Polk centre channel with KEF bookshelf - terrible idea? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Polk centre channel with KEF bookshelf - terrible idea?

I've been planning on getting a 3rd Q150 as a centre channel to match my L/R, but based on space and some other limitations I might not have the space for the 7" tall Q150 (when turned sideways). The Polk S35 has a much slimmer profile being 4" tall and would fit in the space I have, but I'm concerned about the obvious mismatched pairing.

Anyone familiar with the S35 and can give their opinion on whether it's a terrible idea, or just a "well it's not ideal but you'll be ok" type of thing.

I can always purchase and demo and return if I don't like but I'm curious for people's opinions first before going through all of that.

Or if anyone has any other slim centre suggestions that are 5" or less in height.

Thanks in advance
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post #2 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 01:24 PM
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Reviews on the S35 have always been less than favorable (Pretty Bad). Many say the S30 is better! I say LCR should match. I also say get the best Center you can!

So conclusion:

Yes, very bad idea.

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post #3 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 01:40 PM
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I'm actually in the same boat as you. I am upgrading to the KEF R3's, from the Polk Signature line, and already own the S-35 from my prior setup. I have very much enjoyed the S-35, it performs very well for its small size but am now looking for a center that will pair nicely with the KEF R line that is fairly thin to fit nicely under my TV. I would love to get the R2C, but it is also 7 inches tall and won't fit with my setup. Not sure it makes sense to pair the $2000 KEF R3's with my $200 Polk S-35 center channel... But I will test it out and report back.

I've looked at other semi thin alternatives: Klipsch RP-404 center, Definitive Technologies Mythos Nine or Mythos Ten, or the KEF T series center at only 5.5 inches tall.

The one thing that I like about the Mythos speaker is that the tweeter is an aluminum dome tweeter, the same material as the tweeter on the KEF R3 (or Q series) so I wonder if they will be better timbre matched than the others. I haven't had a chance to listen to it though.

Otherwise, I may just go Phantom Center.

Main Room: 65'' Samsung KS8000; AVR: Denon AVR X-4500H; AMP: Monolith 3-Channel Amp; Center Channel: KEF R2C; L/R Channels: KEF R3; Atmos: KEF R8A; LFE: SVS-PB3000; UHD Blu-Ray Player: Sony UBP-X800; Gaming: PS4 Pro; Streaming Device: Apple TV 4K Secondary Room: 49'' Samsung MU7000; AVR: Denon AVR S-720W; Center Channel: Polk Signature S-35; L/R Channels: Polk Signature S-20; IEMs: Shure 846, Shure 535; DAC/Amp: Dragonfly Cobalt, JDS Labs C5D

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post #4 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 08:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rontalley View Post
Reviews on the S35 have always been less than favorable (Pretty Bad). Many say the S30 is better! I say LCR should match. I also say get the best Center you can!

So conclusion:

Yes, very bad idea.

That bad eh





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Originally Posted by jmbgator View Post
I'm actually in the same boat as you. I am upgrading to the KEF R3's, from the Polk Signature line, and already own the S-35 from my prior setup. I have very much enjoyed the S-35, it performs very well for its small size but am now looking for a center that will pair nicely with the KEF R line that is fairly thin to fit nicely under my TV. I would love to get the R2C, but it is also 7 inches tall and won't fit with my setup. Not sure it makes sense to pair the $2000 KEF R3's with my $200 Polk S-35 center channel... But I will test it out and report back.

I've looked at other semi thin alternatives: Klipsch RP-404 center, Definitive Technologies Mythos Nine or Mythos Ten, or the KEF T series center at only 5.5 inches tall.

The one thing that I like about the Mythos speaker is that the tweeter is an aluminum dome tweeter, the same material as the tweeter on the KEF R3 (or Q series) so I wonder if they will be better timbre matched than the others. I haven't had a chance to listen to it though.

Otherwise, I may just go Phantom Center.

So you've been using the Polk centre with matching L/R so far? Let me know how it sounds with the new KEF's.

I would need to remeasure but I think all those other options would be a tad too tall, like <1" too big lol.

