Originally Posted by Telperion
So the speakers are in, they sound great so far. Instant, tangible upgrade over the Polk T15's.
Now I have to decide which SM350 to keep for the center, since I'll have 2 L's and one R, or one L and 2 R's. If I choose to run the center horizontally I'll only be able to place it one orientation since the radiator is on one side. Any thoughts on which to keep, L or R?
Also, should the bass radiator be facing in towards the center of the sound stage or out? Or does it matter?
Firstly, a belated congrats on your purchase! Those are seriously sweet sounding speakers and yes, they are leaps and bounds on another league from your previous Polks. I've even auditioned Polk's TSi100's (which are far better than the T15's), but while the TSi100's had a punch that far belied its size, I liked the smoothness and air of the SM350's better, especially with acoustic music. They had a more natural sounding quality.
I was in the same boat and happily running my 7.1 system with SM350s all around. I think either the left or right speakers will do just fine as a center channel and it shouldn't make an audible difference. I'm using the left speaker as a center channel (passive radiator facing right) and in its upright position since there's enough clearance above the speaker under my projection screen. The imaging is flawless since they are literally identical speakers all around. So matching all 350s across the front is THE ideal solution if you don't want to spend extra cash for the CLR2000.
As for my left and right mains, since I have them toed-in a little I opted to have the radiators facing the center. Because of the the toe-in, the radiators are angled towards the wall behind them, acting on the logic that the wall would help to amplify the bass, though I haven't tried to reverse them to see which sounds better, or even if it made an appreciable difference. Just went with gut instinct and treated them like I would bass reflex speakers.
$130 a pair, eh? That must have been the deal of the century! Nice score indeed! At $199 (Newegg's typical sale price on these), they are still a terrific value. I find their sound to my ears to be very neutral-sounding, which some people might or might not like. They are not the kind of speakers that demand your attention with their emphasis on bass and crisp treble. They are laid back, smooth, and had (to my ears at least) a pretty flat frequency response, sort of like, well.... studio monitors.