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And the under-achieving center channel of the year award goes to...........


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99 replies to this topic

#1 of 100 Kevin Alexander

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Posted May 11 2004 - 01:37 PM

.....[rips apart envelope and pauses for a second].....the Athena AS-C1 center channel!!!

Can someone tell me how a company can make an awesome set of main speakers in the AS-F2's, but pull up short on the center channel? I finally got around to hooking up the AS-C1 to the system along w/ the AS-F2 mains and everything was perfect w/ the exception of the AS-C1 center. First, it just can't keep up w/ the mains. Second, I detected a slightly constricted "nasality" tone to it w/ dialog. I still have my Paradigm CC-350 and I spent an hour today swapping between the Paradigm and the Athena. I was hoping the Athena would at least match the output of the Paradigm, but it falls a bit short just as I felt it did during the numerous listening sessions I spent in the Best Buy sound corner.

To be specific, the Paradigm was more full sounding, but a little less detailed than the Athena. But the Athena, while more detailed than the Paradigm, had what I describe as a slight "boxy nasaly" tone on some dialog. And again, while the Athena was pleasingly detailed, to me it lacked depth and had me staring at the center channel as if to get a little more presence out of it. I think the Athena AS-C1 center would be a better match for the smaller AS-F1 floorstanders. So for now, I think I will have to stick w/ my Paradigm center channel, and hope that Athena will wise up and put out an AS-C1 mkII. Yes, I won't be timbre-matched across the front, but the AS-F2's are too awesome to give up. For me, they are perfect.
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#2 of 100 Chuck_W

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Posted May 11 2004 - 02:33 PM

My thoughts exactly Kevin! I too love the F2's, but just don't know what to do with this center...I'm just not happy with it. In fact, I emailed Athena recently to express this and asked if they would be coming out with a larger center to better match the F2's. Here's their reply:

Quote:
We haven’t received a single bad press review on the AS-C1 since it was introduced. All of the press said it more than adequately kept up with the high output AS-F2’s. In circumstances where it was getting compressed or being drowned out, the usual culprit was the center channel amplifier in the receiver. We use a Denon 5700 here at the office in a 19 x 25 foot test room. And the AS-C1 seems to keep up fine. Make sure that at least 100 hours of time has expired as the break in ritual changes the tone of the speakers dramatically.

Maybe you could check the settings again, re calibrate the system a bit.

Other than that I have no suggestions for you right now. There are no plans to offer a larger center channel or a different model in the coming future. The drivers in the AS-C1 are the same as the award winning AS-B2, so I wouldn’t know what to change.


They've got me questioning my receiver's capabilities (Pioneer 912). I'm also thinking about investing in an unmatched center but I have no idea what to go with. I really think Athena is missing the boat on this one.

#3 of 100 David*RT

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Posted May 11 2004 - 05:12 PM

Kevin,
LOL! You're too funny. Posted Image

#4 of 100 Chuck_W

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Posted May 12 2004 - 03:01 AM

Would it be that hard for Athena to use the 6.5" woofers from the AS-B2's to create an AS-C2?

Maybe someday...

#5 of 100 Kevin Alexander

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Posted May 12 2004 - 10:11 AM

Does Athena make any larger centers in their higher lines?
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#6 of 100 brentl

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Posted May 12 2004 - 11:07 AM

Yeah they make another center for the next line up.

Kevin; many of us have written to API to complain. It's a good option for some people, but for people like me that went for YEARS with matching speakers across the front this was a big move down.

I even esked why I wasn't allowed to buy a single in Canada and they said "that's the way it's packaged". Strange thing, I could buy singles in the States!

Brent

#7 of 100 Kevin Alexander

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Posted May 15 2004 - 04:11 AM

OK, I'm in panic mode now. I need a cost effective, viable replacement for the Athena AS-C1 center channel - it just doesn't cut it for me. Suggestions anyone?....Anybody???

Quote:
We haven’t received a single bad press review on the AS-C1 since it was introduced. All of the press said it more than adequately kept up with the high output AS-F2’s. In circumstances where it was getting compressed or being drowned out, the usual culprit was the center channel amplifier in the receiver. We use a Denon 5700 here at the office in a 19 x 25 foot test room. And the AS-C1 seems to keep up fine. Make sure that at least 100 hours of time has expired as the break in ritual changes the tone of the speakers dramatically.
Maybe you could check the settings again, re calibrate the system a bit.
Other than that I have no suggestions for you right now. There are no plans to offer a larger center channel or a different model in the coming future. The drivers in the AS-C1 are the same as the award winning AS-B2, so I wouldn’t know what to change.
How can equipment designers be so ignorant of their own products? Aren't they supposed to be better than us?
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#8 of 100 Lee Bailey

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Posted May 15 2004 - 08:27 AM

Kevin, could you please elaborate more on your setup? How are your speakers configured on your receiver, etc. Did you use a Sound Level meter to adjust the speakers, or just do it by ear, etc...
The Bailey's Home Theatre in Our Living Room

#9 of 100 John Robert

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Posted May 15 2004 - 08:32 AM

Since the AS-F2's are so cheap now, why not buy a pair and use one as center and one as a rear center???

