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Best Center Channel ever .. ?! :)

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 
What's the best Center channel speaker you've ever seen and heard .... ?


Join please ..
Edited by Dayter - 2/21/13 at 5:04am
post #2 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayter View Post

What's the best Center channel speaker you've ever seen and heard .... ?


Join please ..
One that is identical to the L/R's, placed at the same height as the L/R's, (ear height), and behind an acoustically transparent screen.

Craig
post #3 of 71
Agree...the best center channel is the one that matches your L and R mains!
post #4 of 71
the one in the Bose Accoustimass!!! cool.gif
post #5 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elihawk View Post

Agree...the best center channel is the one that matches your L and R mains!

If your looking for the best HT experience, would it make sense tonidetifyvthe best center possible and then get the associated left and right?
post #6 of 71
Thread Starter 
HEhehheheeeee ..

Seems like you wanna play science ..

You're definitely right ..

To me , IT was this beast :

post #7 of 71
The absolute best center channel speaker that I have ever heard is the B&W HTM1D. That thing is the holy grail of center speakers. I liked it better than the Wilson center speaker, and any other center that I have ever heard for that matter.
post #8 of 71
Well since its asking an opinion and not a statement of fact...I like my STC from Ascend...thank you very much. It's speced and designed to be the equal of the Towers sharing the same drivers and internal volume as that of the mains with the flexibilty of being laid on its side or upright and it sounds awesome. Yeah...you'll likely find a superior or more expensiive speaker designs out there for those of you without budget constraints but for those of us with less deep pockets....I'm purdy happy...cool.gif

Just my 2 cents...smile.gif
post #9 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayter View Post

What's the best Center channel speaker you've ever seen and heard .... ?

A properly set-up/fully optimized, high capability center channel is vital to the HT experience. Yes, this is often stated, but it can't be emphasized enough. The center channel carries so much of the load.

My Seaton Catalyst12C center rates up there essentially nearly as good as any I've experienced. Granted, being fully optimized allows it to really shine up against some absolutely world class competitors I've experienced at audio shows, that may not have had the luxury of adequate set-up time, marginal acoustics, etc. I refering to two in particular; Peter Lyngdorf's phenomenal line source system, which I had the good fortune to experience front row center. After the experience, the one extended audition wasn't enough, so I returned the following day for another, .. again fortunate to get a superb seat up front.


The center was part of a $470k system consisting of amazing two-way, AMT tweeter/5.25" cone line sources, between 8-9 feet tall. A few stacks of boundary loaded LF (12" small-sealed) cabinets, also arrayed floor to ceiling complimented the entire system. I took many notes, but I'm unsure how many 12's were in the system. There were two 8x stacks up front, I believe there may have been more. Anyway, that center channel was unbelievable. It's ability to accurately track every nuance of the vocals, from the smallest detail to the most spectacular and loudest peaks, spot on silky and smooth hitting the highest instantaneous SPLs I've ever encountered at any show demo, ... with zero detectable distortion.


The second example was from the custom XTX Group. This was perhaps even better than the above demo. The imaging and realism was ratcheted up even more, yet all the dynamics one would ever ask for were all there. The design/build/install custom turn key systems for about $220k if I recall correctly. Again line sources rule the day, and these had superb ribbon drivers, (4), 4" magnet forward midrange drivers covering the critical range down into the mid 200s, and four 6.5" drives covering the power region until the subs take over. Power, impact, yet with superb clarity and finesse. Of course these incredible mains were supported by a well optimized array of subwoofers spanning the entire width of the LCR spread. Although the Lyngdorf center was stunning, this had an edge on realism and imaging depth.


The XTX guys were great, hard core engineering types it seemed. I really enjoyed my time there. I had extensive one on one demo time. What time I did share, I shared side by side with Curt Hoyt of Trinnov. We analyzed the system attributes, etc. But he seemed more focused on mating his EQ'ing tools/gear to this amazing system. This center channel was extraordinary. I spent a lot of time examining the center channel characteristics in these systems.


