Surround speaker quality?

K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
Hello everyone!

At the moment I am waiting for the 3 front speakers for my new Home theater speaker which are custom but I haven't confirmed my order for the surround ones yet since I am having some doubts about their size, power and quality. To be clear, I am not worried that they will under-perform but that they are overkill.

The surrounds will be using the same twitter and cone as the front speakers with the only difference being that the front ones will have 2 cones. All the speakers will be active with separate 100W AB amps for each cone and tweeter. The good thing about that will be that the surround sound will match the rest of the system and I can always use them as a "portable" stereo system whenever I move to my other house since they are "smaller".

After watching a video by zreviews on surround speakers though I started worrying that they might be overkill. He recommends using the cheapest speakers possible for surrounds when it comes to movies and I am planning on buying speakers that cost as much as the front ones minus a cone and an amp and they are quite big (W23xD30x35H)...

The difference in my case is that apart from movies, I truly enjoy good surround music productions so I am wondering If better surrounds are a must when it comes to music. If I go with smaller on-wall speakers I will be saving both a lot of space and money since they will have cheaper components but the quality will be considerably worse. Does this really matter when it comes to surround sound or will I see a big enough difference to justify the extra space and cost?
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Spartan
No such thing as Overkill. His views of using the Cheapest Speakers for Surrounds is Flaw'd. Yes your surrounds don't have to be the same as your mains and are less critical in Timber Matching. But having the same Drivers will create a Seamless surround sound experience.
 
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XEagleDriver

XEagleDriver

Senior Audioholic
. . . apart from movies, I truly enjoy good surround music productions so I am wondering If better surrounds are a must when it comes to music.
For quality multi-channel music, better surrounds are not a "must", but are important to achieve the goal you state above.
Cheers,
XEagleDriver

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk[/QUOTE]
 
P

pcosmic

Audioholic
Hello everyone!

At the moment I am waiting for the 3 front speakers for my new Home theater speaker which are custom but I haven't confirmed my order for the surround ones yet since I am having some doubts about their size, power and quality. To be clear, I am not worried that they will under-perform but that they are overkill.

The surrounds will be using the same twitter and cone as the front speakers with the only difference being that the front ones will have 2 cones. All the speakers will be active with separate 100W AB amps for each cone and tweeter. The good thing about that will be that the surround sound will match the rest of the system and I can always use them as a "portable" stereo system whenever I move to my other house since they are "smaller".

After watching a video by zreviews on surround speakers though I started worrying that they might be overkill. He recommends using the cheapest speakers possible for surrounds when it comes to movies and I am planning on buying speakers that cost as much as the front ones minus a cone and an amp and they are quite big (W23xD30x35H)...

The difference in my case is that apart from movies, I truly enjoy good surround music productions so I am wondering If better surrounds are a must when it comes to music. If I go with smaller on-wall speakers I will be saving both a lot of space and money since they will have cheaper components but the quality will be considerably worse. Does this really matter when it comes to surround sound or will I see a big enough difference to justify the extra space and cost?
For movies, you could cheap out on surrounds all day long. That may have been the Z-reviews dude's suggestion...

But, If you have native "surround music" sources such as 5.1 SACD mixes, blu-ray audio, etc, i would NOT cheap out on surround speakers. What you are doing is not overkill. If it is a 5.2 setup, set the surrounds on dedicated stands away from walls (as you would with bookshelf speakers in a 2 channel setup). Wall mounted speakers sound like ass.

IF you will be using DTS Neural X or NEO MUSIC to upmix some 2 channel music sources to surround content as well, you cannot cheap out on surround speakers. All 5 speakers in a 5.2 setup need to be legit.
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Honestly, I've had small surrounds and big surrounds.

Right now, my office setup consists of 4 SP-F52 Pioneer towers with good bass down to 50hz and the matching center down to 70hz. Sub crossed at 80hz and it sounds MUCH better than with my tiny little surrounds. The bass is quite a bit more even and I didn't think I'd get that much improvement.

Improvement in 5.1 music as well as TV was quite noticeable.

