Originally Posted by sdg4vfx
+1 Also, I think both vendors (Ascend and AudioInsider) will sell a single for use as a center.
Yes, although with Ascend you may want to tell them explicitly that you want a vertically-oriented CBM-170 SE center (if that's what you want), or else they'll send you a horizontally-oriented one. The only difference is where the company logo is affixed to the fabric grille, but if you plan to use the grille, then I imagine that you'd want three identical speakers across the front (like I have--looks kind of cool, actually). If you won't be using the grille, then I guess it wouldn't matter (except perhaps in the future). You could also ask them to leave the logo off entirely and give them to you separately for you to affix wherever you want.
Originally Posted by blee0120
How do you determine the best bookshelf? What do you look for?
Originally Posted by cel4145
Best method: read lots of testimonials and reviews and make your best educated guess on two brands. Order/buy one pair of each and do an in home listening demo. Let 'em break in for a few days, make your decision, and return one pair. Definitely worth it to return ship one pair if you are building a 7.2 system. Your listening preferences and how they sound in your room will be THE biggest factor in what you like the best.
Do this, and be sure to ask Ascend for the following:
These speakers are close in overall quality but nonetheless sound quite different, so this should help you figure out which sounds best according your preferences, if anything. Their cost for the whole system would be similar, so that's not really an issue. The CBM-170 SE will sound louder at the same volume setting due to its greater efficiency, so be sure to match their actual volumes when comparing, in order to be fair; note, however, that efficiency is itself an advantage in terms of amplifier headroom and reduced power compression.
To start you off, here is a comparative review (read padgman1's posts):