Originally Posted by Tachead7075
Yeah, that was where I was leaning but, now another poster has me considering the benefits of a 3-way center and I definitely want my FCR to all 100% timber match from the same brand and line. So, that means 700F or 800F with 500 or 600C if I want the three way.
3 identical speakers in vertical alignment for the front stage are the ONLY way to get a true "timbre match"---and they're worth the trouble only if: 1) You listen to a lot of music in upmixed fake surround mode or "all channel stereo" mode, 2) You do a lot of multi-channel gaming, or 3) you are an extremely picky/fastidious user who LISTENS to movies instead of WATCHING them like most people.
1. I've had a "matching" LCR of 3 identical front speakers, with the L/R vertical and the C horizontal.
2. I've had a "quasi-matching" LCR of 2 bookshelves and 1 horizontal center from the same brand and model family.
3. I've had a "mismatched" set of a horizontal center from a completely different brand and different tweeter type than the L/R speakers.
4. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position standing up, aligned with the L/R.
5. I've had a "mismatched" set of 2 bookshelves with a 3rd bookshelf of a different brand in the center position on its side.
And the only two conclusions I can derive from my experience with any degree of certainty are:
usually sounds a bit better than #5
. And even then, #5
doesn't apply if all 3 speakers are of a concentric design.
II. The perceptible SQ difference between #1
, 2, and 3 are NEGLIGIBLE as long as the horizontal center speaker is a good one.
There are however 3 rough "working" rules that I have inferred from my experience:
a. A crappy center speaker (mainly one lacking in adequate voice clarity) is a crappy center speaker which will severely hamper your HT enjoyment, whether it "matches" the other speakers or not. Do *not* tolerate a crappy center speaker merely for the sake of some ivory-tower ideal. (Pioneer Andrew Jones CP22 and Polk CS1/2/10/20 are the most infamous examples.) The center speaker does 70-80% of the HT/TV output and 98% of the DIALOGUE. It is *the* true workhorse/backbone of any HT setup and thus the absolute LAST place you should ever cut corners. Smaller centers 4.5" or smaller woofers) almost always produce tinny voices and often, terrible voice clarity.
b. A very good bookshelf speaker used in the center position that is identical to the L/R bookshelf speakers, will sound very good...BUT at moderately loud or louder volumes, it will still not sound quite as "big" (involving, dramatic, vivid, immersive, etc.) as a very good horizontal center speaker that has double or more the surface area in woofers, esp. a 3-way design that minimizes lobing such as the Emotiva centers. The exceptions might be with very high-sensitivity single woofer designs like the PSA MT-110 which are already extremely dynamic and clear by themselves.
c. If #3
best fits your budget and WAF requirements, by all means do it. Don't overthink this silly hobby, it's not worth it...just get the best you can with what budget you have, then sit back and (gasp!) ENJOY what you have. Don't become a chronic, obsessive gearhead...that will only suck the life and joy out of everything.