Centre Channel Advice [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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07-04-2005, 05:45 PM

I am new to these forums and are here for a little expert advice. I have a set of Infinity reference 6 speakers from the early 90's. They still sound good to me and am not looking to replace them for the time being. My question pertains to my center channel speaker, which I bought in the early 90's when they were more of a novelty than a serious piece of equipment. I am using an Infinity Video One which I know is vastly inferior to my mains. I was looking to upgrade to a better centre channel without having to spend an outrageous amount. When I went to my local high end stereo store I was told by the sales guy that I was going to have a hard time getting a good match because the tweeter on my mains is an EMIT-R type electrostatic. He said that the current Infinity centres and most of the others that he had in the $200 to $500 range would not mesh well because they were not electrostatic, and, while they would sound better than what I have they would not sound great. He suggested that I should save up and buy the cheapest Martin Logan center because that also has an electrostatic tweeter and would create a better curtain of sound.

Is he giving me good advice or just trying for the upsell? I have cut and pasted the spec's on the speakers from the Infinity site so you can see them

Thanks for the help

Video 1
Frequency Response: 58Hz - 20kHz +/-3dB
Sensitivity: 89dB @ 2.87 V/1meteer
Power Rating: Use w/amps rated between 5 - 100 watts RMS for center channel
Crossover Frequency(ies): 4.5kHz
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Woofer: dual 5.5" polypropylene
Tweeter: 0.5" polycarbonate , magnetically shielded

Reference 6
Frequency Response: 35Hz - 40kHz (+/-3dB)
Crossover Frequency(ies): 200Hz, 1.5kHz, 4kHz
Sensitivity: 90dB (1 watt/1 meter)
Nominal Impedance: 6 ohms
Power Rating: 35 - 225 watts
Woofer: 10" (25.4cm) IMG
Mid-Bass Driver: 6" (15.2cm) IMG
Midrange Driver: 5" (12.7cm)
Tweeter: EMIT-R

07-06-2005, 08:56 PM
Hey, Nicely detailed post!
I had the same issue trying to match a center channel to my Infinity's that have an Emit ribbon tweeter two years ago. I've pasted my review below for your reference. I would highly suggest the Alpha 37c (many informative reviews posted on this site) or the more recent Beta 360c. These are beefier centers that sound significantly better, clearer, and crisper than their smaller siblings in the same product line. I thought I'd try to save some money and really felt that paying up for the heftier center was well worth it. Good luck and let us all know what you decide to do.

Here's my old review of the Infinity Interlude IL36c
I was looking to make the transition from traditional stereo listening to a more current 7.1 HT set-up. Not willing to part with my RS 5001 towers, I was very concerned with this center channel's timbre matching. My research included e-mails to and from Infinity (Harman Audio) who knew exactly what I was talking about. The Interlude series was a perfect match b/c the CMMD drivers go well with my Emit ribbon tweeters.

This center is substantial in both size and sound. Much better than the smaller IL-25c or Alpha.

Match with older RS series Infinity speakers
Build quality
Infinity product support

Size can be an issue when trying to fit it into an entertainment center or stand.

Similar Products Used:
Infinity RS 5001 tower speakers
Polk RC 85i in-walls (they don't match for music, but for HT its fine)
Infinity IL-120 sub
Denon 1082 (clone to the 3802)

07-07-2005, 07:26 AM
I'm not going to give you a specific answer, like a center channel that will match, because that doesn't exist.
The basis for home audio surround sound is the Dolby standard which specifies all channels have the same speaker. This is not met in many situations, mostly due to asthetics. People want a horizontal center, not a vertical one. Then they want floorstanders for mains and wall mounted for surrounds. Each of these is a compromise and a step farther away from the standard.
Normally I would say, go to Infinity and get the center channel that uses the same drivers as your mains. As you've said, doesn't exist so, the salesman may have a good recommendation there. Try to find something as close in design to your mains as possible.
You may also want to consider not using a center channel. Most AV pre-pros (integrated or otherwise) allow you to turn off the center channel. It then creates a "phantom" center. If you can sit reasonably close to the sweet spot of your mains you should get a very satisfactory result. Perhaps better than you would using a center channel.

07-23-2005, 02:24 AM
You might also want to look into some Magnat speakers. They make several different speaker systems (including centre channels) that use the electro-static tweeters and while they will not be exactly timbre matched to your infinities, they might come close. I do not know where you are located, but here in Germany you can find some very good soundings examples for reasonable prices. Anyway, good luck in your quest.

07-23-2005, 11:36 PM
Hey, I was at the hi-fi shop yesterday and saw some really nice Quadral speakers that had ribbon tweeters as well, maybe you can find somewhere hear you and audition some? Just a thought...

07-24-2005, 08:19 AM
Haven't heard from "looking to upgrade" in a while.

07-24-2005, 09:05 AM
Haven't heard from "looking to upgrade" in a while.

No, maybe he upgraded. ;)