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Thread: Phantom Center

  1. #1
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Phantom Center

    In my quest for a new center channel speaker, a few people over at Audio Asylum suggested trying the Phantom Center.

    Over the weekend I had a chance to try it. I also rolled in the Audience 82s for fronts along with the 42s as rears.

    Even though I told my Integra no Center Speaker, the Audessy calibration still sent the signal so I had to disconnect the cabling from the speaker.

    I tested with some sections of a few movies.
    In Bruges, which has some hard dialog to follow between the accents and fast mumbling.

    The Soloist, again with J Fox's fast mumbling and lots of background noise.

    Terminator 2 was used for sound effects more than dialog.

    The results were very good and I had no issues with the sound of any of it.

    I then hooked the Center back up and re calibrated. I played the same sections of the above 3 movies only to find that I actually like the Phantom setup a little better. I could hear the dialog very clearly and the mains were being utilized with much fuller sound instead of just front effects or filler.

    So now I am left questioning whether I really need to replace my center or do I even really need a Center? Is my current center, Infinity Beta that bad that it is making the setup sound worse than no center at all?

    Anyone here tried this setup? What were your results and conclusions?
    Hyfi
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  2. #2
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    I tried this once way back in the Dolby Pro Logic days. I had a Yamaha DSR-100Pro processor and 2 pair of the Klipsch Kg4s. I didn't have a center channel yet, so tried the Phantom setup. It sounded OK, but DPR isn't very critical.

    I can guess a phantom center would sound fine as long as you have good imaging mains. I've always been impressed with all the mains I've used, especially the Klipsch Kg4s. They image so well it hard to tell when a center is being used.

    I agree it's definitely possible the Phantom center could sound better than using a center speaker. Moreso if the center isn't matched, or up to the task. I would much rather have a center to provide better control over the dialogue.

  3. #3
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    ...So now I am left questioning whether I really need to replace my center or do I even really need a Center?
    depends on what you like, but i would definitely try out a matching center speaker before writing it off.

    i've never tried a dedicated center speaker, phantom has always worked very well for me.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  4. #4
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dingus View Post
    depends on what you like, but i would definitely try out a matching center speaker before writing it off.

    i've never tried a dedicated center speaker, phantom has always worked very well for me.
    I can't get a matching center and cannot afford any other Dynaudio center at this time. I can afford other $300 to $400 centers that I'm sure are way better than the one I have now.
    Hyfi
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    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    as i see it, the problem going with another unmatched center is, if you dont like how it integrates into your system you are exactly where you are right now. heck, even if you do like a different unmatched center, you wont know if the matching Dynaudio is the cats meow or not. going with a Dynaudio will answer your question either way.

    you could see if a local dealer will let you demo the Dynaudio and if you decide you like it, run in phantom mode until you can move on one. you could also seek out other audio enthusiast Dynaudio owners in your area that may let you try out theirs.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  6. #6
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dingus View Post
    as i see it, the problem going with another unmatched center is, if you dont like how it integrates into your system you are exactly where you are right now. heck, even if you do like a different unmatched center, you wont know if the matching Dynaudio is the cats meow or not. going with a Dynaudio will answer your question either way.

    you could see if a local dealer will let you demo the Dynaudio and if you decide you like it, run in phantom mode until you can move on one. you could also seek out other audio enthusiast Dynaudio owners in your area that may let you try out theirs.
    Yeah, it sucks that I can't get a 42C anywhere now. You also rarely see any used Dynaudio speakers anyway.

    The Excite center is $900 and the DM is $800 and both are out of the current budget.

    Thanks for the suggestions though.
    Hyfi
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  7. #7
    Suspended markw's Avatar
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    Kinda of an apples to oranges comparison here.

    To start, you're forced to use a non-matching center speaker. That's going against you from the start. Not being timbre matched will deduct a few points from the overall satisfaction level of the system.

    With a phantom center, a non-matching center is a non-issue so timbre matching across the front (all two speakers) is not an issue.

    Also, phantom centers can be great, but usually from only one listening position. Anything off that will have the sound skewed to the nearest speaker.

    I think that with a matching (timbre matched) center speaker your opinions might change to favor the three speaker front stage.

    Not knowing your listening room, hardware, or inclinations, I would suggest that your Dyn's be reserved for "music only" purposes, perhaps with a "B" speaker position on your receiver, and you look towards a matching three-speaker setup for your front three HT purposes.

    You might be surprised at how what some might consider "lesser" speakers can do a very, very good job when only asked to handle movies.

  8. #8
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    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

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    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dingus View Post

    Dooood, you rock. I'm 45 minutes away and will be calling him shortly.
    Hyfi
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    Main - Rotel 1072 > VAC CLA1 MKII > Counterpoint NPS 400 > Clearfield Continentals > Synergystic Research
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  10. #10
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Dooood, you rock. I'm 45 minutes away and will be calling him shortly.
    It was sold the day after it was listed to a guy in Florida buying and paying for shipping. The guy didnt pull the add yet until he gets the money. If it falls through, he will call me back but I'm not holding my breath.
    Hyfi
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    Main - Rotel 1072 > VAC CLA1 MKII > Counterpoint NPS 400 > Clearfield Continentals > Synergystic Research
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  11. #11
    stuck on vintage dingus's Avatar
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    bummer. you still have an outside chance though. still, i would keep an eye on craigslist, audiogon and ebay.
    AR MGC-1, AR C225 PS, M&K V-1B, Pioneer VSX 47TX, Oppo BDP-83, Squeezebox v3, Vortexbox Appliance.

