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post #1 of 33 Old 03-18-2013, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey there, I've got a 7.1 setup in my living room running with 16 gauge wire. The way I've got the wires running, the longest wire is about 30 feet ( as it runs the long way around the baseboards to get to one surround back speaker ) ... but most of them fall in the 15 ft range. I've got a Denon 1913 receiver, and am powering Fluance SX series speakers with a Denon Sub. They sound pretty good for video games and bass in music, and explosions for movies, but I'm missing what I guess would be the mid frequency sounds, like subtle sound effects and music effects. Now obviously upgrading to more expensive speakers would be ONE way to do it, and indeed I've played with the idea, ( but money's not unlimited ) .. So I thought first I'd re run all my cable with 12 gauge ( Fluance's recommended gauge ) to see if it makes any difference. Any point in doing so do you think? My lengths are actually 37ft and 32 feet for the back surrounds, 24 feet x 2 for the side surrounds, then of course just 5 feet each way for the fronts. There's a deal on ebay that looks ok, do you think this wire will do the trick? http://www.ebay.ca/itm/200-FT-60m-High-Definition-12-Gauge-Speaker-Wire-Cable-/360175251552?pt=US_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item53dc1e3060&_uhb=1#ht_1057wt_1016
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post #2 of 33 Old 03-18-2013, 11:50 PM
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It may make a slightly noticeable difference for the surrounds, but not for the fronts, where I presume the issues you're having are the most noticeable. And in any case, by "difference" I mean a subtle change in the frequency response curve and overall volume, not a difference in midrange clarity and detail, which are often lacking in budget speakers. At this point, I don't know whether your speakers themselves are the problem or their placement and room effects, but I seriously doubt that it would be worthwhile to upgrade your speaker cables because it won't have any perceivable effect for the fronts, and if your speakers are not that great, then it wouldn't matter much for the surrounds anyway.

Is there anything strange or questionable about the placement of your speakers, such as being boxed in inside a cabinet?
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post #3 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Nope, I've followed all the guides online for placement, and this indeed isn't my first trip to the surround sound rodeo smile.gif ... I've also used the included Audyssey mic paired with the Denon 1913 with a tripod to effect best possible sound, and followed recommendation for speaker size settings, frequency response settings etc. The base sounds fine, to be sure, some room shaking effects, it's just the subtle sound. For instance, an explosion from behind me just about blows me off my couch, which is great, but the sound of rain drops through the surround channels aren't so great. Same with music, Base sounds great, but Piano and lets say, high hat drums ( like jazz drums ) don't sound particularly clear. I thought maybe I'd get the 200 ft of cable, test it out, and if it didn't make a diff, I'd use it when I upgrade speakers anyways no? Fluance's top of the line system ( still budget ) has gotten pretty decent reviews, and would be a doable upgrade for me : http://fluance.com/product/XLHTB_High_Performance_5_Speaker_Surround_Sound_Home_Theater_Speaker_System.eng-104.html

I just don't want to sell these for a loss, upgrade, and have them sound EXACTLY the same, lol

This is what I currently have :
http://fluance.com/product/SX_5_1_Surround_Sound_Home_Theater_Speaker_System.eng-39.html
with an additional two Bi polar rears also from fluance .. paired with a Denon Sub.
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post #4 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 07:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

So I thought first I'd re run all my cable with 12 gauge ( Fluance's recommended gauge ) to see if it makes any difference. Any point in doing so do you think?
No. The cable loss you have with the surrounds is about 0.3 dB, the smallest deviation you can hear is 1 dB.
Besides, any power loss in the cable doesn't affect the quality of the sound from the speaker, only the volume. Even if you had 1dB of cable loss you'd make up for that by turning up the volume to the surrounds in the AVR control panel by perhaps one click.

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post #5 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Damn, I was afraid of this.
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post #6 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

Hey there, I've got a 7.1 setup in my living room running with 16 gauge wire. The way I've got the wires running, the longest wire is about 30 feet ( as it runs the long way around the baseboards to get to one surround back speaker ) ... but most of them fall in the 15 ft range. I've got a Denon 1913 receiver, and am powering Fluance SX series speakers with a Denon Sub. They sound pretty good for video games and bass in music, and explosions for movies, but I'm missing what I guess would be the mid frequency sounds, like subtle sound effects and music effects. Now obviously upgrading to more expensive speakers would be ONE way to do it, and indeed I've played with the idea, ( but money's not unlimited ) .. So I thought first I'd re run all my cable with 12 gauge ( Fluance's recommended gauge ) to see if it makes any difference. Any point in doing so do you think? My lengths are actually 37ft and 32 feet for the back surrounds, 24 feet x 2 for the side surrounds, then of course just 5 feet each way for the fronts. There's a deal on ebay that looks ok, do you think this wire will do the trick? http://www.ebay.ca/itm/200-FT-60m-High-Definition-12-Gauge-Speaker-Wire-Cable-/360175251552?pt=US_Audio_Cables_Adapters&hash=item53dc1e3060&_uhb=1#ht_1057wt_1016

If your receiver has Audyssey, have you run it?

In general speaker cable in the sizes you are comparing doesn't change much in normal lengths.
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post #7 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 08:19 AM
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16 gauge is a bit light for speaker wire unless it is 8 feet or less.

The problem with too much speaker wire resistance is that it tends to reduce the bass somewhat, because more current is required at the lowest frequencies.

You can get away with 14 gauge for as much as 30 feet, but 12 is obviously better.
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post #8 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

Nope, I've followed all the guides online for placement, and this indeed isn't my first trip to the surround sound rodeo smile.gif ... I've also used the included Audyssey mic paired with the Denon 1913 with a tripod to effect best possible sound, and followed recommendation for speaker size settings, frequency response settings etc.

This would fully compensate for any shortcomings of your speaker cables (even if you could detect them, which you probably could not), so it's not that, and it's not placement, so it's probably your speakers. frown.gif
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The base sounds fine, to be sure, some room shaking effects, it's just the subtle sound. For instance, an explosion from behind me just about blows me off my couch, which is great, but the sound of rain drops through the surround channels aren't so great. Same with music, Base sounds great, but Piano and lets say, high hat drums ( like jazz drums ) don't sound particularly clear.

Wait, are you still talking about the surround channels primarily, or all of the channels now?
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I thought maybe I'd get the 200 ft of cable, test it out, and if it didn't make a diff, I'd use it when I upgrade speakers anyways no?

Sure, if that would give you some peace of mind, but it costs money and I don't think it'd make an audible difference.
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Fluance's top of the line system ( still budget ) has gotten pretty decent reviews, and would be a doable upgrade for me : http://fluance.com/product/XLHTB_High_Performance_5_Speaker_Surround_Sound_Home_Theater_Speaker_System.eng-104.html

I just don't want to sell these for a loss, upgrade, and have them sound EXACTLY the same, lol

Well, they seem to have upgraded the cabinets substantially, but as for the sound quality, I have no idea. wink.gif
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This is what I currently have :
http://fluance.com/product/SX_5_1_Surround_Sound_Home_Theater_Speaker_System.eng-39.html

The website sure makes these speakers seem terribly impressive (no surprise), covering a lot of bases, but I'm afraid that I've never heard them in action, so I must claim ignorance here. But just for kicks I checked out the specifications, and the weirdest thing is that the center and surrounds have a crossover frequency of 8000 Hz. eek.gif Assuming this is accurate, what I wonder is why the frequency is so high. Is the 1" tweeter (a large dome size) that weak? They might have their reasons, for all I know, but I have to think that even the small 4" midwoofer would start to "beam" sound at well under 8000 Hz, significantly narrowing dispersion in all directions from the treble even down to the high-midrange. While I don't know whether these speakers sound decent when directly on-axis, I doubt that they would sound decent when even slightly off-axis (as the vast majority of surround speakers are), regardless. As an experiment, if it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, try to aim these speakers directly at your ears to find out whether this makes a significant improvement in the quality of surround effects (and center channel content, for that matter). Another experiment you could try is using a phantom center while sitting in the sweet spot. Do dialogue and other center channel content sound any better with this configuration?
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with an additional two Bi polar rears also from fluance ..

If you're looking for fidelity in the surrounds, then I would recommend staying away from bipoles and especially dipoles. Not that bipoles specifically are that bad, but you seem to desire clear sound from the surrounds, and deliberately causing early reflections from the walls, as bipoles do, does not help in that regard.

