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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have the Samsung HLR 50" and love it - now want to upgrade the sound. My wife and I both have difficulty with dialog on most new movies, especially English TV shows. Music, car doors, gravel, all ambient noise is so loud that it makes it difficult to understand what is being said (Interesting that we have no such problem with 1940-60 films) Yeah, we are a couple of old farts.


Anyway, I am looking for some recommendations for a surround sound system with a really good center speaker. Budget is around $1,000. What we will probably do is reduce the rear and front speakers to the lowest possible level and increase the center. Really don't care much about tanks or planes zooming all around us. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
 

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Nice tv. Are you currently using your tv speakers?


For $1k, I'd definitely go separates. Is speaker size a factor?


Look at Athena, Infinity, Polk, JBL, Klipsch, Rocket, Axiom, Ascend, Energy, etc.


Don't knock multichannel, it's great and shouldn't be drowning out your dialog if configured and setup properly.
 

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Dialog clarity is hugely important. So whatever speaker line you go with, consider going up the food chain for the center (within the line). You want to be timbre matched for a seemless panning soundstage, but for example, JBL sells an E25 and an E35 within their Northridge line. The 35 gets all the props. I jumped a couple of lines for my Polk center, still timbre matched, but much more clarity.


Just my .02.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to both of you for the advice. The Timbre match is something I had not thought of. I have heard that Polk is good and their center channel seems bigger (is bigger better?) How about Rocket Tykes? I want to keep the speakers small and intend to have them wired in the wall. Again, center channel dialog is all important. I already have a whole house music system using Boston Accustic speakers and the sound is great. (Would Boston Accutic 515 system be a good choice?) Could use a couple of these for rear home theather but they would be about 24" in front of our chairs and a bit to the left. Actually, I'm not sure what sound comes from the rear speakers other than planes, tanks and other loud noises which I could well do without.

Any other thoughts you have would be appreciated.
 

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I'm sure that there are some great sounding smaller center channels, but usually as you go up in price and quality within the speaker lines, the centers get bigger, adding larger drivers, better crossovers, and upgraded tweeters. Some of the best sounding centers I've heard are huge. They also need more juice to drive them. You are just going to have to decide what's the best sounding speaker combination to your ears for the tradeoffs you want.


A sub/sat system like the tykes, micras or ventriloquists get good reviews. They are balanced and need a good sub to cover the lower mid-range. Center clarity should be fine, but I haven't heard them and you can't audition them without ordering. If you can find a store with Polk RM series (their sat packages) you might want to listen, if you like them ask some comparative questions vs. the tykes to get an idea.
 

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if you want something small, i say go with the Rocket Tykes, from what i hear they're the best small speakers you'll find for the price...


if size isn't a concern, i say go with Infinity. like John R says, they have a few different lines, but if you mix and match them they still timber match very well. so you can go with Infinity Primus 150's all around, and use a Infinity Beta C25 for your center, which is better than their Primus C250. they will still be timber matched, so you can enjoy a great sounding center, while still being able to save a bit by going with less expensive fronts and rears that still sound very good...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the help and advice. Will try to hear the Rocket Tykes and Athena Micra. Will also look into the Polk Center Channel.


Maybe this is a dumb question but do any of you know if it is possible to get an outstanding center speaker and receiver with nothing else? If I have to have anything else would a subwoofer combined with the center channel do the trick. My wife is telling me she does not want speakers all over the place and since we are really looking for dialog enhancement maybe a center alone would suffice. Would appreciate your thoughts.
 

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I wouldn't recommend just going with a center and receiver. 50% or more will be coming out of the speaker, but you'll really lose out on the experience. If you really only want 1 speaker, check out the Yamaha YSP1, it simulates 5.1 out of one speaker with 2 drivers and about 16 tweeters, I don't think you need a receiver, but you will need a sub. It sits on top or underneath the TV. Also Polk has something brand new, called the Soundbar (I believe), check their website. There are also some less expensive offerings mentioned around here, but I don't pay much attention.


Still you'll get a lot more pleasure out of the Micras or Tykes...
 

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terkar said:
I have heard that Polk is good and their center channel seems bigger (is bigger better?) How about Rocket Tykes? I want to keep the speakers small and intend to have them wired in the wall. Again, center channel dialog is all important. I already have a whole house music system using Boston Accustic speakers and the sound is great. (Would Boston Accutic 515 system be a good choice?) QUOTE]


Bigger is definitely better. You get a big bonus in midrange once the cone size gets up to about 5 inches. You don't have to go nuts with size, but shoebox size is about the minimum I would consider, for an HT speaker.


Also, the cabinet ( baffle) size is important. The boxy speakers sound better than the little computer style speakers.


Boston Acoustics is a good brand, if you can get a good deal on them.

The CR series is pretty good, and the VR series is better.


Remember speakers interact with the phyiscial environment, so physical size is a factor.


Rocket ELTs are super :)

Pardigm Atoms are amazing ...
 
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