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  1. #1
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    Center channel dilema

    When I first put together my HT setup, it was a cheap experiment to see if I cared. I do care and now enjoy watching movies more than I ever did.

    I first had little micro Paradygms for rears and replaced them with Dynaudio 42s. My mains are 82s or the Clearfields, the Sub is a Mirage Omni 12. The weak link in the speaker setup is my Center, which is an Infinity Beta C250. Probably not a bad speaker if matched with the whole line for a low budget setup.

    So now I am thinking about replacing the Center but the Dynaudio 42C is no longer available. With all the talk about how all the speakers should be the same lineup or MFG, I have a dilemma.

    If I cannot get my hands on a matching Audience Center, and really don't want to spend close to $850.00 for an Excite Center, what are the specs I should mostly be concerned with if choosing an off brand to mix with my Danes?

    They are 4ohm-86db with a silk tweeter. Should I zero in on those specs or just buy the best one I can afford?

    Anyone have any thoughts on Usher speakers?

    Usher Audio S-525 Center Channel Speaker (pioneer) at Audioholics Store

  2. #2
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    When I first put together my HT setup, it was a cheap experiment to see if I cared. I do care and now enjoy watching movies more than I ever did.

    I first had little micro Paradygms for rears and replaced them with Dynaudio 42s. My mains are 82s or the Clearfields, the Sub is a Mirage Omni 12. The weak link in the speaker setup is my Center, which is an Infinity Beta C250. Probably not a bad speaker if matched with the whole line for a low budget setup.

    So now I am thinking about replacing the Center but the Dynaudio 42C is no longer available. With all the talk about how all the speakers should be the same lineup or MFG, I have a dilemma.

    If I cannot get my hands on a matching Audience Center, and really don't want to spend close to $850.00 for an Excite Center, what are the specs I should mostly be concerned with if choosing an off brand to mix with my Danes?

    They are 4ohm-86db with a silk tweeter. Should I zero in on those specs or just buy the best one I can afford?

    Anyone have any thoughts on Usher speakers?

    Usher Audio S-525 Center Channel Speaker (pioneer) at Audioholics Store
    Hyfi,
    What you are really looking for is tonal match, not necessarily specs. You need to find a center speaker that is a tonal match to your left/right mains. That is the objective.
    Sir Terrence

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    Hyfi,
    What you are really looking for is tonal match, not necessarily specs. You need to find a center speaker that is a tonal match to your left/right mains. That is the objective.
    And how do I go about that quest?

    I was just on the phone with Steve from Quest for Sound, who is local to me and carries the Usher line. He said that the s-525 would match up fine, but then again he wants to sell a speaker.

    Just googling Tonal Match, it was pointed out to look at the Tweeter for size and material. The usher as well as my Danes use a 1' Silk Dome Tweeter. Is that the direction I should be going?

    Also, it is suggested to match the front mains and not the the rears or surrounds. That said, I don't always use my 82s as fronts and much of the time I use my Clearfields. They also use a 1' silk dome. I will probably not be able to afford any Von Schwiekerts to match with them.

    Right now, just about anything should be a better match than the Infinity Beta I currently use.

    Thanks T.

  4. #4
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    And how do I go about that quest?

    I was just on the phone with Steve from Quest for Sound, who is local to me and carries the Usher line. He said that the s-525 would match up fine, but then again he wants to sell a speaker.

    Just googling Tonal Match, it was pointed out to look at the Tweeter for size and material. The usher as well as my Danes use a 1' Silk Dome Tweeter. Is that the direction I should be going?
    The tweeter is just one perimeter to watch for. Driver configuration, crossover point of those drivers(in relationship to your mains), and how it is going to be positioned are all important as well.

    Also, it is suggested to match the front mains and not the the rears or surrounds. That said, I don't always use my 82s as fronts and much of the time I use my Clearfields. They also use a 1' silk dome. I will probably not be able to afford any Von Schwiekerts to match with them.
    Whomever gave you this advice about not matching your surrounds is a idiot. When mixing movie soundtracks, all main channels are considered "equal". You stand a better chance of creating that coveted "acoustical bubble" with tonally matched speakers on all channels.

    Right now, just about anything should be a better match than the Infinity Beta I currently use.

