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Best use of my Vandersteens for surround


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Hi -- I am primarily a stereo listener and have had great results with my 3A Signatures + a pair of 2wq subwoofers (and a pair of VSM-1s not yet installed, now using some temporary rear speakers).  But, I'm gradually finding some multi-channel recordings that are worth hearing and have picked up some MC equipment at prices I can justify (Theta Casablanca III with a Six-shooter, Sony for MC SACD).   My interest is still primarily music, movie soundtracks don't do much for me.  However, I'm trying to figure out how to make best use of my various Vandersteens for multi-channel.

With this setup, I have set up my MC sources to mix to 4 channels only (since I do not yet have a center speaker).  I am also following Richard Vandersteen's recommended setup for the subwoofers by setting up a 6db Butterworth crossover on the Casablanca, so each sub picks up the left and right front.

The problem is that I've acquired a Cambridge Audio azur Blu-ray player, and just discovered that it will only output 5.1, not a 4-channel mix like the Casablanca.  I have a 5-channel Theta Dreadnaught amp so I plan on getting a center speaker that will be driven by its 5th channel.  However, I'm confused about how to handle the .1 LFE channel.  If I understand correctly, there is bass on all channels that should be directed to the subwoofers, not just the .1 LFE channel, and that is why the subs are connected inline with the front speaker channels.

Is there a short term arrangement I can use to get 5.1 working from Blu-ray, and what would the ideal long-term solution be?  Should I get a separate subwoofer amp and run the .1 channel through that to one of my subwoofers, and use the other sub the same as it is now (combining left & right front)?  Or are there other options I should consider?  Thanks!

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@byofuelI have dabbled extensively with surround and two channel formats with Vandy's 2WQ and V2Ws and currently have dedicated systems for movies and music. If you connect the blue ray using HDMI then the Casablanca should be able to redistribute the sound based on the speaker setup you have. I have tried various receivers/processors with 2.1, 3.1 and 5.1 + 2WQ setups and all receivers have been able to accommodate the 'split' of the sound frequencies based on the speaker setup you have.

In my experience people fret too much over the .1 part since they want the boom but based on the size of the speakers I have found that eliminating the .1 and using just 5 large speakers provides a more consistent and richer sound experience. Adding the 2WQs accentuates this experience. If you want to experiment with this then the first 30-45 minutes of Saving Private Ryan should give you an idea. Having explosions, gun shots, sound of the waves crashing and other peripheral sounds occurring on all speakers will show you that one single sub will have a hard time keeping up and at times will muddle the signal just to keep moving on.

If you are looking for a center channel, I would highly recommend getting something that's big and can handle some bass. I have a VCC1 currently due to some constraints with cabinet size but in the past I have had Legacy Audio's Marquis center channel and you realize the benefit of having a large speaker for the center channel. Listening to Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption is the ultimate test for the center channel.

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