What is the clearest, most detailed and dynamic center channel speaker out there for around $500 or less? - AVS Forum

AVS Forum > Audio > Speakers > What is the clearest, most detailed and dynamic center channel speaker out there for around $500 or less?

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JEFFREY GTS's Avatar JEFFREY GTS
04:06 PM Liked: 11
post #1 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 649
Joined: Jun 2003
Hello guys,

It's been awhile since I have posted on here. I am rebuilding my home theater system and want to start with the center channel. It's where most of the movie happens and all of the dialogue comes from. I want a center channel speaker that is clear, detailed and very dynamic. Something I can crank up pretty high without worrying about distortion or compression. I don't want it to be too harsh though. I also want a center channel that can be placed higher than the mains and not have a problem with dispersion issues or really having to angle it down towards the listener much, as I will be mounting this speaker above my tv. I was looking at the HSU HC-1 MK2 but then read a review saying it needed to be more at ear level for premium performance. I was also looking at the Chase Home Theater stuff and Elemental Designs. Any other suggestions?

Thanks
Eternal Velocity's Avatar Eternal Velocity
04:42 PM Liked: 61
post #2 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 1,397
Joined: Oct 2010
My top three guesses would be

1) KEF Q600C
2) Aperion Verus Grand Center
3) EMP e56Ci
JEFFREY GTS's Avatar JEFFREY GTS
04:52 PM Liked: 11
post #3 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 649
Joined: Jun 2003
What do you think about Wharfedale?
4DHD's Avatar 4DHD
04:55 PM Liked: 78
post #4 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 5,913
Joined: Aug 2004
Any center speaker will be better at ear level, and free from any first reflections. For around $500, you can get the JBL LC2, it is BIG. There are bigger centers but not many. WTMW. The LC2 is about as clean a dialogue you can get.
Khaos's Avatar Khaos
04:59 PM Liked: 12
post #5 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 196
Joined: May 2011
If I was in the market for a stand alone center, I'd get the Swan RM600C

307

http://www.lockwaresystems.com/RM600C-111-227.html

It is 4ohms however, so make sure your amplifier can pump out at least 200w at 4ohms if you want to reach deafening levels (which I doubt you would) biggrin.gif
wlhungdude's Avatar wlhungdude
07:04 PM Liked: 68
post #6 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 632
Joined: Dec 2006
Hiya Jeffrey, or is it Huck? smile.gif

I have the HC1, and I think it has fantastic clarity and very accurate reproduction. As mentioned above, any center will sound better at ear level, but very few of us have an AT (accoustically transparent) screen.

Otherwise, most people have to settle for either above or below their TV. The HSU does come with an adjustable base plate to aim it up or down. Just make sure the shelf is deep enough , in your case mounting above, to give at least 3" space to the wall behind. Dr. Hsu has said that 1" is enough, but I've seen posted that you should give at least as much distance as the diameter of the rear port.

Take a look at the Father's Day sale they have right now... you could get an HC1 and a pair of HB1's shipped for $553. Slightly over budget, but it would give you a very capable front 3, and something you could easily add to.

These speakers are very good. And a very good value. IMO, YMMV, AFAIK, etc....

Joseph


reason for editing: 11:45 pm EST :

speeling and spasing

Louis Bartay's Avatar Louis Bartay
09:32 PM Liked: 526
post #7 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 1,416
Joined: Jan 2011
I have a Klipsch RC-62 center that is above my flatt screen ( shelf mounted on wall) and aimed down. My room is 10X14 and

my flatt screen setting on the TV stand is 57" off the floor and the bottom of my center is even with the top of TV.

I wanted my center ear level like the fronts but the wife likes the TV stand.

I have the Tv stand out from the wall so the front of the RC-62 is even with the front of the flatt screen.

My fronts and rears are 7' feet apart and sofa is dead center 7' back so rears are 7' back on wall aimed down and back of sofa.