    Thanks T.
    Hyfi, do any of these companies have a money back tryout period? If so, test a variety of center speaker with your own to see if there is a match. If not, return it and try more. Don't choose any and everything, just those you think will match your mains.
    Sir Terrence

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible View Post
    The tweeter is just one perimeter to watch for. Driver configuration, crossover point of those drivers(in relationship to your mains), and how it is going to be positioned are all important as well.



    Whomever gave you this advice about not matching your surrounds is a idiot. When mixing movie soundtracks, all main channels are considered "equal". You stand a better chance of creating that coveted "acoustical bubble" with tonally matched speakers on all channels.



    Hyfi, do any of these companies have a money back tryout period? If so, test a variety of center speaker with your own to see if there is a match. If not, return it and try more. Don't choose any and everything, just those you think will match your mains.
    I'm pretty sure Quest for Sound will let me home audition or return. Keep in mind, I'm not trying to create the end all system, just improve on what I have with the problem of probably never being able to match the exact speaker.

  6. #6
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    I'm pretty sure Quest for Sound will let me home audition or return. Keep in mind, I'm not trying to create the end all system, just improve on what I have with the problem of probably never being able to match the exact speaker.
    For what you are trying to do, you don't need a perfect tonal match. Just do your best to match as closely as you can.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  7. #7
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    It would be nice if Steve could hook you up with a used X-616 center, I think that would integrate with your 82's. They're not cheap but if you could find one on the used market, they do show up from time to time on Audiogon.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Yamaha RX-A830 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  8. #8
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    This a great time to DIY since you only have to build one. I think you can find the drivers for a 42, get your crossovers from PE and cabinet dimensions from Dynaudio. If you can't find a 42 driver/tweet you can get it's specs and match them with an existing driver/tweet from PE.

    I'm currently building a bass reflex center speaker to pair with the four Frugal Horns I've now built.

  9. #9
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    I had a similar problem try to find a center speaker to match the KEF C95 in my secondary system. I end up getting the Polk CSi40 which contain a almost similar polymer soft dome tweeter. The tonal match is pretty good.

  10. #10
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    The best center speaker is another main.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poultrygeist View Post
    The best center speaker is another main.
    I agree. Horizontal centers, despite their popularity, are not ideal. What you want ideally is another main, placed in its usual vertical position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur View Post
    I agree. Horizontal centers, despite their popularity, are not ideal. What you want ideally is another main, placed in its usual vertical position.
    LOL, I can't fit another 82 in the middle but understand the concept. I am also not going to buy a set of used 42s to only use one of them.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    LOL, I can't fit another 82 in the middle but understand the concept. I am also not going to buy a set of used 42s to only use one of them.
    I hear you. A used 42 as a center is probably what would be best. It is tricky.
    In my case, I have a center that matches my surrounds, and I have tried with and without. Without, I find myself straining to hear dialog unless I jack up the mains volume, which means all hell breaks loose in the more dynamic and louder scenes. That is the reason i do use it most of the time, as I can jack up the center channel volume to heighten the quiet dialog scenes without having to turn up the overall volume too much. But the fact that it's horizontal means dialog intelligibility isn't at its best for people watching more to the sides (off axis).

  14. #14
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    The center channel is the voice of a 5.1 system and the most important.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    I would look for a speaker that has the same ohm rating as your other speakers and one that has clear audible dialog with similar tone to your mains. You will never be able to fully match the tone of the Dyns but yuo can get fairly close. Take a look at Paradigm Centers. PSB Centers might be a good match. From the Dyns that I have heard, they tend to lean on the warmer side as does PSB. It might be a very good match.

    PSB B-Stock Sale

    Take a look at the Image C4 and C5's near the bottom of the page in the link above.

    Here's a favorable review of the C5-

    PSB Image Series Speaker System | Sound and Vision Magazine
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    Thanks for all the suggestions - I scored!

    Yesterday I found a guy 15 minutes away advertising a pair of 82s for $1400. For kicks, I decided to read the add anyway. After everything about the 82s, he mentions he has a 122c and 42Ws.

    He wanted to sell the 82s first or the whole kit but we emailed several times. By the time I got home and had dinner, I got an email that he sold the 82s so the 122c was available. He was asking $550 which was a bit steep to me and he went down to $525. I did some more math, taking into account that he didn't pay the list $825 and it is used and discontinued and it was not the same % he dropped the 82s. We haggled a bit and I got him to take $475, which I thought was a fair price for both. He claims it is only 3.5 years old and I'm sure I can trace the serial if I want.

