Home theatre speakers
Part 2: A new approach to home theatre
In part 1, we discussed what is wrong with conventional solutions. Here we move on to how to get it right. Our solution is simple yet effective.
A new approach
Design brief for home theatre speakers
Our designs start with performance goals and a form follows function approach. For two channel stereo listening, we believe there are a smorgasbord of effective solutions, catering to many different tastes. For home theatre, we believe the requirements are more specific and lead to a much narrower range of effective solutions.
Design goals :
- superior dispersion control
- THX reference level capability with a typical AV receiver
- potential to avoid the need for a centre channel
- large listening area
- well controlled off axis response
- maintain sound quality at high output levels
- freedom from listening fatigue
- dynamic sound
- neutral and accurate
- simple installation
Starting with superior dispersion control
Our designs start with disperson control as a key consideration. We use professional compression drivers with matching high frequency waveguides that control dispersion. A well designed waveguide controls dispersion so that the off axis response matches the on axis response within a range of angles. This is very important. Not only does this enable better speech intelligibility in an untread listening room, it's also a key ingredient in ensuring that every seat gets great sound. Conventional designs tend to have a falling off axis response.
THX reference level capability
The use of professional drivers with high sensitivity and high power handling makes it possible to easily achieve THX reference level with an affordable AV receiver. The vast majority of "home theatre speakers" aren't able to reach THX reference levels in a small room and few can do it with any finesse. Many require the additional expense of a high powered amplifier, yet often the speakers will be pushed to their safe limits or driven to a level where the sound quality suffers greatly. Listener fatigue sets in and tends to cause one to turn down the volume, reducing the excitement of the experience in order to avoid an unpleasant experience. Our designs allow higher that you can enjoy without fatigue.
Neutral and accurate sound
Home theatre speakers are often taken less seriously for music listening. The reality is that music is a major part of the movie experience. Red Spade Audio speakers are designed with critical listening in mind. Musicality is never compromised in order to achieve high output.
One of the keys is that we have figured out how to harness the potential of pro audio drive units. Whilst there are many that are unsuitable for serious listening, with serious compromises made in favour of extreme output and reliability, there are also many pro audio drivers that match conventional hifi drivers in sound quality, yet deliver much greater output. Many pro audio drivers can match the performance of high end hifi drivers at a lower price with higher output.
A key advantage of home theatre speakers is the reduced need for bass extension. This allows a small box around the size of a mid-sized stand mount that delivers a much bigger experience.
All our current designs are very well suited to home theatre and music listening, but for most home theatre applications, we recommend AV8.