In your honest opinion, how important is the center channel for you? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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I am deciding whether to buy a center channel ($800 or so) from either Paradigm or Focal, depending on which series I go with. I have until Thursday to find out.

More so than just the cost, the physical room is making me reevaluate whether I "need" a CC or if I can skip it entirely. I am thinking of getting either the Paradigm Studio 60 floorstanding speakers or Focal Chorus 816V floorstanders, paired up with their bookshelf speakers used as the rears. The sub is something I am going to get later down the road.

I always get the impression the vocals in music, or the person speaking in the film, is located dead center between the front left and right speakers, due to the great soundstaging of the bookhselves from both Focal and Paradigm and even other less expensive makes.

I have tested some speakers at another store a month ago, and preferred to turn the center channel off for the Polk Audio and other branded speakers I have tested. It just didn't feel "right" for me and the voices just felt "too" loud and forward/in your face.

One reason I want to buy the center is if I ever decide to sell my entire system, I'll get more responses if I had the center channel included, hopefully in the same cabinet finish/color. BUT, I don't think that would happen for the next 3-5 years so....

what's your take on the center? Need it? Don't care for it?
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post #2 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 04:05 PM
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You may have had the center at too high a level. When properly balanced, the center should contain the main dialog and the L+R Mains give the wide soundstage, ambience and the special sounds like something moving across the stage.

I haven't tried a phantom center in years, but my initial setups only had L+R. The issue I had was that one person could do very well without a center as long as he sat directly in front of the screen. Anyone sitting off axis would hear the main dialog coming from whichever speaker was closer. Drove me nuts, so I budgeted the center and never looked back.

Also, I would never consider purchasing electronics/audio with a thought toward resale. Things change very rapidly and you will take a bath on the resale no matter what you choose. Choose what meets your needs now.
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post #3 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 04:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BestInTheWorld View Post

I always get the impression the vocals in music, or the person speaking in the film, is located dead center between the front left and right speakers, due to the great soundstaging of the bookhselves from both Focal and Paradigm and even other less expensive makes.

For speakers with good imaging, this is true - but only for the one person sitting dead center in front of the screen. For anyone else, the dialog shifts way over to one side or the other.

If you have more than one chair and/or person watching with you, the center channel, IMO, is absolutely required.

Try this for yourself - sit in a non-ideal position and see what you think...

Jeff

EDIT: Dangit jayn_j you type too fast! biggrin.gif

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post #4 of 5 Old 07-17-2012, 05:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the smart replies guys! That makes sense, and I didn't consider a guest or two and only thought of me, haha.

But that makes sense regarding the shifting dialog, and I will just bite the bullet and buy the center as well.

And for the thought of future resale, I just want to make sure I can get close to 50% of what I will be paying altogether from now until the end of this month which would be several thousand dollars eek.gif

I'm not rich by any means so if for whatever reason I need or want to sell, I would like to get half of that back.tongue.gif
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post #5 of 5 Old 07-18-2012, 08:36 AM
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Hi Jautor, I think you beat me to the punch more often than the reverse. We seem to say about the same thing though smile.gif

BestInTheWorld: I know people who trade in equipment every few monthhs and for them this is a reasonable strategy. Personally, my strategy is to save a bit longer and buy what I really want, then keep it as long as it is handling my needs. The speakers in my theater are vintage 1994 and sound a lot better than most stuff on the market now. I used a 1990 vintage Denon receiver until 2006 when the newer codecs became available then switched to something that handled HDMI switching as well as analog upconversion. No, it doesn't do 3-D and frankly that is not a must have feature for me.

Since I keep my stuff so long, resale is not an issue. Basically, I am amortizing over 20 years and I seldom sell anything at the end since it is totally obsolete.
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