    So I am supposed to pick it up Saturday at noon. I'm not totally liking the phantom center all that much and I'm sure that the 122c will take me to a level of HT I have yet to have with my mismatched setup.

    I'll update how it goes...thanks for the help and suggestions.

    I guess when I missed out on that 42c by a day, it was for this reason.

  17. #17
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Yesterday I found a guy 15 minutes away advertising a pair of 82s for $1400. For kicks, I decided to read the add anyway. After everything about the 82s, he mentions he has a 122c and 42Ws.

    He wanted to sell the 82s first or the whole kit but we emailed several times. By the time I got home and had dinner, I got an email that he sold the 82s so the 122c was available. He was asking $550 which was a bit steep to me and he went down to $525. I did some more math, taking into account that he didn't pay the list $825 and it is used and discontinued and it was not the same % he dropped the 82s. We haggled a bit and I got him to take $475, which I thought was a fair price for both. He claims it is only 3.5 years old and I'm sure I can trace the serial if I want.

    So I am supposed to pick it up Saturday at noon. I'm not totally liking the phantom center all that much and I'm sure that the 122c will take me to a level of HT I have yet to have with my mismatched setup.

    I'll update how it goes...thanks for the help and suggestions.

    I guess when I missed out on that 42c by a day, it was for this reason.
    That's great. Getting the center for the family room has made a great difference at our house. You should have a great HT setup now.
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
    Goldring 1012GX (Cart.)
    Pro-ject SE II (Phono Box)
    Rotel RCD-1072 (CD Player)
    Bryston BDA-1 ( DAC )
    Sennheiser HD-600 (Headphones)
    Musical Fidelity Xcan V3 (Headphone Amp) _

    HT System
    Usher X-719 (Mains)
    Usher X-616 (Center)
    Usher S-520 (Surrounds)
    Rel T2 (Subwoofer)
    Anthem MCA20 (Amp)
    Yamaha RX-A830 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

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    I picked up my Audience 122c yesterday and hooked it up last night.

    WOW, is what my first thought was. I have been missing this for years. Maybe for the most part, many other quality Centers may have worked as opposed to the Infinity Beta C250 which was only $140 and not up to the rest of the pack.

    Tested again with In Bruges due to hard to hear dialog and the accents. Every word was clear as day.

    Put on disk 2 of The Two Towers for a half hour and was just amazed. Between what the OPPO does for DVDs and sound, along with a whole Audience setup, the sound was the best I have had. All the dialog was coming from the center of the screen while the left and rights were perfectly playing all the wagons, horses and other animals and every other sound except dialog, all clear.

    The 122c is the same as the 122 floorstander, just with the base chopped off. the 122 was intended to be part of an HT setup for those who wanted floorstanders instead of the 42 or 52 and did not want 72s or 82s.

    I really didn't like the Phantom, and if you compare that to having a Dynaudio Center, there is hardly a way one would choose a Phantom.

    So I still think I may have paid a little too much for the speaker, $475, it is only 3 years old and listed for $825 and hard to come by. I'm just gonna forget about it now and enjoy the setup.

    The guy also sold his 82s to a guy in Texas, and the 42Ws to someone in another state, along with me buying the Center all within 2 days of placing his add and all on the same day.

    What does that say for Dynaudio Speakers?

    He got new Energy Veritas at half price from Vanns and out of the box, they sounded OK. But they look absolutely stunning in whatever red wood finish he got. I wasn't liking the metal tweeter off the bat.

  19. #19
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Congrats Hyfi,
    I knew that once you found a center speaker that is a decent match for your mains, you would be pleased with the result.
    Sir Terrence

    Titan Reference 3D 1080p projector
    200" SI Black Diamond II screen
    Oppo BDP-103D
    Datastat RS20I audio/video processor 12.4 audio setup
    9 Onkyo M-5099 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-510 power amp
    9 Onkyo M-508 power amp
    6 custom CAL amps for subs
    3 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid monitors
    18 custom 3 way horn DSP hybrid surround/ceiling speakers
    2 custom 15" sealed FFEC servo subs
    4 custom 15" H-PAS FFEC servo subs
    THX Style Baffle wall

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur View Post
    I agree. Horizontal centers, despite their popularity, are not ideal. What you want ideally is another main, placed in its usual vertical position.
    Good idea, it you have the space

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