Which center speaker?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by CALL911, May 19, 2012.

  1. CALL911

    CALL911 Stunt Coordinator

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    Looking for what center speaker I want to go with.
    Originally I was looking at Polk Audio's CS10 model. But don't know how well it sounds. For a bit more money I heard Paradigms Center 3 which sounded good, but have no idea how it compares to the CS10. Does anyone know on these?
    Also, I am open to suggestion on this. Wanting to keep it under $500 (preferrably under $350).
    Anyone have any other suggestions that fits this criterea?
    I have heard that you want to make sure the center speaker is of higher quality, so if this is correct, I want to make sure I am making the right choice.
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    What kind of speakers do you have for your mains?
     
  3. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    According to his other thread it looks like he's leaning towards Paradigm Mini-Monitor 7's so obviously he should get the center that matches them. Paradigm website shows this one (and a larger version). http://www.paradigm.com/products/products-by-category/center/paradigm/monitor-series-7/center-1
     
  4. CALL911

    CALL911 Stunt Coordinator

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    I know getting the matching paradigm center might be ideal, but what are some other good options?
     
  5. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    It's not a matter of it being optimal, it's that not using the matching center is sub-optimal. If you don't like your current sound you really should consider replacing all three fronts.
    But if you are dead-set on this, you can look into any "Canadian speaker" manufacturer. They tend to sound the same since most of them design their speakers using the Canadian government funded research facility's (who's name I forget) design data. I usually recommend Axiom, Paradigm, and PSB; but you can check out these too: http://www.canadianmade.com/speakers.html.
     
  6. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Sorry Ben, but I have to agree with Al. There really aren't any other good options for a center speaker to co-exist with the Paradigm Mini Monitor 7's. There are cheaper options. Better looking options. More expensive options and options that fit the space where the center speaker has to go (if the Paradigm options don't fit).
    Perhaps you should put the Monitor 7's on hold and look for the center channel first. Then see if there are matching fronts to it that you like. Personally, I buy most of my stuff used and currently have an Infinity Beta 360. They go for about $150-$200 each on the used market. The Beta 20 bookshelf speakers go for about $150 a pair.
    The last new Center speaker I bought was the Swan Diva C3 http://www.ozhometheater.com/ozht_prodcat_htspeakers_center_c3bc.htm Unfortunately the matching bookshelves are no longer available although I have a pair listed on CL right now. The matching towers are $1000/pr! As well as those that Al mentioned, here's a few others to consider: Ideally, you want a center with a small mid-range driver to compiment the two mid-bass drivers. Center channel performance seems to drop off considerably when sitting off-axis. A three-way center speaker helps to avoid that issue.
    Energy Veritas http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/features/548446170/energy-v5-2c
    KEF Q200c http://www.vanns.com/shop/servlet/item/features/548421266/kef-q200c?b_i=IP_barilliance
    Boston Acoustics VS325c
    I'm not sure how these really perform in a proper setting (I've only heard them in the stores) but they all seem to get good reviews. I've bought and sold dozens of bookshelf speakers over the years but not too many centers (I have to draw the line somewhere.
    The Polk CS10 is an entry level speaker and often sells for around $100.
     
  7. CALL911

    CALL911 Stunt Coordinator

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    Well my problem was that I really wasn't impressed with Paradigms matching center channel with the mini monitors. The mini monitors are amazing, but the center channel just seemed to lack.
     
  8. CALL911

    CALL911 Stunt Coordinator

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    I guess I should be more specific. The center speaker was paradigm's center 3 speaker. It was not bad, but I could barely tell it was on with the Mini Monitors (perhaps the salesman had the mini monitors louder than the center 3). He shot me a decent price on everything, but it was just a bit higher than I was planning on spending. It does make sense that you would want all 3 of them to be the same brand as it would match sound wise.
    What about the Paradigm Center 1? Other than being slightly smaller than the Center 3 is there any difference? The price on the Center 1 is a bit better, and I would consider that.
    Anyone have info?
     
  9. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    In reality, I've never had a center speaker that sounded as good as the fronts. The Swan C3 was pretty close but the tweeter was mounted differently and very tame by comparison.
    I would have to guess that the center 3 was not set to the same volume level as the Mini Monitors. This is a real problem in mass-market, big box stores but a place selling Paradigms should have things setup better so maybe I'm wrong. And sometimes the smaller center is a better match for bookshelves then the larger one. I found this to be true with Polk RTi's several years ago. The smaller CSi3 was better with the RTi6's to me than the larger CSi5.
    I've never owned Paradigms but I would hope that properly setup in your room, and with the help of your receivers automatic room correction software, that the volumes would even out. If not, you can always up the center channels volume a little until it seems more natural to you. Generally the larger model center speaker is better than the smaller one but if you need to try and keep the cost down ask the salesman if you can try the Center 1 first. If it doesn't work out for you then exchange it for the Center 3.
    But make sure you're happy with what you purchase. If the Center 1 or Center 3 just aren't doing it for you then look for something else. But I bet it was a low volume issue. Go back and ask them to adjust it up a little bit.
     
  10. CALL911

    CALL911 Stunt Coordinator

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    Sounds like good advice.
    Thank you, I will give that a try.
     

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