Talk me out of buying a a third floorstander (center channel woes) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello All -

Im building up a new HT system in my new house, and I have already purchased a pair of B&W 683 to anchor the system. I also have a sub I'll be bringing in from another HT setup I had elsewhere - ML Dynamo 1000.

The system is going to be a 5.1, and the rears are already built in to the ceiling. I've decided to leave those alone for now.

So, if you're playing along at home, you know by now that I just need a center channel.

I've heard the usual poo-pooing of the HTM61, and I've been doing a bit of reading as to why horizontal centers are poor in general.

I've also read some accounts of people using an 685 as their center, but it seems a little underwhelming compared to the 683.

SO! What all this means is I'm thinking about getting another 683, placing it directly to the right of the tv. Spacing the other two 683's about 5-6 feet out on either side, and having the sub on the left between the L and the tv.

Other than aesthetics, how much is this going to mess with my head with where the sound is coming from? Anyone have any experience shoving a floorstander right next to a tv? I'd love to hear from you!

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post #2 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 10:38 AM
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Certainly less than ideal -- I don't think you'll find many with experience in doing that. You don't mention what kind of pre-pro/AV receiver you are running, but if it has RoomEQ it may be able to compensate a little...but I'd guess that your sound stage will collapse to the side that the center is biased and RoomEQ may mitigate but probably not solve it.

Basically, I wouldn't do it unless you can stick it underneath the TV in between the two...and, of course, most people can't because they don't want the TV that high, which is why this is an arrangement typically reserved for AT screens, people who don't mind hurting their neck, or people whose seating position cuts down the viewing angle enough to make it acceptable. Of course, you can change your seating (recline/raise it) to help with the viewing angle, but then it's possible the tweeters wind up firing over (reclined) or under (sitting up higher) your head to compensate for the TV height, which is probably even worse, but I suppose solvable by tilting the speakers.

Basically, I wouldn't do it. But, if you do, make sure you can return it and try out the center if things don't work out. IMO, there's a high probability they won't.
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post #3 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 10:50 AM - Thread Starter
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fair point.

my receiver is a pioneer 1522. i'm not sure why the receiver would be able to tell the tv was slightly off center...

to clarify: the tv would be slightly off center to the left. given the shape of the room, this actually makes a bit of sense anyway. im mostly concerned with the illusion of sound coming from the tv being broken if the speaker is situated immediately next to it.

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post #4 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:11 AM
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Seems like a bad idea to me. First, have you tried a phantom center? Second, if you're going to get a center I'd think that a 683 to the side of the tv would sound funny, and look funny. I'd go with the 685 for the center speaker. If you haven't already, read the 683 theater system review over at hometheater.com.
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post #5 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:37 AM
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Horizontal centers are a compromise but I think a tower next to the tv would be a larger compromise. I'd run phantom (no center) or a traditional center before placing a tower next to the tv. I've used a bookshelf for center in the past and am using a horizontal center now - both setup sounded fine. When using the bookshelf I experimental with placing it on its side just to see if the sound was effected; if there was any change, it was minimal.
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post #6 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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yeah the review over at home theater is what led me down this road in the first place.

Even in the instance that I buy a 685, id probably run it horizontally because it would fit below my tv.

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post #7 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeis11 View Post

Hello All -

Im building up a new HT system in my new house, and I have already purchased a pair of B&W 683 to anchor the system. I also have a sub I'll be bringing in from another HT setup I had elsewhere - ML Dynamo 1000.

The system is going to be a 5.1, and the rears are already built in to the ceiling. I've decided to leave those alone for now.

So, if you're playing along at home, you know by now that I just need a center channel.

I've heard the usual poo-pooing of the HTM61, and I've been doing a bit of reading as to why horizontal centers are poor in general.

I've also read some accounts of people using an 685 as their center, but it seems a little underwhelming compared to the 683.

SO! What all this means is I'm thinking about getting another 683, placing it directly to the right of the tv. Spacing the other two 683's about 5-6 feet out on either side, and having the sub on the left between the L and the tv.

