Going to get a sub, are full range towers a waste - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I have been thinking about this topic lately. I've always questioned why I would want full range towers if I was going to get a sub and cross it over. Seemed like kinda a waste. Then I read the post from craigjohn:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post7457063
This makes alot of sense to me, but how popular is it? What am I missing by not getting the full range towers? If it were that good, I'd figure I'd see more about it then I really do.

So...who subscribers to this theory? Who doesn't? If not, why not?
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post #2 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 12:51 PM
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I agree with him for the most part. Also, for the same $$$ bookshelf speakers tend to sound better than their floorstanding counterparts. However, some feel that the sound from full-range towers is larger and more engaging.

My feeling is that if you are short on money, you would be better off getting a nicer sub and some good bookshelf speakers as opposed to decent floorstanders and a low-end sub.
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post #3 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ReD-BaRoN
I have been thinking about this topic lately. I've always questioned why I would want full range towers if I was going to get a sub and cross it over. Seemed like kinda a waste. Then I read the post from craigjohn:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...&&#post7457063
This makes alot of sense to me, but how popular is it? What am I missing by not getting the full range towers? If it were that good, I'd figure I'd see more about it then I really do.

So...who subscribers to this theory? Who doesn't? If not, why not?
Audioholics has several excellent articles on this and other related subjects. Here is the best one: Audioholic's Article on Bass Management, but there are several more here: Audioholics Setup Page.

The bottom line is that you won't be "missing" anything -- as long as you set the system up properly, and that includes the proper bass managment settings.

In terms of "popularity", I think the fact that THX systems are, by definition, designed as bookshelf/sub systems, (or, more correctly as limited range monitors/sub systems), is all the validation I need for this concept. If you look at any THX certified speaker system, they all consist of monitors with LF extension between 50 and 80 Hz, mated to a very powerful sub and crossed over at 80 Hz. You don't need to use THX certified speakers to effect the same thing.

In this day and age, everything is "specialized." (I have a brother-in-law who is an ASC Certified Master Mechanic; however, all he does is in-dash electronics repair!) What you're accomplishing with a bookshelf/sub system is allowing each speaker to "specialize" in what it's best at reproducing. It is then up to you to use a "systems" approach to integrate all the "specialists" into one unified system.

Craig

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post #4 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 02:26 PM
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I'm a huge fan of smaller speakers w/ subwoofer.....but the one time it won't work is if you have a large, open room. I learned that lesson when I bought a house a few years ago. I had some Paradigm Monitor 5s that I loved....but when they had to perform in the living room of my new house, they were swallowed whole. I went up to Monitor 11s, and subsequently studio/100s, which easily fixed the problem.

So I tend to go with smaller 2-way speakers over larger 3-ways almost all the time, except for in a large, open room.
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post #5 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 03:05 PM
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What about 2 channel audio at an audiophile level? It is my understanding that towers are generally preferred over a separate sub.

Are there any high end preamps out there that have sub out? Or just processors. It is my understanding that most people refrain from processors for use in audiophile 2 channel systems. Preamps are vastly used. My SVS sub will kick butt in bass, but the high level inputs aren't an ideal way of getting out of the sub ouput issue. And it limits placement (long cable runs aren't good).

I have towers in a 5 channel set up, but I'm now going to an audiophile-spec 2 channel set up within it. I am going with a preamp with HT bypass, a high quality dual mono amplifer, etc. A processor then will run things in my 5 channel set up.

Now if one's preference is HT, small speakers and the info given in the other posts makes sense.

kw.......
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post #6 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 03:41 PM
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kwtoxman: That's almost exactly what I'm doing. I have an Outlaw Audio pre/pro, but I want to clean up my 2-channel, so I'm going to integrate a stereo preamp with HT bypass into the thing. My new mains are smallish 2-way floorstanders, but they can play down into the 30s, so they're fine for music. I had the exact same question as you did with regard to preamps that have a subwoofer output, mainly cause I was considering using smaller speakers at the time. I found that Anthem has a really nice little stereo preamp/tuner with two subwoofer out jacks. If I'd gone with smaller speakers, I may have really considered that piece. I hear Rogue Audio also has one coming out.....check into that too
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post #7 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 04:18 PM
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Thx summa for the info. Check out my recent post in the amps/receivers/processors section for another interesting thread on building this type of system and give some comments if you have any.

