help understanding surround sound systems - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Im in the process of getting a 7.1 system in my theater. I want to ask for a little help understand the system. I want to get two floor standing speakers and a center channel to start. Over the next year or two, I want to upgrade my system and I wanted to know why do I need bookshelf and surround speakers? If I get, say, floor standing speakers to go in place of the bookshelf and surround speakers, is that going to be a problem? Is there something that those speakers do that make it problematic to replace them with better more powerful speakers?
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 10:36 AM
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nope, it's just that most people don't want to spend the money on surrounds so they go with the smaller bookshelf speakers
they are also easier for most people to place vs. towers all around.

the ideal set up really is 7 identical speakers
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 11:06 AM
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If you look at a line of speakers from most manufacturers, you'll notice that large floorstanders aren't necessarily better than the smaller bookshelf models, they often just go lower in the bass range than the bookshelves do. However, if you plan on using subwoofer(s) to handle the bass range, you really need to consider whether it is worth spending more on a large floorstander for a feature (deeper bass) that you might never take advantage of.

With subwoofers in the system, bookshelf speakers are a viable option. One of the advantages, due to lower price and smaller size, is that they allow you to use the exact same speakers at all 7 locations in order to have consistency all the way around. This is helpful when a car goes from left to right or a plane flies from front to back, because the sound remains consistent.

If you can't do 7 of the same speaker, then at least try to do 3 of the same speaker up front. Even in this day and age of surround sound, the front soundstage remains critical. That's where your attention will be focused, whether watching a movie or listening to music. And if you can't do 3 of the same up front, then at the very least try to find a centre speaker that sounds as close as possible to the left/right speakers. Bookshelf speakers make all of the above easier.

Were I in your place, I would seriously reconsider your plan to buy two floorstanders and a centre speaker, instead opting for three of the same bookshelf model up front.

Sanjay
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys, I had no clue about this. I am considering the floor standing speakers because I am in the process of having my dedicated theater for my home cinema and wanted the powerful look. Good to know that I should consider 7 identical speakers
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-06-2012, 02:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

If you look at a line of speakers from most manufacturers, you'll notice that large floorstanders aren't necessarily better than the smaller bookshelf models, they often just go lower in the bass range than the bookshelves do. However, if you plan on using subwoofer(s) to handle the bass range, you really need to consider whether it is worth spending more on a large floorstander for a feature (deeper bass) that you might never take advantage of.
With subwoofers in the system, bookshelf speakers are a viable option. One of the advantages, due to lower price and smaller size, is that they allow you to use the exact same speakers at all 7 locations in order to have consistency all the way around. This is helpful when a car goes from left to right or a plane flies from front to back, because the sound remains consistent.
Larger floorstanders, even if the low bass is removed will have an advantage in extra clean output because of increased volume displacement and lower THD/IMD. If space and budget are not the issue, smaller speakers offer no advantage.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-07-2012, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

If you look at a line of speakers from most manufacturers, you'll notice that large floorstanders aren't necessarily better than the smaller bookshelf models, they often just go lower in the bass range than the bookshelves do. However, if you plan on using subwoofer(s) to handle the bass range, you really need to consider whether it is worth spending more on a large floorstander for a feature (deeper bass) that you might never take advantage of.
With subwoofers in the system, bookshelf speakers are a viable option. One of the advantages, due to lower price and smaller size, is that they allow you to use the exact same speakers at all 7 locations in order to have consistency all the way around. This is helpful when a car goes from left to right or a plane flies from front to back, because the sound remains consistent.
If you can't do 7 of the same speaker, then at least try to do 3 of the same speaker up front. Even in this day and age of surround sound, the front soundstage remains critical. That's where your attention will be focused, whether watching a movie or listening to music. And if you can't do 3 of the same up front, then at the very least try to find a centre speaker that sounds as close as possible to the left/right speakers. Bookshelf speakers make all of the above easier.
Were I in your place, I would seriously reconsider your plan to buy two floorstanders and a centre speaker, instead opting for three of the same bookshelf model up front.
Will bookshelf speaker sound tiny in a large 16' x 25' room?
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-07-2012, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skylinestar View Post

Will bookshelf speaker sound tiny in a large 16' x 25' room?
Not when paired with subwoofers. Speakers typically sound tiny due to lack of bass (think really small computer speakers with 2" drivers). If you have subwoofers covering the low frequencies, then decent bookshelf speakers won't sound tiny covering the rest of the range.

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post #8 of 9 Old 07-07-2012, 04:00 AM
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OP while I support (and come close to) the 7 identical speaker suggestion keep this in mind. I you decide on towers/bookshelf make sure they are from the same line (not just brand) and have as close as possible the same drivers (mid, tweeters) so that they timbre match as well as possible*. Also if possible use a center that is the SAME as the mains. A detected (horizontal) center is a compromise and should only be used if your screen/display setup requires it.

*exception can be if using dipoles.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-07-2012, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Not when paired with subwoofers. Speakers typically sound tiny due to lack of bass (think really small computer speakers with 2" drivers). If you have subwoofers covering the low frequencies, then decent bookshelf speakers won't sound tiny covering the rest of the range.

I'm leaning toward 7 bookshelf speakers and two subwoofers to go for a 7.2 setup. This way is a lot cheaper and my theater room is only 13x11ft.
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