Mixing speakers...dangerous or possible? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Mixing speakers...dangerous or possible?

I am circling the issue of upgrading my LCR speakers behind my AT screen. I am limited to about 7-8 inches in depth, without major renovations of the front theater wall.

I Currently have Klipsch THX-504L speakers behind the screen, with Klipsch for the atmos and surround; in a 7.3.4 system.

I want some more mid bass punch from the LCR’s, and Klipsch doesn’t have anything in wall that’s bigger (RF-7III’s would be great...)

I have narrowed my web search to...Martin Logan Edge in walls (AMT tweeter), Paradigm SI Elite E7 (aluminum dome tweeter) and Triad Gold Inwall/6 (soft dome tweeter) basically $2-3k per speaker. Ive heard the Martin Logan’s at a Magnolia demo room and the paradigms at a local salon. Never heard Triad but with the amount of love they get here, they have to be a solid choice.

Usually frowned upon to mix speaker brands, timbre and specifically tweeter types. So the question is have you, or do any of you currently mix speakers. Mixing LCR vs surrounds is probably the least sinful choice. But can it be successfully done? There is no cheap or easy way to give it a try without wasting a lot of $ and labor.

Thanks
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post #2 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:22 PM
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Not dangerous, very possible.

Tony
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post #3 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:30 PM
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Nope, not dangerous at all. If you're mixing impedance (4, 6, or 8ohm), just don't be a volume freak.

Home Theatre: Marantz SR6014 | Polk Audio RTi A3 Front L/R | KEF Q650c Centre | KEF Q150 Surround L/R | HSU ULS-15 MK2 Subwoofer | Sony XBR55X900E | PS4 Pro | Xbox One S | Nintendo Switch | TBA: KEF Q750 Front L/R

Music: Cambridge Audio AXR100 | Stanton T.62 | Cambridge Audio AXC35 | Neat Motive 3
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post #4 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes the impedances will likely be different 4 v 8
But the Monolith 7X amp can handle 4 ohm no problem.
And I can balance each channel independently in the processor + Audyssey with a fine tune with REW and microphone

But a valid point. Thanks
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post #5 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighModulus View Post
Usually frowned upon to mix speaker brands, timbre and specifically tweeter types. So the question is have you, or do any of you currently mix speakers. Mixing LCR vs surrounds is probably the least sinful choice. But can it be successfully done? There is no cheap or easy way to give it a try without wasting a lot of $ and labor.
Well, it's not always possible or practical to exact-match, for whatever reason. Will changing yours sound different? Yes, to some degree. Will it sound bad? Only you can be the judge. But you're right - at least keeping groups of speakers same/similar is seemingly preferred at the minimum. So, L/C/R same, and surrounds can differ, but at least keep those the same, and so on. (Some will even say matching the L/C/R isn't always a bad thing...)

I do have a mix myself of aluminum dome and soft dome, not in-wall, but they actually blend quite nicely. L/C/R are Paradigms (similar to the Elite), and surrounds are soft dome Totems that were the best fit for my space due to placement and size constraints, plus I was able to demo them with the Paradigms to hear how "off" they would be. It's not a perfect match, but it is pretty dang good, so I went ahead with it. In-ceilings are yet a 3rd brand, but with an aluminum dome tweeter, and I'd say it matters even less for these to be matched. More important I'd say for music. Not that it's unimportant for HT but I think you'll be less likely to notice given your mind tends to be focused on the visuals. Music, obviously focused on the music.

In an absolutely ideal space with zero constraints? Sure, I'd match everything the best I could. Is it the end of the world if you don't? Not in my book, some will disagree.

Out of curiosity, which did you prefer of the MLs and the Paradigms?

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
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post #6 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighModulus View Post
I am circling the issue of upgrading my LCR speakers behind my AT screen. I am limited to about 7-8 inches in depth, without major renovations of the front theater wall.

I Currently have Klipsch THX-504L speakers behind the screen, with Klipsch for the atmos and surround; in a 7.3.4 system.

