can play 28hz but can probably ony be heard by a gnat at that frequency because it can't go that loud at that frequency. I'd rather a sub that can play 105db at 33hz then one that can play 28hz but only reach 85db.
Unfortunately these specs are far from complete and make it practically impossible to determine which would be a better choice.

Ok, that's good information and something I sort of anticipated. Set A is Yamaha (not really known for speakers) and Set B are the Energy Take Classics. The best I can determine is that the measured response for both sets is -3dB. The Yamaha sub (powered 8") does seem to put out a good bass response (LFE input) that is very clear and clean, at least to me so I'm not too concerned about the Energy's sub unless it sounds better in my environment. I'm looking for better fidelity for the fronts/center with a little more loudness without having to crank up the avr volume. We don't listen to window shaking volume (usually around -25dB on the avr).
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post #15 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 09:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

No. The avr is a Yamaha RX-V371 which uses YPAO without a mic for calibration. Basically a manual cal.

In the simple, it's gotta go. The sound quality improvement is quite remarkable as the sound analyzer automatically cleans up a lot of frequency dips and peaks and in the process, levels the sound quality out; true to the intent of the mixing board crew.

(Say hi to San Jose for us as after forty-six years, we left in Nov 2010.)

FWIW, if you don't know already, there's a small audio shop located on Fruitdale, next to the Subway sandwich shop, at Meridian. Don't remember the name and IIRC, they keep squirrely hours. We made several purchases from Bay Area Audio, located in San Jose, next to 85 and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Rd or De Anza Blvd. They may have gone to appointment only.

The next high-end shop I would stop in at was up in Palo Alto, by Page Mill and El Camino. It's was a bit South of Page Mill past the Mac computer repair shop and the Footlocker shoe store by a block or so, same side of the street. And yes, the name escapes me but they have a nice friendly crew there with lots of neat stuff.

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post #16 of 85 Old 08-20-2012, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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San Jose says hi back. However, I'm not getting rid of the Yamaha because it works just fine for us. I've heard other systems calibrated with Audyssey and wasn't that impressed. Maybe on higher end receivers and speaker systems it makes a difference but on my modest system and requirements, the expense of a receiver with Audyssey is not justifiable.
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post #17 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 01:00 AM
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Yamaha doesn't make bad speakers but I think at that price point there are too many compromises. Spending the better part of your budget on better speakesr will give the best performance increase. The Energy would be a good improvement although I think you might be able to do a little better for the same price if you can go a little larger.

Something like three pairs of the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR for less than $100/pair and Polk PSW-10 sub $100 for more more bass will outperform the Energy and be an even bigger improvement. I don't think you'll gain much between the Yamaha or Energy sub. They are larger speakers though and you'll end up with a spare speaker.

In general 5 identical speakers is best and they all should be vertically arranged if possible. Center speakers are a compromise so they can fit easier and aesthetically they are more pleasing but acoustically it is not ideal. It is generally better to place a regular speaker on its side than use a midrange-tweeter-midrange design for the center. It has to do with off axis response of speakers and too much to explain now. I do like that Energy doesn't do that in its Take 5 center and the reason I wouldn't recommend the matching Pioneer center and just use an identical speaker on its side.

The Pioneer having a bigger 4" woofer and bigger cabinet is going to give a fuller sound and play louder than the 3" woofer and smaller cabinet of the Energy. Don't go by the specs again as it appears one is measured in room which makes it seem louder because it measures the reflections combined with the speakers sound. Other speakers are measured in an anechoic chamber so there is no room reflections or gain. A well known industry professional one told us in a class. "The only specs I trust from a manufacturer are size and weight, the rest is marketing." Unfortunately, this is true in many but not all cases.

