Speaker Efficiency

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RSteve

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In my living room, I have a 50" TV, where I'm streaming via a Roku. The sound from the TV's tiny amplifier and internal speakers is terrible. The TV doesn't have RCA output female jacks, but does have a 3.5 mm out for headphones, or with adapters to use for an analogue connection. I've been using the 3.5 mm out with adapter cables to a Lepai 200 watt RMS amplifier and two Polk bookshelf speakers. The speakers have always had decent midrange, but the highs and lows are absent, which often makes dialogue difficult for me to decipher. A few weeks ago, I disconnected the Polks and connected a pair of Boston Acoustic speakers that I'd had from another application. The highs were crisp, midrange, just okay and no bass at all. After I got out of the hospital, I got an email ad from Costco for a pair of Klipsch full range bookshelf speakers on sale at $50.00 less than I'd seen them anywhere. I connected them this morning. Wow, what a difference. They are definitely full range and so much more efficient than the Polks or Boston Acoustics. On a 1-10 volume dial, it's too loud at 3 in my living room which has a vaulted ceiling.
 

Blackhorse

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WHAT? I can’t HEAR YOU!


We have a big Samsung screen and also do the ROKU thing. I’ve been OK with just the sound from the TV...it really is pretty good. But I know a nice pair of speakers would be a great addition. Funny...I’d always thought Boston Acoustics were pretty. We used to have some ages ago and were satisfied. But of course a good brand doesn’t mean everything they have their name on will suit every potential customer. Good that you found some that work well for you. Model number, etc.?
 

RSteve

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Klipsch R-51M
In the photo, linked, they look much larger than they are.

My living room TV is a 4k Sceptre. Sceptre is manufactured with Sony components, but the case and stand are cheaper. I think the audio component of the Sceptre is where there may be the real difference from the Sony. The picture is incredibly sharp, but the audio is awful. After I'm able to do some lifting, I'll move the TV, so I can connect an optical to analogue audio adapter.

I forgot to add that the speakers are on sale at Costco for less than half of list price.
 
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Carlos

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I am old school. I have three pairs of Klipsch Heresy II's. On a prior Sony TV we desperately needed a pair. And they were great. On the newer TV, I bought when I retired. The sound was much better and Cathy wanted the space. So I disconnected that pair. Sound is ok. The other two pair are connected to one of my three MAC1900's. Both sets have Bob Crites crossovers, and titanium diaphragms in the horns.
 

RSteve

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This is what I've learned since I passed my 1st class (now General) Broadcast engineer's license in 1974. In the digital age, I am a walking dinosaur, who doesn't know s***. Talking with a friend, who is very current with the technology, he says modern speaker design has followed the lead of the most sophisticated headphone designers. There is the basic assumption that the listener is listening via a digital transmission, which may have significant loss, depending on the re-created wave form. "A speaker which may suit one listener in a particular acoustic environment, may sound awful to another person in the same situation. So much depends, on the individual perception and acoustical taste." He said the best popular course is to "interview" several speakers in the environment where they're going to be in use.

Seems like too much work.
 

Zeno Marx

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Some people run into hearing problems with TV because with advancing technology (4K and faster streams), they now mix the audio for 5.1 surround, and most of the voices are in the center channel. If a person is using an antiquated stereo system that doesn't have the capacity for 5.1 sound, it doesn't matter if you have a surround sound speaker system or not. You can have 5 speakers in the room, but the amplifier can't separate and send the signals to the assigned channels. I ran into this a little while ago with an older person who had a receiver with "surround" sound that was made in the 90s. They were convinced "surround" meant the ability to work with 5.1 and 7.1 sound mixing. Wrong. Back then, they all had proprietary sound things on their receiver front panel to mess with the listener. The oldest, and probably most recognized, was the "Loudness" button, but there are others, like "surround" "dynamic range expander", "EQ filter", etc. That definition of "surround" predates the contemporary definition of 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound. They are not the same thing. So not only do you have to have a 5.1, or 7.1, speaker system, but you also have to have the receiver, or amplifier system, that is recent enough and compatible with 5.1 and/or 7.1. I'm not sure if new TVs have the capacity to work with those signals directly or not. In other words, I'm not sure if the average TV can directly work with a 5.1 speaker system or if you also have to purchase a receiver to make that speaker system work at full functionality. I have a hunch that the TVs are designed to simply work as a conduit for the signal from the cable company or whoever is delivering the stream of data. In other words, my hunch is that the TV can deal with the image just fine, but they aren't intended to be your audio device as well.

