Looking for some assistance and guidance setting up my living room audio. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Looking for some assistance and guidance setting up my living room audio.

Hi everyone,

I currently have some gear. I am not sure how good it is but I will start off by telling you what I have.

* Center: Definitive Technology Pro Center 1000
* Bookshelves: 2x Definitive Technology ProMonitor 800
* Sub: Pinnacle QAC12 12" 225 Watt
* Receiver: Denon AVR-3311CI

Currently my center and both my bookshelves are sitting on the console with my TV and my sub off the to side. Not ideal, I know.

I want to upgrade to a full 5.1. (I think 5.1 will benefit me the most vs 7.1 with my room)

I was thinking about taking the two ProMonitor 800s and mounting them off to the side ceilings for L/R surround and getting two new tower speakers for the Front L/R.

Here is a diagram of my room with my new setup idea (attached)


Any comments regarding this room set up and/or equipment I currently have? I will also take suggestions for Front L/R speakers as well.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 05:45 PM
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Looks like a good arrangement from here. The first thing I would upgrade is the subwoofer. And while I am a tower guy, I think some nice bookshelf speakers and new subs would benefit you best. I’m afraid you might have frequency response issues by being too close to the towers. Especially since I’d also move the couch away from the wall a bit. Bad spot for bass, but can be dealt with.
How much money are you considering for upgrades?
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post #3 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 05:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polyrythm1k View Post
Looks like a good arrangement from here. The first thing I would upgrade is the subwoofer. And while I am a tower guy, I think some nice bookshelf speakers and new subs would benefit you best. I’m afraid you might have frequency response issues by being too close to the towers. Especially since I’d also move the couch away from the wall a bit. Bad spot for bass, but can be dealt with.
How much money are you considering for upgrades?

Thanks for your help. Unfortunately moving the couch in my current setup isn't a possibility. It would just be weird for the room.

I wasn't actually planning on upgrading the subwoofer at the current time, but it's certainly something I can do down the line. Right now I am focused on getting those two front speakers.

As for mounting speakers in the front, I was actually thinking about doing that but I was reading that having speakers off in a corner isn't the best? I can't really mount the speakers anywhere close to the TV due to windows being in the way. If I was to mount another set of bookshelves they would be in the far corners.

I am looking for spend around 150-200 per speaker if that is a possibility regardless if they are floorstanding or mounted bookshelves.
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post #4 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 06:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipple View Post
Thanks for your help. Unfortunately moving the couch in my current setup isn't a possibility. It would just be weird for the room.



I wasn't actually planning on upgrading the subwoofer at the current time, but it's certainly something I can do down the line. Right now I am focused on getting those two front speakers.



As for mounting speakers in the front, I was actually thinking about doing that but I was reading that having speakers off in a corner isn't the best? I can't really mount the speakers anywhere close to the TV due to windows being in the way. If I was to mount another set of bookshelves they would be in the far corners.



I am looking for spend around 150-200 per speaker if that is a possibility regardless if they are floorstanding or mounted bookshelves.


Well for floor standers 400pr won’t get you as much as the same for BS speakers. In that price range, you’re mostly paying for the cabinets, and they probably still only have a mid and tweeter just like a BS.
As far as corners go, you’re right but for surrounds, it won’t be a super big deal.
It looks like your diagram has the speakers next to the tv kinda, and I would definitely try that. Maybe BS speakers in stands. If you like the PM800’s, maybe a pair of PM1000’s would be enough for you. I don’t know what they cost off hand though.
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post #5 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipple View Post
* Center: Definitive Technology Pro Center 1000
* Bookshelves: 2x Definitive Technology ProMonitor 800
* Sub: Pinnacle QAC12 12" 225 Watt
* Receiver: Denon AVR-3311CI

Currently my center and both my bookshelves are sitting on the console with my TV and my sub off the to side. Not ideal, I know.

I want to upgrade to a full 5.1. (I think 5.1 will benefit me the most vs 7.1 with my room)

I was thinking about taking the two ProMonitor 800s and mounting them off to the side ceilings for L/R surround and getting two new tower speakers for the Front L/R.
1. What % of your usage is HT/TV, and what % is critical music listening?
2. Is that room totally enclosed, or are there open adjacent spaces?
3. Are you in the US, or Canada? This determines what's actually available to you.

Off the top of my head, if HT/TV is your primary usage, the first and most pressing upgrade is the center speaker.
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~ 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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post #6 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 07:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
1. What % of your usage is HT/TV, and what % is critical music listening?
80/20, Video media to music.

