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So I've been hunting for info to pick up new speakers for a 5.1 setup and have run into a lot of conflicting information on which speakers broadly fall into these presentations. I know the Klipsch I originally purchased land squarely in the "bright" side with their horn tweeters. I was hoping more experienced audiophiles could help classify some other manufacturers. I'm aware that any speaker can sound bright or warm given the source being played, but there's certainly a lean overall in one direction or another.

My local audio store retails several lines and describes:

Klipsch as the most bright (though it's such a large line, I'm not sure it's accurate as a blanket statement)
Definitive Technology as fairly neutral
Monitor Audio as warm/relaxed

I've heard Emotiva's T1 and C1/2 as "warm" but other reviews describe the trebles as punched up and less easy on the listener. So I'm not sure.
 

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So I've been hunting for info to pick up new speakers for a 5.1 setup and have run into a lot of conflicting information on which speakers broadly fall into these presentations. I know the Klipsch I originally purchased land squarely in the "bright" side with their horn tweeters. I was hoping more experienced audiophiles could help classify some other manufacturers. I'm aware that any speaker can sound bright or warm given the source being played, but there's certainly a lean overall in one direction or another.

My local audio store retails several lines and describes:

Klipsch as the most bright (though it's such a large line, I'm not sure it's accurate as a blanket statement)
Definitive Technology as fairly neutral
Monitor Audio as warm/relaxed

I've heard Emotiva's T1 and C1/2 as "warm" but other reviews describe the trebles as punched up and less easy on the listener. So I'm not sure.
emotiva's version of the amt tweeter is NOT harsh.. you are safe...
 
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My local audio store retails several lines and describes:

Klipsch as the most bright (though it's such a large line, I'm not sure it's accurate as a blanket statement)
Definitive Technology as fairly neutral
Monitor Audio as warm/relaxed

I've heard Emotiva's T1 and C1/2 as "warm" but other reviews describe the trebles as punched up and less easy on the listener. So I'm not sure.
1. Klipsch's RP line is reportedly much less "bright" than their lower R and F series. The higher up you go in their model lines price-wise, supposedly the less "bright" they become, especially the Heritage series.

2. DT is *not* "neutral" to my ears, all the ones I heard had a definite U-shaped EQ curve...exaggerated treble and mid-bass with the predictable midrange hole. The SM series, now discontinued, were the closest thing to "neutral" they have ever made AFAIK.

3. MA's entry level Bronze series is more similar to #2 , their next level up Silver series is much less so, and their top "Gold" series is supposedly more neutral.

If you want truly "warm/relaxed" then Wharfedale would be the brand to check out---for particular types of music (simple composition, slower tempo, midrange dominant) they are outstanding, imo. For complex compositions, faster tempo, get-up-and-dance type music, a more neutral speaker would be a better idea. Their weakness is crappy and/or overpriced center speakers, but that's easily remedied by using a good center from another brand.

Agree 100% with the other poster that Emotivas are ANYTHING but "bright"---whoever told you that has either never heard them or has a hidden sales agenda for blatantly slandering them. I'd describe them as "neutral with a touch of warmth."

There is no ONE sound signature that is "right" for everybody. It all depends on individual tastes, individual room acoustic conditions, and most importantly, individual USAGE habits. If your usage is predominantly HT/TV/gaming not music, "neutral" is usually the safest bet, but some people actually find a "bright" speaker to make that type of content more exciting..."warm" would not be a great idea in that case.
 
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A few thoughts,

Generally speaking--"warm" usually means more midrange output compared to bass/treble
"Neutral" usually means accurate--the speaker puts out what the amplifier provides with no boost or cuts across the frequency band.
"Bright" usually means a boosted treble response or, for some people boosted upper midrange and treble response.

I am a lazy guy, if I want to change the sound from accurate, I just use EQ to perform that function. For me, I prefer my speakers to be accurate so when I EQ, I know full well I am adjusting it from what was intended to whatever flavor I prefer. This becomes useful for some recordings because of the belief system of the guy doing the mixing, inherent faults in the mix caused by the person's hearing ability or whatever. Generally speaking, I love some recordings but frequency band X is a bit too much or not enough--the way of the world.

Now if you like "warm" or whatever, be aware you can do that with EQ--sometimes recordings are a bit muted so a boost of the highs works well or, if the recording is bass shy--bump up the bass a bit--or if too boomy, trim the bass down.

To simplify my life many years ago, I aim specifically for accurate speakers and always have some ability to EQ to taste, EQ to tame some of the acoustic issues in my room or use EQ to allow some recordings to sound better. Yeah, I'm getting older now as we all are and my hearing accuity is not getting better--quite the opposite! :mad: A bit of boost over 10KHz brings out the sizzle as my ability to hear at the extreme ends is going down. Eventually, after some years my hearing will be quite poor so I'll EQ the midrange to make the voices pop so grandpa can easily make out the spoken word in movies and I won't care what the kids like....get off my lawn! :D Yeah, baby! Warm and bright--grandpa goes wild! Not now, but eventually so the EQ can follow my hearing ability because--at the end of the day, it is all about me.

