Help with Center Channel Speaker Selection - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi Guys,

I need your recommendation in picking a center channel speaker - budget is under $200, if any speaker is more expensive but amazing value for money, I am willing to wait till my piggy bank fills up.

I have a 50 inch Toshiba HDTV, Denon AVR 1911 receiver / amp, Sony BS 1000 book shelf speakers and a PS3. While I am happy with the sound I get as compared to TV speakers, I am looking at ways to improve the sound quality.

My wife and I mostly watch television series off Netflix, maybe one to two movies a week, I do some occasional gaming on PS3. My wife likes to listen to some music connected to the receiver once in a while.

My L/R front speakers are kept dead straight (no toe in) on ground. We generally sit between the two speakers (on our couch - which is lower that regular couches, also note that I can only keep my center channel on the ground, my current AV set up does not allow me to raise the height of the center channel). Considering the fact we watch a lot of television series and some movies I think it would make sense to get a center channel speaker (am a noob with these things so please forgive my ignorance) as most of the vocals get driven through center channel.

What would be your recommendation for a center channel speaker considering my audio set up. I have read that the front L+R speakers should match the center speaker, how do I do this? Also, looks like I need to consider sensitivity and resistance of the speakers - what does it mean?!

Help!

Thanks for your inputs in advance.

V
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post #2 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 04:31 AM
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I'd start by getting your speakers off the floor. Invest in some speaker stands. You want the tweeters to be at ear height. That should significantly improve the sound. Toe the speakers in slightly and you might be just fine running a phantom center.
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post #3 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 04:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply! Stands are so frickin expensive here in Japan, cant find anything for less than $120 for a pair frown.gif (atleast not online). "Really" hoping I can get some other options than mounting my speakers. I know it doesn't sound intelligent, but for about $50 more, I can get some decent center channels. But honestly, even if I mounted my speakers on stands, I think I would still be inclined to get center channel. I heard a Denon center channel (retailed at 16000 JPY) and I was quite impressed. But as I said earlier, no idea on how to match the speakers and look for things like impedance and resistance. Would appreciate any inputs!

Thanks much.

V
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post #4 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 09:16 AM
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Why not use something temporary for stands so you can hear the difference by getting the speakers to proper height and toed in? Then you can better judge whether you do need a CC speaker. Bricks, cinder blocks, crates, tree stumps smile.gif, almost anything that will put the speakers up where they belong.
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post #5 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Posssumgirl,

I just tried that and even my wife noticed the difference! I found a site from where I can buy cheap stands so looks like I will get them.

Although, I would still like some suggestions on what center speakers will match my system. I know this questions might have been asked a million times on this forum. I even tried searching but maybe I am not searching right, I would appreciate any inputs in this regard.

Thanks!

V
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post #6 of 20 Old 07-05-2013, 09:24 PM
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Vjay,

For it to work properly, all 3 fronts (center and LRs) need to be timbre matched. At $200, I'd suggest the Pioneers SP-BS22 and center SP-C22. If you have $100 more, I would suggest the floorstanding SP-FS52 instead of the bookshelf since you don't have a sub.

You can use your sonys as surrounds.
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post #7 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks hdnewbie21!

Miss the states so much, I cant get these speakers here in Japan. My living room layout is not good for a good surround set up (its rectangular with very odd spaces). I can only accomplish surrounds if I find some really small speakers that I can mount behind my couch. If I used Sony for surround, the speaker placement would not be equidistant from where we sit.

For timber matching, can I just get the Sony center channel then? I have Sony SS B 1000 L+R. The Sony center channel I am looking at is SS-CN5000. If I get this center speaker, will I achieve timbre matching?

Thanks for your time!

V
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post #8 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 08:07 AM
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I don't know. Maybe someone here knows that or call Sony's customer service.

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post #9 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raovjay View Post

Thanks hdnewbie21!

Miss the states so much, I cant get these speakers here in Japan. My living room layout is not good for a good surround set up (its rectangular with very odd spaces). I can only accomplish surrounds if I find some really small speakers that I can mount behind my couch. If I used Sony for surround, the speaker placement would not be equidistant from where we sit.

For timber matching, can I just get the Sony center channel then? I have Sony SS B 1000 L+R. The Sony center channel I am looking at is SS-CN5000. If I get this center speaker, will I achieve timbre matching?

Thanks for your time!

V
The SS-CN5000 is a timbre match to the SS-B1000. I have it and use it with SS-F6000 floorstanding speakers, which are a part of the same family of speakers. It's a decent center...it won't blow you away (and is virtually impossible to find anymore), but I feel that timbre matching is important, so I got one anyways. Reading about your situation, it sounds like the SS-CN5000 would fit your needs perfectly, as long as you can find one. They pop up on eBay every now and then, but it's a fair achievement to find one anyplace else.
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post #10 of 20 Old 07-06-2013, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks _Hawk3_y_3_!

Good to know! I am able to find it on amazon.co.jp as well as local electronics stores. Heading out now to check it out! Maybe when I am ready for big boy speakers, I can move the fronts to surrounds. For now I will be content with the sony set up if I can get my hands on them.

