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Hi. I'm looking to replace by current speakers, including the left-right fronts and center speaker. My TV sits quite low, so one of the challenges is finding a center that is no taller than ~4.5". Unfortunately, this seems to really limit the selection. I would also like to follow the guidance of matching the centers to the other front bookshelf speakers. (I don't have the same size restriction for the left and right). One configuration I'm strongly considering is Polks TL2 Center and their RTiA1. I'm targeting in the sub $400 range for the center plus the two front speakers.

Any feedback or experience with the RL2 / RTiA1? Would also be great to hear any other suggestions that would fall within the budget and also have a small size in the case of the center. Thanks in advance for the help.
 

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the problem you are going to run into is that a center that is under 4.5" tall will by definition have drivers smaller than that, which is pretty diminutive and not very common. Have you considered trying to mount a center above the TV with an articulating mount and angling it down toward the listening position? Also, having the center sandwiched between the tv and whatever it is sitting on probably isn't an optimal placement.

Going with your original restrictions, my suggestions were going to be the Def Tech ProCenter 1000 with the matching ProMonitor 800s (or 1000s if matching driver size isn't crucial to you, and you want better sound from your L/R), but the PC 1000 is 5" tall and would be slightly out of your budget, though you can find them on sale, open boxed, on eBay, etc. at a discount.

Golden Ear offers the supersat 3 and 3c combo, but its more expensive than the def Techs and I haven't seen them discounted. The 3c is 4 3/4" tall.

Good luck.
 

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Have you considered going with no center? I've been doing that for tv watching upstairs with a pair of PSB Alpha B1's and don't miss the center at all. You do need to sit close to the center though so you have a nice center image. That will sound much much better than using a non-matching, very small center speaker in my opinion.
 
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I'd really not do that. I was watching a 2 channel version of a walking dead episode. You have to turn it up too much for the quiet scenes and then it's too loud when all hell breaks loose. I'd much rather some center channel, even if it doesn't match everything else, than none.
 

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I don't know exactly how you have your TV located. Is it wall mounted or on an entertainment center? If on an entertainment center, can't you raise your TV four or five inches by putting something under the stand in order to give you room for a center channel? Could you possibly mount the center channel above the TV and point it toward the listening position?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
the problem you are going to run into is that a center that is under 4.5" tall will by definition have drivers smaller than that, which is pretty diminutive and not very common. Have you considered trying to mount a center above the TV with an articulating mount and angling it down toward the listening position? Also, having the center sandwiched between the tv and whatever it is sitting on probably isn't an optimal placement.
I hadn't thought of this as an option. Given the size of the center speakers (most I've looked at are ~16 pounds or more), I didn't think that mounting them on top of the TV would be an option. But if they can hold the weight and be stable, that should be cheaper than trying to buy or construct some sort of additional base to put the TV on. TV sits in an entertainment center.

My impression from the replies so far and other postings is that I should really try to avoid going with a small center speaker as it will negatively impact the dialogue sound. (Most of the use is for movies/shows). If a TV mount for the center can support the rather broad dimensions of many of the centers I see and 15-18 pound weight, that would open up quite a few more options. I've also looked at the Polk CS10 and CSiA4, but I'm sure there are other options and pairings with L/R speakers that others would recommend. I'd be happy to hear them! This has been quite a learning experience for me.
 

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I'd really not do that. I was watching a 2 channel version of a walking dead episode. You have to turn it up too much for the quiet scenes and then it's too loud when all hell breaks loose. I'd much rather some center channel, even if it doesn't match everything else, than none.
Hmm I think it depends on what speakers one is using. I have a home theater setup in the basement and have had a 5.1 system upstairs. Scaled down to 2 channel upstairs and don't miss 5.1 a bit. Granted it's mostly tv and music. An occasional movie off the dvr.
 

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You are on the right track looking at Polk. I have the RTi A3 bookshelves with the CSi A6 center. Way larger than you can accommodate, but the sound is incredible. I've heard the CSi A4 and it is certainly no slouch! Good luck!
 

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Given the size of the center speakers (most I've looked at are ~16 pounds or more), I didn't think that mounting them on top of the TV would be an option. But if they can hold the weight and be stable, that should be cheaper than trying to buy or construct some sort of additional base to put the TV on. TV sits in an entertainment center.
I've got an NHT TwoC Center mounted above my TV, angled down using some very well glued on door stoppers (laugh if you want, but it is effective). That Center weighs 20 Lbs. Just make sure the mount is rated for the weight of the speaker and install it correctly (anchors, etc.) and you should be ok, if that's the route you go.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the help. I'm following the advice of going bigger. I used a Polk 50% off code and picked up the RTi A3 bookshelves and the CSi A4 center. Happy about the deal and now just anxiously awaiting their arrival! Now I will just have to find the right mount to support the center.
 
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