Q&A: Do all speakers need to be the same size and carry the same frequency range in a home theater set up?

Question by kbad26@verizon.net: Do all speakers need to be the same size and carry the same frequency range in a home theater set up?
I am in the market for creating a home theater system. I have found some speakers that I like but I am not sure if they will work with my a/v reciever. The speakers are as follows: Fronts, E-710’s{frequency range-38HZ to 20KHZ}, Rears, E-78’s{frequency range 40HZ to 20KHZ}, Center, E-75C{frequency range 60HZ to 20KHZ}, and I already have a LW 12 powered subwoofer. My reciever is 130 watts per channel, frequency range 20HZ to 20KHZ.{the frequency range for the dvd input on the reciever is 10HZ to 100KHZ, if that helps. Will the speakers that I have just mentioned work, or what should I be looking for then. these are all Cerwin-Vega speakers.

Best answer:

Answer by davj61
In a word, absolutely not. In many home theater systems, only the front left and right speakers are “large” in size. The center channel is usually of a size that will fit on top of a typical TV. The surround speakers can be small enough to safely hang on the wall in back. Under NO conditions WHATSOEVER do the speakers need to be the same size the whole way around. I have heard some systems where the front left and right speakers were big enough that a subwoofer was not necessary. Yet the others in the system were rather small. The sound was still really great. Feel free to mix the sizes. By the way, almost all home theater receivers have speaker “size” set-up functions for every channel that you will be using. Good luck and enjoy.

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4 Responses to “Q&A: Do all speakers need to be the same size and carry the same frequency range in a home theater set up?”

  1. I know this really isn’t an answer to your question, but if you go to http://www.htguide.com and sign up for their forum (free), there are all kinds of audiophiles that will help you. About six months ago, I had just about the same questions as you. I was in the same situation. Tell them you are new to this kind of thing and they can tell you what all of those specs mean and what is important and not important to look at.

  2. XenonAudio Says:

    Okay, to give you a direct answer to your question, no. The most important criteria for a good HT set-up is that all speakers are properly voice-matched. This is usually done by designing the home theater around the same tweeter and mid/bass drivers in each speaker and all speakers crossed over at the same point.

    The bass driver (be it in a 3-way design or a dedicated powered subwoofer), depending upon how low it is crossed over, the subwoofer is virtually omni-directional sound and doesn’t need to be in all speakers.

    Ideally, having 5 of the same speaker would easily address any potential issues with the balance of loudness, radiation pattern, tonal balance, and power handling, discounting from a seamless transition throught the surround sound speaker system, but may not be as practical financially or space-wise and placement convenience.


    CE-710 . . . . . . . . . . 95 dB @ 1m/2.83v (adjust fronts to “0 dB”)
    CE-708 . . . . . . . . . . 90 dB @ 1m.2.83v (adjust rears to “+5 dB”)
    CE-75C . . . . . . . . . . 91 dB @ 1m/2.83v (adjust center to “+4 dB”)

    You will need to experiment with the placement, crossover points, and volume of your subwoofer, but I would start out by placing in a corner behind one of the front speakers, and setting the variable crossover (you may need to adjust the phase to either 0º or 180º) to the center channel’s F3 which is 60 Hz and perhaps make the appropriate adjustments from there if needed.

    Set your receiver to run all of your speakers full range (or BIG, depending upon how your receiver describes it’s set-up in the on-screen menu -consult your receiver’s owner’s manual for assistance).

    Your speaker should work well as that they appear to be properly voiced, although since each speaker’s sensitivity is different, you will need to make loudness adjustments for each speaker to create the appropriate balance.

    More help can be found at Crutchfield…

    H a p p y
    H o m e
    T h e a t e r i n g !

  3. The two main front speakers should be full range, at least down to the subwoofer crossover point. Center speakers do not carry low frequencies so 100Hz as a lower limit is ok. Surround speakers require even less range. Many people feel that the speakers (especially the front stereo and center speakers) should be “matched” (of similar design). This is because, aside from frequency range, all speakers have individual tonal characteristics, so even if they have the same specs and are of good quality, they will sound different. Matching the speakers means that sound from all speakers will have similar tonal characteristics. By using speakers from the same manufacturer that are designed to work together means you will have the best chance of tonal matching.

    That being said, there is no downside of having broad range speakers for all your channels, and the ones you have described should work fine. Cerwin-Vega makes quality speakers.

  4. shteck2k6 Says:

    Of course they work just fine. Each speaker got a diffrent frequency response, and that’s just fine, becouse each speaker reproduces a different sound pitch and by this way you can cover all the frequency from 20 Hz up to 20 Khz.

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