As for whether to upgrade to the slightly more costly Fluance system, the specs for the center seem to be more reasonable, but the surrounds are still crossed over way high at 6000 Hz. I can't tell you what they sound like, but frankly this doesn't give me much confidence in any of these speakers. I strongly suspect that you could do a lot better for the same price.
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post #9 of 33 Old 03-19-2013, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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"While I don't know whether these speakers sound decent when directly on-axis, I doubt that they would sound decent when even slightly off-axis (as the vast majority of surround speakers are), regardless. As an experiment, if it wouldn't be too much of a hassle, try to aim these speakers directly at your ears to find out whether this makes a significant improvement in the quality of surround effects (and center channel content, for that matter). Another experiment you could try is using a phantom center while sitting in the sweet spot. Do dialogue and other center channel content sound any better with this configuration?"

Well I have my side surrounds at an almost direct angle to my ear as it stands, maybe 2 degrees behind, closer to one. My bipolars are being used as my Rear surround. The only thing I could do is drop them about a foot to ear level. They're currently about 4 ft up on the wall but I could drop them to 3 foot which would be directly aimed at my ear. Not a bad suggestion, though Dolby would say this is an incorrect setup. Here's a rudimentary drawing I did of my room configuration to make my current speaker placement a little more clear, though I'm inclined to believe at this point it is simply a matter of not having good enough speakers to have any decent mid's come through..



"f you're looking for fidelity in the surrounds, then I would recommend staying away from bipoles and especially dipoles. Not that bipoles specifically are that bad, but you seem to desire clear sound from the surrounds, and deliberately causing early reflections from the walls, as bipoles do, does not help in that regard."

It's really my side surrounds that I'd like more ambient effects from. The loud bits come through crystal clear, but anything subtle gets lost, I KIND of hear something, but it's not great. As far as the Fronts go, they have a pretty deep sound, but I definitely wouldn't call it a crisp sound. Nice and full sounding for the louder parts, but anything subtle is lost. I'm not as worried about my Bipolar's, as they seem to do a pretty decent job of filling the room behind me with sound effects when called for. I don't expect them to be as subtle, just to fill the room with explosions when I need them to, which they do quite well As far as the side surrounds are concerned, definitely not up to snuff right now. I've gone ahead and ordered a big spool of 12 AWG... should be here in a couple of days, Monday at the latest. It sounds like it won't make a heck of a lot of difference to be honest, but if it still leaves me wanting more I suppose I'll still need it for when I do decide to upgrade my speakers. On that note:

"As for whether to upgrade to the slightly more costly Fluance system, the specs for the center seem to be more reasonable, but the surrounds are still crossed over way high at 6000 Hz. I can't tell you what they sound like, but frankly this doesn't give me much confidence in any of these speakers. I strongly suspect that you could do a lot better for the same price."

I'm not sure exactly what crossing over at 8000 hz or 6000 hz means, other then it's obviously bad smile.gif I do appreciate you taking the time to look those specs up! I know that Audyssey found that the bass frequency cut offs for the sides were around 120hz, and the rear bi polars 150 hz, which doesn't exactly leave much room for bass, but I guess that didn't really bother me as the fronts are large floorstanding and I have a sub that does a pretty good job of low frequency. Do those settings have anything to do with what your talking about? In any case it sounds like they're not so hot.

I will absolutely try lowering my speakers to ear level, and report back when I've got the new 12 awg wired and ready to go to see if it makes any difference whatsoever.
One last question, As the side surrounds are about 20 feet around the baseboards to the amp, and the rear surrounds are 37 ft around the baseboards, should I consider making the side surround wire the same length ( 37 feet ) as the rears, and just hide the extra wire, to make the speaker run lengths the exact same for rear and sides? Or do you think Auddessy will compensate for that anyways. Thanks again for all the great info gentlemen!!!
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post #10 of 33 Old 03-20-2013, 01:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

Well I have my side surrounds at an almost direct angle to my ear as it stands, maybe 2 degrees behind, closer to one. My bipolars are being used as my Rear surround. The only thing I could do is drop them about a foot to ear level. They're currently about 4 ft up on the wall but I could drop them to 3 foot which would be directly aimed at my ear. Not a bad suggestion, though Dolby would say this is an incorrect setup.

Dolby recommends higher placement because it sounds more expansive and enveloping, and while I agree with this, ultimately we can decide for ourselves what we like best. In this case, I'm only suggesting a temporary experiment to help discover what the problem is and possibly how to address it without upgrading. That said, I still think that you'll need to upgrade to get the sound quality that you desire.
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Here's a rudimentary drawing I did of my room configuration to make my current speaker placement a little more clear, though I'm inclined to believe at this point it is simply a matter of not having good enough speakers to have any decent mid's come through..

That's very probable. I just wanted to see whether it is an off-axis (speaker not pointing directly at your head) problem or on-axis (speaker pointing directly at your head) problem--the former we could possibly work around, but the latter would require a speaker upgrade.
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It's really my side surrounds that I'd like more ambient effects from. The loud bits come through crystal clear, but anything subtle gets lost, I KIND of hear something, but it's not great.

Some soundtracks have clearer-sounding ambiance and effects (and even music) than others, but if your front speakers aren't providing adequate sound quality, which seems to be the case, then it's a pretty safe bet that the surrounds wouldn't be any better.
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I've gone ahead and ordered a big spool of 12 AWG... should be here in a couple of days, Monday at the latest. It sounds like it won't make a heck of a lot of difference to be honest, but if it still leaves me wanting more I suppose I'll still need it for when I do decide to upgrade my speakers.

You won't hear a difference. If you do, I'd be shocked, and probably wouldn't believe you without blind A/B testing to eliminate confirmation bias. wink.gif But if it makes you feel better to use more-than-adequate wire, then that's alright--I do this myself, just on principle.
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I'm not sure exactly what crossing over at 8000 hz or 6000 hz means, other then it's obviously bad smile.gif

That's the frequency at which the tweeter takes over from the midrange-woofer (midwoofer for short), and it is unusually high in this case for a 2-way speaker (one that only has two kinds of drivers reproducing two different ranges of frequencies). Usually a tweeter of this dome size can be crossed over at a much lower frequency, as it is in your towers, which is good for off-axis sound quality because it disperses or spreads the midrange frequencies more widely than would the larger midwoofer. That's how the physics of sound propagation work--the smaller the driver, the more widely it disperses sound, and the higher the frequency, the less widely it tends to disperse for any given driver. You don't need to completely understand all of this, but suffice to say that for normal-sized drivers in a 2-way bookshelf speaker, the crossover frequency should be from, say, 1500 Hz to 4000 Hz, give or take--8000 Hz or even 6000 Hz means that the speaker will sound rather different (and usually inferior) rather quickly as you move off-axis. If this is because the tweeter is weak despite its large dome, then it's probably just an awful tweeter, and if it's for any other reason that I can think of, then the speaker may just be of a poor design.

I bet that if I opened up that speaker (or the center), it wouldn't even have a real crossover circuit, but just a single capacitor on the tweeter to protect it from getting blown. This is not uncommon for cheap speakers, but it's somewhat surprising (and very bad) that the center would suffer from the same issue.
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I do appreciate you taking the time to look those specs up! I know that Audyssey found that the bass frequency cut offs for the sides were around 120hz, and the rear bi polars 150 hz, which doesn't exactly leave much room for bass, but I guess that didn't really bother me as the fronts are large floorstanding and I have a sub that does a pretty good job of low frequency. Do those settings have anything to do with what your talking about? In any case it sounds like they're not so hot.

They're related in the sense that this is another form of crossover, which divides and distributes ranges of frequencies to different drivers and speakers, but in this case there is no direct relationship. One thing that Audyssey (or any other room correction system) does not do a great job of is determining the most appropriate subwoofer crossover frequency for each speaker, so I wouldn't completely trust what it tells you. But if we assume that these settings are accurate, for the sake of argument, then yes, they're not so hot, but not in the way that you seem to be thinking. These basically represent how low each speaker (or type of speaker) can reach or "extend" into the bass region, and generally the lower, the better. You wouldn't want your subwoofer to reproduce bass higher than, say, 80-100 Hz because it's probably not very good at it, and you could begin to perceive sounds as coming from the direction of the sub ("localization"), which is bad, whereas frequencies lower than this tend to be omnidirectional and non-localizable.
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I will absolutely try lowering my speakers to ear level, and report back when I've got the new 12 awg wired and ready to go to see if it makes any difference whatsoever.

