Building a 5.1 system specifically for music, not movies - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 06:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I've got a relatively nice 5.1 system for TV / movies in my living room that I'm happy with, for that purpose. But I'm becoming quite interested in the 5.1 remixes of some of my favorite albums that have been coming out lately (Rush, King Crimson) and while they sound OK on the system I have now, it's not ideal.

What I'd like to do is build a separate 5.1 system, focused specifically on music, in my office.

I've already got the computer and music storage/playback details worked out, and know roughly what sort of receiver to get, but where I need help the most is speakers and room design.

My office is roughly 22' x 18' and my desk is kind of near the back. Really, I don't need it to sound awesome everywhere in the room, just basically at my desk is where I'd like it to sound awesome. There is about 6.5' of space behind my desk for rears to go, and plenty of room in front for fronts.

Let me give some hints about what is awesome to me:

(1) One thing I've been doing is playing individual tracks of a 5.1 remixed song through headphones and listening to individual instruments. It's fascinating. One thing I noticed is that the subwoofer channel (4) almost always has incredible audio content on it that doesn't make it through a subwoofer. For example, on most of the 5.1 Rush remixes, you can hear the full audio spectrum of Geddy's bass in complete isolation from all the other instruments. Simply piping that through a subwoofer that only plays the bottom 120hz seems like a waste to me. I'd much rather have full range on that track, but I also want good bass too, of course. Does this mean buying a good subwoofer and also a regular speaker and routing channel 4 to both of them?

(2) I'd really like to be able to hear each individual channel clearly and be able to easily tell which direction it came from (within the limits of the audio I'm playing, of course).

(3) For music in my office right now, I have a pair of M-Audio BX5 powered studio monitors. They're pretty good if turned up really loud, but I'd like a significant improvement over their audio quality.

(4) I want the system to also be excellent at playing stereo music, not just 5.1. I don't care, at all, about playing movies on this system.

(5) The absolute best audio experience I ever had was when I had these same M-Audio BX5 powered studio monitors in a basement apartment in Montreal. Brick walls, kind of under ground. Cranked up really loud, it was the most moving thing ever. I'd like to somehow recreate this or exceed this experience, but with full 5.1, and in my upstairs 22x18 office in my house in San Diego, which has normal sheetrock walls. So if you think I need to do room treatments too, please let me know.

As I still need to buy a receiver, I'd like to keep the budget for the speakers under $1000 if at all possible. I can go higher if it's really necessary but $1000 is the most I'm hoping to spend on the speakers. Also, if you have any suggestions along the lines of a receiver particularly suited at 5.1 music and using computers as an audio source, I'd love to hear about it. I'll probably just get a relatively high end Pioneer receiver, as the one I have now for my living room 5.1 setup (VSX-1121) does pretty much everything I need.

The easiest place for me to put these speakers would be on the desks surrounding my main desk. Is that too high off the ground for tower speakers to work well, should I go with bookshelf speakers instead?

In conclusion, which speakers do you think I should buy? Thanks!
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post #2 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 06:51 PM
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5 of the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SE.
1 Rythmik F12G sub (plays very well above 120hz)
Anthem MRX300 AVR.

Above your budget but would put a big smile on your face.

the ascend Acoustics Sierra one would be my first choice but
Definitely would blow the budget.
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post #3 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

(1) One thing I've been doing is playing individual tracks of a 5.1 remixed song through headphones and listening to individual instruments. It's fascinating. One thing I noticed is that the subwoofer channel (4) almost always has incredible audio content on it that doesn't make it through a subwoofer. For example, on most of the 5.1 Rush remixes, you can hear the full audio spectrum of Geddy's bass in complete isolation from all the other instruments. Simply piping that through a subwoofer that only plays the bottom 120hz seems like a waste to me. I'd much rather have full range on that track, but I also want good bass too, of course. Does this mean buying a good subwoofer and also a regular speaker and routing channel 4 to both of them?

I don't know what channel 4 is, but you seem to be missing the advantages of a separate subwoofer. Also I wouldn't route the speaker channels through the sub on a 5.1 setup, although its doable on a 2.1. You'll want a good subwoofer, but on a $1k budget for everything, that is a tall order. Some tower speakers can give you decent bass, but they won't do it extremely powerfully or deeply.
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Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

(2) I'd really like to be able to hear each individual channel clearly and be able to easily tell which direction it came from (within the limits of the audio I'm playing, of course).