Phantom centre definitely makes things easier so there's a chance I end up sticking with that.
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post #5 of 20 Old 12-04-2019, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by cstein91 View Post
The Polk S35 has a much slimmer profile being 4" tall and would fit in the space I have, but I'm concerned about the obvious mismatched pairing.
The "mismatched" aspect is irrelevant.

It's the fact that the S35 just has a bunch of tiny little woofers so male voices will tend to sound chipmunk-like.

Physics is physics, tiny woofers will sound like that no matter how many there are or how much it costs.
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post #6 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 07:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
The "mismatched" aspect is irrelevant.

It's the fact that the S35 just has a bunch of tiny little woofers so male voices will tend to sound chipmunk-like.

Physics is physics, tiny woofers will sound like that no matter how many there are or how much it costs.


Thanks. From what I understand male vocals are typically >100hz and most dialogue is >200hz. The frequency response of the S35 goes down to 53hz, but after looking at the frequency response graph it seems like 53hz is exaggerated and it doesn't really perform until you get to the 100hz-200hz range... which might still be ok for centre channel purposes?

This is what I was basing it from (I'm no expert so just want to double-check I'm reading things correctly)

Frequency Response: https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench
Male Vocals/Dialogue Range: https://www.alesis.com/kb/article/2227

I'll keep looking to see if I can find something else that fits my setup but worst case I can always try the S35 and return it if I don't like it.

Thanks again for your help
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post #7 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by cstein91 View Post


That bad eh








So you've been using the Polk centre with matching L/R so far? Let me know how it sounds with the new KEF's.

I would need to remeasure but I think all those other options would be a tad too tall, like <1" too big lol.

Phantom centre definitely makes things easier so there's a chance I end up sticking with that.
So I just got the R3's last night, and wow are they gorgeous. I only had the opportunity to listen to them for about 30 minutes to 1 hour mostly in two channel music so I didn't get to see how well they blended with the Polk Center. What I can say is this, they are in a completely different league than the Polk's bookshelves (previously the S-20s). They are much more detailed, dynamic, with a wide soundstage and great imaging. I have a feeling that the Polk center is going to struggle to keep up based on what I heard from the R3s. Therefore, I will probably just stick with a phantom center or figure out a way where I can get the necessary space to get the proper KEF center (R2C). Please note that I can only speak on behalf of the R series, I'm not sure how the Q series would fare.

Main Room: 65'' Samsung KS8000; AVR: Denon AVR X-4500H; AMP: Monolith 3-Channel Amp; Center Channel: KEF R2C; L/R Channels: KEF R3; Atmos: KEF R8A; LFE: SVS-PB3000; UHD Blu-Ray Player: Sony UBP-X800; Gaming: PS4 Pro; Streaming Device: Apple TV 4K Secondary Room: 49'' Samsung MU7000; AVR: Denon AVR S-720W; Center Channel: Polk Signature S-35; L/R Channels: Polk Signature S-20; IEMs: Shure 846, Shure 535; DAC/Amp: Dragonfly Cobalt, JDS Labs C5D

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post #8 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cstein91 View Post
Thanks. From what I understand male vocals are typically >100hz and most dialogue is >200hz. The frequency response of the S35 goes down to 53hz, but after looking at the frequency response graph it seems like 53hz is exaggerated and it doesn't really perform until you get to the 100hz-200hz range... which might still be ok for centre channel purposes?

This is what I was basing it from (I'm no expert so just want to double-check I'm reading things correctly)

Frequency Response: https://www.soundandvision.com/conte...iew-test-bench
Male Vocals/Dialogue Range: https://www.alesis.com/kb/article/2227

I'll keep looking to see if I can find something else that fits my setup but worst case I can always try the S35 and return it if I don't like it.

Thanks again for your help
FWIW, In regards to the frequency response on the S-35, my Audyssey auto-calibration on my Denon receiver sets the cross-over of the S-35 at 90hz. So basically what that means is that the S-35 should be fine outputting anything above 90hz... Anything below that will be automatically re-routed to your subwoofer.

