"lighter duty" or higher output speaker for surround sound

Glenn S

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Earlier I posted this query in the Chane website forum but now think that I may get more thoughts here:

I'm thinking that I should get surround side/rear/height speakers that have high output capability (I already have Chane A1s for side/rear surrounds but still need to buy height speakers).

Or am I wrong and should go with Jon Lane's (Chane) decision of designing a surround speaker with limited output?

Jon wrote this concerning a new Chane surround sound speaker model:
-The A4.4 onwall surround/effects speaker we've all wanted. It'll be loosely based on the A1.4 but without the
SplitGap tech (don't need it for lighter duty) and in a much smaller cabinet.


To me, he is saying that surround sound speakers do not need to have high output capabilities because surround sound audio signals will not call for high output. Yes, in years past the surround effects signals have had limited specs (i.e. limited frequency response, limited output...), but my understanding is that with these new surround sound formats, all limitations have been removed, height speaker signals (ceiling speaker signals) now have full frequency and output range. So in practice if there is a helicopter hovering directly above you, all of that high output sound can be sent to the height speakers. I'm hoping that in the future more and more sound engineers will take advantage of these new surround sound specs.
 

Tony V.

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Well, I can tell you that movie soundtracks send full range sound to all channels (everything above 80hz) and a speaker that can't go down to at least 60hz your going to be missing something. I get it that some people simply set their crossovers higher and send mor to the sub but that is not the intention of the movie soundtrack engineers. Look at THX standards for example, all speakers must be capable of producing 20kHz to 80Hz at reference levels and the sub must be able to do everything below that.

I think a better full range bookshelf speaker would be an improvement
 

Glenn S

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Well, I can tell you that movie soundtracks send full range sound to all channels (everything above 80hz) and a speaker that can't go down to at least 60hz your going to be missing something.
I agree with everything except that what I meant by full range is literally full range (i.e. 0-20,000hz). Limiting the signal to cut off below 80hz is not full range.
And I read a response from Jon at Chane in which he suggests that if surround signals will have wider frequency response and higher output, then his new A4 should be avoided and instead use a higher output model such as the A1 or A2, which I was already thinking of using.
 
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Todd Anderson

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So, you're talking about dedicated subs for each multi-channel? Or towers at every multi-channel location?
 

Tony V.

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There are very few if any speakers than can play reference levels 20kHz- 20Hz, Certanly not clean output at that level, realistically a speaker that plays down to 80hz can still go lower but it puts a lot of undue stress on the driver.
 

Glenn S

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"..dedicated subs for each multi-channel?..."
Front L/R channel signals have always had the ability to have full range audio. It is up to the end user to decide how to deal with those full range signals (i.e. do you use individual full range speakers, or do you use separate subs to reproduce those low frequencies).
It would be the same for the surround speakers, with the new surround sound format allowing for full range signals, it would be up to the end user how to reproduce it.

But....
My original post has less to do about wanting a speaker to be able to play full range frequency, but more about, does a surround speaker need to have the ability to have high output (play loud with little distortion). Jon Lane (Chane) designed a specific surround speaker but it is for "lighter duty" than his A1 speaker. I was thinking that with the new surround sound specs, a surround sound speaker designed for "lighter duty" isn't good.
 

Tony V.

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Yes, surround channels do have full range sound sent to them so a speaker that is not capable of reproducing it will distort unless you set the crossover to the level that the speaker does not go into distortion. If you don't use a sub you will certainly be missing out on the full exsperience
 

Glenn S

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There are very few if any speakers than can play reference levels 20kHz- 20Hz,...
Yes, and I wouldn't want to hang a true full range speaker on my ceiling, I would want a speaker that has high output capability down to 60hz (such as the Chane A1), then I would pass the lower frequencies to a separate sub. I was hoping that Jon Lane was designing a wallmount surround speaker that had the output of the A1, but instead he designed a wallmount surround speaker for "lighter duty."
 

leecreek

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I would guess Jon is referring to the surrounds duty cycle. Like % of the program. In as much as he is not putting in the split gap woofers in them. I am not sure tho.
 

Glenn S

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I would guess Jon is referring to the surrounds duty cycle.
The spiltgap woofer allows for higher output (higher SPL) with less distortion. Jon's new "lighter duty" A4 surround speaker was designed for smaller systems that produce less output, so the splitgap woofer was not needed.I listen to movies and music at reference levels so his new surround speaker may distort in my situation.
 

leecreek

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You are misreading surround...and why I think he is calling them surrounds. HEAT dispersion.
 

Glenn S

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I believed you were referring to how often the speaker driver is being used, in that a surround speaker is used less often than a main speaker.
 

leecreek

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Since surround duty is 10-20% compared to the main front 3, I think he is giving a lower cost alternative for a surround speaker is all. A lot of people will not put large amounts of money to a low use item. I do expect them to be high quality as, so far as I have seen, as the rest of his offerings.
 