My RC-62 is clean and clear and was under $400.00 NIB to my door. This is not the best way to have a 5.2 HT system

but I had to make the wife happy. It does sound great as small room and low ceiling saved my speaker placement.
drewTT's Avatar drewTT
10:37 PM Liked: 103
post #8 of 30
06-08-2012 | Posts: 1,948
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I will just say that ideally you want the three front speakers to be from the same manufacturer and model line.
shadyJ's Avatar shadyJ
04:18 AM Liked: 689
post #9 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 7,365
Joined: May 2009
The Hsu HC-1 is a very good center. In your budget, that is one I would look at, and the Klipsch RC-62. Possibly the EMP Tek E56Ci (but not the E5Ci) as well, and maybe the Arx A2 center. You might also look at the Aperion Intimus 5C, but I would stay away from the 4C or the Verus Forte.
Mantis10's Avatar Mantis10
08:17 AM Liked: 14
post #10 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 676
Joined: Apr 2005
Think Klipsch , they make incredibly dynamic speakers and for theater they are probably one of the very best on the market dollar for dollar.
The RC64 II along with the RF7 package would be an amazing setup for you. I think you should demo them.

Another very dynamic center channel would be the CS8080HD. This is a powered center that is clear and very dynamic. It's a wonderful part of a wonderful system. Another system to really consider.

Another sweet package would be the RTia system. The Center is the CSI6 , it's explosive and clear. Along with the rest of the RTIA package , this is a very sweet and well build theater system. They do not disappoint for theater use.

All these packages I listed require a shelf , non of them are direct wall mountable. Now is you want a direct wall mounted center and speaker package that meets all your need then check out the Definitive Technology Mythos series with the Mythos 10 being the center. It's wall mounted and has incredibly wide dispersion. Mated with the Mythos ST mains and Mythos 10 surrounds , you have the making of a super cool theater package. Another version of this could be all Mythos 10 speakers for Left , Center , Right all wall mounted as well as Surrounds , surround back or if you like front heights or widths all 10's. This is a perfect package as you get the exact same sound all the way around. You will require a sub or 2 to fill in the low end.

My best advise is to go out and check out these options and see what you like. I could go on and on what would be a good idea for what you described. Many companies make wonderful on wall speakers , it's a good idea to go out and play.
Louis Bartay's Avatar Louis Bartay
08:27 AM Liked: 526
post #11 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 1,416
Joined: Jan 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by drewTT View Post

I will just say that ideally you want the three front speakers to be from the same manufacturer and model line.

I agree, all my speakers are Klipsch. But my fronts are the older(1979) Cornwall Heritage line. And I mixed the center and rears from their Reference Line

that have much brighter sound. I was suprised that my my room correction program in my AVR tuned them great. In the last two years I have

manually added some gain the center and rear surrounds. getting older(62) and my hearing is only good to 14 khz on the hearing test on this site.
AuralXTC's Avatar AuralXTC
04:14 PM Liked: 12
post #12 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 573
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Bartay View Post

getting older(62) and my hearing is only good to 14 khz on the hearing test on this site.

Which test are you referring to? Is it hosted on AVS or are you referring to the one @ freemosquitoringtones.org?
Louis Bartay's Avatar Louis Bartay
06:07 PM Liked: 526
post #13 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 1,416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuralXTC View Post

Which test are you referring to? Is it hosted on AVS or are you referring to the one @ freemosquitoringtones.org?

freemosquitorings looking at the chart 14 khz for a Man 62 is Good... smile.gif
mtrot's Avatar mtrot
08:13 PM Liked: 29
post #14 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 1,633
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis Bartay View Post

I agree, all my speakers are Klipsch. But my fronts are the older(1979) Cornwall Heritage line. And I mixed the center and rears from their Reference Line
that have much brighter sound. I was suprised that my my room correction program in my AVR tuned them great. In the last two years I have
manually added some gain the center and rear surrounds. getting older(62) and my hearing is only good to 14 khz on the hearing test on this site.

Hey, thanks for bringing up the hearing tone site. I'm 58 and I can barely hear the 14khz tone on the right ear, and barely hear the 15khz on the left ear. Guess it could be worse.rolleyes.gif
Eternal Velocity's Avatar Eternal Velocity
10:19 PM Liked: 61
post #15 of 30
06-09-2012 | Posts: 1,397
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JEFFREY GTS View Post

What do you think about Wharfedale?

