Recommendations for a new center channel? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-24-2015, 11:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Recommendations for a new center channel?

My other thread yesterday was about how I blew my center channel watching Edge of Tomorrow. Now I am in the market for a new one.

Brief history of my current setup. I am using Velodyne satellite speakers and have had them for I want to say close to 15 years along with a Velodyne 10" sub.

I cannot find the name of the speakers anywhere. Velodyne doesn't even make satellite speakers from what I can tell so it looks like I'll have to get a different brand center channel but am viewing this an an upgrade for my current setup.

My receiver is a Sony DH540. Here are its specs:
Quote:
    • Amplifier/Receiver Amplifier Features
      • 4 Ohm/8 Ohm Switching : Yes (6 ohm)
      • Number of Amp channels : 5ch
      • Speaker Impedance : 6-16ohms
      • Advanced Auto Volume : Yes
      • Night Mode : Yes
    • Amplifier/Receiver Amplifier Power
      • (6Ohms, 1kHz, 2ch driven) THD : 1%
      • (6Ohms, 1kHz, 1ch driven) THD : 0.9%
      • 6ohms, 20-20kHz, 2ch driven : 90W+90W / (0.09%)
      • 6Ohms, 1kHz, 2ch driven : 105W+105W
      • 6Ohms, 1kHz, 1ch driven : 145W
I've been looking at some speakers this morning. Polk, Definitive, Pioneer. Im not sure what I should be looking for. Is it a speaker that can handle over 145W? Or is it more like 90W with my receiver? I'ld like to stay in the $200-250 range.

I was looking at the Polk Blackstone TL3 at 125W which I think is more than enough for my receiver but I could be wrong.

Any recommendations or tips would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-25-2015, 12:03 AM
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Given that you will most likely not be able to find a matching center, perhaps it would be better to just move the fronts to the rear and use them as surround speakers (or as a stereo pair in another room). It's important that the front three speakers are matched, so it would make sense to replace them as a unit.
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-25-2015, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
Given that you will most likely not be able to find a matching center, perhaps it would be better to just move the fronts to the rear and use them as surround speakers (or as a stereo pair in another room). It's important that the front three speakers are matched, so it would make sense to replace them as a unit.

+1
Very good suggestions
This what, I would do if I was the OP.


Either move the main to surround duty or use them without a center.
A mismatch center is the worst scenario.


Ray
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-25-2015, 03:23 PM
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if your interested in keeping the speakers small but still want a nice upgrade you could move your current fronts to SS like mentioned above and then try something like the htm200 from ascend acoustics. they are 11x6.5x6.5.
i think a pair is around $300 plus whatever the single center would cost. your receiver would push them easily as well.

only down side is that it would be a little over the 250 dollar budget.
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-26-2015, 05:48 AM
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I don't agree that having the front 3 match is critical. Preferred? Yes. Critical? No.


This may have been true in years past, but with improvements in room correction it's not that important any more.


I have systems with matching LCR and some without and there's not a big difference. As long as the speakers are of similar quality, you can make it work.


You can find good deals here...
http://www.accessories4less.com/make...ml?&r=54c631b4
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-26-2015, 07:05 AM
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The Polk Blackstone TL3 would work fine with your receiver. As with any speaker, don't play it crazy loud.

It is generally a good thing for your front speakers to be timbre matched. The problem is that you won't know if the Polk center matches well with the Velodynes until you try it. There is a good chance that it will work out fine. If it doesn't, then you could just move the Velodynes to the rear, as has been mentioned, and buy a pair of Polk Blackstone TL3 satellites to go with the center. Or you could return the center and search for another.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-29-2015, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david.sargent.775 View Post
The Polk Blackstone TL3 would work fine with your receiver. As with any speaker, don't play it crazy loud.

It is generally a good thing for your front speakers to be timbre matched. The problem is that you won't know if the Polk center matches well with the Velodynes until you try it. There is a good chance that it will work out fine. If it doesn't, then you could just move the Velodynes to the rear, as has been mentioned, and buy a pair of Polk Blackstone TL3 satellites to go with the center. Or you could return the center and search for another.
I totally agree, the front stage should be timbre matched. My suggestion is to move the Velodynes to the rear and use HSU Reasearch HB1-Mk2 for L & R and a HC1-Mk2 for the center. They are both 92dB sensitive and will work well with your AVR. For the money they are an awesome choice.

