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  #661  
Old 10-04-2018, 11:29 PM
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Got my JBL tower surround speakers today. Set them up with the Dolby recommended angles for 5.1. Ran Audyssey XT32.

For movies, there's a difference versus my old bookshelf surrounds, but it's not mind-blowing. So that was a little disappointing. However, I'd read that all towers is a good setup for multichannel stereo music. I had never been a big fan of MC stereo, but thought I'd give it a try ... and, yeah, it's pretty darn good! MUCH better than the bookshelves. For a lot of music, I find I like it better than 2.1.

They also seem a lot safer to place in their ideal locations than bookshelf speakers on stands. Less likely to knock over accidentally.

So I think I'll keep them.
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  #662  
Old 10-08-2018, 12:44 AM
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My new towers looked dumb in the family room when left in the right position for movie watching, so I stuffed them into corners, which happen to be roughly the 3 and 9 o'clock positions when I'm sitting in my main listening position. (My TV is in the corner in between, flanked by my left and right mains, and I pull a chair into the room a few feet in front of the TV.)

I thought I'd try multichannel stereo music listening with the new towers in this position, just for fun. Man, oh man, it's great! More natural soundstage for music than having them behind me in standard 5.1 position. Classical music, in particular, is amazing this way. Talk about "speakers disappearing in a room." THIS is what I've been working to achieve.

So, yeah, I'm definitely keeping the new towers now!

Last edited by Egghead; 10-08-2018 at 12:49 AM..
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  #663  
Old 10-09-2018, 02:34 PM
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I mentioned in my previous post that I moved my surround towers to a more aesthetically acceptable position, and that this new position works great for multichannel stereo music listening ("upscaling" normal stereo music to play in 5.1.) I was curious to see how much of a compromise it would be for playing 5.1 movies.

Honestly, I think I might like this arrangement better, even for movies! The action of a movie is in front of me visually, and while I understand that the whole idea of surround sound is to make it a more immersive experience, I actually find that noises behind me are almost distracting from the cinema experience. That is, it's almost like such sounds remind me that I'm sitting in my room, watching a movie, rather than letting myself get caught up in the storyline.

I have a similar complaint about 3D movies: the 3D action is cool, but a bit gimmicky, and distracting from the storyline.

I don't think I'm just rationalizing this to myself, trying to feel better about leaving the speakers in the more convenient location. I played the scene from Dr. Strange, where the Ancient One opens his mind, and shows him alternate universes. There is a lot of panning of the Ancient One's voice all around the room in that scene. Even with the speakers to the sides, I still somehow got the illusion that the sound was coming from behind me, though not as pronounced as when the speakers were actually located behind me. So it did a good job of portraying the Ancient One as being this disembodied voice, without drawing my mind too far from the action on the screen.

I'm curious if others have played with this and had similar findings.

And, heck, even if I am rationalizing, who cares? I've found a win-win.
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  #664  
Old 10-15-2018, 06:53 PM
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How much are your surrounds toed in? You say they are at about 3 and 9 o'clock. If they are pointed so that the on-axis line would be behind your head, you may very well get a lot of spaciousness from reflected sounds.

One of these days I'll play around with surround sound again. Unfortunately my room isn't even close to ideal for installing surrounds - running the wires could be a real mess.
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  #665  
Old 10-15-2018, 07:03 PM
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Rocky Mountain Audio Fest was last weekend and I went for a bit. A few gems from the show...

ELAC was very well represented. In one room they had a system that was $2,500 for everything, using the ELAC 5.2. And I was pretty impressed, and in my mind I'm trying to price it out and figured they spent a lot of the budget on speakers. Nope, they're $600/pr. At the price I think they are a fantastic bargain, for a lot of music you could get by without a subwoofer, though I'd recommend adding one.

The new-ish McIntosh line arrays were amazing. I've never been blown away by Mac speakers before but these sounded pretty sublime. Of course, they are $130k/pair, so I'm out.

Oh, and I'm back to trying to get something installed in my car. The subwoofer box is almost done, and I ordered all of the other stuff I'll need. Looking forward to the upgrade, the factory Bose stuff isn't great. I've never been a huge Bose fan, but most of their stuff is decent. But I think they were on a tight budget here, it's just not a very good setup.
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  #666  
Old 10-16-2018, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George Frankly View Post
How much are your surrounds toed in? You say they are at about 3 and 9 o'clock. If they are pointed so that the on-axis line would be behind your head, you may very well get a lot of spaciousness from reflected sounds.

