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  1. #1
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    Paradigm Cc-370 Or Psb Stratus C5

    I'm thinking of selling my PSB Stratus C5 and picking up a Paradigm cc-370 center.
    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated. I don't feel the 5 1/4" woofers on the C5 are handling multi channel music to well.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    HOLD YOUR HORSES!

    First consideration is what mains are you using? The key with center speakers is not how big the woofers are or how good they sound by themselves. The key question is how well they match your mains. THAT is the FIRST and ONLY question you should consider with center speakers.

    As contradictory as this sounds, you can make your system sound worse by switching to a "better" center speaker because big mismatches between the center speaker and mains will break up the continuity of the front soundfield.

  3. #3
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    I have PSB Stratus Silveri's for mains. But the C5 just dosen't have the sound that i feel i need for SACD and DVD-Audio,Video. I want something with a little more umpf. And the Stratus C6i is too much money.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEAFS264
    I have PSB Stratus Silveri's for mains. But the C5 just dosen't have the sound that i feel i need for SACD and DVD-Audio,Video. I want something with a little more umpf. And the Stratus C6i is too much money.
    What do you mean by "umpf"? If you're referring to punch in the midbass, then in actuality, the center speaker is probably the wrong place to try and convey that. You don't want to send a full range signal through the center speaker to begin with, especially in your case where you use floorstanding speakers that are likely voiced with a very different profile in the lower frequencies. In most cases, you will set the center speaker to "Small" and redirect the bass to either the mains or the subwoofer.

    If the C5 is a sufficient timbre match for the main speakers, then it does not matter how much of how little "umpf" it has if the mains behave the same way. The voice match that you're listening for is in the midrange and highs.

    You should give the C6 a listen and see if it matches your mains better. If so, you're better off saving up the extra coin and going for that model instead. Doubtful that the Paradigm center speaker will be a better match.

  5. #5
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    Yeah, what Wooch said. There won't be enough difference in the 2 centers to warrant the cost. I mean really..what's the difference between a 5.25" driver and a 6" driver? Possibly a 6" CAN handle lower frequencies better, but with a center you don't want a full range signal going to it anyway, so that's a moot point.

    What are you using to power the center channel?

  6. #6
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    Sorry , I'm not looking for more bass from the center. I find the dialog in my movies not as clear,if thats the right word. It just doesn't seem to jump out at me like some other centers that i've heard in the past. I'm using a Sony STR-DB940 for the power and decoding.

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    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    If you aren't looking for more bass from the center, than you've already made up your mind...get the C5, nuff said.
    Generally, a 6" driver will handle the lower midrange and upper bass (ie: low frequencies just above the LFE crossover point) just a wee bit better than a 5-1/4" driver, but often it requires a lower crossover point...not to worry, they both seem to be xo'd fairly low anyway. The C6 might have a wee bit more output capability too, but if you've already got the C-5, I can't see there being any real benefit to buying a C6. There's a very good possibility it could sound worse!

    You might be further ahead upgrading another part of your system, or just save your money. For the cost of your center channel upgrade you can easily get a more powerful, better sounding receiver, something from Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo, H/K, etc, which might yield more of an improvement for you. The last thing you want to do is go from speakers that match to speakers that don't. Maybe your problem is in setup and calibration?

  8. #8
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    Did you even bother to READ why i want to change. I'm not happy with the sound.....so why would i keep it. I've sent the speaker to PSB for a check up and there is nothing wrong. I've taken it to other peoples houses and hooked it up on other systems. It just sounds muddled.

  9. #9
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    As I was reading through all of these post, I was thinking what Kex finally said in the last line of his post...

    "Maybe your problem is in setup and calibration?"

    It is such a basic thing and it gets said over and over but it is surprising how often times folks are willing to spend large sums of money to upgrade equipment when they haven't addressed setup and calibration. Even if you have taken the time to calibrate your system using an SPL meter and the test tone included on your receiver (though many have not), you could still have a problem associated with calibration. A common finding around here has been that the test tone generators included on receivers is generally not as accurate as the tones found on setup discs such as AVIA, Essentials, etc... And another very common finding has be that when folks have gone back in and recalibrated their system using one of these discs, the center channel speaker is NOT calibrated correctly -- usually needing a boost from one to several db. This is especially true in systems where the mains are large speakers (and being run as large) and the center speaker is small.

