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Yes, I’m likely going to settle for something like one of those options but I can’t help but think they’re all half of what they could be.
???

Please elaborate.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
???

Please elaborate.
Ok. I’m not saying we “need bigger speakers” but I’m also sure that center channel speakers often try to be compact and “hide”. A pair of 4 or 5”drivers ends up being the heavy lifters in an average center channel speaker. While this may be “ok”, I want to know if we’re compromising for aesthetics. Why aren’t there any 8” drivers to match L/R counterparts? I actually know for a fact we’re fine with 5”- 6” drivers but I am curious...
 

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That and the reality that the center channel isn't actually the "most important" speaker (yeah I said it, fight me. o_O ) The main characteristic of the center channel is to not sound like the odd man out in the LCR group. Having a dedicated forum would just work to exacerbate that, if anything.
Here here! Glad you said it. Try running a HT without a L/R channel and center only? I have run a couple HT set up with a phantom center however...
 

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Ok. I’m not saying we “need bigger speakers” but I’m also sure that center channel speakers often try to be compact and “hide”. A pair of 4 or 5”drivers ends up being the heavy lifters in an average center channel speaker. While this may be “ok”, I want to know if we’re compromising for aesthetics. Why aren’t there any 8” drivers to match L/R counterparts? I actually know for a fact we’re fine with 5”- 6” drivers but I am curious...
Yes, many centers with smaller than 6.5" woofers and/or that aren't 3-way designs are compromising sound quality and/or headroom for one of a couple of different possible reasons (cost, size, aesthetic, etc.). There are centers that use big woofers and reach very loud volumes but you will pay some money for them. Power Sound Audio and Revel immediately come to mind and there are definitely more.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Yes, many centers with smaller than 6.5" woofers and/or that aren't 3-way designs are compromising sound quality and/or headroom for one of a couple of different possible reasons (cost, size, aesthetic, etc.). There are centers that use big woofers and reach very loud volumes but you will pay some money for them. Power Sound Audio and Revel immediately come to mind and there are definitely more.
There are very few options in the 8”+ range but you named a couple of brands that offer solutions. I think we need more options. Those PSA options are intriguing.
 

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A pair of 4 or 5”drivers ends up being the heavy lifters in an average center channel speaker. While this may be “ok”, I want to know if we’re compromising for aesthetics. Why aren’t there any 8” drivers to match L/R counterparts?
WE aren't compromising, the speaker companies are---with the exception of niche companies like PSA and Hsu whose customers mostly are already in the hobby or learn about them through hobbyist forums like this, most speaker companies are peddling their wares to the general consumer public which doesn't have a clue and easily conflate "pretty-looking with a big pricetag" to mean "high quality worth paying for." And "pretty looking" just means big ole towers with the center as an afterthought that simply needs to fit inside a TV cabinet.

No speaker salesperson is going to bother educating them on the simple fact that the center actually does most of the content not the front mains...why would he? His commission will be far bigger on a $1500 pair of towers than a $500 pair of bookshelves.

Capitalism, what more can you say? "The customer is always right" means humor them if they're dumb as dirt as long as you can milk them for as much profit as you can get.
 

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There are very few options in the 8”+ range but you named a couple of brands that offer solutions. I think we need more options. Those PSA options are intriguing.
Wonder if a tower speaker could
Work for center channel? There too tall tho for a conventional tv would need flipped sideways .

Don’t think I’ve seen a center with 8” woofers but if any exist they probably cost over a grand or more .
This is cLose I’ll probably never be able afford one ...


This looks nice but wondering how long it works Definitive Technology CS-9080 Center channel speaker with built-in powered subwoofer at Crutchfield
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Ok. I’m not saying we “need bigger speakers” but I’m also sure that center channel speakers often try to be compact and “hide”. A pair of 4 or 5”drivers ends up being the heavy lifters in an average center channel speaker. While this may be “ok”, I want to know if we’re compromising for aesthetics. Why aren’t there any 8” drivers to match L/R counterparts? I actually know for a fact we’re fine with 5”- 6” drivers but I am curious...
You don't need big drivers in the center speakers to produce the frequency range of dialog.

That said, my living room system has 6" drivers in the L/R and 7" in the center. However, I also have the matching series center with a 5" driver and there is no real difference in dialog, although I did have to turn it up +1 to get the same volume. Both can handle below the crossover point of the subs.
 