Main Room: 65'' Samsung KS8000; AVR: Denon AVR X-4500H; AMP: Monolith 3-Channel Amp; Center Channel: KEF R2C; L/R Channels: KEF R3; Atmos: KEF R8A; LFE: SVS-PB3000; UHD Blu-Ray Player: Sony UBP-X800; Gaming: PS4 Pro; Streaming Device: Apple TV 4K Secondary Room: 49'' Samsung MU7000; AVR: Denon AVR S-720W; Center Channel: Polk Signature S-35; L/R Channels: Polk Signature S-20; IEMs: Shure 846, Shure 535; DAC/Amp: Dragonfly Cobalt, JDS Labs C5D

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post #9 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jmbgator View Post
So I just got the R3's last night, and wow are they gorgeous. I only had the opportunity to listen to them for about 30 minutes to 1 hour mostly in two channel music so I didn't get to see how well they blended with the Polk Center. What I can say is this, they are in a completely different league than the Polk's bookshelves (previously the S-20s). They are much more detailed, dynamic, with a wide soundstage and great imaging. I have a feeling that the Polk center is going to struggle to keep up based on what I heard from the R3s. Therefore, I will probably just stick with a phantom center or figure out a way where I can get the necessary space to get the proper KEF center (R2C). Please note that I can only speak on behalf of the R series, I'm not sure how the Q series would fare.


Thanks for the update. Makes sense that they wouldn't be able to keep up with speakers 10x the price haha





Quote:
Originally Posted by jmbgator View Post
FWIW, In regards to the frequency response on the S-35, my Audyssey auto-calibration on my Denon receiver sets the cross-over of the S-35 at 90hz. So basically what that means is that the S-35 should be fine outputting anything above 90hz... Anything below that will be automatically re-routed to your subwoofer.


Thanks, that's helpful. So for like 95% of vocal/dialogue, which is the centre's main purpose, the S-35 would be able to 'perform'.

Does this mean it's re-routing <90hz away from your L/R as well? Or can there be separate crossovers applied for L/R and centre?
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post #10 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 12:14 PM
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Thanks, that's helpful. So for like 95% of vocal/dialogue, which is the centre's main purpose, the S-35 would be able to 'perform'.
Yes. The typical frequency range of a typical adult male is from 85hz to 180hz; and female from 165hz to 255hz. Therefore, all but the deepest male voices should perform fine on the S-35. I never noticed any issues on my S-35 when I watched movies regarding dialogue.

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Originally Posted by cstein91 View Post
Does this mean it's re-routing <90hz away from your L/R as well? Or can there be separate crossovers applied for L/R and centre?
Your AVR should be able to apply separate crossovers for every speaker. Therefore, you can have your S-35 center at 90hz; and front L/R at 80hz for example.

My recommendation would be to just buy the S-35 at Best Buy and test it. They have a really good return policy so basically its a win win. Let me know what you think if you pair them with the 150's

Main Room: 65'' Samsung KS8000; AVR: Denon AVR X-4500H; AMP: Monolith 3-Channel Amp; Center Channel: KEF R2C; L/R Channels: KEF R3; Atmos: KEF R8A; LFE: SVS-PB3000; UHD Blu-Ray Player: Sony UBP-X800; Gaming: PS4 Pro; Streaming Device: Apple TV 4K Secondary Room: 49'' Samsung MU7000; AVR: Denon AVR S-720W; Center Channel: Polk Signature S-35; L/R Channels: Polk Signature S-20; IEMs: Shure 846, Shure 535; DAC/Amp: Dragonfly Cobalt, JDS Labs C5D
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post #11 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jmbgator View Post
FWIW, In regards to the frequency response on the S-35, my Audyssey auto-calibration on my Denon receiver sets the cross-over of the S-35 at 90hz. So basically what that means is that the S-35 should be fine outputting anything above 90hz...
In a perfect world, Audyssey would be infallible.