    Do you have a good sub in your system? If you don't, you might find that any upgrade money you have to spend would be better allocated toward the purchase of a good sub rather than a new center channel speaker because what you are perceiving as being a weakness of the center channel speaker may just be the combination of a setup induced timbral mismatch between it and the main speakers resulting in an overall loss of clarity. This could be remedied by first having a quality sub in the system and then running the front three speakers as small (as others have suggested). That alone can give you a better timral match between the mains and center speaker which may equate to better overall clarity of sound. Then if you find through recalibrating that the center channel level needs to be brought up a notch or two, that should really nail the setup induced problem. I realize this may not be what you are wanting to hear, but you really owe it to yourself to cover these basics before moving to upgrade things. Otherwise you could spend the money, only to find that problem has followed along with you on the upgrade path. No one want to see that happen.

    So... have you calibrated your system, and have you used a good test disc to do this as opposed to just the tone generator on your receiver? If you haven't, that's a great place to start with a minimal out of pocket expense. Besides, the disc is very useful for other things too. Best of luck.

    Q
    Last edited by Quagmire; 03-07-2005 at 06:59 AM. Reason: spelling error

  10. #10
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEAFS264
    Did you even bother to READ why i want to change. I'm not happy with the sound.....so why would i keep it. I've sent the speaker to PSB for a check up and there is nothing wrong. I've taken it to other peoples houses and hooked it up on other systems. It just sounds muddled.
    Wow, kid, that's some friendly response...usually when someone tries to help someone else, that person remains polite even if the advice is not helpful, rather than asking "did you even bother to read..." But that's okay, I can understand how frustrating this can be. Yes, I missed the point that you already had the C5, and thought you were considering it...my bad. No matter, my general response would have remained the same.

    Great, so now we've confirmed that you're not happy with the sound. Have you eliminated every other possible cause (ie: setup and calibration, placement, source, receiver, etc) from contributing to this sound you don't like, and are absolutely positive it's the speaker?

    If that's the case, and it can be nothing else, we've got to ask why you even bought it in the first place?

    You have got to realize that adding a better speaker to your system in isolation is not going to improve the sound. Especially for multi-channel audio and music. You DON'T want to change the timbral characteristics of the front three speakers so that they are uneven. What will happen is instruments, dialogue, effects, etc, will start to sound noticeabley different as they move from one speaker to another...that's bad. For DVD-A and SACD, that's very, very bad. Those formats are designed to be played on 5 identical speakers, the further away from identical you move, the worse the results will be. That's why everybody under the sun recommends "timbre matching" in the first place.

    Nope, I'm afraid I've got to ask if you bothered to read my post? I think it was more constructive way to approach your problem than just throwing more money at your center channel, especially if we could have found that you didn't have to, or at least found an area that would produce more beneficial results than spending even more money to make your system sound the same or worse.

  11. #11
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    Wow,your Avatar is a cartoon. And i get called a "kid". Nice. I really do appreciate all the help and yes it is very frustrating. I have read that the C5 is known for being "to warm" and lacking clarity if that makes sense. I don't listen to the speaker when i bought it back in 1999 mabe i would have been able to tell in the store. But am i right in asuming that the C5 is NOT a timber match for the Stratus Silveri's,if so does it really matter what center i use.

  12. #12
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by LEAFS264
    Wow,your Avatar is a cartoon. And i get called a "kid".
    There, now you see, you had an opportunity to end the hostility and but you had to indulge didn't ya? Couldn't we all just get along?

    Quote Originally Posted by LEAFS264
    II don't listen to the speaker when i bought it back in 1999 mabe i would have been able to tell in the store. But am i right in asuming that the C5 is NOT a timber match for the Stratus Silveri's,if so does it really matter what center i use.
    Nope, PSB made the Stratus C5 as a matching solution to the Stratus speakers. To my knowledge they did not make any other speaker named a "C5" other than the ones that matched the Stratus line. So yes, the C5 is as close a timbre match as you are likely to get. To my knowledge, neither C5 nor C6 use the same drivers found in the other Stratus speakers so you're at the mercy of PSB's design philosophies. That's okay though, the crossover in a center channel with identical drivers would have to be much different anyway, which means the speakers would have to be "voiced" to match the Stratus mains, the same method I'm sure they used when designing the C5 and C6.