"meh"
Louis Bartay's Avatar Louis Bartay
07:04 AM Liked: 526
post #16 of 30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post

Hey, thanks for bringing up the hearing tone site. I'm 58 and I can barely hear the 14khz tone on the right ear, and barely hear the 15khz on the left ear. Guess it could be worse.rolleyes.gif

For our age 14 is Good.smile.gif I love all the Klipsch speakers in my small den I can hear what I see on th flatt screen.
smile.gif
commsysman's Avatar commsysman
07:07 AM Liked: 266
post #17 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 5,353
Joined: Dec 2007
The KEF Q600c or the PSB Image C5
commsysman's Avatar commsysman
07:09 AM Liked: 266
post #18 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 5,353
Joined: Dec 2007
Since 99% of all Audio or musical content is between 30 Hz and 8K Hz, it is essentially moot what you can hear over 10 KHz.
AuralXTC's Avatar AuralXTC
04:14 PM Liked: 12
post #19 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 573
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I can hear to 18kHz, I'm 28yrs old. I can hear 19kHz and 20kHz too if I turn it up a bit. cool.gif
Sepen's Avatar Sepen
06:29 PM Liked: 20
post #20 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 718
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Hmm, I am 54 and I could hear the 10 khz. Not good.


.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post

Hey, thanks for bringing up the hearing tone site. I'm 58 and I can barely hear the 14khz tone on the right ear, and barely hear the 15khz on the left ear. Guess it could be worse.rolleyes.gif

Sepen's Avatar Sepen
06:33 PM Liked: 20
post #21 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 718
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If I didn't just blow my wad on a 80" Sharp I would have bought the Sho/Pro 10 setup for my fronts. I am even thinking of just grabbing a Sho-10 for the center for now. If you go ED, read the ED thread first.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JEFFREY GTS View Post

Hello guys,
It's been awhile since I have posted on here. I am rebuilding my home theater system and want to start with the center channel. It's where most of the movie happens and all of the dialogue comes from. I want a center channel speaker that is clear, detailed and very dynamic. Something I can crank up pretty high without worrying about distortion or compression. I don't want it to be too harsh though. I also want a center channel that can be placed higher than the mains and not have a problem with dispersion issues or really having to angle it down towards the listener much, as I will be mounting this speaker above my tv. I was looking at the HSU HC-1 MK2 but then read a review saying it needed to be more at ear level for premium performance. I was also looking at the Chase Home Theater stuff and Elemental Designs. Any other suggestions?
Thanks

JEFFREY GTS's Avatar JEFFREY GTS
08:04 PM Liked: 11
post #22 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 649
Joined: Jun 2003
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sepen View Post

If I didn't just blow my wad on a 80" Sharp I would have bought the Sho/Pro 10 setup for my fronts. I am even thinking of just grabbing a Sho-10 for the center for now. If you go ED, read the ED thread first.

I don't feel too sorry for you about blowing your wad on an 80' Sharp. smile.gif
Very nice! How much did it set you back?
And I am SERIOUSLY considering the SHO's for my system.
mtrot's Avatar mtrot
08:30 PM Liked: 29
post #23 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 1,633
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sepen View Post

Hmm, I am 54 and I could hear the 10 khz. Not good.
.

Well, I should clarify that I could only hear the 12 and 14khz tones by getting my ear within 6 inches or so of my computer speakers. Actually, I'm not sure what the frequency range of these tiny computer speakers is, anyway. It might be interesting to connect some decent head phones and test again.
Louis Bartay's Avatar Louis Bartay
08:51 PM Liked: 526
post #24 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 1,416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post

Well, I should clarify that I could only hear the 12 and 14khz tones by getting my ear within 6 inches or so of my computer speakers. Actually, I'm not sure what the frequency range of these tiny computer speakers is, anyway. It might be interesting to connect some decent head phones and test again.

