Any advice on good moderately priced center channel speaker? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-09-2006, 08:43 PM
Hey guys, whatsup? I'm new to the site, and well, AV sites in general I guess. Anyway, I've just gotten into the AV-market, starting w/ some medium priced components, nothing too high end. I just bought a Sony 50'inch HD, and a HK AVR 235 reciever. Now i'm looking to add some speakers but i'm not exactly sure what products are solid. If anybody has suggestions for some reasonably priced center speakers (& surround speakers), i'd appreciate the advice. Looking to spend, i dunno, not more than say, 200-300 on a center, and i guess, 300-400 on a 4-piece surround. The surround kit, well, maybe i'll spend more than that, but for now, i'm just trying to add one piece at a time. Well, holla at me when you get a min.

- dskowalla

01-09-2006, 09:50 PM
The only thing that you should concern yourself with on selecting a center speaker is how well it matches with your main speakers. The role of the center speaker is to anchor the center image while seamlessly blending in with the L/R mains to create a cohesive front soundfield. If you have a center speaker with very different tonal characteristics from the L/R mains, then it will call attention to itself and disrupt that front soundfield. In general, you should look at the front three speakers together. You can buy the L/R speakers first and add the center speaker later on, but you need to consider all three together.

In addition, you should try and voice match the surround speakers as well. Ideally, you would actually go with five identical speakers all the way around, but the center speaker typically sits exactly where the TV monitor typically goes, so the horizontal center speaker represents a compromise by necessity. Aside from the voice matching, the other important consideration is the alignment, and in general you should try to follow the alignment diagram as shown below. That's the ITU reference multichannel alignment, and it gave my system the best performance among the ones that I tried. Dolby further recommends that you point the surround speakers directly at one another if you plan to use them for both movies and multichannel music (with a lot of movie soundtracks, you want to diffuse the ambient effects so that they sound more spatial, while with 5.1 music, you generally want to have a very tightly controlled directionality to the sound), as doing so provides a good balance between maintaining directional cues and creating enough diffusion for environmental sounds.

01-10-2006, 07:02 AM
what he said.

Anyhow, another option may be this. If you like them, keep your current front speakers for 2 channel music as the "B" speakers. Then buy a set of surround speakers and a sub for home theater. That way you are assured that the center channel and fronts are matched. That can be difficult to do sometimes with an older set of fronts (of that is actually the case). The Klipsch quintet can be had for $300. Add a sweet SVS sub for $400 or get a nice Velodyne for around $300 at one of the big box stores. To be honest I am not a huge fan of these sattelite speaker systems, but the quintet can sound pretty nice when setup properly. Better for home theater than music...

Otherwise plan C would be to scrap your front speakers altogther (put in another room or something) and start over piece by piece. Start with matching fronts and center channel, move on to surrounds and then a sub as your budget allows.

01-10-2006, 07:33 AM
The front three speakers (at least) should be from the same manufacturer and line to assure a coherency of sound (timbre matching) across the front sound stage.

For HT, the surrounds can be of a different type since these are used more for atmospheric/environmentl sounds to set a physical feeling of presense than voices although, for multichannel music, it's recommended that they match the fronts

Also, since manufacturers change their product lines periodically, it's suggested you not count on buying a piece now and more later. Time marches on and lines are dropped, replaced and/or updated so a timber matched system may be not easily done over time.

01-10-2006, 10:11 AM
Timbre matching the center is a big deal, particularly with mains that are brighter or have more presence and detail. I finally got an identical center, the difference was, well, clear. My dialogs now sound good for a center channel.


01-12-2006, 06:50 PM
thanks guys. I guess i'll need to look around first to see what's good out there, but I definitely want to do this the right way (i.e. quality). What i'd really like is to get a solid set of front channel speakers/ center (now that i know). Any suggestions? again, moderate priced system, not trying to spend grands on a system, yet. And zepman1, you mentioned some subs. I've seen some velodyne subs at the big stores, but i'm a bit leary of the small selection/ high prices one finds at chain stores. I figure, yeah, these subs are probably pretty good, but there is probably something better out there (i.e. from online sites/ review forums) for about the same price. I've done some looking around, and I keep seeing positive reviews for Hsu subs, among other. I think they're in my price range; any comment on quality?

01-13-2006, 06:14 AM
I really like Velodyne subs, other than their cheapest models. They have good extension and are pretty musical. I have the CHT-10 model, but I don't think it is made anymore. I think there are some Velodynes around $200, but I would stay away from those, they seem a little underpowered to me unless it is in a small room, and they just don't sound as good.

A lot of people recommend the HSU and SVS subs. Can probably get one of those for $450-$500. Problem is you can't listen to it without buying it. That's why I went with the Velodyne instead, since I could audition it in the store. If I had it to do all over again I'd probably get the PB10-ISD or PB12-ISD from SVS. They come so highly recommended that they have to be good and the specs are exceptional for the price. 300 watts and 20hz response are tough to beat for $429. On the other hand I am very happy with my Velodyne, but 300 watts would be nice....

Depends on your taste as well. 12-inch subs (below $500 anyways) sound boomy to me and just aren't very musical. That's why I have the 10-inch. The 12" would be better for home theater though, so that is a tradeoff you often have to live with if you don't want to spend $800 on a sub. If you do, then you can probably get a pretty musical 12" sub.