I am leaning towards a tube preamp for my two channel system. Supposedly odyssey has developed a nice one that will be released soon, with a HT bypass. I don't know of any that would have sub out. I've heard that tube preamps give a nice mix with SS amps, addressing potential brightness issues.

Also I'm looking at higher end pre amps, generally >$1000 US used (>$1800 US new). Back to the topic, AFAIK this league of preamps don't have sub out either, as I mentioned earlier. Therefore towers are important to people who are building a higher end 2 channel system.

kw............
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post #8 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 04:28 PM
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kwtoxman: You might actually be interested in something like what I just did.....I just picked up a Butler 5150 hybrid amp. It's a tube/SS hybrid, so you've got the warmth of tubes with the juice of SS.....I've had it in here for about a week now and it ROCKS. Van Alstine Audio also has some hybrid stuff that is very highly-regarded....just another option for you to consider.

As for tube pres, I'm sure that Klaus' new Odyssey product will be awesome....I can't believe that more people don't go with his gear! Killer value.....great guy to deal with. I'm going to look hard at the new Odyssey tube preamp myself :) I'd say I'm leanign toward that, a Van Alstine product, or maybe Butler Audio will come out with something by the time I'm ready for that part.

I'm now a huge fan of hybrid amps, though :)
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post #9 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 04:56 PM
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Obviously, the discussion of towers vs. bookshelves/sub is different for a dedicated stereo system. Nonetheless, a good bookshelf/sub system with the sub connected at speaker level, (as opposed to line level) can be a very good alternative, for all the same reasons I posted in the other thread Red-BaRon linked to. However, trying to utilize the same pre/pro/receiver and L/R speakers as a 7.1 HT system gets complicated.

Craig

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post #10 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 05:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwtoxman
What about 2 channel audio at an audiophile level? It is my understanding that towers are generally preferred over a separate sub.
The best location for bass reproduction in the room is almost never the same locations where your speakers are. This is true when using 7 or 5 speakers and doesn't magically change when you use only 2 speakers.

But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself and see. Place a pair of large floorstanding speakers at various locations until you find the best spot(s) for reproducing low frequencies in the room. Notice that this is not where you get the best front soundstage and imaging.

If your goal is to have impressive looking hardware in the room, then go for tower speakers. However, if you want the best sound possible out of your system (irrespective of the number of speakers) then you'll reproduce the low frequencies through a subwoofer and place it where ever those frequencies sound best in your particular room.
Quote:
It is my understanding that most people refrain from processors for use in audiophile 2 channel systems. Preamps are vastly used. My SVS sub will kick butt in bass, but the high level inputs aren't an ideal way of getting out of the sub ouput issue. And it limits placement (long cable runs aren't good).
If bass management is so easily audible to you that you label it "processing" and want to avoid it at all costs, then there are other ways to connect a subwoofer to your system. For example: use Y-splitters at the pre-amp outputs for connection to the power amp and subwoofer simultaneously. On the subwoofer, you simply dial in the crossover and volume to take over where ever your main speakers roll off. After that, you just use the pre-amp's volume control as you normally would.

This also avoids using the high level inputs that apparently aren't "ideal" on a subwoofer but are perfectly fine on your main speakers. As for placement, it's the opposite of what you said: sub/sat systems don't limit placement, but instead give you added flexibility that is simply not possible with towers.
Quote:
Now if one's preference is HT, small speakers and the info given in the other posts makes sense.
No, it doesn't make sense. The speakers themselves don't know whether you're using them for music or movies (and it's not like movies don't contain lots of music). A good set-up, where bass is reproduced as properly as the rest of the frequency range, remains a good sounding set-up whether you're using it for movies or music. Your desire for large floor-standing tower speakers is exactly that: a desire for large floor-standing tower speakers. It has nothing to do with desiring good reproduction of music, movies or sound in general.

Sanjay

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post #11 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 06:38 PM
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Thx for the info in the last post. It was helpful, if a little deragaotry. It has been a while since I did all the research and hook ups. Note my qualifiers when I wrote it.