This XTX system blew away (not even close) an entirely DSP optimized (SFM by Harman) megabuck system exhibited one floor below by none other than Kevin Voecks and his tech staff at JBL/Harman. The center, and mains consisted of JBL Synthesis Atlas LCRs (the remainder was quite impressive too). Well, I spent a lot of time discussing SFM, multiple sub system optimizing etc, with the system tuner, he suggested I sit front center of three rows. I did, the system was decent a best. The imaging lousy, the CC quality marginal ... it was not what I thought I'd hear given the pedigree, and individuals involved. Mark Levinson amplification w/these Synthesis mains, ... this should've been spectacular .. lame. I've discussed this extensively, however this gave me much context for the wonderful XTX system upstairs.




BTW; $220k with XTX gets you a couple on-site consultation visits with you, your acoustician if involved prior to project build
qty. 3 - 441 speakers for L,C, R
qty. 4 - 241 speaker for surround effects
qty. 10 - 112 12" woofers
qty. 2 - 118 18" subwoofers
23 channels of amplification @ almost 30,000 watts of RMS power full range
Complete DSP control per amp channel
Power filtering and protection by SurgeX
Engineering documentation including CAD drawings and wiring diagrams
2-3 days of on-site calibration and configuration of installed system



Thanks


http://xtxgroup.com/Technology.html

http://www.steinwaylyngdorf.com/products/model-ls-components/model-ls-center
post #10 of 71
lsol

post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by vision-master View Post

lsol


lol
post #12 of 71
^ ^ ^

You may be surprised how capable that'd be ... with the right compression driver bolted on the back of it, properly mated to a good woofer.
post #13 of 71
Yeah possibly, it would also be the biggest sore thumb of center channnel speaker aesthetics history lol.
post #14 of 71
I hear you.

Regarding what we think sounds nice and what doesn't, even though there's a direct correlation to aesthetic appeal, visual appearance and brand perception, ... behind an AT screen, it wouldn't much matter.

smile.gif
post #15 of 71
Actually, if you're not familiar with those, they appear to be old Altec Voice of the Theater multi-cellular horns.

Altec put out well engineered products, that sounded great. I've heard various VOT designs, and they were great. There was a small indie band I worked with that had a VOT mains system. I've mixed club shows, many club shows thru that system, augmented by contemporaryry subs ... killer.



I found the above in a quick search, there were various versions ... I believe there's many enthusiasts that crave these.

Here's one original intended application;

post #16 of 71
DSCN1849[1].jpg 417k .jpg file

This is with my screen removed. It provides for a seemless pan across the front.
post #17 of 71
The best center channel I've seen or heard is the one I own now which is the paradigm cc690. Its the first center channel that I have not had to bump up and its provided the most seamless front stage out of everything that I've owned. I have owned from cheap sony centers to polk , klipsch, and paradigm, about 8 in total. I had the klipsch rc62, paradigm cc290 and 390 and they all performed well, but the 690 seemed to be on another level. I also heard in the store the klipsch rc64 and it seemed like a pretty good performer.
post #18 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

Actually, if you're not familiar with those, they appear to be old Altec Voice of the Theater multi-cellular horns.

Altec put out well engineered products, that sounded great. I've heard various VOT designs, and they were great. There was a small indie band I worked with that had a VOT mains system. I've mixed club shows, many club shows thru that system, augmented by contemporaryry subs ... killer.



I found the above in a quick search, there were various versions ... I believe there's many enthusiasts that crave these.

Here's one original intended application;



Another thing about those old VOT speakers, you want presence and power, unreal. Back in the 60's I made me some VOT boxes twice the size of normal ones ( I had the BIG horns too). Once me and some buds loaded em up in back of a truck and went up to my folks cabin. We hooked em up outside and cranked em up. low and behold, some boats started showing up, they thought there was some kind of live concert going on - I ain't lying. cool.gif

Another thing, it is said they were weak on the lows - not true, it was all about cabinet size and proper porting, mine were able to go to those feel notes, where you would only sense/ feel vibrations. smile.gif
Edited by vision-master - 2/21/13 at 3:09pm
post #19 of 71
The Wall of Sound........ lsol smile.gif



Eyes of the World
post #20 of 71
While we're discussing unique designs, anyone familiar with why Axiom designed this center channel in this manner?