In the real world, judging from user feedback on AVS, it appears to be closer to 50/50 hit or miss. Whether that's due to inherent hardware/software limitations or user error, is anybody's guess.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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Originally Posted by cstein91 View Post
So for like 95% of vocal/dialogue, which is the centre's main purpose, the S-35 would be able to 'perform'.
Let YOUR ears be the final judge of that. Just make sure to hang on to that sales receipt and be mindful of the return window, just in case...
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Originally Posted by cstein91 View Post

So for like 95% of vocal/dialogue, which is the centre's main purpose, the S-35 would be able to 'perform'.
Not just the vocals, but also the center stage, which includes the movie music, and overall sound clarity and dynamics. The center is to anchor the front stage.

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post #14 of 20 Old 12-05-2019, 04:19 PM
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Just want to comment that I tried the S35 and did not like it. I have Polk A3's for mains (love them)...A1's for surrounds (love them)...Klipsh 12" sub. I wanted a center that would fit on top of the tv and look "good"...so I decided to try the S35...looked great. But the sound quality...nope. All the equalizing I tried...no luck. I ended up just going with the matching Polk CSI A4 and sounds great...just bigger than I wanted.
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post #15 of 20 Old 12-06-2019, 07:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jmbgator View Post
Your AVR should be able to apply separate crossovers for every speaker. Therefore, you can have your S-35 center at 90hz; and front L/R at 80hz for example.

My recommendation would be to just buy the S-35 at Best Buy and test it. They have a really good return policy so basically its a win win. Let me know what you think if you pair them with the 150's

I only see one crossover setting, but I don't have a centre set up right now so maybe it will give me the option once I have something connected. Either way it's probably not a big issue if I use one crossover at 80hz or 90hz.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Let YOUR ears be the final judge of that. Just make sure to hang on to that sales receipt and be mindful of the return window, just in case...
Quote:
Originally Posted by zieglj01 View Post
Not just the vocals, but also the center stage, which includes the movie music, and overall sound clarity and dynamics. The center is to anchor the front stage.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbar View Post
Just want to comment that I tried the S35 and did not like it. I have Polk A3's for mains (love them)...A1's for surrounds (love them)...Klipsh 12" sub. I wanted a center that would fit on top of the tv and look "good"...so I decided to try the S35...looked great. But the sound quality...nope. All the equalizing I tried...no luck. I ended up just going with the matching Polk CSI A4 and sounds great...just bigger than I wanted.

Thanks everyone. Seems like people have pretty mixed opinions on the S35. Obviously it's not a high-end speaker but some people dislike it whereas other people say it gets the job done. I guess like Zorba said, if I end up buying it, I gotta let my ears be the final judge lol
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post #16 of 20 Old 12-06-2019, 08:07 AM
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I bought a second S35 after my experience with the first. I had a TV set up with a Polk CsiA6 center and RTi12's for L and R. Upgraded the TV and wanted a thin center. Replaced the CsiA6 with the S35. Can't hear any difference and love the thin center. But, I can't hear any difference with $150 power cords or $300 speaker wire, either; so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

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In a perfect world, Audyssey would be infallible.

In the real world, judging from user feedback on AVS, it appears to be closer to 50/50 hit or miss. Whether that's due to inherent hardware/software limitations or user error, is anybody's guess.
Agreed... I'm just stating my case that Audyssey recognized the crossover in my room to be at 90hz, which is right in-line where most other people on this board have set their crossovers at for the S-35. Audyssey isn't perfect, and can and will occasionally miss, but it can give you some general guidelines as to where the crossover should be set at. In the end your ears should be the final judge.

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I only see one crossover setting, but I don't have a centre set up right now so maybe it will give me the option once I have something connected. Either way it's probably not a big issue if I use one crossover at 80hz or 90hz.
Yes, depending on your AVR, once you connect your center, you should re-run auto-room calibration. It should then recognize that you added an additional speaker, and give you the option to manually change the cross-over setting for each.

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Thanks everyone. Seems like people have pretty mixed opinions on the S35. Obviously it's not a high-end speaker but some people dislike it whereas other people say it gets the job done. I guess like Zorba said, if I end up buying it, I gotta let my ears be the final judge lol
The S-35 has over 200 reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.7 out of 5.0, so most people that buy the center are very much pleased with it. Like I mentioned, when I had it, I never noticed that vocals were lacking, or that my front stage was lacking. I'm simply replacing it because it can't keep up with the R series (for obvious reasons). Otherwise, if space is an issue where you need a slim center, the S-35 is a great speaker for a great price. My recommendation is to just try it out at home and see how you like it.

