Originally Posted by bbeckey
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.