Jon Lane

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Hi Guys,

The answer is probably simpler than we think at first. The A4.4 is a 5.25"-based two-way speaker, meaning it's in the same acoustical size class as any other 5.25" speaker and has the same approximate, average bandwidth and sensitivity and thermal limits. We use good parts so you could conceivably goose that up 10 or 15 percent but it's still a 5.25" and delivers what you'd expect from the size and category.

The A1.4, on the other hand, is a 5.25"-based two-way speaker that has SplitGap (XBL^2) woofer tech. According to the inventors, SplitGap approximately doubles the available linear output of a woofer, therefore the A1.4 is roughly twice as acoustically equipped as a conventional 5.25" speaker. The A4.4 is in the same approximate class as a conventional 5.25" speaker, of which there are hundreds on the market to choose from.

If a 5.25" surround speaker is suitable, the A4.4 is suitable. If it's not, step up one clear notch to the A1.4, which probably hundreds of people have flown for rears and effects channels. If that's not enough, move to the A2.4, which happens to have about four times the clean output of a single 5.25", conventionally-woofered speaker. Folks have used them in small clubs, music departments, dedicated five-channel rooms; you-name-it.

We should put "lighter-duty" into that context. If you need more surround/effects channel output than even an A2.4 (and if you prefer a Chane brand on it) you could wait out some of our future offerings. But in the Chane A line, which is all about being compact and offering performance value in the usual 5-6", appliance store speaker category, the A4.4 makes sense as a companion for anything up to our A5.4 floor speaker when they're used reasonably - say, in mixed-use residential rooms. Surround channels aren't going to tax it any more than they will another 5.25" system in the same approximate use context.

Higher outputs can certainly employ our other models, expanding the options. Full-bore dedicated rooms - in which we actually have seen the A5 from time to time - may need more but they may need more everywhere. I personally hadn't thought to put them there but many of our users just know more about that than I do...
 

Glenn S

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My wife let me hang four A1rx-cs on the walls for surround sound. It's so much better than the in-ceiling speakers that I have been using for years. Because the sound quality is so much better, I have been trying out surround sound music. Great!
 

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Most surrounds will be fine as lighter output speakers, as typically you'll cross those over at 80Hz anyway (my in-ceiling height speakers are crossed over at 100Hz). I would much rather my subs handle that low frequency information... as they are much more capable, are tuned to handle the low frequencies better, and will play those low frequencies much louder than my surrounds will. The only speakers I may occasionally cross over a bit lower are my two front main speakers, and it just all depends on which one I have connected and what frequency they blend best with the subwoofer.

I also don't think there is near as much low frequency information sent to surround speakers ... as most of that is send to the .1 LFE channel, which would be send to the subwoofer (up to 120Hz).
 

Glenn S

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Most surrounds will be fine as lighter output speakers, as typically you'll cross those over at 80Hz anyway ... I would much rather my subs handle that low frequency information....
Yes, I cross over at 80hz.
I don't want the split gap woofer for lower freq output, I want the split gap woofer for higher SPL output with less distortion.
 

Sonnie

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There is no reason you shouldn't be able to play it as loud as you can stand with that 5.25" driver if you cross it over at 80Hz.... it would be fine. But hey... get whatever makes you feel better and more confident in your system. I am absolutely 100% certain Jon will sell you either one. I was merely trying to give you "more thoughts" that you asked for. :T
 

Glenn S

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front center speaker: Chane A2.4
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surround speakers side/rear: Pioneer in-wall
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subs (3): (1) DIY 15" sealed & (2) DIY 18" Fi IB
Video Display Device
tv: Panasonic TC-P55VT50 plasma
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remote: Harmony 700
There is no reason you shouldn't be able to play it as loud as you can stand with that 5.25" driver if you cross it over at 80Hz.... it would be fine.
Thanks for your input (your first speaker shootout is how I ended up with Chane, thank you for that also).
For the Atmos ceiling speakers it'll probably end up being whichever speaker box looks less intrusive.
 