My SVS has low level inputs and outputs. Does this mean I can take a preamp signal and put it into the low level inputs, and then take the low level outputs and take them back to the amp? Also, what length of cable run is too long? I'd have to go about 12 feet from pre to sub and 12 feet from sub to amp.

Also I thought that most high end 2 channel systems recommended using the xlr outputs from the preamp to the amp instead of the RCA (unbalanced). Many preamps have both xlr and RCA outputs. Is it possible to use both at the same time? (rca to sub, xlr to amplifier)

kw............
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post #12 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 08:42 PM
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Here's another argument in favor of bookshelf/sub systems. Most bookshelf/sub systems cross the signal over to the sub at about 80 Hz. This means the sub only needs to output the lowest two "audible" octaves of the frequency spectrum.* Most "full-range" speakers cross their LF drivers over at 500 to 1,200 Hz. This means that the LF driver of a "full-range" speaker needs to be capable of reproducing not only the lowest 2 octaves but fully 3 or 4 octaves above that! It is far easier to design and implement a driver to reproduce 2 octaves than it is to design a driver to cover 5 or 6 octaves.

As I said in a previous post, it's all about specialization.

Craig

*20 to 40 Hz is considered the lowest "audible" octave. 40 to 80 Hz is the next higher octave; hence the reference to the lowest 2 audible octaves. Unless a sub extends into the infrasonic range, it will be reproducing the lowest 2 octaves. If it has extension into the infrasonic range, it should probably be crossed over at a lower frequency).

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post #13 of 177 Old 04-09-2006, 10:43 PM
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I currently have tower speakers, the problem is all the bloated bass I get from having them stuck in a corner. Each of them have a built in sub which I have turned down all the way. So why am I paying all this extra money for floorstanding speakers with subs in it I dont even use????? Exactly!!! Im currently demoing bookshelfs that cost the same price.... but with the money that wasnt used for a built in sub was used for better drivers, crossovers ect. Im sure floorstanding are great for a lot of people but in my situation sub/sat is the way to go. My only problem with the sub/sat configuration would be losing the stereo bass.... but I think the newer receivers are taking care of this assuming you have 2 subs.
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post #14 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 06:48 AM
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For stereo music I think two big floor standers are the way to go.
For HT bookshelf size and a subwoofer is a better solution.
(I don't like those tiny "satellite" speakers for anything, except their tiny size.)
For a system that has to do both I'd get big floorstanders, use them
alone for stereo music, but use them in small mode for HT.
(unless the floorstanders can not be properly placed, in which case
you probably are better with "bookshelves" and a sub)
There is no right answer, it depends on what you want, and how
you want to use it, and how you can place it.

Everything I say here is my opinion. It is not my employers opinion, it is not my wife's opinion, it is not my neighbors opinion, it is My Opinion.
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post #15 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 07:14 AM
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Anytime you buy a tower speaker, 50-75% of the cost is in bass reproduction. So, going to a sub/sat can save you enough money to buy a *second* subwoofer, which is even better.

HOWEVER, most bookshelf speakers, by far, are NOT designed for use with a sub, nor do they have the midrange performance of more expensive towers because they are ported, generally unlike their tower brothers from the same series. They use a "woofer" instead of a dedicated midrange. This throws a wrench into the works. But some companies design all or some of their monitors specifically for use with a sub and this is when you can not only match the performance of a tower, but surpass it. HT should have vanquished ported bookshelf speakers, but for most companies, porting is like smoking cigarettes and they just don't know how to quit.

