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There are many surround speakers out there now, but the ones below would have to get my highest reco

  • Mirage OMD5 (or any other Mirage Omnipole)

    Votes: 45 15.7%
  • JBL P520WS / Infinity ES-250 / Infinity Classia C255ES (Dual-monopole for 4 channels from 2 speake

    Votes: 44 15.3%
  • Axiom QS8 or QS4 (Unique Quadpole design)

    Votes: 59 20.6%
  • Paradigm ADP (Many models available with this design, where the tweeters run Dipole, but the woof

    Votes: 70 24.4%
  • Monitor Audio BXFX or RXFX (Single woofer, but the tweeters can switch to either Dipole or Bipole)

    Votes: 32 11.1%
  • Monitor Audio GXFX (6 drivers, including a ribbon. (Monopole / Dipole switchable)

    Votes: 26 9.1%
  • KEF 26/2DS (Dipole only, alas... but with two 6.5 inch side woofers and a front-firing 8 inch!!! )

    Votes: 26 9.1%
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Technology. What are you talking about the speakers are passive. They have not volume knob. You have been all over this forum for weeks and appear to have learned very little. Your second guessing yourself and others. And on top of that have implied that others are misleading you on what you should buy. As I mentioned in another of your many threads. You do the research. You make the purchase and you live with that desicion. It's not up to forum members to make sure your happy with your purchase.
Rich
 

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Technology. What are you talking about the speakers are passive. They have not volume knob. You have been all over this forum for weeks and appear to have learned very little. Your second guessing yourself and others. And on top of that have implied that others are misleading you on what you should buy. As I mentioned in another of your many threads. You do the research. You make the purchase and you live with that desicion. It's not up to forum members to make sure your happy with your purchase.
Rich
Where would you suggest I research? There are so many advertisements dressed up as reviews online, how can anyone know what information is reliable and what is not if they are not a speaker engineer themself, let alone someone brand new to audio? That's what experienced forum members should be able to help with, but my subjective experience, I'm not claiming it is fact just my subjective experience, is that there may be more than a fair amount of the same problem on this very forum. And I've given clear examples why I have that opinion already a number of times, so let's not rehash it.

I am trying to research. On the forum, and elsewhere. It's just a lot more complicated than you are making it out.

I can't even find some basic information like, for my room size, are towers a good idea for front L and R speakers, or something else? In my thread I don't remember being told there was an alternative. People said bookshelves were for the back speakers, not the front. And no one mentioned "high efficiency" speakers either.
 

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Can you and others please help me understand more about high efficiency speakers vs the Infinities? Andrew Robinson in the comments of his Infinity Reference Series review, responding to someone asking whether they should get the Infinity's or the "Tekton design speakers," which he also references as "lores," wrote this:



And also he said:



Easy fluid sound, that also more "comes alive," sounds like the best of both worlds. So does sound that feels more in the room with you, and less like there are electronics in front of you. Who would want the second over the first? And shouldn't surround sound sound "alive" not just like a static studio recording? "Alive" sound can still be "accurate."

I didn't realize how big the Infinity's were when I bought them. Do I really need that much power in my 9x9x8.5 viewing area? Yes on one side it's totally open to a 26x13x9.5 room, but the speakers will be pointing at me only 8-10 feet away, not to the side. Are there smaller "high efficiency" speakers that will still get my room as loud as I want it and more, and not get overpowered by a sub, but sound better than the Infinity's? Im worried I will only be able to turn the Infinity's up to 10% of their total volume, and that they wont sound good that way. Or is it possible to turn them up as much as necessary to get the best sound out of them, but still control the volume in my room however I want just by keeping the audio output from the receiver down, but the Infinity's volume dial up?

Or does it not matter how far you turn the Infinity volume dial up, they will not sound their best unless they are outputing high volume no matter which way you do it? When I asked for the best surround sound speaker recs in my price range, no one even mentioned high efficiency options, or any other options besides "you need a center, two towers, and back speakers." No one told me there were other options, no one really discussed size even when I asked, etc. That is what is frustrating. Leaving out key information, often providing false or misleading information in terms of the information that was given, pressuring to buy, false deadlines, potentially steering to certain products over others, etc.

