What is Best Center Speaker for Dialogue? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 71 Old 08-14-2007, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
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As a newbie to the site, I'm looking for some counsel as to what is the best center speaker you've heard for movie dialogue. I watch a lot of movies and am building out my HT over the next three months. I want the best center speaker that will deliver crisp, clear dialogue. Once I find that speaker manufacturer, I will buy the LCR as a group. (as well as the surround speakers most likely)

So tell me, what's the best center channel for outstanding clarity out there now?

Looking to spend up to $1,000 on center speaker
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post #2 of 71 Old 08-14-2007, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevelavey View Post

As a newbie to the site, I'm looking for some counsel as to what is the best center speaker you've heard for movie dialogue. I watch a lot of movies and am building out my HT over the next three months. I want the best center speaker that will deliver crisp, clear dialogue. Once I find that speaker manufacturer, I will buy the LCR as a group. (as well as the surround speakers most likely)

So tell me, what's the best center channel for outstanding clarity out there now?

Dollar amount?

You should be looking for your mains first.
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post #3 of 71 Old 08-14-2007, 10:02 PM
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Why the mains first?

Its MUCH harder to find an excellent center channel.

Most companies that have excellent center speakers have excellent mains. The reverse is only occasionally true.

Stevelavey you will want a center that goes down to about 60 Hz to catch deep resonances in voices... I also have found that a 3-way, 4 speaker center channel to be a pretty safe choice.
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post #4 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 03:03 AM
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Thiel MCS1
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post #5 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:40 AM
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IMO the BEST center channel is one that's identical to the mains, which would be 3 identical bookshelves or towers (if you have the space) across the front.
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post #6 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:42 AM
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This may not mean much, but of all the center channels I've ever owned (about half a dozen), my Ascend Acoustics 340SE has been the best.
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post #7 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:42 AM
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I 2nd three identical across the front.....

"I'm a fleabit peanut monkey - all my friends are junkies..."WAR DAMN EAGLE!!!
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post #8 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunter67 View Post

IMO the BEST center channel is one that's identical to the mains, which would be 3 identical bookshelves or towers (if you have the space) across the front.

Ideal but seldom practical.

To the OP check out VA Oratorio one of the best CCs IMO.

IGNORANCE IS A BLISS
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post #9 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR_IN_LA View Post


Stevelavey you will want a center that goes down to about 60 Hz to catch deep resonances in voices... I also have found that a 3-way, 4 speaker center channel to be a pretty safe choice.

Are you talking about Frequency Respone or Range; down to 60Hz?

Also, I found a decent 3-way 2 speaker center channel.. why 4 speakers?
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post #10 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:51 AM
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The Rocket RSC200 "Bigfoot" from ********** is universally praised and frequently recommended.

[IMG]http://www.**********/images_dynamic/gallery/speakers_100_2.jpg[/IMG]

And, there will be a "lovely trade in program" for those who wish to trade their RSC200 "Bigfoot" for the RSC500, this beast, when the product is available. It's under 4 feet wide.

DISCLAIMER: This is a product in development. The visuals are merely renderings. Everything is subject to change. There is no release date set. Price is not set. So don't carve anything in stone.

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post #11 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 04:55 AM
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Out of my admittedly limited experience with center channels, by and far the best I have ever heard in terms of dialogue clarity was the Swans C3. I didn't care as much for its musicality (but then I don't listen to multi-channel audio either), but its voice representation in movies was outstanding. Not once did my wife ask "What'd they say??" even with the volume at just-audible levels (life in an apartment). Above that, it looks amazing.

Now having said that, the other centers I have experience with are :

Wharfedale Pacific PI-Centre
Boston Acoustics CRC
Some RCA with ribbon tweeter and kevlar look-alike woofers

Now the comparison isn't totally fair, the Wharfedale had one blown woofer and the Boston was absolutely horrid (and Boston is my usual brand of choice), and the RCA was 'okay' but not necessarily natural-sounding. Plus, the Swans is the only 3-way of the bunch. And it's quite massive.

At any rate, the Swan gets my recommendation.
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post #12 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rijax View Post

The Rocket RSC200 "Bigfoot" from ********** is universally praised and frequently recommended.

[IMG]http://www.**********/images_dynamic/gallery/speakers_100_2.jpg[/IMG]

And, there will be a "lovely trade in program" for those who wish to trade their RSC200 "Bigfoot" for the RSC500, this beast, when the product is available. It's under 4 feet wide.

DISCLAIMER: This is a product in development. The visuals are merely renderings. Everything is subject to change. There is no release date set. Price is not set. So don't carve anything in stone.


That is waaaaaay overkill ....who needs or wants a cc that big, unless you got other issues. Might as well just use a bookshelf...it'd be smaller

Personally, I use a Leisure 2SE bookshelf as a center, identical to the mains, and it's amazing.
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post #13 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 05:47 AM
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What is the best center.....no center at all
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post #14 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 06:07 AM
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Check out Revel and KEF speakers.

Each takes a different approach but both are excellent.

Little Loft Home Theater
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post #15 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 06:29 AM
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As already mentioned, price range is key here. The recommendations you're getting are anywhere between a few hundred dollars and a several thousand dollars.

All things being equal, I'd go with 3 identical speakers across the front. If I had to go horizontal center, I'd start by looking at good quality non-MTM's. Some of my favorites (that I've heard placed between their corresponding mains) have been from Revel and Aerial...actually, throw in B&W too.


Scott
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post #16 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 06:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rijax View Post

The Rocket RSC200 "Bigfoot" from ********** is universally praised and frequently recommended.

I second this. Great center speaker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rijax View Post

And, there will be a "lovely trade in program" for those who wish to trade their RSC200 "Bigfoot" for the RSC500 when the product is available. It's under 4 feet wide.