Well, don't make any permanent changes at this point. I'm pretty sure that you are going to want to upgrade, and we'll deal with that after you're satisfied that the cable is not the culprit (it is not wink.gif).
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One last question, As the side surrounds are about 20 feet around the baseboards to the amp, and the rear surrounds are 37 ft around the baseboards, should I consider making the side surround wire the same length ( 37 feet ) as the rears, and just hide the extra wire, to make the speaker run lengths the exact same for rear and sides? Or do you think Auddessy will compensate for that anyways. Thanks again for all the great info gentlemen!!!

Different wire lengths don't matter because the speed of the signal (not the electrons per se, just the signal, which is all we care about anyway) approaches the speed of light (about 96% on average). The delay would be approximately one nanosecond per foot of cable. To really put things into perspective, a difference in length of approximately 840,000 feet of speaker cable would be equivalent to the delay of a difference of 1 foot in speaker distance (in terms of sound)--in other words, you'd need that much additional cable to match the effect of moving the speaker 1 foot farther from the listening position. I wouldn't be overly concerned about a difference in cable length of 17 feet, which is equivalent to leaning your head forward by about 0.006 mm. smile.gif
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post #11 of 33 Old 03-20-2013, 02:29 AM - Thread Starter
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" difference in length of approximately 840,000 feet of speaker cable would be equivalent to the delay of a difference of 1 foot in speaker distance (in terms of sound)"

So if I ran a wire from here in Toronto to Brazil I'd notice a pronounced difference. I think it's safe to say I won't worry about matching cable lengths smile.gif

One thing that Audyssey (or any other room correction system) does not do a great job of is determining the most appropriate subwoofer crossover frequency for each speaker, so I wouldn't completely trust what it tells you. But if we assume that these settings are accurate, for the sake of argument, then yes, they're not so hot, but not in the way that you seem to be thinking. These basically represent how low each speaker (or type of speaker) can reach or "extend" into the bass region, and generally the lower, the better. You wouldn't want your subwoofer to reproduce bass higher than, say, 80-100 Hz because it's probably not very good at it, and you could begin to perceive sounds as coming from the direction of the sub ("localization"), which is bad, whereas frequencies lower than this tend to be omnidirectional and non-localizable.

I had heard that, and actually didn't stick with Audyssey's recommendations for my Fronts. I actually followed Batpig's advice regarding Denon's and Audyssey, set all my speakers to small and changed the frequency of my fronts from 20 to 60. Batpig actually suggested setting the fronts up to 80 but as Audyssey detected they could handle lower frequency's I compromised. One thing that perplexes me, if the bass is set to roll off to the sub to allow it to handle the lower frequencies, and sub's can't handle more then 80 - 100, which is understandable, what happens to the surrounds? as I said they have a frequency of 120 and 150 - so where does the bass roll off too if the sub can't reproduce sounds that high?

That's the frequency at which the tweeter takes over from the midrange-woofer (midwoofer for short), and it is unusually high in this case for a 2-way speaker (one that only has two kinds of drivers reproducing two different ranges of frequencies). Usually a tweeter of this dome size can be crossed over at a much lower frequency, as it is in your towers, which is good for off-axis sound quality because it disperses or spreads the midrange frequencies more widely than would the larger midwoofer. That's how the physics of sound propagation work--the smaller the driver, the more widely it disperses sound, and the higher the frequency, the less widely it tends to disperse for any given driver

I'm going to trust you on this one, as you make a great argument for the surrounds not being any good, be it poor materials or poor design, I'm not loving my chances of creating better sound. One thing I had thought of while reading your post, is the possibility of replacing the side surrounds with another pair of the fronts. Of course I still wouldn't get the crisp sounds I was hoping for, but it would be an obvious improvement over the poorly designed surrounds. At the very least it would only be a 200 dollar upgrade. But then again I might just be spending more money on something I'm not quite satisfied with. I should be clear, I don't HATE the sound, as I said it's pretty good for video games and general over the top sound effects for what I paid. But I'm obviously at a crossroads with respect to how I want to proceed.
Once I re wire the system, and effect your experimental side surround placement, I'll be at a better place to make a decision. I've already actually listed the entire system on ebay / kijiji, but have not had any bites yet. Perhaps over the next few days I will. If I could get 500 for all 7 speakers it would certainly help rebuild with a better system, even if it meant starting with just the front soundstage and slowly working back up to 7.1. Worse case scenario I could try to sell the components separately to make up the money.
First things first though, I'll re wire it and get back to you with the results!
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post #12 of 33 Old 03-20-2013, 11:07 AM
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I had heard that, and actually didn't stick with Audyssey's recommendations for my Fronts. I actually followed Batpig's advice regarding Denon's and Audyssey, set all my speakers to small and changed the frequency of my fronts from 20 to 60. Batpig actually suggested setting the fronts up to 80 but as Audyssey detected they could handle lower frequency's I compromised.

I would completely ignore what Audyssey tells me regarding crossover frequencies because what the speakers can actually do, independent of room effects, is always relevant. In my view, if you use a subwoofer in a more or less regular home theater, then ALL of your speakers should be set to "Small" no matter how large they may be. This is not only to give people the best sound quality, and protect the speakers from distortion and even possible damage in extreme cases, but to ease the load on the built-in amplifiers of AVRs, which aren't particularly powerful in most cases. If you have huge speakers with built-in subwoofers and powerful separate amplifiers, then OK, do whatever you want, but even commercial movie theaters cross over their huge speakers to subwoofers typically at 80 Hz, and that's what most people should do if they can.

80 Hz is my default and favorite crossover frequency because it's the highest point at which most subwoofers are still strong and localization effects are virtually nonexistent; the pros use it, too, when they're mixing soundtracks, which helps replicate what they're hearing, if anything. Some folks feel that they get better sound quality with their specific speakers and home theaters when using a lower crossover (60 Hz is popular), which they discover ideally through experimentation, and if that is really the case, then go for it. Others are forced to cross over at higher frequencies because of the limitations of their speakers, but you gotta do what you gotta do--it's a compromise. I really try to get people to use speakers that can handle an 80 Hz crossover (even for the surrounds), or at least a 100 Hz crossover because that's still pretty good, too, but many people strongly prefer small speakers for aesthetic reasons.
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One thing that perplexes me, if the bass is set to roll off to the sub to allow it to handle the lower frequencies, and sub's can't handle more then 80 - 100, which is understandable, what happens to the surrounds? as I said they have a frequency of 120 and 150 - so where does the bass roll off too if the sub can't reproduce sounds that high?

Subs can usually go that high, but they won't usually sound good and their output could peter out at high volumes, as could the output of small speakers near these crossover frequencies. So what happens to this "mid-bass" region, which is important for making the soundtrack sound "full" as well as many dynamic movie effects? It will be lacking, and some frequency ranges in the extreme cases would be sent off to oblivion. It's a compromise for having small speakers, although relatively speaking it's not as bad for the surrounds as it would be for the front speakers (movies such as Master and Commander may not sound as awesome in the surrounds as they could, however).
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I'm going to trust you on this one, as you make a great argument for the surrounds not being any good, be it poor materials or poor design, I'm not loving my chances of creating better sound. One thing I had thought of while reading your post, is the possibility of replacing the side surrounds with another pair of the fronts. Of course I still wouldn't get the crisp sounds I was hoping for, but it would be an obvious improvement over the poorly designed surrounds.

Well, to be blatantly honest, don't merely trust what I said based on one specification, especially as I have never auditioned these speakers myself--if you want to know for sure, then take them down, temporarily connect them as your front speakers, and listen to them. If they sound pretty decent, based on your lifelong experience of listening to the real world, then maybe you're expecting too much of the surround channels. On the other hand, I've watched movies that have darn good surround content, and they sound great on my speakers, so I'm probably correct that your surround speakers aren't up to snuff, even though I'm "flying blindly" here. wink.gif

By the way, what movies are you watching that you expect more from, regarding surround quality?
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

At the very least it would only be a 200 dollar upgrade. But then again I might just be spending more money on something I'm not quite satisfied with.

