Must you match the brand of center speaker to front speakers? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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05-01-2006, 09:11 AM
I have a 5.1 surround system I'd like to fill out with a center speaker; I have two Vandersteen speakers in front, and the rears are two Snells. A year-old Sony receiver powers the system, and the consistency and sound between the four speakers is excellent, very flawless. My TV's own speaker acts as the center channel, but obviously doesn't have proper, consistent sound output or timing. I want to get a good center channel speaker, but was told my audio dealer that unless I get a matching Vandersteen, it won't sound right or match. How accurate is this? I really like a couple of Polk models that are more aesthetically pleasing (the Vandersteen center speaker is a big, ugly cube) and easier to mount on the wall. Also, any recommendations on a good center speaker for between $300 to $500?

05-01-2006, 10:31 AM
Please learn from our mistake! The front and centre should be timbre match for best set -up.:16:

05-01-2006, 10:38 AM
A thread just got started on this in the HT forums.

05-01-2006, 12:47 PM
The center speaker should be as closely voice matched with the mains as possible. If you like how the Vandersteen main speakers sound (and not everybody does), you really should opt for their center speaker. IMO, Vandersteen has perhaps the best center-to-main speaker match on the market, the best I've heard anyway. The Vandersteen main speakers are designed to be time and phase correct, and the center speaker uses a coaxial design with a similar approach to the time and phase correctness. No other center speaker will likely be close enough to Vandys to provide a decent timbre match.

The Vandy centers might look ugly, but they very well might be among the best center speakers on the market, not because of how good they sound by themselves but because of how well do what center speakers are supposed to do -- create a seamless front soundfield in conjunction with the main speakers.

And before you do ANYTHING, TURN OFF THE TV SPEAKERS! You're much better off with the center channel completely turned off and redirected to the L/R mains than piping the output through the TV speakers. TV speakers are typically poor quality, and mounted inside a reverberant cabinet that degrades the intelligibility. Let your Vandys handle the center channel duties while you decide which center speaker to go with.

05-02-2006, 05:59 AM
Very helpful advice -- thanks to all!