My primary concern is clarity of dialogue in television programs and digital video. It seems that the center speaker is the key to that, but I would love to have some input from some knowledgeable AVS'rs.
Pioneer CS-G203 L/R speakers (speakers date from the 70s/80s, but sound great)
I'm under the delusion that since both the center and stereo speakers are Pioneer, they are some how more harmonically matched than the stereo speakers would be with another brand. I cannot imagine, however, that speakers manufactured thirty years apart could be matched in any way.
This attachment to the Pioneer brand drove me to listen to the new Pioneer SP-C22 center speaker this afternoon at my local box electronics store. Compared to the $189 and the $249 speakers next to it, the SP-C22 did not impress. So, it was hard for me to convince myself that it would be an upgrade to my current set-up just to purchase the newer model of my existing center speaker.
In general, I'd love advice on either what center speaker to buy or whether something else (like my receiver (I hope not!)) is the limiting factor. Specifically, I would like some feedback on whether I should stick with the Pioneer brand. Also, is there any reason that my "vintage" stereo speakers would be an impediment to clarity of dialogue?
I'd try bumping up the level of the center channel, through the 609's internal settings, by 2 or 3 db, and see if that helps with dialog clarity. Make the most of what you already have instead of throwing $$ at something that may not be necessary, or beneficial.
So, I ended up throwing money at the problem by purchasing an Infinity Primus PC351 for $199. Seemed like a good deal, and now that I have it, it seems like a good idea to balance the large stereo speakers with a large center speaker. I've only had the PC351 for about 24 hours, but the center speaker sounds a lot more "live" and dialogue sounds more clear.
I used the "audacity" program on my Onkyo TX-NR609 to calibrate the speakers. The program determined that the PC351 crossover should be set at "70 Hzs" and the center channel should be set at -6 dbs and the stereo speakers at -7 dbs. After some listening, I raised the center channel to -4 dbs.
Should I raise the crossover to 80 Hzs? The owners manual lists the frequency range of the PC351 as 80Hz – 20kHz. It follows, then, that the crossover should be at 80 Hzs. right?
I think with a subwoofer, it isn't all about how low they can get, but how loud they can get at the freq. A lot speaker have published spects that suggest they get down to 30-40hz, but can you even hear the LFE they are producing?
Set up #1: EMP e5ti, e5Ci, and SLS Q line Audio surrounds, EMP 10i10i sub Set up #2: Def Tech SM450, CLR2002, SLS Qline surrounds and Klipsch 12wD sub Set up #3: JBL130, JBL120C and Klipsch synergy sub
I guess I wouldn't know if I haven't heard the low-end frequencies, as I've never borrowed a sub to see if I'm missing anything. I Never Learned to Share by James Blake, however, sounds fantastic on my Pioneer CS-G203s. So, if a sub could add more bass, I would be surprised. Also, my girlfriend would probably insist I keep a sub off so that we don't bother the neighbors ...