Originally Posted by doodoobutter
I'm trying to decide between going with 2 or 3 HTM-12s. I don't know much about the seos waveguides, but I was wondering if the seos-15 in a 2.1 channel defeats the purpose of a center channel. I would just go with a 3.1 setup, but I'm planning to build a TV stand with 4x 12" subs down firing (about 1.5'x1.5'x5'). If I go with a 3.1 setup, my TV stand will have to be split in two, with the center in between them.
I also have an old polk audio center channel sitting around that could lay on top of the subwoofer TV stand but it would probably just get drowned out by the HTMs. The TV will be wall mounted.
Definitely do not use the polk center, you will notice as things pan across the screen (for example if someone is talking and moves from offscreen left, across the screen and then offscreen right) and a huge portion of the audio is played through the center, so the worst speaker would be playing the most sound.
I have a phantom center with the 88 Specials in my living room (see signature) with the 88 Specials mounted on shelves flanking the TV. The 88 Specials use the same waveguide as the HTM-12s. My couch seats 4 across.
When in the middle two seats I don't notice any odd effects from the phantom center. Everything sounds like it pans properly and the dialog is good and "lined up" with where the person is on the screen. On the outer two seats if I concentrate on the speakers then I can sometimes notice that the sound seems like it is coming from a little bit off of where it is supposed to be. The issue is the outer seats have one speaker aimed directly at the outer seat so it is easier to localize the speaker. I use the word "sometimes" and "concentrate" because I have to make a conscious effort to notice it, if I am just watching a movie or TV show I never notice it.
I haven't tried toe-ing in the 88s because of the width of the room and wanting them to be ok for playing music. If your room isn't wide then toe-ing in the speakers would probably fix the edge seating issue and many recommend toe-ing the SEOS designs anyway.
In my basement home theater I have an AT (Acoustic Transparent) screen and am using my old tower speakers before I upgrade to 3 HTM-12s. The home theater is 4 wide with 2 rows, but the speakers aren't right at the edge behind the screen and the seats are further back compared to my family room. In this scenario I can't isolate the speakers and it never sounds wrong. I think this is probably because I can't see the speakers so the sound always just sounds like its coming from the right place.
So, if you think the WAF (Significant Other Acceptance Factor) or difficulty/reusability of the TV stand would be messed up by forcing the split for the HTM-12 then I think the phantom center will work really well. If its really a coin toss on whether to split the TV stand or not, then 3 HTMs will always be better. Also, if you ever changed to a projector and screen, or wanted to reuse the speakers in a true home theater, having 3 would be better.