I the only one?

Hello to everyone and the audiophiles. I have a limited budget as a grad student and so I can't afford those speakers that do everything well.

My JM Lab Electra 926s sound sublime - lots of space and refinement. But I always felt like a little more detail and dynamics could be possible (I had witnessed it in other systems) so I got some Triangle Comete ES monitors. WOW! What a difference. Detail and dynamics like crazy. I have tried upwards of 40 pieces of gear so far (excluding tweaks and cables) and these two pairs of speakers are by far the most different. Who says the speaker isn't the biggest player? However, I digress...

So, on one hand I have the big-space speakers and on the other, I have the high-detail speakers. I originally did this to have two systems for different music. However, combine the two and voila, I have a megaspeaker capable of space AND dynamics. The JM Labs are pushed by my McIntosh MC7200 and the Triangles are caressed by my Conrad-Johnson MV55.

Now mind you, it ain't easy integrating them and you need a preamp with two sets of outputs and some sort of amp gain control. But get the soundstages to overlap appropriately and this wacky speaker system will knock your socks off for a mere $2700 used. I have yet to hear any speakers in that range that can do better across the board. In this case, 3+2=10. Not to mention how nice it is to have a "center channel" effect with TV thanks to the super-focused image of the Triangles. Of course you need two amps but this is only an aid for tailoring the sound.

With examples of multiple-driver speakers abound, this approach adds a couple advantages to the idea. My two pairs are so different that they have "decoupled" strengths so I can play to each one individually. Also, there is less driver interaction since there are separate cabinets for microdynamics (Triangles) and macrodynamics (JM Lab). See my system page for pics.

I am shocked at how satisfied I am with this approach. The depth, layering, soundstaging, focus, clarity, detail, order, sophistication have all improved, all at once. Even the really expensive components I have tried (and can't afford) didn't make this much of a positive impact in my system.

Has anyone else tried something like this? Arthur
Surely speaker placement, driver phase alignment, and matching dynamic response at various sound levels would all be very hard to achieve with two separate and differently designed speakers.

A home theatre can take hours to set up even when starting with matched speakers with similar timbre from the same manufacturer.

I think you may indeed be the only one to have found magic from combining simultaneuosly two speakers with different drivers over the same frequency range. (with the exception of sub woofers, a common additional speaker, that drives non-directional extreme LF)
hi arthur.

its posts like this that make this hobby interesting for me,i also like to go outside of the normal train of audiophile wisdom & try new things.

ive been using the multiple speaker approach for years now,all my rigs have at least 2 seperate sets of speakers,sometimes i even throw in a center speaker powered with a blended l & r signal,i much prefer this type of ultra dynamic sound,i also prefer to use speaker systems that excell at different things.

ive ran many different combinations of speakers in this fashion but my favorite combination so far was klipsch corner horns,mcintosh xrt 22's & a jm labs center,i powered the khorns with a mc2102 tube amp & the xrt 22's with a mc500 solid state then the jm labs center with a mc60 tube amp.

the way you described how the sound is in your rig is exactly how i would describe the sound from mine running speaker systems this way.

having gain controls on all the amps really helps to intergrate the different speakers,it took some messing around for me to get the sound right but after a few hours of trying different scenario's & getting the mix perfect i swore i would never go back to a single pair of speakers & i haven't nor will i ever.

have fun with your new sound,this post made me want to listen to my rig now,thanks!
Greetings, you seem to be on the Quest for the Ultimate Sound...(having burned through 40 components so far!)
A while back I did something similar, a "Stacked" speaker configuration. I had two sets of Eminent Technology LFT-8A speakers (hybrid planars) with 8 chanels of amplification. Around 2,400 watts into 4 ohms.

It was an incredible experience. Phenomenal POWER and PRESENCE like I've never heard before or since in a system in my home. It sounded like you were really AT the concert...

However, I had a guest who mentioned that my system was weak on "imaging". That got me thinking. I was waaaay on the soundstage side of things, and needed to come waaay back toward the imaging (detail) side of things.

So, I sold it all, went to a very simple setup that I'm currently running, with a two chanel amp and single wired speakers. I went up a level in the quality of the components and went for simple and quality pieces. I am actually mutch happier with the detail than the soundstage. I still have about 75% of the soundstage but a lot more detail and beauty in the sound.

I'm sure you're going to have quite a bit of fun in the years ahead! One thing; try to chronicle your euqipment that you've owned. I wish I had pictures of all the gear I've gone through; it would be a great nostalgia trip.

Have you visited yet? May save you some unnecessary "flipping" of gear. But, if you're like me, you secretly relish the chase for the next component...

You can see a pic of my 'stacked' ET's as well as the current rig under my name.
I've tried sitting my Spica TC-50's on top of backward firing JBL 1-66 Horizons hooked up in series, not parallel, to the same amp with pleasing results placed 4 feet from back wall. I would try your combination with just ONE amp, if run in parallel IF your amp can handle it. It's fun to fool around.
Howdy folks! I really didn't think I would get any replies so it was with great delight that I read your posts.

