Originally Posted by Splicer010
Just buy or make a shelf to mount the center above the TV. Pretty simple.
Don't buy a shelf. Use a speaker mount as you won't pick up any vibration from the shelf into the sound mix. If you get a center channel speaker or an LCR to use as a center, you will need 2 mounts in order to put it on it's side. They are adjustable for direction also, so you can tilt them up or down, as they should point at the primary seat at 0 degrees.
Originally Posted by Splicer10
As for the THX certified mix 'n match and all works together that is bull as it cannot possibly have the same characteristics.
Per the THX wesbite
Originally Posted by THX Website
Can you mix and match speakers?
Yes, mixing and matching speaker brands and styles is fine. In fact, the whole concept of THX certification is based on the idea of being able to mix and match components from different manufacturers. The THX certification process standardizes all electrical and output parameters, so that all THX Certified speakers and receivers work together.
You can potentially have box speakers for the Front and in-wall or in-ceiling speakers for the Surrounds. However, THX recommends that you keep groups of speakers similar. This means, the Front speakers should be from the same manufacturer and designed to work together. And, the Surround Left and Right speakers should also be identical to each other, as should the Surround Back speakers.
Personally I think it's not possible, but who am I to question the creator of Star Wars?
As to matching the surrounds with the fronts, no it is not mandatory, but there are valid reasons to do so and having the bass response being directional is the first time I have ever heard something like that. For most movie watching the surrounds not matching really isn't an issue. The only time it is noticeable is when listening to music recorded in surround such as concert HD DVD or BD or SACD etc...
Bass above 100hz is directional to the human ear. In the past, receivers did not send bass information that the surrounds couldn't reproduce to the subwoofer. He has a receiver that allows each speaker's crossover to be set individually, for all channels. Hence when he sets his surround crossovers to ~125hz, all bass below 125hz that is sent on a surround channel will go to the sub, and you will be able to tell where it's coming from. Generally speaking, if you can point to your sub during a movie, you're doing it wrong.
The above being said, as an example, having 5 identical 2 driver bookshelf speakers and using 1 laying on its side (why would you do that anyway?) is not the way to do it as the speaker was designed to stand upright. The sound will not be what it should be. The best way to 'match' all the speakers is to make sure all are using the same tweeter. The tweeter is the ultimate deciding factor on how a speaker sounds and different tweeters in a speaker system will produce unmatched sounds.
You wouldn't lay a bookshelf on its side. Only a MTM or a MTTM or a MMTTMM should be laid on it's side. These are typically known as LCR's because you can mount them as left (vertical), center (horizontal), or right (vertical), and they are designed to be used in either configuration.
No to get this thread back on topic and to answer the OP's original question. The reason the same length wire is to be used is very very simple and I am amazed nobody here has mentioned it yet, and that is the attenuation of the signal. These guys are right when they talk about the speed of electrical pulses, but it is attenuation that plays the largest role. Ideally you want ALL the speaker wires to have the same potential signal strength feeding the speakers. This is why using 10gauge wires for short runs are no improvement over 16 gauge for the same distance. However, for the surrounds which are a fartger distance the same 16 gauge wires will have more attenuation and therefore less signal reaching the speaker. This would be the reason to use the 10 gauge wire. This is an example only but AVR manufactuerers simplify this by having individual channel level adjustments where one can still use the 16 gauge wires for the rear, same as for the fronts by being able to increase the power level. For this reason (and the answer to the question) the center channel speaker can have the wire at whatever length is best for the user.
This is the dumbest block of text ever. Attenuation has nothing to do with the OP's original question. The op's situation will CAUSE attenuation if he adds extra long wires to the front speakers to match the back speakers. While it's true that signal does degrade over long distances on smaller gauge wires, his statement was "I know that the front and rear speaker wires have to be the same length, but what about the center?". They DON'T have to be. All the wires to all 7 speakers can be different lengths
While the rears DO have to be a sufficient gauge (12ga has less than .1% attenuation at 50') the fronts could be 16ga provided they are only going up to 20 or so feet. Use all 12ga copper speaker wire for all connections and keep the wires as short as possible. If you get over 50' in length for one of your surrounds, you can upgrade that wire to 10ga.
For all intents and purposes, you could have a different gauge wire for all 7 speakers provided that they are thick enough to avoid signal loss at the distance the signal has to travel. I don't recommend that, and it's a waste of time IMO, but there will be NO DIFFERENCE IN SOUND "SPEED" OR QUALITY BY USING ALL THE SAME LENGTH WIRE.
(just make sure the wire is the right gauge for the distance). The only distance that you need to worry about is how far your speakers are from the primary listening position. Your receiver will make up that difference when you run Audessey, which is the only thing you need to worry about. Use the least amount of wire you can, make it all 12ga, and call it good.
Read the link above to roger russell's article about all the myths of the audio industry. Then when dumb stuff like this falls out of someone's mouth you'll already know it's hot air and marketing garbage designed by people to upsell stupid quantities of extra (and useless) product.
Enjoy what you have. As long as YOU are happy that is all that matters.
The most accurate thing, and still not 100%. You will be happier if you do it right the first time.