I'm trying this with Totem Forests...

John

#10 of 100 john seitz

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Posted May 16 2004 - 08:13 AM

if you have a tweeter near you or quilify for this over the net:


tweeter.com/product/index.jsp?productId=1163200&cp=1124285.1124339.1124386&sublevel=2&parentPage=family


it is also made by API

#11 of 100 Drew_W

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Posted May 16 2004 - 05:59 PM

Quote:
Does Athena make any larger centers in their higher lines?


What higher lines?

This ASC1 issue keeps getting brought up time and time again here...for what I paid for my setup, I'm not going to complain though...Athena is dirt cheap here in Canada, and it helps to have connections. I do see myself moving to another line though, and Energy Conoisseurs pop immediately to mind since I am extremely fond of Energy's offerings. My theatre setup isn't much of a priority though...we'll see what happens. The Athenas are great bang for the buck budget speakers though.
I gave up on tracking my collection and actually started watching what I have.

#12 of 100 Kevin Alexander

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Posted May 17 2004 - 12:26 AM

I can't open the link John.

Edit: you left off the "www."

Wow! That is a $750.00 center channel. No can do. Thanks anyway.
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#13 of 100 Kevin Alexander

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Posted May 17 2004 - 12:41 AM

I ordered a Axiom Audio VP150 last night. I hope it can give me a close match. From what I've read w/ these speakers, I just might upgrade to all Axiom if I like the center. Here is a link to the center I chose:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/vp150.html
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#14 of 100 Tony Genovese

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Posted May 17 2004 - 02:34 AM

Good luck with the VP150. I had one and was not impressed with it at all. I felt off axis response/tonality was very poor and the match with the left and right was not good. (And those were Axioms, too). YMMV. I'd be interested in your thoughts once you receive it.

#15 of 100 Keiwana

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Posted May 17 2004 - 02:45 AM

kevin

"Wow! That is a $750.00 center channel. No can do. Thanks anyway"

You can another set of fronts to use as your center for $399.99 at Audio Advisor with not tax & Free Shipping.

That's better than 750.00Posted Image

#16 of 100 Adam.Heckman

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Posted May 17 2004 - 04:41 AM

Kevin,
Did you let the AS-C1 play for 100 hours first? I know you set them up and gave your review, and recently ordered a new center, but you never said if you gave them a fair shot. I've read other threads that speak poorly of the AS-C1 (I run it, love it) and people all say that the voice really does change between 50 and 100.

So, to stop rambling: did you, infact, play it for 100 hours and re-calibrate?

#17 of 100 Kevin Alexander

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Posted May 17 2004 - 08:13 AM

Quote:
Good luck with the VP150. I had one and was not impressed with it at all.
Wow, that makes me a little nervous. I've heard those speakers described as being a little "forward" and extremely detailed. That's the sound I like, and the reason why I want to try it out.

Quote:
You can another set of fronts to use as your center for $399.99 at Audio Advisor with not tax & Free Shipping.
Several have mentioned this option, but this is not really practical for me, and would look so awkward in my medium sized room. I cannot put such a big speaker on my TV, I cannot stand it up in front of my TV, and I don't want it lying down horizontally on the floor (if that is even an option). Am I missing something here? Please let me know if I am, I will try anything.

Quote:
Did you let the AS-C1 play for 100 hours first? I know you set them up and gave your review, and recently ordered a new center, but you never said if you gave them a fair shot.....did you, infact, play it for 100 hours and re-calibrate?
Honestly, no, I didn't. I played it off and on for a couple of days. I feel that once "nasaly and boxy" sounding, always "nasaly and boxy" sounding. The out of the box sound makes a big first impression w/ me. If it sounds good out of the box, I like the idea that it will get even better, but if it sounds not too good out of the box, it's hard to imagine it getting any better.
"What does God want with a Starship?" - Captain Kirk from Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

"For the first few minutes of the film, I had accidently listened to the Dolby Digital track." - Ron Epstein (HTF)

#18 of 100 brentl

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Posted May 17 2004 - 09:03 AM

This is the better center channel.

Brent

#19 of 100 Tony Genovese

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Posted May 17 2004 - 01:07 PM

Quote:
Wow, that makes me a little nervous. I've heard those speakers described as being a little "forward" and extremely detailed. That's the sound I like, and the reason why I want to try it out.
As I said in my original post, your mileage may vary. I'd be interested to hear what you think. I was comparing it to some pretty expensive centers, but Axiom gives the impression that they can give you big boy sound for a not so big boy price which is why I tried it out. That said, I was very, very impressed with the M2i - an amazing speaker at the price and more!

#20 of 100 ChrisLazarko

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Posted May 17 2004 - 01:34 PM

I don't know about the Athena lacking the sound as much as say the Bose center channel. A little dinky thing in plastic with like 4 or 5 speakers that are about 2". Jee what a piece of work. I never thought the Athena center lacked on my friends system tho, and it's the same.


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