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I have given up on subs altogether. The 40hz extension of my stereo speakers (Athena F1's) is sufficient for music, while my HT mains (Def Tech BP10b's) extend to 20hz which is lower than a lot of affordable subs (and will do convincing explosions, dinosaur stomps, etc.)
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post #17 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
Anytime you buy a tower speaker, 50-75% of the cost is in bass reproduction. So, going to a sub/sat can save you enough money to buy a *second* subwoofer, which is even better.
I agree completely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
HOWEVER, most bookshelf speakers, by far, are NOT designed for use with a sub, nor do they have the midrange performance of more expensive towers because they are ported, generally unlike their tower brothers from the same series.
What does porting have to do with midrange performance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
They use a "woofer" instead of a dedicated midrange. This throws a wrench into the works.
Almost the entire NHT line that you sell are 2-way systems that use a mid-woofer, so I don't quite understand your comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
HT should have vanquished ported bookshelf speakers, but for most companies, porting is like smoking cigarettes and they just don't know how to quit.
Your dislike of ported speakers should be label as your *opinion* as there are many people who enjoy ported speakers. It is certainly possible to design a ported speaker that sounds just as good as a sealed speaker.

Craig

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post #18 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john
What does porting have to do with midrange performance?
While it doesn't much affect frequencies above 1000Hz, it does below, increasingly so, as there is out of phase information being vented through the port. Done well, you can keep most of it below audibility. But you also get poorer transient response and less "control" over the driver. There's a reason why most all towers use a sealed midrange and also a reason why THX specifies sealed designs with 12dB rolloffs (not that I'm a big THX fan, mind you). Basically (fortunately?), most of the problems are going to manifest themselves in the upper bass, but I find it to be rather noticeable.
Quote:

Almost the entire NHT line that you sell are 2-way systems that use a mid-woofer, so I don't quite understand your comment.
Just the entry level models, but even then, they're not as worried about the bass performance. IOW, companies often "dumb down" their bookshelf speakers so they don't compete with the towers. I've rarely heard a ported bookshelf speaker equal the midrange of the bigger towers in the lineup, they usually have less detail, less precision, less accuracy, *unless* there is an obvious problem with the tower speaker, and I've seen that too. NHT and Triad (and a few others) really truly go for midrange quality over bass or the illusion of bass. I find most ported bookshelf speakers to have what I call the "cuisinart effect" in which notes go in, but only pureed bass comes out. I find most acoustic suspension speakers to be much more articulate in the mid/upper bass area and also more focused and precise in rendering voice.
Quote:

Your dislike of ported speakers should be label as your *opinion* as there are many people who enjoy ported speakers. It is certainly possible to design a ported speaker that sounds just as good as a sealed speaker.
Isn't everything on AVS an opinion? I think it goes without saying. Otherwise, three of my fingers on my right hand would drop off from saying "IMO" all the time!

John
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post #19 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 10:22 AM
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I agree with much of what has already been said:

Though some expensive speakers sound worse than some inexpensive speakers, a pair of $1,000 subs and a $1,000 pair of bookshelf speakers (with good mid-range) will probably generally sound better than a $3,000 pair of tower speakers.

Though your average bookshelf speakers and a decent sub seem fine for HT, I think music needs good tower speakers or an above-average bookshelf/sub combo (i.e., better mid-range). In my opinion, movie soundtracks have more in common with rock music than with jazz or classical music. And their ability to accurately play jazz or classical is where I see the dividing line between better and worse speakers.

Though you could do without a sub for music if you have good tower speakers, I think you still need a sub for movies. You are unlikely to get that movie-theater "oomph" without a sub, no matter how good your tower speakers.

So, all things being equal, and assuming you are not a fan of 2-channel stereo, you are probably better off--both financially and performance-wise--getting the best bookshelf speakers you can afford and a pair of good subs. It does offer you the most flexability.

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post #20 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Going to get a sub, are full range towers a waste

I have been thinking about this topic lately. I've always questioned why I would want full range towers if I was going to get a sub and cross it over. Seemed like kinda a waste.
Typically, a full-range speaker will have greater dynamic range than a smaller one since it still has to deal with bass below a typical 12dB/oct 80Hz crossover. It's still best to send the bass to a sub, but towers tend to handle that 40-80hz octave (which can still have substantial energy) better. The worth of "fuller-range" speakers, be they towers or not, really depends on how loud things are. I think that bass-capable speakers (40Hz or so, with clean dynamic capability), set to "small", are the way to go.