  12. #12
    Lurker Hyfi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dingus View Post
    bummer. you still have an outside chance though. still, i would keep an eye on craigslist, audiogon and ebay.
    Yeah, I have been but looked last thursday and that add was friday. Thanks again for the heads up tho, much appreciated.

    The guy was amazed that he even got two responses so quickly, he has the matching 42s but recently moved into a small apartment and was just making room. He had no idea how sought out this center is.
    Hyfi
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    Main - Rotel 1072 > VAC CLA1 MKII > Counterpoint NPS 400 > Clearfield Continentals > Synergystic Research
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Secondary - Oppo 93 > Hafler 945 Pre-Tuner >Odyssey Stratos Plus > JM Labs Tantal 509s > Tara Labs

  13. #13
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Take a listen to the PSB Image C5. The Image line has a warmer sound that may come close tonally your Danes. Plus the C5 has had good reviews. Saturday Audio has B-stock for $100 off.
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  14. #14
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    We were going the phantom center route in the family room and it just wasn't getting it. The Paradigm Mini Monitors are a nice speaker, but they just couldn't handle the dialog sufficiently. My wife just wasn't getting every word that was being said. We picked up the Paradigm Center 3 speaker and what a difference. We just watched Big Bang Theory and CSI on the DVR and she never paused the program once to say "what was that".
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
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    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)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
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    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyfi View Post
    Yeah, I have been but looked last thursday and that add was friday. Thanks again for the heads up tho, much appreciated.

    The guy was amazed that he even got two responses so quickly, he has the matching 42s but recently moved into a small apartment and was just making room. He had no idea how sought out this center is.

    Hyfi....you might want to try Peabody. I know he traded in his Dynaudio fronts with the purchase of his Revels, but I don't know if the center channel was part of the deal...you may want to check with him. I can give you his email if you like?
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

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    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Hyfi....you might want to try Peabody. I know he traded in his Dynaudio fronts with the purchase of his Revels, but I don't know if the center channel was part of the deal...you may want to check with him. I can give you his email if you like?
    Wow, Peabody traded in his Dyns. This must be serious. He didn't do that when he bought the Zu's. Does he have an idea when the Revel's are coming in?
    2 Channel System
    Dynaudio Contour 1.8 Mk II
    Pass Labs X150.5 (Amp)
    Cary SLP-03 (Preamp)
    Music Hall MMF 5.1 (TT)
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    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)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  17. #17
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I've been using a phantom center channel for years. With 4 large esl's and 3 sub woofers I just don't have the space for a timbre matched (esl) center channel.
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  18. #18
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    Wow, Peabody traded in his Dyns. This must be serious. He didn't do that when he bought the Zu's. Does he have an idea when the Revel's are coming in?
    Hi Jack....The Revel F52's are a much better speaker than the Dynaudio Contour t2.5's. The F52's are truly a 3D speaker with great depth. They really disappear. The t2.5's where not and don't do what the F52's do.

    You guys think im playing....well im not. If you can, go and listen to some Revels. You may be trading in your Dyns as well.

    No point in having speakers sitting around when you know you wont be using them. The Revels are expensive speakers like Dyns...the Dyns had to go in the deal to get out of pocket price down a bit. That's only good business sense if you are not going to be using them.

    He got them in a few days ago..Peabody .says he has only about 75 hours on them.

    You got that new integrated amp in yet?
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


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    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

  19. #19
    Forum Regular Jack in Wilmington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post
    Hi Jack....The Revel F52's are a much better speaker than the Dynaudio Contour t2.5's. The F52's are truly a 3D speaker with great depth. They really disappear. The t2.5's where not and don't do what the F52's do.

    You guys think im playing....well im not. If you can, go and listen to some Revels. You may be trading in your Dyns as well.

    No point in having speakers sitting around when you know you wont be using them. The Revels are expensive speakers like Dyns...the Dyns had to go in the deal to get out of pocket price down a bit. That's only good business sense if you are not going to be using them.

    He got them in a few days ago..Peabody .says he has only about 75 hours on them.

    You got that new integrated amp in yet?
    Yeah Frenchie. I got it in Friday evening, the same time that I picked up the Paradigm center for the wife. Didn't get a chance to hook it up till today. Early returns are coming in and it sounds quite promissing. Got more to listen to before I can give an in depth report.
    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)
    Onkyo TX SR-705 (Receiver)
    Panasonic TH-46PZ85U (Plasma TV)
    Denon DBT-1713UD (BluRay/SACD)

  20. #20
    frenchmon frenchmon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack in Wilmington View Post
    Yeah Frenchie. I got it in Friday evening, the same time that I picked up the Paradigm center for the wife. Didn't get a chance to hook it up till today. Early returns are coming in and it sounds quite promissing. Got more to listen to before I can give an in depth report.
    Man...I know that Anthem will be a nice addition to you system. Are you able to run the tube integrated through the Anthem? Can you get tube warmth with the power of the Anthem? I have a buddy the was able to do that with his Rogue Cronus and his receiver. The receiver had more power while the Cronus provided all the tube sweetness...worked out really well for him. Just thought you could do the same thing.
    Music...let it into your soul and be moved....with Canton...Pure Music


    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Vincent SA - T1/Vincent SP-331 MK /MF XRAY v8 /MMF-7.1/2M BLACK/ Creek OBH MK 2/Canton Vento 830.2

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