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  1. #1
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    Center Speaker Question

    Even though I'm OK with my 5.1 DVD sound, I'm still a little confused if your center speaker is suppose to be different from your 2 front & 2 rear speakers, assuming they're the same speakers? I have the Orb Mod 1 set up. Some people who have the Orb Mod 1 have a Mod 2 center (which is simply 2 Mod 1 speakers combined). Other people with different speaker systems, have a center speaker specifically sold as that, that is different from there front & rear speakers. If I don't have or notice a problem with my DVD sound, is a different Center speaker necessary to get optimal DVD 5.1 sound?

  2. #2
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Great question. In my experience I prefer a center speaker that is capable of handling more of the upper range of frequencies and clarity simply because your center channel carries the majority of your dialogue. If you are seeing packages where all the speakers are identical, it's probably going to give you equal sound from all angles, but whether or not you want that is completely up to you. The majority of people prefer to mix and match their speakers based on what they want them to do. Flexibility is always key when it comes to home theater and audio.

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    ed

    never mix and match speakers,most importantly the center speaker.There must be a timbre match for side to side and front to rear pans.Think of it like this,on a side to side pan the signal will start on one side pass through the center and on to the other side.If the speakers dont all have the same timbre there will be a noticible difference in the center speaker and will throw off the sound.

    thanks
    bill

  4. #4
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Best to use same brand and some dont even use a center.
    Look & Listen

  5. #5
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Have you ever read any of the other center speaker threads that have been posted on this board? The theme is the same on all of them -- timbre matching the speakers is the ideal way to go. Use identical speakers all the way around if it's feasible. The horizontal center speaker exists only because the TV typically sits exactly where the middle speaker would ideally go. It's a compromise out of necessity for most setups.

    Of course, if you prefer a different sounding center speaker, then no one's stopping you.
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  6. #6
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    What I'm Confused Is That Say If They Are From the Same Brand

    Are you saying then for DVD 5.1 sound purposes I'm better off on my existing system using
    5 identical Orb Mod 1 Speakers then using 4 Orb Mod 1 Speakers & 1 Orb Mod 2 Speaker (which is 2 Orb Mod 1's combined) as my center speaker?

  7. #7
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    I don't know too many people that are using the same thing for their center as their left and right fronts. Unless these people are talking about using the same brand name for all of your speakers, but I personally chose each of my speakers based on what I could afford and what type of sound I was looking for. I am a big fan of testing out various speakers, components, cables, etc until you find a great match. It took several listening sessions before I settled on my Athena center channel, which basically boiled down to this...It was 1/3 the price of the closest speaker I could find that performed on an equal level. Now, I also listened to Athena towers and other Athena speakers, but was not impressed with any of them like I was there center channel. Not sure why, but that was the case. It delivered and still does a great tone...very sweet in nature, which I love. My PSB towers are a little thicker and thus the Athena works well because I am able to get a great sweetness coming through the thicker, yet refined sound of my towers. The towers (since they have a built in powered sub) carry tons of bass and presence, so I needed something to cut through it...Athena worked!

    Bottom Line is that each listener is going to be a bit different and I don't know if there is an exact answer to almost any of these questions.

  8. #8
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    ed

    There is no confusion,you must timbre match your speakers to get proper multichannel sound.You can check out the dts site,dolby digital site ,sacd site,they will all tell you.For further proof,i don't know if you are set up to do this however,disconnect your center speaker and try using your tv as center.

    good luck

    bill

  9. #9
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Are you saying then for DVD 5.1 sound purposes I'm better off on my existing system using
    5 identical Orb Mod 1 Speakers then using 4 Orb Mod 1 Speakers & 1 Orb Mod 2 Speaker (which is 2 Orb Mod 1's combined) as my center speaker?
    You're better off with whichever one sounds better.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular paul_pci's Avatar
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    Right, if there's no tonal difference between the Mod2 and 1 then you are sure to get better dispersion with the 2, as opposed to the 1 which has none.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    I don't know too many people that are using the same thing for their center as their left and right fronts. Unless these people are talking about using the same brand name for all of your speakers, but I personally chose each of my speakers based on what I could afford and what type of sound I was looking for. I am a big fan of testing out various speakers, components, cables, etc until you find a great match. It took several listening sessions before I settled on my Athena center channel, which basically boiled down to this...It was 1/3 the price of the closest speaker I could find that performed on an equal level. Now, I also listened to Athena towers and other Athena speakers, but was not impressed with any of them like I was there center channel. Not sure why, but that was the case. It delivered and still does a great tone...very sweet in nature, which I love. My PSB towers are a little thicker and thus the Athena works well because I am able to get a great sweetness coming through the thicker, yet refined sound of my towers. The towers (since they have a built in powered sub) carry tons of bass and presence, so I needed something to cut through it...Athena worked!

