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Old 09-04-2013, 04:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi,
I need to get rid of my bookshelf speakers (some old but nice Missions) on stands, and have bought some MS-BX3020 speakers from Fusion, as an inexpensive replacement that I can attach to the walls. They look well made, and met my criteria of being very compact, but still fitted with a separate tweeter (not a fan of 'full range' single cone cubes).
When I connected them, I was astounded at the - complete - lack of bass. OK, I did not have high expectations, but my similar sized (3" woofer + 1" dome) Z-10 Logitechs kill these (10x over) for bass (and actually sound quite nice, not boomy). Not all gloom however, as the vocals they produce are pretty good really.

Question is, how much bass is typically even sent to the surround channels?
I'm using an Onkyo, TX-NR609 as my receiver, and have ample bass available from my front floorstanders.
I realise that bass is not really directional, but I doubt these little suckers go near low enough where directionality no longer matters and the mains can take care of it.
I've asked Fusion for a frequency response graph on these, to see how far they might fall short, before I start mucking around with comparing movie soundtracks with different surrounds.

Has anyone got experience with really small surrounds, whether bass matters here? Any recommendations on alternative budget compact (wall mountable) speakers that have proven to work well in this role?

Lastly, I found the Fusions had appallingly low sensitivity (85db) and needed 2-3x the volume of my mains to produce similar volume vocals. Can Audyssey automatically adjust for such a big discrepancy?

Thanks for any advice, etc.

Dan
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Old 09-04-2013, 05:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by danbzn35 View Post

Hi,
I need to get rid of my bookshelf speakers (some old but nice Missions) on stands, and have bought some MS-BX3020 speakers from Fusion, as an inexpensive replacement that I can attach to the walls. They look well made, and met my criteria of being very compact, but still fitted with a separate tweeter (not a fan of 'full range' single cone cubes).
When I connected them, I was astounded at the - complete - lack of bass. OK, I did not have high expectations, but my similar sized (3" woofer + 1" dome) Z-10 Logitechs kill these (10x over) for bass (and actually sound quite nice, not boomy). Not all gloom however, as the vocals they produce are pretty good really.

I think that the real question you are asking is how much bass you can sacrifice and still be happy which varies from person to person and is your personal preference.

There's an old saying: "Know thyself".
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:23 AM
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Like Arny said, it is personal preference. I like all of my speakers to be able to play at least down to 60hz or so...so I can cross them at 80hz at a minimum to my sub, so this preference of mine rules out really small speakers. I use some smaller bookshelves as surrounds and have no problems crossing them at 80hz.. Some guys don't mind having small satellite type speakers with a crossover of 120-150hz or so.


also i am very surprised at the amount of surround content in modern action movies...while not always the best oscar winning type or flick, i couldnt imagine having small satellites crossed at 150hz when watching something like Star Trek 2009 or the like.

I don't need snobs to tell me how to think, thank you!
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Old 09-04-2013, 09:37 AM
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It seems like you have conflicting requirements - the laws of physics tend to be concrete and it is very expensive to engineer speakers that are small with good mid-bass response so this ends up being a classic "pick any two" from the list:

1. good bass response
2. low budget
3. compact

It seems like you've already made up your mind about "compact" so that leaves you with choosing between low budget and good bass response. You already tried the low budget route ($120 / pair is definitely a budget speaker). But since those are "marine" speakers with weatherproof components, you are probably paying for some things that you don't need.

Personally, as a general rule I don't like any speaker that has a mid-bass driver smaller than 5" or two mid-bass drivers smaller than 4". Of course, there are exceptions and as you spend more money there is the possibility of getting more bass from a smaller speaker (if you are actually paying for higher quality materials and better engineered speakers) - but this never comes cheap.

Polk has several speakers with around 90dB sensitivity with 5.25" mid / dual 4" mid and dome tweeter that are around $200 / pair:

http://www.polkaudio.com/products/owm5
http://www.polkaudio.com/products/t15

I don't know if you would consider these "compact", but Def Tech is one those companies that makes compact speakers, many with dual 4" mid drivers, with very high sensitivity that sound amazing (but again, they aren't cheap):

http://www.definitivetech.com/products/sr-8080bp
http://www.definitivetech.com/products/mythos-gem-xl

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Old 09-07-2013, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply Jason67, your comments were helpful - Interesting to hear what people use as the cutoff freq.
I didn't read the literature closely enough on the fusions - they roll off at 200Hz (at least I assume this is their -3db point)!
In another thread, 'EnergyOwner' commented:
"Crossover below 60Hz: Surround is well localized. Low frequency (sub 60Hz) test tones cannot be localized on their own.

