Athena AS-B1 as Center Speaker

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Mike*Sch, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. Mike*Sch

    Mike*Sch Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    I'm putting together a new theater, and I have a speaker question. My setup is 6.1 and I've purchased 3 pairs of Athena AS-B1's, the idea being to use them for all 6 speakers in order to have uniform sound throughout the room.

    But here's the problem: The way the room is shaped, the 3 front speakers are all 14 feet from the listener, as is the rear center. But the left and right surrounds are only 8 feet from the listener. My concerns are that the rear center will become nearly imperceptable seeing as how it's so far away, and that an AS-B1 may not be all that good as a front center speaker.

    My solution to these problems would be to buy the matching Athena center speaker (I don't remember the model number, sorry), and then use 2 AS-B1's for the rear center channel.

    Do you think that it would be beneficial to do this? If so, would it be $150 worth of benefit?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. brentl

    brentl Cinematographer

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    You'll be fine with that setup. Just remember to calibrate the system after you set it up.

    Also remember that smaller speakers won't go as loud as larger speakers so watch out for "sounds of distress coming from the speakers.

    Brent
     
  3. Mike*Sch

    Mike*Sch Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Brent. Am I right in assuming that the setup that you're referring to is the one with the AS-B1 as the front center channel and only one rear channel?

    Also, assuming that cost is not a factor, which of these two setups would be better?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  4. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    As Brent points out, you'll be fine as long as you calibrate. The B1 will actually work better as a center channel than the "dedicated" model. It's perfectly matched (obviously), and won't suffer the off-axis issues all MTM centers do.
     
  5. Mike*Sch

    Mike*Sch Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks, Jack and Brent.

    I'll stick with my original plan, then, and go with the 6 AS-B1's.

    Thanks again,
    Mike
     
  6. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    I would definitely buy the Athena AS-C1 and use it as the center, all day, everyday. And that way you could use the other AS-B1 for 7.1.

    I use (3) AS-C1's as my LCR and (2) AS-B1's as my surrounds.

    Buy the center from BB and use it for a couple of weeks, you'll be amassed at how much better the AS-C1 handles dialog/bass/dynamics compared to the AS-B1. It's not even close.

    I had (3) AS-B1's for my LCR for 29 days, but was unhappy with their dynamic/punch/power handling capabilities (speakers set to small with 80-100hz x-over)

    I bought (1) AS-C1 to try out as my center, and by the time the night was over, I had 300 miles on the odometer and (2) more AS-C1's and have never looked back. They sound incredible.

    Heck, if you don't like it, you can always return it within 30 days and get all your money back. That way YOU will know how it sounds and you can do so with no gamble.


    Darryl
     
  7. MikeGee

    MikeGee Second Unit

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    I've heard the as-c1 and i certainly cant say it sounds bad. Compaired to the rest of the athena auditions the speakers look pretty flimsy tho.
    I am gonna run a AS-b2 as a front center and one as a rear center. If i'm not satisfied with the performance of that setup with my 2 other B2's and F2's then i'll switch to the C1 specifically for center channel use and use my extra B2 as a 2nd rear.
    Gotta love the 30day guarantee tho. you cant lose.
     
  8. Mike*Sch

    Mike*Sch Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks again, everyone. Somehow, I knew this wouldn't be simple. I happened to be at a BB this evening, and decided to take Darryl's advice and pick up a C1 to try it for myself. When I got back, I watched THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK with the C1 (but with only one rear speaker).

    I didn't do an A/B comparison, but based on what I heard, I'd say that I prefer the C1. It seems to be better at reproducing dialogue, and I haven't noticed a problem with it matching the other speakers. Additionally, it fits better underneath my screen (not that that's a major issue).

    So, I'm going to do some A/B comparisons, then hook up the other B1 in the rear and see what happens. But at this point, I'm leaning towards the C1.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  9. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    Yeah, it's got a EQ peak in the presence region designed to bring dialog out front a bit more, as almost all dedicated centers do. Not a big deal with movies, but I listen mostly to multichannel music (SACD/DVD-A) on my system so such a peak is distracting. Since I have a front projector, I can run a full-size center, so I have an F1 between two F2's.
    The main problem I have with all MTM centers is off-axis lobing, the speaker tends to sound worse as you move to the sides. My NHT SuperCenter from years ago was quite bad in this regard, and I wound up going with another SuperZero.
     
