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 Forum index » How-tos » Surround and Sound Reinforcement
Help setting up a new 5.1 system
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bachus



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:07 am    Post subject: Help setting up a new 5.1 system Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

[editor's note: I'm splitting of this from another topic - http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-10529.html ]

mosc wrote:

2) The speakers aren't usually matched. The center, front left/right, and surround, speakers are usually of different construction and have different frequency responses and dispersion patterns).

3) While there are standards for speaker placement, it is very rare to find a system that has the standard speaker layout.


I'm in the planing stage of a 5.1 composition. These two problems concern me most. How are people dealing with these? Are identical speakers used in the studio?

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neilwilkes



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm using matched speakers myself, as per the Grammy.com Producers & Engineers guild recommendations.
If your centre speaker is bandwidth limited, and your surrounds are different again, then there is no way out of the fact you are going to have problems.

The big trouble is that it may well sound absolutely superb on your system, and if it is only for personal use, then it doesn't need to travel or translate well.
But if it is for distribution, then you must get it right - and this also means correctly set up monitors as well as all 5 matching.

What is your current setup - and what are your project details?
Let's see what you have - and then we can work out how to make it all work for you.

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bachus



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 6:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

In the studio I have a pair of crud grade JBL N26II. In the media room I have a pair of Martin Logan Prodigys and four Definitive Technology BP30s, there's no center channel. The subwoofer is home made but rather good. The Prodigys aren’t moving, every thing else is up for grabs.

The plan is for a four movement suite. Static pseudo orchestra in front effects and sounds of animals, birds, etc to be in motion around the listener.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

If you're happy with the stereo pair, then keep them.
It's often a good idea to use a different set of monitors for this, as it has the added bonus (IMHO) of allowing you to check things like downmixes etc on a different set of speakers.

For the 5.1 setup, if the LFE is a good one, and it will sit with whatever you choose for the mains, then keep it - although this might depend on the next question - are you happy with Active or Passive monitoring?
Active has many benefits:
No external amps
Less cabling
Guaranteed compatibility between amps & speakers
There are also issues though - you might not like the amps, and you need to be sure the LFE will sit properly with the actives.

Passive also has it's benefits:
Cheaper
more options for you
Downsides are you need 6 channels of amplification plus a crossover for the LFE.

In Actives, I reaklly like my Yamaha, but BlueSky also do a fine range.
Additionally, the Tannoy Reveals are looking good. There are several models, ranging from a full "Set it all up yourself" type to one that carries it's own internal "Brain" for calibration & setup.
Much more money with the brains, and a lot cheaper without if you are confident you can set things up yourself - and it's not difficult once you have done it a couple of times.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I gather that moving the BP30s to the studio does not seem like a good idea. I can't afford to put much more into audio at this point and the option would be the Yamaha HS50M or MSP5 with the sub.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The MSP5 are very good.
Brutal in the upper mids, and if a mix sounds great on these it will be great everywhere.
I have these as well - took a little getting used to, but now I would only use Yamaha monitors by choice.
Best way to "learn" them is to import a bunch of stuff you know really well, and listen to the increased detail in the mids.
Correct setting for LFE is critical, as these roll off sharply below 80Hz, and at 50Hz are around -6dB so Bass Management software or hardware is vital.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Much thanks and appreciation.
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mosc
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Are you using the term LFE as a synonym for subwoofer channel?
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neilwilkes



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 5:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No.
LFE = Low Frequency Effects.
Subwoofer = Bass unit for systems where the main channels cannot reproduce any significant bass content.

An LFE would be used in a system where the 5 main channels are full range, or drop down to at least 50Hz at -3dB.
A subwoofer can be crossing over as high as 300Hz.

The 2 are not the same, and the terms are not interchangeable.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

neilwilkes wrote:
A subwoofer can be crossing over as high as 300Hz.


Yea, they do that, however, It's been my experience that a sub needs to be within a quarter wave of the mains it's supporting with a 24db/8ve Xover. But I've never tried a 48db/8ve or delay compensation. That high, beyond phase problems, localization is also an issue if there is only one sub. Just my two cents.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Agreed.
At anything over 80Hz it is definitely possible to tell the direction the bass is coming from, and some say as low as 50Hz (not tested this personally though).

The whole problem goes away if the 5 mains are full range though.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

neilwilkes wrote:
Agreed.
At anything over 80Hz it is definitely possible to tell the direction the bass is coming from, and some say as low as 50Hz (not tested this personally though).

The whole problem goes away if the 5 mains are full range though.


Robin Miller and I have done extensive testing of this. We have found you can detect a different spacial experience with 2 subwoffers down to 45 Hz. At these low frequencies, direction isn't the right word for it.

I'm going to start a topic about dual subwoofers. See http://electro-music.com/forum/topic-11129.html

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