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Two tower speakers instead of a center channel above TV?


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   hvjackson

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Posted February 24 2013 - 05:50 AM

I'm wondering if it would be on OK idea to put tower speakers directly on either side of the TV and have them both playing the center channel, instead of the standard center channel above or below the TV. I have some nice tower speakers for the left and right channels (Boston Acoustics VR3's) and just picked up some slightly smaller towers from the same line (VR2's). My current center channel is not voice-matched to the VR3s, and I was thinking of using the VR2s together for the center channel audio. [Side note for anyone not familiar with these speakers: the VR2 and VR3 are basically identical except for a larger enclosure and dual 7" woofers vs. dual 6.5"] I'm thinking something like this: Advantages of this setup: - Left-Center-Right tweeters will all be basically the same height - LCR tweeters are all identical and so will be voice matched - VR2s have better sound than most center channels, particularly in the low end. I *don't* have a subwoofer, so I rely on the main speakers to cover the lower end. Disadvantages: - Possible interference between the two center towers. (Is this a thing? Does it matter??) - Center audio will be offset slightly from the TV center (although on the other hand, it won't be above or below, as with a normal center). - ?? Any thoughts?

#2 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted February 24 2013 - 07:45 AM

Been tried and failed. Yamaha even had "dual center mode" on their AVR back when "DSP was new"... It failed miserably.

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   hvjackson

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Posted February 24 2013 - 08:10 AM

Been tried and failed. Yamaha even had "dual center mode" on their AVR back when "DSP was new"... It failed miserably.

Interesting. I searched the web, couldn't find anything about dual centers. When you say it "failed", do you mean it wasn't popular, or that it sounded bad? If the latter, do you know why? I'm not talking about some AVR setting, btw. I was just going to wire up both speakers to the same terminal. My AVR has Audessey calibration so presumably it would adjust the levels accordingly.

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted February 24 2013 - 09:49 AM

http://forums.cnet.c...enter-speakers/

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   hvjackson

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Posted February 24 2013 - 11:51 AM

That CNET forum doesn't clarify anything for me. Some people say it's no-good, some people said it's fine. Why is the "comb filter effect" considered bad for the center channel but no big deal for the L and R speakers? Presumably most of the time L and R are playing virtually the same thing. Maybe I should just set up both configurations and compare them.

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted February 24 2013 - 12:51 PM

Originally Posted by hvjackson 

I was just going to wire up both speakers to the same terminal.


Yeah, that's a bad idea, too.  If you're lucky, the receiver will simply go into protect mode and NOT be permanently damaged.


If you're lucky.


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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   hvjackson

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Posted February 24 2013 - 03:32 PM

Yeah, that's a bad idea, too.  If you're lucky, the receiver will simply go into protect mode and NOT be permanently damaged. If you're lucky.

Why? My amp is rated down to 4 ohms. I assumed that two 8-ohm speakers would just look like a 4 ohm one to the stereo.

#8 of 14 OFFLINE   Mr645

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Posted February 24 2013 - 11:36 PM

I would try it. I have seen many high end HT systems with two centers, but typically placed below and above the display. 1 set up I have seen a few times and sounded great is using a pair of Vandersteen VLR's above a display with Vandersteen towers left and right. I have seen B&W and Wilson speaker setup as well using the above and below center speaker set ups. You can always try one speaker and see how it works

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Jason Charlton

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Posted February 25 2013 - 02:41 AM

Originally Posted by hvjackson 


Why? My amp is rated down to 4 ohms. I assumed that two 8-ohm speakers would just look like a 4 ohm one to the stereo.


Well, OK, so maybe it won't shut down, but even if your receiver is rated for 4 ohm use, if you're planning on running all your fronts "full range" because you don't have/want a subwoofer, it's going to add even more strain.  Keep the AVR well ventilated, I suppose.


Generally, I follow the adage of using the right tool for the job.  For me, that includes adding a subwoofer to a system for the low end duties simply because it's designed for that sort of thing, and will outperform just about any pair of main speakers - even powered models with built in subwoofers.


You're certainly welcome to try something a little "outside the box", but as others have indicated, there's a reason why 99% of folks do things one way over another.


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#10 of 14 OFFLINE   hvjackson

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Posted February 25 2013 - 07:20 AM

I'm curious about the "comb filter effect" with dual centers vs. front L and R. Does anyone have any experience with that?

#11 of 14 OFFLINE   schan1269

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Posted February 25 2013 - 07:25 AM

It is easy to replicate. You already have 4 tower speakers. Hook them up(series or parallel) to your R-L together...leave the ones where they are. Put the other two near the TV...

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Stephen PI

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Posted February 25 2013 - 10:03 AM

I'm wondering if it would be on OK idea to put tower speakers directly on either side of the TV and have them both playing the center channel, instead of the standard center channel above or below the TV. I have some nice tower speakers for the left and right channels (Boston Acoustics VR3's) and just picked up some slightly smaller towers from the same line (VR2's). My current center channel is not voice-matched to the VR3s, and I was thinking of using the VR2s together for the center channel audio. [Side note for anyone not familiar with these speakers: the VR2 and VR3 are basically identical except for a larger enclosure and dual 7" woofers vs. dual 6.5"] I'm thinking something like this: Advantages of this setup: - Left-Center-Right tweeters will all be basically the same height - LCR tweeters are all identical and so will be voice matched - VR2s have better sound than most center channels, particularly in the low end. I *don't* have a subwoofer, so I rely on the main speakers to cover the lower end. Disadvantages: - Possible interference between the two center towers. (Is this a thing? Does it matter??) - Center audio will be offset slightly from the TV center (although on the other hand, it won't be above or below, as with a normal center). - ?? Any thoughts?

I have my system set-up this way and it works fine. The center channel itself is in a TV stand enclosure under the tv which doesn't sound too wonderful. I had a pair of old Rank/Leak 'sandwich' speakers shipped over from the UK to the US and I am using those for dual-mono (plus in Stereo if I want). The most important thing is that they are wired in phase with each other and wired correctly in phase with the other speakers. If they are wired wrong, but wired correctly with themselves, you have to remember to change the wiring polarity on both not just the one!
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#13 of 14 OFFLINE   PaulGo

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Posted March 03 2013 - 05:18 AM

The purpose of a center channel naturally is to hear the dialog from the people who are saying it on the screen. In theory if you get it right you could fool the brain into thinking the sound is coming from the people on the screen. The best I can tell you is to try it and see if you are happy with the way it sounds.

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Gregg Loewen

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Posted March 04 2013 - 12:32 AM

It will be okay for 1 person in the "money" seat. For anybody else that is not in the absolute middle seat the sound will not be good.

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