Will update the post soon!

V
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post #11 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 03:53 AM - Thread Starter
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I was able to purchase from a local online retailer in Japan for about $55. I should get the speaker in a couple days, will update with initial impressions.

At this moment, I have two questions lingering in my head:
1) How much difference the speaker wire / cable will make. Right now I am using stock wires (the thin ones). Should I upgrade to a higher quality (all the three speakers are very close to the TV)?
2) I will need to tilt my center channel speaker upwards, for this I am thinking of using couple of rubber stoppers that I have lying around. How much difference do the quality of the isolation pads make? I have seen them in foam, wood and metal, does the material also makes any difference in the sound?

Would appreciate any inputs on these.

V
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post #12 of 20 Old 07-07-2013, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raovjay View Post

I was able to purchase from a local online retailer in Japan for about $55. I should get the speaker in a couple days, will update with initial impressions.

At this moment, I have two questions lingering in my head:
1) How much difference the speaker wire / cable will make. Right now I am using stock wires (the thin ones). Should I upgrade to a higher quality (all the three speakers are very close to the TV)?
2) I will need to tilt my center channel speaker upwards, for this I am thinking of using couple of rubber stoppers that I have lying around. How much difference do the quality of the isolation pads make? I have seen them in foam, wood and metal, does the material also makes any difference in the sound?

Would appreciate any inputs on these.

V
Congrats on your new purchase! That speaker is a real pain to find here in the States. Re: your questions...

1) I would definitely upgrade to a better quality wire. Since you're so close to your TV, 14 gauge (maybe even 16 gauge) should be more than adequate, but just about anything is better than the stock wires Sony provides.
2) The center speaker has little rubber feet that attach to the bottom, so that prevents the wood cabinet of the speaker from coming into contact with other surfaces and therefore helps with dampening vibrations. Although I personally wouldn't place the speaker on anything metal, you still shouldn't have major problems with it. Rubber stoppers, although not the most aesthetically pleasing solution in the world, should suit your needs just fine.

Hope all this helps!
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post #13 of 20 Old 07-09-2013, 10:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I finally got my speakers yesterday, will be hooking them up today!

Regarding speaker wire, can I possibly get an 18 guage wire? Speaker wires are quite expensive in Japan. They have the guts to charge $3 per meter! 18 guage cables were a bit cheaper, other option is ofcourse to keep looking at ebay.

Thanks everyone for their help!

V
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post #14 of 20 Old 07-10-2013, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I calibrated my front three speakers using the Audessy set up. It set my L + R speakers large (OK), but the db levels were not the same for all the speakers. For left it was 4.3, right was 4 and center was 3. Does this look OK? I would think L + R speakers should have the same db level while the center could be a little higher to hear voice clearly.

I am thinking of doing a manual set up, is there anything I should keep in mind?

Thanks in advance!

V
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post #15 of 20 Old 07-11-2013, 08:16 PM
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Are your speakers at the exact same distance from the mic? Room acoustics may also affect the level, so they do not need to be the same. Unless the have a SPL meter, I would trust audessy settings.

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post #16 of 20 Old 07-11-2013, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response! While I have not measured by tape, I think the distance is approximately the same. I manually set up the speakers last night - L+R at -4db and Center at -3db, used "flat" EQ - which I definitely prefer to the audessy EQ. Ideally, wouldn't one want same levels - indicating exact distance from the listener / mic? I couldn't see dynamic range control option in my receiver Denon 1911, hopefully it doesn't exist! I l am loving the picture quality on my tv (followed the excellent AVS HD guide from this forum), but I think my audio is not there yet. Gotta get some speaker stands!

V
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post #17 of 20 Old 07-12-2013, 08:53 AM
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If those manual setting is what you like the best, then that is the best as it is you listening to it. Room acoustics and placement affect the sound coming out of the speakers. Audyssey will try to correct that, so the sound that arrives at your ears (the mic) is balance. Theoretically speaking, Audyssey settings are correct and your manual settings are not. However, what is correct in real life, is what you like the best.

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post #18 of 20 Old 07-18-2013, 03:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks hdnewbie21! I finally bought speaker stands. I'll run the audessy again and see how it goes.

One question I have is, anyone know how long the Sony SS-B1000 and the SS-CN5000 take to break / burn in?

Thanks again to everyone chiming in!

V
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post #19 of 20 Old 07-18-2013, 07:52 AM
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I don't know, I think at least 20-50 hours, but it may be more. Try leaving a CD player playing at moderate low levels, while you are not using the system. Try audessey again in a week.

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post #20 of 20 Old 07-23-2013, 03:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey Guys,

Just wanted to thank you all for your inputs. My modest HT is all set. Mounted the fronts on stand and tilted the center speaker up. I must say the speakers sound good now, maybe there is some truth in the "burn in" period.

As a side note, just got my blue THX glasses, had a bit of fun in working with TV colors. Fun time ahead smile.gif

V
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