Timbre What?????????? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


View Full Version : Timbre What??????????

05-13-2005, 04:08 PM
Ok members I have a technical question for you. If I understand voice matching correctly then isn't it very important to use speakers by the SAME brand/manufacturer using the same types of drivers in order to acheive optimal imaging AND maximizing the "Home Theater Effect" For example, I am seriously thinking about buying all Paradigm speakers. That is, the Monitor 3's for my fronts, the CC-370 for my center, and the minis for the rears. Hence, the speakers all use the same type of drivers and are in the same LINE/SERIES. So, then why would Ascend recommend a center(cmt-340c) that has a much better tweeter as compared to the CBM-170's. Then, a totally different speaker design altogether for the rears such as in the 200s. I am not trying to disrespect Ascend but am I making a good point? It is obvious to me Ascend makes fine speakers but if the designs are different then doesn't that have an effect on the timbre matching to acheive optimal home theater effect? Many Ascend owners like the cmt-340m for their mains, the cmt-340c for their center, and either the 170's or the 200's for their rears. But, is this truly voice matched? Anyways, I have been pondering this in my head all day. Personally, I am more of a music listener myself but I also want excellent home theater effect. Well, be sure to share your thoughts because the more I learn about speakers then the better descisions I shall make. Thank you for your time.

05-13-2005, 05:17 PM
It is true that all speakers in your home theater should be timbre matched. But there's a lot more to it than just brand name, model name, or even type of drivers.

A lot of aspects of a speaker can potentially impact the tonality or timbre of the speaker. The port if it has one, driver material, size, type, crossover topology, crossover point(s), cabinet shape and size,etc. Speaker placement and room acoustics affect timbre too.

Ideally you'd have 5 of the identical speaker for optimal timbre matching. Since this isn't always practical or feasible you generally shoot for the next best thing - 5 speakers with identical drivers. Results will vary on how closely these blend together. Failing that you shoot for close tonality - voice matching if you will.

The good news is that speakers can be voiced matched by design to behave similarly in the midrange where timbre matching is most critical. I think most manufacturers do this with their products now.
Ascend's different tweeter and woofers probably aren't much of a concern if they claim their speakers are voice matched. You probably won't notice the tweeter being different as much as you would a woofer. If response plots are available, you can get a good indication just by looking at the shape of the curve, take notes where peaks and dips occur. If they are considerably different across wide bands, you could have issues.

If you're really worried, buy 4 identical speakers for front mains and surrounds, and the corresponding center channel. As I said, I think most designers consider product ranges when designing now, so timbre matching is usually pretty good even if there are substantial differences between the speakers.

Don't worry too much about this...make sure your front 3 speakers are timbre matched at a minimum - follow the manufacturers recommendations. If you decide to get creative in mixing and matching, you'll probably want to test out your combinations, preferably in your own home.

05-13-2005, 07:08 PM
Thanks kex for the info. Makes me feel better with respect to the Ascends. By the way, I should be getting a demo on some Swanns soon. I remember you saying you was hoping to do just the same. I will be sure to let you know what I found out. Also, since I live less than 30 miles from Tyler Acoustics I plan on listening to them as well. Thanks once again.

05-13-2005, 08:38 PM
Don't worry too much about this...make sure your front 3 speakers are timbre matched at a minimum - follow the manufacturers recommendations. If you decide to get creative in mixing and matching, you'll probably want to test out your combinations, preferably in your own home.

Kexodusc speaks the truth.

You are very excited tonight. Lots of posts about your upgrades. But its good to be excited, half the fun of HiFi is anticipating a new acquisition.