Good luck in your quest.

Bill

Last edited by wpauge; 01-29-2015 at 05:04 PM. Reason: mistake
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post #8 of 17 Old 02-02-2015, 01:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you guy for the comments! (Geeze sorry for late reply)
I realized I didn't mention that my rear surrounds are also the same Velodynes.

So at this point its either:
A. Swap one of the rear surrounds for the center. Then get 2 new surrounds.
B. Keep current setup but get a different brand center channel.

Here is the problem I run into.

Option A sounds good but then I have to buy 2 new speakers which if I want to get something that is 90+ sensitivity + 125-150w max type of thing I'll end up spending $300+
Option B makes me want to get a huge center channel upgrade (since I keep reading its one of the most important speakers in a 5.1). So maybe I should stretch my budget to $300 for a new center.
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post #9 of 17 Old 02-02-2015, 04:30 PM
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You seem to be getting hung up on speaker specifications (namely power ratings and sensitivity). These ratings are not all that important. I would look at many other factors in a speaker before these. Of course, if you like listening at ear bleeding levels or have an exceptionally large listening area, they might be higher on your list.

As discussed, it's not optimal to have a mismatched center speaker. However, it will work ok, and you can upgrade to matching L/R speakers when you can afford it. However, if you get something like the pioneer A/J speakers, you could fit matching bookshelves into your budget.
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post #10 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 05:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Broschat View Post
You seem to be getting hung up on speaker specifications (namely power ratings and sensitivity). These ratings are not all that important. I would look at many other factors in a speaker before these. Of course, if you like listening at ear bleeding levels or have an exceptionally large listening area, they might be higher on your list.

As discussed, it's not optimal to have a mismatched center speaker. However, it will work ok, and you can upgrade to matching L/R speakers when you can afford it. However, if you get something like the pioneer A/J speakers, you could fit matching bookshelves into your budget.
Wow, thats definitely new to me!
I always look at the specifications first. I figure its like looking at the specs when purchasing a computer or something - being the most important factor.

I never listen to music and only watch movies so its important that whatever I get works well for that.
I use words like "Screaming loud" when describing my system which I think many turn their nose up at the comment thinking I am maxing my receiver into distorted audio. That is completely not the case.
In Mission Impossible 3 when the rocket gets shot at the bridge and Tom Cruise is running away? That rocket SHREAKS past the screen and the glass explodes from the car window it sounds absolutely unreal.

So basically, thats what I want.
So instead of looking at sensitivity and power handling what should I look for in deciding what would be a good fit?

Thanks for the help!
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 06:14 AM
 
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So instead of looking at sensitivity and power handling what should I look for in deciding what would be a good fit?
Your ears.

If you choose speakers because of sensitvity and power handling...well...can't really think of anything to say
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Your ears.

If you choose speakers because of sensitvity and power handling...well...can't really think of anything to say
Wow very helpful, thanks!

So assuming I am not currently standing in a Best Buy demoing speakers while replying to your condescending message on my iPhone should I simply judge speakers based on looks while browsing online?
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post #13 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Chef View Post
A. Swap one of the rear surrounds for the center. Then get 2 new surrounds.

Option A sounds good but then I have to buy 2 new speakers which if I want to get something that is 90+ sensitivity + 125-150w max type of thing I'll end up spending $300+
That is what you should do. It will give you a timbre matched front three, and you will have a spare speaker for the next time you blow one.

For rear surrounds you do not need to match the sensitivity rating or timbre of the front three. If you get less sensitive surrounds, you just need to boost the level for those speakers in the AVR. Something like a Polk OWM3 might work well with your system. http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-On-.../dp/B0018QNYVM

If you really want to upgrade your system, though, you will need to replace all front three speakers.
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 07:14 AM
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It is hard to properly evaluate speakers without hearing them first. IMO, if you can't demo them, the next best thing is to read reviews from qualified listeners who have heard many different speakers (NOT your average Amazon reviewer).

