Center speaker suggestions?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Underdog, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. Underdog

    Underdog Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Cjames
    I would like to find a center channel speaker to hopefully boost dialog on movies.Current fronts are Paradigms MkII 7se's. Rears are Paradigm bookshelf-size speakers from the same era -the sticker fell off the back a few years ago - they are maybe mini mk II's? There is a velodyne V 1012B sub. Driven by a (frankly underwhelming, but that's for another day) Pioneer VSX-31.I know the speakers are old, but we like them and are not inclined to replace them. They have been treated well and, so far, the surrounds and individual speakers seem to be holding up. It's only the volume difference between dialog and background music/effects on movies that is a problem.I am hoping someone here can help identify a center speaker that would be a decent match for the 7se's. Ideally the price is something in the neighborhood of $200-$300. A discontinued/closeout model from previous years and/or something from a manufacturer other than Paradigm would be fine.Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

    Joined:
    May 16, 2002
    Messages:
    3,531
    Likes Received:
    395
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Real Name:
    Jason Charlton
    You really want to stick with the same manufacturer (ideally even the same product line) for your front three to achieve proper "timbre matching" - that is, sounds that pan across the front sound stage are tonally consistent from speaker to speaker. Mixing and matching brands/models will often result in wildly inconsistent panning audio that will likely be just as distracting as your current low volume problem.

    A quick online search reveals that when the MKII's were released, there WAS no "matching center" channel for them.

    Therefore, the "best" match for the 7se mains would be another 7se for the center. In fact, audio purists would tell you that if you have the space, identical speakers all around are the best option for home theater.

    Of course, this is not often a practical solution for most people.

    I saw a pair of 7se's on eBay for a Buy it Now price of $165. If you have the space, it's a good deal and you get a spare speaker.

    If that's not in the cards for you, I saw a few mentions online of a Paradigm CC-300 being a decent match, too - that's another speaker you'll have to scour the used market for if you want to find one.
     
    Underdog likes this.
  3. Underdog

    Underdog Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Cjames
    Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately I don't see any way to fit in another 7se as a center. And I don't think It would even work to experiment with another set of the bigger speakers as rears and repurposing one of the bookshelf-size ones for the center - there is just no place to put them. The CC-300 sounds like the best bet and I will keep an eye out for a used one. I am a little nervous about buying and shipping a ~20 year old speaker, but I'll try to remember how much cheaper it is than replacing all the speakers...
     
  4. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    17,112
    Likes Received:
    899
    Location:
    Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
    Real Name:
    Sam
    20 year old speaker?

    It is still a baby. I have a pair of Lafayette my grandfather made in 1943 from a mail order kit.
     
  5. Underdog

    Underdog Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Cjames
    I am ok with 20 yr old speakers, in general. It's just the history unknown, sight unseen, sound unheard, packed for shipping by who-knows-who part of acquiring one that worries me.Also, I am impressed your grandfather put together a pair of speakers. I thought 1943 pre-dated home stereo and hi-fi's back then generally had just one speaker? Was he involved professionally with audio or movies?
     
  6. tomoti

    tomoti Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    whesly
  7. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    17,112
    Likes Received:
    899
    Location:
    Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
    Real Name:
    Sam
    First, "pair of speakers" does not automatically mean stereo. Many a thread hear discussing 3-track movie sound has rendered "when multi-track audio isn't stereo" a long talked about topic.

    Second...by the 40's there were already numerous attempts at 2-track audio. And again, 2-track audio doesn't mean stereo.

    Third, some early AM radios had two speaker hookups so sound could be spread around.
     
  8. Northgun

    Northgun Second Unit

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    Michigan
    Real Name:
    Jacob
    Did u end up getting a center speaker Underdog or r u still looking for input/researching?
     
  9. Underdog

    Underdog Auditioning

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Cjames
    Thanks to Jason for his spot-on recommendation of the CC-300 to go with my old Paradigms.

    I watched ebay and local-ish craigslists for a couple of weeks and saw several come and go during that time. Made an offer on one that showed up on ebay that appeared to have been very well-treated. There was a shipping delay so the speaker just arrived Wednesday. It was well-packed and looked as good as it appeared in the photos - the exterior was in excellent shape and the speakers/surrounds were intact and flexible. The seller offered to refund part of the shipping fee because of the delay so we ended paying ~$120 total. This may be a bit more than the average ebay price, but seemed ok to me since I think the speaker was in above-average condition.

    Plugged it in and let the MCACC on the receiver do its thing. I have not had a chance to really listen to it yet, but it's supposed to rain all weekend so I think that will happen... Based on the little bit of ordinary tv we've watched, the sound is noticeably improved - it is more full and 3-d. The new speaker blends well with the old ones. Dialog does not seem necessarily louder, but is separated from background music and effects so it is much easier to hear.

    I hope to tweak what the MCACC came up with to see if I can get a little more out of the setup. I still feel like this pioneer receiver does not drive the speakers as well as any of the 3 or 4 audio-only amp setups we have used over the years.

    Adding this speaker was a big improvement for a small investment.

    Thanks again, Jason, for the suggestion of the CC-300. If the CC-300 had been harder to find, I would have taken a good look at the Polk that was also recommended.
     

Share This Page