Recommend Center Channel for Vandersteen??? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-07-2005, 06:52 AM
Hey guys. I posted a question a while back...

Update: Through artful negotiation, I have managed to keep the Vanderstees 2ci's as mains. I will keep the Carver Receiver for power amp on the mains. We bought a Toshiba 52 DLP HDTV and hooked DTV in HD. I just ordered a Yamaha RXV650 7.1 receiver. I have two MTX wall-mounts that I will install in the ceiling for rears. I boxed in a window that was directly behind the tv. We are looking for the perfect piece of furniture.

Yes, I put %#$%$ hardwood flooring in the entire first floor, the sweat equity of which probably resulted in the Wife's new attidude towards the Vandys! She felt sorry for me. The room sounds better now.

Question: Can anyone recommend a center channel speaker that might match the Vandersteen for tonal qualities? Woochiefer, you know the sound and have described it perfectly. Something I could find, even used, in the $150.00 range. I am hesitant right now to shell out another $500.00 for a center channel, even though that is the proper thing to do. Is it such a big deal for 5.1 movie sound that the center match? Isn't a completely different singal anyway? For music, I would not use the center channel, Vandersteen possibly excepted. ???. We really have been spending like drunken sailors and need to show some restraint.

Future purchases:

Carver TFM25
Vandersteen center.



03-07-2005, 10:23 AM
The Vandersteen VCC1 center channel is an excellent center channel and will match your 2ci's. You might see if you can find one used on audiogon or ebay.

IMO, it's very important for the center channel to be timbre matched to the mains. This way, when voices or effects are panned across the front stage, it's seemless. If you ever plan on moving up to hi-rez, the importance of a matched front stage becomes even more critical.

It sounds like you've spent a few bones lately on home improvement. My suggestion is to relax, set your yammie to "no center" and your Vandy's will simply present a phantom center image. With the way Vandy's image, this should be more than enough to tide you over until you build up your reserves again. Take your time and don't cheap-out on the center channel. Remember, this is marathon, not a sprint.

Hope this helps.

03-07-2005, 01:33 PM
Save up for the Vandy center speaker. It's about as good a timbral match as I've ever heard from a center speaker when it was paired with the 2ce that I heard. The Vandersteen center speakers are designed to match the time and phase coherency of the mains by going with a coaxial driver configuration, rather than the more common D'Appolito alignment (woofer/tweeter/woofer). You won't find too many center speakers that can remotely come close to the quality of the match that the Vandys give you.

The Vandys have a distinct sound, and most other speakers on the market are designed differently. Center speakers designed to match those other types of speakers will not match properly with the Vandys. With severe mismatchs, you're better off going without the center speaker than using a mismatched center speaker.

As topspeed mentioned, your receiver will have a phantom center mode active when the center channel is switched off. That should be fine in the meantime.

The main purpose of the center speaker is to anchor the middle of the soundfield. The match between the center speaker and the mains is probably the most crucial one in your system (you can get away with mismatched surround speakers because of how a lot of movie soundtracks are mixed [although with multichannel music and an increasing number of newer movie soundtracks, the surround matching is a lot more important]). You do not want to skimp on the quality of the match.

With 5.1 soundtracks, the center channel is discrete (not extracted from the L/R channels like with Pro Logic), which is why you ideally want a center speaker. But, the desirability of a center speaker declines as the quality of the match decreases. With the Vandys, I would just live without the center speaker until you save up enough to get one of the Vandy center speakers.

03-07-2005, 02:22 PM
Thanks, guys. I'll wait for the Vandersteen. I can probably steer it through the Ways and Means Committee in a month or two.


03-07-2005, 02:37 PM
Thanks, guys. I'll wait for the Vandersteen. I can probably steer it through the Ways and Means Committee in a month or two.


The Vandy center speaker is well worth the wait. Might also want to look into a future upgrade with the surrounds. Vandersteen just came out with a set of on-wall surround speakers that are supposed to match well with their mains as well.

Also, I just noticed that you installed a hardwood floor. Score some points with your better half by shopping for an area rug with her. She won't know this, but an area rug on top of a hardwood floor will actually improve the coherency of your imaging by absorbing some of the sound reflections. After moving my system into its current location, first thing my wife and I shopped for was an area rug. (She thought I shopped for a rug with her because I shared her aesthetic concerns, when in actuality I just wanted my system to sound better!) Without that rug, the room was very reflective with lots of slap echo. I also added homemade acoustic panels for additional sound absorption. Had to dress them up for looks and use fewer panels that I wanted, but at least my wife thinks they now look decent. (pic below)

03-07-2005, 02:54 PM
That's hilarious, Woochiefer.

I did the same thing. We now have a "stylish" shaggy rug over the area. (Funny how retro shag rugs are COOL, but retro stereo equipment is NOT) Additionally, I upholstered the "window box" behind the television such that it is now a 84 x 56 inch acoustic panel finished in suede-like microfiber cloth. MUHAHAHAHA!!!! It looks o.k., too. Diamond stitched with little buttons.

The Vandersteen rears are not going to be an option. Price is one thing, but the other is the fact that I have no place to put them. I have essentially one room from the television all the way into the kitchen. Nice for watching Fox News while making dinner, bad for placement of rears. Ceiling is really the only way to go. They will be well to the rear.