Are you satisfied with your front speakers? I'm concerned about the center in particular because it appears to share some characteristics with your surrounds.
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I should be clear, I don't HATE the sound, as I said it's pretty good for video games and general over the top sound effects for what I paid. But I'm obviously at a crossroads with respect to how I want to proceed.
Once I re wire the system, and effect your experimental side surround placement, I'll be at a better place to make a decision. I've already actually listed the entire system on ebay / kijiji, but have not had any bites yet. Perhaps over the next few days I will. If I could get 500 for all 7 speakers it would certainly help rebuild with a better system, even if it meant starting with just the front soundstage and slowly working back up to 7.1. Worse case scenario I could try to sell the components separately to make up the money.
First things first though, I'll re wire it and get back to you with the results!

OK, that sounds like a plan. Whenever you get a chance, try to audition speakers at your local hi-fi or electronics store. It won't be under the same conditions as your home theater, but it's better than nothing, and should give you an idea of what other better speakers sound like (avoid the cheap ones except for the Pioneer Andrew Jones series). If you're convinced that you could do better after doing this, then we'll try to find you speakers in your price range that should offer a significant improvement over what you have now.
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post #13 of 33 Old 03-21-2013, 01:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I would completely ignore what Audyssey tells me regarding crossover frequencies because what the speakers can actually do, independent of room effects, is always relevant. In my view, if you use a subwoofer in a more or less regular home theater, then ALL of your speakers should be set to "Small" no matter how large they may be. This is not only to give people the best sound quality, and protect the speakers from distortion and even possible damage in extreme cases, but to ease the load on the built-in amplifiers of AVRs, which aren't particularly powerful in most cases. If you have huge speakers with built-in subwoofers and powerful separate amplifiers, then OK, do whatever you want, but even commercial movie theaters cross over their huge speakers to subwoofers typically at 80 Hz, and that's what most people should do if they can.

Well I haven't experimented to much with moving my fronts up from 60 to 80, because thus the one thing I'm satisfied with is the rich low sound from my front soundstage. I don't think turning the crossover for my fronts to 80 would do anything to improve my higher frequencies / mids, if I understand everything correctly, just allow the sub to take over a bit of low frequency. Again the bass is the best part of my current system, whether that's because the fronts have pretty decent low frequency response or the denon sub just does a great job I don't know, but with respect to that I'm not going to mess with what's not broken. But I suppose It wouldn't HURT to experiment with it smile.gif
I've just double checked with my Auddysey settings, and the crossover points currently set are Fronts - 60, Center - 80, Surrounds 90, and rears 120. So the side surrounds are actually lower then I thought, which is good I guess, not that it seems to be making a difference at this point. One thing I also noticed, I had the dynamic EQ set to on and the Compression set to medium to equalize loud and soft parts of movies... I'm wondering if this could be having an effect on my mids? I've turned it off and will do more experimentation tomorrow when it's not 3 in the morning and my neighbors are asleep.

So what happens to this "mid-bass" region, which is important for making the soundtrack sound "full" as well as many dynamic movie effects? It will be lacking, and some frequency ranges in the extreme cases would be sent off to oblivion.

Perhaps this is exactly what's happening in my scenario, certainly sounds like it, Looks like my speaker wire should be arriving early tomorrow, which is great because it's my day off. I'll have lots of time to move speakers / test settings / run new wire. I'll report back tomorrow night.


By the way, what movies are you watching that you expect more from, regarding surround quality?

I don't have a specific one I could reference and say " this sounded way better on x " ... Just a general feeling that I'm missing something. It's hard to explain, as I said the louder sound effects, ie explosions in u 571 sound great, but more subtle things like bullets wizzing bye on the Thin Red Line don't sound very pronounced. There's a scene in Band of Brothers, where all hell is being unleashed on the soldiers in a forest, and it sounds like I'm there, the intensity of explosions, and the sounds really do localize around me. So that's great! - but then for instance, when there's supposed to be a firefly buzzing around in circles in one part of Pan's Labyrinth, where you have to strain your ears to hear it, meanwhile I KNOW it's there as I've heard it well on a friends surround.

Are you satisfied with your front speakers? I'm concerned about the center in particular because it appears to share some characteristics with your surrounds.

Well again, as I mentioned above, I'm totally satisfied with the fullness of the sound. Very resonant lows. But I definitely think the higher frequencies aren't so hot. I can only really compare this to a pair of paradigms I had years back, music sounded AMAZING on them, piano was absolutely outstanding. But then again they were only bookshelf and conversely didn't have that deep rich bass I enjoy with these. If I could find a pair of fronts that could do BOTH, well that would be great. Unfortunately looking at the prices of floor standing paradigms, a pair would set me back a FORTUNE, and I can't afford them, never mind It would take me forever to match up the surrounds with them due to pricing. Your right about the center, that's the only sticking point for me with the front sound stage, well, I guess the second point after the higher frequencies, is it sounds a bit muffled. Your concern is echoed in a review I was reading about my system. A generally decent review, but the reviewer expressed concerns about the center speaker and the Subwoofer. The Sub doesn't apply in my case since I'm using a Denon sub not a Fluance sub, but yeah the center's not great. Unfortunately that opens up another pile of worms, in that obviously the most important speakers to match are the front three, and I can't just replace the center from what I understand.


OK, that sounds like a plan. Whenever you get a chance, try to audition speakers at your local hi-fi or electronics store. It won't be under the same conditions as your home theater, but it's better than nothing, and should give you an idea of what other better speakers sound like (avoid the cheap ones except for the Pioneer Andrew Jones series). If you're convinced that you could do better after doing this, then we'll try to find you speakers in your price range that should offer a significant improvement over what you have now.

I'll get back to you tomorrow. No hits on Kijiji or Craigslist as of yet, so this upgrade might take a while. I had a look at the Pioneer set you speak of, but really I want to make sure when I do upgrade I'm not doing a lateral move. Basically when I do it I'm prepared to take a loss for a period of time on the surrounds to sink all my available funds into the center and fronts. This is contingent on what I can get for my system as it is. It won't make any sense for me to upgrade the front sound stage as I see it unless I've got about 1000 dollars to spend on the three speakers, and this depends on what I can get for my current system. Here's hoping the side speaker placement will affect some change, if only to tide me over until I've got a buyer / funds to make the first move towards upgrading.
During my search for crossover settings for the surrounds - I ran into these reviews of my system: http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/home-theater-speaker-systems/fluance/sx-htb/prd_142844_4282crx.aspx
Maybe I'm just being too picky here?

Ps. I've totally screwed up the quotes here, There's actually more answers to your posits above, where it looks like it's one big quote by you. Ah well rolleyes.gif

PPS: Edit - Turning dynamic EQ OFF makes everything suck eek.gif
Cheers!
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post #14 of 33 Old 03-21-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

Well I haven't experimented to much with moving my fronts up from 60 to 80, because thus the one thing I'm satisfied with is the rich low sound from my front soundstage. I don't think turning the crossover for my fronts to 80 would do anything to improve my higher frequencies / mids, if I understand everything correctly, just allow the sub to take over a bit of low frequency.

I wasn't actually suggesting that you make a change (unless you feel like experimenting for yourself), I was just giving you the general basics as I see them, and they seem to be in broad agreement with what others have recommended.

As for whether doing so could help the midrange and treble, in some cases when speakers and the amps in your receiver are being pushed really hard, a higher subwoofer crossover frequency can actually help clean up the midrange and low-treble some. I doubt that this applies to your case with regard to your towers, but since they only have two midwoofers and no dedicated bass drivers, we couldn't know for sure without trying. Your center is far more limited in bass and output capability, and going just from the specs, which say that it's a bass reflex design that only goes down to 80 Hz, I think that you would derive some benefit from crossing them over at 100 Hz instead of 80 Hz (at least in theory). On the other hand, it seems to me that your towers are probably much better speakers than your center in every way, so I'm wondering whether using a phantom center would work better overall for you. While the phantom center configuration has definite drawbacks that I constantly rail against on this forum, when the center speaker is inferior and weak in comparison to the other fronts, it may well be the best option (I'm pretty flexible when it comes to optimizing systems--whatever works best overall in practice). I think that you should try this (it's easy).
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

I've just double checked with my Auddysey settings, and the crossover points currently set are Fronts - 60, Center - 80, Surrounds 90, and rears 120. So the side surrounds are actually lower then I thought, which is good I guess, not that it seems to be making a difference at this point.

