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Old 10-01-2007, 08:13 AM   #1
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Speaker choice


Is it a good/acceptable idea to mix and match among different brands of speakers; i.e. in-wall front speaker from SpeakerCraft and center piece from Infiniti, and so on?

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Old 10-01-2007, 09:24 AM   #2
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It has been a couple of years since I have researched this topic. I do not know why anything would change. They call it Timber Matching, when you have speakers all from the same manufacter.

You have to remember that speaker manufacturers tune and test their speakers to work perfectly together. So for the best results you should go with the same brand.

With that said I deviated from that a little. My front and middle speakers are Infinity. I highly recommend them. My sub is MTX. That is the only speaker I have that is not Infinity. I did that becuase I felt MTX was a better bass manufacturer. Infinity is known for crisp and clear sounding speakers. To me that is important when getting your front speakers. The sub however is for one thing-The boom!!! My MTX gives me that.

Hope this helps.

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Old 10-01-2007, 02:42 PM   #3
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In a word.

NO.

You should most definitely have matched speakers throughout for a better quality sound. Timbre matching is but one reason.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:09 PM   #4
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Speaker choice


You can mix and match brands, but still need to match the speaker "specs"... but by using different brands, it makes it harder as the manufacturers has doen that work...
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slakker View Post
You can mix and match brands, but still need to match the speaker "specs"... but by using different brands, it makes it harder as the manufacturers has doen that work...
I disagree with this. In a perfect world you would be correct. However, I have learned through the years that audio equipment is tested differantly depending on the manufacturer. It is not always an apples to apples comparison. To simplify this a bit-A 250w Infinity speaker might not be as loud as a 250 watt speaker from JBL. Each manufacturer rates speakers differantly. I realise watts is not the only criteria that they use, but you get the idea.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:42 PM   #6
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Speaker choice


My 2 cents....

If you are a discerning audio enthusiest or like to have the best that you can. You will find it extremely difficult to find a well matching set of various brands where you will not hear the difference. With the exception of the sub.

But....for the average movie goer who is not really concerned with having absolutely perfect sound. You may be quite happy with mixing brands.

Many people I have helped, have mixed brands, and done so becuase they looked into the costs involved with getting all the same (for certain speaker brands) and even after listening to them decided that they were happy with the multi-brands that they had.

What I would suggest is see if you can gather up or borrow a few speakers, maybe from other family or friends. Set up the different speakers together, and give it a listen. Also, if you have the availability of a friend or family member with all the same brand of similar quality to what you would be looking at, go over and give theirs a listen. Compare. I would not suggest going to a store to hear a setup, as they usually have their rooms in such a way which the average person would not, improving the sound of their systems.

Hope that helps somewhat.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:08 PM   #7
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Speaker choice


Am I safe if I keep to the same brand-- or do I have to match further within that brand-- say to the same series? Thanks.
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:15 PM   #8
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How much are you spending and what type of environmental design are you putting in? My suspicion is that you won't hear any noticeable difference for the general mid to low end product lines... not to then non-audiophiles anyways...

You're probably good with the same brand....
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Old 11-16-2007, 04:39 PM   #9
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Speaker choice


Thanks. I'm sure not doing top end. I'm buying the rear and front speakers (Boston Acoustics) from the installer who's wiring them through the walls. But thought I could save some money by buying the center and subwoofer myself.
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Old 11-19-2007, 01:09 AM   #10
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Speaker choice


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Originally Posted by rskay View Post
Am I safe if I keep to the same brand-- or do I have to match further within that brand-- say to the same series? Thanks.
Any advice on this question? I'd like to know since my trusty, old audio speakers are Infinity RS5 and I'd like to reuse them in my new, expanded A/V set up ("home theater").

TIA!!
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Old 11-19-2007, 08:25 AM   #11
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Speaker choice


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Originally Posted by 1655graff View Post
Any advice on this question? I'd like to know since my trusty, old audio speakers are Infinity RS5 and I'd like to reuse them in my new, expanded A/V set up ("home theater").

TIA!!
It really depends on how discerning of a listener you are?

I know a lot of people who have some really nice front L+R speakers which are very different from the remaining surround speakers (in brand too), they do this because they like to listen to a lot of music in 2 channel mode.

I would lean towards the previous response....low to mid end, you could probably mix and match to what suits you and you would likely be happy. Hi end...basically, if you're gonna spend the money..match them. And don't think that by "mix and match" I mean just completely random.

I wish there was a simple method of being able to tell which speakers might sound ok together, but there are just so many things in a speaker which affects the sound.

At the very least......

L+R fronts should be a matching pair.

Surrounds should be matching pairs.

Subwoofer really does not matter as long as you can adjust the levels. Bigger, the better.

Center speaker, try to keep the speaker spec's similar to the L+R fronts. Try to keep the woofer at 6.5" or less....this speaker will be playing mostly vocals, a larger diameter speaker will have a harder time moving fast enough and accuratly enough to reproduce vocals....to put it simply.