  10. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    Same problem I had in my room. Jack, do you have a picture of your F2/F1/F2 set-up you can post?

    Mike*Sch, I hope the C1 works for you in your room. Good luck!
     
  11. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey Mike, if you like the AS-C1 now, just wait until it breaks in!! Depending on your neighbor situation, you can just leave your system running while you go to work for a couple of days.

    Hey Jack, you brought up some good points. However [​IMG] remember that the Athena AS-C1 is not a "dedicated" center speaker, but rather a "multi use" speaker (per Athena themselves).

    Sound&Vision found the AS-C1 to be pretty flat (on axis) from 86hz-20khz.

    Now, I know the "off axis" response of any speaker gets crazy (especially MTM's).

    However, I think the center lobing when you sit off axis is the least of your problems:

    Now, your closer/farther to the left/right fronts and left/right surrounds. This is a bigger problem due to SPL's and delays that are now incorrect because the system was calibrated for the sweet spot and a move of 3-4 feet in any direction has just defeated that calibration.

    And what about the sub now that we have moved from the sweet spot? Nulls and peaks are lurking just a few feet away from the sweet spot! Again defeating the calibration of the system to the sweet spot (your chair!!)

    I know that on my system I calibrated it to my rocker that sits *almost* in the center of my screen, and everybody else gets whats left over. [​IMG]

    Hey, I'm the one that calibrates and spends hours on this site, so I get the 100% of the system right!![​IMG]



    Darryl
     
  12. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    You make some good points Darryl, but I know it was lobing in my case as the off-axis problem could be cured by standing the AS-C1 vertically.
     
  13. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    Darryl...good points, very inciteful. [​IMG] For an app like mine, MC music with some movies, the F1 or B2 works better, but I can see your view. And there are certainly placement advantages with the C1.


    Nahh...when I get my IB done I'll try to get some up.
     
  14. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah guys, in a perfect world I would be running (5) AS-F2's and a 60" plasma hanging on the wall, just above my LCR.

    I would love to have identical full range floor speakers for my LCR & surrounds [​IMG]

    Darn wife and kids!!! Nahh I guess I'll keep em' :b



    Darryl
     
  15. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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    In addition to the F2/F1/F2 across the front, I did try (still have 'em upstairs) F1's at the surround positions, but they were too close due to room restrictions and right at ear level, far too distracting and directional. I find an elevated pair of R1's better in this room. I also had an F2 at center, but it forced my screen (80") just a little higher than I wanted.
     
  16. Mike*Sch

    Mike*Sch Stunt Coordinator

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    Today I connected the second B1 to the rear center channel and watched FINAL DESTINATION 2. Not surprisingly, it seemed much less directional with 2 speakers than with 1, which seems to be desirable, given the fact that there will usually be more than one person watching movies at a time.

    In regards to the lobing issue, I'm not entirely clear on what you guys are talking about, but I think I get the general idea. My setup is a little weird. I have a projector, which will generally be used for important stuff, like movies, and behind the screen is an RPTV which will be used for things that don't warrant wasting bulb life. The center speaker is on a stand in front of but beneath the TV, so it needs to be horizontal when that is being used. But there is enough room below the projector's screen to stand the speaker vertically when that is being used. Is it a good idea to do this? Would we have to worry about varying channel levels between the two?

    Also, on the subject of channel levels, DVE has two sets of test tones (limited pink noise band width and full pink noise band width, if I'm not mistaken). I'm sure I could look this up myself, but does anyone happen to know which should be used when setting levels?

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  17. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike, I would just leave the AS-C1 horizontal at all times.

    Since the center is mounted low, you meed to find some "little rubber feet" to properly aim the center speaker up to where it's facing straight at your nose while you're at the seated position that you watch movies.

    This seemingly "little" adjustment makes all the difference in the world. If you want that actor to sound like he's right in your living room, than you need to do this!!

    Also I use the "band limited pink noise" to calibrate.



    Darryl
     

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