Originally Posted by Ian13
I'm having trouble getting my head around something that is kind of making me hesitate on a possible upgrade with my Triad LCR speakers and was wandering if you guys could help explain it to me?
Please keep in mind that i don't really compute all the tech talk side of things, hence i am asking the following questions.
I currently own and have set up in my home theatre ( L=22' 11" x W=18' 1" x H=8' 7" ) the InRoom Silver Monitors as my LCR channels and am seriously considering upgrading to the Platinum LCR's, but i'm confused about a certain matter and don't want to make a wrong decision that ends up wasting money.
My first question is to do with the setup of the speakers. Remember i don't really understand this so i will try to explain as best i can.
If you set it up so that your speakers are recognised as small (which i would regard my Silver Monitors as) so as the bass goes to the subwoofers ( x2 Platinum DSP's) then if i upgraded to the Platinum LCR's and set them to small ( i would regard them as large) so that the bass goes to the subwoofers, then is there any real benefit to upgrading to the Plats? I suppose what i am saying is that why go the larger speakers if the subs are going to do all the work anyway for the lows and i read somewhere that the Silver Monitor tweeters are essentially the same as the Plats except for the dispersion lens, midrange not sure about, so where is the advantage of the Plats?
Would i be hearing any upgrade in sound quality?
If i got the Plats and set them to large then is it not passing the bass to the 2 Platinum DSP subwoofers and then under utilising the subs?
Have i got this all wrong?
Is the upgrade to the Plats going to be a noticeable difference from the Silver Monitors in my size room?
I'm gathering how loud you listen to your system may play a part in this upgrade, yes or no?
Commendably, you're actually asking a very astute question. The answer is fairly complex.
When you design an LCR for maximum sensitivity, you give up bass extension. A high-sensitivity, 98 dB pro 15" woofer usually starts rolling off at 80 Hz or so, whereas a 15" consumer driver that's flat to 30 Hz can be as low as 86 dB, making it useless for high-output applications. I don't know of a full-range speaker that plays flat to 20 Hz without EQ that has sensitivity above 90 dB. Also, LCRs are rarely placed in a room position to produce optimum bass. Platinums have tremendous capability down to around 60 Hz, and any serious system has a subwoofer, anyway. Or two. Or four. The Platinum LCR was designed for use with a subwoofer, and to be used as "small," which doesn't refer to size, but rather to crossover choice. It's not a sign of weakness, but, rather, high sensitivity with tons and tons of headroom. I recommend an 80 Hz crossover frequency, as I would with almost any LCR. (I often recommend 100 Hz or 120 Hz with Silver Monitors due to power handling limitations below 150 Hz.)
That said, Platinum LCRs with Platinum DSP Subs sound better than Silver Monitors at low levels, much better at moderate levels, and shockingly better at high levels. Actually, Silver Monitors won't play to high levels, as great as they sound at low levels. I have had Silver Monitors, Gold Monitors, Gold LCRs, and Platinum LCRs in my room (11.5' x 8' x 19') and because of the somewhat limited dynamics, I have to rank Silver Monitors last...as great as they are. Even at moderate levels, Platinum LCRs sound more effortless even than the very robust Gold LCRs. They have the ability to comfortably handle anything you throw at them, and they never sound strained in the slightest. I believe the Platinum LCRs sound so good in the real world in part to their high sensitivity and power handling. There is an immediacy to the sound, and they don't sound like speakers. You hear the program material, only. They are many levels above the Silver Monitor despite sharing two 5.25" drivers. I recommend Silver Monitors for home theater applications in smaller venues, where the volume won't quite be at reference, and with subwoofers and using a 100 Hz crossover.)
I read an online review years ago where someone compared big, expensive speakers, and he slammed the Platinums because they "need" a subwoofer. Yes, they do, and by design. Who on Earth would do a home theater with $22,500 worth of LCRs and NOT use a subwoofer?? The reviewer didn't get it. I could have gutted him like a trout, but he would have looked so bad, I chose to take the high road and ignore the thread.
Additional reasons for not running Platinums "large" with a subwoofer include limiting the power handling of the Platinums by trying to pump 20 Hz at 400 watts through the two Scan-Speak 10" drivers. They weren't designed for that. Another reason is running subs that are flat to 20 Hz in tandem with LCRs that are flat to 60 Hz will reduce the amount of total bass below 60 Hz.
To answer your basic question which is "are Platinums better at normal levels," the answer is a definitive "yes." And as you edge the volume up a bit, the difference becomes quite dramatic.