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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all!


I'm about to buy new speakers to upgrade my system. First I thought that I was going to by new center and front speakers, but now I'm thinking of skipping the center to afford better front channels.


I have been moving from a temporary stay in a summer house to a house that is being built as we speak, so my system has been up and down lately. But the last time it was up it was up my front speakers were standing rather close and I chose not to connect the center due to lack of space. It worked rather good actually.


Now I see this as a possibility to spend more on the front channels. The system will have a 90" 16:9 screen and the front speakers will be about 2.5 m apart. Do you think there will be a hole? The speakers I have been thinking of are the Dali Helicon 400W.
 

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I think its a great idea, as long as you have plans for adding them in the future.

the Helicons are fantastic speakers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm not saying that I won't add it later, but it would most likely not be the C200. I have heard that the C70 plays nicely with the Helicons. But I'm starting to think that the center may not be as necessary as I ones thought. Try to disconnect it and set the amp in phantom center mode. Is that a difference you could live with? I mean, I could spend those bucks a better amp later :p
 

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I was without a center for 2-3 weeks when I bought my Ascend 340 L/R's. I won't go without a center like that again. Noticed HUGE difference when adding the 340c.
 

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I am in the same camp. Whenever I would want to move on to my next speakers I would definitely change everything together in the front sound stage (L/C/R). The surrounds/rears can wait a couple of months.


BTW great choice. Helicon 400s are one damn good speakers.


Sincerely,

-dollarman
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I understand that it's preferable to have a center but the problem is that I will have to go for a much cheaper system then. I have gotten a quite good deal on the Helicon... I guess I would go for the Dali Evidense 870 or B&W 604 otherwise.
 

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One thing I would take into account going with Helicons is that the center and the surrounds/rears are pretty expensive. So if you are thinking about a 7.1/5.1 setup later on keep that in mind.


I don't know about other people but I am not a fan of center and surrounds from a different family even from the same vendor.


Just my 0.02.


Sincerely,

-dollarman
 

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It's true you will miss the center, but maybe you can live without it until you can afford the one you want.


Without the center, you'll notice that dialogue might get smothered in the L/R sounds, and you won't have as much flexibility to raise or lower the center volume in relation to the L/R, or will you? If you tell your receiver you don't have a center, do you still have the option of adjusting the volume on the center's signal that's being fed to the L/R?


I vote on waiting until you can get a good center. A poor quality center is almost as bad as none at all.


Doug
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dougotte
I vote on waiting until you can get a good center. A poor quality center is almost as bad as none at all.


Doug
I will even go as far as to say: A poor quality center is worse than having none at all. At least with no center, you have a stable front soundstage. With a bad center, your front sound stage is broken, and the quality of speech is worse than if you used phantom center.


Nevertheless, those Helicons are nice speakers :D
 

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This is home theater 101, for watching movies the center is the most important speaker. There is really no point to improve the left and right fronts if the center is left alone.
 

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This topic has been discussed before and on some of those posts, tempers got quite out of control. Under some circumstances, you do not need a center channel speaker. It is true that a center channel speaker "can" anchor the dialog to the screen when sitting outside the sweet spot, but while in the sweet spot, a two speaker setup can be superior. With two veriticle mains and a horizontal center (most popular arrangement) there is a compromise in timber. Due to your room dimensions, if you have a large sweet spot or can arrange your furniture so most everybody is sitting in that spot, you will not be dissapointed with the sound in a two speaker front setup. Despite what others might say, the fact is that you will lose NO sounds or dialog that you would have heard had you had a center. You will hear everything. And due to superior timber matching of the front mains it can actually sound superior to three seakers across the front. Wost case, when sitting outside the sweet spot the dialog will not be anchored to the screen.
 

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I have been in the same position as you, not just with speakers but with some other electronics as well. I lived without a center for a month and didn't really like it much. I learned if you take the time and do it right the first time you won't be wasting time and twice as much money the second time to fix it right. :D
 

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Quote:
I'm about to buy new speakers to upgrade my system. First I thought that I was going to by new center and front speakers, but now I'm thinking of skipping the center to afford better front channels
In HT, center is the most important speaker in your suround-sound system (I guess you heard this many time before). It reproduces a great majority of all the audio in sound track, including all of the dialogue.Why would you thinking of skipping the center to afford better front channels?