I want some more mid bass punch from the LCR’s, and Klipsch doesn’t have anything in wall that’s bigger (RF-7III’s would be great...)

I have narrowed my web search to...Martin Logan Edge in walls (AMT tweeter), Paradigm SI Elite E7 (aluminum dome tweeter) and Triad Gold Inwall/6 (soft dome tweeter) basically $2-3k per speaker. Ive heard the Martin Logan’s at a Magnolia demo room and the paradigms at a local salon. Never heard Triad but with the amount of love they get here, they have to be a solid choice.

Usually frowned upon to mix speaker brands, timbre and specifically tweeter types. So the question is have you, or do any of you currently mix speakers. Mixing LCR vs surrounds is probably the least sinful choice. But can it be successfully done? There is no cheap or easy way to give it a try without wasting a lot of $ and labor.

Thanks
While I've had a 5.1 system with all corners matching, for the last 10 years or so I've been running different brands for my front 3 vs my rear surrounds with zero issue at all.

I have the Martin Logan ATM in my secondary room and it is excellent so if you settle on Martin Logan don't hesitate to save big by getting factory refurbished.

https://www.safeandsoundhq.com/produ...RoCEOsQAvD_BwE

Geoff A. J., California
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post #7 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:42 PM
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your speakers are not perfectly matched if you're not running the same speaker for all the LCR/surround/atmos channels. and most people don't do that.

peralatan saya
marten, rogue audio (hifi) bowers and wilkins, belles, onkyo, jl audio, sony, auralex, furutech (ht)
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post #8 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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While I was not able to A/B compare them as they are at different stores. I leaned toward the airy imaging and smooth sound of the ML AMT tweeter. In scenes where multiple people are talking and yelling, with gunfire and explosions...the ML AMT tweeter seemed to keep everything imaged where it was supposed to be and clear. The horns and hard tweeters tended to muddle things to my ear. But that’s subjective to my ear and the equipment used at each place...

Of course if price didn’t mean a thing, I would get the newest ML inwall monsters = Statement 40XW at $20,000 each! And be done.
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post #9 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighModulus View Post
Usually frowned upon to mix speaker brands, timbre and specifically tweeter types. So the question is have you, or do any of you currently mix speakers. Mixing LCR vs surrounds is probably the least sinful choice. But can it be successfully done? There is no cheap or easy way to give it a try without wasting a lot of $ and labor.
3 identical speakers in vertical alignment for the front stage are the ONLY way to get a true "timbre match"---and they're worth the trouble mainly if: 1) You listen to a lot of music in upmixed fake surround mode or "all channel stereo" mode, 2) You do a lot of multi-channel gaming, or 3) you are an extremely picky/fastidious user who LISTENS to movies instead of WATCHING them like most people.

1. I've had a "matching" LCR of 3 identical front speakers, with the L/R vertical and the C horizontal.
2. I've had a "quasi-matching" LCR of 2 bookshelves and 1 horizontal center from the same brand and model family.
3. I've had a "mismatched" set of a horizontal center from a completely different brand and different tweeter type than the L/R speakers.
4. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position standing up, aligned with the L/R.
5. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position on its side.

And the only two conclusions I can derive from my experience with any degree of certainty are:
I. #4 usually sounds a bit better than #5 . And even then, #5 doesn't apply if all 3 speakers are of a concentric design.
II. The perceptible SQ difference between #1 , 2, and 3 are negligible as long as the horizontal center speaker is a good one.

