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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 5.1 Sonus Faber Venere setup right now, and I was thinking I could add my old JBL bookshelf speakers to the mix to make it a 7.1 system. Continuing with that line of thinking, I'm now thinking about swapping out my SF 1.5s in the back for a set of Energy speakers to improve my 2.1 setup, but then I would have 2 different kinds of speakers in the rear. Would I notice the mismatch of speakers in the back?
 

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I've never had matching surrounds and I've never noticed - my first HT had dipole / bipole surrounds and they sounded nothing like the front 3 and I liked the way the system sounded.

Now that there are discrete surround channels and 7.1 with 4 surround speakers, I really prefer direct radiators and I think there is something to be said for 4 timbre matched speakers in the back - though there isn't any requirement for it. I have a few 7.1 movies and I haven't been able to find any specific examples where a sound pans from the surround speakers to the back surrounds - but I'll bet there are some.
 

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"Matching" surrounds is a marketing concept, not a real one. The only benefit is aesthetic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys. I'm going to go ahead with the 7.1 setup then. I might even assemble a Frankenstein monster Atmos setup some day.
 

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The idea with timbre matching surrounds is that if a sound element is panned from front to surround, it shouldn't change character. If it does, it could call attention to the fact that there's something artificial going on, and take someone out of the movie. It's a fine point, and obviously from the thread, many don't think it's important. However, if you have experienced timbre matched speakers all around, you know it is an advantage to provide a seamless soundfield. It's a cost/benefit thing.
 

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If all you are concerned with is HT, it's not so critical. If you also listen to SACD, DVD-Audio, or DTS 5.1 music videos, it's much more noticeable. I have several 5.1 speaker systems. I'll trade in/out front speakers but keep the same sides for 5.1 and side/backs for 7.1. I don't feel a lack of cohesiveness doing this than switching the surrounds too. However I do use my best side/back speakers.
 

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The idea with timbre matching surrounds is that if a sound element is panned from front to surround, it shouldn't change character. If it does, it could call attention to the fact that there's something artificial going on, and take someone out of the movie. It's a fine point, and obviously from the thread, many don't think it's important. However, if you have experienced timbre matched speakers all around, you know it is an advantage to provide a seamless soundfield. It's a cost/benefit thing.

I depart from this. I view surround itself as being fairly unimportant. But worrying about timbre matching them is even less important. I have matching surrounds and I hear no advantage in it at all.
 

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I depart from this. I view surround itself as being fairly unimportant. But worrying about timbre matching them is even less important. I have matching surrounds and I hear no advantage in it at all.
I will agree there are issues to solve that have far more positive impact on the overall performance of a typical HT. Timbre-matching surrounds is pretty far down the list. I would suggest, though, that speakers are often a longer-term investment than a display device, or even an AVR, so paying slightly more to get the details right could result in longer satisfaction, and thus a better investment.

If you have matching surrounds and hear no advantage, that's fine. But if you get a chance to hear some really badly matched surrounds, or much worse, a mismatched center, you might appreciate what you have a little more. Also, listening to 5.1 music is more demanding of the surrounds for the "in-the-band" perspective mixes.
 

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I will agree there are issues to solve that have far more positive impact on the overall performance of a typical HT. Timbre-matching surrounds is pretty far down the list. I would suggest, though, that speakers are often a longer-term investment than a display device, or even an AVR, so paying slightly more to get the details right could result in longer satisfaction, and thus a better investment.

If you have matching surrounds and hear no advantage, that's fine. But if you get a chance to hear some really badly matched surrounds, or much worse, a mismatched center, you might appreciate what you have a little more. Also, listening to 5.1 music is more demanding of the surrounds for the "in-the-band" perspective mixes.

Movies have so little surround content that, whenever I hear some, it actually distracts me from the movie. It has to be less than 1% of overall sound track content. Prior to the matched surrounds I have now, I used a pair of inexpensive studio monitors for the job. They worked just as well.


Later on I moved the studio monitors to my computer to handle audio there. The sound was bad enough that I discarded the monitors and replaced them with some great sounding bookshelf speakers. If I didn't have the new surrounds I would have been content to put them back in the HT surround role.


Basically I think you can get 95% of the sound track experience with a good pair of main speakers and a subwoofer. That is exactly what I use in my bedroom system and really don't miss the rest of the stuff when I watch movies in bed. My only complaint about the bedroom system is the small 37" TV.


I certainly agree with putting the majority of the money and effort into speakers. But I think sound quality trumps speaker quantity and I view surrounds as an afterthought. Just my priorities, I guess.
 

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@hydro123456
A quality 2.1 is all I need to fully enjoy movies.

I completely agree with FMW about the surround speakers being a distraction.
I tried to love surround again and again but I keep going back to stereo because I get 95% of the sound with less clutter and cabling.

A huge minus about surround is a very small sweet spot right between all the speakers, and you can't lie on the couch either, lying horizontally completely destroys the surround experience.
 

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If all you are concerned with is HT, it's not so critical. If you also listen to SACD, DVD-Audio, or DTS 5.1 music videos, it's much more noticeable.***
I don't really care about movie sound, and am only interested in multichannel for the benefit it provides to home reproduction of recorded music. And my experience (not just "opinion," as I've actually experimented with identical surround side/rear speakers compared to different speakers) is that as long as the side/rear speakers are minimally competent, they'll be fine for listening to SACD/DVD-A/Blu-Ray Audio/2-ch music expanded via DPL2/AnthemLogic/Logic7/etc.
 