    You may get lucky and find a center channel speaker that sounds closer in tone to your main speakers than the C5, but considering that every other manufacturer likely made their center channels match their main speakers and not PSB's main speakers, I'm not very optimistic of your chances of finding a better match than PSB's C5 or C6, which was designed to match PSB's Stratus main speakers.

  13. #13
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    Alright. Thanks for all the info. I'll keep it and ditch the Sony receiver. need a upgrade anyway.

  14. #14
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    I have the Sony DB-975 receiver, I've upgraded to a Yamaha RX-V2200 which powered my speakers much better and exhibits way more detail, this was perceived as bright compared to the Sony. So I'm suggesting an upgrade to a better receiver such as the Yamaha RX-V1500 or 2500. Once you adjust to the new sound you may be much happier with your center.
    I also have the Paradigm cc 370 v3 which I have no complaints about but I was thinking of getting the 470 in hopes its tweeter would better match my Studio 100's. I can't tell you how this center compares to other brands.
    Also consider upgrading your source as this can really bring out the details of movies or music. It might be a good idea to this before upgrading your receiver. Only after these improvements would I consider the speakers and you may become content with your center.

  15. #15
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    My source is a Integra DPC-8.5. So i'm pretty sure its the sony receiver.
    Can't wait to upgrade!!!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEAFS264
    My source is a Integra DPC-8.5. So i'm pretty sure its the sony receiver.
    Can't wait to upgrade!!!
    So let me get this straight...

    You jump from replacing the center speaker, which you are sure is the problem in your system (you've read reviews and even gone as far as taking it to other people's houses for comparison) to keeping the speaker and replacing the receiver, because now you're convinced the sony receiver has been the problem all along???? Based on What???? I'm assuming that the speaker sounded good in other people's setup? No???? And what exactly is the Sony receiver doing to make only the center speaker sound bad? That's a nifty trick: How is it pulling that off?

    Look, if you've got "upgraditis"; the money is burning a hole in your pocket and you've just gotta spend it, that's your business. Buy a new receiver. But like I said to you in my earlier post, if you make this upgrade in an uneducated way, the problems are likely to follow you as you progress along the upgrade path. At least three people have encouraged you to look into setup calibration type issues before you compound your problems or try to fix something that isn't broken. I've yet to read a single reply from you even achknowleding such issues. What's up with that???

    I'm going to recommend you do something that I don't often recommend... I am a big proponent for the use of a center channel speaker, but IMO, it is preferable to forgo using a center channel speaker rather than use one which is very mismatched or of a poor quality. I suggest you take the center speaker out of your system, take the time to adjust your setup to optimize the stereo imaging of the front mains, and then give it a test drive.

    PSB makes some good speakers, but not every speaker in the line is guaranteed to be of the same high quality; and center channel speakers by their very nature are already compromised sonically. It could just be that nothing is going to make this speaker sound better and if that's the case you will at least have that knowledge as you move forward. And by the way, if you haven't looked into the setup/calibration issues that have been raised, you really owe it to yourself to start there.

    Q

  17. #17
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    What is with you people!!!!! I've said from the Start that this center channel sounds "off" if you will.
    BUT OH NO,IT CAN'T BE THE CENTER ITS A "PERFECT MATCH" for the Silveri's.But guess what........thats right it IS NOT A TIMBER MATCH. i have the C5 not the C5i.And yes it is different. Why is this concept so hard for you "experts" to grasp. The drivers have 0 in comon with one another. So when i'm told by ALL OF YOU , that it must be somthing else, well that can only mean the receiver. Thats why i was going to change it.

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    "What is with you people!!!!! I've said from the Start that this center channel sounds "off" if you will."

    I think we all understand that.

    "BUT OH NO,IT CAN'T BE THE CENTER ITS A "PERFECT MATCH" for the Silveri's.But guess what........thats right it IS NOT A TIMBER MATCH. i have the C5 not the C5i.And yes it is different. Why is this concept so hard for you "experts" to grasp. The drivers have 0 in comon with one another."

