Full range

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In yesterday's post I recommended treating all speakers in a theater setting as full range. Several readers objected, one suggested my choice of BR Radia was not full range. I think I must have done a poor job of explaining what I meant. Let me try again. Very few speakers are actually full range. The IRSV in Music Room One are full range. The standard floor standing loudspeakers are not, unless they too have a built in subwoofer that works as well. So let's dispel with the idea that you should only install 'full range' loudspeakers in your home theater or music room. They are rare enough that would be difficult. And yes, I know most speaker manufacturers would have you believe their products are full range - and I would argue they are not - so let us agree it is a matter of definitions. We can bring up the old subwoofer-needed debate again at a later date. Here's the deal. Imagine purchasing a pair of bookshelf speakers and connecting them to your system's power amplifier. You play them, they sound great. Full range? Certainly not. No bookshelf speaker can be considered truly full range with a small 6.5" driver. We know this and there can be little argument. They are physically too small to even look full range. But now that they are connected to your system and playing, should you then purchase an equalizer, place it before your power amplifier in an effort to remove those bass frequencies your bookshelf speaker cannot and is not reproducing? After all, you are sending that speaker signals from your amplifier it cannot reproduce. They are being wasted. There are those who would recommend this. The logic being that if you rolloff (remove) the bass frequencies your bookshelf or in-wall speaker cannot reproduce, it will be happier than having to struggle with them. I would not be among those making such suggestions. The vast, vast majority of loudspeakers built by responsible designers have this all figured out for you. They account for the fact you will be feeding their product a full range signal, complete with low frequencies the speaker cannot handle. Inside each loudspeaker is a crossover. The crossover, if properly designed, fits perfectly the speaker's needs for reproducing what it is capable of, and rejecting that which it cannot. The filter is built in. That's how they work. My point in yesterday's post was simple. I recommend running any loudspeaker you might wish to use in your home theater setup full range. This means in the receiver configuration you choose large, for the speaker size, even if your speaker is small. Most loudspeakers do not require the addition of a separate rolloff supplied by an AV receiver. I know this stirs controversy. So here's my suggestion. Try it both ways. It's always a good idea to trust what you hear. Let us know.
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Paul McGowan

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