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home theater system using AR speakers

Guest shafan4

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Guest shafan4

Hello to everyone !

I have several questions regarding a setup of a home theater system using AR speakers.

The measurements of the room are: width:17 and length: 20.

The setup is:

Speakers: pair of AR-2ax and a pair of AR-3a.

Subwoofer a Definitive 15".

Reciver: Yamaha rx-v 1000, Sansui 6060 reciver.

My goal is to achieve the best invironment of sorround sound, but today it's kind of hard to find speakers that fit the same tone of sound as the AR-3a.

I'm planing to use the AR-3a as main speakers. I have several options of using the AR-2ax as rear surround speakers and then trying to get my hand on another AR-3a,2ax as center.

second options is using the AR-4x (if I can find one) as rear surround speakers and then use one speaker form the AR-2ax as center.

If anyone have other recommendations as other speakers that could fit or anything else I would really appreciate it if you could share your thoughts and knowledge with me.

Thank's Yaron

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Guest bocoogto

I use a single AR3a for the rear surround, a pair of ARLSTII's for the left and right surrounds and a pair of AR9LSi's for the main speakers. The mains are about 9 feet apart in a large room.--there is no need for a center channel. I tried an extra AR3a for the center, and it did not add anything but magnetic field distortion to my Toshiba RPTV.

The AR9LS's are great for home theater, as they handle gobs of power with the 12" AR3 woofer and 10" AR2 woofer in one cabinet.

In my opinion, you should use another AR3a for the rear surround, use the AR2's for left and right surrounds, and find another AR3a for the center if you need one.

A system like this doesn't need a subwoofer to put out more bass than most of those billed as "subwoofers" today. Most of them don't do much below 40 Hz, which is no problem for the AR9LS's or the AR3's. It is interesting to see the reaction of people who hear my system and ask what kind of subwoofer puts out such strong low bass with so much power. I am experimenting with the Parts Express Infinite Baffle (IB) series 15" units. So far, I have way too much building rattles to use them at even reasonably high decibel levels.

I use Hafler DH200 and DH500 power amps with my Pioneer 1014 Receiver. It is so easy to overload receivers with this variety of speakers.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest bocoogto


Did you decide how to place the AR3's and AR2's in your home theater system? Another pair of AR3's would be perfect for your setup. With AR3's as the left, center, and right, AR2's for surround left and right, and another AR3 as rear surround, you would have a very realistic-sounding system that would make movies come to life much better than most of the systems you see in people's homes today. I have used the Definitive 15" woofer. It doesn't reproduce much below 28 Hz, but handles a lot of power down to that point. Let us know what you decide.


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Guest mrhagerty

I assume you know you're doubling the RMS output with 4-ohm mains.

With my Yamaha RX-V800 you get two choices for impedance sets, 4 ohm mains and 8-ohm for all others, or 8-ohm all around.

So if you should put 4-ohm units on the effects channels, you may need to re-specify your LARGE/SMALL settings for them to match sound levels.


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Guest palomar

As mentioned in another response, with the bass performance of the large ARs, and the size of your room, you really don't need a subwoofer.

The only reason you might want to add one is to either increase the overall bass power from already awesome deafening (not too good for your ears or neighbors!), or perhaps go for some more re-inforcement of ultra-deep bass (15 - 25 Hz). There's some disagreement on whether you can even hear 15 Hz, or whether you tend to 'sense' it more than hear it.

In any event, for the first approach, it sounds like the subwoofer you already have would do fine. If its limit, as mentioned in the other response, is about 28 Hz, then it won't work for the second approach.

But the nice part about the second approach is that you should be able to buy (or build) a very reasonably priced subwoofer that would do the job, because at those very low frequencies, for home theater use, just just need to move alot of air. The quality of the woofer isn't nearly as its deep bass power.

For example, I built a pair of subwoofers using some old 15 inch woofers that I had. They have a cheap, relatively thin, untreated paper cone, but a good motor system and suspension. As full-range audiophile woofers, they're pretty mediocre (that's being charitable). But I mounted each one in a large (5 cubic foot) MDF cabinet, and I drive them with a 250 watt bass-guitar amp and equalizer. The equalizer settings (and bass amp settings) are adjusted so that they don't do much until roughly 40 Hz and below.

Audio purists would be going out of their minds at the thought of this, and I don't normally run them. But for occasional fun (which is utlimately what this is all about anyway), I open them up with some pipe organ or synthesizer music, and they are quite enjoyable.

I know I've kind of rambled on here, but the main point I wanted to make is that with your ARs, your choice of a subwoofer becomes optional and/or very flexible.


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Guest Brian_D

This business of not using a center channel or omiting subwoofers in a home theater setup is bad voodoo.

If your system is set up for music, primarily, and occasionaly movies are viewed in stereo, so be it.

If, however, you're playing DVD's with Dolby Digital or DTS surround encoding, both the center and sub channels are REQUIRED.

Like stereo, there are 6 UNIQUE channels of sound. If one is not connected, that output is LOST. There are Front L, Front R, Center, Rear L, Rear R and LFE. Not a single one of these channels is duplicated in any other. (Systems with a rear center are just doing a L-R + R-L like the old dolby surround)

For instance, I've heard repeated over and over "AR's play low enough, you don't need subs." Unless your receiver is capable of adding the LFE (low-frequency-effects) channel to the mains, YOU ARE MISSING THAT CHANNEL ALL TOGETHER.

