Replaced my small wall mounted surrounds with large floor standing speakers.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Bill Mac, Oct 22, 2016.

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  1. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    I recently bought a pair of Salk HT2-TLs which replaced a pair of Salk 1801TLs. I've had the 1801TLs up for sale but so far no serious offers. So I decided to try the 1801TLs as surrounds in place of a small pair of wall mounted a/d/s 300Cs. Having been a big fan of surround music for a number of years I always wanted to use larger speakers for surrounds but really didn't have the space for them in my small listening room/living room (13'D x 17'W).

    Recently I took a look at my room and found that if a few things were moved around there would be space for the 1801TLs as surround. Well yesterday was the big day and I spent a few hours placing the 1801TLs and then doing a fresh Dirac calibration. The first surround disc up was Mark Knopfler's Sailing to Philadelphia DVD-A. All I can say is WOW! The difference in the way the sound envelopes the listening area is incredible. Not only is the surround effect so much better the bass is also so much more prominent as is the midrange. The 1801TLs are not a perfect match for the HT2-TLs (Raal ribbon tweeter vs. Hiquphon OW2 dome tweeter) the bass driver in the 1801TLs is the same as the two in the HT2-TLs (Seas Excel W18). But both speakers have that unmistakable smooth Salk house sound.

    Fortunately yesterday was a rainy day in southern Maine so I was able to play quite a bit of surround music :).

    The list would include:
    Roxy Music - Avalon SACD
    Beck - Sea Change SACD (such a positive album, locked up all sharp knives, shoe laces and belts :D)
    Donald Fagen - Kamakiriad DVD-A
    Yes - Tales From Topographic Oceans DVD-A
    Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow APO SACD

    After listening to all of the above listed surround titles for quite some time (other than Yes' TFTO) I can say that without a doubt the addition of the 1801TLs as surrounds is a HUGE difference in SQ. Especially with Blow By Blow as it's a quad mix and having four large speakers to play this incredible album in surround is huge!

    I've dismissed the importance of using large full range surrounds in the past. I thought my system sounded great using the small a/d/s 300Cs as surrounds. I have to admit I was dead wrong in thinking there would not be much of a difference. I have to credit fellow SH member Hymetta Winslow for his posts advocating the use full range surrounds. In the past HW and I have gone round and round about this and will gladly admit he is 100% right! I'm now also a huge advocate for large full range surrounds in a major way!

    Now all I need is more time to explore my favorite surround titles and sit back an crank the volume :)!
     
  2. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Forum Resident

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Congrats on the improved sound and enjoyment of music. Really not a lot of replacement for displacement. Enveloped by all octaves, quality tunes is a damned good thing.
     
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  3. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    Thanks :)!
     
  4. caupina

    caupina Forum Resident

    Location:
    Santiago, Chile
    Congrats Bill...I'm glad everything is coming together and you get to enjoy great SACDs as they are meant to be listened in all their 5.1 glory....my surround title suggestion: Chris Botti's "Night Sessions" ;)
     
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  5. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Break out that Chicago Quadio Bill! You will really appreciate the horns and bass energy from the rears. Glad you made the switch and your enjoying the multichannel collection more than ever. The quad America - Hearts also has lots of old school analog bass with an excellent mix! ...Jeff Beck Group!!!!
     
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  6. mongo

    mongo Forum Resident

    I'm not surprised at all at the difference, Bill.
    As far as the speaker not being a "perfect", i.e., identical match.
    Having the same mid-woof drivers is way more important than the tweeters involved.
    The vast majority of the sound is being derived from the mid-woofers.
    In fact my surround system has 3 Salk HT-2s(LCR) and 1801s for the surrounds so I know what I'm talking about. Hah!! :)
    Enjoy!
     
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  7. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    Thanks Cesar :)! I happen to have the Chris Botti "Night Sessions" SACD. Excellent suggestion! I got it for $10 from the "Great SACDs on the Cheap" hunter formerly from LA :D. Of course that would be you ;).
    Thanks HW :)! I will definitely be breaking out the Quadio set. I've slowly been go through the set but it'll sound much better now! Hearts and The Jeff Beck Group are also excellent suggestions :).
    What an awesome speaker setup! I'd love to hear that setup. No doubt that your system sounds incredible. Always good to see a fellow Salk speaker owner here on SH :). You certainly do know what you're talking about!
     