    Bottom Line is that each listener is going to be a bit different and I don't know if there is an exact answer to almost any of these questions.
    Any reason why you did not go with a PSB center speaker? The most important consideration in choosing a center speaker is with how well it matches with the L and R speakers. Something that stands out in any way, even if it sounds better, will disrupt the continuity of the front soundfield. Ideally, you can't tell whether or not you even have a center speaker because it blends in so well with the mains. The best match is with three identical speakers up front. But, the presence of the TV in the middle of the setup is the reason for using a horizontal center speaker, rather than any technical advantage of that alignment.
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  12. #12
    Bill L
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Have you ever read any of the other center speaker threads that have been posted on this board? The theme is the same on all of them -- timbre matching the speakers is the ideal way to go. Use identical speakers all the way around if it's feasible. The horizontal center speaker exists only because the TV typically sits exactly where the middle speaker would ideally go. It's a compromise out of necessity for most setups.

    Of course, if you prefer a different sounding center speaker, then no one's stopping you.
    This hits at the heart of the dilema for many folks. Tons of homes only have one room appropriate enough for music or HT. Hence, both end up in the same room. Many (especially music fans) will invest heavily in their front speakers. Timbre matching the center and sides with same-manufacturer speakers as the fronts will likely get into substantial $$$.

    I just got 2 Maggie 1.6's last week. Right now I am not inclined to go out and spend another $1K on a Maggie CC3 center channel speaker, plus an uncertain amount more for Maggie sides. Also would not know what to do with my current (expensive) side speakers that I can't put anywhere else in the house.

    Since I was stuck in one room, I had to make a choice between music or HT. With the maggie 1.6's, I chose music. My HT consists of the maggies, small center and small back surrounds, and 2 large side surround towers. This comprises 3 different brands and types of speakers. Certainly a long way away from the timbre matching necessary for optimal HT. I'll just have to do the best I can with it.

    Maybe down the road I'll attempt improvements on the HT side, but not right now. I wouldn't be able to get it past the boss of the house anyway.

    Bill

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubslewis
    This hits at the heart of the dilema for many folks. Tons of homes only have one room appropriate enough for music or HT. Hence, both end up in the same room. Many (especially music fans) will invest heavily in their front speakers. Timbre matching the center and sides with same-manufacturer speakers as the fronts will likely get into substantial $$$.

    I just got 2 Maggie 1.6's last week. Right now I am not inclined to go out and spend another $1K on a Maggie CC3 center channel speaker, plus an uncertain amount more for Maggie sides. Also would not know what to do with my current (expensive) side speakers that I can't put anywhere else in the house.

    Since I was stuck in one room, I had to make a choice between music or HT. With the maggie 1.6's, I chose music. My HT consists of the maggies, small center and small back surrounds, and 2 large side surround towers. This comprises 3 different brands and types of speakers. Certainly a long way away from the timbre matching necessary for optimal HT. I'll just have to do the best I can with it.

    Maybe down the road I'll attempt improvements on the HT side, but not right now. I wouldn't be able to get it past the boss of the house anyway.

    Bill

    Ultimately, that all boils down to how much you prioritize the multichannel performance. By going with the Maggie 1.6, and eschewing the matching center and surround speakers that Magnepan markets, you've already spoken for how your system priorities line up. However, I don't think that it comes down to making a choice between music and home theater, especially if you're already using a digital multichannel head unit. The choice is more about when you decide that your system is "finished."

    The heavy investment that you speak of only applies if someone is bent on getting all of their speakers at the same time. Provided that you already have multichannel amplification, the process of timbre matching the speaker set can occur gradually as the budget allows.

    On my system, I started with just the two main speakers and took almost two years to timbre match the speaker set and add the subwoofer. I don't necessarily advise that everybody take that same approach, but it's an option if people want to dedicate more of their budget to getting a better pair of speakers to start with. As I've said many times on this board, the beauty of home theater is that you don't have to buy the whole thing at the same time, and with every successive addition/upgrade you'll get a substantial improvement in your system performance.
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  14. #14
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    To me, Edward, you have asked an excellent question that could be subject to more variables than a "barrel of monkeys". The first thing I would try is weather the two Orb speakers in the center are better than one orb speaker in the center if it is possible to do that. If you can, see how it effects your whole surround sound field that you listen too.

    The closest system to your Orbs that I have listened too are my brothers new Mirage Omnistats. I can only say that the single Omnistat that he uses for the center sounds very good with the left and right same speaker Omnistat. I do not like his surround field however because he does not have it set-up right.

    Before I continue, I agree with the others on this site that talked about timbre. Some years back, a surround sound experiment that involved a center channel set-up I was doing was thrown off by a center channel mis-timbre.

    If I were going to substitute a different center channel speaker for your system and my brothers that I described, it would be a M-T-M D'appolito that is generally used in many systems. The size of the woofers used in this kind of speaker should be the same size as the left-right speakers of your Orbs. I do not remember off-hand what size drivers they use in the Orbs however if by chance they are 3 inches, there is really nothing on the market that I know of that could be tried; the smallest m-t-m units I know of are 3 l/2 inch woofers. In the case of my brothers Omnistats, there are a few m-t-m units that have 4 inch speakers that could be tried. Supposing that if this type of speaker was available and was timber matched to the Orbs, I would listen again to see if there is a difference in the whole surround field it would create.

    Going back to my first paragraph, if it is at all possible, I would play around with the focus of the Orb surrounds relative to your set-up now. If this can be done, you may very well be able to answer your own question and pick up alot of knowledge at the same time.

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