Recommendations for new LCR - leaning towards 3 center speakers... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone - longtime lurker around here. Looking for some guidance.

I currently have a 5.1 setup in our living room that's about 10 years old... had a budget of $1000 back then and ended up with a Dayton Sub, Fluance speakers, and a Panasonic receiver. The system's been good to me - I don't have many complaints, especially for the money. I have the itch to upgrade, though, and now I have an excuse.

I built some custom shelving across the front of the room (13' wide) - 3 sections on top, 4 on the bottom - with the idea that the 3 top sections would house my LCR speakers. My current front speakers are towers, though, so I started looking at bookshelf replacements. As I was looking I got thinking that one of my biggest complains with my current speakers is the center isn't loud or clear enough... so, maybe I just replace all 3 and match them up nicely.

I ended up on HSU's site (I've always wanted one or more of their subs), and have been really close to pulling the trigger on 3 of the HC-1 MK2's a few times... especially earlier this year when they were on sale. I just haven't been able to talk myself into it because, for me, that's a good chunk of change.

Anyway, I thought I'd check in here for feedback or ideas. Any issues with running 3 centers for LCR? Knowing the HSU's are pretty much top of my price range ($250/each), any other similarly or cheaper priced options I should look into?

Thanks in advance!

Ben
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post #2 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 08:38 AM
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Why in the world do you want three centers?

I think you'd be much better off with three bookshelf speakers (one as a center). The HSU ones look nice and would probably be cheaper than 3 centers.

I do want to recommend you look at this:

http://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/mtm-speaker-kits/zaph%7Caudio-za5.3c-center-channel-single-with-cabinet/

^this thing is insanely good. The crossovers are already wired, the cabinet is built, you just have to plug in about 10 wires and you've got amazing sound. Much better than anything else close to the price range. I never thought DIY would work for me, but when I realized how easy this kit made it, it was simple. I think the only tool you actually need is an Allen Wrench, everything else is included in the kit.
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post #3 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 08:50 AM
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If you want to spend less, you could try these BIC FH6-LCRs, they are made to go either vertically or horizontally, and they seem to offer good sound for the money. http://www.amazon.com/BIC-America-FH6-LCR-6-5-Inch-Frequency/dp/B0015A8Y3E

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post #4 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

Why in the world do you want three centers?

I think you'd be much better off with three bookshelf speakers (one as a center).

Well, what got me thinking about it in the first place was the description right on the HSU site... "...Can also be used vertically as a more powerful HB-1 MK2..."

Granted, I'd keep them horizontal, but - if I were to go with 3 of something from HSU wouldn't the 3 centers be the way to go? Aside from the cost, that is...
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post #5 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by bbeckey View Post

Hi everyone - longtime lurker around here. Looking for some guidance.

I currently have a 5.1 setup in our living room that's about 10 years old... had a budget of $1000 back then and ended up with a Dayton Sub, Fluance speakers, and a Panasonic receiver. The system's been good to me - I don't have many complaints, especially for the money. I have the itch to upgrade, though, and now I have an excuse.

I built some custom shelving across the front of the room (13' wide) - 3 sections on top, 4 on the bottom - with the idea that the 3 top sections would house my LCR speakers. My current front speakers are towers, though, so I started looking at bookshelf replacements. As I was looking I got thinking that one of my biggest complains with my current speakers is the center isn't loud or clear enough... so, maybe I just replace all 3 and match them up nicely.

I ended up on HSU's site (I've always wanted one or more of their subs), and have been really close to pulling the trigger on 3 of the HC-1 MK2's a few times... especially earlier this year when they were on sale. I just haven't been able to talk myself into it because, for me, that's a good chunk of change.

Anyway, I thought I'd check in here for feedback or ideas. Any issues with running 3 centers for LCR? Knowing the HSU's are pretty much top of my price range ($250/each), any other similarly or cheaper priced options I should look into?

This is the first time I've seen anybody here but me mention using 3 center channel style speakers for L, C, and R.

My story is that I wanted to replace my soffit-mounted old Boston Acoustics CR9 speakers. I don't know if you can even find a spec sheet on CR9s any more, but they are 8" woofer/dome tweeter 2-way speakers from the early 1990s. I had heard great things about Infinity Primus speakers and had good experiences with P-163s. I bought a pair of P 363s and they sounded really pretty good. An idea crossed my mind. Since I had a good sub, why not buy 3 PC-351s and put them L, C, R up on that shelf I used with the CR-9s? So I tried that and it worked stunningly well.

