Surround Sound Speaker Systems
- Written by Jared Rachwalski
- Published on 11 December 2008
Design and Setup
The Intimus 4T tower speakers are short narrow speakers with dual midrange drivers that dip down to around 55 Hz and are rated at 6 ohms nominally. Normally you will find speakers rated at 8 ohms, and while 6 ohms is actually more difficult forÂ amplifiers, most (if not all amplifiers) can drive 6 ohm loads without issue. These speakers are constructed with Â¾â€ HDF (High Density Fiberboard), and are front ported.Â There is zero resonance when you knock on the cabinet. It is very nice to seeÂ speakers at less than $700/pair built out of real wood. My sample came finished in a high gloss piano black, and is available in cherry (as is the rest of the package).
For a center channel, the Intimus 4C is used. This speaker uses the same tweeter and midwoofer as the rest of the system, and it adds a passive midwoofer to increase bass response. A passive woofer acts like a port in that it extends the low frequency response. However it does so without drastically increasing cabinet size. This drops the -3dB point to 80 Hz compared to the simillar 4Bâ€™s 120 Hz cut off. As the center channel is responsible for most of the work in a surround system, this extra bass response is helpful.
Surround duty is taken care of by the elegant and tiny Intimus 4B Satellite Speaker. This speaker is a small sealed box constructed with Â¾â€ HDF. This is very overbuilt for such a small speaker, and unheard of at only $260 for the pair. No plastic composite here! Also fitted with a 4â€ midwoofer and 1â€ tweeter, and includes binding posts rather than spring clips.
The Bravus 8D contains features not usually seen in a eight inch $500 sub. For starters it is not ported. It contains two drivers, is remote controlled and provides a single band parametric equalizer. Normally designers shove in a port, increase the overall size and then claim to go deep. The problem is when you exceed the tuning frequency, you get noticeable distortion as the driver is pushed to its physical limits. With a sealed sub, you can reduce the cabinet size with low frequency extension sacrificed. Aperion added a second driver and equalization.
Now EQ is not the preferred way to address room acoustic issues as it creates a very small sweet spot and/or introduces audible distortion. Not so when you just use EQ on low frequencies. The human hearing system is not nearly as sensitive to distortion below 100 Hz and this is why you can easily EQ your subwoofers without audible penalty. In the case of the Bravus, it does two things, provides a â€œLow Bass Adjustâ€ and a single frequency adjustment. While no information was provided about the specific frequency and boost/cut levels one can assume it will adjust around 35Hz as this is the -3 dB point for this sub. The parametric EQ on the other hand allows you to boost or cut a frequency of your choosing, from 50 Hz to 90 Hz in 10 dB increments.
Width of the band is set by choosing narrow, normal or wide. When you use equalization you can either boost or cut a frequency band to smooth out the response. If you boost you will be putting a greater load on the amp. I prefer to only cut when possible. Using this control I was able to smooth out a 6 dB bump at 50 Hz in my system, which was instantly noticeable â€“ in a good way. And finally, the subwoofer has phase adjustment from 00 to 1800.