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post #1 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Does size really matter?

Would there be an obvious noticeable difference in sound quality between a center channel speaker that has two 4 1/2 diameter woofers vs a center channel speaker that has two 5 1/4 woofers?

Last edited by Pittfaninloco; 02-05-2020 at 08:59 AM.
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post #2 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittfaninloco View Post
Would there be an obvious noticeable difference in sound quality between a center channel speaker that has two 4 1/2 diameter woofers vs a center channel speaker that has two 5 1/4 woofers?

Of roughly the same quality speaker construction and drivers, yes -- most likely.
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post #3 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 09:07 AM
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"Sound quality" is in the ears of the beholder. However, larger drivers should be able to handle more power, play louder and have a bit more low frequency extension. Depends on the quality of the drivers, cabinets, crossovers etc.

If you are comparing two similar speakers from the same brand, I would generally go with the bigger speaker if space and budget allows.

For example, Kevin Voecks of Harman recommends going with the M106 over the M105 for the reasons I mentioned.
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post #4 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 09:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittfaninloco View Post
Would there be an obvious noticeable difference in sound quality between a center channel speaker that has two 4 1/2 diameter woofers vs a center channel speaker that has two 5 1/4 woofers?
Yes.

I have yet to hear a decent center speaker with 4.5" woofers.

Just like a "perfect woman," I'm told that they do exist...fwiw.

If you are absolutely pressed for space, you could try a RSL CG23 simply because they give you free return shipping, so it'd be at no risk to you.
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post #5 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
"Sound quality" is in the ears of the beholder.
I agree with this. That’s why I said an obvious noticeable difference. So if I play the same content using center channel speakers with 4 1/2 vs 5 1/4 woofers I want to say WOW what a difference? If I don’t hear a big difference don’t know if it’s worth to upgrade.



Quote:
However, larger drivers should be able to handle more power, play louder and have a bit more low frequency extension. Depends on the quality of the drivers, cabinets, crossovers etc.
How would one know the quality of drivers, cabinets, crossovers vs another speaker? I’m guessing the same brand of speaker will have the same drivers, cabinets, crossovers?
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post #6 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittfaninloco View Post
How would one know the quality of drivers, cabinets, crossovers vs another speaker? I’m guessing the same brand of speaker will have the same drivers, cabinets, crossovers?
I think it would depend on the tier - I suspect that that stuff would be a little different if, say, we're talking KEF Q150 vs. KEF LS50.

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post #7 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 12:01 PM
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Does size really matter? --- Well I hope not...

But back to your speaker concern.

Some 4" woofers sound OK at close distance at low to moderate volumes. You just need to set the correct expectation.

With bass its about moving and displacing air (cabinet is also an important factor). So 4" vs 8" vs 12" vs 15" well I'm sure you get the picture.

Its always best IMHO if you have the space and money to use multiple smaller subs. But multiple monsters are cool to if the room volume and blending with your main speakers allow.
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post #8 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittfaninloco View Post
I agree with this. That’s why I said an obvious noticeable difference. So if I play the same content using center channel speakers with 4 1/2 vs 5 1/4 woofers I want to say WOW what a difference? If I don’t hear a big difference don’t know if it’s worth to upgrade.
How would one know the quality of drivers, cabinets, crossovers vs another speaker? I’m guessing the same brand of speaker will have the same drivers, cabinets, crossovers?
So if I play the same content using center channel speakers with 4 1/2 vs 5 1/4 woofers I want to say WOW what a difference?

No one knows if you will hear a difference. I probably would (34 years working as a professional recording and live sound engineer) but you might not. I described what should be noticeable-bigger speaker will play louder without strain and have lower bass frequency extension and more output level at those frequencies.

How would one know the quality of drivers, cabinets, crossovers vs another speaker? I’m guessing the same brand of speaker will have the same drivers, cabinets, crossovers?

Not generally true. Why do you think you pay more? Of course not all brands do what Revel does, but there is a difference in each line of speakers (Concerta2, Performa2, PerformaBe, Ultima2). Each line hits a price point, as the price points go up, better drivers, cabinets and crossovers are used.

