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Discussion Starter #1
It seems that I'm reading more and more recommendations to use identical speakers all around rather than using a dedicated center. I have a pair of Proac Tablette 50s and am thinking of getting three Tablette Reference Eights (the newer version of the same speaker) plus a sub (almost certainly a REL) to evolve into a HT system. I'd like to know how many of you are doing this and in particular if you lose anything compared to using a proper center channel. I think that the dedicated horizontal speaker is a marketing, rather than quality thing.


The Proac CC1 is meant to be quite good, but it seems that 100% matching front speakers (95% matching rears) and saving a bit of $$$ is a pretty good argument. Thanks for the help!


Jay in Madrid
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jay_madrid
It seems that I'm reading more and more recommendations to use identical speakers all around rather than using a dedicated center. I have a pair of Proac Tablette 50s and am thinking of getting three Tablette Reference Eights (the newer version of the same speaker) plus a sub (almost certainly a REL) to evolve into a HT system. I'd like to know how many of you are doing this and in particular if you lose anything compared to using a proper center channel. I think that the dedicated horizontal speaker is a marketing, rather than quality thing.


The Proac CC1 is meant to be quite good, but it seems that 100% matching front speakers (95% matching rears) and saving a bit of $$$ is a pretty good argument. Thanks for the help!


Jay in Madrid
Jay, I have done this .... twice. First with good ol Dynaco A25's (don't ask!) and it worked out really well. Now I have 7 identical PMC TB-2's. The PMC TB-2 centre for the most part is an identical match for the surrounds. Take a look at this pdf I have been flamed in the past for these thoughts but I agree with good ol Russ Hershcelman (sp?) on this one. "Would you want a car with 3 tires the same and one different?" not including a flat / spare of course. BTW, I used to own a pair of Proac Super Tablettes and they are fanatastic imaging speakers. The only concern I would have is that they may not have the SPL's required for a big room.
 

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I have also done this a couple of times. The most important is to have the Left, Right and Center identical. It is not as critical for the surrounds although desirable with the coming of SACD and DVD-Audio.


I use three Meridian 5500's across the front with a THX screen. I tested it also with the Meridian 5000C center as they did not have a 5500 center at the time. The results were that you could easily pick the difference even with really high level gear. regardless of the price level you are looking at I believe that you will end up with a better sounding system by using identical speakers.


It should also be noted that it makes blending of subs easier as everything can be crossed over at the same frequency. All in all regardless of size I would highly recommend that the front 3 speakers be identical and preferably the rears as well, the side surrounds I would use di-poles (for use in movies only).


All the above is my opinion based on my preferences and previous ecxperience.
 

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I vote for 5 identical as well. I have done it with 5 B&W 602s. I've heard better speakers but I've never heard a more seamless soundscape with a dedicated center channel.


I'm not against dedicated centers I just haven't heard one that works well yet. I think most manufacturers have fewer quality/price points center channels and as a result customers have trouble matching them appropriately.


I've seen many setups with very nice centers matched to less nice mains. The customer is told that up to 70% of the soundtrack comes through the center so they put more money into that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the help. Good to see I am in good company with this idea...


But is there a reason for horizontal center speakers, other than they fit better on top of a convention TV? I would think that you would get an uneven frequency response as you shift left to right, just like you get with normal speakers when you stand up. Said another way, a normal speaker should have a bigger sweet spot (depending on off axis response of course) compared to a center. Or am I missing something else?


Jay in Madrid
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by alan.meier
...although desirable with the coming of SACD and DVD-Audio....
That is strange I thought I already had these. :D
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jay_madrid


But is there a reason for horizontal center speakers, other than they fit better on top of a convention TV?...Jay in Madrid
There is NO other reason, except in my case (and others) it fits better under my projection screen. ;)
 

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I agree with the identical speaker scenario also. I'm currently running 7 M&K S-150's and the performance is stellar - on movies, Lexicon Logic 7 Music, SACD Multi-channel, and DVD-Audio.


The M&K S-150 center channel is (obviously) the same speaker as the Left and Rights, just with a different angle. As sound pans left to right, front to back, side to side, or whatever, the sound is absolutely seemless. You can't really appreciate this until it is heard in a properly set up, calibrated system.


I've thought many times of upgrading my speakers (because I'm an upgradaholic), but every time I sit down and listen to the M&K's, I'm hooked again. And, I feel a big part of this is due to having all the speakers the same.
 

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I agree with what is said above. I am chaning my system to five identical speakers in the very nera future (hopefully before super bowl). It is the best way to get a seemless sound stage.


Not only is there no reason for a horizontal center other than keeping it above or under a TV, but you will actually obtain adverse effects from using that design such as lobbing. Some centers are now making efforts to reduce lobbing, but from what I understand it will always be present when the drivers are lined up horizontally.


-tim
 

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A question for the "5 identical speaker" advocates.


Where do you put the CC? If all speakers are towers (or standmounts) you can't put the CC in the center unless you put the screen uncomfortably high. If you put the CC on a short stand (shorter than the L/R mains) it will sound slightly different than the L/R mains because of room effects.


i recommend a matched CC - not necessarily an identical CC.
 

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So, are you guys saying that for your center, you are taking the same speaker model as your main and turning it sideways?


