Negative Effect of center speaker - when listening stereo

I have combined my stereo system with 5.1. today I replaced my audio physics center with a naim axess.
Oh dear - it is a good center.
What suddenly came to my mind - is there a negative effect on the music with passive (non working) speakers in the room (center, sub, surround). Mus be.
But is it also different with different speakers. My audio physics has a bit tougher rubber the mid bass drivers than axess, who is a bit lighter (meaning the rubber around the membrane is softer).

Could a change in center (audio physics with same size of mid bass units but „metal“ membrane and 3x tweeter - to naim axess) degrade the stereo listening sessions?
Rest is resonating same way…

Thinks this is one of my overall silly questions…
There must be a difference from 2 speakers to 6 speakers (4 passive resonating) but not from one speaker to the other…

Different speakers will have different effect /degrees of effect, as will their position in the room. Whether the effect will be audible, and if so very obvious or only just discernible when really listening for it, will depend on everything in the setup and ears. Ditto whether any effect will be positive or negative to sound quality as perceived by the listener (yes, an effect can be positive, e.g. if it acts as a helmholtz resonator absorbing at a problem frequency).

There is only one way to find out how it is for you in your setup (if you can be bothered)…

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There are two things at play here:

  • Size and location
  • sympathetic movement

Dealing with the first. any large object between speakers presents an off-axis reflection point. This is why most dealers advise against putting the hifi between the speakers or if you do, well behind the plane of the speakers. In my experience, this is valid and certainly a system can sound markedly better without a rack between them. So by extension a large centre speaker presents the same sort of issue. But the realities of living with hifi may not allow any other placement, in which case, don’t worry about what you can’t change.

The latter issue is more contentious. Cones do vibrate in sympathy with air and this is the reason Linn first mandated dealers do single speaker demonstration rooms. Because other unused speakers in the room would be reactive to what is being played and colour the sound.

Personally, I’ve never found any audible difference from other unused speakers in the room. It also only applies where the cones are free to move. If the other speakers are connected to a powered on amp with no signal playing, that will largely prevent any sympathetic movement. But even if not, as I said, I personally cannot hear a difference.

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Thanks a lot to both of you.
I read an article on this controversy yesterday… sounds logic and there is als a big (ok- flat) tv between the speakers. This effect might be much bigger.
I know, as the axess speaker is a bit deeper the box is also bigger. But does this not also apply to any object in the room? Sofa, boards… or even the tables in front of the sofa.

By the way - center and surround speakers are powered by an nap 175 which is always on. Does this reduce the moving cone effect a bit?

Now I my scientist behavior comes in place …:rofl:
Given the effect of a Helmholtz resonator (blowing in a bottle effect).
Is this (in theory) more an effect with bass reflex systems?
Ok - theory … axess has also tiny holes like the ones where the tweeter is mounted :rofl:

Well having speakers connected to a powered on amp was a requirement for single speaker dem rooms when speakers like surrounds just couldn’t be removed so the answer is I suppose so. But I can’t tell the difference either way and certainly don’t worry about it in my setup.

I even think about the change of one center speaker to another … with nearly same dimensions and drivers.
If thinking so I also have to think about the glass of wine or beer in front of me. Correct.

Ps: finally after years added my system in my profile :rofl:

Design of speaker cabinet immaterial diaphragm - (speaker cone) with sealed box behind will also have resonant frequency/frequencies

Thanks - thought so. But there is so much interference in a room.
Do i understand correct, that the off axis objects are most critical - left handed there is a 3 Stack - 5 floor fraim :slight_smile:

Audio Physics center


Not so much in difference and also a lot of other stuff in between :slight_smile:

Offhand I cannot think of any reason why on or off axis should maximise or minimise any effect at the listening position (there are of cause so many axes though I assume you mean driven speaker to listener). Wherever something is in the room - everything, not just speakers, it will have some effect on the sound, however small. (That includes people.) Some objects will act by being reflective or diffusive, others absorptive, which may be broad or narrow band (e.g. soft furnishings, also speakers). In a room sound at the listening position is the result of direct radiation from the driven speakers plus all the other reflections in the room, as modified by anything absorbant.

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I wouldn’t worry about what you can’t change.

There’s definitely a marked improvement with open air between speakers. But when living arrangements dictated otherwise, I didn’t waste time worrying about it.

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I was not worried about the center speaker in the middle - had one for decades at this position (audio physics).
Was thinking on the impact changing the center only. Similar drivers - box a bit different shaped and a bit deeper.
Learned that there could be an effect - but this would be hard to determine I think. Bigger would be the effect with no center vs center or TV etc in the middle vs nothing between speakers.

I only want to go backwards after latest fine update with kudos 606 :blush:

Strangly I used SBL and Audiophysics center for over 20 years and now changed maim speakers to kudos 606 and center to axess. Assuming that SBL and axess would match perfectly :laughing:

Maybe I misunderstood…
Thought that the most critical are off axis ones - middle of speakers and beneath them.
In the middle I have some stuff - and a change ob center box done.

All in the room resonates or absorbs - I fully understand.
And all in between hearing position and speaker is also of influence (axis). I took one of my tables in front of the sofa beside - yes there is a difference…

I should Stop thinking …
Checking which center „sounds better“ passive in the room is even for me too much :rofl:

As mentioned earlier, I believe that Linn and Naim were the ones to argue that other loudspeakers should not be present in the same room as the main stereo pair during demos. This was before 2.1/5.1 surround systems. I think this was mostly based on a reaction to the why , at the time, most hifi dealers demonstrated loudspeakers by switching between multiple speakers stacked side by side. Under those circumstances it was almost impossible to distinguished between a good speaker and a poor one.

I was pretty skeptical that having a couple of extra speakers in the room would make any difference. However, I heard two demoes of the difference with and without one extra pair of speakers both at the Naim factory and my dealer. The difference was small but it was definitely there.

Totally agree - there will be a difference. But in my room there are already 6 Speakers (including big sub) - and exchanging one speaker for another (similar size and drivers) would be rather philosophical I assume

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