Best Center Channel ever .. ?! :) - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post

To me that LOOKS horrible. It may sound good. The furnishings are nice. Thus my earlier comment in regards to dedicated rooms. This layout would drive me nuts. Based on perception of the couch in the background those speakers almost look too large. Monitors might have been a better approach. Wonder if those are rear ported? How does that center breath with all that rack behind it? And the shelfs are all glass.

I am my own WAF factor.biggrin.gif I want the best sound I can get along with looking good as well for my given non-dedicated room.

That matched center looks out of place in that room IMO.

Rick
And that's why horizontal centers totally dominate the market. People buy what looks good. I do agree that it looks horrible. That screen is half the size it should be. wink.gif
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When the lights go off, who cares about the visual aesthetics anyway?
Just so long as it doesn't result in a Coyote Ugly incident in the morning. eek.gif

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post #62 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 07:40 PM
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Any horizontal speaker is going to be a compromise as, ideally, three identical towers are ideal, but I've been quite impressed with the Aerial (CC5?), the Revel Ultima Voice, and the Evidence and Confidence Dynaudio centers. The top B&W 800 center is also quite good. Even the MTM Focal Chorus 800W is quite good considering the price and driver configuration, although I generally prefer 3-way center designs.
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post #63 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 07:58 PM
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This is a hilarious conversation.

As an initial matter, neither absolute position is tenable in most situations. Aesthetics absolutely played a role in my decision to purchase my studio 60s v5 and the cc-590. Once we cleared certain SQ hurdles, aesthetics were considered. That the towers were rounded and a relatively small fit better with the decor of my space. I planned on auditioning the Revel F12's until I saw them - they just wouldnt work.

These forums are great - I have gotten a lot of useful information out of them. But, I dont see why the positions must be so absolute. What on earth is possibly wrong with considering both SQ and aesthetics when designing my system. Otherwise, why even decorate the room/ home? Unless I had a dedicated theater room that was only used for watching movies (rare in NYC), three floorstanders would never fly, and that is not just a function of WAF.
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post #64 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 08:06 PM
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I was just playing devi's advocate a bit... I too use a horizontal center (NHT TwoC)... but it's only because I cannot place a monitor/tower appropriately... In a future room, that could change.

It's hard to comment on room size without any info go with the pic... The couch looks relatively close in the pic, but that doesn't mean the rear wall is right behind the couch and that it's a small room... It could be, but can't tell from the pic... Either way, I get what you're saying....

But I don't think having towers in a relatively small room is an issue provided the listening distance is enough to allow the drivers to properly sum.
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post #65 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

After a much more exhaustive search ref CC speakers - Mr Rumsfeld made me do it! - I have found that despite the deficiencies that evidently are found in many horizontal CC speaker designs, in the real world, most users do not find these anomalies significant nor objectionable enough to want to toss them out the window.

I think that in the real world most of those who listen critically happen to be sitting in the central "sweet spot" so they wouldn't notice that anything is amiss anyway. smile.gif
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Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

So, in the average setting, most folks do not sit way off center nor continually walk around the listening area during a movie & therefore don't often experience the nasties that are obsessed about in the forums.

That's true enough for most cases, but then there are other cases (in the real world, too) where some seats are quite far off-axis--even more than 30 degrees. This is when the effects of comb filtering for typical horizontally-oriented centers can transition from barely noticeable to readily heard and objectionable for those who demand the best from their equipment. In my home theater, for instance, I have to use a vertically-oriented center speaker to ensure that at least dialogue is reproduced with the best possible quality and intelligibility for those who are seated far off-axis (unfortunately I don't currently have a dedicated theater room, so I don't control every aspect of my HT's layout). That said, there is still an improvement, albeit more subtle, for those who are only slightly off-axis, that I for one can hear and appreciate. If you MUST compromise with a center speaker that has narrow horizontal dispersion, then so be it, nobody is going to die from it, but if there is a better way, then that's what we should all at least strive for.

