<font color='#000000'>Thanks everyone:
I truly seriously appreciate the replies and suggestions here on speakers. I am glad I was able to stimulate some very interesting conversation(s) here on related topics. What is all this &quot;first order&quot; discussion?-that sounds very interesting-is this something I should know/consider when auditioning speakers? I have been considering the Axiom 80 Home theater speaker system based on the review of that system here and other comments I've read here and elsewhere.

One of you requested my room dimensions-My room size is apoproximately 20' L x 12' W x 7&quot; H so it is basicly rectangular located in the basement with only a small window located in the upper mid-point of a long wall. This room is unfinished concrete walls with a largw rug and plywood ceiling but will eventually have drywall, carpet, lighting,speaker wiring, etc-any suggestions on guides or articles on constructing a HT room from scratch? Also, any speaker wire suggestions?-basic 12 gauge, Monster, etc? Location of wiring before constructing the room? I did print the speaker wiring DIY article from this site it was great and I'll be connecting my B&amp;K to some older speakers soon-probably will use lugs-it's the only connector the speakers will accept(they're old first generation 3 way Technics speakers!)

One of you mentioned bringing a SPL meter with me when I audition speakrs-where do I find a reasonably priced SPL, how and perhaps more importantly, why do I need/use it when auditioning? I have read that a SPL would be essential for equalizing speaker volume and equalizing room acoustics but otherwise am largely ignorant on the importance and use of such a device.

Finally, related (I assume?) to a SPL meter, I've seen some 7 channel equalizers recently-one was produced by Bijou-are they necessary, useful, to be avoided? OTOH-I would hate to invest in one and simply sabotage the sound of my carefully selected system due to my ignorance and/or lack of information!

Thanks-hope you can assist me further-sorry for all the questions-this is a very informative and trustworthy site so I do value and heed your advice!


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

Radio Shack makes a reasonably priced analog as well as a digital SPL meter. I picked up the digital one for $50 recently.

Dont know about others but I use ordinairy Monster cables for my speaker wires and Radio Shack gold interconnects.</font>


<font color='#000000'>Brent,

A few hints for speaker auditioning and subwoofer integration:

1) Yes I recommended you take a Radio Shack SPL meter ($29-$49) analog or digital version (I prefer the analog's  swinging needle for reading SPL numbers) with you as well as some favorite music you know very well (listened to it a lot and know all the twists and turns) when auditioning speakers.

2) You use the SPL meter and your favorite music to ensure you are listening at the same volume level to each speaker you compare.  If one speaker is 1dB louder than another it will typically sound better to your ears.  I'd set the meter to the 80dB range, &quot;C&quot; weighting, and slow response.  Then you can listen to a favorite track and get the needle to average at the 80dB zero &quot;0&quot; mark for each speaker you audition (you or the salesman adjust the volume).  

3) I'm not sure I'd concern yourself with the 1st order crossover issue right now, since most likely you will crossong to a sub @80Hz anyway, right?

4) Since your basement walls are concrete, I might recommend you consider a Parametric EQ for the sub-out only channel of your HT processor.  This is because you are likely to have some boomy bass peaks that you will want to reduce the SPL levels for.

For a Parametric EQ, I recommend a product from Behringer called the BFD 1124P for about $120.  A great site that goes into detail about how to use a Parametric EQ in your room to reduce boomy bass peaks is here  it's a bit technical, but give it a try.

By the way, I also use RS Gold AV (75 Ohm) interconnects for both audio and video and think 12 gauge wire with spades is just fine (no need to buy anything more expensive) for speaker wire.</font>


<font color='#000000'>Rob,
<table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE"> Sounds like a pretty large listening space.  What are you using for subs?  That's a lot of room to pressurize.</td></tr></table> You are correct, a big space and I don't have enough &quot;woofage&quot; to adequately pressurize it.  But I was really going for a clean smooth match with my mains for stereo music primarily, with HT second (using an active electronic Marchand crossover) using a 4th order L-R crossover @60Hz.

I use M&amp;K MX-700 sub(s), had two but now down to one.  They really do a good job of eliminating the odd-order harmonics from the back wave and produce very clean output in the room.  Best sub I've heard for stereo music after auditioning many 4 years ago.</font>
Rob Babcock

Rob Babcock

<font color='#000000'>I highly recommend the Behringer with one caveat: &nbsp;the supplied instruction manual is crap, and most of the FAQ pages on hobbyist sites are almost as confusing. &nbsp;But if you can get the hang of how it functions without putting your foot thru a woofer you'll find it very easy to create several eq curves, and I think you'll be amazed by the improvement in the bass quality.

The Rat Shack SPL meter is very handy, but very inaccurate in the very low bass. &nbsp;You can find a rough compensation table and get close, but you'll need to also rely on the two test instrument nature provided you (the ears!). &nbsp;As for matching the levels of speakers you're evaluating, it's a great idea, but the RS units' readings may be a little too coarse for this role- changes of even a few tenths of a dB can be percieved as sounding &quot;better&quot; even if we can't conciously say it's louder. &nbsp;Worth a shot, though.

As Bruce said, don't worry about the type of x-over; this is a bigger deal to the designer than to the end listener. &nbsp;1st order crossovers will have less steep x-o slopes than there designs (6 dB per octave). &nbsp;In technical terms this means the tweeter will have to play lower and the mid/woof will have to play higher. &nbsp;Whether this works well depends entirely upon the skill of the designer and the quality of parts he employs. &nbsp;This actually applies to almost every facet of speaker design.

For now worry about how it actually sounds to your ears with your music. &nbsp;Don't let the salesman choose the music; he knows good and well the strengths and weaknesses of the models he sells. &nbsp;Even the lamest speakers can usually be made to sound good with cherry picked music.

And try to go with identical speakers if possible.</font>


<font color='#000000'><table border="0" align="center" width="95%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0"><tr><td>Quote </td></tr><tr><td id="QUOTE">As for matching the levels of speakers you're evaluating, it's a great idea, but the RS units' readings may be a little too coarse for this role- changes of even a few tenths of a dB can be percieved as sounding &quot;better&quot; even if we can't conciously say it's louder.  Worth a shot, though</td></tr></table>

Since the RS meter can measure accuratly in 0.5dB steps when measuring the same musical sequence on two different setups, it does work quite well for speaker evaluations.   In many of the frequencies we are most sensitive to, 500Hz-5KHz, the SPL meter is fairly accurate and flat.  It is off on the lower bass and upper treble, but this shoudn't matter when trying to balance SPL levels between different speaker setups.

The key, as Rob and I have said, is to use music you like and are very familiar with. &nbsp;Use the CD players timer to pick the exact timed spot on a familiar song to balance the SPL levels for each speaker audition.

I used the RS SPL meter during a full year of my speaker auditions, and I found it very, very useful.  I even took a tape measure with me and always listened at the same distance away from the speakers I was auditioning.  I also tried to keep them the same distance apart from each other.  Maybe just a little obsessive, but quite effective.</font>

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