B

brent

Enthusiast
<font color='#000000'>I'm new to thise site. I live in the hinterlands of Montana where there are very few high end dealers where I can audition mid to high end speakers-Denver is the closest for multi-brand auditions and it's a 10 hour drive. After much reading and advice here and elsewhere, and angst and vacillation between a B&amp;K AVR 507 and Yamaha RX Z1, I just purchased locally the B&amp;K AVR 507 (Open box-$2297-hope I chose wisely?!) and a Mitsubishi 65&quot; HDTV (WS 656711-$3800). Were these good prices? They appeared to be based on my research-Too late if they weren't but would like your feedback anyway-but on to my main request for advice:

I am seeking your collective and individual wisdom/advice on which speakers to audition. I listen more to music (about 70% of the time) than HT but from the above purchases obviously desire a good HT 7 channel/speaker system as well. Any thoughts on which Brands/Models I should audition given my B&amp;K?

I am considering Def. Tech (2002tl or 3000tl), Paradigm Reference series, Monitor Silver series, Energy Take 5.2 or Connoisseur series. (I have listened to the Def. Tech 2002tl and was underwhelmed by them as to music but maybe it was the demonstration room-they seemd very muddy in the high and midrange portions of the music). As to music preferences I listen to classic 60s &amp; 70s rock, classical, new age and some jazz. I prefer crisp treble, detailed and clean mid-range and not so heavy bass.

How about using the same four speakers-e.g. four Def. Tech 2002s or four Paradigm towers and a center channel in lieu of the usual two smaller wall-mounted rear speakers? Or any thoughts on dipole or bipole (or swicthable) surrounds? Speaker wires and component connection patchcord thoughts? I know just enough to probably buy too much quality for too much money after being beguiled by a savvy dealer and am attempting to keep my costs reasonable on the cost-benefit scale. Thanks for wading through all these questions-you can probably discern I need some quick education. With your help I'll hopefully choose wisely.

Thanks for any advice, experience or observations you can provide!</font>
 
Yamahaluver

Yamahaluver

Audioholic General
<font color='#0000FF'>Brent,

Seems like you are on the right track so far. In addition to the speakers mentioned I would also check out offerings from Magnepan, Axiom, B&amp;W to widen your perspective a bit. Using same speakers for front and rears would be ideal of you have the space to do so, alternatively, you can use a small sub/bass module with rear bookshelf to get the same effect. I have taken that route.

Bi-poles and direct radiating are a matter of debate but I personally go with Yamaha's recommendation of using direct radiating speakers.</font>
 
Clint DeBoer

Clint DeBoer

Banned
<font color='#008080'>Paradigm reference are very nice and won't give you any problem with muddied mids and highs.

Since you listen to 70% music, getting four identical mains would be awesome if you wanted to listen to alot of DVD-A. The cost is high, but it sounds like that's not a problem in this case.

As for the B&amp;K: LOVE the rear panel layout (lots of coax inputs), nice remote, supports RS-232 upgrades and a 1394 interface... nice choice.</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>brent,

This is not putdown of DefTech, but IMO bipolars like DefTech with multiple cone drivers produce too many reflections in most rooms to really be a good choice for music, but some people seem to like this for HT.  

Granted some people like that &quot;spacious&quot; feel they say DefTech and other bipolars give them, but that is mostly due to the additional reflections from the back firing drivers.

You may not like this &quot;spaciousness&quot;, and it may be one of the causes for your terming them &quot;muddy&quot;.

You may find some of the most musical speakers (accurate tonal reproduction and good imaging) use first order crossovers and possibly time aligned drivers.  Examples include Theil, Dynaudio, and others.</font>
 
B

brent

Enthusiast
<font color='#000000'>Thanks for everyone's advice. I will plan trip to Fort Collins/Boulder/Denver in the next few weeks to listen to speakers. I want to do this right the first time and come within my preset budget so it will be a challenge. I'm still somewhat apprehensive about receiver choice but Hawke's comment makes me feel better-I'm wondering if I would like and therefore miss all the DSP music modes on the Yamaha-but I suppose I can always get a separate HT/DSP pre/pro and plug it into the B&amp;K-but would it degrade the sound any? In any event, thanks for the responses so far-I am a longtime stereo fanatic whose interest began back when I purchased the first generation of Technics four channel receiver and speakers-which I still own and use as a bedroom system. Thanks again-any more comments or suggestions are most welcomed and strongly valued.
Brent</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Brent, to be honest I wouldn't worry too much about all the fancy DSP modes. Most (all?) will degrade the output to some degree (processing is always lossy to some degree), and once the novelty wears off, you'll either have a setting you like to use most of the time, or you'll find it too much hassle to keep switching. Either way, ISTM the least interference with the signal, the better the sound. OTOH, a DTS decoder is almost essential these days, and a Dolby ProLogic II processor is well worth having. Fancy DSP modes, no...</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>brent,