First, don't worry too much about what is supposed to be right. i.e. timbre, rear soundstage, ect. If you stick with reputable brands your unlikely to be disappointed even if you mix and match. After all, you see more people raving about new acquisitions than complaining. I'm running paradigm across the front with boston acoustic in the rear. I'll be damned if I can tell the difference. I do have some more paradigms on order to replace the bostons, but that is only for cosmetics (I want the cherry veneers rather than black vinyl bostons). The best systems aren't necessarily the most expensive, most popular, ect. The best are the ones that make you forget to listen to the system at all. You forget about them and just get into the music or movie. One of the great things about paradigm is that there are no internet sales. So they hold there value well for sale on ebay if you later decide you don't like them. That is hard to do with the mail order companies. Why buy them on ebay or audiogon when I can just get them from the website?

Second, you definately want to check out stuff in your own home if you can. But, sometimes that can be impossible. I'd be more concerned about the proposed change to your mains rather than the center and surrounds. I notice that you have big MTX speakers -- rocking it college party style :D. You also have the tag "metallica rocks!" Those MTX's serve a purpose and work great for the heavy stuff. If your looking at Studio 20's (which I'm a big fan of) or monitor 3s you may be in for a surprise when you get them home and crank up the metallica. They are not going to rattle your fillings the way the MTX will. The 20's and 3's will be substantially different then the MTXs in the way the interact with your room. My advice is to pull apart your system this weekend and hook it up two channel style using your titans and sub in sub/sat configuration. Get those big MTX's out of the way for the weekend and listen to just the titans as mains (with the sub to fill it out). If metalica still rocks, then you have a pretty good idea of what the Monitor 3's will be like. Last thing you want to do is get home with an new pair of speakers and find your self saying "Yeah, they sound great, but where is the rock? Where is the crunch?" I'm never going to be a fan of Dianna Krall, so why would I want speakers that she sounds great on, but Marilyn Manson just doesn't quite make it?

Good luck.

05-14-2005, 03:05 AM
It's good to demo as many different models as possible. But keep in mind the more the environment changes with each demo, the less useful the demo is. Room acoustics (size, shape, carpeted, hardwood flooring etc), after speakers, make the biggest impact on overall sound. Different amps/receivers, different sound tracks, even a small difference in volume can skew your perception.

Ideally you'd demo in you own room, but this isn't always possible. Just keep this in mind when demoing. Try to use equipment on par with your equipment. If a speaker is borderline too bright for you in a well carpeted room, don't expect it to be softer with your bare, hardwood floors.

But in the end, go with what you feel more comfortable with. I really don't believe there is a universal right or wrong. Just many flavors for many people.

05-14-2005, 11:46 AM
if you're patient you may look long term to a front projector system...they're coming down in price so if the bulb replacements also come down in price then this would be the best way to go because you could actually put all 5+ speakers at the same height and be the exact same speaker -- IMO it's the best way to go...plus in general I find the front projectors to be the best picture and can be the biggest picture and don;t seem to require the dark rooms of old. Also adds the theater experience feeling to the whole thing. But the bulbs are around 2000 hours and cost hundreds to replace.

You can always run your set-up in phantom mode --- much of the time I have heard this beat the system with the side-leaning center speakers...not all the time but worth a shot.

05-14-2005, 02:03 PM
You can always run your set-up in phantom mode --- much of the time I have heard this beat the system with the side-leaning center speakers...not all the time but worth a shot.

I ran 6 identical speaker for a while...To be honest, after many hours of careful comparison, I do in fact prefer the significantly wider soundstage and greater dynamics a good center channel speaker (horizontal arrangement) does provide. The dual woofer arrangement does have many advantages over an identical 5th bookshelf or floorstanding speaker.

The height aspect can easily be remedied by introducing a bit of tilt to the speaker.

If you place the speaker on the TV, you'll probably not want to use identical speakers for center channels. Any baffle-step worked into the design will not work right with a TV screen above or underneath the speaker. Most center channels compensate for this type of placement.

There are many problems with some inexpensive center channels, the D'Appolito design is known for poor horizontal lobbing problems, phase issues, etc, that necessitate a very good crossover to fix. If you're sitting 15 degrees or so off axis, any center speaker should work, but greater than that you might find problems.