Either way you go will be an improvement over your current Yamaha system. Hope this helps.
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post #18 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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^^^^^ thank you! You make a persuasive argument for not going on specs alone. Specs are a definite starting point but not knowing how they are derived one needs to take them with a grain of salt, at least in the price point I'm looking at. One last question to clear up for me if you, or someone else, doesn't mind, and that has to do with crossover settings. If a speaker has a frequency response of say 115Hz - 20KHz and you set the crossover at 80Hz, does that "do" anything because the crossover is set below the stated frequency response? I'm assuming that setting a crossover pushes the frequency responses at that point and below to another speaker that can handle it better but if it is set lower than the lowest stated limit.........confused.gif I realize that this is Audio 101 for most of you but one is never to old to learn a few new tricks.
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post #19 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

^^^^^ thank you! You make a persuasive argument for not going on specs alone. Specs are a definite starting point but not knowing how they are derived one needs to take them with a grain of salt, at least in the price point I'm looking at. One last question to clear up for me if you, or someone else, doesn't mind, and that has to do with crossover settings. If a speaker has a frequency response of say 115Hz - 20KHz and you set the crossover at 80Hz, does that "do" anything because the crossover is set below the stated frequency response?

It will create a hole in the frequency response - you will miss out on some good bass response/notes.

I own the Pioneer BS22 bookshelf speakers, and they would be a nice upgrade for you. They are better,
than some popular name brand entry level bookshelf speakers out there.

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post #20 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 09:33 AM - Thread Starter
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It will create a hole in the frequency response - you will miss out on some good bass response/notes.
I own the Pioneer BS22 bookshelf speakers, and they would be a nice upgrade for you. They are better,
than some popular name brand entry level bookshelf speakers out there.

So then, as a general rule of thumb, the crossover should be set at the lowest rated frequency response of your fronts/center or somewhere slightly above it (depending on what options you have for setting crossover)?
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post #21 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 09:48 AM
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So then, as a general rule of thumb, the crossover should be set at the lowest rated frequency response of your fronts/center or somewhere slightly above it (depending on what options you have for setting crossover)?

The room and speaker placemet will also play a part. Some speakers that play down to 80hz,
do tend to work better with a 100hz crossover. I do not prefer anything that needs a crossover
higher than 100 hz - however some people like and are happy, with little sat speakers. Place-
ment of the sub also plays a part, for good bass blending.

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post #22 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 09:48 AM
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So then, as a general rule of thumb, the crossover should be set at the lowest rated frequency response of your fronts/center or somewhere slightly above it (depending on what options you have for setting crossover)?
Sort of. The main concern for the crossover frequency is keeping the subs non-directional. With a steep enough filter slope that can be accomplished at 100Hz, but with the filters found in typical consumer gear 80Hz is more like it, if not even 60Hz. So you'd like to have the mains go down to that area, but if they're not capable of doing so you're stuck with crossing over higher than optimal. As for the lowest rated response of your mains/center, if there's no measured SPL chart to back up the manufacturer claims take those claims with a truckload of salt.

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post #23 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 12:31 PM - Thread Starter
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^^^ got it. Thank you. I think someone posted a link to an SPL chart where you could plug in your data and get an idea. Don't know if that would be useful in my situation or not.
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post #24 of 85 Old 08-21-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I would go with option A, although this spec is a little weird. Just wondering why someone would advertise their speaker up to 50kHz. The sub can be adjusted down a bit to go up to 100hz. You really want your sub to only play low end frequencies. If you hear vocals coming out of your sub, turn it down more. As for the crossover points, this spec is dependent on the size of speakers. If a 2 way has a larger speaker like a 6" or 8", then the crossover point will be lower as opposed to a 2 way that has a 3' speaker.

Option A is what I have now. Option B is what I am looking at. I believe the speakers are 2.5" in A and 3" in B. I don't hear vocals at all from my sub at 80Hz crossover which is below what the speakers are "rated" at. Maybe 50KHz is a typo and they meant 20KHz, which would make more sense.
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post #25 of 85 Old 08-22-2012, 08:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

So then, as a general rule of thumb, the crossover should be set at the lowest rated frequency response of your fronts/center or somewhere slightly above it (depending on what options you have for setting crossover)?