No no no, you don't want to hear where speakers are, you want to hear where the instruments are! This is called a soundstage, and you achieve it by using speakers (and recordings) that have good imaging. The speakers ideally should disappear, you shouldn't be able to tell where they are at all if your audio system is setup correctly.
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Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

3) For music in my office right now, I have a pair of M-Audio BX5 powered studio monitors. They're pretty good if turned up really loud, but I'd like a significant improvement over their audio quality.

In your budget, I think you can improve on them in quantity but not as much in quality. I think you should up your budget a bit.
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(4) I want the system to also be excellent at playing stereo music, not just 5.1. I don't care, at all, about playing movies on this system.

The requirements for great audio is the same for movies or music or anything else.
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Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

(5) The absolute best audio experience I ever had was when I had these same M-Audio BX5 powered studio monitors in a basement apartment in Montreal. Brick walls, kind of under ground. Cranked up really loud, it was the most moving thing ever. I'd like to somehow recreate this or exceed this experience, but with full 5.1, and in my upstairs 22x18 office in my house in San Diego, which has normal sheetrock walls. So if you think I need to do room treatments too, please let me know.

Room treatments are good, but there isn't much you can do on $1k.

You seem like you really want a great sound, so I would recommend this: use your budget to buy a decent pair of speakers for your front left and right. The save up and add the right components to it as funds become available. $1k can get you an alright 5.1 setup, for a smaller or medium sized room, but I don't see any 1k setup blowing you away, which it seems like what you want. Subwoofers alone don't start getting serious until you starting hitting over $600- and I would want two of those for a good music setup. To really beat your M-audio speakers, you are going to need some good speakers. I would recommend just blowing your initial budget on a pair of Ascend Sierras, and adding onto that later. If you need your bass fix right away, look at these Arx a5 floor standing speakers.

If you really do not want to go down the road of building your setup gradually, here is a decent $1k system for you with a good subwoofer: 5 x Infinity Primus p163 = $430 shipped. Hsu VTF2 mk4, $596 shipped. So $1026 altogether, and that is a very high bang-for-the-buck 5.1 setup. You could save a little bit of space by using some Infinity Primus p153 speakers for surrounds. For me, that sub just barely meets the minimum requirements I would want for output and sound quality. Below that point in price you start making some serious trade-offs, in my opinion. It's a very good sub.

One more thing I would add is since you do not intend for any visual display, do not get a typical horizontal center channel, just get an identical speaker to your left and right fronts. Horizontal centers are a usually over-priced compromise meant to squeeze under displays, but you do not have to make that concession.
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post #4 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grasshoppers View Post

5 of the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170SE.
1 Rythmik F12G sub (plays very well above 120hz)
Anthem MRX300 AVR.

Above your budget but would put a big smile on your face.

the ascend Acoustics Sierra one would be my first choice but
Definitely would blow the budget.

grasshoppers, you really think the audio quality of the CBM-170SE will be significantly better than that of my M-Audio BX5s? They seem to be equal, at best, from what I can tell...
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post #5 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 08:20 PM - Thread Starter
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shadyJ, I wrote up a big reply to your reply (thank you!) but it is "being held for moderation" and I have no idea why. My other posts seem to be coming through...
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post #6 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, shadyJ!
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Originally Posted by shadyJ 
I don't know what channel 4 is, but you seem to be missing the advantages of a separate subwoofer. Also I wouldn't route the speaker channels through the sub on a 5.1 setup, although its doable on a 2.1.
Channel 4, perhaps better stated as "track 4", is the track in a 5.1 recording that is normally played out the subwoofer. 1=FL, 2=FR, 3=FC, 4=sub, 5=RL, 6=RR. I have no intentions of routing anything through my subwoofer; the 5.1 system I have in my living room now has all audio going into the receiver and then each speaker, including the sub, is connected to the receiver.
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No no no, you don't want to hear where speakers are, you want to hear where the instruments are! This is called a soundstage, and you achieve it by using speakers (and recordings) that have good imaging. The speakers ideally should disappear, you shouldn't be able to tell where they are at all if your audio system is setup correctly.

