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-   -   5-1/4 woofer VS 6-1/4 (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3033530-5-1-4-woofer-vs-6-1-4-a.html)

dowop 12-10-2018 04:10 AM

5-1/4 woofer VS 6-1/4
 
I have owned Klipsch,Paradigm & Polk. The larger speakers always sound better. Are there any 5-1/4 woofer center speakers that would sound as good or better?
I am considering a Emotiva C1. Currently am using a Polk Csi a6, I also have a Csi a4,S30 & S35 & they cannot match the larger Csi a6.
That is why I am concerned about the Emotiva C1. The C2 would not fit.

Vergiliusm 12-10-2018 06:20 AM

https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/A2.4

It uses dual 5.25" mid-woofers, but with its xbl^2 split gap motor structure, they can dig deeper and cleaner (lower distortion) than your typical 5.25 inchers. It throws an acoustically large image for its size.

leecreek 12-10-2018 06:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Vergiliusm (Post 57247564)
https://www.chanemusiccinema.com/A2.4

It uses dual 5.25" mid-woofers, but with its xbl^2 split gap motor structure, they can dig deeper and cleaner (lower distortion) than your typical 5.25 inchers. It throws an acoustically large image for its size.

The Chane 2.4 is what I am using with Emotiva T2's. Fine sounding speaker

Vergiliusm 12-10-2018 07:40 AM

Quote:

The Chane 2.4 is what I am using with Emotiva T2's
Just out of curiosity, why didn't you go with the C2?

aarons915 12-10-2018 08:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dowop (Post 57247194)
I have owned Klipsch,Paradigm & Polk. The larger speakers always sound better. Are there any 5-1/4 woofer center speakers that would sound as good or better?
I am considering a Emotiva C1. Currently am using a Polk Csi a6, I also have a Csi a4,S30 & S35 & they cannot match the larger Csi a6.
That is why I am concerned about the Emotiva C1. The C2 would not fit.

I have actually found the opposite to be true but I assume you're talking about the bass when you say they sound better. In a 2 way speaker, a 5-1/4 is usually going to blend better with the tweeter and have better midrange performance. The bass is better with the larger driver but either setup needs a sub anyway and 5.25" woofers can dig plenty deep for a sub.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 09:23 AM

I've never heard a 5 inch speaker that I preferred over it's larger 6 inch cousin.

For instance, Wharfedale 225 > 220, JBL 230 > 220, Elac B6.2 > Elac B5.2, Klipsch 600M > 500M, Dynaudio X18 > X14, Focal Aria 906 > 905, Kef Q350 > Q150, Ascend CBM-170 > Wavecrest HVL-1 > HTM-200, NHT SuperOne > SuperZero, MA Bronze 2 > Bronze 1, Dali Zensor 3 > Zensor 1 and so on and so forth ...

My own personal general rule of thumb is get the biggest *well-designed* speaker you can comfortably fit or afford. The same rule applies for subs. I find smaller bookshelves to always be noticeably compromised in dynamics, SPL, distortion, bass, and tonal balance. I'm a big fan of the 6 inch bookshelf, needless to say, lol.

However, many people do prefer smaller bookshelves for a variety of valid reasons.

dowop 12-10-2018 09:26 AM

^^^^^^
I am running a sub & crossover @ 80hz.
All the smaller centers sound fine until I use the bigger ones.
As I said I had Klipsch,Paradigms & now Polks all with matching fronts.
The bigger speakers just sound much fuller & natural especially with dialogue.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 09:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dowop (Post 57248566)
^^^^^^
I am running a sub & crossover @ 80hz.
All the smaller centers sound fine until I use the bigger ones.
As I said I had Klipsch,Paradigms & now Polks all with matching fronts.
The bigger speakers just sound much fuller & natural especially with dialogue.

Great point about dialogue clarity. I've noticed the same and forgot to mention it above. *Especially* in center channels where it's even more evident.

aarons915 12-10-2018 09:31 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here's a good example of what I'm talking about, check out the Revel M105 and M106 sound power, in the M106 you can see a directivity mismatch around 2500Hz where the M105 is super smooth, it's just the nature of speaker design in a 2 way, you just have to understand with bigger woofers you're trading midrange for bass, which can be negated by properly setup subs.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/attac...4666&thumb=1.1

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 09:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aarons915 (Post 57248588)
Here's a good example of what I'm talking about, check out the Revel M105 and M106 sound power, in the M106 you can see a directivity mismatch around 2500Hz where the M105 is super smooth, it's just the nature of speaker design in a 2 way, you just have to understand with bigger woofers you're trading midrange for bass, which can be negated by properly setup subs.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/attac...4666&thumb=1.1


That only applies far off-axis and a 4 inch woofer would be even less directional than a 5 incher so might as well use those, I guess.