The reason that Audyssey (or any other room correction system) cannot be trusted with regard to sub crossover frequencies in general, even though it happened to do a fairly decent job in your case, is that it doesn't know what each speaker can actually do. It has enough information to perform its primary duty of correcting the system response for the room, but if it mistakenly (because of room-related effects) believes that a speaker can do more than it can, then it may ask too much of the speaker, which can have a negative impact on sound quality. In your case, just going by the specs (which can't always be trusted, by the way), the towers may be fine at 60 Hz (although in your place I'd experiment with 80 Hz), but the center and surrounds require at least 100 Hz (experiment with higher frequencies, even with the drawbacks that may have), and the back surrounds about 130-140 Hz (I wouldn't worry too much about these, though).
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

One thing I also noticed, I had the dynamic EQ set to on and the Compression set to medium to equalize loud and soft parts of movies... I'm wondering if this could be having an effect on my mids?

If anything, compression should make everything easier to hear and maybe a little clearer-sounding in certain cases, at the cost of dynamics. As for Dynamic EQ, it will tend to de-emphasize the mids at low volumes by boosting bass and treble, but this shouldn't affect the quality of the mids.
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So what happens to this "mid-bass" region, which is important for making the soundtrack sound "full" as well as many dynamic movie effects? It will be lacking, and some frequency ranges in the extreme cases would be sent off to oblivion.

Perhaps this is exactly what's happening in my scenario, certainly sounds like it, Looks like my speaker wire should be arriving early tomorrow, which is great because it's my day off. I'll have lots of time to move speakers / test settings / run new wire. I'll report back tomorrow night.

I was just talking about the range of frequencies around the subwoofer crossover, which are heavily used by many dynamic effects such as explosions and gunshots; this range is also important for deep human voices, among other things. Your issues seem to be more related to the high-midrange and treble.
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By the way, what movies are you watching that you expect more from, regarding surround quality?

I don't have a specific one I could reference and say " this sounded way better on x " ... Just a general feeling that I'm missing something.

It's important at this point because as you yourself had suggested earlier it may be that you expect too much from the surround channels. Some movies have awesome surround sound quality--full-range, high-fidelity sound--but many use the surrounds much less, and put less distinct-sounding content in those channels (e.g. ambiance and bandwidth-limited effects). There are many people on this forum, although they've been silent so far in this thread, who will tell you that you're expecting too much from the surrounds, and some would even say that you shouldn't be hearing clear, localizable sounds at all. I happen to disagree, and think that there are movies that justify high-quality surround speakers, but it really depends on the specific movie.
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It's hard to explain, as I said the louder sound effects, ie explosions in u 571 sound great, but more subtle things like bullets wizzing bye on the Thin Red Line don't sound very pronounced. There's a scene in Band of Brothers, where all hell is being unleashed on the soldiers in a forest, and it sounds like I'm there, the intensity of explosions, and the sounds really do localize around me. So that's great! - but then for instance, when there's supposed to be a firefly buzzing around in circles in one part of Pan's Labyrinth, where you have to strain your ears to hear it, meanwhile I KNOW it's there as I've heard it well on a friends surround.

OK, this helps a bit. Maybe you would benefit significantly from better surround speakers. Have you by chance watched "Ratatouille" (Pixar) on your system? It will almost constantly test virtually every aspect of your surround speakers with tons of directional effects, music (including lots of high-hats to test treble response), panned effects, and distinct voices--all with the same fidelity as the front channels.
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Are you satisfied with your front speakers? I'm concerned about the center in particular because it appears to share some characteristics with your surrounds.

Your right about the center, that's the only sticking point for me with the front sound stage, well, I guess the second point after the higher frequencies, is it sounds a bit muffled. Your concern is echoed in a review I was reading about my system. A generally decent review, but the reviewer expressed concerns about the center speaker and the Subwoofer. The Sub doesn't apply in my case since I'm using a Denon sub not a Fluance sub, but yeah the center's not great. Unfortunately that opens up another pile of worms, in that obviously the most important speakers to match are the front three, and I can't just replace the center from what I understand.

Try turning the center off, then. smile.gif
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I had a look at the Pioneer set you speak of, but really I want to make sure when I do upgrade I'm not doing a lateral move.

I couldn't say without hearing your speakers, but the current Andrew Jones series is pretty clear-sounding. They don't emphasize the midrange like your speakers reportedly do, and you may not like this (which is why you'd need to audition them before buying), but they're well-balanced and get most everything right, within their limitations as budget speakers. I've only heard them in the store, but I'm fairly confident that you could hear the surround effects you mentioned earlier clearly enough with them. Of course, there are better options that naturally cost more.
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Basically when I do it I'm prepared to take a loss for a period of time on the surrounds to sink all my available funds into the center and fronts. This is contingent on what I can get for my system as it is. It won't make any sense for me to upgrade the front sound stage as I see it unless I've got about 1000 dollars to spend on the three speakers, and this depends on what I can get for my current system. Here's hoping the side speaker placement will affect some change, if only to tide me over until I've got a buyer / funds to make the first move towards upgrading.

Try all of the experiments that you care to and let us know the results.
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During my search for crossover settings for the surrounds - I ran into these reviews of my system: http://www.audioreview.com/cat/speakers/home-theater-speaker-systems/fluance/sx-htb/prd_142844_4282crx.aspx
Maybe I'm just being too picky here?

It doesn't SEEM as though you're being too picky, based solely on your descriptions. Interestingly, one reviewer above compares the towers to the speaker that I use throughout my own home theater, the Ascend Acoustics CBM-170 SE, and seems to think that they're in the same ballpark, at least. Personally, I think that my speakers sound fantastic for their price, and I've heard many speakers, some better (but more costly) and many worse. With them I can hear everything clearly in the surrounds whenever there is such content in those channels to be heard, so I have no complaints. It could be that the reviewer hears differently than I do, or isn't as picky in some ways, or it could be that the Fluance SX towers are quite good while the rest of the speakers in that set are blah--I couldn't say without auditioning them personally. If you only try one experiment, the one that would probably tell us the most is the phantom center.
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Ps. I've totally screwed up the quotes here, There's actually more answers to your posits above, where it looks like it's one big quote by you. Ah well rolleyes.gif

Maybe you should just pile all of your answers below the quote.
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PPS: Edit - Turning dynamic EQ OFF makes everything suck eek.gif

Even when your system is playing at normal home theater volume? I guess the reviewer mentioned above wasn't kidding when he said that their midrange is forward and prominent.
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post #15 of 33 Old 03-21-2013, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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OK, this helps a bit. Maybe you would benefit significantly from better surround speakers. Have you by chance watched "Ratatouille" (Pixar) on your system? It will almost constantly test virtually every aspect of your surround speakers with tons of directional effects, music (including lots of high-hats to test treble response), panned effects, and distinct voices--all with the same fidelity as the front channels.

Well first off, my speaker cable didn't arrive, although it was scheduled to, according to the postal office rep, " it's been delayed somehow ". No Kidding.
In any case, I hadn't actually seen that movie, so grabbed the dts version and watched it. Some great effects, although the movie was so good, I kept forgetting to pay attention to any of them. When I did remember I noticed full sound from the front sound stage, and exactly as before, muffled sound with subtle effects from my side surrounds. Again when there were louder effects, they seemed to work well, and I had quite satisfactory sound around the sweet spot, including from the surrounds, but for the scenes with, say, raindrops, I could here them fairly well from the fronts, but had to strain to here them from the sides ( I knew it was there but really had to pay attention to it to make any sound out ). This could only be solved by turning the output of the surrounds up, but then for the louder parts they were WAY to loud and overpowered the other speakers.
I did try moving them down a foot, but this in fact didn't make too much of a difference, and I actually liked them better where I had them originally.
I tried with the center channel off, but again my results were ho hum, if anything the front sound stage didn't sound quite as full, although dialog wasn't too bad. I think I prefer it with the center included, and a decent center will obviously have to be a big part of my next set up.
I was contemplating the possibility of ordering two more of the front floor standing speakers to use as my surrounds, my only concern in that case, would be that about half of them would be pointing at the arms of my couch, as the armrests are big and come up quite a bit, where as the way I've got the surround speakers mounted they clear the sides of the couch. I could see this being a problem, with sound bouncing off the sides of the couch. I could set them on some kind of stand, but have a feeling it would look kind of stupid.
So thus far the verdict is, the surround speakers are the weak link in this set up. Where to go from here I'm not sure. There is so much about timbre matching, I'm afraid replacing just the surrounds will wreak havoc with what I already have. Is there a way to come close with respect to sensitivity and speaker material construction that would serve to match the rest of the system with new surrounds? or am I destined to have to replace the whole thing?
Still no bites on my adds on craigslist or kijiji, although I imagine not everyone is looking for a full a used 7.1 system willing to pay 450 to 500 for. Again this will be a big determining factor. If I can get that I'll be happy with sinking another 5 - 600 on top of that ( so as I said 1000 or so ) into upgrading the whole thing, starting with two fronts and a center, and slowly work on components from there. But if I can't timbre match the surrounds, and I have no bites on the system as it is, I think I'm stuck with what I've got for the next little while.
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post #16 of 33 Old 03-22-2013, 12:57 AM
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Have you by chance watched "Ratatouille" (Pixar) on your system? It will almost constantly test virtually every aspect of your surround speakers with tons of directional effects, music (including lots of high-hats to test treble response), panned effects, and distinct voices--all with the same fidelity as the front channels.