This one on the other hand... I don't know. Let's just say that "HUGE" is an understatement.
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post #17 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 06:53 AM
 
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You can never have "too much" center, unless you're trying to balance it on top of an LCD tv! With my front projection HT I have no issue with the size of centers, and I really enjoy my Swan C3. It's not quite as big as "bigfoot", but dialog is very clear and crisp. Also, it's drivers exactly match my other Swan speakers, giving seamless pans and effects. Highly recommended!
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post #18 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
The Rocket RSC200 "Bigfoot" from ********** is universally praised and frequently recommended.

Yes, this is the best Center I have ever heard under 2K, its $500.

As for the comment that the best center is the one that matches the mains.....No, the best center is the center that gives you the best dialog in movies that is its purpose!

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post #19 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
And, there will be a "lovely trade in program" for those who wish to trade their RSC200 "Bigfoot" for the RSC500 when the product is available. It's under 4 feet wide.

awesome, can't wait!!!

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post #20 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 07:16 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaara View Post

What is the best center.....no center at all

I second that.
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post #21 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 07:18 AM
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My votes would go to the AV123 Onix Ref100, MSRP $800 in Rosewood, and the Dali Vokal 2, MSRP $650, both of which I own. The Dali has an advantage in that the matching Ikon 6 mains are about $1750 MSRP, whereas the matching Ref3 mains are about double that.

I agree with what John_R posted, especially about the response down to 60Hz. Centers with 5.x" drivers in front ported enclosures are often a good compromise, often offering improved midrange performance over 6 1/2" woofer designs while still playing down to 60Hz. Avoid rear ported designs if possible if you are placing the center in furniture.

Some other centers I would consider in addition to those mentioned in previous posts are the NHT Series 3 center, the ACI center, the Usher centers, Salk Sounds HTS ribbon LCRs and forthcoming SongCenter, Tyler Acoustics centers, and Epos centers. The SVS SCS-01 has been well reviewed in the budget category.
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post #22 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewel5 View Post

That is waaaaaay overkill

In your opinion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jewel5 View Post

....who needs or wants a cc that big, unless you got other issues.

Me, for one. And, judging from the above, others as well. No issues, either. Had you heard the Bigfoot, I suspect you'd be singing another tune.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jewel5 View Post

Might as well just use a bookshelf...it'd be smaller

And, of course, any smaller speaker will sound better, right?

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post #23 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 08:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewel5 View Post

That is waaaaaay overkill ....who needs or wants a cc that big, unless you got other issues. Might as well just use a bookshelf...it'd be smaller

.

Not at all; if you want a center that has the output of a large floorstander, and you dont have audio-transparent screens, you need a large center like the RSC200 or RSC500.

I personally like all my speakers to be able to play 50hz-20khz.
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post #24 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnR_IN_LA View Post

if you want a center that has the output of a large floorstander, and you dont have audio-transparent screens, you need a large center like the RSC200 or RSC500.

It's a shame that RSC500 won't work in an entertainment center. That's the only way I can use it.
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post #25 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 09:11 AM
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This may not be the right answer, but it works for me.....regardless of brand, run your center channel through a separate quality 8" sub with adj. crossover (I use a 10") then to your cc speaker and system set to large. There are very few full range centers that most of us are willing to live with (cost and size) that have that range. I get a little more flexibility than relying on the system sub and let the center speaker itself specialize in midrange (less doppler distortion) w/o losing some control (cc bass)....I'm very happy with the results in the voice reproduction.
I feel the overall cost of a decent cc with sub may be less than a more costly full range cc.
I know the argument that the system CO's are limited and the system sub handles the combined low frequencies of all the channels adaquately.....but my tin ears still prefer this approach.
Have received deserved criticism for this, but wonder how many of you others have tried.
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post #26 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 09:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gaara View Post

What is the best center.....no center at all

phantom center?

All this noise about noise.
♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫♪♫
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post #27 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 10:01 AM
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otk, a phantom center is whn you have no center speaker at all, and you use your mains (left and right) toed in to convey the sound. You have to be sitting dead center of the speakers to have this work correctly. But many believe that mains are better at conveying sound because they are larger, they are vertical and have a larger frequency range than a center channel. But again you have to be sitting dead center for it to work properly.

People who are upgrading slowly due to cost or space constraints will go phantom.
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post #28 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewB. View Post

otk, a phantom center is whn you have no center speaker at all, and you use your mains (left and right) toed in to convey the sound.

Yes but more formally, you have the AVR or source split the center information so that it is reproduced by both the L and R main speakers. There are theoretical reasons why this is not as good as a real center speaker but, depending on specific setup arrangements, it is probably better than many.

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post #29 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MatthewB. View Post

otk, a phantom center is whn you have no center speaker at all, and you use your mains (left and right) toed in to convey the sound. You have to be sitting dead center of the speakers to have this work correctly. But many believe that mains are better at conveying sound because they are larger, they are vertical and have a larger frequency range than a center channel. But again you have to be sitting dead center for it to work properly.

People who are upgrading slowly due to cost or space constraints will go phantom.

yup, i've been doing that lately but only when it's me sitting in the "sweet spot"

for a larger audience i turn the center back on

All this noise about noise.
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post #30 of 71 Old 08-15-2007, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Yes but more formally, you have the AVR or source split the center information so that it is reproduced by both the L and R main speakers. There are theoretical reasons why this is not as good as a real center speaker but, depending on specific setup arrangements, it is probably better than many.


I know i like my center. And hearing your thoughts on this makes me feel better i bought it If your serious about movie performance, bottom line you need a good center.
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