Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Woop Woop, Australia
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L/R 'mains' vs center channel?!
Not sure if there will be a definitive answer to this, but hopefully some interesting comments.
I've spent many hours recently trying to get my head into HT center channel speaker matching vs phantom etc, and something isn't quite adding up for me.
Something I see quite a lot is folks still talking about their 'mains' as though movie sound engineers view them the same way - as the main place to send big sound that isn't dialog. I've read numerous comments that suggest a center channel is critical, that it should probably be up to the same level of quality as your L/R, but that it is pointless to get one that is any better.
I wonder if this is actually true, or if it is simply a legacy problem because so many people are wedded to the idea of a 'main' pair of speakers? Isn't it far more likely that movie engineers focus most of their energy on a primary central/mono mix, and treat the front L/R kinda like 'front surrounds' (ie only incidental/spacial stuff goes there)? In which case, are the vast majority of people doing HT all wrong by focusing on a rock star main pair and begrudgingly getting a center that 'kinda' matches?!
Obviously for a lot of HT owners, our AVRs are altering what goes where and sending plenty of program to our 'mains' because they are usually better speakers. I doubt many of us have monster premium center channels and subpar 'mains'. But part of me wonders if this is actually a compromise, and that a more center-heavy approach (ie, using a large/premium center channel and sub/s with lesser 'mains' and 'surrounds') might actually be closer to the intended soundstage?
Should true HT aficionados be choosing their center first, then worrying about matching it?
Should we be bi-amping our center speakers via high quality external amps, before we worry about trying to do the same with the L/R?
Might we see a time when much larger and more sophisticated center speakers become the norm, and front 'mains' shrink into satellites in the corners of the room?
Last edited by six.fingered.man; 12-24-2017 at 06:31 PM.