I agree completely, what I meant to say is that I want the system to be good enough such that if a sound in the recording is panned hard rear left, it will clearly be coming from that direction.
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Originally Posted by shadyJ 
In your budget, I think you can improve on them in quantity but not as much in quality. I think you should up your budget a bit.
The requirements for great audio is the same for movies or music or anything else.
How much bigger do you think my budget should be to build what I'm looking for?
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ 
Room treatments are good, but there isn't much you can do on $1k.
If you don't mind explaining, what could I do with a slightly bigger budget? I know nothing about room treatments.
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ 
You seem like you really want a great sound, so I would recommend this: use your budget to buy a decent pair of speakers for your front left and right. The save up and add the right components to it as funds become available. $1k can get you an alright 5.1 setup, for a smaller or medium sized room, but I don't see any 1k setup blowing you away, which it seems like what you want. Subwoofers alone don't start getting serious until you starting hitting over $600- and I would want two of those for a good music setup. To really beat your M-audio speakers, you are going to need some good speakers. I would recommend just blowing your initial budget on a pair of Ascend Sierras, and adding onto that later. If you need your bass fix right away, look at these Arx a5 floor standing speakers.

If you really do not want to go down the road of building your setup gradually, here is a decent $1k system for you with a good subwoofer: 5 x Infinity Primus p163 = $430 shipped. Hsu VTF2 mk4, $596 shipped. So $1026 altogether, and that is a very high bang-for-the-buck 5.1 setup. You could save a little bit of space by using some Infinity Primus p153 speakers for surrounds. For me, that sub just barely meets the minimum requirements I would want for output and sound quality. Below that point in price you start making some serious trade-offs, in my opinion. It's a very good sub.

I will consider all of these options, thanks so much!
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ 
One more thing I would add is since you do not intend for any visual display, do not get a typical horizontal center channel, just get an identical speaker to your left and right fronts. Horizontal centers are a usually over-priced compromise meant to squeeze under displays, but you do not have to make that concession.

You're right, I will not have a display connected to the receiver on this system, however this is for my office, and I do computer work, which means I'm sitting in front of a 30" LCD all day, and it is in that position where I want the best sound. I don't want to compromise on a typical "center channel" speaker either, but I don't know what other options I have. Perhaps something mounted behind and above the height of the monitor?
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post #7 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

grasshoppers, you really think the audio quality of the CBM-170SE will be significantly better than that of my M-Audio BX5s? They seem to be equal, at best, from what I can tell...

Hard to say if they would be better or not. I figured you wanted to start from scratch
With 5 passive speakers,powered sub and an AVR. I was trying to keep your budget in
Mind;) they are very highly reviewed speakers with a very linear freq response.

Of course the Sierra Ones would definitely be a step up. I have a pair and
They are really great speakers.
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post #8 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 08:41 PM
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I am also curious as to your source material(s)

Blu-ray,SACD or high res downloads? using only your computer?
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post #9 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

grasshoppers, you really think the audio quality of the CBM-170SE will be significantly better than that of my M-Audio BX5s? They seem to be equal, at best, from what I can tell...

Just curious. Equal how? Based on specs?

Anyway, I think your budget may not meet your expectations. One thing I would suggest is that if you are looking for audio nirvana, why don't you get some Hifiman HE-500, Grado RS1i, Ultrasone Pro 2900, or Sennheiser HD650 headphones? Add in a good DAC and headphone amp, and enjoy the soundstage and instrument separation that they can create with just 2 channel. You can put together a higher SQ system with headphones much cheaper than you can with speakers like you are trying to do. You just need to demo some and find the headphones that are right for you.

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post #10 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 09:22 PM
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I'll second the suggestion to stay the headphone route.
I'll also second the Infinity Primus line for your setup. I'll throw in the suggestion of the Behringer 2030p monitors.
Get a good sub and spend anything you have left deadening reflective room spots.
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post #11 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 10:12 PM
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I would do headphones, or raise the budget - or start slow, and build the system up.

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post #12 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

I'll second the suggestion to stay the headphone route.
I'll also second the Infinity Primus line for your setup. I'll throw in the suggestion of the Behringer 2030p monitors.
Get a good sub and spend anything you have left deadening reflective room spots.

+1 on the Behringer monitors, they are a little more expensive than the Infinitys but not much. A lot of guys have also had good things to say about the Cambridge S30s, but they are a bit more too.

