Affordable Matching Center for Focal Sopra 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-03-2019, 10:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Affordable Matching Center for Focal Sopra 3

Hi all. I have Focal Sopra 3s which I’ve used as 2 channel audio and have decided to expand their use for a home theater setup. I can’t spend the money on a matching center. Can you guys recommend a center in the under $1,000 range (preferably $500 range - used is okay) that will match? Is there a lower line Focal center with a timber matching Berrilium (sic?) tweeter for example or a different brand entirely that will be a match? I don’t think subs matter as much (I have 2 subs in waiting) but I do think the center not matching for movies could be noticeable, although I don’t know this from experience. By the way, I have an excellent monitor audio silver set-up that I’m not using currently and could just use the center from that if anyone thinks it would not sound horrible. That would cost me $0. Thanks for any advice!

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post #2 of 9 Old 09-04-2019, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahtanoj View Post
Hi all. I have Focal Sopra 3s which I’ve used as 2 channel audio and have decided to expand their use for a home theater setup. I can’t spend the money on a matching center. Can you guys recommend a center in the under $1,000 range (preferably $500 range - used is okay) that will match? Is there a lower line Focal center with a timber matching Berrilium (sic?) tweeter for example or a different brand entirely that will be a match? I don’t think subs matter as much (I have 2 subs in waiting) but I do think the center not matching for movies could be noticeable, although I don’t know this from experience. By the way, I have an excellent monitor audio silver set-up that I’m not using currently and could just use the center from that if anyone thinks it would not sound horrible. That would cost me $0. Thanks for any advice!
Personally I would forget about a center until you can afford the sopra center channel which is $3500. I would run a phantom setup which would be 4.1 am instead of 5.1. Your Sopra 3’s should be move than enough to make it work. Anything less than a timber matched center is going to ruin the home theater experience and is why I suggest a phantom center channel. Good luck

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https://www.focal.com/en/home-audio/...s/sopra-center
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post #3 of 9 Old 09-04-2019, 05:20 AM
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I have seen used electra centers for 1000...they have Be tweet but no idea if it would work well. I would save for matching center. also, it depends on you...I dont critically listen to tv's/movies and I have mixed matched centers with mains many, many times. it doesnt bother me...I have used my focal cc with maggie lrs...lol.

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post #4 of 9 Old 09-05-2019, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Can someone please explain how to hook up a phantom center, or do I need to post that somewhere else? in fact, I really need to ask how to hook up my Matantz HTR in addition to the rest of my set up. I don't know how to do that while still using my VAC amp/NAIM pre-amp. I know there's a way to do it in a bypass mode, but I don't know how.

Are there already posts explaining this? And the phantom center mode? Do you just run speaker wire from the center section of the HTR to the speaker posts on the back of the Sopras?

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post #5 of 9 Old 09-05-2019, 04:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahtanoj View Post
Can someone please explain how to hook up a phantom center, or do I need to post that somewhere else? in fact, I really need to ask how to hook up my Matantz HTR in addition to the rest of my set up. I don't know how to do that while still using my VAC amp/NAIM pre-amp. I know there's a way to do it in a bypass mode, but I don't know how.

Are there already posts explaining this? And the phantom center mode? Do you just run speaker wire from the center section of the HTR to the speaker posts on the back of the Sopras?
You just don't use a center channel speaker. So your AVR will show only the lr and or the surrounds and sub if you have them. You don't need to do anything.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-05-2019, 04:51 PM
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The Electra center is the EXACT same thing as the Sopra center. It is actually not that great of a match. I'd get the Kanta center as it's a far newer design and sound signature than the old electra sound.
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post #7 of 9 Old 09-05-2019, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Contuzzi View Post
The Electra center is the EXACT same thing as the Sopra center. It is actually not that great of a match. I'd get the Kanta center as it's a far newer design and sound signature than the old electra sound.
Thanks. I’ll look at the Kanta- especially price. Can’t afford the Sopra 3 center right now, so if the Kanta is close in price, that might not be an option either unless I can find a used one.

On the phantom center option, I’m not sure that will do it for me, since one of the reasons I want a home theater set up (Other than the obvious) is that I can’t hear dialogue very well from my TV. It seems to me that the center handles most of the dialogue and that only using l/r would mean either using the TV speaker for the dialogue which doesn’t work well today or losing some dialogue. I’d rather try to find a timber matching center or at least cycle through my current stable or centers to see which is the least offensive (I have a monitor audit silver, an older paradigm, old Polk Audio and a newer but bookshelf sized definitive audio center). Surely one of them will sound less offensive then the others and get me through until I can afford a Kanta or Sopra center. Someone must have tried this before. I can see how musically it would never work. But for movies I don’t care as much - having not tried it, I don’t know but I might as well try.

Would it be better than a $500 sound bar and wireless subwoofer?
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-07-2019, 09:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nahtanoj View Post
Thanks. I’ll look at the Kanta- especially price. Can’t afford the Sopra 3 center right now, so if the Kanta is close in price, that might not be an option either unless I can find a used one.

On the phantom center option, I’m not sure that will do it for me, since one of the reasons I want a home theater set up (Other than the obvious) is that I can’t hear dialogue very well from my TV. It seems to me that the center handles most of the dialogue and that only using l/r would mean either using the TV speaker for the dialogue which doesn’t work well today or losing some dialogue. I’d rather try to find a timber matching center or at least cycle through my current stable or centers to see which is the least offensive (I have a monitor audit silver, an older paradigm, old Polk Audio and a newer but bookshelf sized definitive audio center). Surely one of them will sound less offensive then the others and get me through until I can afford a Kanta or Sopra center. Someone must have tried this before. I can see how musically it would never work. But for movies I don’t care as much - having not tried it, I don’t know but I might as well try.

Would it be better than a $500 sound bar and wireless subwoofer?
OK, let me help put your mind at ease.
If you want to use the "phantom centre" option - it's simpler to think of it aw "stereo". You would NOT be using your TV's internal speakers for the centre channel.
All the dialogue would be coming from your Sopras, just as it would in stereo sound. Depending on the dispersion of your speakers, you can have a wider "sweet spot" at your viewing position.
Most times, that sweet spot is only wide enough for a single person. That is one reason the centre channel was created.
i would suggest using the MA Silver centre until you can find one that is a closer match to your Sopras.
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post #9 of 9 Old 09-07-2019, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Cool. I will use the Monitor Audio Center for now. Where do I post a question asking how to hook up the Marantz HTR into my VAC amp/NAIM preamp. No idea how to hook it up together so I can use the 2 channel audio and TV through either 3.1 or 5.1. Can anyone help or tell me where to post the question? Thanks!!
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