AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm in the process of evaluating speakers for a new HT setup and have started to look at the deals for used speakers on Audiogon. It appears that one can get great deal on used speakers, often for less then half of there new sale price. I'm tempted, but I'm also trying to understand how important it is for all the speakers in a 5.1 system to be of the same brand. Does it matter? Is this concept of "Timber Matching" a bunch of bull and just a sales pitch by the speaker companies?


Thanks


Bartstar the confused
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
238 Posts
The center, surround and the mains have to be from the same model for proper, seamless integeration in a HT enviroment. Suppose the main and the center are different brands of speakers with drivers of different materials, the transition of dialog from center to main would be quite evident.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,301 Posts
Bartstar-


But understanding the concept of timbre more closely is what I call your attention to.


Here is a link to a great site that provides alot more information than you asked about. It does provide a definition and description of timbre and how the human ear perceives all the components.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...timbre.html#c1


Obviously if all speakers are the same then it follows that they should have matching timbre. But, as is described in the link, it may take more of a difference for the human ear to perceive a change in timbre, then some will give credit to.


Of course the problem is how does one go about measuring or evaluating whether or not different speakers will be perceived "close enough", without being a real distraction. Probably, the only way to test compatability is to try them out. To be totally fair, the test would need to be compared with an identical (or a known timbre matched) set.


Or not, if you are happy with the way they sound.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,189 Posts
I'll probably get flammed for this again but I would even go so far as having all five speakers identical for the most seemless sound. If you start to get into multi channel music this will be a best case scenario. Audiogon is great - I would try to find speakers at the very least have an available matching centre channel. For example, you may see some Spica TC-50's (great 2 ch "budget" speakers made long before HT became mainstream) for a great price but unless you find another two pair you are SOL if you want Timbre matching.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
20,735 Posts
Depending on your music/HT breakup, it depends. If it's all movies, i would much more strongly advocate matched (or identical) fronts. However, since i am MUCH pickier with 2-channel, i myself may have to live with an un-matched center and surrounds for better 2-channel, which is what i do more, and care about more anyway. So the not-so helpful answer is that it can be extremely important, or quite unimportant. It depends on your priorities.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,278 Posts
Far from being a sales pitch, speaker companies don't do nearly enough in this regard and often play down the importance of this and like selling a "specialized" center and "specialized" rears. I just upgraded my speaker system and every speaker is identical. All 7 of them and the sound is glorious. I can't tell where one speaker stops and the other begins. I *almost* had that on my prior system, but not quite. It's a subtle, but important thing. I noticed a lot of the measurements of speakers I looked at clearly showed that the center and rears couldn't possibly sound like the front speakers. So, I went with 7 identical speakers. Very happy. Not every brand can do this because of shielding or design so you have to look harder. I think that's why most companies talk about "timbre-matching" rather than actual identical sound. "timbre-matching" that doesn't involve identical drivers in an identical design is largely bull.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,518 Posts
It really depends on your priorities. My primary focus is two channel music, so my main speakers are much better then my center and surrounds.


It does not bother me at all when we are watching a movie or TV. It is not that often that dialog goes from the center to another speaker. When it does, it is noticeable but it does not distract me.


Will it bother you? That is what you have to decide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
728 Posts
(Resist temptation to mention "International Speak Like A Pirate Day")


Matching your timbers... Aaaarrrhhhh...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Timbre matching *is* important, but it's also important to keep the following in mind (maybe some of this is even covered in that link I didn't look at yet! :) ):


1) The goal for any speaker is to reproduce the input signal without any added coloration. If you choose a good quality speaker from manufacturer A, it will not and should not sound that different from a good quality speaker from manufacturer B.


2) If you think about matching between L, C, & R, even if you used the identical speakers for all three, which most people don't, the center is still going to sound different because it is placed above or below the TV, which affects the sound that you hear. The big flat hard surface of the screen itself causes unwanted reflections. (Projectors with screens obviously are a little bit different.) And think about this: a lot of speaker manufacturers offer a center speaker with the same tweeters and mids/woofers that the mains offer, but in the common woofer-tweeter-woofer setup. BAD!! Because the woofers most times handle the same frequencies, you get interference effects as you go off horizontal axis due to constructive and destructive interference (i.e., comb filtering or lobing). Timbre matched? Yeah, sure...


3) If you think about the fronts vs the backs. Sorry, but your ears themselves affect how the speakers sound. Again, you can use identical speakers, and what actually gets to your brain will be different just because of how you ears are shaped in conjunction with your head.


4) The room. Simply because each speaker is in a different location within the room affects how each of them sound. Walls, corners, windows, drapes, sofas, ottomans, bookcases, etc. I think it would be rare that each speaker would be able to "see" the same acoustic environment and hence sound the same at the listening position.


5) Height. The consensus recommendation for height is ear level for the 3 front speakers, but 2 - 3 ft above ear level for the surrounds & rears. So, I similarly guarentee that the surrounds & rears simply *cannot* sound identical because of that height difference.


For me? I tend to want to have all 3 up front be timbre matched, and however many you have in the back also be timbre matched (2, 3, or 4).


My conclusion is this: Experiment! If you have speakers you like, and you find others from another manufacturer that you like too, mix and match and see what sound good to you in your room.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
I doubt anyone will disagree that timbre matching makes some difference, usually THE difference.


Then there are some who will argue that the only way to get it right is to have 5 (6 or 7) identical speakers. Those involved in this argument will include speaker manufacturers; some of the best respected in the business argue that the center channel has different requirements.


Everyone would tell you to match right and left speakers (Front, surrounds, and rears).


The truth is, whatever you think sounds the best for the money you can afford to pay is the right combination for you. If you can afford matching speakers, test out a set in your home and compare that to using a center channel made by the same manufacturer. If either of these is above your head, mix and match (like most of us do) until you get the combination you like.