Another thing that is important is actual speaker placement. . . especially for sub woofers. The configuration of walls and general shape of a room and placement can have a varied affect on audio performance. The Disney WOW disc actually has a section on audio that also shows how to arrange speakers for optimum effect. The placement of speakers may have more of an affect than choosing a crossover point especially in modest systems. But , generally, systems with small front and satellite speakers would need a higher crossover for the woofer due to the lack of meaningful bass output of a 2.5" to 4" front speaker. But as with most things, your mileage may vary.
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post #26 of 85 Old 08-22-2012, 08:55 AM
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I believe the speakers are 2.5" in A and 3" in B.
If that's the case neither is capable of going to 100Hz with meaningful output. The smallest midbass worth considering is 5.25", and even then you need two to provide decent levels. Smaller than that is for those who only care about how their speakers look, not how they sound. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you do have to decide where to place your priorities.

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post #27 of 85 Old 08-22-2012, 09:46 AM
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Young ears can hear as low as 20 hz and I, at 50, was able to hear down to 40hz last month...

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Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Young ears can hear as low as 20 hz and I, at 50, was able to hear down to 40hz last month...

FWIW, if one cranks the EQ sliders up a bit (10-20dB), usually, one's hearing can dig a bit deeper.

Some here like to think that it's heresy to custom your EQ to your personal hearing as they consider doing so to be rude behavior because it doesn't take their hearing into consideration, despite the fact they'll never listen to your system.

Really!

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post #29 of 85 Old 08-22-2012, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

If that's the case neither is capable of going to 100Hz with meaningful output. The smallest midbass worth considering is 5.25", and even then you need two to provide decent levels. Smaller than that is for those who only care about how their speakers look, not how they sound. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you do have to decide where to place your priorities.

Ouch. But I do get your point about aesthetics vs function cool.gif. Unfortunately, the small size is not going to change in the foreseeable future. The bass sounds fine set at 80Hz (no dialog at all or fuzziness) for movies and soundtracks (5.1 via OTA tv), dialog from the center sounds "normal" and clear, and the separation for the fronts (which are a little over 6' apart) is clean with good definition. Of course, my hearing isn't what it used to be so any true audiophile would probably run out of our family room screaming with their fingers in their ears, but it works for us. I was just hoping that the Energy Take Classics would give us a little better audio fidelity than what we have now and with the efficiency at 89dB, instead of the current efficiency of 83dB, we could enjoy the same loudness at a lower volume on the avr (less power), but all I had to go on was the published specs, hence the original question.
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post #30 of 85 Old 08-22-2012, 03:27 PM
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I think I know which speaker system you have and the Energy 2 way speaker system will beat the single 2.5" driver of the Yamaha speaker. Here are some measurements from HTmag. I don't think these measurements tell everything about how a speaker will sound but we will use it for demonstration.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/energy-take-classic-speaker-system-ht-labs-measures
Not bad but as you can see the 89db in room sensitivity that Energy claims is a little deceiving for comparing specs. I do commend them for an honest frequency response spec though and its in room is honest too. It just makes it hard to compare specs for the consumer.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/yamaha-yht-591-htib-ht-labs-measures
This isn't your speakers but other Yamahas gthat probably use the same driver. The fronts (purple graph) on these have 4 - 2.5" drivers and a .75 inch tweeter. The surrounds (green graph) have 2 - 2.5" drivers and tweeter which is probably closest to yourcenter speaker which doesn't have a tweeter. The center speaker (red graph) you can see the effect of putting the front speakers on its side. Since these measurements are an average of on axis and 15 degree off axis you can see what happen to the frequency response.

http://www.hometheater.com/content/psb-imagine-mini-speaker-system-ht-labs-measures
A decent speaker with a 4" driver and 1" tweeter. In fairness these are a lot more expensive but you can see the 4" driver goes lower.

The point is if you can go with a larger speaker either with a 4-6" driver you gain quite a bit and you can probably find larger in your price range. I know you don't plan to play loud but it does help that they go lower for better integration as Bill stated. I know not everyone is willing to go with a bigger bookshelf speaker and that is fine.

In a nutshell, I think the Energy will be a noticeable improvement.
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