• 02-09-2004, 09:58 PM
    r3Wind
    Matching Center Channel for older speakers...
    A family member recently gave me an older set of Bose speakers (a pair of 4001s and a pair of 2001s, made in 1994), and I was looking into getting a voice-matched center channel for it. The only Bose center channel I can find any info on is the VCS-10, but is has less than stellar reviews. I was thinking about going with the B.I.C. America DV62CLR instead (great reviews, and about half the price), but would I be better off sticking with the Bose just based on the fact that it might match my front speakers better? Also, would the newer Bose center channels even match them considering my main speakers are ten years old?

    Thanks in advance!!!
  • 02-10-2004, 07:56 AM
    Worf101
    I've two systems and neither of them have "matched" centers.
    As folks around here know I like orphaned and old speaker brands like the Ohm Walsh series and Epicure and Allison brand speakers. All of these makes and models were established well before the advent of HT. As a result there are no "matched" center channels for my Ohm Walsh F's, Walsh 4's or Allison 4's. Some folks believe "timbre" matching the center to the left and right fronts is essential. In my opinion it's nice if you can do it, but not a killer if you can't . When forced to used mismatched speakers simply get the best and brightest center you can get.

    For my main system I used a Klipsch C7. This hulking brute uses 2 8-inch mains and a tweet. It's the clearest, best sounding center I've ever heard, it's also the biggest and the ugliest. For 5.1, your center channel is the most important speaker this side of the subwoofer. All your dialog and, depending on the film, an awful lot of the music and action, comes from your center channel. A muddy center, whether it's timbre matched to matching left's and rights or not, will kill your viewing experience. For my upstairs system I use a BIC 53 CLR, the smaller brother of the one you're looking at. I think it's the best cheap center I've ever used. I think you're better off going with the BIC.

    Da Worfster :o
  • 02-10-2004, 11:24 AM
    kexodusc
    I've always timbre matched my systems, however, I've read several articles from people that claim that room acoustics and speaker location will change the timbre of speakers more than the drivers themselves...
    After much thought and some experimentation, I don't doubt this.
    A friend of mine has 6 Studio 20's in his 7.1 setup. His front main and rear speakers are almost symmetrically placed in his room giving a near mirror image with the exception of the couch facing backwards and a bookshelf instead of a TV between the rears. When playing back music in stereo, the same model speakers produce a noticeably different sound. It's not a night and day difference, but it is subtle and noticeable.
    I think your best bet is to do either do what Wharfster says and find a decently bright center channel speaker, or do some research and find an affordable performer that has similar characteristics to your existing Bose speakers.
    I often think that timbre matching is a way for manufacturers to "scare" you into buying more of their speakers instead of switching brands. After all, in a real-world surround environment, not many sound sources are timbre matched to each other. I think the problems really only occurs when you hear the same sound source in both ears from multiple directions, and one the sounds aren't consistent. I'm sure someone could correct me if I'm way off.
    However, a few years back one of my local retailers was selling a 3 piece Bose surround kit with 2 very large Cerwin-Vega main speakers as a package...there's no way in hell that could have sounded good. Good luck.
  • 02-10-2004, 10:29 PM
    r3Wind
    Cool, thanks for the responses guys, I think I'll go with the B.I.C. after all. I'm glad I found this place, I've already gotten a lot of great info just lurking around...