Power responses far off-axis are a minor consideration for good sound. Since it's such a small discontinuity, the direct sound would completely dominate and render that tiny (1-2dB?) off-axis wiggle totally inaudible in almost every real-world scenario.

Furthermore, the 6 inch Revels in your graph have far superior (flatter and smoother) on-axis and similar listening windows and that will always be preferred to anything minor that happens off-axis. The better midrange accuracy and clarity of the 6 inch woofers would win out for most. I personally would take the more accurate on-axis direct sound and listening window of the 6 inchers in your graphs all day, everyday (as would most people.)

Here are some quotes on the subject:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Floyd Toole
The small off-axis dip around 2-3 kHz common to most cone & dome systems is indeed a flaw, but a very, very small one. If the dominant direct sound is intact, which it is, sound quality is not likely to be consequently altered.


And:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Floyd Toole
The dominant factor is the size of the woofer/midrange. The larger the woofer/midrange driver, the greater the directivity index irregularities around the crossover to a small tweeter. The woofer becomes significantly directional as it approaches the crossover frequency. That is why the next step up is a three-way, with a small midrange driver that can maintain relatively constant directivity as the tweeter crossover is approached, and at the same time allowing for a larger woofer for more bass and more overall sound output.

In theory any well designed 5-inch two way has the potential of being more timbrally neutral in a normally reflective room than one with a larger woofer. When you get to 8-inch two ways one has real problems with off axis response. In all cases, a shallow waveguide on the tweeter is a significant advantage. Note, however, that the larger the woofer/midrange driver, the louder the system is likely to be able to play.

So it is a tradeoff. Sound output vs. timbral neutrality. Brand is not a factor in this - it is raw physics. Small two-way systems (preferably with a sub) are excellent choices if cinema sound levels are not demanded.


So, any speaker in the 6-7 inch range would be a good compromise and likely even preferred due to the extra amount of clean midbass and more accurate midrange. Speaking from personal experience, I always prefer the midrange of a larger 6 inch woofer and the reason for that opinion can clearly be seen above in your graphs.

All that said, if you enjoy the slightly smoother power response of small woofers more than you do the smoother on-axis direct sound and listening window (60 degrees horizontal and 20 degrees vertical) of the bigger woofers, that is totally valid and you aren't alone.

aarons915 12-10-2018 11:34 AM

I'm not sure how you figure the M106 is the more neutral speaker, the listening window of the 105 looks better to me and many people in the Revel thread consider the M105 to sound better as well. Also Floyd's quote doesn't support a larger woofer being better, really the opposite since he's saying the smaller midwoofer has the potential of being more timbrally neutral. Common sense also tells you that if bigger woofers were better for midrange accuracy wouldn't the midrange drivers in a 3 way be larger? B&W is the perfect example of why a large midrange hurts performance, most of them measure terribly in the midrange. Also, the primary concern isn't just midrange accuracy, but integration of the 2 drivers, the larger the woofer, the harder this is to achieve and requires a very low crossover point that most tweeters can't do.

There are also many examples of the smaller woofered bookshelf speaker being preferred most times over the larger one. The M105 over the m106 like I mentioned, the KEF Q100 over the KEF Q300, Polk RtiA1 over the A3. If someone isn't using a sub I could see the argument of preferring the larger driver but otherwise subwoofers negate that advantage and a 5.25 has no problem with midbass over 80Hz.

dowop 12-10-2018 12:17 PM

I have the Rti a1 & A3. I prefer the A3...

zieglj01 12-10-2018 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dowop (Post 57247194)
I have owned Klipsch,Paradigm & Polk. The larger speakers always sound better. Are there any 5-1/4 woofer center speakers that would sound as good or better?
I am considering a Emotiva C1. Currently am using a Polk Csi a6, I also have a Csi a4,S30 & S35 & they cannot match the larger Csi a6.
That is why I am concerned about the Emotiva C1. The C2 would not fit.

The Emotiva C1 is a 3-way center, and different from the 2-ways that you have owned -- with the midrange driver it is possible the C1 may work for you and be worth the risk.

aarons915 12-10-2018 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dowop (Post 57249576)
I have the Rti a1 & A3. I prefer the A3...