Even within the same brand you can find very different sounding speakers, but you may have a better time finding spec's that are at least similar....don't forget to look at speaker materials, what the box is made of, ported or sealed, as well as the numerical spec's.

One other thing to note is that if you are music person, who loves to listen to nice clear music...then you may notice a difference in sounds between the speakers when you listen to music in "all channel" mode or DVD-audio. But again...that is really up to personal judgement as to whether or not you would really care about that.

I know that is kinda a vague answer, but I hope it helps a bit.
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:21 PM   #12
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Speaker choice


Quote:
Originally Posted by rskay View Post
Am I safe if I keep to the same brand-- or do I have to match further within that brand-- say to the same series? Thanks.
Keeping within the same brand will, as one stated earlier, ensure that the way of measuring output and things are the same. In other words, using the same brand will tell you that two 350 watt Infinity speakers (for example) are going to be equally measured. Having said that, consider the fact that there's a possibility a manufacturer like Infinity research audio components and techniques and might change their unit of measure for determining things like RMS or Nominal wattage for a speaker. 20 years ago for example, Infinity might have used an analog meter of some sort to determine the best wattage rating for a continuous load (which is what nominal or RMS wattage refers to). In todays world, things are going digital so now, Infinity might use a digital meter of some sort that might determine a better RMS wattage. This is why using older Infinity speakers with new ones may not be a good idea because technology changes. Secondly, to more directly answer your question "does it have to be the same series?" manufacturers offer different series or models of speakers because they want to give the consumer more options. Speakers in one series will almost always have different specifications from speakers in another series. For example, in car audio (which I am pretty knowledgeable about) the wattage ratings (RMS/Nominal wattage AND peak output) are different among models or series. I have Boston acoustics in my car that are of one series. When you mix match series, you end up with speakers that require different RMS wattage ratings. This can be a problem especially if you pair a top of the line pair of speakers with a low end pair from the same brand. With Boston Acoustics, the top of the line of car speakers features 150 Watts RMS and the lowest end line features 35 Watts RMS. If you are pushing 150 Watts to support your high end pair, you will blow the low end.

In short, using old with new even within the same brand isn't necessarily a great idea. Using speaker pairs from various series within the same brand isn't a great idea because you will be overpowering or under powering atleast one of the pairs. Hope all that mess helps lol.
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Old 08-07-2008, 03:55 PM   #13
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Speaker choice


Quote:
Originally Posted by 1655graff View Post
Any advice on this question? I'd like to know since my trusty, old audio speakers are Infinity RS5 and I'd like to reuse them in my new, expanded A/V set up ("home theater").

TIA!!
IMHO, it could be quite possible. My 6.1 system has all Klipsch speakers (except for the sub, again a fairly common application). I ordered 3 pair for the RF, LF, RS, LS, CS (will use the extra when I move to the house with the 7.1 system), but when it came time to choose from Klipsch's center-channel offerings, I did considerable research.

Pay close attention to efficiency ratings! Sure, it's possible to use the ITG to balance at a particular level, but a more efficient speaker will gain more SPL as output from the amp increases than will one with less efficiency--you really want to match efficiency more than spectral balance (timbre matching) when choosing speakers, even from the same manufacturer. For me, it was easy with the Klipsch products, I simply chose the FC speaker that had the same drivers as the others, thereby ensuring as close a timbral match as possible. Klipsch speakers are known for high efficiency and the FC matched the rest of the speakers within 1 dB, so I was good to go.

Bottom line, check out the offerings from Infinity, get one that is as closely rated for efficiency and frequency response as possible to your current speakers, and count on the processor to smooth out the rough edges.

My 5.1 stereo/DPL music only setup has a set of handmade solid walnut cabinets, each housing a SpeakerLab 15" woofer, 2 SpeakerLab 5 1/4" midrange cone speakers, 3 SpeakerLab 1" silk soft dome tweeters and 1 SpeakerLab horn tweeter. I ran them in phantom center mode until I found a compatable center channel (an Acoustic Research model) and I use Bose 101's for the 2 rear surrounds. This is adequate for my purposes with this Denon receiver--when I'm jammin' out, I run it in stereo only and the rest of the time it's just the sound processor for the TV. It's a mismatched set, but the sound quality requirements aren't as critical as they are in the rooms in which my digital equipment is installed, so we're OK for now (have a set of Bose 901's I'll use as rear-surrounds soon as I switch to a digital processor in that room).

So, like others have said, it depends on how critical your listening skills are--it's a skill that develops over time when you've had adequate exposure to high end systems.......experiment, that's the key, and get a Radio Shack SLM and you'll have much better luck setting up your surround processor's settings.

Dugly


Last edited by YerDugliness; 08-17-2008 at 01:02 PM.
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