I agree with dlorde, the Yamaha music DSP modes are &nbsp;gimmicky and will degrade the source sound quality, but whatever makes you happy is the right choice

I think you made the right decision on the B&amp;K 507. &nbsp;Have you hooked up any speakers to it yet?

You might take the B&amp;K receiver with you when you go to audition speakers if possible.

Because speakers (and the room they are in) are the biggest influence on the character of the sound, I would try and make sure you take familiar music with you and listen for at least an hour or more to the speakers you want.

You want to make sure you listen as loud as you would at home at see if your ears get fatigued from listening (you don't want speakers that cause fatigue). &nbsp;Take a Radio Shack SPL meter with you to measure the SPL level at your seating position (probably for music between 75db-90dB average &quot;C&quot; weighted on the meter).</font>
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
<font color='#000000'>Bruce;

I agree with your assessment of the Def Tech speakers.  I just also wanted to point out that there are alternative methods of achieving &quot;time alignment&quot; loudspeakers with higher than 1st order crossovers.  Bud Fried used to champion degenerative 2nd order series/parallel networks.  Linkwitz Riley can also be used.  I am not sure however how much of an effect high order crossovers will have on transient response and this is something I would like to investigate in the future.

The B&amp;K AVR507 looks like a super cool receiver. &nbsp;I have contacted them a few times to request a review sample and have so far been unanswered. &nbsp;In the future, I may try again.

As for the Yamaha DSP modes, yes I also prefer not using most of them.  However, I really enjoyed and missed some of the movie theater DSP modes, especially with the separate front channel effects.  For music, I preferred DTS Neo or PLII over the Yammie DSP modes.

Good convo here guys.  Time permitting, I would like to contribute more.  
</font>
 
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G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Gene,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't part of the problem with higher order crossovers relate to phasing differences (same as &quot;time alignment&quot; like you said) that cause the speaker manufacturer to reverse connect some of the drivers.  By that I mean some 2nd order crossovers (180 degree phase offset) for a woofer/midrange driver to a tweeter driver have both drivers connected in the reverse order (positive of one driver  is connected to the negative of the other driver).

In my mind this means one driver is moving out while the other driver is moving in over a wide frequency range.  This IMHO, may not be the best way to get quality sound.  Or is there some way to correct for this?  I'm not a speaker designer so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Yes, at least for low bass, I like 4th order L-R crossovers with zero degree offset (360 degree time delay) between subs and mains.

I would be interested in your transient testing, as I think two drivers moving in opposite directions (case of butterworth 2nd order crossover) might have an effect on transients.</font>
 
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
<font color='#000000'>Bruce;

I am also not a loudspeaker designer and have not researched this issues in great detail yet. &nbsp;Reversing the polarity of a driver only compensates for phase in a very limited frequency band. &nbsp;I think it is also important to discuss electrical and mechanical phase as separate entities since designing a speaker to be electrically phase coherent does not guarantee it will also be mechanically phase coherent.

I defer you to this excellent article about phase coherence written by a very competent DIY loudspeaker designer and knowledgeable audio engineer that I highly respect.

Phase Time Distortion in Loudspeakers

Perhaps he could expand on these issues if I send him a link to this thread &nbsp;
</font>
 
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G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Thanks for the link Gene! &nbsp;Now I've got some reading to do.