    Thanks again!!!
  • 02-11-2004, 02:17 PM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I've always timbre matched my systems, however, I've read several articles from people that claim that room acoustics and speaker location will change the timbre of speakers more than the drivers themselves...
    After much thought and some experimentation, I don't doubt this.
    A friend of mine has 6 Studio 20's in his 7.1 setup. His front main and rear speakers are almost symmetrically placed in his room giving a near mirror image with the exception of the couch facing backwards and a bookshelf instead of a TV between the rears. When playing back music in stereo, the same model speakers produce a noticeably different sound. It's not a night and day difference, but it is subtle and noticeable.
    I think your best bet is to do either do what Wharfster says and find a decently bright center channel speaker, or do some research and find an affordable performer that has similar characteristics to your existing Bose speakers.
    I often think that timbre matching is a way for manufacturers to "scare" you into buying more of their speakers instead of switching brands. After all, in a real-world surround environment, not many sound sources are timbre matched to each other. I think the problems really only occurs when you hear the same sound source in both ears from multiple directions, and one the sounds aren't consistent. I'm sure someone could correct me if I'm way off.
    However, a few years back one of my local retailers was selling a 3 piece Bose surround kit with 2 very large Cerwin-Vega main speakers as a package...there's no way in hell that could have sounded good. Good luck.

    Kex,
    Room acoustics and speaker positioning do have a HUGE influence on the timbre of a speaker, its greatest influence lies in the bass region. However, timbre matching cannot be underscored. Movies like "Little Nemo" have directionalized dialog. If you do not have timbre matched speakers, as the dialog moves from channel to channel(or half left and half right positions between the speakers) It will change character. Half left and half right positions will not hold together at all, because of the different frequency response, dispersion pattern, and crossover points to the individual drivers of the mismatched speaker.

    In timbre matched speakers you may have a difference in BASS response as each speakers interacts with the room modes and nodes in different ways, however a mismatch speaker will make EVERY sound different, not just the bass frequencies.

    Dialog intelligibility becomes a HUGE fact when dealing with mismatched speakers. If you have one speaker with a pretty forward response around 1-4khz(lets say the center speaker) and you have two more to the sides of it that is relatively flat in the region. Effects, music, and dialog that lie in that region will pop out unnaturally from the center, while sounding recessed from the other two. This is very disconcerting and not very desireable.

    Remember, soundtracks are manufactured and mixed on timbre matched speakers. They are music, dialog, and effects are mixed and eq'd to optimally be reproduced by timbre matched speakers.

    I often think that timbre matching is a way for manufacturers to "scare" you into buying more of their speakers instead of switching brands. After all, in a real-world surround environment, not many sound sources are timbre matched to each other. I think the problems really only occurs when you hear the same sound source in both ears from multiple directions, and one the sounds aren't consistent. I'm sure someone could correct me if I'm way off.

    Since soundtracks are not mixed to real world standards(have you ever heard a fist hit a face with low bass impact in real life?) I wouldn't use the real world scenario as a basis for an arguement. You will in all likelyhood hear most all sources in real life through both ears. Even a car passing on your right side can be heard with the left ear, but with less intensity, and some delay. We rarely if never hear anything in real life as a discrete source unless it is so close to the ear that the head prevents its travel to the opposing ear. The would mean somebody speaking directly into one ear with hands cupped.
  • 02-11-2004, 02:27 PM
    kexodusc
    Most insightful, Sir Terrence.
    I have, in the past been left with 2 surround speakers while waiting for the next paycheque to complete an upgrade.
    I didn't find the rear speakers compromised the sound quality much at all, but to be fair, the information being fed to them probably isn't as important most of the time as the front 3 speakers.
    Is there an easy way to compare the timbral characteristics of two different speaker makes to each other other than subjective listening?
  • 02-12-2004, 08:31 AM
    Worf101
    Sir Terrance!!! Greetings MeLord!!!! (bowing and scraping)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Dialog intelligibility becomes a HUGE fact when dealing with mismatched speakers. If you have one speaker with a pretty forward response around 1-4khz(lets say the center speaker) and you have two more to the sides of it that is relatively flat in the region. Effects, music, and dialog that lie in that region will pop out unnaturally from the center, while sounding recessed from the other two. This is very disconcerting and not very desireable.

    Remember, soundtracks are manufactured and mixed on timbre matched speakers. They are music, dialog, and effects are mixed and eq'd to optimally be reproduced by timbre matched speakers.
    .