My next theater build will be all big towers with the exception of the overhead speakers.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
I think that zreviews or whatever saying use the cheapest surrounds is a fukking idiot. Modern soundtracks will send full range signals to ALL channels and depending on bass managing settings, you can easily take advantage of that. ESPECIALLY with multichannel music, but also film soundtracks. I would buy as good as your comfortable spending. Ime better surrounds just add to the seamless bubble. People often recommend skimping on them, but I think that’s stupid for a high power multichannel surround system.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
If you can't afford quality surrounds you can start cheap, but you will eventually want quality surround speakers. The best systems have great quality speakers on every channel and you can hear the difference.
 
K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply!

It looks like the choice is clear, I will go with the big surrounds!

While we are on the topic, What would you recommend me to do about the atmos speakers? Should I cheap out and get a full 5.2.4 atmos system all at once with lower quality on ceiling speakers (~100-150$ per speaker) or buy better ones later?

Keep in mind that since I am able to get custom speakers even 100$ per speaker should get me some decent speakers compared to branded ones.

From what I have seen on the ceiling speaker Demo on Youthman's channel, the ceiling speakers are not very active during movies so I am not sure If I should be spending too much money on them.
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Spartan
Whatever ceiling speakers you get make sure they have Aimable Tweeters and Aimable Drivers. Also I would recommend they have Back Boxes and 8" drivers
 
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K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
Whenever ceiling speakers you get make sure they have Aimable Tweeters and Aimable Drivers. Also I would recommend they have Back Boxes and 8" drivers
Since they will be on-ceiling instead of in-ceiling I will be able to aim them wherever I want and they will be proper speakers with boxes.

Is there any specific reason you recommended the 8" drivers? I was thinking of a simple tweeter with a 6 - 6,5 inch Mid-bass driver. Wouldn't an 8" inch driver be too heavy and slow to use as a mid-bass? Not to mention that it will require a huge box to take advantage of it.

If the ceiling speakers can go as low as 80Hz and crossover them with the subwoofer wouldn't I get a similar result?
 
K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
My comment was for In-Ceiling speakers. If your going with something different then sorry my bad disregard
Oh, I see. It's actually my bad, I only said that I would be buying on-ceiling speakers without mentioning that they would be proper speakers. Thank you for your input anyways.
 
VMPS-TIII

VMPS-TIII

Full Audioholic
From what I have seen on the ceiling speaker Demo on Youthman's channel, the ceiling speakers are not very active during movies so I am not sure If I should be spending too much money on them.
If you are going with ceiling speakers I would look for something that acoustically matches the main L/R for front height and rear height speakers.

This setup can be used with movies and music using Auro 3D. Auro 3D is currently my favorite surround mode for listening to music. It engages on the Denon receivers when the height channels are configured. This mode uses an Auro-3D decoder to create three-dimensional audio output. Even if the signal is not encoded as Auro-3D an Upmixer called the Auro-Matic is used to create highly realistic three-dimensional audio output. It's a great sound mode option.
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William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Spartan
Since they will be on-ceiling instead of in-ceiling I will be able to aim them wherever I want and they will be proper speakers with boxes.

Is there any specific reason you recommended the 8" drivers? I was thinking of a simple tweeter with a 6 - 6,5 inch Mid-bass driver. Wouldn't an 8" inch driver be too heavy and slow to use as a mid-bass? Not to mention that it will require a huge box to take advantage of it.

