I want to try out a center speaker $150-$900, recommendations sought - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 12:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Question I want to try out a center speaker $150-$900, recommendations sought

Yes, I know that is a big price range. This is going to be essentially an experiment to see how a center speaker will improve, or not improve over my current "phantom" setup, in terms of dialog intelligibility. The caveat is that my setup is not ideal, and the speaker will have to sit low to the floor, perhaps on a slight stand of no more than 6-8 inches of height. The speaker will have to be angled up quite a bit. Yes, I am aware of possible reflections off the floor with the speaker that low. Now, around 10-15 years ago, I tried out 3 or 4 center speakers with little success, so I went back to the phantom setup. My thought now is to spend a bit more and try out a newer and hopefully better speaker and see if I can get better results. Also, I need to be able to drive this speaker with my Denon AVR-X5200 receiver.



As to what I have been considering, I've been looking a lot at used Revel. The reason I chose the low end of my price range is that I see I can get a nice used Revel Concerta C12 for $150. Reviews indicate that it is quite a good speaker, with original price of $500. I'd like to try a Performa C208, but it looks like that will cost around $1,300 for a nice used unit.


The other brand I'm looking into is Monitor Audio. I'm thinking along the lines of a used Gold GXC 350 or the newer Gold C350, but they are hard to find used. There is also the new, 6th generation Silver series, which offers the Silver C350, which can be bought new for under $900.


Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
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post #2 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 01:02 PM
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Is this to go in between your Legacy speakers? If so, have you looked at the used market for something in the same line.
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post #3 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shivaji View Post
Is this to go in between your Legacy speakers? If so, have you looked at the used market for something in the same line.

Yes, for now. But I'm looking to replace them as well before too long.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
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post #4 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
Yes, for now. But I'm looking to replace them as well before too long.
If that's the case and you're generally happy with your current phantom setup, then I'd instead focus on what you want in an L/R and consider all 3 speakers as a group together rather than add a random center now and then move to a new L/R. I don't necessarily feel you 'have to' have your L/C/R exactly matching but it certainly doesn't hurt.
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post #5 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 01:32 PM
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With that poor center positioning, you might just be better off with the phantom center option. Throwing money at it is probably not going to result in much improvement, given the poor positioning. Is there any way you can improve the center's placement? Pics of the front stage would be helpful in brainstorming options.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 10-05-2019 at 03:29 PM.
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post #6 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 02:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by RayGuy View Post
With that poor center positioning, you might just be better off with the phantom center option. Throwing money at it is probably not going to result in much improvement, given the poor positioning. Is there any way you can improve the center's placement? pics of the front stage would be helpful in brainstorming options.

As you can see, the only place I could now place a center speaker would be below the table on which the TV sits. That is not my current TV. My current TV is a 75" Sony. My wife wants the TV mounted on the wall, but that would involve some issues.



One, I would have to buy or create a wall mount device that could straddle and not damage that picture frame paneling behind the TV, or get some sort of TV stand that would accommodate a 75" TV and have a place for a decent sized center speaker below.


Second, I like the sense of visual immersion I get with the TV in its current position, which is about three feet into the room from the wall. With a wall mount or a stand in which the TV would be pushed back a couple feet, I would be effectively reducing the screen size effect that I am now getting.




FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
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post #7 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 03:04 PM
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I'd suggest trying to get a new TV stand.

Or put a big center under the TV stand so the TV sits on the speaker. A center such as the PowerSoundAudio 210C could take the load of you TV if you slipped it underneath. Would also sound very good.

https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...ducts/mtm-210c

Although not sure that table could hold you 85lb TV and a 55lb center
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post #8 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 03:19 PM
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I like the above suggestion. Just get a new TV stand instead of a coffee table or whatever, put the PSA MTM210C on top of it, and put the TV on top of the center channel if the stand will work. Center channels are for movies and you won't find a better one under $1k than the PSA.
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post #9 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 03:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cocrh View Post
I'd suggest trying to get a new TV stand.

Or put a big center under the TV stand so the TV sits on the speaker. A center such as the PowerSoundAudio 210C could take the load of you TV if you slipped it underneath. Would also sound very good.

https://www.powersoundaudio.com/coll...ducts/mtm-210c

Although not sure that table could hold you 85lb TV and a 55lb center

Thanks, that table is strong as all get out! It would probably hold several hundred pounds.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
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post #10 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 03:52 PM
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I would look at PSA and Revel -- and yes try a new TV stand, maybe search some thrift shops for something better to put the TV on.

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post #11 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 04:00 PM
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Get a riser for the TV, so you can place the center channel in front of it. The center should be at the very front of the table, slightly overhanging it's front edge. Your TV is best positioned at 1/3 below eye level and 2/3 above (or 1/2 below and 1/2 above), and you clearly have plenty of room to raise the TV and still stay within those parameters.

