AVS Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I currently own the Polk 706c center powered by the Outlaw 2200 external amp. While I'm not unhappy with it, I'm curious what something better may sound like. Are the centers with a ribbon tweeter much better? I've recently started toying with addressing acoustics with area rugs to tame the first reflections. Has anyone auditioned all of these by chance? Wondering what is the benefit of getting a center that can hit down to 30hz if the subwoofer is going to handle those frequencies anyway? Are speakers within this price point going to offer diminishing returns in improving the audio quality? Thanks!

Some recomendations I've come across:

  • Revel Performa3 C208
  • Martin Logan 50XT
  • Studio CC-690 v5
  • Ascend Sierra Horizon
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
311 Posts
You wouldn't want to buy any of those unless you're also planning on buying the matching Front L & R speakers as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
You wouldn't want to buy any of those unless you're also planning on buying the matching Front L & R speakers as well.
Don't think I'm ready to do that quite yet. But just wanted to explore other options. But it's not always easy to audition something unfortunately.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,771 Posts
I currently own the Polk 706c center powered by the Outlaw 2200 external amp. While I'm not unhappy with it, I'm curious what something better may sound like. Are the centers with a ribbon tweeter much better? Are speakers within this price point going to offer diminishing returns in improving the audio quality?
The main thing you get from a bigger center speaker with more/bigger drivers is a fuller sound due to the extra mid-bass...it would allow you to play with lowering the crossover from the standard 80Hz to 60Hz or even 40Hz (if your AVR has it). The quality of the tweeter though won't change that much---a tweeter that one perceives as "shrill" at high volumes or hopelessly muddy at all volumes, will still be what it is.

If you want to experiment with non-dome tweeters, there are some less expensive cost ways to do it:

  • HTD Level 3 center = free return shipping, around $300
  • Martin Logan Motion 30 or 50 = $10 flat rate return shipping, around $400-500
guesstimated $30-50 return shipping:
  • Chane A2.4, around $300 shipped
  • Emotiva C1, $250 shipped
  • Emotiva C2, $400 shipped
I would start at the lower price levels and move up only if needed---yes, diminishing returns hit quickly, you mostly get a prettier cabinet the more money you pay because it doesn't exactly require rocket science to make a well-performing center speaker that the large majority of (non-OCD) folks would be plenty satisfied with.
 
  • Like
Reactions: thepiecesfit

·
The Village Idiot
Joined
·
9,546 Posts
The Polk LSiM706c is quite large, and weighs 42#. The tempered glass shelf I had it residing on is slightly more warped because of that speaker. It is a solid performer IMO, just too heavy for my setup. I had it for 4-5 months with LSiM705 towers. Nice sounding speakers, and a great deal if you bought them at the near give-away prices from 5-6 months ago. I sold all three of those speakers locally, and glad I did, they are solid, and big, and would have been a royal pain to ship them. It is doubtful that the tempered glass shelf will ever recover.

Prior to the Polk 706c I had a custom center from Selah Audio, at $1100 it was expensive, and did outperform the 706c, but not by much. I would think you'd have to look for something like a Selah center to get to the next level in sound. IOW, spend LOTS more money. The Polks are the real deal IMO.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mtrot

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
The Polk LSiM706c is quite large, and weighs 42#. The tempered glass shelf I had it residing on is slightly more warped because of that speaker. It is a solid performer IMO, just too heavy for my setup. I had it for 4-5 months with LSiM705 towers. Nice sounding speakers, and a great deal if you bought them at the near give-away prices from 5-6 months ago. I sold all three of those speakers locally, and glad I did, they are solid, and big, and would have been a royal pain to ship them. It is doubtful that the tempered glass shelf will ever recover.

Prior to the Polk 706c I had a custom center from Selah Audio, at $1100 it was expensive, and did outperform the 706c, but not by much. I would think you'd have to look for something like a Selah center to get to the next level in sound. IOW, spend LOTS more money. The Polks are the real deal IMO.
I picked up the LSiM 705 towers and LsiM 706c all for under $1500 during the sales. Thanks for sharing your experience. I knew they were regarded pretty highly and to match them would require something on the higher end. What did you find lacking if you don't mind me asking?
 

·
The Village Idiot
Joined
·
9,546 Posts
I picked up the LSiM 705 towers and LsiM 706c all for under $1500 during the sales. Thanks for sharing your experience. I knew they were regarded pretty highly and to match them would require something on the higher end. What did you find lacking if you don't mind me asking?
My overall impressions from using the 705's and 706c were that the Polk tweeter was brighter than the Song Tower/Selah tweeter. The Selah center used the same OW2 tweeter as the Song Towers along with a pair of 7" Seas woofers and a Seas 4" mid-woofer in a sealed cab, and tuned to ~65hz. No doubt much more expensive drivers than what you find in the Polk LSiM line. The 705's gave gobs of bass, very good, very detailed bass, and no sub was needed when I was playing them in 2 channel. You might contact Selah Audio and have them price out a center to match the 705's, it won't be cheap but it will be top notch.