Main Room: 65'' Samsung KS8000; AVR: Denon AVR X-4500H; AMP: Monolith 3-Channel Amp; Center Channel: KEF R2C; L/R Channels: KEF R3; Atmos: KEF R8A; LFE: SVS-PB3000; UHD Blu-Ray Player: Sony UBP-X800; Gaming: PS4 Pro; Streaming Device: Apple TV 4K Secondary Room: 49'' Samsung MU7000; AVR: Denon AVR S-720W; Center Channel: Polk Signature S-35; L/R Channels: Polk Signature S-20; IEMs: Shure 846, Shure 535; DAC/Amp: Dragonfly Cobalt, JDS Labs C5D
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post #18 of 20 Old 12-06-2019, 09:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes, depending on your AVR, once you connect your center, you should re-run auto-room calibration. It should then recognize that you added an additional speaker, and give you the option to manually change the cross-over setting for each.



The S-35 has over 200 reviews on Amazon with an average score of 4.7 out of 5.0, so most people that buy the center are very much pleased with it. Like I mentioned, when I had it, I never noticed that vocals were lacking, or that my front stage was lacking. I'm simply replacing it because it can't keep up with the R series (for obvious reasons). Otherwise, if space is an issue where you need a slim center, the S-35 is a great speaker for a great price. My recommendation is to just try it out at home and see how you like it.


It's the Yamaha RX-V385 if that makes a difference. There's an option to set centre channel as on/off without doing the calibration, but it's obviously set to off right now so changing it to on might give me the second crossover option. I guess I'll find out eventually.

And tbh I'd trust 20 opinions on here more than the 200 on Amazon. There are too many fake/paid reviews and people who just want to hear sound coming from a speaker vs. here there's more audiophiles/audio enthusiasts.

But yeah I have some setup options to figure out this weekend and maybe I'll grab it and give it a try. Thanks again!
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post #19 of 20 Old 12-06-2019, 10:04 AM
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It's the Yamaha RX-V385 if that makes a difference. There's an option to set centre channel as on/off without doing the calibration, but it's obviously set to off right now so changing it to on might give me the second crossover option. I guess I'll find out eventually.

And tbh I'd trust 20 opinions on here more than the 200 on Amazon. There are too many fake/paid reviews and people who just want to hear sound coming from a speaker vs. here there's more audiophiles/audio enthusiasts.

But yeah I have some setup options to figure out this weekend and maybe I'll grab it and give it a try. Thanks again!
Unfortunately I'm not familiar with Yamaha AVR's so I can't help you there. But anyways, good luck and I'm looking forward to hearing what you end up deciding!

Main Room: 65'' Samsung KS8000; AVR: Denon AVR X-4500H; AMP: Monolith 3-Channel Amp; Center Channel: KEF R2C; L/R Channels: KEF R3; Atmos: KEF R8A; LFE: SVS-PB3000; UHD Blu-Ray Player: Sony UBP-X800; Gaming: PS4 Pro; Streaming Device: Apple TV 4K Secondary Room: 49'' Samsung MU7000; AVR: Denon AVR S-720W; Center Channel: Polk Signature S-35; L/R Channels: Polk Signature S-20; IEMs: Shure 846, Shure 535; DAC/Amp: Dragonfly Cobalt, JDS Labs C5D
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post #20 of 20 Old 12-09-2019, 07:50 AM - Thread Starter
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I ended up buying the Definitive Technology Procentre 1000 from Amazon

Def Tech Procentre 1000: $175 CAD, 4.5" drivers, 5" height
Polk S35: $275 CAD, 3.5" drivers, 4" height

My space for the centre is 5 1/8" height so the Def Tech should fit snugly, and I'm guessing the 4.5" drivers will perform a bit better than the S35's 3.5" drivers and for almost half the price.

It's supposed to arrive tomorrow so I'll have to give it a test and see how it sounds. I can always return it and pick up the S35, or just return it altogether if I feel like my Q150's do a better job standalone without the centre.
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