Choose the center channel you want, and let it's height choose your riser height. Purchase or make ... whatever floats your boat.

Perhaps something like this:

https://www.amazon.com/WALI-Universa...VMJ9U9&sr=8-18

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 10-07-2019 at 11:36 PM.
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post #12 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 04:28 PM
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It's a lot less expensive than the PSA, and, I believe a lot less powerful, but I've liked the dialog intelligibility than I get from my Chane 2.4.

If you want to continue using the existing table, you could get a stand mount like this to elevate the TV without having to have it on the wall:

https://www.amazon.com/FITUEYES-Univ...-garden&sr=1-9
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post #13 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, all. Great recommendations.


As this is in the family room, aesthetics and WAF are important. I found this and it seems to look quite nice. It's supposed to hold up to a 80" TV, and it will tilt downwards, which is important because the TV will end up quite a bit higher than now. And it looks like I could place the center speaker on it's top shelf, which is even better. It does look like I could use just about any size center speaker because that top shelf is 20" deep.



https://www.amazon.com/TransDeco-TD6...14067&sr=8-225


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FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
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post #14 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 05:26 PM
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I might try a polk https://www.adorama.com/pkalsim706cc.html

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post #15 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 06:13 PM
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They have sale going on now and torii maybe wanted to paste that link.

https://www.adorama.com/pkalsim706cc...ce=rflaid62905
https://www.adorama.com/pklsim706cb....ce=rflaid62905
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post #16 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 06:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cocrh View Post
They have sale going on now and torii maybe wanted to paste that link.

https://www.adorama.com/pkalsim706cc...ce=rflaid62905
https://www.adorama.com/pklsim706cb....ce=rflaid62905

Yes, I saw that sale. Looks very interesting. I've never owned any Polk speakers, but have read good things about the LSi series.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
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post #17 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 06:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
Thanks, all. Great recommendations.


As this is in the family room, aesthetics and WAF are important. I found this and it seems to look quite nice. It's supposed to hold up to a 80" TV, and it will tilt downwards, which is important because the TV will end up quite a bit higher than now. And it looks like I could place the center speaker on it's top shelf, which is even better. It does look like I could use just about any size center speaker because that top shelf is 20" deep.



https://www.amazon.com/TransDeco-TD6...14067&sr=8-225



I realized that this unit is not going to work, because the TV is going to end up too far behind the plane of my front L/R speakers. I cannot move that right front speaker back because it would then end up too far behind the equipment rack. I don't want to move the equipment rack back any farther because then I could not get behind it to make any connections.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Onkyo TX-NR809, Oppo BDP-83 Universal Disc Player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.
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post #18 of 57 Old 10-05-2019, 07:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capo4u View Post
It's a lot less expensive than the PSA, and, I believe a lot less powerful, but I've liked the dialog intelligibility than I get from my Chane 2.4.

If you want to continue using the existing table, you could get a stand mount like this to elevate the TV without having to have it on the wall:

https://www.amazon.com/FITUEYES-Univ...-garden&sr=1-9

Thanks much, I think this is going to be the best solution, because this stand can be placed just far enough back on the coffee table to accommodate whatever center speaker I end up with.




FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Onkyo TX-NR809, Oppo BDP-83 Universal Disc Player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.
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post #19 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 01:40 PM
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Not sure if you've considered a Revel C205 b-stock. It's normally a $1k speaker but b-stock puts it well within your price range.
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post #20 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
I realized that this unit is not going to work, because the TV is going to end up too far behind the plane of my front L/R speakers.
Why does that matter?
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post #21 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
I realized that this unit is not going to work, because the TV is going to end up too far behind the plane of my front L/R speakers.
That doesn't matter. It's the plane of the centre and LR speakers that matters.

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post #22 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by bear123 View Post
Why does that matter?

Because, as I stated above, this is a family room A/V system and the L-shaped sofa extends to and then continues along the left wall. Check out my picture above. We often have viewers sitting on the sofa on the left side wall. If I move the TV back very far from its current position, the left front speaker will block them from seeing the TV. I may be able to get away with moving the TV back a foot, but not two feet.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Onkyo TX-NR809, Oppo BDP-83 Universal Disc Player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.
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post #23 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 07:04 PM
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If you have tried different centres before and they didn't work then your intelligibility issue is not due to the speaker and a better speaker probably won't solve your issue.
It is either room acoustics or speaker positioning that is the likely problem.
I have run phantom centres before and the only issue arises as you move further from the centre seating positioning, as the sound tends to follow you and comes more from your side.
Depending on how wide your seats are I would tend to stay with a phantom unless you can address the acoustics or positioning issues.
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post #24 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
This is going to be essentially an experiment to see how a center speaker will improve, or not improve over my current "phantom" setup, in terms of dialog intelligibility.
Since this is an EXPERIMENT, why not take advantage of the free return shipping center speakers across various price points?
  • HTD Level 3 center, around $230 shipped
  • RSL CG25 center, $500 shipped
  • SVS Ultra center, $700 shipped