Well first off, my speaker cable didn't arrive, although it was scheduled to, according to the postal office rep, " it's been delayed somehow ". No Kidding.

I've been there before, and that's too bad frown.gif--just bear in mind that your issues are not related to the cable. Good luck with that--sometimes nagging them every so often helps (it's helped me before in a similar situation), especially when a package gets routed to the wrong post office and is shoved into a corner until somebody feels like looking for it. rolleyes.gif
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In any case, I hadn't actually seen that movie, so grabbed the dts version and watched it. Some great effects, although the movie was so good, I kept forgetting to pay attention to any of them. When I did remember I noticed full sound from the front sound stage, and exactly as before, muffled sound with subtle effects from my side surrounds. Again when there were louder effects, they seemed to work well, and I had quite satisfactory sound around the sweet spot, including from the surrounds, but for the scenes with, say, raindrops, I could here them fairly well from the fronts, but had to strain to here them from the sides ( I knew it was there but really had to pay attention to it to make any sound out ). This could only be solved by turning the output of the surrounds up, but then for the louder parts they were WAY to loud and overpowered the other speakers.

Ah-ha! Eureka! Your surround speakers are definitely lacking, to put it kindly, because nearly everything in the surround channels of this movie sounds crystal-clear on my system. On the one hand this is bad, but on the other hand it's good to know what the problem is. cool.gif
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I did try moving them down a foot, but this in fact didn't make too much of a difference, and I actually liked them better where I had them originally.

So it's not just their off-axis response, but how they sound in general.
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I tried with the center channel off, but again my results were ho hum, if anything the front sound stage didn't sound quite as full, although dialog wasn't too bad. I think I prefer it with the center included, and a decent center will obviously have to be a big part of my next set up.

To tell you the truth, I had expected a significant improvement with the phantom center. Either your center speaker isn't as bad as I had thought, or your towers aren't as good as I had thought--probably the former.
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So thus far the verdict is, the surround speakers are the weak link in this set up. Where to go from here I'm not sure. There is so much about timbre matching, I'm afraid replacing just the surrounds will wreak havoc with what I already have. Is there a way to come close with respect to sensitivity and speaker material construction that would serve to match the rest of the system with new surrounds? or am I destined to have to replace the whole thing?

There are two options that spring to mind at this point:

1) If you are going to keep the front speakers for a good while, then you could try replacing your surrounds with these:
http://fluance.com/product/SX6_High_Definition_Two_way_Bookshelf_Loudspeakers.eng-12.html
While I cannot guarantee what the results will be, these speakers seem to be superior and a better match for your front speakers. They're tough to wall-mount, but it's quite doable with this (I use virtually identical mounts myself):
http://www.amazon.com/VideoSecu-Clamping-Mounting-Surrounding-MS56B/dp/B000X9O8SI

2) If you're going to replace your entire system in the foreseeable future, then perhaps the best way to go would be to choose your future system now but only buy the surrounds for now. You'd have a mismatched system for a while, but for most movies it's not that big of a deal to match the surrounds with the fronts; I greatly prefer to match all of the speakers, myself, but this would be a fair compromise to make under these and certain other circumstances.

By the way, regarding sensitivity, that doesn't matter (within reason) because the speakers must be level-matched in your AVR's settings anyway, and any differences in sensitivity will be compensated for automatically along with distance and the effects associated with that.
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post #17 of 33 Old 03-23-2013, 12:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Great advice! ... Yeah I don't know why I didn't think of that before, the bookshelves you've suggested, I see they have a much lower crossover frequency 3500hz and response at 50hz. I had a look at the site, and unfortunately they're out of them for the next 6 weeks! ... So my plan is to wait for the next week or two and keep my system listed on Craigslist and Kijiji, and if someone bites then I'll sink the extra money in and buy new fronts and a new center, and if not I'll go for the bookshelves you suggested. If I go with the latter I'd be happy to send down one or both of my old surrounds to you to dissect, for posterity. Thanks also for the link, yes that will come in handy with mounting to be sure. So I guess I'll wait to see how the next two weeks play out, and make my decision then.
BTW the 12 gauge came in today, but I had to go to work right after and haven't had a chance to re run / calibrate the speakers. I spent an hour re wiring them when I got home a couple hours ago but it was much to late to run Auddessy, at least for my neighbors it would be.. so It will have to wait until morning.
If someone DOES bite on the system I'll be glad of your advise when it comes to the next one, I'll keep you informed one way or the other!
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Great advice! ... Yeah I don't know why I didn't think of that before, the bookshelves you've suggested, I see they have a much lower crossover frequency 3500hz and response at 50hz.

Their specs (and higher price, to be frank) give me at least some confidence that their performance will be more like that of your front speakers. It always makes me nervous to suggest speakers that I have never had any experience with, but these should match your fronts and provide noticeably better sound quality for the surround channels...I think...I mean hope.... wink.gif
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I had a look at the site, and unfortunately they're out of them for the next 6 weeks! ... So my plan is to wait for the next week or two and keep my system listed on Craigslist and Kijiji, and if someone bites then I'll sink the extra money in and buy new fronts and a new center, and if not I'll go for the bookshelves you suggested.

In the meantime, be sure to audition the aforementioned Pioneer speakers at your local electronics store. For comparison, the SP-BS22-LR only costs a few bucks more than the Fluance SX6 (and much less when it goes on sale every so often), making it a tremendous bargain for the sound quality that it offers, in my opinion.
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If I go with the latter I'd be happy to send down one or both of my old surrounds to you to dissect, for posterity.

Thanks anyway, but I doubt that would be worth the postage for either of us. wink.gif I'm pretty sure that I know what's inside at this point, based on similar examples. Somebody you know may have a use for them, though.
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

BTW the 12 gauge came in today, but I had to go to work right after and haven't had a chance to re run / calibrate the speakers. I spent an hour re wiring them when I got home a couple hours ago but it was much to late to run Auddessy, at least for my neighbors it would be.. so It will have to wait until morning.

It will be interesting to see whether Audyssey changes any settings from what they were before. I recall when finally replacing my surround cables that sure enough I had to turn down the surround levels by 1 dB, but my runs are longer than yours and I was going from 18 AWG to 12 AWG (a legacy from my HTIB days, a couple of decades ago now). I thought that I could hear a difference in the frequency response, but it was so subtle that I just as easily could have imagined it. I went ahead and changed my much shorter front speaker cables while I was at it, and could not hear any difference whatsoever.
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If someone DOES bite on the system I'll be glad of your advise when it comes to the next one, I'll keep you informed one way or the other!

Sure, I'd like to know what happens, and to be of some help if I can.

By the way, I was just listening to the surround channels of the "Ratatouille" soundtrack on my system, having turned off the other channels, and can confirm that my memory of it is accurate--except for some reverberation effects (a surprising amount of which involves dialogue), just about everything else in them is clear and full-range. You had mentioned raindrops as an example earlier, and in chapter 18, they are particularly distinct in the surrounds, including sharp "plop" sounds when a drop lands in a puddle. The surround channels also contain much of the score and songs, including brass and even vocals that sound as clear as the front channels--watch from 1:13:20 through chapter 22 for great examples of this, panning effects, and more. Much like Disney's "Tangled" you could literally disconnect your left & right front channels and still enjoy the movie with just the center and surrounds--those who have never seen these movies may not even notice, at least most of the time, that your "main" speakers are doing nothing. biggrin.gif It does sound kind of like you're watching with headphones on when you do this, though. wink.gif

You may want to try something like this (listening to only the surround channels) to test your old and eventually your new surround speakers, and obviously "Ratatouille" makes for great test material that lets you know, beyond all doubt (as many other movies do not have such clear-sounding surround content), whether your surrounds are up to scratch. The way that I do this without having to physically disconnect any speakers is to turn off my center in my AVR's settings, set my fronts and surrounds to Large, and then switch to Zone B (not connected to any speakers), which turns off the left & right fronts but still allows the surround channels to play by themselves. This may or may not work on your AVR. I use a similar technique to isolate the center channel so that I can hear what's going on in there instead of making assumptions. While I could do the same thing by decoding the soundtracks and listening to individual channels on my computer, it's not the same as hearing them in their intended environment.
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post #19 of 33 Old 03-24-2013, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Their specs (and higher price, to be frank) give me at least some confidence that their performance will be more like that of your front speakers. It always makes me nervous to suggest speakers that I have never had any experience with, but these should match your fronts and provide noticeably better sound quality for the surround channels...I think...I mean hope....

