Originally Posted by ckhusker
I'll echo all the praise mentioned earlier and add my appreciation for your valuable comments to this and other forums. After reading through these posts, I placed an order tonight for 2 beta 50s, 2 beta ES250s, and 2 beta 20s (already had the C360). A couple of questions:
1) In your last post you mentioned some reasons for the 50s sounding harsh when set to small with no center channel. Not sure I fully understood the response, but I'm curious as to whether you would expect this to happen with the C360 turned on? If so, do you recommend setting the 50s to large?
2) I debated whether to use an ES250 (or maybe two of them) for the rear channels. I ended up buying the 20s purely for price. Would you have recommended something other than the 20s for the rears?
Thanks again for your input. As others have mentioned, it's quite invaluable.
You might want to re-read the post regarding the C-360. Obviously the C-360 can't sound harsh if it is turned off (and only the Ls& Rs are playing).
To the question I believe you're trying to pose>
There are numerous ways an audio system can overload or be forced into overload. Each type of "overload" usually has its own type of sound signature. These various "sound signatures" might originate from any number of places in the reproduction chain: from the pre-pro section of a receiver, the receiver's amplifier section, poor or inadequate interconnects, drivers out of their gap (linear operating range) or less than optimum quality crossover components.
When I see statements like "the speakers distort when I play them really loud" all it says to me, since I am obviously unable to hear the system for myself, is that the weakest link in the audio chain, the first culprit, might be any of the suspects mentioned above or it may be a combination of many suspects.
What I do know for certain is that it is almost always the final link in the chain, the loudspeaker which always gets the blame. And I don't blame you guys. It takes years of hearing various types of distortion and then qualifying and quantifying (in real time) what one is hearing with sophisticated test gear to be able to train one's ear to be able to readily diagnose the different sounds. This is especially true when one gets to "very high volume levels" when it is more than likely that many of the aforementioned suspects may be starting to reach their operational design limits all at the same time!
I hope this doesn't sound like a cope out to your originally posed question. What I am trying to say is that if it is indeed the C-360 speaker itself that is the main cause of the distortion you're hearing, then I know for a fact that the weakest link within the C-360 speaker system was the downgraded quality of the crossover components vs. what I had originally designed in. The fact that the woofer-to-mid crossover is around 850Hz, which is the in second harmonic range for female vocals would tend to highlight this type of distortion to most listener's since we have an everyday reference of what a real female voice sounds like.
Regarding the second part of your first question: Setting a speaker to large will let it run full range. Setting a speaker to small will force it to roll-on at ~80Hz which, if you also have a very high quality subwoofer in the system would be a better option than running the Beta 50's below 80Hz.
Note that though the Beta 50's have a -3dB down point of ~45Hz, a tuned Infinity sub with RABOS sub-room correction applied should be much more capable of delivering tighter, more tuneful bass at the frequencies which comprise the two lowest musical octaves (20-40Hz and 40-80Hz). And unlike a sub which has RABOS, there is no way to control the Beta 50's bass interaction with the room and/or the sub below 80Hz if they are not set up from the outset to small. So, with Beta 50s set to large, you are potentially masking the tight, tuneful bass from you RABOS sub with 45Hz-80Hz bass from the Beta 50 which can't be electronically controlled. Your choice. Whichever sounds be to You. That's all that matters...
Question 2 is much easier to answer. The front hemisphere of a home theater listening space gives information (through the LCRs) which is always
intended to be Localized.
The rear hemisphere which encompasses the side surrounds (first and most importantly) and the rear surrounds (secondarily) is always intended to recreate a sense of envelopment. For a home theater environment, with the speakers-to-listeners distances much shorter than a movie theater the best configuration is (IMHO) always a bipole or dipole design (and not a front firing monopole like the Beta 20s). The more bipole/dipole speakers mounted to the sides and rear of the rear hemisphere the greater the true sense of envelopment can be,because the converse, localization, will be minimized.
The choice of whether to set the side and rear surrounds to bipole or dipole will come down to lots of listening within your room and your preference as to which flip of the switch gives you the greater feeling of envelopment, more of the time, on more surround program material.