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$300 or under Center Channel Search -- Epos, SVS, MS Avant, Polk?


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#1 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 10 2006 - 09:00 AM

I have been doing a lot of reading -- Stereophile, Audioholics, etc.

These center channel speakers keep getting solid reviews and consumer comments: Epos ELS3C, Mordaunt Short Avant 905C, SVS SCS-01, and several lower end Polks (they keep changing the model numbers).

Anyone have any experience, comments etc. on these speakers? Any others I should research?
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#2 of 47 John Garcia

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Posted May 10 2006 - 11:00 AM

I haven't heard the EPOS, but I'm sure it is solid. I didn't think you could buy the SCS-01 by itself yet, only in packages. All things considered, I thought it has pretty good voicing. Highs seemed a tiny bit dialed back, but overall a good center. The 905C would probably be my choice of those. Dcent bass, more or less neutral sounding, good with most material. I use 902s in my 2ch setup and I am very pleased with them.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#3 of 47 Jacob C

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Posted May 10 2006 - 11:20 PM

There are many good centers out there. What are the mains you plan on using it with? It is usually best to use the matching center for that system. If you plan on upgrading the center then machting it with new mains I'm sure you can drum up a lot of opinions here.
Jacob
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#4 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 01:27 AM

As a professional educator, married to a childrens minister, we have been years building a home audio/theater system. When I purchased the mains home theater was mostly an interesting concept as VHS ruled the market. Currently I have Snell KIIs as mains and an Atlantic Technology 8” powered sub. I hope to eventually purchase an SVS sub and run the Atlantic Technology sub with the KIIs as component mains.
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#5 of 47 dany

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Posted May 11 2006 - 02:10 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvanYeager
I have been doing a lot of reading -- Stereophile, Audioholics, etc.

These center channel speakers keep getting solid reviews and consumer comments: Epos ELS3C, Mordaunt Short Avant 905C, SVS SCS-01, and several lower end Polks (they keep changing the model numbers).

Anyone have any experience, comments etc. on these speakers? Any others I should research?

What are your main speakers?
Get In My Belly.

#6 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 03:04 AM

Snell KIIs
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#7 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 03:44 AM

Found some good pricing on Definitive Technology C/L/R 2002, Bowers & Wilkins CLR 3, and Bowers & Wilkins LCR60 S3 which well only push the price to about $350. How do these compare the Epos ELS3C and the Mordaunt Short Avant 905C?

Thanks for all you help.
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#8 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 04:16 AM

Found some good pricing on Definitive Technology C/L/R 2002, Bowers & Wilkins CLR 3, and Bowers & Wilkins LCR60 S3 which well only push the price to about $350. How do these compare the Epos ELS3C and the Mordaunt Short Avant 905C?

Thanks for all you help.
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#9 of 47 dany

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Posted May 11 2006 - 04:43 AM

Why wouldnt you use same brand across the front?
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#10 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 05:45 AM

In an ideal world where I had plenty of expendable income, yes. Snell has dropped their lower line and any of their center channel speakers are a). beyond budget and b). sonicly different enough from the KIIs that getting a match is no more likely with a Snell than without a Snell.

The quality of sound I am getting from the Snell KIIs and the Atlantic Technology sub would cost $1,000 to $1500 IMHO. So I could be looking at $2000+ to make everything match. A nice dream.

I am having to do this on a budget and over time. So having matched front drivers is likely not going to happen. I would like something that would work well (sonicly) with what I have and is good enough that when I comes time to replace the KIIs (which still sound wonderful) that I can seriously at the same brand as my center for new mains.
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#11 of 47 dany

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Posted May 11 2006 - 05:57 AM

IMO,its the most important match,the 3 fronts,surrounds and sub isnt important to be same brand. I'd get a cheap center and use until i could get the right one but thats me.
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#12 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 07:12 AM

What you say is true. But it is also part marketing ploy by manufacturers.

Now, if I really had what I wanted it would be a set of Maggies. With the new DLP set, the screen is about 2 feet from the wall and that should be just about the right distance from the wall for Maggies. ;-)

With the Maggies open design and sound there are sonic differences between the mains and the center due in part to placement and orientation.
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#13 of 47 John Garcia

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Posted May 11 2006 - 07:28 AM

It is NOT marketing ploy at all. Matching your front three speakers is very important for a great sounding front stage. It may be less evident in movies, but with music it will be glaringly obvious. Placement of speakers is a factor, but the ear can detect small differences in timbre from speaker to speaker whether one realizes it or not, which affects the overall experience when watching a movie or listening to multichannel music.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#14 of 47 EvanYeager

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Posted May 11 2006 - 07:44 AM

I would agree if it were not that my collection of CDs is stereo and the center channel is not used when listening to music (I am a bit old school on this and think the recording should stand on its own as much as possible os using my amp's surround effects for music is not done).

While on the subject I noted that Maggie has a center channel for $299. I can see that a wide center channel speaker would make a big difference when listening to movies.

What about just getting one of those as I really like Maggies for music and in 5 or years (when I can afford Maggie mains) they are likely to be sonicly similar to the Maggie MMGC? My concern is that the MMGC 16,000 Hz upper end may be an issue with the rather crisp tweeters of the Snell KIIs. Any insight on this?
God bless,
Evan T. Yeager, Ed.D.

#15 of 47 John Garcia

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Posted May 11 2006 - 07:59 AM

I listen to mostly 2ch also, but I still run 5 identical speakers all around. Having that match up front for the occasional multichannel DVD-A or SACD, or music DVD makes a noticable difference. Movies - not overly concerned as long as they sound fine.