Joe - I always knew you had a bunch of speakers but didn't realize you played them at the same time. JM Lab and McIntosh, great combo! ;)

I have tried all sorts of combinations - the Mc running both pairs was good but even with 490W into 4 ohms, the big dynamic peaks at loud levels got compressed. Imaging suffered a little too. I guess this is why biamping is popular.

I swapped the amps around but that didn't work out too well. The CJ doesn't care for the JMs at all! Turned its nose right up at them. The Mc was just too much for the Triangles - too "hifi" sounding with way more detail than my poor recordings deserve. But I left this test feeling that the majority of the sound signature definately boils down to the speakers.

I feel that having different speakers would be a requirement. Intuitively, two pairs of ET sound like imaging would suffer. That is part of the reason that I got some monitors for the imaging part of the work and left the big dogs to do the soundstaging.

I see all this stereo business as one massive experiement. That is why I named my system as such. There is so much we don't know and so much we speculate about, why not try anything just to see what happens? There are no rules if we don't know everything! I feel it is a shame that so many folks come to Audiogon for others to tell them what to do. They should forge ahead and make their own paths, just like you guys, so thanks for your refreshing posts.

Have you considered trading the JM labs for a killer sub? Since you love the Triangles so much, this would allow much easier use, less amps and probably better detail and soundstage. The sub will do wonders...
I used to do a lot of speaker combining (before I was married), and achieved some results that were phenomenal with really run of the mill speakers. I live across the street from a Goodwill, which up until 3 or 4 years ago was a constant source of fun, cheap vintage equipment - McIntosh, Klipsch, Marantz, Dahlquist, Sequerra, etc., etc. At one time I had 10 pairs of speakers in my living room (not all runnning at once).

As someone above mentioned - the best results are from pairing speakers that have different strengths and weaknesses. Combining similars seems more problematic with less to be gained.

It's true that careful attention should be paid to time and phase alignment of the midrange drivers relative to your seating position. But it won't be as perfect as a really well put together 3 or 4 way single pair. Somehow, though, the more disparate the speakers' tonal balances, the less phase anomalies seem to have been an issue in my experience.

While purists would scoff, if you want to really get the most flexibility in achieving crazy sound on the cheap with this type of setup, one or two equalizers can be helpful. If you've got one with an accurate analyzer you can still achieve flat freq. response while tweaking the best parts out of each speaker pair.

A couple of actual examples -

I combined Dahlquist DQ-20's with a pair of Sequerra Metronomes gradually taking over the upper mids and highs, which the DQ's are little soft on. The result was the smooth DQ sound, but with more zip in the highs. Imaging was still great because the Metronomes, being small, could be placed in the same vertical "line" as the DQ drivers while maintaining the same distance to listening position.

Combined an early 60's pair of University 12" w/whizzer cones full-range drivers in giant cabinets with Ohm/Walsh 2's (which have great super tweeters). The University's had almost non-existent highs but fast and accurate lows and decent mids. So I ran both pairs practically full range, except to reduce output in the mids of both to achieve flat freq. response (with 2 eq's) . The Ohms were placed to the outside but forward of the Univ's to keep distance to listener constant. The sound was phenomenal - holographic, 3 dimensional imaging and amazing slam. Total cost of the speakers: $80
Listening enjoyment: Priceless!

Combined a pair of Spica TC-50's with (hold your nose) a pair of Bose 501's. Just sat the Spica's right on top of the 501's and ran both full range. Obvious loss of some imaging/detail - but so what. They sounded way, way better than the Bose's alone and significantly better (as in more fun to listen to) than the Spicas alone.

Combined a pair of Dahlquist DQ-20's and DQ-20i's placed side by side. The increase in slam and dynamics was dramatic but there were phase cancellation issues that I couldn't resolve satisfactorily because of the cabinet shape and size, or maybe the oversize grills. I came to the conclusion that they might be a true giant killer with one pair stacked upside down vertically above the other - but to do that right would require welding up a rack to hold the top pair, some cabinet size reductions, and building a new set of grills to hide the whole mess. Impending marriage nixed that experiment.

Combined Spica TC-50's with a pair of Magneplanars (don't remember the model - large single panel) but interestingly, the result was almost no change.

Have fun.
Man Opalchip - you are the master experimenter! Really cool to hear about your combinations. Playing to each pair's strengths is definately the way to do it.

My McIntosh C42 preamp has an excellent EQ and I adjust it to make my room response flat with warble tones. I use a Radio shack SPL meter and compensate it for accuracy.

There is no way a subwoofer could do what the JM Labs do in the mids and highs. That is the beauty of this setup is to have the two pairs of speakers contribute to the important areas of the sound spectrum for improved soundstaging. Besides, my bass response is flat to 24 Hz, which is enough for me, and if I want more midrange body, all I need to do is twist a couple knobs on my preamp! A sub would just excite room modes which would kill my detail and crystal clear imaging.

Another benefit of this two speaker pair is that the amps don't have to work as hard for the same SPL. My CJ bias lights hardly come on anymore and my Mc amp rarely reads over 20W - two things that were definately not the case before.

No . . . many people are bispeakering, and help is available.
"There is so much we don't know and so much we speculate about, why not try anything just to see what happens?"
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, it would seem. Thanks for sharing your results with such an innovative concept. What you and some of the other posters above have achieved is most impressive.