I will say this though. I pay far more attention to the quality of the speakers and sound fidelity when I am listening to music. While I am most often using the room for TV I appreciate high quality sound much more with music.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
2. Is that room totally enclosed, or are there open adjacent spaces?
There is an open doorway on the left hand side. The image attached shows french doors as there is space for it, but this is actually an open archway (two doors wide)


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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
3. Are you in the US, or Canada? This determines what's actually available to you.
US


[QUOTE=Zorba922;59343512]Off the top of my head, if HT/TV is your primary usage, the first and most pressing upgrade is the center speaker. [/QUOTE

Interesting, that wasn't even on my list of items to upgrade.
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post #7 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Side note, there is a guy near me selling Vandersteen 2ce for $600 for the pair. I am thinking of offering him $500 looking at the reaction online to these speakers. Is that a good deal?
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post #8 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Skipple View Post
Side note, there is a guy near me selling Vandersteen 2ce for $600 for the pair. I am thinking of offering him $500 looking at the reaction online to these speakers. Is that a good deal?
I love Vandersteens! That said, their warm musical sound would be a risky choice for an 80% HT/TV system.
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~ 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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post #9 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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I love Vandersteens! That said, their warm musical sound would be a risky choice for an 80% HT/TV system.
Ah okay, good to know. I actually just measured these in my living room and I think they would be a bit to massive anyway. They actually would come about 8 inches above my windows. Not to sure if the girlfriend would appreciate that even if I did just get a "do whatever you want" today.....
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post #10 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Skipple View Post
80/20, Video media to music.

I will say this though. I pay far more attention to the quality of the speakers and sound fidelity when I am listening to music. While I am most often using the room for TV I appreciate high quality sound much more with music.

There is an open doorway on the left hand side. The image attached shows french doors as there is space for it, but this is actually an open archway (two doors wide)

Interesting, that wasn't even on my list of items to upgrade.
Video usage just means you need dynamics and detail and clarity---especially VOICE clarity. Subtle nuances like tonal balance are much more relevant during critical music listening (listening to music while not doing anything else such as reading, web-surfing, eating, chores, etc.)

The center does 70-80% of the output during HT/TV. People often find that upgrading the center has the biggest, most noticeable impact during video use for that reason. The second biggest improvement for video watching is the sub, unless you mainly watch dramas/comedies/documentaries/news/sports not the kind of blockbuster movies that have lots of LFE.

How important are aesthetics for you? The best price to performance speakers usually don't come with the kind of pretty cabinets that some folks require. If you are ok with function over form, you'll actually do very well with a $700-1000 budget. I'd just move your current DT800s to rear surround duty and focus on the front 3 speakers and sub first.

Best bang for the buck would be 3 x Ascend 170SE currently sold as "B-stock" (most likely just surplus A stock they want to clear out) for $378:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Merch...ry_Code=BSTOCK
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...70/cbm170.html

These are very neutral and relatively high sensitivity so they'll be easy to drive and excel in both music and movies.

Another option are the NHT SuperOnes, $100 each from Amazon...these are slightly "bright" so a little bit riskier but Amazon provides easy returns especially if you're a Prime member. They are prettier looking than the Ascends though, due to their sealed cabinets and elegant matte finish.

If you don't mind the sci-fi styling, the Emotiva T-Zero towers ($400/pr) with C1 center ($250) would be my first pick, though they would put you slightly over budget. But the towers would save you at least $100 for a pair of speaker stands.

For the sub, a Hsu VTF-2 or Rythmik LV12-F would put a big grin on your face all day long, during music as well as movies.
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~ 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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post #11 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Video usage just means you need dynamics and detail and clarity---especially VOICE clarity. Subtle nuances like tonal balance are much more relevant during critical music listening (listening to music while not doing anything else such as reading, web-surfing, eating, chores, etc.)

The center does 70-80% of the output during HT/TV. People often find that upgrading the center has the biggest, most noticeable impact during video use for that reason. The second biggest improvement for video watching is the sub, unless you mainly watch dramas/comedies/documentaries/news/sports not the kind of blockbuster movies that have lots of LFE.

How important are aesthetics for you? The best price to performance speakers usually don't come with the kind of pretty cabinets that some folks require. If you are ok with function over form, you'll actually do very well with a $700-1000 budget. I'd just move your current DT800s to rear surround duty and focus on the front 3 speakers and sub first.

Best bang for the buck would be 3 x Ascend 170SE currently sold as "B-stock" (most likely just surplus A stock they want to clear out) for $378:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Merch...ry_Code=BSTOCK
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...70/cbm170.html

These are very neutral and relatively high sensitivity so they'll be easy to drive and excel in both music and movies.