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  8. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I am in the camp of the quality of the speakers is more important than matching front to back. If you start with four quality full range speakers, and build from there, you can't go wrong. Because we don't live in symmetrical square boxes, even matching speakers don't sound exactly the same when they are away from each other. This can be tested by sending a mono recording to each speaker, one at a time. It will not only surprise you on how different they can sound, but motivate you to add room treatment.
     
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  9. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Nice. I've been using floor stander surrounds (B&W Nautilus 804 x 4) for the past 15 years, and won't go back to small speakers :)
     
  10. Myke

    Myke Rock Geezer

    My rears have been towers since 2009.
     
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  11. defmoot

    defmoot Forum Resident

    Location:
    Arizona, USA
    That's gotta sound amazing.

    My brother picked up a pair of SongTowers a couple years ago. I finally got to hear them last month. Very, very nice sound. I imagine these higher trim Salks really shine, especially in full surround.

    May I ask if you're running a center channel and, if so, which one? Thanks.

    .
     
  12. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    I'm very happy with the sound of the speakers :)! My first Salk speakers were a pair of SongTowers with a Song Center. Then bought a pair of 1801TLs used and had Jim Salk make a 1801b center to my specs. Then recently I bought a pair of HT2-TLs used. I'm still using the 1801b as a center and in the future will look for a HT2C which will match up better with the HT2-TLs. It's been a progression up the Salk speaker line with nice improvements with each upgrade :).
     
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  13. mongo

    mongo Forum Resident

    Having 3 identical speakers for the LCR is a huge advantage.
    The coherence, soundstage and sound placement are really hard to beat.
    That said, I've heard systems with LR floorstanders and a matching horizontal center that were fantastic.
    Setup, room etc., as always makes the difference.

    Bill, I'm certain your system is giving you the big grin :D:D:D
     
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  14. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I also use full range speakers, but not matched pairs, same brand but different models.

    The center channel is two semi-small Infinitys next to each other in a shelf front center of the room. I was surprised at how well that sounded. Must work well because others are also Infinity brands.

    There are other upgrades I wish to make like a DAC and new computer for music server. So speaker upgrades are not in the plans right now.
     
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  15. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    .
    My center speaker tweeter and mids match my mains, I guess you could call that a matching horizontal center. I added a sub that doesn't match that is only connected to the center. It is a 10 inch sub in a sealed cabinet. My mains have large ported cabinets with a 10 inch drivers. It sounds great as a system. I have been giving the system a workout over the last few days and I still have some multichannel stuff I haven't yet heard.
     
  16. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I totally agree. My rear speakers do not match my front speakers and I am fine with that. Rear speakers do not have to sound the same as the front speakers for your system to have good synergy. The buzz word here is synergy. There are some speaker combinations which do not work at all. This is really no different in putting four people together to sing. It is a case of the right four people vs. the wrong four people. Some things work well together and some things do not.

    If you are going to match speakers. It is a good idea to match the center to the left and right front mains. Even then, it does not have to be an exact match for HT, though it should be for 5.1 channel surround music.

    so many people use small speakers as rears. I do understand this for space considerations. I had intended to do this my self at first but I had a 2nd pair of tower speakers that I had intended to use in another room, so I played around with those. Like you, I figured that the large rears sounded so much better than the smaller surrounds that I had used years previously.

    I found that the sound was large and full, no where near where what you are going to get with a normal bookshelf type of surround (without paying a whole lot of money for it, even then...).

    To the OP:

    You do not have to limit yourself to surround sound SACD's. Even regular unprocessed 2-channel stereo sounds great (IMO) with the addition of rear speakers. You have the ability to create a large immersive sound field in the room. To me, doing this makes the room seem like a much larger venue than just having two front speakers.