As for the lack of a center channel, Again your receiver must be capable of adding that channel back to the mains. I've had my system in this configuration before and it sounded terrible.

The fact of the matter is that if you're designing a home theater using AR speakers, you MUST include a subwoofer and center channel in your setup. Don't be lead astray by the comments here. No self-respecting home theater system omits the LFE, and omitting the center is unheard of.


P.S. An AR Home theater system sounds AWESOME! My system has 9's for mains, and all the rest are AR17's. My LFE is a home-built 15" 1000 watt job from Parts Express. When I listen to stereo music, it's all off except the 9's. DVD-Audio and Multi-channel SACD sounds very nice as well, but the LFE is usualy turned way down.

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A few additional things to keep in mind regarding Home Theater in general, whether using AR speakers or any other brand:

The LFE channel (Low Frequency Effects) does indeed contain different bass information than the regular front channels. Even if the L/R speakers are selected as "Large," they will be sent full-range material, such as music, that is different than the material contained on the LFE (the ".1") channel. The LFE channel usually contains the explosions, crashes, earthquakes, etc. effects that are different than the normal soundtrack.

Now, when you select "Subwoofer—Yes" from your set-up menu, most receivers/processors gather up ALL the bass below 80Hz (or whatever electronic crossover frequency you’ve selected, if yours is selectable) from the LCR, surround, AND the LFE channels and then routes it to the ".1" subwoofer output. Therefore, the bass coming from your sub output (assuming you’ve selected "L/R speakers—Small") is a combination of the 45Hz music tones in the LCR channels and the 22Hz warp engine rumblings on the LFE track.

Two things happen when you select "Subwoofer—No" from your set-up menu. First, you lose the ability to control (via the receiver’s or processor’s remote control) the LFE/Sub level from the convenience of your listening chair. One of the best things about using a powered sub is that your receiver’s remote lets you raise or lower the sub level remotely from your seat, while the program is playing. Very handy.

The other thing that happens when you select "Subwoofer—No" is that on Dolby Digital DVD’s, the LFE channel is folded back into the L/R channel signal, at a –10dB level compared to what it would have been on the separate ".1" channel. Dolby’s rationale for this was that when using regular speakers (no subwoofer), the LFE level should be reduced so as not to damage non-subwoofer speakers, but still present nonetheless (at a –10dB level) so you don’t miss any content.

As far as HT requirements for low-frequency extension are concerned, THX’s manufacturer’s requirements originally called for a response of –3dB at 35Hz with a 12dB/oct rolloff below that. Coincidentally, this is exactly the response of the AR 12"-woofer bookshelf models. However, THX’s requirement is for 105dB at the listening position (which can easily be 10-15 feet away from the physical location of the sub—do your inverse-square law SPL calculations!) in a 3000 cu. ft. room (pretty darn large—25 x 15 x 8’) without objectionable audible distortion. That’s a VERY stringent requirement, and a tall order for a pair of 3a’s or 11’s. THX’s latest "Ultra 2" standard calls for –3dB at 25Hz in a 6000 cu. ft. room, under the same distance and distortion conditions. I’m presenting the THX standards as an objective reference of performance level, not to be construed as an endorsement of THX one way or the other. However, this is representative of how loud some people expect their HT system to play.

Bear in mind that the AR-3, 3a, 11, 10 Pi, and 9 woofers were designed to reproduce the lowest musical notes on commercially-available recordings of the day (vinyl LP’s), at SPLs that were logical to expect at the time (about 100dB max. in a normal-sized living room). While these products can be used in HT systems with very good results, they are ‘70’s-era musical reproducers first, and slam-bang special effects reproducers second. Unless you have some overwhelming desire to keep Bill Miller very busy while making UPS even richer, I’d exercise a sane amount of caution and common sense when using 40-year-old classic speakers to play exploding Death Stars at deafening levels.

Steve F.

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Guest Brian_D

> ...THX’s latest "Ultra 2"

>standard calls for –3dB at 25Hz in a 6000 cu. ft. room, under

>the same distance and distortion conditions...

WOW. That's LOTS of subwoofers, not just one! Of course how many of us have a 6000 cu. ft. listening area? I didn't realize they had lowered the frequency specificatoin for 3db down...

>...I’d exercise a sane amount of caution and common sense when

>using 40-year-old classic speakers to play exploding Death

>Stars at deafening levels.


>Steve F.

HA!! How true! While in a stereo music listening configuration, an AR9 is capable of a LOT more low-freq output than most, even this pinnacle of audio ledgend would be humbled by THX-level warp drive at 22hz!

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>However, THX’s requirement is for

>105dB at the listening position (which can easily be 10-15

>feet away from the physical location

110 dB can cause permanent damage to one's ears if present for 10-15 min. THX specs arn't there yet; maybe next year.

I appreciate movie makers' desires to reproduce real situations with complete fidelity, but I'll bet those who stood next to the 16" guns of the USS Missouri or an exploding roadside bomb are not anxious to hear it reproduced in their livingroom at its original sound intensity!

Thanks, but I'll keep my 3a woofer and my hearing!

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