If you plan is for music, then center is not a big deal, you can save it later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all great advice :D To somewhat degree I agree that the center speaker is the most important one, but in the sense that having a poor center really sucks. Having no center means that the same sound will come from the front speakers so it need not be a disaster (if the system is setup correctly). Obviously some of you have tried it and didn't like it, but I think I agree with atdamico on this. Let's see what I say after trying if this is where it goes.


So it is better with no center than a bad one. Do you consider the C70 to be a bad center? That was what was recommended in the store... I was there today and listened, but could not decide what I really wanted. A simpler speaker (B&W DM604) that hides poor recordings (because there are many), or the incredible sound coming from the Helicons when everything is right. I will go back tomorrow and have a second try, but I'm definitely leaning towards the Helicons and that means living without a decent center for a while... For the back channels I will continue using my old and tiny Dali's. I don't remember their model, but they were cheap and still plays nicely when pointed and tuned right :)

Anyway do you consider the C70 to be a poor choice to go with the Helicons?
 

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trizt if you are into music don't even bother for a second audition. I own B&W 604s coupled with a Rotel pre/pro 1068 and an Aragon 200wpc amp. I also have decent room treatments. Despite all of this I listened to the 400s at a demo without any room treatment, a 120wpc integrated amp and a less than ideal placement. Despite all these short comings there was no comparision between the two. I listened to the 400s for about 1 hour and when I came back home my 604s sounded beaten in almost every department. As I said in my audition thread that the only reason I did not pull the trigger on Dali was that I want to audition VSAs before deciding.


Best of luck with your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
To make things worse I thought that the 6.5" elements were to small to give the power that I was looking for. No I got an even better offer on the Helicon 800... My budget is already broken :| and I will certainly not be able to afford a center if go for that, but I can't say I'm not tempted. What do you say Helicon 800 and rice and water for a year or DM604, a center, a vacation, and some decent food?
 

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Depends on how wide your seating area is / how many people will be watching. Set your system up now without a center, sit at the most off-axis seating spot, and play your fav. movie. How does it sound? Will the new speakers have a wide enough dispersion to do better and what is their off axis performance? Best thing to do is demo a pair in your room, set up for no center.


When I was first looking for a pair of maggies for HT, I got lots of advice that Magnepans didn't need a center. Once I got a pair in my room, I released the "sweet spot" was so small, there was no way I was going to even get by without one. We use a L shaped sectional couch which really speads out the viewing area. (So I use the maggies for music, and went with a cone system for HT)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
It would be great to be able to do that, but I'm currently moving in and building my house, so currently I only have a pj pointed at a white wall and a 2 channel system. I was just out to see what speakers were out there, and I stumbled on this offer... I will probably not be able to listen to them in my finished room before they are gone...


In any case, I understand that you will loose the center of the screen if you sit outside of the sweet spot, but by pointing the speakers slightly towards each other I get a far larger sweet spot which should somewhat compensate for that. As I understand it, this is the way most movies are mixed also (with speakers pointing "inwards"). Do you mean that the voices disappear in other sounds or what is the problem that makes it impossible to live without the center?
 

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Yes, that's right. Basically that the main dialog doesn't come from the center (the screen) when sitting too far off axis. The person sitting there will hear whatever (L or R) speaker they are closest to more than the other.


But I agree with the premise that you should buy as much quality as you can afford, and add to that later. As long as you commit yourself to a particular "system", and stick with it. You wouldn't want to buy the HQer quality speakers now, then decide later that you should have gone with, or can only afford a different brand. So worst case scenario is you may have to sell those speakers later at a loss and start from scratch again.


Damn thing is, unlike a video system, which one can pretty much be assured that what they see in the showroom, will look the same in at their house, audio is different. Different rooms with different equipment equals different sound. Fun!
 
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