IMO, the Maggie center isn't going to blend well, but if the long term plan would be to upgrade to a whole Maggie front stage, then I would say it is a good plan. It won't affect your music situation, because it won't be in use, and it would certainly be better than el-cheapo center in the meantime.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#16 of 47 BrianTwig

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Posted May 11 2006 - 08:56 AM

I am in the same boat, building a new system. Looking for opinions on the JBL HTi8 speakers for fronts and surrounds with the JBL HTi-55 for a center.
My budget system constrained by WAF

JVC HD-ILA HD-52G787
Panasonic DVD-S52K
Marantz SR5600Marantz CC4300NHT IW3s all aroundPureAV PF60SVS PB12-NSD/2

#17 of 47 johnADA

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Posted May 11 2006 - 09:05 AM

I found the center speaker is way over rated and may just be a ploy to get you to spend more.
I have 5 Polk R-15's for the surround, 2 Polk R-30's on A switch for 2 channel and also a CS-220 Polk Center I've been playing around with for just over a month.
People on forums etc all said using the R-15 for a center on its side was a no-no so I picked up a decent shaped CS-200 to see the difference. Also placed the R-15 upright and upside down in different locations from in front of the TV ot just over the center of the top. Really nothing worth noting for a difference and even hooked up the R-30's as the fronts.
Just for grins and giggles looking over posts I decided to set it for no center and force the center into the front mains. To me the change between dialog parts to music backgrounds and overall action pickups is much more enjoyable to listen too. Voices come through much better during action/music with no center than with one. I find also when it goes to a quit scene you can hear it much better and arent tempted to turn it up and then get blown away by the action/music coming back into it after the turn up. Tried everything for louder on the center to a closer distance setting, large-small name it and no center just sounds much better!!

#18 of 47 Jimi C

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Posted May 11 2006 - 09:19 AM

If its possible can you draw a diagram of your room? If I were in your current situation, I would choose no center over one that isnt a sonic match. You have pretty nice mains and I think adding a subpar center would hurt more than help. A center isnt a requirement. Its only really necessary if your seating is way off axis and your speakers dont create a good soundstage. I would put that money towords your new SVS.
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#19 of 47 John Garcia

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Posted May 11 2006 - 10:12 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnADA
I found the center speaker is way over rated and may just be a ploy to get you to spend more.

With a room that isn't creating big issues and proper calibration, a center is definitely a good thing. That doesn't mean I'll use it for everything though, but most movie material was mastered with the intent that it be listened to with 3 speakers up front.

Quote:
People on forums etc all said using the R-15 for a center on its side was a no-no so I picked up a decent shaped CS-200 to see the difference.

I don't see why not, it should work fine on it's side. Not the optimum orientation, but it should work.

Quote:
Just for grins and giggles looking over posts I decided to set it for no center and force the center into the front mains. To me the change between dialog parts to music backgrounds and overall action pickups is much more enjoyable to listen too. Voices come through much better during action/music with no center than with one. I find also when it goes to a quit scene you can hear it much better and arent tempted to turn it up and then get blown away by the action/music coming back into it after the turn up. Tried everything for louder on the center to a closer distance setting, large-small name it and no center just sounds much better!!

I can't watch movies with no center because dialogue that should be on screen often ends up either in only the right or the left speaker and I find that very distracting. Once I noticed this, it was hard to ignore. Not such a problem with music, but with dialogue intense movies, it was a bit annoying. Center vs no center is more of a personal preference.

I disagree that a center is only for those who sit WAY off center. Normally, when watching a movie, EVERYONE is off center to some extent because I don't watch movies alone normally. I do agree that a noticably mismatched speaker might hurt more than help.

Never have I sat in front of my system when watching a movie and thought "Hey, this would sound even better if I didn't have a center channel..."
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

 


#20 of 47 johnADA

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Posted May 11 2006 - 10:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Garcia
With a room that isn't creating big issues and proper calibration, a center is definitely a good thing. That doesn't mean I'll use it for everything though, but most movie material was mastered with the intent that it be listened to with 3 speakers up front.



I don't see why not, it should work fine on it's side. Not the optimum orientation, but it should work.



I can't watch movies with no center because dialogue that should be on screen often ends up either in only the right or the left speaker and I find that very distracting. Once I noticed this, it was hard to ignore. Not such a problem with music, but with dialogue intense movies, it was a bit annoying. Center vs no center is more of a personal preference.

I disagree that a center is only for those who sit WAY off center. Normally, when watching a movie, EVERYONE is off center to some extent because I don't watch movies alone normally. I do agree that a noticably mismatched speaker might hurt more than help.

Never have I sat in front of my system when watching a movie and thought "Hey, this would sound even better if I didn't have a center channel..."


I think personally that room size is everything. My room is 11 feet by 16 foot with the mains 6 foot apart, just outside the TV edges. When I set it to no center the dialog comes at me in stereo, never one sided, only when the dialog comes from a side person not centered on the screen does it go one sided which it really should. The center gets semi dirty sounding/muffled when dialog and background is going at the same time I found. Now in a larger width room I could see where the dialog wouldnt be center in a stereo mode and a center would be wanted. I would think around 8-10 foot plus span between mains is where that would start.
I was just told and read how the sound from turning a speaker off its design platform would yield off sounding results which I thought was bullhockey, but lets see again. Ive always in the past run taller bookshelves on their sides and it didnt seem like it effected it, it doesnt.
But yes, the wrong timbre match even between fronts and rears you can REALLY hear and the center really gets muddy sounding, er whole front does if it dont match. I'm not a great hearing person working in 90+ DB's all day everday, but I have mixed speakers before and even now as I used a KLH center from the old setup until I got the centers I tried now and it SUCKED!!


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