Another option are the NHT SuperOnes, $100 each from Amazon...these are slightly "bright" so a little bit riskier but Amazon provides easy returns especially if you're a Prime member. They are prettier looking than the Ascends though, due to their sealed cabinets and elegant matte finish.

If you don't mind the sci-fi styling, the Emotiva T-Zero towers ($400/pr) with C1 center ($250) would be my first pick, though they would put you slightly over budget. But the towers would save you at least $100 for a pair of speaker stands.

For the sub, a Hsu VTF-2 or Rythmik LV12-F would put a big grin on your face all day long, during music as well as movies.
Wow! I really appreciate all these suggestions as I know I am out of my depth here. (tech/computer nerd doesn't get too heavy on the audiophile side)

I have a ton of googling to do. Very much appreciate it!
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post #12 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 08:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Video usage just means you need dynamics and detail and clarity---especially VOICE clarity. Subtle nuances like tonal balance are much more relevant during critical music listening (listening to music while not doing anything else such as reading, web-surfing, eating, chores, etc.)

The center does 70-80% of the output during HT/TV. People often find that upgrading the center has the biggest, most noticeable impact during video use for that reason. The second biggest improvement for video watching is the sub, unless you mainly watch dramas/comedies/documentaries/news/sports not the kind of blockbuster movies that have lots of LFE.

How important are aesthetics for you? The best price to performance speakers usually don't come with the kind of pretty cabinets that some folks require. If you are ok with function over form, you'll actually do very well with a $700-1000 budget. I'd just move your current DT800s to rear surround duty and focus on the front 3 speakers and sub first.

Best bang for the buck would be 3 x Ascend 170SE currently sold as "B-stock" (most likely just surplus A stock they want to clear out) for $378:
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Merch...ry_Code=BSTOCK
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...70/cbm170.html

These are very neutral and relatively high sensitivity so they'll be easy to drive and excel in both music and movies.

Another option are the NHT SuperOnes, $100 each from Amazon...these are slightly "bright" so a little bit riskier but Amazon provides easy returns especially if you're a Prime member. They are prettier looking than the Ascends though, due to their sealed cabinets and elegant matte finish.

If you don't mind the sci-fi styling, the Emotiva T-Zero towers ($400/pr) with C1 center ($250) would be my first pick, though they would put you slightly over budget. But the towers would save you at least $100 for a pair of speaker stands.

For the sub, a Hsu VTF-2 or Rythmik LV12-F would put a big grin on your face all day long, during music as well as movies.
One more question if you don't mind. I am thinking the Ascent speakers you had linked me to are going to be my way. I see that the 170SE bookshelves are wallmount-able which is a huge plus for me and people are raving about them.

Looking on their website they have:
170B BS + C for $378.00 (the one you linked)
OR
CBM-170 SE pair for $248.00 and a CMT-340 SE center for $298.00 = $546

For a $168 difference how much better would the CMT-340SE be over the 170?
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post #13 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 09:17 PM
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For a $168 difference how much better would the CMT-340SE be over the 170?
The extra 6.5" woofer on the 340SE will give you extra headroom and dynamics during movies, esp. if you like to listen loud.

However, for wall mounting the more compact, sealed cabinets of the NHT SuperOne or Ascend 200SE might be easier to do.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html

~ 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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post #14 of 23 Old 03-07-2020, 11:03 PM
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I own the Ascends and love them, but they are rear ported and fairly heavy / big so wall mounting may not be the best option.

Another option maybe the SuperZero 2.1 speakers (which are $68/ea on amazon), with putting the money towards a Sub / Center. The Superzero's are arguably better than the SuperOnes if you have a capable sub since they are only rated down to 85hz.
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post #15 of 23 Old 06-02-2020, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
The extra 6.5" woofer on the 340SE will give you extra headroom and dynamics during movies, esp. if you like to listen loud.

However, for wall mounting the more compact, sealed cabinets of the NHT SuperOne or Ascend 200SE might be easier to do.
http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...00/htm200.html
I just wanted to thank you for your help. It took me a little bit to save up the money but I finally ended up buying a set of the Ascend CBM-170 (bookshelves and center) and they are coming in on Thursday!

I've been keeping my eye out for a new sub, but I can't bring myself to spend $500 there... lol. I think my sub does fine for right now, but I probably don't know what I'm missing.

Thanks again for all your help!