Well, the pricing is deceiving on their site, The surrounds I have are priced at 50 dollars, but that's 50 dollars individually, whereas the bookshelves are 120, but they're priced for BOTH, so really they are only 10 dollars more each. I still have some confidence however, as the aforementioned specs seem much improved. This of course remains to be seen.

watch from 1:13:20 through chapter 22 for great examples of this, panning effects, and more.

I'd like to, but my video has no chapters as I downloaded it, it's just got start and finish. If you new the actual run times, i.e., 50:34 etc, I could pinpoint it. In any case I could tell from the first run through the parts where I should have been getting MORE from my surrounds in any case. As with other movies the quite surround effects are very muted, just the louder ones sound good. It's questionable if this is worth spending a thousand + to correct, but now that I've identified the problem it will no doubt be a constant thorn in my side until I get it corrected.

In the meantime, be sure to audition the aforementioned Pioneer speakers at your local electronics store. For comparison, the SP-BS22-LR

I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for these. I still haven't made a final decision on what direction I should go with this. If pragmatism gets the better of me I'll get the bookshelf Fluance speakers, but If I'm blown away by another set of speakers I'll go either the replace the surrounds with my next system route, or replace the front soundstage route. Of course if I get an offer on this system it will make my decision easier.
I re wired everything and re ran audyssey, and to be honest there's not really much of a difference. As you said, there are certainly times where I THINK I notice a difference, but like you, this could very well all be imagined. The frequency responses that Auddysey gave me were identical to my tests before, for what its worth smile.gif

In any case, I'll keep you informed of the progress of the build / replacement! And thanks again for all your advice!
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post #20 of 33 Old 03-25-2013, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Sean Spamilton View Post

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Their specs (and higher price, to be frank) give me at least some confidence that their performance will be more like that of your front speakers.

Well, the pricing is deceiving on their site, The surrounds I have are priced at 50 dollars, but that's 50 dollars individually, whereas the bookshelves are 120, but they're priced for BOTH, so really they are only 10 dollars more each. I still have some confidence however, as the aforementioned specs seem much improved. This of course remains to be seen.

Hey, you're right! Actually, it's not that deceiving at all--admittedly I just glanced at it so quickly that I didn't notice. redface.gif Sorry about that. While this doesn't exactly bolster my confidence in the SX6, its specs do indeed make more sense, and for what it's worth it appears to use the same tweeter as the tower (or at least a different one from the SXSS). To tell you the truth, though, I'd feel better about recommending a speaker that is known to sound clearer, even if it's not matched to the fronts, in the interest of addressing your issue thoroughly.
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watch from 1:13:20 through chapter 22 for great examples of this, panning effects, and more.

I'd like to, but my video has no chapters as I downloaded it, it's just got start and finish. If you new the actual run times, i.e., 50:34 etc, I could pinpoint it.

For the clear, sharp-sounding raindrops, view the scene starting at 59:32. The other example starting at 1:13:20 runs continuously, ending with a song (in French) that includes vocals in the surrounds.
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In any case I could tell from the first run through the parts where I should have been getting MORE from my surrounds in any case.

Yes, and your initial instinct that it was due to your equipment proved to be accurate. I just wanted to make absolutely sure that you know how clear certain specific effects ought to sound, fully verified on my system.
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As with other movies the quite surround effects are very muted, just the louder ones sound good. It's questionable if this is worth spending a thousand + to correct, but now that I've identified the problem it will no doubt be a constant thorn in my side until I get it corrected.

Well, all you'd need is a pair of significantly better (and not overly expensive) speakers. It may be weird to have clearer-sounding surrounds than fronts, but you'd be directly treating the symptoms of your ailment, as it were.
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In the meantime, be sure to audition the aforementioned Pioneer speakers at your local electronics store.

I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for these. I still haven't made a final decision on what direction I should go with this. If pragmatism gets the better of me I'll get the bookshelf Fluance speakers, but If I'm blown away by another set of speakers I'll go either the replace the surrounds with my next system route, or replace the front soundstage route. Of course if I get an offer on this system it will make my decision easier.

You wouldn't be the only person to allow providence to help make a decision. One trick that I use on myself occasionally is to flip a coin to decide--if it confirms what I really wanted to do, then I'd do it, and if it tells me to do the opposite, then I'd realize what I'd really want to do and do that anyway (either way, the result is the same--I know what I really want wink.gif).
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I re wired everything and re ran audyssey, and to be honest there's not really much of a difference. As you said, there are certainly times where I THINK I notice a difference, but like you, this could very well all be imagined. The frequency responses that Auddysey gave me were identical to my tests before, for what its worth smile.gif

Bill was right, as usual. smile.gif
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In any case, I'll keep you informed of the progress of the build / replacement! And thanks again for all your advice!

No problem at all--my pleasure. I'll be watching for updates.
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post #21 of 33 Old 03-27-2013, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm still on the fence, but have been looking at PSB speakers, having heard great things about them. I was looking at the Image line, and was thinking about replacing my surrounds with the image B5's, until I saw that the mains were 1000+ for the pair. BUT, I just ran across the image T5's ( the floor standing ) used for 450, apparently in great condition, I put in an inquiry, what do you think? Here's the link: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/649050154-psb_image_t5_new_image_series/
and here's a link to their specs: http://www.psbspeakers.com/products/image/Image-T5-Tower

what do you think?
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I'm still on the fence, but have been looking at PSB speakers, having heard great things about them. I was looking at the Image line, and was thinking about replacing my surrounds with the image B5's, until I saw that the mains were 1000+ for the pair. BUT, I just ran across the image T5's ( the floor standing ) used for 450, apparently in great condition, I put in an inquiry, what do you think?

I'm familiar with the PSB Image series, and the bottom line is that they're great speakers, in my opinion. Although I have never heard a speaker from Fluance, I think it's a pretty safe bet at this point that the Image series would be a significant upgrade in terms of sound quality. The main "flaw" that I noticed throughout this series is that their bass and some of their mid-bass sound a little "heavy" or "thick," but given what you like about your current system, as you described earlier, I think that this may be an advantage, especially since the T5 is a bit smaller. The PSB Image speakers should sound a lot clearer and cleaner than your current speakers, and I'd recommend them for you if you could get a good price for them, which looks like the case here. cool.gif Of course, then you'll want to find a C5 center and a pair of B5 or B4 bookshelf speakers to match them; by the way, the B4 is a little weak, even as a surround, but it costs significantly less and should sound a lot clearer than what you have now.
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Psb when paired with "bright" amps such as yamahas sound amazing.

~Shaun
Yamaha RX-V765 / PSB B5's Fronts / PSB C4 Center / Micca R-65 In-Ceiling Rears / BIC F12 Sub
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post #24 of 33 Old 03-28-2013, 08:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm familiar with the PSB Image series, and the bottom line is that they're great speakers, in my opinion. Although I have never heard a speaker from Fluance, I think it's a pretty safe bet at this point that the Image series would be a significant upgrade in terms of sound quality. The main "flaw" that I noticed throughout this series is that their bass and some of their mid-bass sound a little "heavy" or "thick," but given what you like about your current system, as you described earlier, I think that this may be an advantage, especially since the T5 is a bit smaller. The PSB Image speakers should sound a lot clearer and cleaner than your current speakers, and I'd recommend them for you if you could get a good price for them, which looks like the case here. cool.gif Of course, then you'll want to find a C5 center and a pair of B5 or B4 bookshelf speakers to match them; by the way, the B4 is a little weak, even as a surround, but it costs significantly less and should sound a lot clearer than what you have now.