In Revel's double blind tests they have a formula where about a 1/3 of the preference is due to bass response, so comparing 2 speakers full range you might prefer the one with deeper bass response, this is why I always compare speakers with a crossover in place around 80-100Hz, because I don't want to be influenced by the bass response. The Polks are probably the weakest of my examples because neither is a very well designed speaker in my opinion but the basic physics still hold true.

Mr Toole's quote on the 2 really sums it up quite well when he said you're basically choosing between timbral neutrality and output. So how loud you listen of course is a determining factor in all of this.

Blacklightning 12-10-2018 12:35 PM

Lots of good information here and I think the biggest problem is that the OP is talking about a center channel speaker. It's is true that a 5.25" driver for the most part is a better driver for most 2-way speakers when it comes to stereo listening in a good room with good speaker positioning (This is why so many high end 2-way speakers use this format unless they can get the tweeter to crossover lower).
In the case for a center channel in a HT system I wonder what the answer would be as you are not sitting far off axis and imaging is not high on the list as you have much more speakers playing.

dowop 12-10-2018 12:35 PM

I have a sub crossover at 80hz. I do not listen at loud vouleme. The A3 sounds more fuller. To my ears the Polks sound better than the Klipsch & Paradigm.

zieglj01 12-10-2018 12:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aarons915 (Post 57249652)
The Polks are probably the weakest of my examples because neither is a very well designed speaker in my opinion but the basic physics still hold true.

The Polk, Klipsch, and Paradigm voicing have troubled me in the past -- a 3-way center like the C1 Emotiva would be worth the risk to me. On a side note when not talking about cousins, I have found in the 5-1/4 vs larger drivers, that the larger driver has lost some battles. I find measurments useful and interesting, but there is nothing about the M105 listening experience that troubles me. Those measurements that you posted, did they come from Harman?

RayGuy 12-10-2018 12:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by l0nestar8 (Post 57248552)
I've never heard a 5 inch speaker that I preferred over it's larger 6 inch cousin.

For instance, Wharfedale 225 > 220, JBL 230 > 220, Elac B6.2 > Elac B5.2, Klipsch 600M > 500M, Dynaudio X18 > X14, Focal Aria 906 > 905, Kef Q350 > Q150, Ascend CBM-170 > Wavecrest HVL-1 > HTM-200, NHT SuperOne > SuperZero, MA Bronze 2 > Bronze 1, Dali Zensor 3 > Zensor 1 and so on and so forth ...

My own personal general rule of thumb is get the biggest *well-designed* speaker you can comfortably fit or afford. The same rule applies for subs. I find smaller bookshelves to always be noticeably compromised in dynamics, SPL, distortion, bass, and tonal balance. I'm a big fan of the 6 inch bookshelf, needless to say, lol.

However, many people do prefer smaller bookshelves for a variety of valid reasons.


That depends on what you value. Clearly, you value bass extension over mid/tweet integration. That said, every speaker is it's own experience, and saying "all" anything is always (;)) a mistake.

dowop 12-10-2018 12:48 PM

The Paradigm I had was a 3 way Center.

zieglj01 12-10-2018 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dowop (Post 57249812)
The Paradigm I had was a 3 way Center.

It is up to you -- but the Emotiva with the popular tweeter is still a good option

aarons915 12-10-2018 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zieglj01 (Post 57249754)
The Polk, Klipsch, and Paradigm voicing have troubled me in the past -- a 3-way center like the C1 Emotiva would be worth the risk to me. On a side note when not talking about cousins, I have found in the 5-1/4 vs larger drivers, that the larger driver has lost some battles. I find measurments useful and interesting, but there is nothing about the M105 listening experience that troubles me. Those measurements that you posted, did they come from Harman?

Yeah I found them in the Revel thread, they're the official Harman Spins. 3 way centers are definitely a way to get good bass response and not give up anything in the midrange. I also admit in the case of the 105 and 106, I might not even notice a difference in a listening test but I was just putting a different perspective forward that bigger isn't always better.

Blacklightning 12-10-2018 01:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dowop (Post 57249712)
I have a sub crossover at 80hz. I do not listen at loud vouleme. The A3 sounds more fuller. To my ears the Polksu sound better than the Klipsch & Paradigm.

I'm not saying you are wrong but a larger speakers will sound fuller and larger just because your eyes are looking at a larger speaker. Plus other things come into play like cabinet noise as the larger volume cabinet will resonate at a lower frequency if it's not solid. I did not understand this myself at first as bigger = better makes a lot more sense and larger driver speakers cost more there for should sound better.