In your original question, you only mention woofer size. It may be the case the speaker with the larger woofers also uses a tweeter with a more powerful motor structure and certainly uses a different crossover. and may have better components. The cabinet is larger and may have different structural bracing.
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post #9 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 02:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rex Anderson View Post
So if I play the same content using center channel speakers with 4 1/2 vs 5 1/4 woofers I want to say WOW what a difference?

No one knows if you will hear a difference. I probably would (34 years working as a professional recording and live sound engineer) but you might not. I described what should be noticeable-bigger speaker will play louder without strain and have lower bass frequency extension and more output level at those frequencies.

How would one know the quality of drivers, cabinets, crossovers vs another speaker? I’m guessing the same brand of speaker will have the same drivers, cabinets, crossovers?

Not generally true. Why do you think you pay more? Of course not all brands do what Revel does, but there is a difference in each line of speakers (Concerta2, Performa2, PerformaBe, Ultima2). Each line hits a price point, as the price points go up, better drivers, cabinets and crossovers are used.

In your original question, you only mention woofer size. It may be the case the speaker with the larger woofers also uses a tweeter with a more powerful motor structure and certainly uses a different crossover. and may have better components. The cabinet is larger and may have different structural bracing.
Thank you for the detailed response.

I’ve been told that speaker technology hasn’t demonstratively improved in last years 10 years or so like other electronic devices.

Is that a true statement?

The center channel speaker I’m aiming to replace is about 15 years old. Would age alone be, or not enough of an incentive to upgrade leaving the woofer size out of the conversation?

Last edited by Pittfaninloco; 02-05-2020 at 02:52 PM.
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post #10 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 02:56 PM
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Going from a center with 4.5" woofers to a center with 5.25" woofers everything else being the same (tweeter(s), driver motor structure, cabinet bracing, etc.), the difference would probably be minimal. You might be able to crossover the bigger center a bit lower (say 100 Hz to 80 Hz for example) than the smaller one due to the extended frequency response.

For me, the biggest differences between center speakers (huge woofer surface area differences aside) has always come down to tweeter type (dome, ribbon, horn, etc) and efficiency.

If you're swapping from a center with 4.5" woofers and a soft dome tweeter with a 88 dB 1W/1m sensitivity to a center with 5.25" woofers and a wide dispersion horn tweeter with a 96 dB 1W/1m sensitivity, you will likely notice a big difference.

Good luck in your search/decision!
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post #11 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittfaninloco View Post
Thank you for the detailed response.

I’ve been told that speaker technology hasn’t demonstratively improved in last years 10 years or so like other electronic devices.

Is that a true statement?

The center channel speaker I’m aiming to replace is about 15 years old. Would age alone be, or not enough of an incentive to upgrade leaving the woofer size out of the conversation?
It depends on the company making the speaker. Some still produce crap but the information to produce excellent speakers has been around for over ten years. For example, the Revel Salon2 was introduced in 2007 and they say it has still not been beaten in their double blind listening tests. https://www.revelspeakers.com/about/revel.html

Lots of information for you:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...nce-shows.html

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-sp...ever-made.html

https://routledgetextbooks.com/textbooks/9781138921368/
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post #12 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Green Chemist View Post
Going from a center with 4.5" woofers to a center with 5.25" woofers everything else being the same (tweeter(s), driver motor structure, cabinet bracing, etc.), the difference would probably be minimal. You might be able to crossover the bigger center a bit lower (say 100 Hz to 80 Hz for example) than the smaller one due to the extended frequency response.

For me, the biggest differences between center speakers (huge woofer surface area differences aside) has always come down to tweeter type (dome, ribbon, horn, etc) and efficiency.

If you're swapping from a center with 4.5" woofers and a soft dome tweeter with a 88 dB 1W/1m sensitivity to a center with 5.25" woofers and a wide dispersion horn tweeter with a 96 dB 1W/1m sensitivity, you will likely notice a big difference.

Good luck in your search/decision!
Both have soft done tweeters. Both 90 sensitivity.
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post #13 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 03:09 PM
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I went from 6.5 down to 5.25 for my center and its an improvement. just go listen or buy something and if its better keep it.

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post #14 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittfaninloco View Post
Both have soft done tweeters. Both 90 sensitivity.