Crossover at 80Hz: Surround is well localized to me but my friend said he could occasionally pick out bass that had been moved to the fronts. I couldn't.

Crossover at 100Hz: Occasional shifts in bass can be detected, but its rare (at least to me).

Crossover at 120Hz: Some bass can now be recognized as being moved to the fronts. Surround effects start to become a little "thin".

Crossover at 150Hz: Definite shift in sound. Surround effects are noticeably suffering."

So yeah, it appears their lack of bass by having such a high roll off point will be quite noticeable.

This combined with the terrible sensitivity led me to return the speakers.
Almost tempted to buy another set of the Logitechs and gut out the active internals - then again they probably use substantial electronic equalization to make those little drivers sound the way they do (damn nice for what they are).
I'm just going to make the Missions work by fabricating a very sturdy wall bracket.
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:07 AM
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Many good points made in the above posts. But examining this issue differently, I'd like to share an overview painted with a very broad brush;

When the topic of surround size/capability comes up, I've posted on many occasions that modest surrounds/rears can easily produce a more than satisfying experience. I still think that's somewhat true, but everyone bring varietal expectations to the endeavor. That said, moving from reasonably robust surrounds, to highly capable, high power surrounds was a very satisfying move and one I wished I made a lot sooner.

Point being, I'd underestimated the significance of more capability in the surrounds, even in my modestly sized room. I often preach how significant dynamic capability is up front, and moved to more powerful and linear surrounds and rears to fully realize this in all channels. I just wasn't expecting the size and significance of the change.

My perspective, the takeaway here (and something I often recommend for LCR loudspeakers); dynamic linearity and the onset of compression likely occurs at much lower levels than many fully realize. It softens and somewhat veils the playback, removing some subjective realism from the experience. Most all of us readily recognize overload distortions, etc, and we back off the level accordingly. But the dynamic deviations from linearity that arise from compression (be it instantaneous magnetic compression, or simply lossy thermal effects) are insidious because they're difficult to assess until one's exposed to the effect removed.


There's more important aspects that take priority, for sure. However, I merely wanted to share how surprised I was what a welcome change was brought on from nice, powerful surrounds/rears added to the mix. I wasn't audibly over-driving my previous surrounds, and I always made it a point to stay under any audible threshold of distortion. Even at reasonable levels, the subjective change was remarkable.

Best of luck

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(3)Seaton Cat12C up front, (4)QSC K8 sides/rears
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Old 09-07-2013, 10:21 AM
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"How small can I go with surround speakers"?

Ask yourself, if you were to listen to all of your speakers in "all stereo", or whatever Onkyo calls their version, what is the smallest speaker you would want to listen to? Would you really want to be rockin' out @ a party listening to 4" drivers?

I'm running 5 1/4" in-ceilings for my backs and 6 1/2" for my sides. Obviously there is some sacrifice w/in-ceilings, but my parties are always jumpin'.
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Old 09-07-2013, 11:35 PM
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Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post

"How small can I go with surround speakers"?

Ask yourself, if you were to listen to all of your speakers in "all stereo", or whatever Onkyo calls their version, what is the smallest speaker you would want to listen to? Would you really want to be rockin' out @ a party listening to 4" drivers?

In general, I totally agree that you should not go smaller than 5 1/4" mid drivers - even if you are using bass management and a sub - and expect there to be enough mid-bass to stand alone or to blend with a sub.

The exception is when speakers are designed to replace larger drivers with multiple smaller drivers and use supierior engineering and higher quality materials to archive superior frequency response - especially with in-wall speakers. The standard in-wall speaker only has bass as good as the wall that it is in. Vibrations of dry wall or other building materials, incorrect volume of the wall behind the speaker, and many other factors can make in-wall speakers with sufficiently sized drivers to fall short.

Two of my HT setups used in-wall speakers for surround channels. The first used standard in-wall speakers with 6 1/2" mids and they had hollow sounding bass and lots of vibrations. I swore I would never use in-walls again unless they designed with a full enclosure on the back. The standard kind are fine for whole house audio, but not home theater levels.

I did some research and found that Definitive Technology has their line of "Ultimate In Wall" (UIW) speakers - I took a chance and bought 4 of the UIW-RSSII dipole surround speakers. I sat two of them on a shelf, hooked them up to an amp, and wow - they are amazing even out in the room - something normal in-wall speakers couldn't even try. Now that they are mounted in the walls / ceiling they sound even better.

