Originally Posted by ggunnell
And I and others disagree with you in the price range many folks have for centers. In that price range, you are better off putting the 3-way crossover money and midrange driver money into better two way drivers and crossover components for seating withing the center comb lobe -- which is most residential applications.
That's the two most common assertions made on this thread, but there is interestingly enough never any objective evidence given for either them. Perhaps because all of the objective evidence points in the opposite direction. I don't know what else can be said or shown in this thread. I can only surmise that those making this assertion have never actually designed speakers themselves, because doing so rather quickly disabuses one of the notion that all one needs to do is pick "better drivers and crossover components" to get better sound. As, for that matter, should the previous legions of ill-conceived and bad-sounding speakers sold primarily on the notion that they were using fancy name-brand drivers at a low price point.
Moreover, there are plenty of competently designed center channels available at considerably lower prices.
(I'm sure there are others, but the entry level offerings from Paradigm, KEF, and Infinity were obvious choices that were simple to find.) All three of those budget-minded centers will work better than a toppled MTM using the Acapella plasma-ion tweeter
and B&C midwoofers
, to say nothing of more plebeian components from ScanSpeak et al. And considering the obvious thought that went into those three inexpensive center channels (as well as the past performance of speakers from Paradigm, KEF, and Toole-era Harman International) it's a fair bet that the mains benefit from similarly superior engineering as well despite not using "name-brand" parts. (We'll ignore, for the moment, how so many of the advances found in modern drivers originated from companies such as Harman's JBL subsidiary and KEF.) Furthermore, who's to say that the name-brand but off-the-rack ScanSpeak tweeter is any better as part of a system than the respective bespoke tweeters designed and employed by Paradigm, KEF, and Harman? If anything, the evidence points in the favor of the bespoke designs being better suited to their respective systems, simply because they are all specifically tailored to those specific systems rather than being commodity parts. That's a stark contrast to this SVS system, which from the marketing materials appears to been have rigged around an attention-grabbing off-the-shelf part, an aesthetic, and a price point. Furthermore, in all three bespoke tweeters there is evidence that controlling tweeter directivity was at least on their designers' radar screens, whereas that is clearly not the case with the off-the-peg ScanSpeak tweeter on its 180deg horn. I submit that the inevitably rough midrange power response of a system that has an abrupt change in directivity from the top of the woofer's passband to the bottom of the tweeter's is going to be more of a sonic flaw at all SPL than the possibility of mildly higher distortion at some harmonics.
True, the cosmetics of the three center channels to which I linked, and the systems that go around them, may be less appealing to some than the KEF RDM series throwback aesthetic of the vaporware SVS set.
Now, to that "seating withing [sic] the center comb lobe" delusion that seems to be persisting. I suggest that anyone who does not yet understand that position to be irreconcilable with reality to read a basic acoustics book and come back and tell us what the percentage of direct to reflected sound one hears in the "sweet spot" in a typical home living room audio setup. We tend to listen in real rooms, after all, not anechoic chambers.
Also, as an aside "home theater" isn't the issue, let alone the false dichotomy you've set up between "small" and "large" home theaters. I don't find the rebroadcast of synthetic events to be at all a useful tool in subjectively judging audio fidelity. Outside of objective measurements (power response - of which on-axis frequency response is but a very small component - distortion spectra, and so on) the standard by which any speaker must be judged is the reproduction of well-recorded unamplified live music. (And a well-conceived and set-up multichannel system does a more convincing job of reproducing real music, to my ears, than a well-conceived and set-up 2-channel system.) To the extent one uses spoken word, use well-recorded files of people whose voices one knows well and not random movie soundtracks with lines spoken by performers one has usually never personally heard speak live and unamplified. Needless to say, it is not a test that is kind to any toppled MTM, no matter how much money was squandered on component parts.