There are however 3 rough "working" rules that I have inferred from my experience:

a. A crappy center speaker (mainly one lacking in adequate voice clarity) is a crappy center speaker which will severely hamper your HT enjoyment, whether it "matches" the other speakers or not. Do not suffer with a crappy center speaker merely for the sake of some ivory-tower ideal.

b. A very good bookshelf speaker used in the center position that is identical to the L/R bookshelf speakers, will sound very good...BUT at moderately loud or louder volumes, it will still not sound quite as "big" (involving, dramatic, vivid, immersive, etc.) as a very good horizontal center speaker that has double or more the surface area in woofers, esp. a 3-way design that minimizes lobing such as the Emotiva centers. The exceptions might be with very high-sensitivity single woofer designs like the PSA MT-110 which are already extremely dynamic and clear by themselves.

c. If #3 best fits your budget and WAF requirements, by all means do it. Don't overthink this silly hobby, it's not worth it...just get the best you can with what budget you have, then sit back and (gasp!) ENJOY what you have. Don't become a chronic, obsessive gearhead...that will only suck the life and joy out of everything.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #10 of 12 Old 05-23-2020, 11:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Mr. Zorba

Thank you for your input and experimentation (#1-5) to share this experience. Fear not. I have, and will upgrade with three identical speakers in vertical alignment.
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post #11 of 12 Old 05-24-2020, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighModulus View Post
I am circling the issue of upgrading my LCR speakers behind my AT screen. I am limited to about 7-8 inches in depth, without major renovations of the front theater wall.

I Currently have Klipsch THX-504L speakers behind the screen, with Klipsch for the atmos and surround; in a 7.3.4 system.

I want some more mid bass punch from the LCR’s, and Klipsch doesn’t have anything in wall that’s bigger (RF-7III’s would be great...)

I have narrowed my web search to...Martin Logan Edge in walls (AMT tweeter), Paradigm SI Elite E7 (aluminum dome tweeter) and Triad Gold Inwall/6 (soft dome tweeter) basically $2-3k per speaker. Ive heard the Martin Logan’s at a Magnolia demo room and the paradigms at a local salon. Never heard Triad but with the amount of love they get here, they have to be a solid choice.

Usually frowned upon to mix speaker brands, timbre and specifically tweeter types. So the question is have you, or do any of you currently mix speakers. Mixing LCR vs surrounds is probably the least sinful choice. But can it be successfully done? There is no cheap or easy way to give it a try without wasting a lot of $ and labor.

Thanks
Your current Klipsch speakers are unenclosed in-walls. If they're installed in a 1/2" gypsum board wall, with no enclosure, your issue with mid-bass is likely the installation of the speakers and not the speakers themselves.

Have you ever heard the expression "paper thin walls"? This describes a wall that is so inefficient at stopping sound transmission that you can hear conversations in the next room almost as loud as if they were occurring in your room. These types of walls are 2x4" studs with 1/2" drywall on each side and no insulation in between. This describes the vast majority of wall structures used in US homes. When you install an unenclosed in-wall speaker into such a wall, you effectively only get the half the sound isolation of the whole wall because you only one layer of drywall as the separation.

The purpose of the wall is to act as a "baffle" that separates the front soundwaves from the rear soundwaves. This is necessary because the front wavelengths are opposite phase of the rear soundwaves and the two will cancel each other if their allowed to interact with each other. This is most problematic with longer wavelengths, such as the bass frequencies. The sound-porous nature of drywall does not make a good baffle. Have you ever seen a speaker box made out of drywall? Of course, it's not a durable material and wouldn't work for practical reasons, but it wouldn't work for acoustical purposes either.

If you plan to replace your front LCR speakers and you want to use in-walls, I suggest you look for in-walls with integral enclosures. This eliminates the wall as the speaker baffle and uses the enclosure to isolate the front wave from the back wave. There are many companies who make in-walls with integral enclosures that will work much better to reproduce the bass frequencies.

Good luck.

Craig

Lombardi said it:
"Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
My System (Edited Feb. 2020 to add 4K and Atmos updates)
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post #12 of 12 Old 05-25-2020, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Craig

I afraid I didn't give you all the info. All of these speakers are in custom built 1 cuft MDF backboxes. Glued, sealed and gasketed during construction. I would never do something so aghast as to place an unenclosed in-wall without a back box. The humanity of it!
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