Center Channel Compromises [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Michael J. Sykes
02-14-2005, 04:23 AM
I have learned that the ideal surround sound speaker system would have a center channel speaker which is identical to the front and rear satellites, and it should be placed in the same (vertical) orientation and at the same height as the other speakers with the tweeter at ear level. Unfortunately, this might require hoisting your TV up to the ceiling for unobstructed viewing! :) If this solution is not practical, then some compromise becomes necessary in the nature or placement of the center channel speaker. I'd appreciate comments on the relative merit of different center channel compromise solutions.

A popular compromise (which I am considering for my system) is a matched horizontally oriented center channel speaker which contains twice the number of woofers as the satellite speakers. I have learned that this horizontal alignment of woofers results in "lobing" effects. However, the relatively diminutive height of these horizontal center speakers may facilitate placement of the tweeter at the same height as the satellites near ear level.

Another compromise center channel solution would be to use an identical satellite speaker placed below or above the television, resulting in the tweeter height being far from ear level (and far from the height of the satellite speakers). To what extent would tilting the center satellite speaker (up or down) toward the listener compensate for its incorrect height? How does this solution compare to the lobing horizontal center channel speaker solution?

It might be possible to get the center satellite speaker closer to the ideal height by placing it on its side on top of the television. Even if the speaker has just one woofer and one tweeter, however, I understand that their horizontal alignment could resulting in lobing type degredation of sound quality. Would this be worse than having the speaker placed too high or too low in its intended vertical orientation?



02-14-2005, 08:01 AM