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Old May 16th, 2006, 06:54 PM   #1
 
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Need Advice on Good Surround Speakers

Hi Everyone,

(Yes, I'm new here)

I'm about to start mixing surround sound 5.1 or 7.1 on an indie budget. I've got two Event PS-5 speakers (bi-amps) that sound nice and I figured I'd flesh the rest out by adding 3 more PS-5's and a fitting subwoofer. (This will all be powered by a Mac G5, FCP HD, Logic Pro 7, and the M-Audio Firewire 410). But where as the last feature I mixed (in stereo) sounded great on these speakers, it sounded fairly poor on home theater and movie theater systems (lots of hiss on certain character's dialogue because of her soft voice). I've been told that the PS-5's aren't tri-amped and thus don't have the frequency range to mix descent audio. Yet the strange thing is, I know people mix film sound on systems even lower quality than this. (Like M-Audio LX4 5.1 Systems). Can you give me advice on this situation? Thanks!

Candace Williams
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Old May 16th, 2006, 08:03 PM   #2
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candace Williams
But where as the last feature I mixed (in stereo) sounded great on these speakers, it sounded fairly poor on home theater and movie theater systems (lots of hiss on certain character's dialogue because of her soft voice). I've been told that the PS-5's aren't tri-amped and thus don't have the frequency range to mix descent audio. Yet the strange thing is, I know people mix film sound on systems even lower quality than this. (Like M-Audio LX4 5.1 Systems). Can you give me advice on this situation? Thanks!

Candace Williams
First, welcome!
Second, who ever made the "tri-amped" comment is bogus, bogus, bogus. Hiss in the mix has little to do with anything monitor-related, usually. If you couldn't hear it in the mix, it means it wasn't mixed right in the first place, or you've got a really, REALLY bad room with lots of ambient noise masking any hiss. Her soft voice likely has hiss because it was likely recorded that way. You allude to hiss because of her soft voice. That's a problem right there. If you've got less signal than noise, then of course it will be hissy (noisy).
The only thing you can really do is boost it in post, use noise reduction to clean it up, and THEN work the levels. Your system listing is just fine for doing a majority of audio projects. Doesn't matter if the speaks are biamped, triamped, externally powered, internally powered... If they're reasonably good, which the PS5's are, then you'll be fine. The problem isn't related to equipment, your post suggests it's operator/pilot training. If it's not recorded correctly, it won't post well.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 09:16 PM   #3
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I think you're mistaking triamped for 3 way. I can't even think of any triamped setups anywhere. 3 way (woofer, midrange, tweeter) are better if they are built well and your room sounds good. Two way's are more than enough for mixing though. Calibrate your setup properly, make sure your room is treated right, and practice practice practice. Good thing to do is do a mix, AC3 it and burn a DVD. Take it around and listen to it on other systems. This will give you a better idea of what problems you have to tackle.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 10:09 PM   #4
 
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Mackie, Event, KRK, Genelec, and others all make triamped systems (biamped satellites w/separately powered sub) and some of the older Urei systems were tri and even quad amped. So are Hothouse 4's.
However, I think you're right, someone is likely misconnecting triamped and three-way, and I didn't make that connection.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Candace Williams
I've been told that the PS-5's aren't tri-amped and thus don't have the frequency range to mix descent audio. Yet the strange thing is, I know people mix film sound on systems even lower quality than this.
Welcome, for monitoring on a budget your speaker selection is fine. The most critical issues for monitoring, especially surround, is room design, ambient and machine noise levels (so you can hear things like hiss clearly) and speaker placement.

Good two-way bi-amped studio monitors are in widespread use for monitoring, and given advances in speaker design, 2-way speakers perform as well or better than older 3-way designs because in the old days tweeters could not reach low enough and woofers could not reach high enough, but that is not true of conteporary drives that use new manufacturing techniques and materials. Many studio monitors work best with a subwoofer becuase they have been optimized for smooth crossover with the tweeter, sacrificing low end for that. This is not to say that in theory a three way can't be better, but it's just not "the only way" these days, especially with subs in the picture. Designers have to make trade offs given a particular price-point. Less components of higher quality can make for a better speaker. I love listening to mixes and music on my friend's Mackie HR824 Monitors and these two-way puppies are highly regarded by many audio experts. Purists may argue for three-way design to handle better bass without the need for a sub, because in theory subs can be the source of acoustic problems as they are more sensitive to placement issues than having the low-frequency driver designed in the same box as the rest of the speaker, but this is getting into serious obsession territory. In the end smaller two-ways and a sub are easier to cope with in a small mixing studio.
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Old May 16th, 2006, 11:28 PM   #6
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yes, if you are using a powered sub then I guess it would be technically triamped. but the old uries and hot house monitors that i remember were only biampable although the uries did have those lights that let you know how hard you were driving each driver but that was post crossover. Granted a lot of studios biamped both the left and right, is that what you mean by quad amped? The cost of building a triamped 3 way speaker crossover that sounded halfway decent would be quite high. I think I've only seen (now that I recall) one true triamped speaker (no sub) but that was in the $100 grand range. But this is off topic and only true audio geeks give a damn.

In the real world, most system crossovers are designed to be biamped. My studio setup, I use dual mono blocks biwired (not sure if there is any benefit to this) to my Nautilus 802's which are 3 way's. This doesn not affect the frequency range of the system, only the dynamic headroom between the left and right and the highs and lows. so whether or not your system is a stereo amp or higher, does not affect it's ability to deliver a given frequency range. it only affects tweekability between the highs and lows and the systems ability to handle a very wide dynamic range between the drivers and the left and right. reading this back, I can see that I need audio geek therapy.
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Old May 17th, 2006, 05:21 AM   #7
 
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Sorry guys,

Yes, I meant 3-way as opposed to 2-way. But it sounds here I've got my answer. Yes, I've heard that the PS-5's are a bit lacking in the low range, but since I have 2 of them already, it would be a crime to buy 5 more of something else as opposed to 3 more of these.

Still, I'm hard-pressed to believe the PS-5's won't do the trick quite well.

Can anyone suggest a good subwoofer in the "PS-5" price range to fill out the system?

Thanks
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