    Me Lairdship. I agree with you IN PRINCIPAL but in reality it's pretty hard to work in matched Left's Center's and Right's unless you're buying all three at the same time and from the same company. If so, fine do it. But how many of us approached our HT systems in this manner? How many companies that make great mains also make a matching world class center channel? To me it's more important to have two great mains for stereo music listening that also can do passable double dute for HT. Not the other way around. If I had a completely dedicated 2-channel hook-up THEN I'd consider getting a matched set of three's. Also, as I've stated before, I like weird speakers that arent' conducive to matched fronts. Anyways.. It's good to see the King.

    Your humble subject...

    Da Worfster

    PS, remember it's Sir Terribles world and we just live in it!!!
    :D
  • 02-12-2004, 03:30 PM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Most insightful, Sir Terrence.
    I have, in the past been left with 2 surround speakers while waiting for the next paycheque to complete an upgrade.
    I didn't find the rear speakers compromised the sound quality much at all, but to be fair, the information being fed to them probably isn't as important most of the time as the front 3 speakers.
    Is there an easy way to compare the timbral characteristics of two different speaker makes to each other other than subjective listening?

    Kex,

    Having surround that are timbrally matched to the fronts brings huge benefits. It is impossible to get the "acoustic bubble" with mismatched speakers. On front to back pans, with matched speakers it feels like the sound passes "through" you on the way back to the surrounds. Not to mention the smoothness and lack of image shift. Back to front pans are almost impossible to get smooth, or distinctive.

    We are not in the "prologic" days anymore. All the speakers in a 5.1 system should be treated equally.
  • 02-12-2004, 03:41 PM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Worf101
    Me Lairdship. I agree with you IN PRINCIPAL but in reality it's pretty hard to work in matched Left's Center's and Right's unless you're buying all three at the same time and from the same company. If so, fine do it. But how many of us approached our HT systems in this manner? How many companies that make great mains also make a matching world class center channel? To me it's more important to have two great mains for stereo music listening that also can do passable double dute for HT. Not the other way around. If I had a completely dedicated 2-channel hook-up THEN I'd consider getting a matched set of three's. Also, as I've stated before, I like weird speakers that arent' conducive to matched fronts. Anyways.. It's good to see the King.

    Your humble subject...

    Da Worfster

    PS, remember it's Sir Terribles world and we just live in it!!!
    :D

    Worfster,

    You are funny as hell man! Hey, you have a world class center speaker already in your system. So what wrong with the RF-7? That would constitute a nice timbral match from your three front speakers. Make it so Worfster!!
  • 02-13-2004, 10:00 AM
    Quagmire
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Worfster,

    You are funny as hell man! Hey, you have a world class center speaker already in your system. So what wrong with the RF-7? That would constitute a nice timbral match from your three front speakers. Make it so Worfster!!

    Sir Terrible,

    I absolutely agree with you on the RF-7 recommendation. I have an older Klipsch system with KLF-10's as the mains. When I finally created my theater room and installed a front projection unit and screen instead of a large RPTV I added a third KLF-10 to fill the role of the center speaker. Oh my gawd what a difference this has made! I was using the timbre matched KLF-C7 as the center speaker before but without having to worry about video shielding and the physical space required by the floorstanding speaker, the KLF-10 made perfect sense and this setup has not disappointed me.

    After taking the time to play with placement and closely calibrating the system, the front soundstage is truly seamless. Just to confirm my own beliefs on the importance of a timbre matched center speaker, I AB'd the system cutting the center speaker in and out... it wasn't even close. Those who espouse a phantom center setup, citing the timbral match of the stereo fronts, need to hear a system such as this where the center speaker is vertically aligned and identical to the mains. Also, the ability to run all three front speakers as "large" full range speakers adds incredible dynamics to the theater experience and removes certain frequency related anomalies induced through bass management when running the center as "small" and tower mains as "large". Have just been very pleased with this setup. In fact, the bass response with all three of these KLF-10's running full range is so awesome that a subwoofer seems hardly necessary. Do you think I would gain much by using a powered sub for the LFE information while running the front three as "large" or would I simply be muddying things up by introducing a sub into this setup? I seem to recall that you did some experimenting not that long ago with all speakers set to "large" and no sub in the system. Can you refresh my memory as to your conclussions and offer advice on "to sub or not to sub"? Thanks.

