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Enhancing/replacing center channel speaker - (using ADS as mains)


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#1 of 7 OFFLINE   mark.wo--

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Posted June 29 2005 - 09:06 AM

I have an Onkyo home theater setup and am using my old ADS L810 speakers as the mains (a huge improvement over the Onkyos). The problem is the center speaker (Onkyo) sounds terrible by comparison and the combination produces a very unbalanced effect. The Onkyo seems to have very poor high frequency response to the point where it's often difficult to hear dialog in a movie. In scenes where the dialog shifts to one of the ADS channels, the sound is crystal clear. I'm still using the Onkyo surrounds, as they are mainly for effects and are not as critical.

I'm wondering if I can get by with merely replacing the tweeter in the Onkyo with a better driver, or if I need to buy a new center speaker entirely. Has anyone else done this and if so, what kind of tweeter would you recommend? I believe the existing tweeter is 8 ohms.

Whether I end up replacing the tweeter or buying a new center speaker, are there any suggestions on how I can ensure a close sound match with the ADS speakers I'm using (ADS does not make center HT speakers)? For example, is it possible to do so by comparing certain specs, or is it just a trial and error method?

Thanks.

#2 of 7 OFFLINE   John Garcia

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Posted June 29 2005 - 09:31 AM

You won't easily be able to swap out the tweeter and have it work perfectly in the Onkyo center, because the crossover was designed for the driver in there. You can't really compare specs, per se, but you can look for a center that has at least similar driver types (soft or metal dome tweeter, poly, paper or whatever midrange) so you can get close.

I haven't heard of A/D/S in the home in quite a few years. My uncle has a pair of 10" (not sure of the model) that sound damn good Posted Image
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#3 of 7 OFFLINE   Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted June 29 2005 - 10:50 AM

I suggest trying to pick up another couple of pairs of the 810s on eBay. If they’re too big for center and surround use, try to find a smaller version of them from the same vintage. Manufacturers typically have a “model line” with several speakers of different sizes using the same tweeter and voicing.

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#4 of 7 OFFLINE   mark.wo--

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Posted June 29 2005 - 12:05 PM

Does anyone know what brand of current speakers would have sound characteristics similar to the old ADS's? I'll probably buy a new center speaker and try them with my L-810's. If that doesn't work out, I'll then buy some front L&R speakers from the same line as the center speaker.

I think I once heard that Boston Acoustics sounded similar to ADS...can anyone confirm this?

#5 of 7 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted June 29 2005 - 05:08 PM

Wow, a/d/s. That name brings back memories of beautifully made speakers with slick styling. I always thought of them as the Steely Dan of Speakers. Posted Image

As far as sound: I remember them having a rather laid-back character but were still very articulate. Bass was very smooth, clean and deeeeeep for whatever size woofer they used. IMO Boston and a/d/s in the 1980s did have sort of a similar sound but since Boston now uses a bass-reflex design (for years now actually) instead of acoustic suspension, relatively speaking a Boston's bass would be a little punchier and not quite as tight. And a Boston's typically aluminum tweeter (now) will probably sound a little more sharp.

Considering how important the center information is Mark, my advice to you would be to set your receiver to "no center" mode until you get a truly good center speaker. Doing this will take away some center image location precision, but the overall (& much) better sound quality will more than make up for that. FYI: this setting will NOT send the center info into electronic oblivion. I ran this configuration for three years with my own Bostons so have experience with it.

And try to find better/matching surrounds when you can--again from personal experience, severely mismatched surrounds definitely can take away from the realism of a movie's soundtrack. My previous system had fighter jets starting out wimpy and squeaky behind me, then full and realistic in front of me, but I didn't know that until I bought my present surround speakers. Posted Image

#6 of 7 OFFLINE   mark.wo--

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Posted June 30 2005 - 05:59 AM

Yep, I'll never get rid of my ADS's.

I've set the center to phantom mode, but unfortunately, to do this with my receiver also requires deactivating the rear speaker. It still sounds better than with the speakers mismatched.

I'll start looking around for a good surround speaker system and buy the center first, then add the rest if it doesn't blend well into my current setup.

Can someone suggest a brand/model that would be a good match for an Onkyo receiver (120 wpc, I think)? I'll probably continue to use the Onkyo sub. Sound quality is the main priority, so I probably won't be looking at any of the "compact" systems with small satellites.

#7 of 7 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted June 30 2005 - 07:47 AM

Quote:
to do this with my receiver also requires deactivating the rear speaker.
I've never heard of such a strange feature--maybe there is another, more detailed menu to isolate then deactivate the center channel? Is this receiver a true component receiver, or part of an HTiB?