As far as specing inaccurate speakers as a desirable feature? Uuuhhh....sure, you can do that but be aware what you are doing. This would be a good idea if you don't have the ability to EQ with your hardware or just want a simple system with no EQ, tone controls or whatever. However, if you have the ability to EQ--generally speaking if you have an AVR you have the ability--then I would use it to make up for your preferred sound instead of purchasing inaccurate speakers. After all, warm, bright, dark, heavy and all that jazz has no real settings on meters--Gee Bob, I can't find "bottom" on the EQ screen... there is no standard for such words so if you have EQ, play around with it to find out what curve you like. Once you have that figured out and want, say a amp and a pair of speakers--you can look at speaker frequency response charts that mimic your preferred boost/cut. Just be aware that the room will add it's own mess so if you want a boosted midrange, you might not get that once that type of speaker is in your room.

Also be aware that when add boost to a speaker, it will be driven harder which increases distortion--very much so when cranking the boost over 6dB which is 4 times the power at that frequency point. Not much of an issue if you have beefy drivers that are very efficient--it can get bad if you boost the 15 KHz band by +9dB on a consumer dome tweeter--that is 8 times the power of normal and dome tweeters don't have a lot of thermal capacity. It might survive but the excessive distortion might not be very pleasing. The power handling of most consumer speakers assumes you are not boosting EQ bands, you can damage speakers (mids/highs) even without clipping the amp because they are not designed to hammer out high SPLs at their frequency limits. Just something to remember. The opposite is true, EQ cuts lower the power going to the driver which will decrease distortion, lower power compression and so on...

So, if you have EQ--use it and go for speakers that are accurate, or neutral if you wish. EQ is fun, you can make an utter mess out of any speaker or you can make the speaker work better for your wishes, desires, counter some room acoustics issues or change the response of the recording. If you KNOW what frequencies that are either boosted or cut that fit your tastes, then get those speakers if you don't have EQ in your system. Be aware there is a learning curve with EQ but at least it is not as bad as with car audio or PA systems in hardwood and glass rooms--it can always be worse! :eek: I have a simple 4 band EQ for my garage speakers, they have very high SPL capability and it is fun to EQ the system to whatever person in the garage likes--they can't see the settings. They are vertical line arrays and need EQ to function so no problem to make changes on the fly. Oddly enough, it also shows me how much hearing damage the person has and at what frequencies--I know what the EQ is when it measures "flat" Older people tend towards a boost in the 8 KHz to 16 KHz band...a touch of boost in the 800 yo 3200 Hz band and a bit of a cut on the bass side. This makes sense as time is not friendly to higher frequencies but bass in not effected as much. This is why grandpa thinks all the youngsters are bass heads. True, the teenagers love for me to pump up the bass but they tend to like watching cones move so there is that... oooooh! Air flowing out of a port....Ooooh! :rolleyes::cool:

In summation, I find accurate speakers to be the best solution with EQ applied to fix room issues, recording issues or hearing tastes of the listener. If you plan on owning the speakers for more than 10 years, your hearing ability will change and changing speakers to act as EQ might work for you but... I like my speakers, am very content with them and swapping speakers every couple of years as my demands/tastes/abilities change gets old quickly. Yes, I'm aware I can change the passive crossover, some filters and the L-pad to manipulate what output I prefer but I'm lazy... EQ does the same thing and is more accurate. Screwing around with passive crossovers cuts into my drinking time...don't want that. :cool:
 

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If you have a nice AVR and subwoofer, which many do not mention, you will be able to tweak the speakers for both specific music and /or movies. Long story short. Good Luck
 

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There is no ONE sound signature that is "right" for everybody. It all depends on individual tastes, individual room acoustic conditions, and most importantly, individual USAGE habits. If your usage is predominantly HT/TV/gaming not music, "neutral" is usually the safest bet, but some people actually find a "bright" speaker to make that type of content more exciting..."warm" would not be a great idea in that case.
This comment needs to be repeated more often. More often than not, I see people infer that brightness is bad, when in actuality and truthfulness, brightness is bad for their particular situation. And there's nothing wrong with that. For example, my usage is pretty much as you described... 95-100% HT/TV and Gaming/Karaoke when friends come over (or, used to come over... Thanks covid19:( ). My theater room acoustics can be described as leaning towards dull to dead because of carpeting from end to end, and plush theater seating and ottomans throughout which makes a "bright" sounding speaker PERFECT for my needs. Currently, I have 5 sets of matching L/C/R speakers: KlipschRF-82II , HTD Level 3, Sony Cores, Infinity R152 w/ RC263 (still boxed), and JBL 530s - all with the matching center channel. My favorites for my HT room are Klipsch (for HT), HTD (for HT and music), Sony Cores are my bedroom system. I cannot connect emotionally with the JBLs for HT, but musically they are somewhat pleasing. But back to your point, we do well to find what works best for our room and personal preferences. There is only "right" and "wrong" for us personally and our situation. For the time being, a bright tonal quality is "right" for me.
 

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Not sure what kind of budget you have, but one of those most neutral bookshelf speakers at $600/pair is the ELAC Debut Reference DBR62. They have lots of power handling for HT yet is refined enough for music as well. That would be at the top of my list.

And similarly, the towers, but for some reason there is no 6.5" version yet.
 
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