It was not until I saw time and time again that speaker designers that had no limitations were picking drivers under 6" for special models or one off models. But again I do not know if this will apply to center channels.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aarons915 (Post 57249276)
I'm not sure how you figure the M106 is the more neutral speaker, the listening window of the 105 looks better to me and many people in the Revel thread consider the M105 to sound better as well. Also Floyd's quote doesn't support a larger woofer being better, really the opposite since he's saying the smaller midwoofer has the potential of being more timbrally neutral. Common sense also tells you that if bigger woofers were better for midrange accuracy wouldn't the midrange drivers in a 3 way be larger? B&W is the perfect example of why a large midrange hurts performance, most of them measure terribly in the midrange. Also, the primary concern isn't just midrange accuracy, but integration of the 2 drivers, the larger the woofer, the harder this is to achieve and requires a very low crossover point that most tweeters can't do.

There are also many examples of the smaller woofered bookshelf speaker being preferred most times over the larger one. The M105 over the m106 like I mentioned, the KEF Q100 over the KEF Q300, Polk RtiA1 over the A3. If someone isn't using a sub I could see the argument of preferring the larger driver but otherwise subwoofers negate that advantage and a 5.25 has no problem with midbass over 80Hz.

His quote supports the fact that the difference in sound quality between 5 and 6 inches of woofer is negligible in a two-way. Read again:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Floyd Toole
The small off-axis dip around 2-3 kHz common to most cone & dome systems is indeed a flaw, but a very, very small one. If the dominant direct sound is intact, which it is, sound quality is not likely to be consequently altered.


The M106 and F208 listening windows and on-axis curves are just as smooth and flat as their smaller counterparts if not more so. We are talking fractions of a dB. Also, comparing Revel to itself says nothing since there are other brands that do much better off-axis with their 6 inch two-ways like Kef and Focal.

I certainly don't argue that there are 5 inchers that are preferred. But, the fact that it is a tossup whether which is preferred should tell you that size isn't the fundamental determinant of sound quality and that it's more a personal preference.

A 6 inch woofer won't start beaming until 2.5-3.0kHz and any decent tweeter can be crossed that low no problem.

B&W's issue isn't the woofer size, it's the crossover. They often employ a minimal crossover point north of 4kHz. And that's consistent across their lines regardless of woofer size. It's their trademark "house sound" and isn't really pertinent to this conversation.

Three-ways are a totally different situation and 3-4 inches is common for 3-way midranges. I don't see many people claiming that 3-4 inch 2-ways are superior to 5 inchers because of their better mid/tweet integration, do you?

5 inchers have a *significant* disadvantage with midbass even when crossed at 80Hz. That's obvious to anyone who has listened to larger bookshelves. I'm can't imagine that even being a controversial opinion at all since I've heard many of them.

Far off-axis response is SO far down on the list of priorities when comes to making a good-sounding speaker, that touting its importance serves no purpose other than to confuse the issue.

Even Toole himself says that the listening window response and bass capability (which directly affects distortion and dynamics) FAR outweigh all other factors and that far off-axis response is a very low priority.

I'm not saying that larger bookshelves are better for everyone in every situation, but they have many advantages that outweigh their smaller brethren in many cases. There has been a trend of calling any two-way woofer larger than 5 inches "flawed" and that simply is untrue.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blacklightning (Post 57249698)
Lots of good information here and I think the biggest problem is that the OP is talking about a center channel speaker. It's is true that a 5.25" driver for the most part is a better driver for most 2-way speakers when it comes to stereo listening in a good room with good speaker positioning (This is why so many high end 2-way speakers use this format unless they can get the tweeter to crossover lower).
In the case for a center channel in a HT system I wonder what the answer would be as you are not sitting far off axis and imaging is not high on the list as you have much more speakers playing.

Some of the best 2-way studio monitors utilize larger woofers. I don't think 5 inchers is for the most part the better speaker at all.

RayGuy 12-10-2018 01:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by l0nestar8 (Post 57249916)
His quote supports the fact that the difference in sound quality between 5 and 6 inches of woofer is negligible in a two-way.

The M106 and F208 listening windows are just as smooth and flat than their smaller counterparts if not more so. Comparing Revel to itself says nothing since there are other brands that do much better off-axis with their 6 inch two-ways like Kef and Focal.

I certainly don't argue that there are 5 inchers that are preferred. But, the fact that it is a tossup whether which is preferred should tell you that size isn't the fundamental determinant of sound quality and that it's more a personal preference.