(sorry for posting in this old thread. I tried to message you directly but apparently there is a post limitation on that.)
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post #16 of 23 Old 06-02-2020, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipple View Post
I just wanted to thank you for your help. It took me a little bit to save up the money but I finally ended up buying a set of the Ascend CBM-170 (bookshelves and center) and they are coming in on Thursday!

I've been keeping my eye out for a new sub, but I can't bring myself to spend $500 there... lol. I think my sub does fine for right now, but I probably don't know what I'm missing.

Thanks again for all your help!

(sorry for posting in this old thread. I tried to message you directly but apparently there is a post limitation on that.)
You're very welcome, glad to help. When you get the Ascends all set up, please post an update with your impressions---photos are always much appreciated.

~ 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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post #17 of 23 Old 06-06-2020, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
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You're very welcome, glad to help. When you get the Ascends all set up, please post an update with your impressions---photos are always much appreciated.
Just got them set up today. They sound absolutely fantastic. My problem is that the "center" is actually just another CBM-170 SE bookshelf and at 9" it's far too high to fit under my TV without having to raise the TV around 5".

The CMT-340 center is only 1.5" shorter and I would rather not have to bump my TV up 4". The only center that Ascend has that's is a reasonable size is the DUO but I have to imagine that is going to have a very different sound signature. I'm a bit stumped as to what to do at this point. I blame myself that I didn't do research on what the "center" was. I just figured it was a different form factor. I may try and bump up the TV and see how it looks and see if I can handle the 340.

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You could try the HTM-200 from Ascend. It is a smaller speaker and placed on its side might be a good solution as a center. It is most likely voiced similar to the CBM's and is much cheaper than the DUO. It is 6.5" tall.

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...m200specs.html
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post #19 of 23 Old 06-06-2020, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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You could try the HTM-200 from Ascend. It is a smaller speaker and placed on its side might be a good solution as a center. It is most likely voiced similar to the CBM's and is much cheaper than the DUO. It is 6.5" tall.

http://www.ascendacoustics.com/pages...m200specs.html
I'm not sure how I missed that. Thanks for letting me know!
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Just got them set up today. They sound absolutely fantastic. My problem is that the "center" is actually just another CBM-170 SE bookshelf and at 9" it's far too high to fit under my TV without having to raise the TV around 5".

The CMT-340 center is only 1.5" shorter and I would rather not have to bump my TV up 4". The only center that Ascend has that's is a reasonable size is the DUO but I have to imagine that is going to have a very different sound signature. I'm a bit stumped as to what to do at this point. I blame myself that I didn't do research on what the "center" was. I just figured it was a different form factor. I may try and bump up the TV and see how it looks and see if I can handle the 340.
Did you order the 3rd 170SE as a center? If you did, that means Ascend should have already rotated the tweeter 90 degrees for you, so that you can lay it on its side...that's what "170SE center" means. Look at where the Ascend logo is on the grille...if it's on the long side of the grille, that confirms that they've done it. And if they have not, I believe you can easily rotate it yourself...call/email them to verify.

~ 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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if you can afford the Duo, it is an outstanding small sized center. And you can send it back and apply the purchase price towards the DUO.

Main: Sony XBR75900E, Denon AVR-x4400, Denon POA-5200 (L/R(a) Goldenear supersat 60, (b)FW Boston acoustic Bravo 2. C Ascend Acoustics Duo,
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Did you order the 3rd 170SE as a center? If you did, that means Ascend should have already rotated the tweeter 90 degrees for you, so that you can lay it on its side...that's what "170SE center" means. Look at where the Ascend logo is on the grille...if it's on the long side of the grille, that confirms that they've done it. And if they have not, I believe you can easily rotate it yourself...call/email them to verify.
I have no idea how I would tell. They all appear to be exactly the same. I am going to be giving them a call tomorrow morning anyway. Regardless, the form factor just doesn't work for me.

I did some math and I can get away with the 340SE center while raising my 3 inches so I think I am going to go with that.
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post #23 of 23 Old 06-08-2020, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skipple View Post
I have no idea how I would tell. They all appear to be exactly the same. I am going to be giving them a call tomorrow morning anyway. Regardless, the form factor just doesn't work for me.

I did some math and I can get away with the 340SE center while raising my 3 inches so I think I am going to go with that.
If you don't mind the cost of sending back the extra 170SE and ordering the 340SE center, by all means go ahead. Let me know what they tell you, though...if sitting 8-12ft away and not in the habit of listening above the typical 60-75db range, using a 170SE on its side should still sound pretty good.

~ 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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