I really would appreciate more help to figure this out and get it done in the next few days. I might actually just have to send everything back ASAP during the return window if I cant find reliable info before then to feel I made the right purchase, or get something else.
In Andrew's flowery way, he is just saying that less efficient speakers require more amp power for equal volume levels compared to a speaker that may be more "efficient" in its sensitivity ratings and use less amp power to get to a certain target volume level. I'm powering the horn loaded 530's with a 75 watts per channel Denon surround receiver (75 watts during a blue moon... receiver amp ratings are marketing B.S. and tend to be only a fraction of that with many speakers drawing power off the same load) and if I go past 60 on the dial they can start getting uncomfortably loud for my tastes.

JBL 530's are less efficient than say the 590's I have also powered, but they still get plenty loud with a modest receiver.

You were going to get a subwoofer anyway and think the Infinity towers are maybe too big, sooo...
 

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You were going to get a subwoofer anyway and think the Infinity towers are maybe too big, sooo...
Can you please tell me if they are or not? I dont mean they look too big, although they do take up a lot of space, but I am fine with that if Im getting better sound quality. My question is how loud do I have to turn them up to get them to sound good? Comments are saying at low volumes they sound clear but pretty basic, but then when you turn them up they start to really shine and produce the sound quality they are capable of. So how loud is that, and is it going to be too loud when combined with a center channel and a sub? I get that the sub needs to be powerful because bass is liek water and is going to fill the entire space, including the big room that is connected to the TV room, but the other speakers may not be as affected by the big room to the side, so am I better off with little small speakers that I can turn up near max volume?
 

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Can you please tell me if they are or not? I dont mean they look too big, although they do take up a lot of space, but I am fine with that if Im getting better sound quality. My question is how loud do I have to turn them up to get them to sound good? Comments are saying at low volumes they sound clear but pretty basic, but then when you turn them up they start to really shine and produce the sound quality they are capable of. So how loud is that, and is it going to be too loud when combined with a center channel and a sub? I get that the sub needs to be powerful because bass is liek water and is going to fill the entire space, including the big room that is connected to the TV room, but the other speakers may not be as affected by the big room to the side, so am I better off with little small speakers that I can turn up near max volume?
As I mentioned in the Infinity thread, the JBL Series 5 have more in common with the speakers you would find in a commercial theater due to their use of authentic, commercial-grade compression tweeters. To expand: they spread sound out in a BIIIIIIIIIIG, DYNAMIC way and are a little bit brash in the very top of the frequency range (but not harsh and ugly like some Klipsch that use titanium domes rather than compression drivers), but exciting and punchy, not completely neutral and laid back. If that sounds intriguing for movie watching, go with those. If not, stick with what you purchased.
 

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As I mentioned in the Infinity thread, the JBL Series 5 have more in common with the speakers you would find in a commercial theater due to their use of authentic, commercial-grade compression tweeters. To expand: they spread sound out in a BIIIIIIIIIIG, DYNAMIC way and are a little bit brash in the very top of the frequency range (but not harsh and ugly like some Klipsch that use titanium domes rather than compression drivers), but exciting and punchy, not completely neutral and laid back. If that sounds intriguing for movie watching, go with those. If not, stick with what you purchased.
Thanks for explaining. Unless I heard both I cant say. IF thye're brash at the top of the frequency, would that be tiring to listen to? Would it maybe sound good with cool sci fi movie effects, like Star Wars, but bad for vocal clarity?

Can you just tell me how high the volume has to be dialed up on the Infinity's to get in their sweet zone, and if that will be too loud for my space? My space is 9x9x8.5, except on one side it opens up to 13x26x9.5 perpendicular room. Floor is porcelain tile.
 

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Thanks for explaining. Unless I heard both I cant say. IF thye're brash at the top of the frequency, would that be tiring to listen to? Would it maybe sound good with cool sci fi movie effects, like Star Wars, but bad for vocal clarity?