    Not hard for us to grasp at all, in fact that's what WE have been telling you all along. What YOU seem to have a hard time grasping is that there are reasons why even perfectly timbre matched speakers can sound less than perfect depending on system setup. And that even speakers which are less than perfect matches can be made to sound better... even acceptable with adjustments to system setup. And then, as I mentioned in my last post to you, there are times when regardless of all other factors, a center speaker is never going to sound alright. Then your options are more limited but do include not using a center speaker at all. You can look around endlessly for some other manufacturers center speaker that by the grace of God happens to match your mains, but that is probably and exercise in futility. By my reckoning, you've made zero attempt at addressing any of this stuff. Do you apply the same logic to other areas of your life? When your car is idling a little rough do you start by replacing the engine?

    "So when i'm told by ALL OF YOU , that it must be somthing else, well that can only mean the receiver. Thats why i was going to change it."

    That's quite a leap. Let me see is I follow you here... We are all idiots, but you're going to take our advice, which you have somehow deduced as being the replacement of your receiver. I think we've been trying to tell you that it can be any number of things, starting with something as basic as setup and calibration problems, extending all the way to accepting that this center speaker is never going to be a good match for your mains. But at this point, we have how much indication that the receiver is the problem? Exactly how did you go about diagnosing the receiver as being the problem? Answer me this... If your receiver is the problem, then don't you think the center speaker should have sounded better when connected to your friends receiver? According to some of your earlier posts, it did not. So what magic is going to occur to suddenly make it sound better when you connect it to your "new" receiver. If the speaker didn't sound better when placed in some other system, then what makes you think replacing some other aspect of your system is going to make the "problem center speaker" sound better. This makes no sense. As I've said previously, this problem is most likely going to follow you along this upgrade path. Applying your logic, why stop at receivers? If a better receiver doesn't cure the problem, buy seperates. If that doesn't do the trick, buy even more expensive seperates! And when that doesn't work????? But you go right ahead. You've got all the answers, genius.

    Like the man said... "A fool and his money are easily parted". Cheers!

    Q

  19. #19
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    Thats the DE- 975 that I have which I still use in another room with Cerwin Vegas. When I first had the Sony hooked to my Paradigm Monitor 7s the 7s didn't sound any better than the Vegas. So that's when I took the chance on a Yamaha not knowing if it would make any difference. Well let me tell you, those Paradigms came to life and then I knew why they cost more than the Vegas. So if your PSB's are like my Paradigms the Sony can't drive them sufficiently to get the best out of them. This may not solve your center problem. But with a better receiver like the Yamaha you can also equalize the center and this may solve your problem.
    I will be curious to know if you get the same results after ditching the Sony. Let me know.

  20. #20
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    Thanks wireworm5, thats the kind of respone i was expecting from a site like this. People with REAL experience talking about different equipment and how it has made a difference(good or bad) to the rest of their systems. Not like the post above yours. Which was written by an "genius" in his own mind. I have no more time for audiophile snobs.Who try to make the rest of us feel stupid for asking questions. This will be my last post on this site.

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LEAFS264
    Thanks wireworm5, thats the kind of respone i was expecting from a site like this. People with REAL experience talking about different equipment and how it has made a difference(good or bad) to the rest of their systems. Not like the post above yours. Which was written by an "genius" in his own mind. I have no more time for audiophile snobs.Who try to make the rest of us feel stupid for asking questions. This will be my last post on this site.
    Well, Q and kex are right about the importance of calibrating and setting up. That advice is consistent with what I have observed in my REAL experience as well. The first step is not to upgrade the components, but to make sure that what you currently have is setup correctly to begin with. I've not taken my components to different people's houses, but I've made the adjustments, measurements, and placements necessary to maximize my system's performance within my room. If have not balanced the output levels with your speakers using a SPL meter, changed the delay timing with the center speaker, or tried repositioning the center speaker, then you have multiple options that you still have to try out before you can come to any conclusion about the cause and effect.

    Often, people come onto this board and detail out deficiencies in their system, along with all these far flung "solutions" that they're thinking about trying out. Maybe I need a more powerful amplifer? Maybe I need a new DVD player? Maybe I need to get a new center speaker? Maybe I need to swap out cables? 9 times out of 10, these posters have not even considered changes to the setup, which in actuality solves the problem in question most of the time. No out of pocket expenses, just a little bit of time invested in getting to know the system and all of the available adjustments better, learning how to properly place the speakers, and some simple adjustments to the room to reduce acoustical problems.