    Q
  • 02-13-2004, 10:45 AM
    Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Quagmire
    Sir Terrible,

    I absolutely agree with you on the RF-7 recommendation. I have an older Klipsch system with KLF-10's as the mains. When I finally created my theater room and installed a front projection unit and screen instead of a large RPTV I added a third KLF-10 to fill the role of the center speaker. Oh my gawd what a difference this has made! I was using the timbre matched KLF-C7 as the center speaker before but without having to worry about video shielding and the physical space required by the floorstanding speaker, the KLF-10 made perfect sense and this setup has not disappointed me.

    After taking the time to play with placement and closely calibrating the system, the front soundstage is truly seamless. Just to confirm my own beliefs on the importance of a timbre matched center speaker, I AB'd the system cutting the center speaker in and out... it wasn't even close. Those who espouse a phantom center setup, citing the timbral match of the stereo fronts, need to hear a system such as this where the center speaker is vertically aligned and identical to the mains. Also, the ability to run all three front speakers as "large" full range speakers adds incredible dynamics to the theater experience and removes certain frequency related anomalies induced through bass management when running the center as "small" and tower mains as "large". Have just been very pleased with this setup. In fact, the bass response with all three of these KLF-10's running full range is so awesome that a subwoofer seems hardly necessary. Do you think I would gain much by using a powered sub for the LFE information while running the front three as "large" or would I simply be muddying things up by introducing a sub into this setup? I seem to recall that you did some experimenting not that long ago with all speakers set to "large" and no sub in the system. Can you refresh my memory as to your conclussions and offer advice on "to sub or not to sub"? Thanks.

    Q

    Q,
    I am currently running my system with no sub, however my left/right mains are flat to 20hz, and -3 18hz. My center is flat 40hz with -3 at 35hz. This enables me to not use a sub, and when I did include a sub in my system, it didn't ad a thing to the output. However, I do not know the KLF-10's frequency response in the low bass, but I would experiment if I were you. Try adding a sub to the LFE alone, and place all of the other speakers on large. Get your impression of how it sounds, and decide from there.

    I did a number of combination in my system and the results were rather interested.
    Fronts- large
    Center-small
    Surrounds-small
    While this is the most logical setup for my system(and one recommended by most hometheater guru's)it did not produce the best results. Imaging was superior with this setup, as was the overall balance of the system. But deep bass was being rolled off, so I wasn't getting that floor rattling bass I was used to.

    Fronts-large
    Center-Large
    Surround-small
    This setup improved the deep bass quite a bit, but I was noticing a change in character as sounds moved from the front to the rears. It was so noticeable that I decided this setup was unsuitable.

    Fronts-large
    Center-large
    Surround-large

    This setup proved to be the best all around setup. Bass was extremely deep(window rattling, air shaking, floor shaking) and the overalls system gave me that "acoustic bubble" that makes everything seems so real sounding. The speakers just seem to dissappear, letting the soundtrack do its magic. The one drawback that I found was that the very deep bass could get a little overwhelming on occasion. The system sounds so good however, that is a small price to pay for this kind of outstanding performance.

    When I added a sub to the LFE channel, a 12" with a 250 watt amp, it seemed rather underwhelming when compared to my mains producing the same signals. I guess it would be no contest to have a single 12" woofer compete with the 15"(x2) in each of my mains which are in a much larger cabinet, and use three voice coils for improved linear travel.

    Do some experiments of your own, the result may prove eye opening for you as mine did for me.