I do know that I like 1st order crossovers in the Main Speakers I use for 2-channel music listening. &nbsp;

Speakers I've auditoned and liked the sound of that do have 1st order crossovers include; &nbsp;Thiel, Dynaudio, Dunlavy and a few others I've forgot.</font>
 
S

spiffnme

Audiophyte
<font color='#000000'><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td>
brent : As to music preferences I listen to classic 60s &amp; 70s rock, classical, new age and some jazz. I prefer crisp treble, detailed and clean mid-range and not so heavy bass.
If that's the case I HIGHLY recommend the Axiom M22ti (bookshelf) or the Axiom M60ti or M80ti (floorstander).  I personally own the M22's and they are the most detailed, clear, crisp sounding speakers I've heard for under $1000.  No kidding, I've demo'd tons of bookshelf speakers, and unless you get into the $1000+ range, the M22's really stand out.  Axioms M60 and M80 floorstanders have the same high clarity, detailed sound as well.  (Their M40 and M50 are a much more laid back sound - what I personally don't like, and it sounds like you don't either.)</font>
 
S

spiffnme

Audiophyte
<font color='#000000'>I should have asked...

How large is your room? &nbsp;

And also, the M22ti should be paired with a good subwoofer. &nbsp;I know you said you don't like a lot of bass, but a GOOD subwoofer, won't overwhelm you with bass, it will fill in the lower end that cannot be reproduced by the bookshelf speaker. &nbsp;When matched correctly, you won't know the sub is there...it will seem as though your M22's are producing all that great sound. &nbsp;The M22ti matches EXTREMELY well with the Hsu VTF series subs.</font>
 
R

rode

Enthusiast
<font color='#000000'>1st order xovers are great if (and it is unfortunately a big &quot;if&quot;) the drivers can handle the power outside their frequency range.

Most speakers will be (relatively?) fine at low levels, since there is no stress, but as power increases, so does the demand on the drivers. The two main problems are tweeter overload and mid-woofer cone breakup - both of these are minimised with higher orders.

A 12dB xover does reverse the phase of one driver, but this is fairly consistent over a wide frequency range, so the reversed driver is actually in phase with the other. A 24dB L-R xover reverses the phase twice (i.e. a 360 degree shift). &nbsp;

Note: This is not the same as &quot;no shift&quot; - there is an effective delay of one cycle.

Odd order filters (6dB, 18dB, etc) have a relatively constant 90 degree shift between the two outputs at all frequencies, with the HP output 90 degrees in front of the LP output - this is only relevant for steady state signals though :)

Correction: An 18dB filter has a 180 degree shift caused by the 12dB section, and a 90 degree shift from the 6dB section, so the total between the HF with respect to the LF signal is to effectively create a 270 degree shift, and the output of the HP section is now lagging (i.e. 90 degrees after the LP section). Again, this only applies to the steady state signal.

Much has been said about transient response, but in an AB test of a summed 24dB crossover and the original signal, it is virtually impossible to pick which is which - it shows on an oscilloscope with a square wave input, but still sounds the same.

There is still much work to be done in this area - I certainly don't have anywhere near as many of the answers as I would like, and so far, every new answer has raised new questions
</font>
 
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G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>Rod,

Thanks for the additional detail.

Dynaudio has been using 1st order for quite awhile and seems to really overbuild their drivers, since they do actually build their own drivers to their own specs. &nbsp;

I would assume that means they are designed to handle the power since my 2-way towers are rated at 86dB sensitivity (2.83V@1m) with a nominal 4 Ohms impedance and an IEC long term power handling of &gt;200 watts. &nbsp;The tweeter is a 28mm soft dome Esotar, the woofer is a 20cm magnesium silicate polymer with die-cast basket, and the passive radiator is also a 20cm with die-cast basket.</font>
 
Rob Babcock

Rob Babcock

Moderator
<font color='#000000'>Most people don't find speakers with first order crossovers to be very good for HT use. &nbsp;As a general rule 1st order x-overs will limit the volume potential and dynamics which robs soundtracks of punch (at least on action movies). &nbsp;A good sub can mitigate this, and if your room is small and/or your tastes in volume runs to the lower side this is a non issue.

It's almost pointless to make recommendations since everyone seems to like something different, but my HT system consists of Monitor Audio 7i/ 12i/ FXi's and a pair of Hsu TN 1220 subs; I couldn't be happier. &nbsp;So far I haven't heard anything I thought was better for under $8000 for the set. &nbsp;Of course, what I love someone else may hate.