Can you just tell me how high the volume has to be dialed up on the Infinity's to get in their sweet zone, and if that will be too loud for my space? My space is 9x9x8.5, except on one side it opens up to 13x26x9.5 perpendicular room. Floor is porcelain tile.
If you find the Infinity front speakers to sound boring to you, the Studios may be more to your liking. They are not harsh or fatiguing. Their frequency plot point actually shows a rapid fall off above 20 kHz, so they are not "hot" sounding speakers, they just emphasize the top end a bit more to fill the room. For an action movie or something with some "kick" to the soundtrack, they sound ballsy and muscular where they need to be. Both the 530's and Infinity towers take about the same amount of amp "juice" to play at the same volume level.

My folks were listening to some Christmas choral music and my dad said it sounded like the choir was right in the room with them. As I mentioned, they throw a BIG, WIDE soundstage. We then watched True Lies via Amazon (since it's not yet out on 4k disc... damn it!) and it left everyone with a large grin on their faces. No one said they couldn't understand the dialog or my ears were hurting or turn it down!
 

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If you find the Infinity front speakers to sound boring to you, the Studios may be more to your liking. They are not harsh or fatiguing. Their frequency plot point actually shows a rapid fall off above 20 kHz, so they are not "hot" sounding speakers, they just emphasize the top end a bit more to fill the room. For an action movie or something with some "kick" to the soundtrack, they sound ballsy and muscular where they need to be. Both the 530's and Infinity towers take about the same amount of amp "juice" to play at the same volume level.

My folks were listening to some Christmas choral music and my dad said it sounded like the choir was right in the room with them. As I mentioned, they throw a BIG, WIDE soundstage. We then watched True Lies via Amazon (since it's not yet out on 4k disc... damn it!) and it left everyone with a large grin on their faces. No one said they couldn't understand the dialog or my ears were hurting or turn it down!
They both take the same amount of juice to run, but how loud do they sound when they run? Are they too loud for my space at their sweetspot volume outputs? Or just right? My space has a low ceiling and is kind of small where the TV is, but one entire side opens up to a huge room. So... expert help needed to tell me whether that means I have a big room where it wont be too loud, or a small room where it will be. Where I at, it is fairly small, but it opens up to a very big room. But both have pretty low ceilings.
 

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They both take the same amount of juice to run, but how loud do they sound when they run? Are they too loud for my space at their sweetspot volume outputs? Or just right? My space has a low ceiling and is kind of small where the TV is, but one entire side opens up to a huge room. So... expert help needed to tell me whether that means I have a big room where it wont be too loud, or a small room where it will be. Where I at, it is fairly small, but it opens up to a very big room. But both have pretty low ceilings.
See my last reply in the JBL Series 5 thread.
 

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For sure. Trying to do the entire home theater at once, in the span of a month, has been a lot more complicated and a lot more time consuming than I thought, and it's definitely tiring after awhile.
Did you figure out if you can accommodate a third Studio 580 in your space by raising the TV a bit? The speaker's specs are on JBL's website. As mentioned, keep the Infinity surrounds, at least.
 

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Can anyone tell me, the Infinity Reference series I bought, I assume these are "digital" speakers? Is there such thing as analog surround speakers for anywhere near the price range? Do they have any advantages? I dont like digital TV image compared to analog, so Im worried this might be the same. However thats mostly just the motion issue, and digital speakers dont have that problem. Ive had digital speakers before that I liked and they werent even that expensive. But I would just like to learn more about digital surround vs analog surround, and why most the recommendations I got if not all were digital. Is analog surround not a thing these days?
 

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Can anyone tell me, the Infinity Reference series I bought, I assume these are "digital" speakers? Is there such thing as analog surround speakers for anywhere near the price range? Do they have any advantages? I dont like digital TV image compared to analog, so Im worried this might be the same. However thats mostly just the motion issue, and digital speakers dont have that problem. Ive had digital speakers before that I liked and they werent even that expensive. But I would just like to learn more about digital surround vs analog surround, and why most the recommendations I got if not all were digital. Is analog surround not a thing these days?
Speakers are not digital nor analog, they're a type of window to the source (some better than others). The audio source can be digitally or analog captured. Almost all soundtracks and music are digitally captured and stored nowadays and with the right high resolution equipment and mastering can beat the pants off analog. Some speakers have amplifiers built-in, but those are often studio monitors.

Don't worry about that marketing stuff and overthink things. It's what sounds good to your ears.
 