I used my Rat Shack SPL db meter to check my PC speker system. After 14 my meter moved but ears did not hear it. I ran the dog out of the room and my Grand Son(8) was yelling it hurt his ears as I had the volume at 90db so I could hear up the 14khz. My Klipsch Pro Media 2.1 PC audio system works good for what it cost. My meter moved all the way 22. As one member posted most of the music I listen(Blues, R&R) to does not go up to 14.
JEFFREY GTS's Avatar JEFFREY GTS
09:24 PM Liked: 11
post #25 of 30
06-10-2012 | Posts: 649
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wlhungdude View Post

Hiya Jeffrey, or is it Huck? smile.gif
I have the HC1, and I think it has fantastic clarity and very accurate reproduction. As mentioned above, any center will sound better at ear level, but very few of us have an AT (accoustically transparent) screen.
Otherwise, most people have to settle for either above or below their TV. The HSU does come with an adjustable base plate to aim it up or down. Just make sure the shelf is deep enough , in your case mounting above, to give at least 3" space to the wall behind. Dr. Hsu has said that 1" is enough, but I've seen posted that you should give at least as much distance as the diameter of the rear port.
Take a look at the Father's Day sale they have right now... you could get an HC1 and a pair of HB1's shipped for $553. Slightly over budget, but it would give you a very capable front 3, and something you could easily add to.
These speakers are very good. And a very good value. IMO, YMMV, AFAIK, etc....
Joseph

reason for editing: 11:45 pm EST :
speeling and spasing

Well.......I'm your Huckleberry, so Huck is just fine. LOL biggrin.gif

Yeah, HSU looks like a great speaker for a steal of a price. I like the finishes on them too. Thanks for the info. I am close to a decision. I have sent an email to another company that I found and am waitng for a response. Their two channel audio stuff looks to be just ridiculous, I want to know if they will serve a dual purpose in a multimedia room. I am sold on the towers for my two channel listening room but I would like to put them in my main room as well. Hope to get a response tomorrow. But I have really narrowed it down to HSU, Chase, Wharfedale and Aperion Audio. Will keep you informed.
Archaea's Avatar Archaea
10:42 AM Liked: 971
post #26 of 30
08-13-2012 | Posts: 6,871
Joined: Apr 2004
Wharfedale centers in my experience are not up to par as the rest of their tower line up is. I love my Wharfedale SP89, but never fell in love with any of the Wharfedale center's I've tried -- including those from the valadus, modus, sapphire, and pacific lines.
Hspecialist's Avatar Hspecialist
04:49 PM Liked: 22
post #27 of 30
08-13-2012 | Posts: 224
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My opinion is the new Ascend Horizon with the RAAL option. Crazy huge sounding and even freaking awesome in 2 channel listening with dual Horizons. The ultimate would be using 3 of these in a LCR setup! eek.gif

http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?t=4914
BeeMan458's Avatar BeeMan458
05:13 PM Liked: 801
post #28 of 30
08-13-2012 | Posts: 8,374
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It's more than your stated budget and to get the price, it's B-stock, but it's the best darn center channel I've heard; Klipsch, RC-64 II, delivered, for $891.00. At low volume, everyday I'm amazed how clear, easy and full the sound is. I can't say I've read a bad review on this speaker set as there are five speakers (two mids, a tweeter and then two more mids) in the cabinet.



x6_3c25d299c8c1f3b430b7e38cf0d31c5b.jpg

-
MrSmithers's Avatar MrSmithers
05:20 PM Liked: 13
post #29 of 30
08-13-2012 | Posts: 143
Joined: Jan 2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hspecialist View Post

My opinion is the new Ascend Horizon with the RAAL option. Crazy huge sounding and even freaking awesome in 2 channel listening with dual Horizons. The ultimate would be using 3 of these in a LCR setup! eek.gif
http://forum.ascendacoustics.com/showthread.php?t=4914
Also almost 3 times the OP's stated budget. Unless one of your first acts as a new Ascend rep is to offer to sell these to forum members for $500? If that's the case I'm in for one! biggrin.gif
rick240's Avatar rick240
05:31 PM Liked: 51
post #30 of 30
08-13-2012 | Posts: 3,551
Joined: Oct 2004
Audition all kinds of speakers and determine what you want to get for your front 3 (all matching)...

...then buy that centre speaker, if that's what you really want to get first.
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