My goal is to get 5 (or 7) identical speakers, but I could increase the height of my projection screen if I oriented my center tower on its side, but I was afraid that would sacrifice the benefit of having identical speakers!


I would think identical, and identically-oriented ideal. Is it acceptable to turn the center on its side?
 

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So, are you guys saying that for your center, you are taking the same speaker model as your main and turning it sideways?


My goal is to get 5 (or 7) identical speakers, but I could increase the height of my projection screen if I oriented my center tower on its side, but I was afraid that would sacrifice the benefit of having identical speakers!


I would think identical, and identically-oriented ideal. Is it acceptable to turn the center on its side?
 

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Never turn a L/R main speaker on its side - unless it was designed that way.
 

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I have my identical center below the screen on a small stand that is angled upward toward the money seat (my seat).


I have also had it mounted above my previous screen upside-down angled down to get the tweeter closer to the listener


Even George Lucas has 5 identical B&W speakers at the Skywalker Ranch.


BTW - they aren't THX certified :)
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mit07
A question for the "5 identical speaker" advocates.


Where do you put the CC? If all speakers are towers (or standmounts) you can't put the CC in the center unless you put the screen uncomfortably high. If you put the CC on a short stand (shorter than the L/R mains) it will sound slightly different than the L/R mains because of room effects.


i recommend a matched CC - not necessarily an identical CC.
Mit07,


I have had my center below and above the screen. I even experiemented with it on the same plane but not while watching a movie. Currently it is above the screen. Optimally I would like to have it on the same plane as my L & R for DVD-A and SACD and have the 110 30 degree array specified for SACD while I'm at it. In my quasi sound treated room, movies still have very crisp dialogue that appears to come from the screen. It is a comprimise I can live with.


As for your theory of having the same speaker at a slightly different height, I agree the room accoustics will come into play - it always does. IMHO a different speaker (ie "centre channel") at a different height will sound more different than an identical speaker at a different height when compared to the L&R. I like the PMC centres as they use the same exact cabinet and exact drivers and number of them but the mids and tweeters are positioned in a vertical manner or offset so they can be placed horizontally. See the PDF in my first post. This is as close to indentical you are going to get without having identical speakers.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Mit07
Never turn a L/R main speaker on its side - unless it was designed that way.
NHT M6s, as one example, can be placed vertically or horizontally. The tweeter/mid speaker placement allows this option with a 15 degree skew of the soundfield. If placed vertically, no toe in is required. If mounted horiztonally, the soundfield can be skewed up towards the listener if mounted horizontally under the screen. I use a matched 5.1 system with the M6s and the soundstage is superb..and seamless. The M5s will deliver the same results in a smaller room.


There may be other loudspeaker designs available that can be used in a similar manner.


Charles Wood

Rockford Home Group

NHT, FA, MBQuart
 

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I have a similiar situation to Bambam with 5 identical M&Ks. Along with a change in my controller and amps, I am looking at adding the 2 rear channels. However, because of my room layout with heavy draping on the rear wall in front of windows (for light control), I am looking at placing the rear channels in the ceiling. This likely means using a different speaker for an in ceiling install. What are the thoughts on this? Any recommendations for a ceiling installed speaker. My system is capable of doing all of the THX EQ and time alignment for all of the channels.


Thanks,

Doyle
 

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Even George Lucas has 5 identical B&W speakers at the Skywalker Ranch.


BTW - they aren't THX certified :)>>> Isn't that the ultimate oxymoron! Perhaps if Tomlinson Holman was still getting a paycheck from George the 802's would be certified! LoL.


If a person was to tear off the screen from a commercial theater they would discover two things: 1. no phantom, but a real center, 2. the center is the identical speaker as the mains.


Dennis Eskrine ( www.designcinema.com ) and moderator in distribution thread was posed the question about laying a tower speaker horizontally under a screen and he said keep the center on the same plane (vertical array) as the mains. He said even if this meant raising the screen, or going with a THX micro-perfed screen.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DoyleS
I have a similiar situation to Bambam with 5 identical M&Ks. Along with a change in my controller and amps, I am looking at adding the 2 rear channels. However, because of my room layout with heavy draping on the rear wall in front of windows (for light control), I am looking at placing the rear channels in the ceiling. This likely means using a different speaker for an in ceiling install. What are the thoughts on this? Any recommendations for a ceiling installed speaker. My system is capable of doing all of the THX EQ and time alignment for all of the channels.


Thanks,

Doyle
M&K makes an inwall version of the S150 (if that's the model you have), which I'm sure could be mounted in the ceiling. While not exactly the same - due to the inwall vs. box design - it would be about as close as you could get if you have to do inwall/ceiling speakers.


Another option would be an additional pair of S150's coupled with M&K's ST series stands, where you could customize the height of the stand, as well as conceal the speaker cable running up to the speaker. The stands will also allow you to precisely aim the rears to your listening position.


Just a couple ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Unbelievably, just after posting this I found a pair of speakers identical to my existing pair on ebay. So I will have 4 Proac Tablette 50s all around. Now I just need to find a cheap Response CC1 center or order another Tablette to complete the set. Since Proac says they'll sell me a single speaker I'll have to decide...


Thanks to all for the help.
 
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