What center speaker for my new "frankenspeaker" 5.1 setup? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
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I was just recently given a Yamaha RX-V730 receiver for free, so it prompted me to setup a surround sound setup in my house. I used to have a recording studio, so I had two sets of decent powered studio monitors. I'm using Mackie HR624's for my fronts (outstanding speakers) and KRK Rokit 8's for the rears. For my sub (and I KNOW some of you are gonna cringe) I have a 10" kicker powered by a sony AX401 amplifier that I got for free. Yup, I have a car stereo sub in my living room, complete with the carpet covering. 

 

Despite the weird mix-and-match setup, it actually sounds awesome for music. Everything blends very well; none of the speakers "stand out" as a separate audio source, if that makes sense. Even the car stereo sub blends right in.

 

So now I'm in the market for a center channel speaker that will hopefully blend in just as well. Here are my concerns:

 

1. It will be the only non-powered speaker in my system, running off the Yamaha receiver. Will that create issues getting the levels right?

 

2. My Mackie's are only about 5 feet apart. They are about 8-10 feet from where I sit. I know that's not optimal, but I simply don't have the space to get them further apart. They are so close together that adding a center speaker just seems pointless. I've heard of setting up a receiver to create a "phantom" center channel with the front mains, should I consider that option instead?

 

3. I would like a smaller speaker, because of space issues, but I think it wont blend well, being the only small speaker. Although if it's only playing dialog, does it really have to be big?

 

4. I'm poor. I'd like to spend not much more than $120 ish. Yep, you're cringing again. I'm broke, get over it. ;)  

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post #2 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 11:11 AM
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With the exception of your sub, you have a pretty decent system. I would skip the center speaker under your conditions. Save up and wait until you can get another Mackie. That is the only sensible center for that setup. In the meantime, use a phantom center setup. Adding a cheap center would badly diminish the overall sound quality of the system. By the way, your receiver does not have pre-outs, how are you going to hook the powered speakers up to it?
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post #3 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by shadyJ View Post

With the exception of your sub, you have a pretty decent system. I would skip the center speaker under your conditions. Save up and wait until you can get another Mackie. That is the only sensible center for that setup. In the meantime, use a phantom center setup. Adding a cheap center would badly diminish the overall sound quality of the system. By the way, your receiver does not have pre-outs, how are you going to hook the powered speakers up to it?

Actually it does, and it's already hooked up that way. It has a line out for every channel.

 

The mackie I would need is the HR626, which is not made anymore but can be found on ebay for about $500. I guess I should save my pennies.

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OK, I got that model Yamaha mixed up with another. The Mackie HR624 mk2 might do well as a center, and you don't have to resort to ebay to get one. You could probably use a HR824 as well, the voicing should be nearly identical. Basically I think you could use any of the HRs with good results. Very good speakers, btw, one of my fav monitors.
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post #5 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, I just switched the receiver to be "none" on the center channel. Will that automatically do the "phantom center" thing? Is there anything else I need to do?

 

Also, what DSP setting should I use when I'm watching movies? Dolby Pro Logic, or Dolby Pro Logic II? Or something else...?

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post #6 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 12:30 PM
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Watching movie from what device? If it's a blu ray or DVD player let the receiver decode the signal as Dolby Digital, DTS, TrueHD or DTS-HD.

TV, Cable or Sat dish sends HD movies in Dolby Digital.

You should only need Pro Logic II for 2 channel sources like older movies that are not Dolby Digital.

Since you didn't list any of your other devices its hard to give you better info.
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post #7 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

Watching movie from what device? If it's a blu ray or DVD player let the receiver decode the signal as Dolby Digital, DTS, TrueHD or DTS-HD.

TV, Cable or Sat dish sends HD movies in Dolby Digital.

You should only need Pro Logic II for 2 channel sources like older movies that are not Dolby Digital.

Since you didn't list any of your other devices its hard to give you better info.

 

Sorry, I'm planning on getting the new Amazon Fire TV, which has an optical audio out. Apparently most of the HD streaming videos are encoded with Dolby Digital surround sound.

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post #8 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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What about the Yamaha NS series center speaker?

 

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-NS-C444-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B0000W4U2M

 

My logic is, since the NS series are legendary studio reference monitors, as are the Mackie's (my mains) they should in theory work well together. Both were designed to simply be accurate, without attenuating or accentuating and particular frequency. And it's not too far over my budget.