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"Most" people - the thousands of people buying products for their living room, not the relative handful of enthusiasts on sites like AVS, aren't willing to make room for a 30" wide by 12" high box sitting in front of their TV. Like Zorba said, the manufacturers are catering to the masses. There are some good centers out there, but you'll have to pay for them since they aren't mass produced by mid tier companies.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
"Most" people - the thousands of people buying products for their living room, not the relative handful of enthusiasts on sites like AVS, aren't willing to make room for a 30" wide by 12" high box sitting in front of their TV. Like Zorba said, the manufacturers are catering to the masses. There are some good centers out there, but you'll have to pay for them since they aren't mass produced by mid tier companies.
This is my point as well. I’m seeing people here just go along with the theme because that’s all they know. I see no reason why we can’t have better options as well. I’ll be spending the money to get something better.
 

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You don't need big drivers in the center speakers to produce the frequency range of dialog.
The following is not directed specifically at @SmittyJS . It is intended as general information for anyone reading this thread.

Assuming for a moment that dialogue is the only thing reproduced by the Center Channel, the question is, "What is the frequency range of human speech?"

The fundamental frequency of male voices is 100 to 120 Hz, (although Darth Vader's voice has a fundamental of 85 Hz.) Female voices have a fundamental of 165 to 255 Hz ,and children's voices have fundamental frequencies of 300 Hz.

Fundamental Frequencies of Human Speech:


Vowel sounds comprise the lowest frequencies while consonants comprise the the 500+ Hz range. Sibilance is in the 5 kHz to 8 kHz range.

Frequency Range of Human Speech:


The top trace is "Shouting". The other traces show that the low frequency range is more limited as the volume of speech increases. The dark blue and red traces at the bottom are "Casual" and "Normal" conversation, respectively. These are RMS averages with peak levels 20 to 23 dB higher.

Based on these data, a CC speaker that only reproduces speech needs to have a frequency range from 85 Hz to 8 kHz.

But that begs the question: "Is dialogue the only thing that is reproduced by the center channel?" Dolby specifies the Center Channel as a "full range" channel. It can contain music, special effects and sounds that pan through the front soundstage, and all of that content can range from 3 Hz to 20 kHz.
Dolby Digital bitstreams deliver full frequency bandwidth main channels, from 3 Hz to 20 kHz, and a limited frequency bandwidth LFE channel, from 3 Hz to 120 Hz.

Theoretically, if one is not using Bass Management, the CC needs LF extension to 3 Hz in order to be able to reproduce everything that could possibly be recorded in the center channel. Clearly, that is not reasonable and doesn't exist. Even an LF extension of 20 Hz from the CC is extremely rare. There are vanishingly few "full range" speakers that can hit 20 Hz, and the ones that can are very large and generally very expensive. Nonetheless, it's certainly possible for content to exist in the center channel to 20 Hz and below. In the absence of Bass Management, if the CC speaker is not capable of reproduction that low, the lowest frequency content is lost and not reproduced.

Bass Management allows for those lowest frequencies to be redirected to speaker(s) more capable of that reproduction; the subwoofer(s). The limitations of the subwoofer system then determine the LF extension of the "system." The speakers, including the CC speaker, only need LF extension to the crossover frequency.



Bass management in AVRs provides crossovers that separate low and high frequencies. First the signal is split into two different channels. Then a high pass filter is applied to the channel that should carry only higher frequencies (signal going to a satellite speaker) and a low pass filter is applied to the channel that should carry only lower frequencies (signal going to the subwoofer). The crossover point is the frequency where the resulting two frequency response curves cross each other.

High and low pass filters found in common AVRs aren't brick wall filters, i.e. both the subwoofer and the satellite speaker contribute to the response around the crossover frequency. The overlapping frequency region where there is significant interaction typically extends from about 1 octave below the crossover point (half the frequency) to about 1 octave above (double the frequency). Here's a graph showing how the low frequency portion (red) and the high frequency portion (blue) ideally combine (green). The crossover frequency in this example is 100Hz.

Note in the above example, the crossover frequency is 100 Hz. The high frequencies, (blue trace), start to roll off 1 octave above the crossover point at 200 Hz, while the low frequencies, (red trace), start to roll off 1 octave below the crossover point at 50 Hz. The summed response for the two speakers remains flat through the crossover point of 100 Hz. Any speaker that has flat response to 100 Hz would work with this crossover. The same principal applies to an 80 Hz crossover and a speaker only needs to be flat to 80 Hz for use with an 80 Hz crossover.

Of course, this s a "theoretical" system and "real life" often deviates from the theoretical. In "real life" it is often recommended that the speakers be flat to 1/2 to 1 full octave below the crossover point. With an 80 Hz crossover, this would require speakers flat to 60 to as low as 40 Hz. With lower crossovers than 80 Hz, these requirements would be even lower.