Other than aesthetics, how much is this going to mess with my head with where the sound is coming from? Anyone have any experience shoving a floorstander right next to a tv? I'd love to hear from you!
I agree that this may cause the sound to be imbalanced. You'll basically be hearing voices come from the side of your screen, rather than out of the screen.

Did you notice the "poo-pooing" of the HTM61 before you started reading up on it, or after? If you found the HTM61 to be muffled sounding before then perhaps it's a placement or setup issue.

I'm starting to realize that my center speaker sounds muffled compared to my L/R's, simply because I have to put it inside my TV stand. The mids just get too loose and overpowering. I've moved it to the edge of the shelf, but I'm really thinking of cutting the back panel open to allow it room to breath.

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post #8 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by lifeis11 View Post

yeah the review over at home theater is what led me down this road in the first place.

Even in the instance that I buy a 685, id probably run it horizontally because it would fit below my tv.

Sounds to me like you read reviews on your speakers and started hearing issues. That's the wrong way to approach things. Most likely it sounds fine, and you're just really listening for flaws in your center speaker now.

It also sounds as though you're like me, with a specific location that a horizontal center speaker can be placed. Are you placing the speaker inside a TV stand? Or do you have it too close to a wall?

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post #9 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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It sounded decent in person, but ideally id like something to sound a little better than decent if im going to spend $650 on it. its also going to have to be decently close to the wall, and my TV cabinet is pretty low to the ground. the problem is that mounting it above the tv I'm afraid would be too high. 2' tv stand, 3.5' tall tv. so any speaker mounted above it would have to be like 6' off the ground...

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post #10 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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also, just having a rear ported speaker that close to a wall seems like a really inherently flawed idea...

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post #11 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 11:55 AM
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You do not want to run the 685 horizontally. If that's the case, get the hm61.
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post #12 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by lifeis11 View Post

It sounded decent in person, but ideally id like something to sound a little better than decent if im going to spend $650 on it. its also going to have to be decently close to the wall, and my TV cabinet is pretty low to the ground. the problem is that mounting it above the tv I'm afraid would be too high. 2' tv stand, 3.5' tall tv. so any speaker mounted above it would have to be like 6' off the ground...

Yeah. Also a problem I face. I can't mount a center above my TV as I have no wall there, it's a huge cutout. And putting the center inside the TV stand causes it to sound a little boomy and misplaced.

Before I had the center above my TV, about 2' above my ears, and it sounded fine. Better than it does now inside my TV stand actually.

What do you have your crossover set to?

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post #13 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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What do you have your crossover set to?

nothing right now - this is all hypothetical. i just bought the house but i dont move in for ~3 weeks

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post #14 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 12:07 PM
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nothing right now - this is all hypothetical. i just bought the house but i dont move in for ~3 weeks

Ah ok. Well i suggest you try it out in your new place before you really make a decision. You can easily build a shelf that can allow the center to be above your TV, and 5 or 6" away from the wall. You can angle the speaker downwards towards you. This setup should sound perfectly fine and matched across the front.

If it doesn't. You might be able to set a higher crossover point on the center to prevent any unwanted low notes causing muddiness.

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post #15 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah, i hear you. and I've read from owners that crossing over the htm61 higher eliminates a lot of the muddiness, adding the provided bung in helps too, but again...if you're crossing it over well before the use of the bass cone, why did i pay twice the price of a 685 for one....?

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post #16 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 01:07 PM
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Other than aesthetics, how much is this going to mess with my head with where the sound is coming from? Anyone have any experience shoving a floorstander right next to a tv? I'd love to hear from you!
I have a little bit of experience with a center that isn't aligned perfectly with the screen although it wasn't as drastic as being completely over to the side. And I hesitate to call it an "off-center center" because it wasn't the center speaker that was off-center. In my situation at the time, the screen had to be off-center and the only flexibility I had was the center speaker's placement. What I found worked best in my particular situation, was having the center still centered between the L/R speakers but with the screen necessarily off-center.