A 6 inch woofer won't start beaming until 2.5-3.0kHz and any decent tweeter can be crossed that low no problem.

5 inchers have a *significant* disadvantage with midbass even when crossed at 80Hz. That's obvious to anyone who has listened to larger bookshelves. I'm can't imagine that even being a controversial opinion at all since I've heard many of them.

Far off-axis response is SO far down on the list of priorities when comes to making a good-sounding speaker, that touting its importance serves no purpose other than to confuse the issue.

Even Toole himself says that the listening window response and bass capability (which directly affects distortion and dynamics) FAR outweigh all other factors and that far off-axis response is a very low priority.

I'm not saying that larger bookshelves are better for everyone in every situation, but they have many advantages that outweigh their smaller brethren in many cases. There has been a trend of calling any two-way woofer larger than 5 inches "flawed" and that simply is untrue.

This is absolutely true. i owned 2-way bookshelves for many years with a 7" woofer and the mids were great. It's all about the design strategy vs your individual taste.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RayGuy (Post 57249772)
That depends on what you value. Clearly, you value bass extension over mid/tweet integration. That said, every speaker is it's own experience, and saying "all" anything is always (;)) a mistake.

I agree with your last sentence whole-heartedly. If I came across opining otherwise, I have failed to properly communicate myself.

However, I disagree about valuing bass extension over mid/integration. A 6-7 inch woofer has no issues integrating to any decent tweeter in the 2-3kHz range which is extremely common.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aarons915 (Post 57249856)
Yeah I found them in the Revel thread, they're the official Harman Spins. 3 way centers are definitely a way to get good bass response and not give up anything in the midrange. I also admit in the case of the 105 and 106, I might not even notice a difference in a listening test but I was just putting a different perspective forward that bigger isn't always better.

I certainly agree that bigger isn't ALWAYS better. To my ears, I always have preferred the larger sound and more forceful mids of the larger version. However, my perspective was that smaller isn't always better. So, we might actually be in agreement for the most part.

I just don't think the power response of a bookshelf speaker is of prime importance compared to its listening window and possibility for lower distortion.

aarons915 12-10-2018 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blacklightning (Post 57249898)
I'm not saying you are wrong but a larger speakers will sound fuller and larger just because your eyes are looking at a larger speaker. Plus other things come into play like cabinet noise as the larger volume cabinet will resonate at a lower frequency if it's not solid. I did not understand this myself at first as bigger = better makes a lot more sense and larger driver speakers cost more there for should sound better.

It was not until I saw time and time again that speaker designers that had no limitations were picking drivers under 6" for special models or one off models. But again I do not know if this will apply to center channels.

This is a good point, what did it for me was when I had Chane A1 bookshelves and I found some A5 towers, which add a 5 inch midrange and 3 of the 5" bass drivers, so a massive output advantage. I found at my listening levels and with subs, I was happy with the bookshelfs and sold the towers. The key is really properly setup subs(plural), if people don't have the capability or don't want to measure their system and get the bass right then a bigger woofer/s might be more ideal for them.

KEF is a good example of using the 5" UniQ drivers in their Reference and Blade series over the 6.5 version, you'd think in a money is no object design, they would go with the bigger drivers if there were benefits to doing so.

l0nestar8 12-10-2018 01:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blacklightning (Post 57249898)
I'm not saying you are wrong but a larger speakers will sound fuller and larger just because your eyes are looking at a larger speaker. Plus other things come into play like cabinet noise as the larger volume cabinet will resonate at a lower frequency if it's not solid. I did not understand this myself at first as bigger = better makes a lot more sense and larger driver speakers cost more there for should sound better.

It was not until I saw time and time again that speaker designers that had no limitations were picking drivers under 6" for special models or one off models. But again I do not know if this will apply to center channels.

I don't think the eyes are to blame in this case, but I do agree that larger cabinets have more potential for problems with towers being the worst culprits.

But, as to your last point, I'd wager that most flagship bookshelves are of the larger variety and not the smaller.

Blacklightning 12-10-2018 01:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by l0nestar8 (Post 57249942)
Some of the best 2-way studio monitors utilize larger woofers. I don't think 5 inchers is for the most part the better speaker at all.

Yes, you are right 2-way studio monitors used in near-field do better with larger drivers. I guess I'm talking more about 2 channel bookshelf speakers. That is also way I always end saying for center channels I don't know what would be better. I have looking into this and I'm aware of great 8" driver 2-way monitors that are the standard for many but you will not see this for bookshelf speakers in a normal room.


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