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what type of speakers is best?
usser
post Oct 6 2007, 11:21
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hello

can you tell me please what type of speakers is best?


bookself? outdoor? floorstanding? center-channel? multi speaker system? rear surround? tweeter? subwoofer? any other?
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Rokkaz
post Oct 6 2007, 12:15
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Err... Sorry, but your question is frustratingly vague. All the examples you listed in your post simply can't be compared as they all have completely different purposes/uses. I mean, honestly, how can you compare a tweeter and a subwoofer? They're designed to produce totally different frequency levels.

I won't go on anymore, but you really should reconsider the structure of your question to help yourself get the information you really want.

/Edit: Mabey try being a little more specific about your needs.

This post has been edited by Rokkaz: Oct 6 2007, 12:16
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ech3
post Oct 6 2007, 15:31
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QUOTE (usser @ Oct 6 2007, 10:21) *
can you tell me please what type of speakers is best?


The ones that give you the sound quality you desire at a price you can afford.
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DVDdoug
post Oct 8 2007, 21:58
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QUOTE
can you tell me please what type of speakers is best?
A good high-quality 3-way speaker is better than a small-cheap, poorly designed, 2-way (or single-driver) speaker... There are so many different ways to design and build a speaker, that there is no easy answer to that question... There are exceptions to every speaker design rule... The best thing for you, would be to go to a home-theater/hi-fi store and listen to a variety of speakers.

An ideal speaker will accurately convert the electrical signal to an acoustic signal without contributing any sound of it's own.* It will reproduce strong-clear bass, and crystal-clear highs. (Perfectly flat frequency response and no distortion.) Such a speaker is virtually impossible to build. Every speaker sounds different, and two speakers with similar appearance and similar design might sound quite different. A poorly designed big 4-way speaker might sound worse than a small 2-way speaker.

Because a "perfect" speaker is so difficult (and expensive) to design and build, the speaker is usually the weak-link in an audio system. The speaker choice will generally have a greater impact on the overall sound than any other component.

QUOTE
bookself? outdoor? floorstanding? center-channel? multi speaker system? rear surround? tweeter? subwoofer? any other?
Take a look at Wikipedia.

"Speaker" can mean a "raw" driver that's meant to be installed in a cabinet, or it can mean a speaker system (one or more speakers in a cabinet).

A typical bookshelf "speaker system" has 2 drivers. It has a small speaker called a tweeter for reproducing the high frequencies, and a larger driver called a woofer for reproducing the low frequencies. This is called a 2-way speaker system

A typical floor-standing speaker has 3 drivers. It has an additional midrange speaker. This is called a 3-way speaker system.

The speaker system shown in the Wikipedia article has 2 midranges... One for upper-mid frequencies and one for lower-mid frequencies. It's a 4-way speaker system. When there are more than 3 speakers, there are not really common names for them. It might have a subwoofer for the super-low frequencies, or a super-tweeter for the super-high frequencies...

Intuitively, you know that "small things" make high-frequency (high pitch) sounds, and "big things" make low frequency (bass) sounds. A big floor-standing speaker will usually have stronger bass than a small bookshelf speaker.**

Most home theatre systems have a sub-woofer in a separate box. The ".1" in a 5.1-channel system is the Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel, and it's used for "booms" and "explosions". In many systems the subwoofer isn't really a subwoofer... It's just a woofer. The little 4-inch*** "subwoofer" in my computer set-up is NOT a subwoofer. If it doesn't reproduce bass you can feel in your gut, I wouldn't call it a subwoofer. In fact, it's hardly even a woofer!

In a home theater system, you can get-away with 5 small surround speakers and one woofer/subwoofer, because low frequencies are non-directional. (It's hard to hear what direction low frequencies are coming from.)

A proper home theater system has 5 identical (or similar) full-range speaker systems, plus a subwoofer. But, since full-range speakers take-up lots of space, many systems use 5 small mid-high "satellite" speakers plus a woofer/subwoofer.

These 5 speakers/channels are:
Left-Front, Center, Right-Front, Left-Surround, Right-Surround.

An audio CD has only 2-channels, but Dolby Pro Logic II receivers have several "soundfield" modes to direct the sounds to all 5 speakers (plus the subwoofer).



* Some people like big-boomy bass resonance (especially in their cars). But, audiophiles (and music lovers) hate this one-note bass. They want to hear the original sound from the CD as the artist/producer intended it.