Here's a good article on porting:

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...ayporting.html

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post #21 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 11:14 AM
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There are a number of reasons people such as myself prefer full range floorstanders over sat/sub combo's. For me, the most important is that the uniformity of the sound. I simply prefer as much of the music coming from the same point source as possible. Most good standmounts roll off around 80-90hz, at least in the real world. Even my VR1's, which claim 40hz (-3db) range from the factory and are one of the most dynamic standmounts I've heard, have been measured at 70-80hz (-3dB) by Soundstage. The point being, you start entering the realm of directionality from the sub. While I wholeheartedly agree that optimum placement for imaging is rarely that for bass response, I still prefer my music to be cut from the same cloth.

In fact, I don't even use my sub when listening to any music outside of orchestral.
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post #22 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
While it doesn't much affect frequencies above 1000Hz, it does below, increasingly so, as there is out of phase information being vented through the port. Done well, you can keep most of it below audibility. But you also get poorer transient response and less "control" over the driver. There's a reason why most all towers use a sealed midrange and also a reason why THX specifies sealed designs with 12dB rolloffs (not that I'm a big THX fan, mind you). Basically (fortunately?), most of the problems are going to manifest themselves in the upper bass, but I find it to be rather noticeable.

Just the entry level models, but even then, they're not as worried about the bass performance. IOW, companies often "dumb down" their bookshelf speakers so they don't compete with the towers. I've rarely heard a ported bookshelf speaker equal the midrange of the bigger towers in the lineup, they usually have less detail, less precision, less accuracy, *unless* there is an obvious problem with the tower speaker, and I've seen that too. NHT and Triad (and a few others) really truly go for midrange quality over bass or the illusion of bass. I find most ported bookshelf speakers to have what I call the "cuisinart effect" in which notes go in, but only pureed bass comes out. I find most acoustic suspension speakers to be much more articulate in the mid/upper bass area and also more focused and precise in rendering voice.

Isn't everything on AVS an opinion? I think it goes without saying. Otherwise, three of my fingers on my right hand would drop off from saying "IMO" all the time!

Geez, you beat me to it! Well, all I can do it totally agree! I was wondering when someone was going to mention the phase shift when crossing over satellites and subs as well as the midrange issue. Although you already covered it, I will add my $0.02:

A vented (or even a sealed) bookshelf or satellite speaker will experience a complete phase reversal at a frequency near the crossover point between it and a subwoofer. Take into account the phase shift of the steep-slope, active high-pass filter required to prevent overloading the small speaker with low frequency energy and you have a situation in which it is impossible to get a seamless blend between the satellite speaker and the sub.

Craig John, just because he sells NHT doesn't mean he has to stand behind them as being the greatest manufacturer of satellite speakers. I think it was apparent that although he likes NHT, he knows that some of their satellite speakers weren't created perfectly (as most satellites aren't...heck, I don't think ANY are).

To udder what was stated, it is easier to mate, cross over, and blend full range speakers that it is to do so with satellites (or bookshelves).

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post #23 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 12:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani
The best location for bass reproduction in the room is almost never the same locations where your speakers are. This is true when using 7 or 5 speakers and doesn't magically change when you use only 2 speakers.

But don't take my word for it, try it for yourself and see. Place a pair of large floorstanding speakers at various locations until you find the best spot(s) for reproducing low frequencies in the room. Notice that this is not where you get the best front soundstage and imaging.

If your goal is to have impressive looking hardware in the room, then go for tower speakers. However, if you want the best sound possible out of your system (irrespective of the number of speakers) then you'll reproduce the low frequencies through a subwoofer and place it where ever those frequencies sound best in your particular room. If bass management is so easily audible to you that you label it "processing" and want to avoid it at all costs, then there are other ways to connect a subwoofer to your system. For example: use Y-splitters at the pre-amp outputs for connection to the power amp and subwoofer simultaneously. On the subwoofer, you simply dial in the crossover and volume to take over where ever your main speakers roll off. After that, you just use the pre-amp's volume control as you normally would.

This also avoids using the high level inputs that apparently aren't "ideal" on a subwoofer but are perfectly fine on your main speakers. As for placement, it's the opposite of what you said: sub/sat systems don't limit placement, but instead give you added flexibility that is simply not possible with towers. No, it doesn't make sense. The speakers themselves don't know whether you're using them for music or movies (and it's not like movies don't contain lots of music). A good set-up, where bass is reproduced as properly as the rest of the frequency range, remains a good sounding set-up whether you're using it for movies or music. Your desire for large floor-standing tower speakers is exactly that: a desire for large floor-standing tower speakers. It has nothing to do with desiring good reproduction of music, movies or sound in general.

