AVS Special Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Philadelphia Vicinity
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If there are no size limitations on any of the speakers, I agree that in theory three identical systems are optimal. But in a HT system, the CC is often called upon to do a lot more work than the L&R, and if the size of the main speakers is constrained, having a more robust CC may be beneficial. Timbre matching is very important, but not necessarily at the expense of limiting the dynamic range of the system as a whole.
If you're limited to boxes with, say, 5-6" drivers as the mains, a CC that doubles that complement and increases both the power-handling and the bass extension of the center could be a better overall choice than three identical boxes.
Also, the situation where a CC is going to be installable not just on the same plane and at the same height, but also in the same relationship with room boundaries as the mains, will be rare. Placement has a profound effect on a speaker's sound, they stop being "identical" if two of them are in corners and one is free-standing in the middle of a wall, for example.
And there are plenty of situations where difficult CC placement issues can be solved with a phantom center, if the mains are good enough.
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