Getting back to your idea of using 3 HC-1s as L, C, and R. If you study up on center speakers, the problem with center speakers is that they tend to be sat on their sides. Horizontal orientation of a speaker designed for vertical orientation is probably not the best idea in the world because the crossovers in a well-deigned speaker intended to be mounted vertically is probably not designed to give good horizontal dispersion when rotated 90 degrees. This is even true when the speaker has a MTM driver configuration.

The usual way the problem of horizontal orientation is addressed is to build a 3-way speaker and mount the tweeter and midrange in a vertical row that is centered between 2 woofers in a horizontal row (PC-351), or to build a 2-way and locate the tweeter centered and well above the centerlines of 2 woofers in a horizontal row. The HC-1 follows the second pattern so it is probably a better-than average center speaker.

One of the things I found out about my 3 PC 251s as L, C, and R is that they have fairly narrow horizontal dispersion. This worke for me since I sit about 15 feet back from a row of speakers that is about 12 feet long. With the center speaker the blending and imaging works out very well. Tests with pink noise show minimal lobing. Audyssey improved the sound a little more, but the corrections fit in a +/- 5 dB envelope so the response was not bad to start with. Because of the soffit-mounting Audyssey set the crossover down to 60 Hz and right now I'm leaving that where it was.
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post #6 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:25 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

If you want to spend less, you could try these BIC FH6-LCRs, they are made to go either vertically or horizontally, and they seem to offer good sound for the money. http://www.amazon.com/BIC-America-FH6-LCR-6-5-Inch-Frequency/dp/B0015A8Y3E

Thanks - those were actually on my list as well, and definitely are more affordable. I don't *have* to spend less than the HSU's, but I figured if there's some other brand(s) out there I don't know about that offer better value this is the place to ask.
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post #7 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:43 AM
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Take a look at these, either the A1 or A2. The tweeter are easy to rotate for horizontal use, they come with port plugs (important since your putting them on a shelf close to a back wall) and the price is right.

http://www.theaudioinsider.com/manufacturers.php?mPath=13&osCsid=0aa02de791979a6767a2196cb2ad2864

I would do 2 A1s on their side for LR and an A2 (when available) for the center.

They're going to have a far for refined sound than the Bics.

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post #8 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

This is the first time I've seen anybody here but me mention using 3 center channel style speakers for L, C, and R....

Hey, thanks for replying with your experiences - great info! Not sure if the horizontal dispersion would be an issue for me or not - our couch is about 10' back from the speakers. I have some flexibility in terms of shifting them closer/further from center or angling them on the shelving.

The PC-351 is in my price range too...
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post #9 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Take a look at these, either the A1 or A2. The tweeter are easy to rotate for horizontal use, they come with port plugs (important since your putting them on a shelf close to a back wall) and the price is right.

http://www.theaudioinsider.com/manufacturers.php?mPath=13&osCsid=0aa02de791979a6767a2196cb2ad2864

I would do 2 A1s on their side for LR and an A2 (when available) for the center.

They're going to have a far for refined sound than the Bics.

The shelving is deep - 20"... I don't know if that still qualifies as being close to the back wall (should be close to a foot behind them). Either way, appreciate the suggestion!

I noticed the A2 can also be used for mains, but they mention using them vertically. Assuming the tweeter is in the right position, is there a reason they'd have to oriented vertically? I never thought this was an issue, but I don't know much and between reading that and Arnyk's reply it's obvious I have even more to learn than I thought...
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post #10 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 09:59 AM
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I've got a PC-351... Unimpressed given the quality you could have with other options mentioned.

The DIY one I showed you just replaced the PC-351 and the difference is night and day.
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post #11 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 10:00 AM
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Hey,

there's another one here (me) using 3 LCR's for the front array with very good results, though ( SVS - SCS-01, all horizontally placed on my rack ) smile.gif

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post #12 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 10:11 AM - Thread Starter
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I've got a PC-351... Unimpressed given the quality you could have with other options mentioned.

The DIY one I showed you just replaced the PC-351 and the difference is night and day.

I'm not opposed to DIY - what didn't you like about the PC-351 vs. the Zaph kit?
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post #13 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Hey,

there's another one here (me) using 3 LCR's for the front array with very good results, though ( SVS - SCS-01, all horizontally placed on my rack ) smile.gif

Cool - like hearing that my idea isn't *that* crazy. wink.gif
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post #14 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 12:29 PM
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I'm not opposed to DIY - what didn't you like about the PC-351 vs. the Zaph kit?