These have two 1" tweeters, two 4 1/2" mids (same radiating area as a 6 1/2") and two 4 1/2" passive radiators in a full enclosure on the back that fits in standard 2x4 walls:

http://www.definitivetech.com/products/uiw-rss-ii


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Old 09-09-2013, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 67jason View Post

Like Arny said, it is personal preference. I like all of my speakers to be able to play at least down to 60hz or so...so I can cross them at 80hz at a minimum to my sub, so this preference of mine rules out really small speakers. I use some smaller bookshelves as surrounds and have no problems crossing them at 80hz.. Some guys don't mind having small satellite type speakers with a crossover of 120-150hz or so.


also i am very surprised at the amount of surround content in modern action movies...while not always the best oscar winning type or flick, i couldnt imagine having small satellites crossed at 150hz when watching something like Star Trek 2009 or the like.

Interesting you mention, Star Trek. I just watched the Blu-Ray for Star Trek Insurrection: IX - That is the most impressive Blu-Ray I've seen to-date. I have full-size speakers as my surround speakers. Plenty of action sequences and bass goes to the back when watching a Blu-ray or DVD. There is a scene in that movie where a Phaser fire comes out of the back-Right channel and really loud, and it totally scared my wife, and she turned around, and freaked out. I thought that was awesome! I would not recommend you put any cut-rate midrange speakers for surround channels. Today's blu-rays use the rear channels well. Even music in movies recorded in multi-channel formats uses some bass-action in the rear channels. Do not sacrifice it. To me it is blissful.
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Old 09-09-2013, 12:47 PM
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Some people actually use subwoofers with their surround speakers. If surround content were more than around 1% of movie content I might worry about it more. As it is a couple of recording monitors with 6" mid-woofers do just fine for me. It is a question of how much you want to put into such a small part of the A/V experience.
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Some people actually use subwoofers with their surround speakers. If surround content were more than around 1% of movie content I might worry about it more. As it is a couple of recording monitors with 6" mid-woofers do just fine for me. It is a question of how much you want to put into such a small part of the A/V experience.

However, not all surround audio is movie related; without the need to orient on a screen, some audio-only content can be recorded "in the round" . . . with the possibility of "equally important" sound delivered from all points of the compass. Some tracks on the (audio only) Blu-ray disc of SOUVENIR by TrondheimSolistene on the 2L label (link) were assembled into 2.0, 5.1 Standard, 7.1 Standard, and Auro 9.1 mixes from a single 11 microphone array recording.



As the seven middle layer microphones are defined as being for the traditional Front Left|Center|Right (L|C|R), Surround Left|Right (SL|SR), and Back Left|Right (BL|BR) channels, there exist intended "front" and "rear" portions of the soundstage; nonetheless, the instruments are situated "all around the audience".
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Some people actually use subwoofers with their surround speakers. If surround content were more than around 1% of movie content I might worry about it more. As it is a couple of recording monitors with 6" mid-woofers do just fine for me. It is a question of how much you want to put into such a small part of the A/V experience.
The only time, the rear channels are a 'Small part of the experience', is when your watching TV shows. TV-Shows rarely pay much attention to the rear channels. When watching 'American Idol', 'So you think you can dance' (the latter actually with better sound quality than the former for some unknown reason--- ) they put the audience sounds and clapping in the rear channels. But when watching TV dramas, your likely to hear next to nothing... I usually try kicking up the volume on the rears up. But when you pop in a Blu-ray, best turn them back down... because the'll be kickin!
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Old 09-09-2013, 02:53 PM
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However, not all surround audio is movie related; without the need to orient on a screen, some audio-only content can be recorded "in the round" . . . with the possibility of "equally important" sound delivered from all points of the compass. Some tracks on the (audio only) Blu-ray disc of SOUVENIR by TrondheimSolistene on the 2L label (link) were assembled into 2.0, 5.1 Standard, 7.1 Standard, and Auro 9.1 mixes from a single 11 microphone array recording.