The problem with headphones is their imaging- their soundstage is all around you, not in front of you. This isn't how many recordings were intended to sound. It's also why sound engineers do not rely exclusively on headphones for their mixes, they just use them as a tool, because headphones have greater articulation and detail than the vast majority of speakers. Personally I don't like to be tethered to equipment, it feels almost like a leash!
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post #13 of 30 Old 01-29-2013, 10:59 PM
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. . . .headphones have greater articulation and detail than the vast majority of speakers.
Exactly right! It is a wonderful thing smile.gif

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post #14 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 12:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm happy to consider raising the budget a bit. I'm not made of money, but what do you think it would cost to build what I want?
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post #15 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 01:31 AM
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I've heard some of the M-audio monitors at Guitar Center, I didn't think they were bad, but I only listened to them briefly. They definitely aren't garbage, so I think you would have to open up your wallet to substantially top them in a 5.1 setup. One recommendation I will make that hopefully doesn't stretch your budget too far out of whack is a set of KEF Q100s. I have not heard them, but they measure very well, and I think they would offer something your M-audios do not which is very linear off-axis frequency response. This will lessen the need for room treatments, in fact you may not feel the need for treatments at all with those speakers, and should sound very good. You can get cosmetic blemished ones from accessories4les.com for a discount. Problem is, it looks like you can only buy them in a pair, so in this instance you might just want to buy the matching center for these, the Q200c, which you can also get from a4l a bit cheaper.

Now we are already at $730 for the least expensive way of getting the KEFs, the blemished ones. Add the aforementioned Hsu VTF2 subwoofer, approx $600, so now you are at $1330 shipped, but we still need surrounds. Since surrounds aren't as important, they mostly only add ambient noise, we can get a bit cheap here. I think you could go back to the Infinity Primus speakers without much of a sound quality penalty, so that is another $172 for the p163s, or $150 for the P153s. You could also go with these even smaller Infinity Primus p143 for 120 a pair. Another speaker which I think would serve well for surrounds is the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, they are highly regarded for the price, and you can get a pair of those for $130 at best buy, and you might be able to find them cheaper online. They are highly regarded budget speakers. So altogether that is about $1500, depending on what you select among those options.
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post #16 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Exactly right! It is a wonderful thing smile.gif

What isn't wonderful is the lack of the bass feel. Yeah you can hear bass, but you can't feel it.
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post #17 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DigiSage View Post

What I'd like to do is build a separate 5.1 system, focused specifically on music, in my office.

My office is roughly 22' x 18' and my desk is kind of near the back. Really, I don't need it to sound awesome everywhere in the room, just basically at my desk is where I'd like it to sound awesome. There is about 6.5' of space behind my desk for rears to go, and plenty of room in front for fronts.

(4) I want the system to also be excellent at playing stereo music, not just 5.1. I don't care, at all, about playing movies on this system.

The easiest place for me to put these speakers would be on the desks surrounding my main desk. Is that too high off the ground for tower speakers to work well, should I go with bookshelf speakers instead?

In conclusion, which speakers do you think I should buy? Thanks!

Since you want to build around a certain area - and you are interested in music and not movies

The Focal 705V is a good option - and they are good with music - I wouild buy 3 pairs and use 1 ea,
as a center. This would make a better center channel, and is cheaper than their center.
http://www.dedicatedaudio.com/inc/sdetail/34398

Then a Rythmik, HSU or Outlaw Subwoofer

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post #18 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 05:53 PM
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What isn't wonderful is the lack of the bass feel. Yeah you can hear bass, but you can't feel it.

No doubt. But something tells me you either (a) have not tried any critical listening with a good set of headphones suitable to your taste or (b) you listen to genres where the tactile feel of the bass is most important to you.

