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best speaker?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by 1911lover, Aug 4, 2004.

  1. 1911lover

    1911lover Fiddler1911

    Apr 25, 2004
    I was wondering what fellow gt'ers favorite speakers were, i like jbl speakers but let me know what you think?
  2. Texas T

    Texas T TX expatriate CLM

    Jan 25, 2000
    Klipsch - that is, if you're asking about PC speakers. You didn't make that clear.

  3. 1911lover

    1911lover Fiddler1911

    Apr 25, 2004
    any speaker, often pc speakers are the most elegant and easier to use in a nicer furnished area
  4. grantglock

    grantglock /dev/null

    Feb 20, 2004
    I second that.
  5. Sulaco

    Sulaco Guest

    Klipsch for PC and home audio. Also, Klipsch for theatre. If Klipsch made car audio, I would say Klipsch for car audio as well. I like horns.
  6. jthuang

    jthuang On The Jazz

    Jan 17, 2000
    Pennsylvania, USA
    In my opinion, there is no "right answer" when it comes to speakers.

    Every person’s ears are different, not to mention the fact that I don’t know how your listening room is configured (more on that later). My opinion is equivalent to the opinion of the chief editor of Sound and Vision magazine which is equivalent to the opinion of a person clueless about audio … equally worthless. Only you can determine which speakers are good for you!

    Despite that, I can give you some guidelines on how to buy speakers. You can take these guidelines and apply them to find the best set of speakers for you.

    Guideline #1: don’t buy speakers until you listen to them

    First and foremost, you should NOT go out buy speakers without listening to them in-store at the very least. Ideally, you should try them out in your home – remember, acoustics in the store are NOT the same as acoustics in your listening room! Higher end audio stores will allow you to “test drive” speakers for this very reason … they know that no store can provide you with the same listening experience as your home. What may sound great in the store may sound like garbage in your home, and vice versa.

    Guideline #2: audition speakers with your favorite CD or DVD

    Next, you should audition the speakers with the movies/music YOU prefer. There are two reasons for this.

    First, you know your favorite song inside and out. You know the little details of that song so you can listen to a particular set of speakers to see if they reproduce that sound to your standards. If you find yourself listening to speakers that cannot reproduce that familiar cymbal splash from Neil Peart’s drumset in The Spirit of Radio, you know you should move on from that set of speakers.

    Second, you will be evaluating the speakers with the material that you listen to most. There is no point in buying speakers that are great with classical music if you listen to heavy metal. Those speakers might sound great with your favorite metal CD but they may not … so why take that chance?

    Therefore, bring your favorite CD or DVD to the store and audition the speakers using that material. If you are not permitted to use your own material, switch on the radio and find a station with material that you like. Never default to “whatever’s playing” … remember, you are tailoring your system to YOU, not to what the store happens to be using.

    Guideline #3: prioritize your speakers according to use

    If your primary focus is home theater (movies), spend your money with the following priority: (1) center channel; (2) subwoofer; (3) mains; and (4) surrounds. If your primary focus is music, the following priority is used: (1) mains; (2) subwoofer; (3) center channel; and (4) surrounds.

    Movies have a lot of dialogue and special effects. Most dialogue is sent through the center channel because of the location of the people talking. Also, a lot of sound effects will be sent through the same channel. Thus, your center channel is your hardest working speaker in movie situations. So don’t skimp on the center channel, unless music is your main concern.

    Your subwoofer also works pretty hard, especially if you like to watch movies with special effects or listen to music with deep bass. If you have a good sub, you can go with smaller mains/surrounds because the sub will pick up the low frequency slack. Because subs generally contain their own internal amp, they will cost more … so don’t skimp on the sub either.

    Pick the size of your sub’s driver according to your listening preferences. Movie bass effects are generally lower frequency than music bass (although if you listen to a lot of drum & bass or rap, that may not be true). The larger drivers (12” and 15”) are preferable for movie bass, while the smaller drivers are better for music (8” and 10”).

    Smaller drivers have a faster “attack”, resulting in better reproduction of higher frequency bass signals found in music. Large drivers may sound “muddy” if asked to produce higher frequency bass signals because it’s harder to move the larger driver with enough speed to reproduce those high frequencies.

    On the other hand, movie bass (e.g. explosions) are better handled by larger drivers which can handle the deep lows – smaller drivers may not be able to handle those low frequencies, resulting in “rattling” and distortion when the driver bottoms out trying to reproduce those sounds.

    It’s generally not possible to have both good music and movie bass response, at least not on a low end system budget (which is why some high-end enthusiasts have two subwoofers – one for music, one for movies). Again, you need to listen to the sub to see if it works for you.

    Guideline #4: match the brand of your main and center channels

    In either case, the brand of the mains and center should almost always be the same. Why? This is because you want a seamless transition of your sound field from left to right (and vice versa). That’s especially important in home theater systems, when some sound effects will pan from side to side (like a train going across your screen). Speakers from the same manufacturer will generally be “voiced” the same way, meaning you get a more seamless transition. If you start mixing brands, you may not have such a seamless transition.

    You can generally use a different brand of speaker for your rear speakers than your center/main but it doesn’t hurt to use the same brand there either. Again, some movies will pan the sound effects from front to rear and having the same brand increases the chance of a seamless transition. I am not saying it is impossible to have a seamless transition if you start mixing brands, it’s just more difficult without professional help.

    Your mains are more important for music listening because most music is stereo. I’m assuming you’re not immersed in the world of DVD-Audio or SACD yet. Buy solid mains in accordance with your listening tastes.

    Your surround speakers should be some sort of bookshelf speaker set. While it is preferable to have rear speakers that can produce the entire audio range, they’re probably the least important part of your system at lower price points. They will be relegated to producing the occasional rear surround effect from movies, which means they don’t see a lot of use. For music, most receivers will run the stereo signal to your rear speakers as well but it’s the mains and the sub that are doing most of the work. So you can skimp on these if you want to. You’ll want to upgrade later if you watch movies with lots of surround effects.

    Hope this helps. Based on the above considerations, my current listening room and for a consumer-grade home theater, I like Yamaha speakers and Velodyne subs. I'm moving to a new place in two months so I may upgrade my mains if I don't like the sound of my current system in my new condo.
  7. 1911lover

    1911lover Fiddler1911

    Apr 25, 2004
    what kind of speakers are best for a larger area such as a basement, and where sould the speakers be placed in a large rectangular room. the speakers are for music, no movies or such.
  8. gwalchmai

    gwalchmai Lucky Member

    Jan 9, 2002
    Outside the perimeter
    One point about basements. Many times they are only partially finished, so the walls have vastly different accoustic properties. A graphic equalizer can help in fine tuning the sound in these situations.