By the way, if the effects of comb-filtering don't matter for some folks, then maybe they don't need center channels at all. Most home theaters are small/narrow enough that it hardly matters that the center image shifts slightly for those who are off-axis--I bet that few would ever complain. As a matter of fact, more than a few HT enthusiasts swear by "phantom" centers, even preferring this configuration to having an actual center speaker. So why use a center speaker at all? Well, it mitigates some issues that discerning listeners/viewers have in off-axis seats. And why use a center that has wide horizontal dispersion (usually vertically-oriented)? Because for even more discerning viewers it clears up the issues that arise from using typical center speakers, providing the best sound quality for both on- and off-axis viewers.
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Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

As a layman, I surmise that the lack of negative comments/reviews on the net (there are only a few that I came across) about CC speakers of any brand or design is because these detrimental effects are just not noticed nor experienced to any major degree by most listeners. Overwhelmingly, they appear to be quite happy with their gear & the manufacturers seem to know that.

It's not surprising that most people aren't very discerning or picky about sound quality. I don't mean that in a condescending way--it's just how things are unless you have the interest to learn and the experience to tell good from bad, and better from good. Naturally, those who have developed their knowledge and hearing perception would expect relatively high-end speakers (compared to typical mass market gear) that cost a fair amount of money to, at the very least, do all the basic things right, from an engineering standpoint--heck, even dirt-cheap speakers can be designed properly in terms of driver placement, even if the materials and components used are necessarily inferior. It's sad and embarrassing when manufacturers take advantage of their customers' ignorance to eschew basic engineering principles, and oh yeah, we'll call them on it.
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post #66 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 08:16 PM
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What on earth is possibly wrong with considering both SQ and aesthetics when designing my system.
There's nothing wrong with taking real-world factors - budget, placement limitations, WAF, neighbours, etc. - into account when setting up a home theater system.
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post #67 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.SoftDome View Post

That matched center looks out of place in that room IMO.

I think that it looks good--I like the symmetry and uniformity of three identical speakers lined up in front, as opposed to one of them looking odd and out of place. My home theater has three vertically-oriented bookshelf speakers mounted just above the TV (helps keep them safe from pets and toddlers), and I like how they look as a set, too.
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

IMO, visual aesthetics will always take a back seat to sound quality. In the above linked system, the cohesiveness and integration of the front soundstage will far outweigh any benefit from some perceived aesthetic benefit of having a horizontally aligned CC.

I completely agree, except that I think it's more cohesive in an aesthetic sense, as well.

Speaking of soundstage cohesiveness, this discussion kind of reminds me of this other one going on:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1459292/how-important-is-it-to-timbre-match-your-speakers-5-1-home-theater/0_100

I guess some folks don't need center speakers or timbre-matched surrounds, but others want everything to be just right. smile.gif
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Originally Posted by Purpose View Post

As an initial matter, neither absolute position is tenable in most situations. Aesthetics absolutely played a role in my decision to purchase my studio 60s v5 and the cc-590. Once we cleared certain SQ hurdles, aesthetics were considered. That the towers were rounded and a relatively small fit better with the decor of my space. I planned on auditioning the Revel F12's until I saw them - they just wouldnt work.

Who said that there can't be any compromise, depending on one's personal priorities and tastes? What's absolute is that some compromise is involved, no question. What's also absolute is that some of the center speakers we're talking about are poorly designed as center speakers, of which there is no doubt, either. Now, if an individual refuses to make certain compromises, that's their prerogative--as long as they aren't forcing others to see things entirely their way (except for the absolutes mentioned above), there's nothing wrong with that.
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post #68 of 74 Old 02-23-2013, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Robert Cook View Post

Who said that there can't be any compromise, depending on one's personal priorities and tastes? What's absolute is that some compromise is involved, no question. What's also absolute is that some of the center speakers we're talking about are poorly designed as center speakers, of which there is no doubt, either. Now, if an individual refuses to make certain compromises, that's their prerogative--as long as they aren't forcing others to see things entirely their way (except for the absolutes mentioned above), there's nothing wrong with that.