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post #9 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bac0nfat View Post

What about the Yamaha NS series center speaker?

http://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-NS-C444-Center-Channel-Speaker/dp/B0000W4U2M

My logic is, since the NS series are legendary studio reference monitors, as are the Mackie's (my mains) they should in theory work well together. Both were designed to simply be accurate, without attenuating or accentuating and particular frequency. And it's not too far over my budget.

It has to do with the voicing of the speakers, not their overall quality. Might work. Might not. What you are looking for is a timbre match, so best bet is the same manufacturer in a similar speaker line as yours.
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Like cel said, try to get the front stage speakers matching, otherwise you will have a goofy sounding front sound stage. Stuff that pans across the stage will sound schizophrenic. Also, that center is not quite the same as the Yammy NS monitors that you are thinking of. Furthermore, the classic Yamaha NS monitors were never neutral, they were only popular because they were inexpensive. The Mackie HRs are far higher performers. If you put anything less than a Mackie HR as a center, it will bring the whole sound down to the level of whatever center you choose, that is how critical the center is.
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post #11 of 28 Old 04-06-2014, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Okay, understood. You guys have been very helpful. If I'm gonna go with a Mackie, I'll probably pick up an HR626 off ebay, that way they all match in appearance. The only downside is that it's so big, there's only gonna be like 8 inches of space between each of the front three speakers. Just seems weird. I can't get my mains any further apart unless I mount them on the ceiling and aim them down. What are your thoughts?

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post #12 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Hmm, just noticed I can get on ebay an HR624 MK1 (same exact as my mains) for under $200. I can't think of a better solution than that for the price. Maybe down the road I'll end up making the whole system Mackie, including the sub.

 

Back to the issue of speaker placement? Hanging them from the ceiling to get them further apart, yay/nay? Or at ear height but closer together? Which is more optimal?

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post #13 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bac0nfat View Post

Okay, understood. You guys have been very helpful. If I'm gonna go with a Mackie, I'll probably pick up an HR626 off ebay, that way they all match in appearance. The only downside is that it's so big, there's only gonna be like 8 inches of space between each of the front three speakers. Just seems weird. I can't get my mains any further apart unless I mount them on the ceiling and aim them down. What are your thoughts?

If they are that close together, just skip the center.

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post #14 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 07:49 AM
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Hmm, just noticed I can get on ebay an HR624 MK1 (same exact as my mains) for under $200. I can't think of a better solution than that for the price. Maybe down the road I'll end up making the whole system Mackie, including the sub.

That's optimal. Three exact matching speakers across the front is better for the front soundstage than two monitors and a manufacturer designed center channel.

However, there's no good sound quality reason to match the sub brand to the speakers. Get the best sub you can for your money.

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If they are that close together, just skip the center.

 

Well that's with all 3 speakers on their side, and the longer HR626 for a center. The actual spacing between the tweeters of the left and right is about 5.5 feet. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


That's optimal. Three exact matching speakers across the front is better for the front soundstage than two monitors and a manufacturer designed center channel.

However, there's no good sound quality reason to match the sub brand to the speakers. Get the best sub you can for your money.

 

Good to know. I think I'll stick with Mackie anyway, just because I know it will perform.

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post #16 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 08:09 AM
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Good to know. I think I'll stick with Mackie anyway, just because I know it will perform.

A Mackie sub? Actually, it probably won't perform well for the money compared to the best alternatives. Especially for HT usage since pro audio subwoofers are not typically designed for the very low bass extension for movies.

Best to research and ask questions in the AVS subwoofer forum before you buy.

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A Mackie sub? Actually, it probably won't perform well for the money compared to the best alternatives. Especially for HT usage since pro audio subwoofers are not typically designed for the very low bass extension for movies.

Best to research and ask questions in the AVS subwoofer forum before you buy.


Roger that, I'm a long ways away from purchasing a subwoofer anyway. The one I have will get me by for now.

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Back to the issue of speaker placement? Hanging them from the ceiling to get them further apart, yay/nay? Or at ear height but closer together? Which is more optimal?

If they would be close to the ceiling, I might skip that. Ceilings have been known to have bad effects on the acoustics. How close would they be to the ceiling?
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post #19 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 10:59 AM - Thread Starter
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If they would be close to the ceiling, I might skip that. Ceilings have been known to have bad effects on the acoustics. How close would they be to the ceiling?