Sanjay

Your "objective" approach is commendable here however "audio" is largely personal prefference" or subjective opinions. I currently own 7 bookshelves, and 2 subs all good quality IMO, but my next 2 ch only speakers will be "full range" possibly augmented with a sub, I shall see. Why is that. Simple. I tend to be more critical as many others here with audio only material.Simply because no video there to "distract" me.
You mention that bass is never best where the speaker "image" or 'soundstage" best. Well that maybe true in many cases, and brings me to another often used cliches or truth depends who you ask: compromises. There is just isn't a perfect solution for every scenario and set ups, which is true for "sub/sat systems as well. They're not perfect nor it is for everyone. So then one must compromise, but they have to decide where and how much.

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post #24 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 12:26 PM
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Umm....
Anyone using a tower/floor stander/full range with a sub having it crossed, well, anywhere, is technically still doing a sat/sub combo. There is no size limit on satellites.

Now that looks and size are out of the picture, it begs the question, do you want to pay for more than you are using?

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post #25 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by topspeed
Most good standmounts roll off around 80-90hz, at least in the real world..
Well, most good ones do go a bit lower, but it is surprising that many companies cheat so *badly* on their specs. One ID brand I've seen says one thing, but their own graphs show something completely different. But that's why I usually tell people that, rather than buying towers with one sub, that they should be monitors with dual subs and get better sound (or truly full-range towers that need no sub at all). I've almost always been able to get better integration with dual subs and crossing over a bit higher is more possible without ill effect.

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post #26 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by thehun
but my next 2 ch only speakers will be "full range" possibly augmented with a sub, I shall see. .
Here, I'll back up Sanjay. In my demo room, I've had several high-end speakers on one wall. In that position where they imaged best, I would always get a suckout in the 100Hz region that was pretty annoying. For awhile I thought it was the speakers, but everything I put there had the same problem. When I sold off the old high-end speakers and installed the NHT Xd system, I experimented with the woofer module and it turned out the best place in the room was smack in the middle between the speakers. Placed near the left or right satellite and the upper bass got lost. Then I tried dual subs spaced out. Same problem. So, a single sub, placed properly, actually outperformed dual subs coincident with the satellites. The only speaker that has ever had both good imaging *and* good bass on that wall is a sub/sat design. And that's just the way it is. So, you could buy "better" tower speakers and still have them perform worse than a sub/sat system.

My "ideal" surround system would be to have 5-7 speakers that hit at least 35-40Hz, acoustic suspension designs and dual subs placed wherever they need to go to sound great and then crossover at the best place for the quality, be it 50hz or 150Hz or anywhere in between.

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post #27 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance
A vented (or even a sealed) bookshelf or satellite speaker will experience a complete phase reversal at a frequency near the crossover point between it and a subwoofer. Take into account the phase shift of the steep-slope, active high-pass filter required to prevent overloading the small speaker with low frequency energy and you have a situation in which it is impossible to get a seamless blend between the satellite speaker and the sub.
Subwoofers, (at least most modern subwoofers), have "Phase Controls" on them to address this issue. Besides, the same thing can happen in a passively crossed full range speaker; it just happens at a higher frequency because most full range speakers cross their woofers over at a higher frequency.


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Originally Posted by Nuance
Craig John, just because he sells NHT doesn't mean he has to stand behind them as being the greatest manufacturer of satellite speakers. I think it was apparent that although he likes NHT, he knows that some of their satellite speakers weren't created perfectly (as most satellites aren't...heck, I don't think ANY are).
No speakers, satellites, bookshelves or full range, are perfect. John's point, as I understood it, was that 2-way speakers designs are inherently flawed because they don't have a midrange driver. This is clearly not the case and I used the example of NHT speakers to illustrate this.

