Originally Posted by shadyJ
I don't think CMT340's are a good idea for anyone with that tight of a budget. I would much prefer the CBM170s if I were to go with Ascend. The extra woofer on the 340s won't get you that much extra SPL, but it will introduce off-axis lobing issues which are absent on the single woofer CBM. If you want to be picky, it also adds that much more surface area which adds resonance. it is also more difficult to use a wall mount on a speaker that heavy with that high of a center of gravity, you pretty much have to drill holes in the CMT340 for any kind of mount. In fact, everything being equal, I would also rather use the CBM for a center speaker rather than a CMT, the CBM will almost certainly have a better horizontal off-axis FR unless you used the CMT340 vertically, but not many people can do that. Three CBM170s would, in my opinion, be a preferable system, and leave room in the budget for a decent subwoofer as well.
Any larger speaker has the potential for more resonance. The more related issue is if the resonance is an actual issue and if the speaker is properly braced.
Lobing is a true issue, if you sit off axis. With the CMT-340SE center, if I remember correctly, if you are 10' from the speaker, the center lob is at least 8' wide. At this distance, if you are sitting outside of 8', you are probably sitting outside the left or right speaker too....which would be more of an issue. I'm not saying lobing isn't a real issue, because for some center channels and users it really is.
BTW...the center channel that shadyJ recommended in the Hsu setup is of the same design as the CMT-340SE and would have the same general issues that shadyJ mentions.
As for those that have experienced the CBM-170SE vs the CMT-340SE, most will tell you they don't sound the same. The 340 plays "bigger", certainly plays deeper, and I think the midrange is bit more open.
Mounting is more of an issue with the 340 as others have pointed out. I wouldn't mount 340's on a wall, but others have used a mount that are designed to clamp on to the bottom of the speaker to avoid drilling, and have been very happy with it. If you crossover to a sub at 80hz, you shouldn't have any problems with port.
With all that...I really suggest that you do what you can to get out and listen to speakers, especially the Hsu and Ascend setups recommended. As cel4145 said, you can't go wrong with either of them...but I will add, that if you them both, especially side by side, you will prefer one over the other.