I had the three Polk speakers and the Song Towers up for sale locally. A guy came over to audition the Song Towers, he didn't see the Polk ad. He had the money in hand and was ready to take the ST's home when I showed him the 3 Polk speakers. He didn't even listen to them, just took off for the bank and came back with the asking price cash and took the Polks home! I'm happy as hell over that! I've had the ST's 5-6 years now and I'm still not ready to swap them out. They still sound great to me.


And with that, I'm off for a round of golf. It's what you do when you're retired! Well, it's what I do.
Have a great day, I will!
 
  • Like
Reactions: thepiecesfit

·
Registered
Joined
·
194 Posts
I have some sound rooms at my office, as well as my home theater at home, and over the years I've had Pinnacle, Aperion Intimus, SVS Prime and Ultra centers, Monoprice Monolith, Revel C12 and the Ascend 340. All of those are in the $300 - 600 range.


I would consider all of them to have strengths and weaknesses, and certainly capable center channels that a lot of people could enjoy for many years. But there were always moments in movies when I could hear a harshness in the voices, and sometimes a slight "forwardness" or "peakiness" in the midrange that I couldn't EQ out. Even when they sounded "good", they sounded like good speakers. I even did blind testing behind my acoustical screen (with my wife swapping speakers around and level matching them so I didn't know what I was listening to).



So I decided to take the plunge and got an Ascend Horizon with the RAAL tweeter. It's bigger than I wanted, but I wanted to see how good a center channel could be (would it be that much better?)

To put it bluntly, the Ascend Horizon with the RAAL tweeter is jaw-dropping astonishing. I matched it with some Sierra 2EX's. The speakers just absolutely disappear. When I listen to orchestral music, I can hear the location of each orchestra section across the front of the room. Voices in movies sound more natural than I've ever heard.



I can also play the system much louder. I calibrate it to 75dBSPL reference at -0dB on my Yamaha receiver, and with other speakers it would be uncomfortable above -12dB, but with these speakers I regularly listen at -6dB (and for demos I can listen at reference level without any ear fatigue).


My only complaint is that the thing is very big and very heavy. I have it crossed over at 80Hz, so if there were a smaller option I would go for it (I won't go for a MTM configuration like the Ascend Duo though). But if you're considering the Revel as well, you must have the room.


I am curious how other ribbon-tweeter centers would stack up, like Emotiva or Martin Logan.
 

·
Registered
75" Samsung Q80R QLED, Denon AVR3300, Revel F36, C25, W263, FV15HP x 2, ATV4K, Sony Blu Ray, Harmony
Joined
·
7,778 Posts
If your going to take the plunge on an expensive center channel in order to get a substantial upgrade, I'd go with a speaker that has objectively excellent measured performance. You won't "beat" the LSiM with another budget center channel. I'd go with the Revel C208....several for sale in the classifieds as Revel owners are upgrading to the new Berylium quad 6.5" center channel that just came out. Horizontal center channels are not an optimal design, so you want a company that adheres to sound scientific design principles with outstanding engineering and testing capabilities.

If you find a speaker with better objective measured performance than the C208, I'd get that instead. This probably means you'll end up with the C208:

 

·
Registered
75" Samsung Q80R QLED, Denon AVR3300, Revel F36, C25, W263, FV15HP x 2, ATV4K, Sony Blu Ray, Harmony
Joined
·
7,778 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,591 Posts
Yeah, IMO, you'd have to go up to the Ascend Horizon w/ RAAL tweeter or Revel C208 to really beat out your 706. I bought a 706 a few months ago and it is pretty impressive for $349(got it on the Adorama sale). I also bought the new Wharfedale EVO center speaker(with AMT tweeter) and compared them for a couple weeks. I really couldn't tell that much difference between them, so I returned the EVO, as I had paid $799 for it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cinepro

