Sounds Good...
October 14, 2009 9:34 AM   Subscribe

[Hi-Fi / HT filter] Help me find the right front speakers for my receiver, so that both music and movies sound good !


I have a Harman Kardon AV 145 which i always used with the standard JBL 5.1 speaker set it came with (little and probably not so good satellites, but i really like the subwoofer).

I got my hands on a Mission m7c1 center speaker (got for almost free) and recently replaced the left and right front speaker (which previously were just little boxes) with some TEAC coming out of a compact system a friend was throwing away.

The difference since i put those left/right (sorry i don't have name or characteristics, but just imagine your typical 2 ways system from a 90s compact system) is amazing: music sounds much better - and i guess it's because now the left/right sound can manage some bass and the subwoofer just gives it a final touch.

The issue is that now when i watch a movie, i think the right/left sound too powerful compared to the middle - so you hear all the background noised much louder than the speech... and that's less than optimal. My receiver has the option to select if each speaker is "large" or "small", option that basically cross-overs the bass to the subwoofer or to the speakers themselves.

now... i think i might need to set the speakers as "small" in order to not overpower the middle... but then i miss the improvement i gained in the music listening area....

does this make sense? What would you do and/or what tests would you do ?

Secondly... I have now the chance to do two things

1) replace those TEAC speakers with the speakers that come from this Panasonic SC-DP1 system which actually sound _amazing_ and i would like to keep. Problem... these speakers have 4 wires coming out of them and my HK AVR 145 only has 2 plugs for each speaker... how do i connect them ?

2) someone is selling these amazing Mission 733 speakers for a very low price... i really like the idea of professional speakers but... will they be alright for the rest of my system or would i just add to the problem of left/right overpowering the middle ?

thank you all for your help!
posted by madeinitaly to Technology (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You should have an option to change the volumes of each individual speaker at the receiver itself. Try making the center speaker louder then the left and right.

I bet that is your problem. IF my Yamaha surround receiver has it yours should allso.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:49 AM on October 14, 2009

Best answer: You might want to read up on voice-matching your speakers - following is from Crutchfield:

When speakers possess a similar timbre or tonal quality. Voice-matched (or timbre-matched) speakers in a home theater system will result in more seamless, consistent, convincing wraparound sound. A good way to get voice-matched speakers is to stay within a family or series of speakers from a single manufacturer, or to get a pre-matched multi-speaker system. Check out our article on choosing speakers for more info. Also, more here.
posted by torquemaniac at 10:09 AM on October 14, 2009

Best answer: I have a similar H/K AVR 3550HD. You should be able to adjust the crossover within the receiver setup to adjust for the new speakers (mine has the large/small settings, but also has the ability to make finer adjustment for the crossovers). You should be able to adjust the L/R volume, too. What torquemaniac says makes a ton of sense...

On another note, I have never been able to get my H/K to sound good listening to standard 2-channel stereo. The small satellite speakers just don't do it for me, and I cannot adjust the mid-range if I install larger speakers (H/K tech support told me there's no mid-range adjustment on the 3550HD). Movies sound fantastic, but standard stereo just sucks -- I set up an old 70's Marantz receiver paired with cheap Best Buy speakers in a separate room just to listen to regular music (a 30 year old free receiver with $80 speakers sounds better than a new $1,000+ surround sound system??? Absolutely! Go figure).

Good resources for help: Harman/Kardon's tech support (they were very helpful), the Owner's Manual (I keep it next to the receiver and use it often),, and (of all things) 'Home Theater for Dummies'. HTfD really gave me the basics so that I could sound somewhat intelligent when talking to tech support and the folks on audiokarma.
posted by rtodd at 11:03 AM on October 14, 2009

Unless you can manually adjust the speaker level for each channel, which I think you should, this is going to be difficult.

I faced the same problem when I went from having 3 Paradigms at center, left, and right (and two Teac rear surrounds), to having two ENORMOUS Klipschs I got in exchange for the Paradigms who wanted smaller speakers, and the same smallish Paradigm center channel. The front sound went from sounding balanced to sounding like lots of background sound and very weak dialog.

I had a rather poor Magnavox receiver, and setting the center channel to be louder didn't help at all.

My first step was to replace the Paradigm center channel with a much larger Paradigm center channel. That helped a little. Then I got a Denon receiver that has the microphone that you put where your ears are going to be and it plays some test tones and automatically sets the levels for you. That solved all my problems, and now everything sounds amazing and balanced.

With a decent amp that allows you to set the levels, a dB meter, and a test tone disk, you should be able to make it work.
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:22 PM on October 14, 2009

Response by poster: thank you for the answers so far. the receiver has the possibility of setting different volumes for different speakers, and also a microphone in the remote that you can use with a function that transmits a constant noise and it automatically adjusts.

trying fiddling with this remote function and the speaker levels, still the situation doesn't change. i think it's more a question of tones rather than volumes. when listening in surround, it all comes down in volume (the overall volume) and it's all ... dark, i don't know how else to explain it.
on the opposite tone, while on "surround off" which is just the front speakers and the subwoofer, the sound is incredibly clear

but i didn't buy a dts receiver to watch in 2.1 ....
posted by madeinitaly at 11:00 PM on October 14, 2009

I know exactly the sound you're describing. I think I got lucky, as the giant Klipschs were never meant to be part of a home theater setup.

Could you get a Teac center channel that is matched to the front speakers?

If you're willing to spend some cash, and can make some money selling the old speakers, I really really like Paradigms, and their front and center speakers are usually matched.
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:23 PM on October 16, 2009

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