** When it comes to speaker design, a small speaker in a small box can make deeper bass than a big speaker in a small box. So, in a home system (with limited space) a small woofer-driver often gives better bass than a large driver. When it comes to live music (or club music), large drivers are used in large woofer/subwoofer cabinets.

*** For those of you who live in more-advanced civilizations, 4 inches = ~10 cm.

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Oct 8 2007, 22:34
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usser
post Oct 15 2007, 14:16
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DVDdoug thanks for the interesting response

I would like to know if there are some specific features that good speakers must have

also, the more speakers the better?

last, the intented use is listening music and dvd in a room

thanks
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DVDdoug
post Oct 15 2007, 21:49
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QUOTE
I would like to know if there are some specific features that good speakers must have
There are no easy answers, and there are exceptions to every rule. Someone could argue with everything I'm about to say!

As far as speaker specifications....

1. You need flat frequency response (no speaker has perfectly flat response). That means that the speaker puts-out the same acoustic volume at all frequencies... One watt at 30 Hz (low frequency) puts-out the same volume level as one watt at 1,000 Hz and 20,000hz (high frequency).

2. Power handling - The speaker shouldn't distort or burn-up when high power is fed into it.

3. Efficiency - The speaker should play loudly with a small amount power applied. (With high efficiency, you don't need high power.)

I'd say those are the most important specs/characteristics... Maybe I should mention dispersion too. (Does the sound at all frequencies spread-out like a floodlight, or is it more like a laser?) You want wide dispersion (or similar-smooth dispersion) at all frequencies (again impossible to perfectly achieve).

BTW - When it comes to speaker specifications, you cannot trust the manufacturer's claims. Sometimes they give you a frequency response spec without any plus-minus dB range, or they give you a "peak" power rating (it can take 100 watts for one microsecond). Or, they might use a "trick" set-up to get the test results they want, or they might just make-up specs that look good. (If you buy professional studio monitors or large professional speakers designed for concert/club use, from a reputable manufacturer, then you might be able to believe the specs.)

QUOTE
also, the more speakers the better?
It usually takes at least 3 drivers (Woofer, midrange, and woofer) to cover the full sound spectrum. On the other hand, if there are too many drivers, the crossover (the circuit that divides the sound betwen speakers) gets complicated, and you can get dispersion differences or acoustic interference between the drivers.

QUOTE
b]last, the intented use is listening music and dvd in a room
For DVD "home theater" surround sound, you need 5 speakers, plus a subwoofer. Because of the space required, and the cost of large full-range speakers, most people choose 5 matched small or medium sized 2-way speakers, plus one combination woofer/subwoofer.

You only 2 speakers to play CD audio (Audio CDs are 2-chanel stereo), but, if you have a "home theater" receiver with Dolby Pro Logic II will have several "soundfield" options that route the music to all 5 speakers (plus the subwoofer)

This post has been edited by DVDdoug: Oct 15 2007, 21:55
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usser
post Oct 15 2007, 23:23
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thanks!

are there any reliable (tested and proven) benchmarks and recommendations for what specific speakers to buy?

This post has been edited by usser: Oct 15 2007, 23:23
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cliveb
post Oct 16 2007, 09:27
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QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 15 2007, 21:49) *
3. Efficiency - The speaker should play loudly with a small amount power applied. (With high efficiency, you don't need high power.)

I don't think this should be a factor. Pick the speaker you like for its sound, then get a partnering amp of the appropriate power. High powered amps are not necessarily expensive. For a given sound that you like, low efficiency speakers plus a high powered amp could well be a cheaper option than high efficiency speakers plus a low powered amp.

QUOTE (DVDdoug @ Oct 15 2007, 21:49) *
Maybe I should mention dispersion too. (Does the sound at all frequencies spread-out like a floodlight, or is it more like a laser?) You want wide dispersion (or similar-smooth dispersion) at all frequencies (again impossible to perfectly achieve).

That depends on how you are planning to listen. If you are happy to sit in the "sweet spot", low dispersion speakers (eg. electrostatics) can give better imaging. But if you want to wander round while listening, then good dispersion, particularly at high frequencies, would help.

But all of this info is largely irrelevant. What the OP needs to do is listen to a selection of speakers and decide which ones he likes the sound of. You can read a few reviews to get a shortlist and avoid wasting your time trying out dogs, but after that it's down to personal preference. The original question - "what type of speaker is best (bookshelf? floorstanding? outdoor?)" - is a bit like asking "what type of woman is best (blonde? redhead? brunette?)". Nobody else can make your decision - you need to sample what's out there.
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