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, IMO, you'd have to go up to the Ascend Horizon w/ RAAL tweeter or Revel C208 to really beat out your 706. I bought a 706 a few months ago and it is pretty impressive for $349(got it on the Adorama sale). I also bought the new Wharfedale EVO center speaker(with AMT tweeter) and compared them for a couple weeks. I really couldn't tell that much difference between them, so I returned the EVO, as I had paid $799 for it.
That is the kind of feedback I needed. Seems like it wouldn’t make sense to go chasing that small performance gain. That is very reassuring. Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
468 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I picked up the LSiM 705 towers and LsiM 706c all for under $1500 during the sales.
Yeah, I shoulda done that! You already have a 3-way center, of quite high quality. Do you feel anything is lacking? I wouldn't assume you should get better sound unless you spend several thousand on the center.
No not necessarily. Just curious what was out there. It did tend to have a lot of bass which was remedied by moving the crossover to the 100hz. I did some checking and it’s more than I would want to spend at the moment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,452 Posts
And with that, I'm off for a round of golf. It's what you do when you're retired! Well, it's what I do.
Have a great day, I will!
And apparently you don't live in Iowa!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,452 Posts
I agree with the overall sentiment that you will likely have to spend a good chunk of money to hear improvement over what is a pretty good center speaker! Some of the usual suspects (Emotiva, Chane, Ascend) which offer great value speakers won't likely be a step on from the Polks!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,506 Posts
True, and fortunately not necessary. And probably not a good way to select the best speaker anyways:

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/3038828-how-choose-loudspeaker-what-science-shows.html
I'm sorry Bear, but I just can't buy into the concept that listening to speakers is not necessary, and/or not the best way to evaluate and select speakers... not matter what Harman says about it. I picked my current speakers based on how they sounded IN MY HOME, and how the mated with the rest of my system. That is actually the *best* way to evaluate speakers... no matter what Harman says.



Having said that, I do respect Dr. Toole and I think the Spinorama is a valuable tool, and a useful piece of information when deciding what speakers to audition IN MY HOME. But it is just that... a tool and just ONE PIECE of information, amongst many other pieces of information I find valuable when selecting speakers.



Craig
 
  • Like
Reactions: CaptinCrunch

·
Registered
75" Samsung Q80R QLED, Denon AVR3300, Revel F36, C25, W263, FV15HP x 2, ATV4K, Sony Blu Ray, Harmony
Joined
·
7,778 Posts
I'm sorry Bear, but I just can't buy into the concept that listening to speakers is not necessary, and/or not the best way to evaluate and select speakers... not matter what Harman says about it. I picked my current speakers based on how they sounded IN MY HOME, and how the mated with the rest of my system. That is actually the *best* way to evaluate speakers... no matter what Harman says.



Having said that, I do respect Dr. Toole and I think the Spinorama is a valuable tool, and a useful piece of information when deciding what speakers to audition IN MY HOME. But it is just that... a tool and just ONE PIECE of information, amongst many other pieces of information I find valuable when selecting speakers.



Craig
Well to clarify a bit, I don't think there is anything *wrong* with getting speakers into your house to make sure you like them. But, I stand by what I said that basing one's selections on measurements is better than just blindly ordering dozens of speakers based on flowery subjective reviews and trying to demo them all in your house. This would be beyond silly.

Should people waste time demo'ing this garbage if they are after an accurate, high fidelity speaker:



Lots of people demo in a Best Buy, or their house and end up with crap like this from a well known, "audiophile" brand and think they are great. A smarter way would be to rule this out based on measurements, but people are used to "ya have to demo a speaker in person to know if you like it." The research shows this isn't true.

Objective measurement data gives one a basis on how to determine what speakers will sound great before wasting all the time, effort, energy, and expense of ordering lots of bad speakers. Its just not a smart way to pick a great speaker.

OP stated he is unable to go demo them anywhere nearby even if he wanted to use this flawed method. Plenty of people end up with pretty bad speakers thinking they are great due in part to the bias that comes into play, and failure to compare them accurately against better speakers.

So, I firmly believe, narrow things down to a handful of speakers that have excellent measured performance, and, if you feel the need, get them in your house and demo them to compare. However, decades of the most rigorous scientific research show us a smarter and easier way to select a great speaker than the crapshoot of auditions.

I chose my speakers sight unseen and unheard. There may a have been a couple of other speakers that would have sounded just as good in my price range, but I knew before getting them in my house that they would be a great sounding speaker, and that nothing else in the price range would be substantially better. Honestly, the aesthetics of the speaker became a bigger factor for me than any minor difference in sound there might be between what I chose and another exceptionally well designed speaker.

I believe its time for a paradigm shift.....narrow down your speaker selection based on the correct measurements. If you end up with 2-3 good speakers with similarly good measurements but can't quite decide, then sure, get them all in your house and demo them. Chances are, once you have chosen several that all sound really good based on measured performance, you will probably like the one that looks the best as this unavoidably influences what we hear.

For me, I had things narrowed down to 3-4 choices, and aesthetics narrowed things down to the final choice without the need to demo.

So much more accurate and much easier. As Floyd Toole said, companies that design products with great measurements tend to share them. Beware companies that don't.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cinepro
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top