Originally Posted by sherr127
What do you mean by phantom center?Only Left and right without center if sitting in the sweet spot?
Great imaging mainly happens when your left and right ears hear exactly the same thing.
If your room, speaker placement, speaker angles, and listening position are all symmetrical, the illusion can be 100%.
Without that kind of symmetry, good EQ and time alignment can help get closer.
You notice it the most with stereo content that's panned in the middle.
Anyway, if you have perfect imaging, a phantom center (no center) can actually give you superior results to a horizontal center below the screen. Horizontal centers are coming from the wrong location, and their off-axis response is often problematic and always different than vertical LRs.
On the other hand, if you don't have a symmetrical setup, or you care about off-axis seats, the center channel helps a ton with imaging. For off-axis seats, the center channel can dramatically improve dialog clarity. I'd definitely recommend a center channel for most cases. With a horizontal center, sometimes I actually prefer a phantom center, though.
Unless there are serious budget constraints, I'd say get the center, even if it's horizontal. Then, perhaps experiment with phantom mode for solo listening sessions, and turn phantom off when you have company.
And if you have a lots of flexibility, check out AT screens for 3 identical vertical LCRs.