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Speakers are not digital nor analog, they're a type of window to the source (some better than others). The audio source can be digitally or analog captured. Almost all soundtracks and music are digitally captured and stored nowadays and with the right high resolution equipment and mastering can beat the pants off analog. Some speakers have amplifiers built-in, but those are often studio monitors.

Don't worry about that marketing stuff and overthink things. It's what sounds good to your ears.
Thanks that makes sense. I wasn't sure if the speakers themselves could be digital or analog. That clears it up, ty.
 

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Hi, I am renovating my basement and looking to upgrade my home theater setup to 5.1.2. I am a bit confused on the surround sound and reading conflicting information for rears and would like some recommendations.
My current setup:
Receiver: Onkyo NR-737
Front L/R: Polk RTiA9
Center: Polk CSI A6
Sub: Polk HTS 12"
Ceiling: Polk MC60 (I may install 4 speakers to future proof and upgrade the receiver overtime)
Size of room: Length, just over 12'; Width is wider (21'); Height (just over 6'~). The wider area will not be part of the Home theater and is an exercise area.
Sofa distance to TV: thinking around 9-10'~ and between a 4k 65" and 77" OLED (not sure if I can stretch) if I go 65" then I'll have a bit more room behind.
Possible options from research, trying to stay under 250-300USD~:
Polk S10/S15
Polk OMW3
Elac Debut B5.2
Infinity R152 showed up a few times but I cannot find this in Canada
Paradigm SE Atom
Paradigm Surround 1
In-Wall - more options, I have a preference for this to help save space but shortcomings are the angle and sound quality (seems to not matter as much for surrounds?). Any thoughts here?


thank you!
 

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how can anyone know what information is reliable and what is not if they are not a speaker engineer themself
Well I am a loudspeaker engineer so on that basis let me say a few things:
  • Speaker specifications are pretty much useless nonsense. This is because first off, companies each have their own measurement setups and methodologies, which their marketing deparments may then transmute/exaggerate/lie to different degrees, therefore you cannot compare speakers across brands on the basis of specs AT ALL. Which makes non-expert consumers' task confusing and difficult 😕
  • Later you mention towers versus bookshelf speakers. There is some conventional wisdom that big speakers are "too big" for small rooms. That is NOT necessarily so. That "wisdom" comes about when a big speakers extended low frequency response excites resonances (peaks or boominess) in the room. A smaller speaker which doesn't output such low notes at all won't excite the resonance...but you might have no bass like a friend of mine turned out to be missing. Resonance (look it up) depends on the room and the speaker positions and the listening position, so it's like any stereotype: it might originate from grains of truth, but there are many exceptions. And in this case, if a big speaker is tuned for a slow rolloff, it could be fine even in a "boomy" room.
  • Since most setups don't have much latitude for listener and speaker placement, room correction software like Dirac or Audyssey may be the only thing that can help.
  • Rear speakers do NOT have to be bookshelf. That comes about just due to practicality; most folks can't or aesthetically won't put towers for the side or rear speakers, but there's no technical reason against it.
  • The "sweet spot" for listening volume you allude to is complex. Our hearing is very very sensitive to volume level, especially in the bass (search "Fletcher Munson") so more and more volume literally lets you hear more of the music. This effect can be exacerbated by the peaks and dips in response produced by the room. Mmmmm, offhand I'm not feeling one speaker would be better at this than another, that it would be more interaction with the room, but that is my musing not a technical statement.
  • Yes some speakers are more efficient (aka more sensitive) than others. Physics says they must then be bigger, or have less bass. Speaker design engineering constraints mean the most efficient speakers will have larger woofers-that's why rock concert PAs don't have small woofers. Unfortunately as I alluded to above, this specification is the most lied about bull*** in speakerdom. Klipsch exaggerates which is kinda dumb as they do produce more sensitive speakers, likewise Zu Audio.
  • Speakers are rated 8 ohms or 4 ohms, but this is a wild approximation of a very complex impedance which varies tremendously across different speakers. Amps are tested only with resistors due to time and money, so amp power ratings are only a crude approximation of how they can drive actual speakers. What counts is the 4 ohm (or better yet 2 ohm) rating, never mind the "ohms" of the speakers. And yes as someone mentioned every single AVR I've ever seen tested droops seriously in power as you drive more and more channels = the power supplies are not super strong. But without seeing test evidence, don't assume an outboard amp will be better. For more actual power than an AVR my rule of thumb is you need 300+ watts at 4 ohms at <1% distortion.
 