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There's always a fascinating range of opinions and preferences. I have no doubt that someone out there prefers a mono mix. Probably with an Academy filter on it. Perhaps we could digitally simulate the nonlinearity of a variable density optical track and take that the rest of the way.

The industry professionals and soundtrack creators would disagree, and probably not be real happy about their meticulously crafted 5.1 track being reproduced in anything less. So the solution there is, don't invite them over.

Those with strong opinions, once fully polarized, will take no notice of any technical reasoning as to why other channels or speaker types might offer an experience closer to the creative environment. Nothing can be gain, for example, in pointing out that the vast majority of content in any soundtrack is contained in the center channel, for which 2.1 doesn't even have a speaker. No matter, though, if the 2.1 owner is happy (not being sarcastic this time).

Define your goals, do what it takes to get as close as you can to them with whatever speaker number and types it takes. Building up a system that lets you hear it all in the way it was created will be a very different goal from building a system with the fewest speakers possible and hearing a remix of every track. Nothing wrong with either, if that's the end goal.

You are all "right" in your own world, perhaps not so much in someone elses.
 

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Man I have to go against the crowd on this one. Timber matching has been very important to me in home theater.
Once you're used to hearing it that way, you will go to a friend's house and they will have a mishmash and it will
jump out at you big time. You'll be smiling and nodding "wow that sounds great", but inside you want to run.

I'm not exaggerating one bit, it's that important. At the very least do not mix tweeter types. Ribbon mains, get ribbon
surrounds, silk dome mains, no way on aluminum center and surrounds
 

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Man I have to go against the crowd on this one. Timber matching has been very important to me in home theater.
Once you're used to hearing it that way, you will go to a friend's house and they will have a mishmash and it will
jump out at you big time. You'll be smiling and nodding "wow that sounds great", but inside you want to run.

I'm not exaggerating one bit, it's that important. At the very least do not mix tweeter types. Ribbon mains, get ribbon
surrounds, silk dome mains, no way on aluminum center and surrounds
 

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Anyone care to define timbre please?

I have two sets of stereo speakers with 6.5" woofers, one has Ribbon tweeter the other Silk Dome, they sound very close one to the other, different, but close.
Frequency-wise the speakers are almost the same, one set are studio monitors, the other are hi-fi speakers.

What if the woofers were of different size?
What if the tweeters sounded completely different?
What if the speakers were the same but the volume of the enclosure was radically different?
What is the biggest factor in what's called "timbre"?

In my opinion the BIGGEST factor are the tweeters.
A great way to reflect the timbre or overall sound quality of a speaker is Pink Noise, it will paint a very clear picture of the speakers in comparison to others.

Cheers.
 

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There's always a fascinating range of opinions and preferences. I have no doubt that someone out there prefers a mono mix. Probably with an Academy filter on it. Perhaps we could digitally simulate the nonlinearity of a variable density optical track and take that the rest of the way.

The industry professionals and soundtrack creators would disagree, and probably not be real happy about their meticulously crafted 5.1 track being reproduced in anything less. So the solution there is, don't invite them over.

Those with strong opinions, once fully polarized, will take no notice of any technical reasoning as to why other channels or speaker types might offer an experience closer to the creative environment. Nothing can be gain, for example, in pointing out that the vast majority of content in any soundtrack is contained in the center channel, for which 2.1 doesn't even have a speaker. No matter, though, if the 2.1 owner is happy (not being sarcastic this time).

Define your goals, do what it takes to get as close as you can to them with whatever speaker number and types it takes. Building up a system that lets you hear it all in the way it was created will be a very different goal from building a system with the fewest speakers possible and hearing a remix of every track. Nothing wrong with either, if that's the end goal.

You are all "right" in your own world, perhaps not so much in someone elses.

I think you are overstating things. You act as though somebody thinks timbre matching is bad. Nobody said that. I, for one, just said it is unimportant and for me it is unimportant regardless of what technical reasoning might indicate.


I don't doubt that, if I made a bias controlled comparison, I would likely prefer the timbre matched pairs. But the amount of HT watching and listening time in which I would notice a difference is trivial. It isn't a matter of right or wrong. It is a matter of degree and surround speakers are pretty far down the priority list for me.


Is it better to have timbre matched surrounds? I would say it is. Is it important to have timbre matched surrounds? I would say it is not.
 

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I think you are overstating things.
Sorry if it came off that way. Perhaps we both overstated...
You act as though somebody thinks timbre matching is bad. Nobody said that. I, for one, just said it is unimportant and for me it is unimportant regardless of what technical reasoning might indicate.
That's actually what I said. If it's unimportant for someone, that's perfectly ok for them, others may not have the same opinion, including the content creators.

What you said in #11 and #12 , at least when I read it, sounded like making surrounds so unimportant that you could use any speakers at all and it just makes no difference. I'm pointing out that there are others that value not only what those speakers are, but that they match the character of the others. What I was trying to do was validate your opinion while showing there is a basis for another opinion as well. Again, sorry if it came off otherwise. Clearly, you harmonize with the majority.
 
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