As the seven middle layer microphones are defined as being for the traditional Front Left|Center|Right (L|C|R), Surround Left|Right (SL|SR), and Back Left|Right (BL|BR) channels, there exist intended "front" and "rear" portions of the soundstage; nonetheless, the instruments are situated "all around the audience".
_

I understand. I hate multichannel music and sometimes forget that others like it. I stand corrected.
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Old 09-10-2013, 05:00 AM
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I understand. I hate multichannel music and sometimes forget that others like it. I stand corrected.
I wish all music was multi-channel. I am in the camp that the music industry didn't keep going that way with the DVD-Audio. (but that's another thread all-together.) I do like that most of the time when watching a DVD or Blu-ray, that a older tune will be remixed for multi-channel, and it will sound pretty sharp!
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:31 AM
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I would caution that in questions like this, people can be known to give you answers that suit *them* with relatively little thought about how the answer may suit *you.*

Nobody can tell you what the correct size speaker should be for your setup. For one thing, nobody has even asked you for information about your room. That can have a very big effect on the extension of your speakers. For example, my side surrounds calibrate down to 60 hz, but my rear surrounds only calibrate down to 120hz. (Mostly because they are physically further back from the MLP and thus require more gain to achieve matching levels.) So would I be good with smaller than a 5" driver or not? - Totally pointless to try and figure out at this point.

Another example is the tried and true mismatch where someone that has spent more money on just room treatments than the OP has spent on all their electronics gives advice on subjective things like how important this or that is. Know your budget, know your constraints and know your goals. Adjust advice received accordingly.

With this understood, I'll just give generalizations (based on what works for me, not necessarily you) and leave it up to you to do the homework of figuring out how well it applies...

I personally don't put too much importance on the surround channels. I certainly don't see them as a priority. By that, I mean getting them to reach to 60 hz or some such shouldn't be at the top of the list for completing a room setup. After you have tweaked most everything involved with the front setup (mains/center including room treatment) the low frequency setup (including subs and bass traps) then a person can look to improve surrounds if their is still a drive to improve the listening experience. Further, I do understand people's real world constraints w/ regards to space and room setup. IE, don't feel bad if you only have space for small surrounds, and certainly don't feel compelled to go out of your way to "justify" big surrounds just because people on the internet suggest you should have this or that frequency, this or that driver size, etc.

That said, surround channels do have info down to the mid bass region, if your fusions are only outputting down to 200 or 300hz, you will be missing some small content that can be localized in the surround area (as opposed to just assuming the subwoofer will "pick it up.") It isn't like you will "not hear" the effects mixed back there, your surround sound-field will just feel less authoritative. It's up to you to decide how important that tradeoff is.

-Suntan
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Old 09-10-2013, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

I would caution that in questions like this, people can be known to give you answers that suit *them* with relatively little thought about how the answer may suit *you.*

Nobody can tell you what the correct size speaker should be for your setup. For one thing, nobody has even asked you for information about your room. That can have a very big effect on the extension of your speakers. For example, my side surrounds calibrate down to 60 hz, but my rear surrounds only calibrate down to 120hz. (Mostly because they are physically further back from the MLP and thus require more gain to achieve matching levels.) So would I be good with smaller than a 5" driver or not? - Totally pointless to try and figure out at this point.

Another example is the tried and true mismatch where someone that has spent more money on just room treatments than the OP has spent on all their electronics gives advice on subjective things like how important this or that is. Know your budget, know your constraints and know your goals. Adjust advice received accordingly.

With this understood, I'll just give generalizations (based on what works for me, not necessarily you) and leave it up to you to do the homework of figuring out how well it applies...

I personally don't put too much importance on the surround channels. I certainly don't see them as a priority. By that, I mean getting them to reach to 60 hz or some such shouldn't be at the top of the list for completing a room setup. After you have tweaked most everything involved with the front setup (mains/center including room treatment) the low frequency setup (including subs and bass traps) then a person can look to improve surrounds if their is still a drive to improve the listening experience. Further, I do understand people's real world constraints w/ regards to space and room setup. IE, don't feel bad if you only have space for small surrounds, and certainly don't feel compelled to go out of your way to "justify" big surrounds just because people on the internet suggest you should have this or that frequency, this or that driver size, etc.

That said, surround channels do have info down to the mid bass region, if your fusions are only outputting down to 200 or 300hz, you will be missing some small content that can be localized in the surround area (as opposed to just assuming the subwoofer will "pick it up.") It isn't like you will "not hear" the effects mixed back there, your surround sound-field will just feel less authoritative. It's up to you to decide how important that tradeoff is.

-Suntan

I don't know about anybody else... but with me, it's how much I tick off my wife. That's the trade-off. hehe. I explain to her, "Hey these are nice furniture pieces". You see, she has trouble buying that notion, but for the moment, that has been worked out.
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