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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Im currently looking at moving to a surround sound system, and I need to add speakers to my 2 existing ones for 6 channel surround.


My Question is is there something special about center speakers? If not I could just add 2 pairs of bookshelf size speakers, 2 for the side, 1 for front center and 1 for the rear, rather than buy a center speaker, a pair for surround and then I would still need a single speaker. I could go 7.1 but I was looking at the onkyo 797 receiver and it only does 6.1 unless I add another 2 channel amp, and I dont need the extra cost.


Thanks

Steve
 

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Actually, if you buy the same speakers as you're using for your front left and right, you'd have an ideal set-up. But if you're using tower speakers up front, a tower in the middle might get in the way of the screen.


I haven't heard of many cases where a bookshelf is being used for the center speaker, but if it matches the left and right well, what the heck. Presumably the bookshelf would give up something in bass, but your sub could fill that in.


Having said that, lying the bookshelf on its side may not be a good idea, since its dispersion is designed for normal orientation. Center channel speakers are designed with that in mind.
 

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Some center channels are designed to have a very wide horizontal dispersion to aid people sitting off-axis.


Some have their response tweaked to compensate for being placed in the often non-optimal positions they are required to be.


If the bookshelf speakers match your mains tonally then there's no reason why it won't work. But that match is important, especially for the center channel. You don't want the character of the sound to change as it pans around the front speakers (or any really). Bass extension isn't the issue since your going to have a crossover of 80hz most likely.


The only other thing to consider is how loud it can play. Even if you don't play at ear shattering volumes, film soundtracks are very dynamic and can go from very quiet to very loud. Your center channel carries a large part of that load and so needs to be up to the task.
 

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How important is that matching of the front speakers to the center channel? My main speakers for stereo audio are proac response 2.5's. I was just going to re-use them rather than have to buy 2 more main speakers.

Obviously since I am trying to keep the cost of this home theater system down, I am not going to be able to get anywhere close to the quality of the 2 main speakers.
 

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Steve,


Most people consider it fairly important though your own ears need to be the final judge.


Another thing most people need in a center channel is magnetic shielding - I forgot to mention that in my last post. You don't want your speaker messing up the video on your display because of it's magnetic field.


I don't know the ProAc line. I went looking for a web page but didn't come up with one so I can't say anything about what they have, but you are usually safer staying within that manufaccturers lines for matching purposes.


Since the only real purpose of the center channel is to anchor the dialog to the screen for off-axis viewers, you may not even need one. Many people get along just fine without them, but that really depends on the layout of your room.


I'd take a look at ProAc's speakers and see what they have. It's probably your best bet. It would probably be better to wait, budget wise and get the surrounds now and a center channel later than to compromise on the center channel.
 

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I beleive that matching the front speakers is VERY important. I had a dvd (cant remember the name) that had a great scene with a bus that would drive from the far left, through the center and to the right. I tried this on a freinds system to prove to him that his old speakers (very nice infinity used for two channel) didnt match the new center he had bought.


If i could put this into text,,,,, it sounded like a hump in the sound, as if the bus went over a large hill as it drove by. It wasnt a mismatch in volume, but the "tonality" was different if that makes sense.


Even if you had the best speakers ever made, then waited ten years and bought the best center speaker you could find they wouldnt sound right together.


Now matching front to rears is a little easier. Its harder to tell when these are mismatched. Problem is that you stated you want 6 channel. Again the same comes into play. Its a little harder to tell in the back when the center is not matched though. In a perfect world you would find a third exact match to the speakers you have and use them as the three rears. That would yeild great results.
 
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