Look, I obviously agree that there is almost always compromise involved - my post made that plain. So long as that is clear, I think it is a useful conversation.
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post #69 of 74 Old 02-24-2013, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by alphaiii View Post

I was just playing devi's advocate a bit... I too use a horizontal center...... .
So do I.
I don't have to, I can fit a vertical array under my screen, and used to use one. Then I purpose designed a high efficiency wide dispersion horizontal center, for those who can't use a vertical array. It doesn't work as well as a vertical array, but it works well enough that after I was done testing it I left it in place and put the vertical array I had been using in my workshop.
The point here is that it takes a high level of engineering expertise to get a horizontally aligned speaker to work well. Some are well done, most are fair to middling, and then some, like the Axiom, simply don't make the grade. If you do have a chance to try before you buy remember that how it sounds directly in front of it matters little, it's how it sounds well off to either side that counts.

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post #70 of 74 Old 02-24-2013, 08:19 AM
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The pic was but a single example of how the typical horizontal orientation marketing driven herd mentality, can be avoided. I used that image only because I had it handy, as I'd posted it previously.


"To me that LOOKS horrible. It may sound good. The furnishings are nice. Thus my earlier comment in regards to dedicated rooms. This layout would drive me nuts. Based on perception of the couch in the background those speakers almost look too large. Monitors might have been a better approach. Wonder if those are rear ported? How does that center breath with all that rack behind it? And the shelfs are all glass."

Several subjective statements, preferences, etc., and one valid concern of a potential issue; .. the imaging may be executed better with the center being entirely free from all furnishings, and if the glass rings details may be smeared in time domain.

But, there's so much else right about a simple three normal speakers across the front, .. which is the issue at hand.


It's been said many times in audio, whether you're a speaker designer, or enthusiast, ... is all about a compromises ... choosing those choices that maximize what one is wanting to achieve, while minimizing those elements one takes exception to.

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post #71 of 74 Old 02-24-2013, 08:54 AM
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Lots of great insights. For what it might be worth, we are enjoying our JBL PC600 tremendously. Wonderfully clear dialogue and musical integration. It avoids the pure MTM shortcomings (including as best I can tell as a listener) and the confounding overkill depicted in at least one of the pictured examples. It is, however, sufficiently large so as to have limited our choices of consoles and related furniture (home theater application with an LED TV). I am interested to read about other great units, consistent with the original theme of this thread. wink.gif
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post #72 of 74 Old 07-01-2014, 03:50 PM
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If you think finding a reasonable center channel match and size with with regular dynamic speakers is hard, try it with an electrostatic !

That was my challenge back in 2006, when I decided I needed a much better center than what MartinLogan was offering at the time to mate with my huge Monoliths (22 x48" panels, 6' tall speakers).

So I designed and built my own center based on the panel section of an SL3 and my own custom mid-bass line array. Driven by an active crossover and bi-amped with 800w to the panel and another 400w to the mid-bass array, it is super-clean all the way to 105dB SPL.

I posted an extensive build thread full of pics and measurements over at the MartinLogan Owners Club.

After eight years, it is still an amazing component in my system, a good center makes movies and surround music come to life.

The obligatory pic of the SL3XC that is bolted to the top of my Infinite Baffle sub with quad 15" drivers :



PS- the wall behind it is heavily treated with acoustic treatments and this speaker is normally hidden by the acoustically transparent screen that is in front of it spanning the gap between the Monoliths.
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post #73 of 74 Old 07-01-2014, 06:08 PM
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yawn...to this thread....

Habit Forming....Wallet Burning Hobby....

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post #74 of 74 Old 07-01-2014, 06:26 PM
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I've had the following....

Polk Audio CSI A6
Mirage OMD-C1
SVS Ultra center
Martin Logan Electromotion C2
Gallo CL-C

Out of the ones I've had I liked the OMD-C1 and Electromotion C2 the most. The Gallo CL-C I liked the least.

Last edited by Slickman; 07-01-2014 at 06:31 PM.
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