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Er, back to the thread: just wanted to post that with Focal 936 and CC900 up front, changing from monopole Focal to bipole SR900 really improved the cohesiveness of the sound. It made a better connection between front and rear. This is with the surrounds up some feet above the listeners, not much behind the listeners, in a cathedral ceiling setup. YMMV.
 

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Well I am a loudspeaker engineer so on that basis let me say a few things:
  • Speaker specifications are pretty much useless nonsense. This is because first off, companies each have their own measurement setups and methodologies, which their marketing deparments may then transmute/exaggerate/lie to different degrees, therefore you cannot compare speakers across brands on the basis of specs AT ALL. Which makes non-expert consumers' task confusing and difficult 😕
  • Later you mention towers versus bookshelf speakers. There is some conventional wisdom that big speakers are "too big" for small rooms. That is NOT necessarily so. That "wisdom" comes about when a big speakers extended low frequency response excites resonances (peaks or boominess) in the room. A smaller speaker which doesn't output such low notes at all won't excite the resonance...but you might have no bass like a friend of mine turned out to be missing. Resonance (look it up) depends on the room and the speaker positions and the listening position, so it's like any stereotype: it might originate from grains of truth, but there are many exceptions. And in this case, if a big speaker is tuned for a slow rolloff, it could be fine even in a "boomy" room.
  • Since most setups don't have much latitude for listener and speaker placement, room correction software like Dirac or Audyssey may be the only thing that can help.
  • Rear speakers do NOT have to be bookshelf. That comes about just due to practicality; most folks can't or aesthetically won't put towers for the side or rear speakers, but there's no technical reason against it.
  • The "sweet spot" for listening volume you allude to is complex. Our hearing is very very sensitive to volume level, especially in the bass (search "Fletcher Munson") so more and more volume literally lets you hear more of the music. This effect can be exacerbated by the peaks and dips in response produced by the room. Mmmmm, offhand I'm not feeling one speaker would be better at this than another, that it would be more interaction with the room, but that is my musing not a technical statement.
  • Yes some speakers are more efficient (aka more sensitive) than others. Physics says they must then be bigger, or have less bass. Speaker design engineering constraints mean the most efficient speakers will have larger woofers-that's why rock concert PAs don't have small woofers. Unfortunately as I alluded to above, this specification is the most lied about bull*** in speakerdom. Klipsch exaggerates which is kinda dumb as they do produce more sensitive speakers, likewise Zu Audio.
  • Speakers are rated 8 ohms or 4 ohms, but this is a wild approximation of a very complex impedance which varies tremendously across different speakers. Amps are tested only with resistors due to time and money, so amp power ratings are only a crude approximation of how they can drive actual speakers. What counts is the 4 ohm (or better yet 2 ohm) rating, never mind the "ohms" of the speakers. And yes as someone mentioned every single AVR I've ever seen tested droops seriously in power as you drive more and more channels = the power supplies are not super strong. But without seeing test evidence, don't assume an outboard amp will be better. For more actual power than an AVR my rule of thumb is you need 300+ watts at 4 ohms at <1% distortion.
Thanks for taking the time to explain all this. There's nothing I want to ask for clarification about on most points, just this one:

"Rear speakers do NOT have to be bookshelf. That comes about just due to practicality; most folks can't or aesthetically won't put towers for the side or rear speakers, but there's no technical reason against it."

I thought it had something to do with, for home theater seating, the bookshelf can be placed at ear level, so the whole sound comes right over the top of the seat, whereas with towers, sound is coming from near the floor and going into the back of your chair instead of to you.

But on the other hand, even if you lose some of the tower sound, it has more sound to start with, so maybe it's still just as good? Except you are at least hearing the complete bookshelf sound without interference of the chair, whereas you might only get part of the tower... etc etc... basically from the "outside" I can see arguments on both sides so I'm asking for your "inside" knowledge (so to speak) on which way to view it.
 
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