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post #19 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 06:53 PM
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My current headphones are pretty good, imo, Denon AH-D2000, as were my previous Sennheisers. But I will have to go with (b) I do listen to genres which are bass heavy. I love that 'wall of sound' feeling and I just do not get that from headphones. Headphones have their advantages, but I just greatly prefer a good set of speakers and subs. Headphones do generate an interesting psychoacoustic space which can be a lot of fun with ambient and psychedelic music which do crazy stuff with panning and spatial imaging, and I have yet to hear any speaker that has the clarity of my Denons, so I do like headphones, I am not saying they are bad or worse than speakers, just a matter of personal preference.
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post #20 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

My current headphones are pretty good, imo, Denon AH-D2000, as were my previous Sennheisers. But I will have to go with (b) I do listen to genres which are bass heavy. I love that 'wall of sound' feeling and I just do not get that from headphones. Headphones have their advantages, but I just greatly prefer a good set of speakers and subs. Headphones do generate an interesting psychoacoustic space which can be a lot of fun with ambient and psychedelic music which do crazy stuff with panning and spatial imaging, and I have yet to hear any speaker that has the clarity of my Denons, so I do like headphones, I am not saying they are bad or worse than speakers, just a matter of personal preference.

Then why didn't you say that in the first place instead of being so quick to be dismissive. For what the OP was describing of what he wanted to hear--Geddy Lee's bass guitar in Rush and that clarity of instrumentation--his original budget wouldn't get him anywhere close to being able to achieve what a good set of headphones would do. For most rock music, the tactile sensation that a sub can produce is not that important. It's the way the bass of the drums and the bass guitar are rendered. Meanwhile, it's also possible to get excellent soundstage by going with open over closed headphones.

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post #21 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

Then why didn't you say that in the first place instead of being so quick to be dismissive. For what the OP was describing of what he wanted to hear--Geddy Lee's bass guitar in Rush and that clarity of instrumentation--his original budget wouldn't get him anywhere close to being able to achieve what a good set of headphones would do. For most rock music, the tactile sensation that a sub can produce is not that important. It's the way the bass of the drums and the bass guitar are rendered. Meanwhile, it's also possible to get excellent soundstage by going with open over closed headphones.

I think the OP probably gets the differences between a set of cans and a bunch of speakers. They are two different experiences, and it looks to me like he is out for speakers. Anyway, he wants surround sound for his 5.1 recordings, and it just wouldn't be the same on some headphones. If there are headphones that can replicate the soundstage intended for speakers, I don't know about them, but I have to admit don't really keep up with the headphone world that much.
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post #22 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 10:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I think the OP probably gets the differences between a set of cans and a bunch of speakers. They are two different experiences, and it looks to me like he is out for speakers. Anyway, he wants surround sound for his 5.1 recordings, and it just wouldn't be the same on some headphones. If there are headphones that can replicate the soundstage intended for speakers, I don't know about them, but I have to admit don't really keep up with the headphone world that much.

Indeed, I already have headphones that I love, but they are a totally different experience from speaker listening. Additionally, the moderators finally approved my initial long reply to shadyJ in case you want to read it (post 6 on this thread) as it answers some questions others have been asking.

There's been a lot of great suggestions in this thread, thank you all so much!
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post #23 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

I think the OP probably gets the differences between a set of cans and a bunch of speakers. They are two different experiences, and it looks to me like he is out for speakers. Anyway, he wants surround sound for his 5.1 recordings, and it just wouldn't be the same on some headphones. If there are headphones that can replicate the soundstage intended for speakers, I don't know about them, but I have to admit don't really keep up with the headphone world that much.

So let me understand this. You don't understand a basic concept like the difference between open vs closed headphones in terms of soundstage, but you can know what someone on a forum, who you don't know, understands about headphones?

I can play mind reader, too. It's increasingly seems to me lately that, if a recommendation from someone doesn't allow you to push HSU subs on people that have the budget to pay for an HSU sub, you often go out of your way to discredit it however you can, rather than admit to the merits of something that does not involve HSU subs.

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post #24 of 30 Old 01-30-2013, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

. . . but we still need surrounds. Since surrounds aren't as important, they mostly only add ambient noise, we can get a bit cheap here. I think you could go back to the Infinity Primus speakers without much of a sound quality penalty, so that is another $172 for the p163s, or $150 for the P153s. You could also go with these even smaller Infinity Primus p143 for 120 a pair. Another speaker which I think would serve well for surrounds is the Pioneer SP-BS22-LR, they are highly regarded for the price, and you can get a pair of those for $130 at best buy, and you might be able to find them cheaper online. They are highly regarded budget speakers. So altogether that is about $1500, depending on what you select among those options.

