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How critical is speaker matching in 5.1?
Old 3rd July 2009
  #1
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How critical is speaker matching in 5.1?

Considering that 99% of what comes from the rear surrounds is ambience and spot effects, would it really be disastrous to have the surrounds and front array mismatched? The majority of my work is still stereo, so what I'd really like to do is upgrade my L-C-R from my current Blue Sky 6.5's but leave the Blue Sky surrounds and sub, still running everything through the BMC. (there are some mounting issues in my room that would make this desirable as well)

Thoughts?

Also, I'm interested in opinions on Dynaudio BM5A's. (They wouldn't necessarily be my first choice for this change, but I actually won a pair in a giveaway!)
Old 3rd July 2009
  #2
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charles maynes's Avatar
 

In a theatrical situation they will ALWAYS be mismatched. the main concern is that they are-

1- at a calibrated level

2- reasonably similar in mid-range sound quality.

you might check the stickies for the Dolby and THX recommendation on the issue.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
Considering that 99% of what comes from the rear surrounds is ambience and spot effects, would it really be disastrous to have the surrounds and front array mismatched? The majority of my work is still stereo, so what I'd really like to do is upgrade my L-C-R from my current Blue Sky 6.5's but leave the Blue Sky surrounds and sub, still running everything through the BMC. (there are some mounting issues in my room that would make this desirable as well)

Thoughts?

Also, I'm interested in opinions on Dynaudio BM5A's. (They wouldn't necessarily be my first choice for this change, but I actually won a pair in a giveaway!)
No idea at all on the dynaudios - don't know them (I am an Adam Audio convert).
However - as far as mismatched spreakers go, this really is a no-no.
All 5 channels should be the same make & model, or you may well get translation issues. Add to this that all 5 main channels should also be as close to full range as you can manage (if using Active Nearfields you will be okay at a 50Hz cutoff assuming that your .1 is properly set up & calibrated, with a seamless transition between 5 mains & .1 channel to reduce lumpiness which is all too common.

What I seriously recommend you do is pop over to the RPG and grab a copy of the 5.1 recommendations PDF. If you're working in surround of any channel count, this is holy writ.

See GRAMMY.com for the relevant documents.

Hope this helps.
Old 3rd July 2009
  #4
Gear Guru
 
charles maynes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by neilwilkes View Post
No idea at all on the dynaudios - don't know them (I am an Adam Audio convert).
However - as far as mismatched spreakers go, this really is a no-no.
All 5 channels should be the same make & model, or you may well get translation issues. Add to this that all 5 main channels should also be as close to full range as you can manage (if using Active Nearfields you will be okay at a 50Hz cutoff assuming that your .1 is properly set up & calibrated, with a seamless transition between 5 mains & .1 channel to reduce lumpiness which is all too common.

What I seriously recommend you do is pop over to the RPG and grab a copy of the 5.1 recommendations PDF. If you're working in surround of any channel count, this is holy writ.

See GRAMMY.com for the relevant documents.

Hope this helps.
No theatre in the United States has the same speakers for the surround channels vs the front channels- This is a post topic not a Music production one- they are very different.

Dolby and THX (and AMPAS) are the only standards that matter in film sound reproduction.
Old 4th July 2009
  #5
ruy
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ruy's Avatar
it depends what you are mixing.
Old 4th July 2009
  #6
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dr.sound's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seanmccoy View Post
Considering that 99% of what comes from the rear surrounds is ambience and spot effects, would it really be disastrous to have the surrounds and front array mismatched? The majority of my work is still stereo, so what I'd really like to do is upgrade my L-C-R from my current Blue Sky 6.5's but leave the Blue Sky surrounds and sub, still running everything through the BMC. (there are some mounting issues in my room that would make this desirable as well)

Thoughts?

Also, I'm interested in opinions on Dynaudio BM5A's. (They wouldn't necessarily be my first choice for this change, but I actually won a pair in a giveaway!)
Sean,
Normally I would try to have them matched if possible, however as Charles pointed out in his post.....
Also, having heard your fine mixes before, I have no doubt that you ill be fine with whatever you choose to use.
And for those who haven't heard Sean's work, he's really good!
Old 13th July 2009
  #7
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Thanks, Marti, much appreciated and meaningful coming from you! Dubbing with you was quite an enjoyable and educational experience. Good coffee, too.

And due to general lack of positive feedback (or feedback in general) I've decided against trying to integrate the BM5A's and will hold off replacing my Blue Sky system until I can do a serious upgrade. Selling the Dynaudios will get me closer to one of the many Slutz-worthy pieces of gear on my infinite list!
Old 13th July 2009
  #8
Lives for gear
 

For small rooms doing TV there are some advantages to having the LCRLsRs speakers be all the same, I think, if only for consistency's sake. That said, I've been in lots of mix rooms where the rears were a smaller version of the same make/model speaker, and the mixes translated fine. For me, a totally different make/model mix of speakers would be strange, and I'd never want to try to work with a different C than the L and R (tried it--sucked). As was said, for theatrical the sides and rears are never the same as the LCR, so you have to get used to that. You mention Blue Sky, their gear works best for me as a whole system, with matching speakers and using their controllers. I have a Blue Sky 5.1 system, and think it would be harder to both get a mixed setup in cal (with their controllers, and without expert help) and sounding like I wanted it to.

Philip Perkins
Old 13th July 2009
  #9
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
I do a lot of 5.1 where I have to set up in rooms that only have stereo setups and had originally opted for smaller rear speakers when we got new location speakers some 6 months ago. This was due to convenience (lighter and smaller) and economics.
I since regretted that decision and recently bought a matching pair (L707) for the surrounds.
In the end I found it more complicated to set up (3 L707 and two L505) quickly, and I felt I could not quite trust what I heard.

With a permanent installation, I am sure I could make it work, but I would still prefer 5 matched fullrange speakers when possible.

edit:
We have since purchased a complete set of 5 L707 and I am much happier with the results.
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