Bottom line, even though dialogue has a limited frequency range, and the vast majority of dialogue is reproduced by the CC speaker, there are totally valid reasons to use a CC speaker with significantly deeper LF extension than what dialogue alone would require.

On the other end of the spectrum, the same principals apply. There can certainly be content above the 8 kHz range of speech/sibilance in the CC, all the way up to 20 kHz. Therefore a CC speaker capable of the full range of high frequencies is beneficial.

Craig
 

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Ideally, the front soundstage should consist of speakers with identical, (or at a minimum, very similar) output and timbre. This will provide the best opportunity for a cohesive, consistent and integrated front soundstage.
In addition to that, is the placement of the speakers. Personally, I think a lot of people are never going to be happy with their center channel placement, now that screens are getting so big. The reality is that the ideal location for the center channel speaker is right in the center of the display. Easy to do with an AT screen, not so much with a 70+" flat panel. At the end of the day, having your center speaker a couple feet below/above the centerline of the screen is probably going to be a setup for disappointment, regardless of the cost/quality of the speaker.

Unless your seating is really off axis, Phantom Center ftw.
 

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By THX standards satellite (LCR) speakers do not have to be flat to 80 Hz for an 80 Hz crossover. The THX standard is based on sealed satellite speakers being flat to ~100 Hz with a natural second order roll-off that's -3dB at 80 Hz. This was explained in more detail in an old 2005 feature article on hometheaterhifi.com:

THX satellite speakers by definition have a 2nd order roll-off at 80 Hz (-3dB). The THX processor applies a further 2nd order 80 Hz roll-off to the speaker signal, the sum constituting a 4th order high-pass. The subwoofer signal gets a 4th order roll-off at the same 80 Hz and Presto!: A perfect 4th order Linkwitz/Riley crossover with its characteristic freedom from phase shift and low subwoofer detection, thanks to the steep slope.

 

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By THX standards satellite (LCR) speakers do not have to be flat to 80 Hz for an 80 Hz crossover. The THX standard is based on sealed satellite speakers being flat to ~100 Hz with a natural second order roll-off that's -3dB at 80 Hz. This was explained in more detail in an old 2005 feature article on hometheaterhifi.com:

THX satellite speakers by definition have a 2nd order roll-off at 80 Hz (-3dB). The THX processor applies a further 2nd order 80 Hz roll-off to the speaker signal, the sum constituting a 4th order high-pass. The subwoofer signal gets a 4th order roll-off at the same 80 Hz and Presto!: A perfect 4th order Linkwitz/Riley crossover with its characteristic freedom from phase shift and low subwoofer detection, thanks to the steep slope.

Indeed, the THX crossover is was a wonderful thing. I was going to get into that whole thing, but my post was already too long.

Unfortunately, even THX has gotten away from those requirements. Most current THX certified speakers are now ported designs that don't have the correct 2nd order roll-off below 80 Hz to work correctly with their crossover design. Market realities and all that, I guess. 😏

Craig
 
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Some would actually not only want, for example, a center forum, but a separate center forum for each and every speaker brand imaginable. :unsure:
***I actually like the idea but perhaps expand it to a discussion on the "Front Soundstage," which would include L/C/R, with a focus on the best center channel trio as well as options for those folks who do NOT want a center channel. To me, if you nail your front soundstage, you're more than half way there. You can mix and match anything else in your speaker/Dolby Atmos setup much easier than trying to plug in a separate center speaker that doesn't match your mains.

You don't have to have a separate center forum for each and every speaker. It can be included all in one thread. Not any worse that some of the forums that go on ad nauseam. Gee, Mike, another thread for you to monitor... :>)
 

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What's a center channel speaker? I use three identical (save grill color) PSB T-45 towers across the front. There is no such thing as "center spread" with DSU, for instance when your speakers are identical as the center sounds just as good with music as the main L/R speakers (because they are the same).

With today's wall mountable TVs and projector screens, there should be no issue in most home theater rooms using an identical speaker for the center channel as it can easily sit under it (or behind it with an acoustically transparent screen). You can even use your Atmos front height speakers with a mixer (or better yet an Auro center height speaker) to do a "dialog lift" effect to make the sound seem to come from behind the TV. Horizontal center channel speakers were designed to sit on top of console and rear projector big box TVs from the '80s and '90s. It's 2021 and time to move on already to three identical speakers for the front.

Three under the tree:


WP_20181214_16_20_24_Pro.jpg
 
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