For someone setting up a 5.1 system for multi channel music and looking for that good instrument separation the OP is looking for, it is not a good recommendation to suggest he get surrounds that are not matching. All of the SACD and bluray music concert aficionados on this forum will tell you the surrounds are more important than just adding "ambient noise."

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post #25 of 30 Old 01-31-2013, 02:00 AM
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Channel 4, perhaps better stated as "track 4", is the track in a 5.1 recording that is normally played out the subwoofer. 1=FL, 2=FR, 3=FC, 4=sub, 5=RL, 6=RR. I have no intentions of routing anything through my subwoofer; the 5.1 system I have in my living room now has all audio going into the receiver and then each speaker, including the sub, is connected to the receiver.

since nobody corrected you the subwoofer channel is considered the "point 1" channel in a 5.1 setup, not track 4.

2.1 = L & R plus sub
3.1 = L, R, C plus sub
4.1 = L,R, surround L & R plus sub
5.1 = L, R, C, SL, SR plus sub

I'm not sure what you mean by " I have no intentions of routing anything through my subwoofer"? All the speakers including the sub are supposed to be connected to the receiver.

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post #26 of 30 Old 01-31-2013, 09:25 AM
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I think he means the way subwoofer outs are usually setup on typical 1/8" stereo computer jacks, which go like jack 1: left/right, jack 2:center/sub, jack 3: side surround left/side surround right, jack 4: back surround left/back surround right. In this setup, sub out is considered channel 4.
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post #27 of 30 Old 01-31-2013, 09:40 AM
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How can a 5.1 setup be good for movies, but not for music? Aren't they synonymous? A film's sound is like 60% music with sound effects and voice added in. For a setup to be good for music it would have to be pretty good for music. It seems.

Also, since 5.1 music creates a more complete soundstage with the surrounds, I agree that the surrounds should match the front stage.

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post #28 of 30 Old 01-31-2013, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louquid View Post

How can a 5.1 setup be good for movies, but not for music? Aren't they synonymous? A film's sound is like 60% music with sound effects and voice added in. For a setup to be good for music it would have to be pretty good for music. It seems.

- Decent but mismatched surrounds may serve fine for movies where ambience, effects or score dominate those channels, but a timbre difference may stand out with music content.
- Some subwoofers are selected or tuned for overall low-end extension when movies are the focus, but some listeners focusing on music may choose a "tighter" or "more musical" bass over low end extension.
- Speaker placement can differ between the two types of systems: the recommended surround placement for movies is typically above ear height facing downward, while for music one may prefer at ear height and toed inward to accurately reflect an all-channel stereo soundstage, or to properly balance a multichannel music mix.
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post #29 of 30 Old 01-31-2013, 12:38 PM
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I agree with what you're saying, and that's just it. A setup may be "decent" for movies and "not good" for music. But I don't see how a setup can sound "good" for movies and "not good" for music. The amount of music content in most movies is a big factor in how the overall sound experience for a movie is. If a setup sucks for music it would seem it could only be "decent' for movies.

As far as subwoofers go, why choose between tightness and low end extension? Why not aim for both? Best of both worlds. I understand budget comes into play then, but DIY is a more than valid option, while most ID subs coming out now allow for control between how deep it digs and how tight it sounds getting there.

I think rear speaker placement depends more on the speakers you use, rather than an arbitrary standard for music and movies. Some speakers may be better suited to a higher, wider layout. Where some may work best directionally.

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post #30 of 30 Old 01-31-2013, 01:07 PM
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All good points, and I don't disagree. It largely depends on how you perceive the subjective terms "decent" and "sucks", etc. Yes, if a system is *way* off neutral, or there's a huge frequency gap in the midrange, or the room is godawful reflective, nothing in terms of placement of a crappy speaker is going to help. But for some people (barring separate setups), there may be some understandable compromises.

In my case, I listen to 50% music/50% movies. I have a modest system, veritas mini satellites all around. I placed the surrounds at ear level for music, but I also lowered the volume a tad from what Audyssey set it at, as it felt a bit overpowering for movies. I also have some zone 2 audio, and it was important to me that the change in timbre from room to room wasn't jarring, so I took considerable time setting up those as well.

As far as the sub, ideally you get both low end extension and no muddiness. But not everyone is wealthy, nor are we all DIY-ers...

Anyway, a bit OT I know...
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