Is there such a thing as dedicated two channel or home theater speakers?

3dbinCanada

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Im narrowing this question down to the main left and right speakers and ignoring center channel, bipole and dipole surround speakers. My thinking is that a good speaker is equally adept in performing both 2 channel and main left and right speakers in HT equally well. If its better in one role than the other, can it still be considered a good speaker? What say you?
 

Sonnie

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I would think that if it is good in two-channel, it should certainly be good in home theater use. However, not necessarily true the other way around. A speaker might be fine for home theater but may not have very good soundstage or imaging as a two-channel speaker. Personally, I would not be concerned as much about imaging and soundstage for home theater, not as long as I have a center speaker involved. Now... if you listen to a lot of multi-channel audio, it might be more important. As we start to see more Atmos music tracks, imaging, and soundstage could become more important.

Bottom line for me... I want the best speakers I can get for two-channel music and I'll build my home theater around those speakers.
 

3dbinCanada

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Yamaha RX-A3060, RX-V1900, RX-V1075
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Yamaha BD-S681, Sony UBP-X800, Oppo BDP-83
Front Speakers
PSB Image T65, PSB Century 800, PSB Century 300
Center Channel Speaker
PSB Image 8C, PSB Century200, PSB Century 100
Surround Speakers
PSB Image 1B, RBH A600, PSB Alpha Minis
Surround Back Speakers
PSB Image 1B
Subwoofers
Rythmik LV12-R, PSB Subsonic 6, PSB Subsonic 5
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UN65KU6491 65"/UN55MU7000 55"/UN50MU7100 50"
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Logitech Harmony 650
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BlueSound Node2i
I built my systems which serve both HT and 2 channels around speakers that were good at 2 channels as well. They have excellent linearity which makes them good for HT as well.
 

JStewart

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I agree with you guys that speakers that are good will be good for music or home theater. For home theater though, I think the importance of a good center channel gets overlooked probably often due to space constraints under a display. I’m always amazed how comparatively little sound comes from the rest of the speakers when the center is muted.
 

ManCaveAudio

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A good speaker with a wide sound stage, imaging and tonality is always welcoming when you go to look for the 2 CH set-up but it is not a priority for the HT. However, such a good speaker helps open up the sound stage and imaging when you set it up in the HT.

Personally, I do not have any dedicated set-up for the 2CH audio, so I prefer to look for such a good speaker to use in my HT which I can eventually enjoy for 2CH music as well.
 

natty

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Im narrowing this question down to the main left and right speakers and ignoring center channel, bipole and dipole surround speakers. My thinking is that a good speaker is equally adept in performing both 2 channel and main left and right speakers in HT equally well. If its better in one role than the other, can it still be considered a good speaker? What say you?
Broadly speaking, that is true. But the details get a little more nuanced.

Presumably a two channel system is two speakers, intended to reproduce the full range of the recording. That means they need to play into the bass region well, typically at least 40 hz, and ideally lower. To achieve this, designers use ports and or other design choices that extend frequency response into the bass -- but at the expense of over all efficiency, and sometimes at the expensive of linearity.

A home theater system, on the other hand, is traditionally bass-managed -- meaning the left and right speaker don't need to play much lower than 80hz in most installs, since the bass can be better handled by a set of subwoofers, correctly set up.

This difference allows for a much more efficient speaker design. It can be sealed, as well, allowing for smoother integration with the subwoofer, and none of the minor (but real) challenges of using a port.

So while it is definitely possible to design a speaker that works great for home theater and two channel usage, you will be "wasting money" in the sense that you are adding in a lot of bass extension to a home theater speaker where is doesn't need it, and greatly reducing the efficiency of the home theater speaker by doing so, greatly increasing the power handling needs of the speaker for home theater usage, and thereby increasing you amplifier needs (more expense.).

Each person will need to make their own decisions about how to handle this situation.

For me, I chose great home theater speakers -- excellent linearity, good efficiency, not ported, and the bass rolls off a little below 80 hz -- because I prefer to control room modes with a multiple sub setup, anyway. I get full range two channel reproduction, but use more than just two speakers since I am also using dual subwoofers, set up in mono, time aligned with one another (sometimes called phase-aligned) and then time aligned with my mains: https://open.substack.com/pub/hometheater/p/coming-soon
 
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I agree with you guys that speakers that are good will be good for music or home theater. For home theater though, I think the importance of a good center channel gets overlooked probably often due to space constraints under a display. I’m always amazed how comparatively little sound comes from the rest of the speakers when the center is muted.
I agree with adding a center channle. Please check out our tech blog on the topic: A TV-centric 3.1 High Fidelity Home Theater System
 
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