It was fine with the Primus setup I used to have. Since I upgraded to a Monitor Audio RS/RX set, it was invisible. Inaudible and unacceptable. I had to move it to the closet because it is completely useless.

The DIY set I showed you is a bright spot in the entire house, I love all my speakers in their own way, but this one is so clear, so concise in its reproduction of sound. Dialogue is immensely more clear than the PC-351, significantly more efficient than the pc-351, and it is very detailed. They are essentially using the same tweeters in that set that the top of the line PSB speakers use at quadruple the cost (or more). You are paying almost nothing for a premium product that will outperform anything that a manufacturer can make in the same price point.
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post #15 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bbeckey View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Transmaniacon View Post

If you want to spend less, you could try these BIC FH6-LCRs, they are made to go either vertically or horizontally, and they seem to offer good sound for the money. http://www.amazon.com/BIC-America-FH6-LCR-6-5-Inch-Frequency/dp/B0015A8Y3E

Thanks - those were actually on my list as well, and definitely are more affordable. I don't *have* to spend less than the HSU's, but I figured if there's some other brand(s) out there I don't know about that offer better value this is the place to ask.

Since the horn is exactly vertically centered between the two woofers, it is not a preferred configuration.

The SVS Ultra Center is an example of a preferred configuration, as is the ZA-5. The ZA-5 resembles the PC-251 while the SVS Ultra Center is more like the PC-351.
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post #16 of 19 Old 09-12-2013, 12:57 PM
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The shelving is deep - 20"... I don't know if that still qualifies as being close to the back wall (should be close to a foot behind them). Either way, appreciate the suggestion!

I noticed the A2 can also be used for mains, but they mention using them vertically. Assuming the tweeter is in the right position, is there a reason they'd have to oriented vertically? I never thought this was an issue, but I don't know much and between reading that and Arnyk's reply it's obvious I have even more to learn than I thought...

Didn't realize it was that deep. Even still with rear ported speakers with decent bass output having the option to "tune" them with port plugs is a nice option to have. The rear of the speaker is still only going to be 10" or so off the wall.

The A2 and A1 come with the tweet oriented for vertical use. In this position the tweeter has a wider horizontal dispersion than vertical. When laid on its side without rotating the tweeter the dispersion becomes "wider" vertically, which of course is not good. So rotate the tweet to have a wide horizontal dispersion. Something that can't be done (AFAIK) with the Bic and HSU horn speakers. But the HSU "center" is primarily designed to be used in a horizontal mode.

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post #17 of 19 Old 09-15-2013, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Back after traveling for the weekend... the Zaph kit is tempting. Did a little research and looks like it's hard to beat the value, and they're hardly even DIY... the box is already built. smile.gif

I might pull the trigger on 3 of these tonight. My only reservation is not being able to return them if for some reason I don't like them... but realistically I'm sure I'll probably like any of these options. Was just a little concerned about running 3 speakers for LCR but I'm not too worried about that anymore and, hell, it can't be worse than those dinky HTIB speakers, right? smile.gif
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post #18 of 19 Old 09-15-2013, 04:30 PM
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Why don't you just try one?

There is no need to buy three and find out that you hate all of them.

I couldn't imagine you not liking it.

The assembly took about 40 - 45 minutes and I've never done anything DIY in the speaker world. I'd be willing to bet you that one of these zaph centers will blow away your entire HIiB smile.gif

I hope you get it, and enjoy it as much as I do!
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post #19 of 19 Old 09-15-2013, 05:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Valtyr View Post

Why don't you just try one?

There is no need to buy three and find out that you hate all of them.

I couldn't imagine you not liking it.

The assembly took about 40 - 45 minutes and I've never done anything DIY in the speaker world. I'd be willing to bet you that one of these zaph centers will blow away your entire HIiB smile.gif

I hope you get it, and enjoy it as much as I do!

Well, I don't have a HTiB now - guess it was just a comparison to a system that used the same speakers for LCR (and surround, for that matter). Anyway - I'm pretty sure I'll like them and, can always just assemble one of them at first (can return them as long as they haven't been used) - thought I highly doubt I'll return them. Really, I'd probably be happy with any of the options in this thread.
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