If the ceiling speakers can go as low as 80Hz and crossover them with the subwoofer wouldn't I get a similar result?
How high is the ceiling? If it’s lower, you might want to reconsider ON ceiling and go with IN ceiling. The main requirement for Atmos is that the top/height speakers have wide dispersion. This is more important with low ceilings so they don’t hot spot. I’ve never found aimable tweeters to be useful, but in low ceilings, could help to keep the tweeter more on axis. If your ceilings are higher, then the extra distance the ON ceiling speaker will use up won’t be a big deal. Height speakers don’t get as much info as the bed layer, that is true. However, IME you still want a quality speaker with good off axis behavior. Even heights can receive full range signals, and of course you wouldn’t mount towers on the ceiling, as a whole the system should maintain consistency if possible.
As far as a given driver size being “slow”, that’s a wives tale, and you should never consider that ever again. In main channels, the larger drivers have the advantage of sensitivity, thermal load sharing, power sharing and imo can be more dynamic and powerful. This is usually less important for channels other than the LCR, but I’ve found that if you can, use speakers that use larger/more drivers. As long as it’s a quality manufacturer, and not “joe bobs speaker van”. Lol
For the ceiling, most systems will cross at 80 or higher, so you won’t necessarily care about the bass capability of a bigger bass driver and actually a 6” might give better dispersion if the ceilings are low. If they’re high, the bigger driver should be louder with less distortion if driven hard and dispersion should still be good. FWIW my Atmos system uses RSL c34e’s for height duty and they’re fantastic. Especially at 125ea. You can easily spend more but you don’t need to for a good Atmos system.
 
K

Kosta

Audioholic Intern
How high is the ceiling? If it’s lower, you might want to reconsider ON ceiling and go with IN ceiling.
Height is not an issue since they will be placed 3.5 meters high.

If your ceilings are higher, then the extra distance the ON ceiling speaker will use up won’t be a big deal. Height speakers don’t get as much info as the bed layer, that is true. However, IME you still want a quality speaker with good off axis behavior. Even heights can receive full range signals, and of course you wouldn’t mount towers on the ceiling, as a whole the system should maintain consistency if possible.
Does that mean that as long as the ceiling speakers are full range and high enough I can get away with using lower quality cones/tweeters? I don't mean garbage components but around 40$ per cone/tweeter which are not Hifi by any means but they are decent.

The ideal thing would be to use the same drivers like VMPS-TIII said but I will need massive boxes and will pay quite a lot for the more expensive components if I want them to match the rest of the system... Like you said I would have to mount "towers" on the ceiling which is out of the question...

The good thing about the speakers being custom is that I can ask the builder to try and match the ceiling speakers to the rest of the system. I am not sure if that will be possible though but I don't have anything to lose by asking.

As far as a given driver size being “slow”, that’s a wives tale, and you should never consider that ever again. In main channels, the larger drivers have the advantage of sensitivity, thermal load sharing, power sharing and imo can be more dynamic and powerful. This is usually less important for channels other than the LCR, but I’ve found that if you can, use speakers that use larger/more drivers. As long as it’s a quality manufacturer, and not “joe bobs speaker van”. Lol
It's good too know that bigger drivers being slow is false. Would I get away with using a cheaper 6-8 inch drive paired with a tweeter for atmos? After seeing Youthman's video on the atmos track I can't really justify spending crazy amounts of money on ceiling speakers and my budget at the moment doesn't allow it. At the moment I am planing to spend a max of 150€ per speaker for a total of 4 speakers. On the other hand I don't want to miss out on experiencing Atmos properly because I cheaped out... I am just looking for the ideal budget for ceiling speakers without overdoing it.

HAhaha no the builder is good at what he does. I demoed the cones and tweeters which he installed on some boxes he had lying around and I immediately knew it was "my sound".. I can't wait to listen to them once he installs them on the right boxes with a proper crossover!

For the ceiling, most systems will cross at 80 or higher, so you won’t necessarily care about the bass capability of a bigger bass driver and actually a 6” might give better dispersion if the ceilings are low. If they’re high, the bigger driver should be louder with less distortion if driven hard and dispersion should still be good. FWIW my Atmos system uses RSL c34e’s for height duty and they’re fantastic. Especially at 125ea. You can easily spend more but you don’t need to for a good Atmos system.
The C34E 's look good but I can't find them in my country... I see that it uses dual 4 1/2 drivers. Would you recommend a dual drive speaker with smaller and cheaper cones over a single drive speaker with a big and more expensive cone for Atmos? In general, what cone size would you recommend me?

Just a thought, If I go with dual drivers, would an isobaric design be more ideal instead of a parallel one for an on ceiling speaker since the same cones will require a smaller box and I will get all the extra benefits that come with isobarics?
 

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