 

Pretty close. Basically I have my TV on a wall, with a doorway opening on each side. The TV wall is only about 6 feet wide. If I make the speakers further apart, they would be IN the doorways. It's just not an option without knocking down walls and reframing my house.

 

Like I said, the only option to get the further apart is to hang them from the ceiling, but they would have to be high enough to walk under. My ceilings are standard 8 foot (ish) ceilings so that doesn't leave me a lot of room, but I could do it. 

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post #20 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 11:01 AM
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I don't think I would hang them from the ceilign in that case. You could try both ways and stay with whatever works best, but generally speaking, the fewer boundaries that speakers are near, the better.
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post #21 of 28 Old 04-07-2014, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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I don't think I would hang them from the ceilign in that case. You could try both ways and stay with whatever works best, but generally speaking, the fewer boundaries that speakers are near, the better.

 

In that case I won't bother. Those suckers are heavy, it would be a big project to get them mounted and aimed correctly. If it's unlikely to work out well then I'll just keep them the way they are. 

 

Thanks again for the help!

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post #22 of 28 Old 04-20-2014, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I got everything laid out a LOT better than it was before. Here's how it looks now:

 

 

(ignore the mess lol)

 

 

I built the speaker stands using 4x6's and 1"x10" pine board, painted textured black. I made a third stand for when I add another Mackie.

 

The "tv stand" is made out of 2 old nightstands that I got for free. I cut them down so they are only 14" deep, painted them flat black, and put a piece of sheet metal on top to connect them.

 

As you can see, the right speaker is now completely off the wall, but I don't care. I sticks out into the other room, but that's just what I have to do to get good separation. 

 

When I get my third mackie, that's gonna become the right speaker, and will be about 8 feet to the right of the edge of the picture. 

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post #23 of 28 Old 06-12-2014, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Just picked up a used Mackie HR624 mk1. I lucked out, it's mint condition in the original box. Now I have 3 matching front speakers, it can't get any better than this! Thanks for the help!

ETA: I also figured out a way to spread the speakers further apart. There is about 8 feet between all three speakers now.
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post #24 of 28 Old 06-13-2014, 07:41 AM
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Nice find! How does it sound?

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Originally Posted by bac0nfat View Post
Now I have 3 matching front speakers, it can't get any better than this! Thanks for the help!

ETA: I also figured out a way to spread the speakers further apart. There is about 8 feet between all three speakers now.
Good - enjoy the adventure.

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post #26 of 28 Old 06-13-2014, 10:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Nice find! How does it sound?
It sounds awesome! But it didn't take long for me to realize that the speaker placement was horrible. I really needed the center speaker directly under the TV so I moved some things around. Now there isn't as much spacing between the speakers, but everything is symmetrical. The main left and right are a little further apart than in the above picture, with the center directly in between and under the TV. I'm happy with how it sounds now.

I think my next adventure is going to be getting a projector!
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post #27 of 28 Old 06-13-2014, 11:29 AM
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Wider placement would certainly be better for a bigger sweetspot for seating and creating a bit wider soundstage if even one is sitting in the center. But yeah. Definitely makes sense that it works best that way with the center directly under the TV.

Instead of a projector, I would strongly encourage you to look into subs. Car audio subs typically aren't designed with the low frequency extension of a good home audio sub, something that movie watching REALLY benefits from. Some car audio sub drivers can work very well in the right box; it's just that the for a car sub enclosure, they typically just aren't built for getting down as low as movies can benefit from.

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post #28 of 28 Old 06-13-2014, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post
Wider placement would certainly be better for a bigger sweetspot for seating and creating a bit wider soundstage if even one is sitting in the center. But yeah. Definitely makes sense that it works best that way with the center directly under the TV.

Instead of a projector, I would strongly encourage you to look into subs. Car audio subs typically aren't designed with the low frequency extension of a good home audio sub, something that movie watching REALLY benefits from. Some car audio sub drivers can work very well in the right box; it's just that the for a car sub enclosure, they typically just aren't built for getting down as low as movies can benefit from.
Yeah, I definitely plan to replace that sub. I think I'm gonna go with the Bic PL-200. Whether I do that first or the projector I'm not sure, but both are on the list.
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