Would a center speaker add much to this 2.1 setup? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 8 Old 12-29-2018, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Would a center speaker add much to this 2.1 setup?

We have been reconfiguring a former kids/teens room into a den suitable for adults. During the early stages of the conversion I have had two Ascend CMT-340 SE speakers flanking a 42" plasma. They are currently 53" (center to center) apart. Viewing/listening distance is about 10'. These distances are pretty much fixed which is not ideal but not a problem as we have two other setups that we use much more frequently. I am intending to upgrade the current sub, but that may be down the road a bit.

One of the changes I am making is replacing the stand the plasma sits on to one that coincidentally would allow a convenient placement of a center speaker. I am just not sure if the addition of a center speaker would make much of a difference since the LR speakers are placed fairly close to the TV and the viewing/listening distance is relatively removed.

If it makes a difference, I removed the tiny surround speakers that were there previously--mostly due to WAF and my primary usage of the room so far has been music. Her primary use of the room is TV, but she still prefers not to have surrounds for aesthetic reasons. Room size is approximately 11' X 20' X 8'.

My question is will the addition of a matched center speaker provide a noticeable difference for TV and movies? The system will almost certainly evolve no further than 2.1 or 3.1.
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-29-2018, 11:01 AM
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My experience is that even a non matched center will complement a 2.1 system. Dolby PL will create a decent center channel from a stereo signal too.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-30-2018, 03:37 AM
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I for one am happy with 2.1 - as the amp section is more powerful this way, and if placed right, I don't miss the center.
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-30-2018, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Ames View Post
We have been reconfiguring a former kids/teens room into a den suitable for adults. During the early stages of the conversion I have had two Ascend CMT-340 SE speakers flanking a 42" plasma. They are currently 53" (center to center) apart. Viewing/listening distance is about 10'. These distances are pretty much fixed which is not ideal but not a problem as we have two other setups that we use much more frequently. I am intending to upgrade the current sub, but that may be down the road a bit.

One of the changes I am making is replacing the stand the plasma sits on to one that coincidentally would allow a convenient placement of a center speaker. I am just not sure if the addition of a center speaker would make much of a difference since the LR speakers are placed fairly close to the TV and the viewing/listening distance is relatively removed.

If it makes a difference, I removed the tiny surround speakers that were there previously--mostly due to WAF and my primary usage of the room so far has been music. Her primary use of the room is TV, but she still prefers not to have surrounds for aesthetic reasons. Room size is approximately 11' X 20' X 8'.

My question is will the addition of a matched center speaker provide a noticeable difference for TV and movies? The system will almost certainly evolve no further than 2.1 or 3.1.
Try one of the centers from your two other systems and decide for yourself.

If there is only one main listening position a center may not be needed, but if at times there are several seating positions a center might be beneficial.

I'd never run without a center but others do and are happy with it.
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post #5 of 8 Old 12-30-2018, 02:13 PM
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Your speakers are pretty close together for a home theater setup, given a 10' (3m) listening distance. Even so, I estimate that if you use a phantom center, it'd only work properly for a single listener, on axis.

I think that a center could give a worthwhile improvement, if you have multiple viewers, and listen to a lot of movie/TV dialog.
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-30-2018, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Ames View Post
We have been reconfiguring a former kids/teens room into a den suitable for adults. During the early stages of the conversion I have had two Ascend CMT-340 SE speakers flanking a 42" plasma. They are currently 53" (center to center) apart. Viewing/listening distance is about 10'. These distances are pretty much fixed which is not ideal but not a problem as we have two other setups that we use much more frequently. I am intending to upgrade the current sub, but that may be down the road a bit.

One of the changes I am making is replacing the stand the plasma sits on to one that coincidentally would allow a convenient placement of a center speaker. I am just not sure if the addition of a center speaker would make much of a difference since the LR speakers are placed fairly close to the TV and the viewing/listening distance is relatively removed.

If it makes a difference, I removed the tiny surround speakers that were there previously--mostly due to WAF and my primary usage of the room so far has been music. Her primary use of the room is TV, but she still prefers not to have surrounds for aesthetic reasons. Room size is approximately 11' X 20' X 8'.

My question is will the addition of a matched center speaker provide a noticeable difference for TV and movies? The system will almost certainly evolve no further than 2.1 or 3.1.
A center would definitely make a difference, however if the setup is not often used for TV/HT and you're not having issues with dialogue clarity, a better sub would be more beneficial.
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-31-2018, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Try one of the centers from your two other systems and decide for yourself.

If there is only one main listening position a center may not be needed, but if at times there are several seating positions a center might be beneficial.

I'd never run without a center but others do and are happy with it.
Now there is a clever idea that I would never have thought of! Thanks. Even though one of those systems is also run with a phantom center, I can pull the center I have plus even a speaker or two from elsewhere just to test drive them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
A center would definitely make a difference, however if the setup is not often used for TV/HT and you're not having issues with dialogue clarity, a better sub would be more beneficial.
I agree. The sub upgrade is definitely the priority and will certainly be made. I am just thinking the addition of a center could be done without pain and relatively cheaply.

Thanks to all for the replies! I am now leaning more toward adding the center than I was previously. But I may well try gajCA's suggestion before making a final decision.
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-31-2018, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Ames View Post
Now there is a clever idea that I would never have thought of! Thanks. Even though one of those systems is also run with a phantom center, I can pull the center I have plus even a speaker or two from elsewhere just to test drive them.

I agree. The sub upgrade is definitely the priority and will certainly be made. I am just thinking the addition of a center could be done without pain and relatively cheaply.

Thanks to all for the replies! I am now leaning more toward adding the center than I was previously. But I may well try gajCA's suggestion before making a final decision.

It does depend on the content too - I do find phantom centers to sounds better on certain content, but limited in this regard. I am definitely fan of the center channel. Good advice from gajCA to try what you have on hand and go from there. I think the right center can make a significant difference in a system. It does in mine.
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