Well it looks like I've secured them!, He lives the next town over but is on his way to relatives so will drop them off as he goes through. Although I would have liked to test them out first, the seller has 68 positive reviews, with glowing recommendations about his professionalism and knowledge, ( seen at the links posted above ) so I think I'm safe. And getting the t5's that are only 7 months old in excellent condition for only 450 flat is a steal.. so I'm psyched. On saturday I'll go pick up a C5 center ( which will also cost me 460 after tax new ) to match them. This brings me in under the 1000 dollar threshold for my front sound stage, which is exactly where I wanted to be.
Of course I realize that I've still done nothing to address the original problem of the surrounds, and I was happy with the Fluance floorstanding speakers anyways, which is a bit ironic, but I think once I'm done building it ( I'll keep my eyes peeled for deals on the surrounds and rears over the next few months ) I'll be a happy camper. I called a PSB dealer near my house to inquire about the PSB's, and actually ended up talking to the president of their company ( he must have been in the office ) who actually knows Paul Barton. He was going on about how Paul basically made it so all Canadian speaker manufacturers had access to the Canadian Science Council in Ottawa, where they can access all the latest technology in a huge lab run by the government, or some such thing. Further to that, as he was the first to get that ball rolling, he had about 5 years to develop the PSB sounds in their labs before it was opened up to the rest of the manufacturers, and consequently ( or so it goes ) are about 5 years ahead of every one else in terms of science. Whether or not the latter is true, I'm certainly geared up to get my hands on these.
The only question is whether I should get the center or surrounds first. I believe having the front soundstage timbre match is the most important at this point no? as opposed to having the t5's with the fluance center, but getting the b5 bookshelves to replace my surrounds? In an ideal world I'd replace them all, but I'm pushing it on the money front as it is ( spending 1000 instead of 120 on just replacement surrounds by Fluance )
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Psb when paired with "bright" amps such as yamahas sound amazing.

Well I've got a Denon 1913 receiver. I'm not sure whether this could be classified as a bright sounding amp or not, but every Denon I've ever owned really makes soundtracks and music come alive, and this is no exception. I expect the Denon and Psb's to be a killer Combo. smile.gif
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post #26 of 33 Old 03-28-2013, 08:59 PM
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Well it looks like I've secured them!, He lives the next town over but is on his way to relatives so will drop them off as he goes through. Although I would have liked to test them out first, the seller has 68 positive reviews, with glowing recommendations about his professionalism and knowledge, ( seen at the links posted above ) so I think I'm safe. And getting the t5's that are only 7 months old in excellent condition for only 450 flat is a steal.. so I'm psyched. On saturday I'll go pick up a C5 center ( which will also cost me 460 after tax new ) to match them. This brings me in under the 1000 dollar threshold for my front sound stage, which is exactly where I wanted to be.

That's great to hear--I think you did well! biggrin.gif
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Of course I realize that I've still done nothing to address the original problem of the surrounds, and I was happy with the Fluance floorstanding speakers anyways, which is a bit ironic, but I think once I'm done building it ( I'll keep my eyes peeled for deals on the surrounds and rears over the next few months ) I'll be a happy camper.

It's never strictly a wrong decision to build for the long run, provided that it's over a reasonable time frame (i.e. not longer than you expect to live smile.gif), and in general it makes sense to concentrate on the front speakers first, even sometimes when the main irritation is a lack of quality in the surrounds. I see the irony, but like something being a paradox, there is no actual fundamental contradiction.
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I called a PSB dealer near my house to inquire about the PSB's, and actually ended up talking to the president of their company ( he must have been in the office ) who actually knows Paul Barton. He was going on about how Paul basically made it so all Canadian speaker manufacturers had access to the Canadian Science Council in Ottawa, where they can access all the latest technology in a huge lab run by the government, or some such thing.

Yes, that would be the NRC lab, I believe:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Research_Council_%28Canada%29
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Further to that, as he was the first to get that ball rolling, he had about 5 years to develop the PSB sounds in their labs before it was opened up to the rest of the manufacturers, and consequently ( or so it goes ) are about 5 years ahead of every one else in terms of science.

Well, in terms of loudspeakers specifically, PSB may be ahead of everybody else in Canada, I suppose. wink.gif
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Whether or not the latter is true, I'm certainly geared up to get my hands on these.
The only question is whether I should get the center or surrounds first. I believe having the front soundstage timbre match is the most important at this point no? as opposed to having the t5's with the fluance center, but getting the b5 bookshelves to replace my surrounds? In an ideal world I'd replace them all, but I'm pushing it on the money front as it is ( spending 1000 instead of 120 on just replacement surrounds by Fluance )

You definitely would not want to use the Fluance center with the T5s, regardless of whatever else you decide to do. As for whether to upgrade the center or surrounds first, you may want to base that once again on what good deals you can find first. In your case, however, you will get more immediate gratification out of upgrading the surrounds first, since they were the main reason you began this line of inquiry in the first place. Just thinking out loud--there is no wrong answer, really, as long as you will eventually acquire all of the necessary pieces.
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Psb when paired with "bright" amps such as yamahas sound amazing.

Well I've got a Denon 1913 receiver. I'm not sure whether this could be classified as a bright sounding amp or not, but every Denon I've ever owned really makes soundtracks and music come alive, and this is no exception. I expect the Denon and Psb's to be a killer Combo. smile.gif

Denons are definitely not considered "bright" sounding, but the differences between receivers are slight, and they should work fine with your new speakers.
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post #27 of 33 Old 03-29-2013, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
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That's great to hear--I think you did well! biggrin.gif
It's never strictly a wrong decision to build for the long run, provided that it's over a reasonable time frame (i.e. not longer than you expect to live smile.gif), and in general it makes sense to concentrate on the front speakers first, even sometimes when the main irritation is a lack of quality in the surrounds. I see the irony, but like something being a paradox, there is no actual fundamental contradiction.
Yes, that would be the NRC lab, I believe:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Research_Council_%28Canada%29
Well, in terms of loudspeakers specifically, PSB may be ahead of everybody else in Canada, I suppose. wink.gif
You definitely would not want to use the Fluance center with the T5s, regardless of whatever else you decide to do. As for whether to upgrade the center or surrounds first, you may want to base that once again on what good deals you can find first. In your case, however, you will get more immediate gratification out of upgrading the surrounds first, since they were the main reason you began this line of inquiry in the first place. Just thinking out loud--there is no wrong answer, really, as long as you will eventually acquire all of the necessary pieces.
Denons are definitely not considered "bright" sounding, but the differences between receivers are slight, and they should work fine with your new speakers.

Well it's decided then, I'll pick up the C5 on Saturday when the stores open after our Canadian Easter stat holiday. I did some reading on the Denon Amps with respect to their sound, and many say they're neutral to warm, which sounds just about right from what I can figure, taking into account my taste in sound, so I think I'm safe there.
Now on to the next question, which is when I do buy the bookshelves, should I go for the b5 or b6, they're only 100 dollars apart in price, do you think the b6 are worthwhile or will the b5's do me? Noteworthy perhaps is that my one wall where the side bookshelf would go attaches to a neighbors. While the walls are fabulously thick in this building, would the larger speaker boom base through their wall? this would be a big consideration for me.
Also, as they seem to be rear ported speakers, it seems I should avail myself of the mounts that you steered me in the direction of to leave a few inches between the speakers and the wall. The other option would of course be speaker stands. Do you think one is preferable to the other? or is it all matter of taste and space?
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post #28 of 33 Old 03-29-2013, 05:52 AM
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hello guys, on my L speaker front i used 12 awg wire and on my R speaker front i used 16 awg wires. by doing that, does it affect the sound coming from the speakers or it just fine?

Panasonic 60VT60
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post #29 of 33 Old 03-29-2013, 06:21 AM
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hello guys, on my L speaker front i used 12 awg wire and on my R speaker front i used 16 awg wires. by doing that, does it affect the sound coming from the speakers
Only if the wires are at least 80 feet long. Even then the difference between the two would be barely audible, if at all.

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post #30 of 33 Old 03-29-2013, 06:33 AM
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Only if the wires are at least 80 feet long. Even then the difference between the two would be barely audible, if at all.
ok thanks. so i will be fine then. i thought its a big no no to do it like that. the reason i did that because i didnt have enough 16 awg wires. that is why i used my spare 12 awg wire. thanks.

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