I've never understood the engineering choices made in the center channel offering. Their other speakers seem relatively sound engineering wise, and Axiom seems to sell a lot of speakers, so who knows.





confused.gif

The principles inherent to why we utilize, and benefit from a CC in the first place, seem to run counter to the elements of this particular CC.
post #21 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post

While we're discussing unique designs, anyone familiar with why Axiom designed this center channel in this manner?
Because they didn't know what they were doing. That design could only have come from the mind of a marketeer, not an engineer.
Quote:
Axiom seems to sell a lot of speakers
Most speakers sell based on how they look. Very few consumers would be aware of the intrinsic flaws of that design, and to the uninformed masses it looks good, so it sells.
Quote:
so who knows.
I do. wink.gif
post #22 of 71
Too many speakers in a linear fashion.
post #23 of 71
Bill, I realize you know, and so do I. I'm being somewhat polite as to elicit some measure of an explanation that perhaps has been put forth about the product.


Do you really think they don't know this is an issue? I mean this is 101 level material,..ie, horizontally arraying like sources in the MF/HF. I truly am curious if anyone has ever seen an explanation. Says a lot to their overall grasp of crossover design as well.


Imagine lateral moving and listening, or measuring a tone within the affected band, ... what a mess that'd be. It does appear what they save on competent engineering, they spend on ad copy all over the web.
post #24 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOH View Post


Do you really think they don't know this is an issue?
They either don't know or don't care. Neither situation would be unique to them. I suppose it's not as serious as Ford Pinto gas tanks or Toyota gas pedals.
post #25 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

They either don't know or don't care. Neither situation would be unique to them. I suppose it's not as serious as Ford Pinto gas tanks or Toyota gas pedals.

smile.gif

Hell, I'm guessing their big double driver main, turned on it's side would be superior.
post #26 of 71
This monster CC is certainly not for me or anyone who is space challenged. A quick search provided some comments on actual use of the VP 180 & nothing really negative surfaced so far.

Seems that the 180 pleases a lot of folks who have heard it & they are most happy with their purchase. In the end, that is what is most important:

- Thanks to the VP180's extra low-end, vocals sounded as if they were coming from a quality full-range tower; appropriate since that's pretty much what it is in character. The front soundstage was completely seamless; not surprising given the 180's width of nearly 40 inches and its six active drivers.

- One thing I immediately noticed about the VP180 was how much richer and broader the center channel audio experience was. Compared to my Definitive, as well as countless other center speakers that I have heard, the sound field was wide and extremely dynamic. Sound that is crossing the center, say like a car passing from left to right, can be clearly heard entering one side and exiting the opposite side to the point that you can tell when the sound stops on the left while the audio on the left side of the speaker is still audible before handing off to the right main. That one experience truly stood out to me and is something that I still show to anyone willing to listen. (Edit - L & R Fronts must be at work here IMHO).

- From the VP180 I heard unusually good dialogue intelligibility and rich male voices. Robert Downey Jr. mumbles his lines throughout the Blu-ray edition of Sherlock Holmes; with a poorly designed center-channel speaker, this means a frustrating evening of reading subtitles. But with the VP180 the sound was clean -- I never had to strain to understand what was going on.

TAM
Edited by ex-labdriver - 2/22/13 at 10:45am
post #27 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

A quick search provided some comments on actual use of the VP 180 & nothing really negative surfaced so far.
So long as the fact that its response will be different for every listener across the soundfield isn't a problem it's probably OK. rolleyes.gif
post #28 of 71
Agree. I specifically looked for that condition, but didn't see anything untoward so far...

TAM
post #29 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by ex-labdriver View Post

Agree. I specifically looked for that condition, but didn't see anything untoward so far...

TAM

Well, as Rumsfeld stated;

" There are known knowns; there are things we know we know.
We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know."



The third line is what's going on here.
post #30 of 71
^ I like that! Thanks
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