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To udder what was stated, it is easier to mate, cross over, and blend full range speakers that it is to do so with satellites (or bookshelves).
I would argue exactly the opposite. It is easier to optimize the bass response of one subwoofer than it is to optimize the phase, cancelations and resonances of multiple woofers and subwoofers, all trying to produce sound at the same time, especially when you can't optimize their placement.

Just to be clear, for the purposes of this discussion, my definition of "satellites" is different than "bookshelves." Satellites are those little 1-way or small, 2-way box speakers that come in HTiB's or Bose systems. They have very limited LF extension and severely limited output. Bookshelves, OTOH, have similar output to their floorstanding counterparts and useful, but limited LF extension, usually at least into the 50 to 60 Hz range. Crossed over *properly* to a subwoofer somewhere above their LF extension point, with the phase control set properly, it is certainly possible to get a seamless blend between bookshelves and subs, even when using *GASP* ported bookshelves.

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post #28 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alimentall
Well, most good ones do go a bit lower, but it is surprising that many companies cheat so *badly* on their specs. One ID brand I've seen says one thing, but their own graphs show something completely different. But that's why I usually tell people that, rather than buying towers with one sub, that they should be monitors with dual subs and get better sound (or truly full-range towers that need no sub at all). I've almost always been able to get better integration with dual subs and crossing over a bit higher is more possible without ill effect.
The audio industry is so unregulated, it's amazing how much is marketing and how much is fact. Wattage ratings, in particular with AVR's, is a complete crapshoot. The VR1's came with FR graphs from the factory, signed by Albert no less, but as there are no standards for measuring such they represent little more than feel-good fluff.

The challenge with subs is the room. Modes, nodes, standing waves, etc. all conspire against simple integration with the mains. 2 subs can double your problems. It can be done, but as you've noted with the Xd system, eq'ing is beneficial if not outright necessary.

If music is primary, HT secondary, I'll always prefer full range speakers.
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post #29 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john
No speakers, satellites, bookshelves or full range, are perfect. John's point, as I understood it, was that 2-way speakers designs are inherently flawed because they don't have a midrange driver. This is clearly not the case and I used the example of NHT speakers to illustrate this.
Well, that wasn't exactly my point, though I wasn't that clear. What I meant was that, rather that designing a speaker primarily for midrange, a typical bookshelf speaker has to do both and most ported bookshelf speakers are designed to augment the bass, often at the expense of midrange purity. And that most ported bookshelf speakers are intentionally flawed, but flawed in a way that many expect anyway, so few complain. Except for PITA guys like me.

Look at JMLab Utopia bookshelf speakers. They don't have nearly the lower midrange/upper bass quality and resolution of a tower Utopia. They always sounded pleasantly thick in the bass, but not as accurate.

On the *other* hand, the old Electra line had a very poor crossover transition that left the low mid/upper bass lacking and so the Electra 905 always sounded *better*, port and all.

So execution is clearly important and what we see is that the better execution in Utopia leads to a better product whereas the poorer execution in Electra let to a lower quality one. Had JM simply done an acoustic suspension version of the 905 for use with a good sub, it would have been near Utopia in quality for pennies, but with Electra, you had to choose "too much" or "too little" and "just right" cost 5 figures. That's why the Meridian DSP33, acoustic suspension, actually outperformed the small JM Utopias in most ways. It was just plain more accurate and clean sounding overall and I felt like I was listening more to the music than the speaker.

John
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post #30 of 177 Old 04-10-2006, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Anyone using a tower/floor stander/full range with a sub having it crossed, well, anywhere, is technically still doing a sat/sub combo. There is no size limit on satellites.

Now that looks and size are out of the picture, it begs the question, do you want to pay for more than you are using?
As I stated above, I feel that you are using the bass capability of a "full-range" speaker even when set to "small". The bass doesn't just stop at the crossover, it gets rolled-off typically around 80hz at 12dB /Oct. At 60hz, the mains are only 6db down, below the rating of many "sats", and certainly beyond what most can handle cleanly, but much more easily handled by most floorstanders. The clean dynamic range of a system is affected by the ability to handle this 40-100hz bass.
I think you get better bass crossing over to the sub, running all as 'small", but I think you get more clean dynamic range by using speakers that can better handle that 40-80Hz octave at and below the crossover.

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