And with $10 flat rate return shipping:
  • Martin Logan 50XT, $900 shipped from crutchfield.com

Now that your center speaker placement issues seem to have been resolved, the above may produce some surprising results.
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post #25 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Since this is an EXPERIMENT, why not take advantage of the free return shipping center speakers across various price points?
  • HTD Level 3 center, around $230 shipped
  • RSL CG25 center, $500 shipped
  • SVS Ultra center, $700 shipped

And with $10 flat rate return shipping:
  • Martin Logan 50XT, $900 shipped from crutchfield.com

Now that your center speaker placement issues seem to have been resolved, the above may produce some surprising results.

Thanks. Good point, will check them out.

FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Onkyo TX-NR809, Oppo BDP-83 Universal Disc Player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.
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post #26 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
Because, as I stated above, this is a family room A/V system and the L-shaped sofa extends to and then continues along the left wall. Check out my picture above. We often have viewers sitting on the sofa on the left side wall. If I move the TV back very far from its current position, the left front speaker will block them from seeing the TV. I may be able to get away with moving the TV back a foot, but not two feet.
That's a better motivation than "I like the sense of visual immersion I get with the TV in its current position".

It also explains why you may be unhappy with a phantom center.

I second the use of a third-party stand that uses the VESA mounting points. That is what I'm using to clear a center that needs about 10" between the bottom of the screen and the table.

A riser is also a good idea, and may be cheaper. Ideally, it'd be custom made. Are you up for a little carpentry?
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post #27 of 57 Old 10-06-2019, 11:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by torii View Post
Excellent suggestion, especially at this price. I've had one in the house for about 2 weeks now. Very clear dialog.

I can't imagine that a phantom center would be even close to a good center speaker.

For the record, I swapped out a very nice Selah Audio custom one-off center speaker for the 706c. They are very similar in sound quality, IMO. The Selah center sold originally for $1199, so it should be an equal swap, and IMO, it is.
I've been more than mildly surprised at how good the Polk Audio LSiM series speakers are. The LSiM705's beat out a pair of Salk Song Towers. The bass is deep, and very detailed.

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post #28 of 57 Old 10-20-2019, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks again, everybody. I just pulled the trigger on a Polk LSiM706 from Adorama for $349, will try it out in my bedroom and family room systems. I can actually try it out in the bedroom system before I purchase or build a riser for the TV in the family room system. I figured since this is an experiment I could not justify spending any more for now and it looks to be a pretty good quality speaker.
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FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Onkyo TX-NR809, Oppo BDP-83 Universal Disc Player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.
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post #29 of 57 Old 10-23-2019, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobknavs View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
Because, as I stated above, this is a family room A/V system and the L-shaped sofa extends to and then continues along the left wall. Check out my picture above. We often have viewers sitting on the sofa on the left side wall. If I move the TV back very far from its current position, the left front speaker will block them from seeing the TV. I may be able to get away with moving the TV back a foot, but not two feet.
That's a better motivation than "I like the sense of visual immersion I get with the TV in its current position".

It also explains why you may be unhappy with a phantom center.

I second the use of a third-party stand that uses the VESA mounting points. That is what I'm using to clear a center that needs about 10" between the bottom of the screen and the table.

A riser is also a good idea, and may be cheaper. Ideally, it'd be custom made. Are you up for a little carpentry?
Yes, I built a very rudimentary riser, on which I can set the TV. I will test out the new Polk inside the cavity of the riser.
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FAMILY ROOM--Legacy Signature II towers(Front L/R), PSB Image 5T towers(Surrounds), Polk LSiM706 center, Denon AVR-X5200W, Krell FPB 400cx, AR ES-1 turntable w/ Audioquest 404-B cartridge, Oppo UDP-203 UHD Blu-ray Player, RCA HD-DVD player, Sony 75" 900E.
MASTER BEDROOM--Dynaudio Audience 82 tower speakers, Outlaw LFM-1 sub, Onkyo TX-NR809, Oppo BDP-83 Universal Disc Player, Panasonic 60-ST60 plasma TV.
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post #30 of 57 Old 10-23-2019, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
Thanks again, everybody. I just pulled the trigger on a Polk LSiM706 from Adorama for $349, will try it out in my bedroom and family room systems. I can actually try it out in the bedroom system before I purchase or build a riser for the TV in the family room system. I figured since this is an experiment I could not justify spending any more for now and it looks to be a pretty good quality speaker.
I love my Polk s30 and I'm sure you'll be very happy
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