The number one rule of home theater is:

You can always upgrade later...and you will.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
I have to remember this one:

Quote:
You can always upgrade later...and you will.
:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
136 Posts
I'm not trying to be a colossal twit by mentioning this, but as the son of an English teacher, I feel I must:


The first post in this thread mentions *timber* (meaning wood) instead of *timbre* (meaning the character of a sound apart from its pitch and volume). The next post mentions getting *flammed* (which, if it were actually a word, could mean getting beaten to death with drumsticks) instead of *flamed*. I'm not certain why wooden drumsticks should be creeping (or is that *sliding*?) into the conversation, but there they are.


With all of the other good information in this thread, some attention should be given to the correct spelling of timbre, since some people might be judged on their use of and familiarity with a musical term. I'm not one of those judgmental people, and I realize this is the internet, where it's gauche to mention spelling errors. Still, I felt it was my duty to give you a heads up.


PS: Here's the difference between the words' pronunciations:


timber: Tim-burr

timbre: Tam-burr
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,301 Posts
Good point...if you get all the veneers to match while your at it, then I suppose they would be "timber matched" as well.

Oh! h*ll, all this time I thought he was asking about sound
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
Funny one: I actually saw the correct pronunciation of "timbre" somewhere recently too, and I've been pronouncing it wrong all along! 'Course, don't use it every day at work either... ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
383 Posts
The concept of timbre matching is not bull at all. For example, in a two-channel setup, you would not even think about going wtih mismatched speakers, right?


Ideally, you would want identical speakers all around, but most rooms are far from ideal, which is why certain speakers are configured in particular ways. For example, the horizontal center speaker alignment is designed more to accommodate a typical TV location than because of any technical advantage to using a horizontal D'Appolito driver alignment. Because of this alignment, the horizontal center speaker will usually not be a perfect match with the mains, even if it uses an identical driver/crossover arrangement. It can be close, but it won't be perfect.


IMO, the key match is between the front three speakers, and the need to go with matching surrounds depends greatly on the types of soundtracks that you want to playback. With the front three, any significant mismatch in the center speaker will standout in a negative way, even if the center speaker subjectively sounds better than the mains. It disrupts the front soundfield and calls atttention to itself, which is not what you want.


With surrounds, the match is not as vital simply because most of the sounds that go into the surrounds in movie soundtracks are ambient sounds or directional cues. You'll rarely have sounds that are equally steered into the front and surround channels. Any mismatches are not as obvious with most movie soundtracks. It will still sound better with matching surrounds, but it's not a dealbreaker.


However, with multichannel music discs and a lot of concert DVDs, the advantage of timbre matched surrounds is very apparent. With a lot of these types of soundtracks, the lead instruments and vocals are aggressively steered into the surrounds, with the front and surround channels often sharing identical sounds. In these instances, any mismatches (and problems with speaker alignment and level matching) are glaring. Having a timbre matched set of surrounds and positioning them correctly can sound amazing.


I had been using an old pair of Bose 301s as surrounds for a Paradigm Studio 40/CC setup until I could afford the matching Studio 20s for surround duty. The difference by upgrading to the Studio 20s in the surround channels has been amazing. With multichannel music discs, the surround effect has improved dramatically. I now fully hear the advantage of 5.1 mixing for music. The front soundstage is wider than just about any two-channel setup I've ever heard; and aside from directional cues to the back, the main difference that timbre matched surrounds make is with the side imaging, which is now very obvious and stable. On the whole, a timbre matched setup gives you an overall image stability and envelopment that is noticeably diminished if you go with speakers that have dramatically different tonal characteristics.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,710 Posts
Timbre matching is very important. Indeed, it would be difficult if not impossible, to create a front soundstage without timbre matching. Timbre matched speakers are not the end to the solution however. Speaker timbre is affected by boundaries, speaker height (particularily in monopolar designs) and speaker axis relative to the listener. Thus, the matched timbre may be lost without care in the installation process (care I rarely see, btw).


Timbre matching is a 'goal' and extremely helpful to good playback for the surround speakers as well. Some of this goes to the mechanisms we use to determine sound sources from the side and behind us. SRS and other '3D from two speaker' processes utilize these mechanisms. On the other hand, this is extremely difficult to achieve with the real world constraints imposed by most rooms.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
410 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Kendrid
It really depends on your priorities. My primary focus is two channel music, so my main speakers are much better then my center and surrounds.
I too have mains that are designed to stand on thier own for 2 channel music. What helps for timbre and level matching is to use seperate amps for the mains and install an EQ in line so that some tweaking can be done to make mains sound more like the center and surrounds. Assuming the center and surrounds are similar.


Then for 2 channel playback, you can ditch all that and do what sounds best for your mains.


I was not willing to give up my mains for several reasons.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,278 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Scrypt
I'm not trying to be a colossal twit by mentioning this, but as the son of an English teacher, I feel I must:


The first post in this thread mentions *timber* (meaning wood) instead of *timbre* (meaning the character of a sound apart from its pitch and volume). The next post mentions getting *flammed* (which, if it were actually a word, could mean getting beaten to death with drumsticks) instead of *flamed*. I'm not certain why wooden drumsticks should be creeping (or is that *sliding*?) into the conversation, but there they are.:


timber: Tim-burr

timbre: Tam-burr
I take offense at this. My speakers contain a lot of timber, a few drivers are made of timber and I have gone to great lengths to make sure they are "timber-matched". :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,439 Posts
I'd be curious if I went to a bunch of audio/ht shops, and actually pronounced it, "tam-bor", if they'd know what I was talking about. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
How about Tim Burr, Raymond Burr's brother.
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top