Hi,

Just to add to the good perspectives you have already been given, I wouldn't underestimate the advantages of being able to use a slightly lower crossover. Depending on the amount of subwoofer boost you are using, especially for movies, there can be quite a bit of difference between using an 80Hz crossover, and a 100Hz crossover, for the center channel.

With a 100Hz crossover, and a healthy subwoofer boost, quite a bit of bass may end-up in your center channel, and that can affect dialogue clarity and intelligibility. Low fundamental frequencies for male voices typically start at about 90Hz. In my experience, using significant sub boosts with a 100Hz crossover can impart a "chesty" sound to some voices, making them sound less natural to me, and also making some dialogue harder to hear.

As with many things in audio/HT, there is a YMMV quality to this issue. But, if moving to slightly larger woofers allows the center channel to use an 80Hz crossover, with more fidelity and less distortion, I think it can be a real plus. I think a lot of people might notice a difference for music, as well, but it could be particularly noticeable for movies.

Regards,
Mike

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post #15 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mthomas47 View Post
Hi,

Just to add to the good perspectives you have already been given, I wouldn't underestimate the advantages of being able to use a slightly lower crossover. Depending on the amount of subwoofer boost you are using, especially for movies, there can be quite a bit of difference between using an 80Hz crossover, and a 100Hz crossover, for the center channel.

With a 100Hz crossover, and a healthy subwoofer boost, quite a bit of bass may end-up in your center channel, and that can affect dialogue clarity and intelligibility. Low fundamental frequencies for male voices typically start at about 90Hz. In my experience, using significant sub boosts with a 100Hz crossover can impart a "chesty" sound to some voices, making them sound less natural to me, and also making some dialogue harder to hear.

Regards,
Mike
Why would a higher crossover result in more bass in the center channel?

Do you mean that more bass from the center (say the lower range of male voices) would be directed to the sub, and with a significant sub boost, dialog clarity could be impacted because the sub is producing some exaggerated low end range of male voices? I can see this happening.

-
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post #16 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 06:13 PM
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I'm sure there are high quality 4.5" drivers that have better extension/output/distortion than lesser quality 5.25" drivers. Same with 5.25" vs. 6.5" drivers. So, it depends on driver quality, in addition to size.

That said, if driver quality is similar, the larger driver should produce better extension/output/distortion in the lower frequencies.

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post #17 of 19 Old 02-05-2020, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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...... just go listen or buy something and if its better keep it.
Words to live by. The best advice I have heard.😃
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-06-2020, 07:00 AM
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I would really love to hear these http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...s/duo/duo.html

The Ascend LCR DUO

Introducing our no compromise ultra-high-performance compact LCR speaker, featuring a custom RAAL True Ribbon Tweeter and 2 of our exclusive 4.5" SEAS Curv™ woofers all combined in our remarkable low resonance layered bamboo cabinet.

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post #19 of 19 Old 02-06-2020, 01:40 PM
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I'll just say "there's more to it than size" -- so much more.

Reasons to chose a difference size woofer driver (that aren't just about cost):

- Drivers of different size "beam" at different frequencies, it's important to match the driver with its tweeter via the crossover. Many "cheap" speakers may just change the driver (to differentiate the models) without caring at all about how it changes the tweeter/mid crossover integration.

- Smaller drivers can't move as much air without more excursion, more excursion usually means more distortion (this matters a bit less at sub frequencies, and a good motor can overcome some of it).

- Due to the above, as has been mentioned, smaller drivers tend to play with less "authority" than larger drivers (but, if you stick a 10" mid-range into a speaker without a proper wave-guide on your tweeter, there's a really good chance you'll have some nasty off-axis response due to point #1 ).

And that's probably just scratching the surface and off the top of my head.

So, here's what I'll say: listen! with your ears, in your room, at your desired volume levels. If you like something with a 4.5" driver and it satisfies your needs for volume and sounds good to you, great! If that same manufacturer offers a similar speaker with a 5.25" or 6.5" driver, you'll need to figure out from measurements or listening tests to see if they accounted for any/all of my above points -- I'd say it is a coin-flip whether they cared to or not. However, if they change nothing else, there's probably one "ideal" driver size that integrates best with the tweeter and the rest are compromised to leverage economies of scale (e.g., reuse the xover across the model line despite it being compromised with a different driver -- maybe tweak a component to make it a lesser compromise, but probably not redesign it for "perfection").
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