    When I do this, I use a separate rear amplifier that has two inputs. I use it normally when listening to surround encoded disks. I reverse the inputs for 2-channel sources. This way, the front right speaker, goes to the left rear speaker and vise versa. By adjusting the volume of the rear amplifier, you can control the amount of fill sound to the main front sound. I still keep the majority of sound coming from the front mains, because, in a live venue, the majority of sound is coming from the front. The rear speakers are providing "fill" sound to enlarge the room boundaries. It is a different effect from having the front and rear volumes at equal level, where that effect gives you the impression of being in the middle (I also do that every now and then).

    Try it some day when you have another rainy day. It will open you up to the rest of your collection, by adding your 2-channel sources to your SACD collection. Of course, the effect is not the same as having a mix on 5.1 dedicated discreet channels, but done correctly, it can be quite effective and pleasing.
     
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  17. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    :agree:
     
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  18. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    I have a pair of Boston Acoustic M-350's and a pair of M-340's. I just bought a matching M-Center, speaker, so I could have the correct matching. My current center channel is from the Polk RTi-A9 matching line, the CSiA6.

    I have since, moved the A9's out and replaced them with the Polk LSiM 707's. I am currently waiting to see if Polk is going to offer it's usual annual 50% off sale at the end of this November. If they do, I intend to buy their matching LSiM 706C, which is currently selling for $1,200.

    For HT, I have been using the CSiA6 with the LSim707's and they sound fine, but I would prefer a better match, in the front.
     
  19. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    I have three Pioneer sp-c21 speakers for LRC. They are great. But when I got a larger TV the center speaker intruded into the viewing area so I tried using an old Kef c500 because it's smaller and didn't block the screen. It turned out to be a perfect match for the Pioneer LR speakers; I can't hear a difference at all. Seamless LCR soundstage. Beautiful.
     
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  20. It depends what you are listening to for speaker options. The small "surround" and "center channel" speakers are for home theater. If your listening preferences are for multi-channel music, then, like quadraphonic of the 70's, your speakers should all be the same to give a balanced sound. If you listen to both multi-channel music and surround home theater, mismatched speakers are OK. The rear channels speakers should be of a better quality than those small surround speakers but not better than the front speakers.
    What is most important is that they sound good to you.
     
  21. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I used to be against "fake surround" but ever since I upgraded my rears, I have been having good results with most types of music adding the additional two rear speakers to the mix. I was using pro logic II but for really good stuff I have taken the time to do a full upmix using SPEC Web. Albums like Radio KAOS and Pawn Hearts for example, sound amazing! Trick is, choosing albums with dense and complicated materal and quality uncompressed, dynamic recordings. Also, I don't use my center channel for upmixed from two channel stuff, it sounds a bit too fake and is not needed. I save the center for true 5.1 stuff...
     
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  22. mongo

    mongo Forum Resident

    My room does triple duty, 2-channel, 7.2 Movie and 5.2 Music.
    My pre-pro allows me to move the side-surrounds input to the rear surrounds when I select the Music input on the pre-pro.
    Very nice feature imo.
     
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  23. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    That is nice. My multichannel analog preamp (Sony p9000 es) has 5.1 and 2.0 bypass that makes it very versatile along with two 5.1 inputs. My system handles double duty fine, and soon triple duty when I decide to go Atmos and dtsx. I don't watch many movies so I am in no hurry on that front:)
     
  24. Mine does, as you state, triple duty also. I do have 2 different systems though. One is a Sony 7.1 home theater AVR, 5.1 music surround and 2-channel stereo. With it, I use a pair of 5-way MTX 12" front channel speakers, a JBL 3-way center channel, a 15" 300W KLH subwoofer and Bose 201 surround speakers. I have 2 Sony 400 disc changers and an ADC Accutrac +6 with a Shure M97xe cartridge. My other system is a quadraphonic one with a Pioneer Qx-949 receiver, Teac A-2340R r2r and an AT-LP120 using a Shure M24H cartridge. For speakers, I have 4 JBL 2800's.
     
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  25. Gang-Twanger

    Gang-Twanger Forum Resident

    I don't think I could ever do a full-on surround setup.

    Those Salks are nice-looking speakers by the way. A 90 degree turn from what I'm running, but a t-line with ribbon tweeters must sound amazing powered by some quality amp'age... (I bet they sound great on all the music where my speakers struggle... like '80's and later stuff).
    [​IMG]
     
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