In other words, the bottom of this simplified diagram worked better than the top, for me, IMO, in the particular placement situation I was in, at the time:



With a 3rd tower next to the screen, though, your situation would be considerably different.

But my point is that I found that centering the center speaker, aurally, between the left and right speakers was more important than the screen being centered, visually, between the left and right speakers. So, depending upon the distance between your L and R speakers, perhaps some sort of compromise, where neither the center tower speaker nor the screen were centered, would work.

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post #17 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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let me float one other crazy idea that ive been kicking around:

what about a pair of 685's acting as center, on stands flanking either side of the TV....?

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post #18 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeis11 View Post

let me float one other crazy idea that ive been kicking around:

what about a pair of 685's acting as center, on stands flanking either side of the TV....?
It's not such a great idea due to comb filtering/lobing (and some other stuff). If you do some searching here you will find some, ahem, spirited discussion regarding it.

That said, you will encounter comb filtering/lobing with a phantom center setup, too.

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post #19 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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yeah, after doing a search im seeing a lot of that. it seems that those who insist on doing it have certainly had to finesse their systems into submission. also, while there are proponents of the idea, no one seems to be advocating for l/r centers - all top/bottom folks.

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post #20 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 03:09 PM
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Since you haven't even moved in yet why not wait till you get everything setup first to see how it sounds. Unless your listening position is way off center you might just get by running a phantom center. I'm running one with a pair of 684's as L/R and it sounds great. I don't have any desire to get a center channel speaker.
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post #21 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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i think at this point im closest to buying a set of 685, and trying to sell one. and then wall mounting it vertically above the screen, angled down.

really, ive run some phantom centers - im not a fan. i like that dialogue speaker doing its job!

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post #22 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
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shameless plug:

pulled the trigger on a set of 685's

put the second one up for sale in the classifieds if anyone is interested.

Thanks for all the help and advice in this thread (and for talking me out of it!)

cheers!

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post #23 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by lifeis11 View Post

.................wall mounting it vertically above the screen, angled down.

upside down, too

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post #24 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Dare I ask why?

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post #25 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 07:14 PM
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Dare I ask why?

So that the already raised tweeter will be closer to the screen as well as to the plane of the L/R speakers' tweeters. And the tweeter will disperse down into your listening area better if you flip the speaker. The woofer will also be closer to the wall/ceiling intersection in much the same way as the woofer is closer to the floor/ceiling intersection with your L/R speakers, which helps to reinforce the the bass output. The speaker doesn't know up from down; only how close those boundaries are.

I am assuming that the tweeter's output will be well clear of the back of your screen if the speaker is flipped. If not, you may not want to flip it.

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post #26 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Good tip. Well clear meaning by how much? Meaning the distance between the top (bottom, whatever) of the speaker and the top of the screen?

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post #27 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 08:40 PM
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I think the point is that you should try and have the front of the speaker even with the front of your tv so that the tweeter isn't firing into the back of your tv.
PS - Your lone 685 for sale looks mighty tempting.
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post #28 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Take it bro. Don't even think about it. Just paypal me. wink.gif

Also I can show the eBay listing to someone to prove I sell lots of expensive random crap and I'm not a total scammer.

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post #29 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 09:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeis11 View Post

Well clear meaning by how much? Meaning the distance between the top (bottom, whatever) of the speaker and the top of the screen?
Quote:
Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post

.....................so that the tweeter isn't firing into the back of your tv.

What crn3371 said. If the speaker is behind the TV, you may want the tweeter at the top. Otherwise, with that tweeter so close to what is normally the top of that speaker and so (relatively) far from what is normally the bottom, I'd flip that puppy if it is going to be mounted above the plane of your ears.

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Take it bro. Don't even think about it. Just paypal me. wink.gif

Post in the B&W owners thread in the speaker subforum, too. It's not "shameless". You are doing someone a favor.

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post #30 of 30 Old 05-24-2013, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Good point. I'll do that.

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