    If you think that REAL experience comes only through swapping out equipment, then you'd better get your credit card warmed up because you'll have a lot of upgrades ahead of you.

  22. #22
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    "...Sony can't drive them sufficiently to get the best out of them. This may not solve your center problem."

    He's deaf when it comes to hearing this point, even from someone who is advocating a receiver upgrade.

    "But with a better receiver like the Yamaha you can also equalize the center and this may solve your problem."

    Why would you expect him to equalize his center? He won't even acknowledge the suggestion that making adjustments and calibrations to his current receiver has any practical value toward correcting the problem. Why should it have any value with his new receiver? No. In his mind, replacing the receiver IS the cure.

    Please understand; I'm not being critical of you or your advice. We are all entitled to our opinions. You made a change in receivers which from your perspective, produced a notable improvement to your system. I've no problem with that. And from my perspective, it is never a mistake to invest in good quality amplification. But even his receiver upgrade is not going to absolve him from the need to properly calibrate and setup his new receiver. All good equipment can be made to sound bad if poorly setup.

    This has been a strange thread, and I've formulated a theory as to why... I don't think our friend here knows how to properly setup and/or calibrate his system. I think perhaps that is why he refuses to even broach the subject and responds so angrily when pressed on the matter. I think he is embarrased to admit this, even though there is no need to be. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt that this is the real motivation behind all of his vitriol. There... that's my one act of kindness for the day. At least I hope this is the case because otherwise...?

    Q

  23. #23
    AR "Wisdom of Yoda"Member LEAFS264's Avatar
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    You are right! It would be hard to admit that i've overlooked somthing in my set up routine. I don't feel that i have, but at the same time i'm by no means an expert on such matters. I don't mean to suggest othewise. I am thankful that ALL of you, took the time to even reply and try to help.
    So, to that end......no disrespect intended.
    And i would very much appreciate any and all help in the future should the need arise.
    And YES Quagmire that is my way of saying sorry!!
    Bye the way...."otherwise what"?

  24. #24
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    LEAFS264: You've got a pretty good system going there...The Stratus line is a lot better than the old PSB Alpha line or Paradigm Performance line that my first to home theater systems were built around (and that wasn't really all that long ago).

    Maybe you could describe for us how your current center is setup (ie: the placement of front 3 speakers, distance of speakers from your listening position etc...) Then you can check your delay...you should be able to enter into your receiver the distances in ft (or delay in ms, 1ft = 1ms I believe) each speaker is from the seating position or sweet spot. Can you confirm that you have the volume level of all front 3 speakers volume level matched? To do this you should have an SPL meter...You will be very surprised at how much of a difference this can make. It could be that your other speakers just play louder than your center, so you might need to bump up the gain to the center? Do you have a subwoofer? Are your speakers set to "Large" or "Small"? What is the subwoofer's crossover point?

    My apologies if you've done all this, but if you haven't these are the kinds of tweaks the folks here can help you with...the stuff the salesmen don't teach you, the manuals barely touch (and in my opinion the stuff you REALLY need to know).

  25. #25
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    OK, I have a suggestion. Lets assume you have the knowledge to calibrate your system and the end result is the fact that your center sucks and you just can't live with it anymore. Fine. It is now time to upgrade. You even stated when talking about your receiver that you needed an upgrade anyways. First thing is first, the center channel. Which ever one you decide sounds better from your two choices, buy it. And by the way, I have the cc 370 and it is clear and detailed and I have thrown alot of hard duty its way and it has not faultered one bit. You now have your center, but before you leave the store you are going to have to buy some new mains to match. Very critical to get a seamless as possibly front soundstage. If you want a standmount, fine, a floorstander, IMO even better, buy the mon 7's, 9's or 11's providing that you decided on buying the cc 370 in the first place. By now you are starting to get the upgrade itch out of your system and believe me, I've been there before. But don't leave the store yet, you now have your center and matching mains (very important) but remember, you stated that you needed a receiver upgrade anyways. My recommendations to make your new speakers sound really good, how about a Yamaha 1500 or 2500 or maybe a Denon 2805 or a 3805. Now we are talking, you will be it HOMETHEATER HEAVEN and isn't that where we all want to be in the first place. Just some friendly advice, keep us posted on all your upgrades and results.

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