The one bit of advice I do think is crucial is that whatever brand floats your boat, do go with 5 identical speakers, or five speakers voiced to be used as a set. &nbsp;Some brands don't do a very good job of voice matching models; if the mfg'r you fancy has this problem then consider 5 identical speakers. &nbsp;You won't believe how much difference this makes once you've heard it.

At all costs, avoid the tempation to mix and match brands; there are cases of serendipitously synergistic matches, but this is the overwhelming exception, not the rule. &nbsp;In practice this rarely works well.</font>
 
G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"> Most people don't find speakers with first order crossovers to be very good for HT use.  As a general rule 1st order x-overs will limit the volume potential and dynamics which robs soundtracks of punch (at least on action movies).  </td></tr></table>

I'm not sure who the most people you are referring to are, but I find that to be absolutely wrong and so does Widescreen Review, as they use them in their major reference room (Dunlavy).

Acoustic measurements and my ears, in my room, at my listening position indicate no distortion or straining with my 1st order Dynaudios with plenty of punch measured @105dB reference level for DVD movies.  By the way I do have them crossed @60Hz to a sub, but even those people whose speakers don't have 1st order crossovers use subs and typically cross @80Hz.

<table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"> At all costs, avoid the tempation to mix and match brands; </td></tr></table>
I certainly agree that this is a good rule.</font>
 
Rob Babcock

Rob Babcock

Moderator
<font color='#000000'>I never meant to imply any absolutes, Bruce. &nbsp;Certainly I couldn't fault using Dunlavy's (aside from the fact that they went under a while back- warranty may be an issue), nor would I myself balk at 1st order speakers. &nbsp;At any rate, the X-over freq to the sub probably isn't that relevant in the context of dynamics, as it's usually the tweeter that gives up the ghost first with 1st order crossovers.

Personally 105 dB would be fine for me, but I wonder how big your room is? &nbsp;Mine is fairly large with a big open doorway (soon to be sealed with an exterior grade sliding door, I hope); I wonder if they could fill my room? &nbsp;Not that my Monitor's are very big either. &nbsp;I guess YMMV.

I myself am not too concerned with the phase shifts other designs are &quot;plagued&quot; with; I've heard good and crappy speakers of many different crossovers and configurations. &nbsp;Maybe I'm just not sensitive to phase, as I certainly can't say I've ever preferred 1st order designs. &nbsp;Maybe I'm a heretic!


I certainly still think whatever you go with, make sure you have a consistent match, at least across the front of the room. &nbsp;If you've gotta go with another brand, do it for surrounds. &nbsp;The ear is very unforgiving of timbral shifts across the front but less so when it comes to front to back pans.</font>
 
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G

Guest

Guest
<font color='#000000'>So we have a reference point for my SPL measurements, my Family-room/HT/Music room is about 3000 ft3 with a cathrdral ceiling and three openings, one a large 4 foot wide walkthrough doorway, the second a half-height 4 foot wide bar opening right next to the first, and the third a 30 inch wide normal doorway.

The walkthrough and bar open into another 10,000 ft3 of cathedral ceilinged open space.

So I have a fairly large space to deal with.

I think a couple things can be said about the sound.  I find female and male vocals to be cleaner and more lifelike with the right crossover.  This depends more on what frequency  the crossover occurs at, but I think a 1st order might help with it's minimum time delay vs. any other type of crossover.  Phase shift is essentially considered the same as a time delay.

The sound of the female vocalist Sarah McLachlan on my Dynaudios is what sold me on those speakers.  It sounded like she was standing right in front of me as she delicately meandered through her vocal range.  My brain compared this to her live performance and I knew I was addicted.

I happen to also like a speaker designed as a 2-way better than a 3 or 4-way because of the single crossover.</font>
 
Rob Babcock

Rob Babcock

Moderator
<font color='#000000'>I'm partial to two ways, too. &nbsp;My Monitor Audio's are two ways, although I do have an active x-over to my subs. &nbsp;There are trade offs: my speakers do microdynamics well and have pretty good slam, but they can't rock out quite like a larger multidriver model would. &nbsp;They spec a max SPL of 114 dB, and while that's pretty loud they won't be mistaken for Legacy Focus 20/20's. &nbsp;On the other hand, vocals are pristine and they image like nobody's business.

Sounds like a pretty large listening space. &nbsp;What are you using for subs? &nbsp;That's a lot of room to pressurize.</font>
 

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