Matthew J Poes

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There is no reason you shouldn't be able to play it as loud as you can stand with that 5.25" driver if you cross it over at 80Hz.... it would be fine. But hey... get whatever makes you feel better and more confident in your system. I am absolutely 100% certain Jon will sell you either one. I was merely trying to give you "more thoughts" that you asked for. :T
I've attempted to look into this. I don't personally have the ability to strip out the audio soundtrack of movies so I've had to use files people sent to me, but...it seems like new soundtracks, especially ATMOS based soundtracks, actually have fairly full range effect channels. Not so much the overhead, but the side and rear. Not always down to 20hz per say (music surround was in fact full range), but lots below 100hz. For now I think that bass management is a sufficient means to handle this, but it seems that there is a push toward higher dynamic range and wider bandwidth effect speakers. In Cinema's a lot of effect speakers have 10" to 15" woofers that are able to operate full range, and it is not unheard of to have subwoofers in the side walls or back of the cinema (rather than just up front) to augment the surrounds. This is not how home cinema is done at all. Bass is non-directional as long as it sits well below 150hz, but there is this grey area between say 80hz and 150hz where research suggests that it depends on the circumstances and individual. When Thom chose 80hz for THX it was because it fell 2 standard deviations below the accepted standard at which bass became non-directional to humans. Since then the research has continued to get mucky, and while nothing suggests bass is direction at or below 80hz, it is no longer accepted that above that point is also non-directional (nor did the original research actually show that nobody could detect direction below 150hz). I've also found that there are directional cues to the bass that are above those frequencies that can make it worthwhile to be able to operate the surrounds cleanly a little lower. There is also some benefit to bass smoothness if you can operate the surrounds with LF content mixed in down to around 50hz or so. This is becoming a more common/feasible idea with upcoming processing. This is precisely why I bought the surrounds I bought and am in the process of switching them in. To do that, a 5" woofer won't play loud enough, so I have a 10" instead.
 

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The only problem with the A1.4 for wall and ceiling use is its form factor. It just sticks really far out into a small room. I think that is where the A4.4 comes in. It would be nice to not have to compromise, though.
 

Glenn S

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Yes, I was hoping for a wall mountable form factor similar to the JBL L820 or the JBL Studio 210.

Thanks for your input, especially noting surround music. Because my previous surround speakers didn't have great high output capabilities (limited frequency response and dynamic range) I never cared much for surround music, but now using the high output capabilities of the Chane A1s, surround music is so much more enveloping and powerful.

Thanks for the perspective that your new A4 isn't light duty, it's just not as capable as the A1, but still in the same class as any other speaker/driver of it's size.
Again I'll add my thanks to you for your amazing products.
 

Matthew J Poes

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Yes, I was hoping for a wall mountable form factor similar to the JBL L820 or the JBL Studio 210.


Thanks for your input, especially noting surround music. Because my previous surround speakers didn't have great high output capabilities (limited frequency response and dynamic range) I never cared much for surround music, but now using the high output capabilities of the Chane A1s, surround music is so much more enveloping and powerful.

Thanks for the perspective that your new A4 isn't light duty, it's just not as capable as the A1, but still in the same class as any other speaker/driver of it's size.
Again I'll add my thanks to you for your amazing products.
Yeah I think surround music has gotten a bad rap largely because most people’s systems were inadequate for its reproduction. A lot of people have pretty bad surround speakers. No wonder they think surround music sounds bad!

From a purely technical and theoretical standpoint, surround music is far superior to stereo. I can argue against surround music with the best of them, but all else being equal, a 2-channel system can’t fully and accurately reproduce a live musical event realistically. It relies on the rooms natural acoustics to fill in acoustic cues that we normally get from the musical events natural (or artificially added) acoustic space. Since our rooms natural acoustics are usually far different from where the music is supposed to have originated, it doesn’t do a very good job of recreating the sense of envelopment and spaciousness of the original event. However a surround system can reproduce all of these cues (if encoded on the disc) making it far more accurate.
 

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So, you're talking about dedicated subs for each multi-channel? Or towers at every multi-channel location?
This is a good thread here. I used to fall into the camp of surround and heights could be not lower quality per se. But since they were lighter duty they didn't have as much to do so buy something cost effective then cross it over high enough and let er rip!

Till the new formats came out and I brought home Blade Runner 2049. That was an eye opening experience for me. That bass pulse when Ryan Goslings character walks up to that statue in Vegas? There's three of them. Well let's just say your really missing out if you don't have surrounds that can hit hard down to at least 80 Hz preferably 60 Hz.

There was a lot more content in that movie just like that and in other new movies on the new formats as well. That new movie Annihlation with Natalie Portman. Crazy demanding soundtrack with all the channels getting used at times pretty heavily

It changed my sound signature I'm now moving to all towers in my base 7 in the near future and thankfully my heights c34e's can go down to 80hz and were originally designed for music playback atmos type of content is easy for them

I worried at first about towers as surrounds being more localizable but realized with these new formats being object based and directional to the point they encourage a monopole design over dipole or bipole in a lot of situations that could very well end up being a good thing

Good topic a lot of great viewpoints on this!
 

Kerry Armes

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Jan 10, 2019
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A tower speaker won't localize anymore than a surround. The only differences in the designs are that surrounds would normally be placed close to a wall so most manufacturers would design less baffle step into the crossover.
 
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