Your friend sounds like they are passing on standard stereo information: ie the quality is in the ear of the beholder. It's always been that way. Nothing substitutes for A/B listening tests. For example, some people love the sound of Klipsch, while other find it shrill and too colored. Hi-fi shops are sorely missed because of this.
 
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RSteve

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I have a hunch that the TVs are designed to simply work as a conduit for the signal from the cable company or whoever is delivering the stream of data. In other words, my hunch is that the TV can deal with the image just fine, but they aren't intended to be your audio device as well.
I think your "hunch" is spot on. I also think, in the case of streaming, the streaming entity is also critical. I use a Roku Ultra. The audio via ATT TV, my streaming source, is horrible compared with the audio from Netflix.
 

Zeno Marx

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I think your "hunch" is spot on. I also think, in the case of streaming, the streaming entity is also critical. I use a Roku Ultra. The audio via ATT TV, my streaming source, is horrible compared with the audio from Netflix.
Depending on your level of curiosity, I would think this would be easily google-able. I like loud music, but I'm not a fan of loud TV or movies. It's easy for me to say because I don't suffer from tone deafness or overall poor hearing. Nonetheless, I do sometimes get frustrated with certain stations with their fancy mixes and my old technology. The FX channel is one of the worst for me. I either have to have closed-caption engaged, or I'm constantly rewinding to re-hear things. I believe all their newer programming is 5.1 surround.
 

Ranger107

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Wow, good deal. I might need to get a pair to replace my aging Polk Audios. Had a friend, retired AF col, many years ago back in the midwest, that I would classify as a true audiophile. He was into classical music and had over 3k studio cut vinyls. He had a pair of full size Klipsch speakers and the sound from them was incredible. I realize new technology has far surpassed what he had then but if it had never gotten better I would still be happy with his set up.
 

Zeno Marx

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Wow, good deal. I might need to get a pair to replace my aging Polk Audios. Had a friend, retired AF col, many years ago back in the midwest, that I would classify as a true audiophile. He was into classical music and had over 3k studio cut vinyls. He had a pair of full size Klipsch speakers and the sound from them was incredible. I realize new technology has far surpassed what he had then but if it had never gotten better I would still be happy with his set up.
Depending on what you have, and also depending on how attached you are, you could sell them and update your system with the proceeds. Both old Klipsch and Polk Audio are very collectable.
 

RSteve

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Zeno Marx was spot on! The TV is a recent model UHD designed for 5.1 audio. I have a 38" Vizio sound bar that I bought and never used. It's designed for 5.1 optical audio, best case. It has a sub-out, but the sub out is actually left/right integrated full audio spectrum. It relies on a connected subwoofer to filter out any highs. I connected the sound bar via optical cable, then tuned it via its bass/treble controls. I used the RCA sub-out to a 2-RCA male splitter and connected it to the Lepai 200 watt amp and to the Klipsch speakers. The amp volume is only set to two for the Klipsch speakers. Speech is now 100% clear from the soundbar.
Sincere kudos to Zeno.
 
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RSteve

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The Klipsch speaker pair is back at Costco. The right one started to have a buzz. I thought it might be the amplifier, so I switched the speakers right/left. Same speaker buzzed. Another test; new speaker wire and connection. BUZZ. I brought in the Polk speakers from another room and connected those; no buzz. I switched those left/right and no buzz. Last test, I reconnected the Klipsch pair and the same speaker buzzed. Costco credited my CC, no hassle. The Polks are sounding good enough.
 
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