A thing that I first look at in a speaker is what are its drivers and how are they configured? For instance, if you are looking at your center channel, is it a MTM configuration, or maybe a WMTMW configuration, or a WT/MW configuration, or something else? How large are drivers? What sort of tweeter is used? What kind of materials are used in the drivers?

The manufacture stated crossover frequency gives you a general idea how low the speaker will play. However, sometimes these values can be somewhat exaggerated. Something even more useful is a frequency response chart.

Certain speakers put more emphasis in the treble range (bright). Others highlight the mids/lows (warm). People may have an affinity towards one of them or neither of them (neutral). The driver construction makes a considerable difference on the sound. Some people swear by ribbon tweeters, others will pass on them all day. The best thing you can do is listen to a few different setups and figure out what you prefer. Not even the best reviewer can determine that for you.
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post #15 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by david.sargent.775 View Post
That is what you should do. It will give you a timbre matched front three, and you will have a spare speaker for the next time you blow one.

For rear surrounds you do not need to match the sensitivity rating or timbre of the front three. If you get less sensitive surrounds, you just need to boost the level for those speakers in the AVR. Something like a Polk OWM3 might work well with your system. http://www.amazon.com/Polk-Audio-On-.../dp/B0018QNYVM

If you really want to upgrade your system, though, you will need to replace all front three speakers.
Awesome - Im definitely going to rule out getting a different brand center channel. And I like your idea about now having a backup speaker haha.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Broschat View Post
It is hard to properly evaluate speakers without hearing them first. IMO, if you can't demo them, the next best thing is to read reviews from qualified listeners who have heard many different speakers (NOT your average Amazon reviewer).

A thing that I first look at in a speaker is what are its drivers and how are they configured? For instance, if you are looking at your center channel, is it a MTM configuration, or maybe a WMTMW configuration, or a WT/MW configuration, or something else? How large are drivers? What sort of tweeter is used? What kind of materials are used in the drivers?

The manufacture stated crossover frequency gives you a general idea how low the speaker will play. However, sometimes these values can be somewhat exaggerated. Something even more useful is a frequency response chart.

Certain speakers put more emphasis in the treble range (bright). Others highlight the mids/lows (warm). People may have an affinity towards one of them or neither of them (neutral). The driver construction makes a considerable difference on the sound. Some people swear by ribbon tweeters, others will pass on them all day. The best thing you can do is listen to a few different setups and figure out what you prefer. Not even the best reviewer can determine that for you.
I was recently reading about center channel and the way the tweeter/driver is configured which I didn't know before. Definitely something I want learn more about.
And your not kidding with Amazon reviewers. Most reviews say something to the effect of "These speakers are a huge improvement over my tv speakers!"...

Thanks David for those Polk speaker recommendations.
Quick question - since they are less sensitive and according to the specs it says less output wattage - If I adjust it on my receiver to bump them up a bit (like +1 or +2) should I be concerned about over powering them and damaging them? Or at that point am I strictly just listening for distortion?
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post #16 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 07:40 AM
 
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Quick question - since they are less sensitive and according to the specs it says less output wattage - If I adjust it on my receiver to bump them up a bit (like +1 or +2) should I be concerned about over powering them and damaging them? Or at that point am I strictly just listening for distortion?
Calibrate the center to 75dB.
No you should not be concerened.
Speakers don't output wattage

I prefer 4 driver center speakers. treble, midrange and two bass drivers. A lot better than treble with two midrange
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post #17 of 17 Old 02-03-2015, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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OK this is making a lot more sense to me now.
Looking at those Polk speakers recommended above I always looked at stats like their Power Peak Handling of 50w and their 89db sensitivity as like "Well that must be a crappy speaker". Especially when you see other speakers with a Power Peak Handling of like 200w. It just made me think my receiver would pump too much for it to handle.
But ignoring that and comparing it to other speakers woofer & tweeter size and placement thats when you can start to see where the price/quality starts to change.

I think I may pick up those Polks for my rear surrounds. Price is awesome and I can deny a recommendation here.
Edit: Ordered the Polks.

Thanks for all the help and insight for a Home Theater novice like myself.

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