One of these days I'll play around with surround sound again. Unfortunately my room isn't even close to ideal for installing surrounds - running the wires could be a real mess.
I have the surrounds pretty much pointed straight at my head in the MLP.

I've been intrigued with the idea of bipoles as surrounds, but I'm happier with these big matching towers.

In the book by Toole I'm reading, I just got to a section where he cited a study, saying that folks preferred to have a second set of left/right speakers located between +/- 45 degrees and +/- 75 degrees. Mine were awfully close to +/- 90, so I played around with 70 degrees. To make that happen, I had to push my MLP back a couple of feet from my mains (which are at +/- 30). I found it lost something. Not sure why. There's always the chance that I just had a bad Audyssey calibration. But I moved it back where I had it, reran Audyssey, and I like it a lot better.
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  #667  
Old 10-17-2018, 02:33 PM
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Outlaw Audio ran a "secret sale" over the weekend. (That means you had to register ahead of time, and use a code they provide only to you.) I was able to purchase a second of my subwoofer at a lower price than any Black Friday special they've ever offered. Looking forward to hearing the advantages from running duals! (Then again, I've been warned that the difference from adding a second sub isn't necessarily dramatic. The big benefit you get is more even bass in more locations in the room.)

Last edited by Egghead; 10-17-2018 at 05:32 PM..
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  #668  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:36 AM
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I kept thinking about Floyd Toole's guidance that EQ should be avoided above the "transition frequency," especially as I've seen other authors with the same advice.

It turns out the Audyssey app on my iPhone can limit the range that gets EQ. I've tinkered with that until the response curve is essentially flat below 300 Hz (a common transition frequency for relatively small rooms) but no EQ above that. Sound is a little cleaner now, though in some ways I preferred the "enhanced" sound I was getting when I allowed it to EQ the full spectrum.

I am curious how important it is to have matched speakers for this approach. I would think the lack of EQ in the mid and treble ranges would cause the differences among speakers to be even more evident. I may hook up my old bookshelfs and play with it. But it's not really worth it. The five identical towers just sound so darn good.
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  #669  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egghead View Post
I have the surrounds pretty much pointed straight at my head in the MLP.

I've been intrigued with the idea of bipoles as surrounds, but I'm happier with these big matching towers.

In the book by Toole I'm reading, I just got to a section where he cited a study, saying that folks preferred to have a second set of left/right speakers located between +/- 45 degrees and +/- 75 degrees. Mine were awfully close to +/- 90, so I played around with 70 degrees. To make that happen, I had to push my MLP back a couple of feet from my mains (which are at +/- 30). I found it lost something. Not sure why. There's always the chance that I just had a bad Audyssey calibration. But I moved it back where I had it, reran Audyssey, and I like it a lot better.
Bipolar surrounds were kind of the rage in the 90s. It's been a while since I heard any, I recall thinking they were nice, but not better than monopoles, on the whole.

Am I reading that right, that you tried running dual mains? Two left speakers, and two right speakers?
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  #670  
Old 10-18-2018, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egghead View Post
Outlaw Audio ran a "secret sale" over the weekend. (That means you had to register ahead of time, and use a code they provide only to you.) I was able to purchase a second of my subwoofer at a lower price than any Black Friday special they've ever offered. Looking forward to hearing the advantages from running duals! (Then again, I've been warned that the difference from adding a second sub isn't necessarily dramatic. The big benefit you get is more even bass in more locations in the room.)
I agree that the benefit is a flatter power response. One sub is going to excite room modes, and depending on where you sit the relevant frequencies will shift. But you can't beat physics, there will be standing waves and constructive/destructive interference, and EQ can't fix it all. Getting that second sub in the mix, located to excite different room modes, smooths that out considerably.

The other big benefit is that for a given SPL, each sub only has to work half as hard. Less excursion = lower distortion.

At full tilt it probably won't sound all that much louder. You have twice the SPL, so it adds 3dB to max output. But the brain generally perceives 'twice as loud' to actually be 10dB or so. 3dB just isn't much to our brains, though it will rattle the walls twice as hard, so you may get a bump in the tactile sensations if you throttle it.
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