Center Channel Selection

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Chad_R, Aug 13, 2001.

  1. Chad_R

    Chad_R Auditioning

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    Hello all,
    I bought a HT in a box type deal and all of the sattelites are exactly the same speaker. I want a little more diversity out of my center channel, so I figured I could just upgrade that 1 speaker and then it would fit my needs.
    My question(s):
    Is it a good idea to stay with the same brand of speaker as the rest of them? (I've read yes, but wanted a wider audience's opinion)
    If the above is yes, can anyone reccomend a good center channel from Sony?
    If no, can anyone reccomend a good one in general? I'm not looking to spend more than 150 dollars on one. I know that's a pretty limited selection, but I've seen one from Polk (PLK CS175IBLACK) for 149. It handles up to 100 watts and that's exactly what my receiver is rated per channel. I've also seen one from Pioneer (PIO SH052CK) that appears to have about the same specs and would fit my needs.
    I am pretty new at the HT stuff and funds are limited at the current time, but I would like a little more oomph out of my system.
    Thanks to all who reply!
    Chad
     
  2. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Unfortunately, with an HT in a box, you are not likely to find a replacement or matching speakers to do an upgrade like what you are considering. Ideally, you want the speakers to match sonically, which is why most serious manufacturers have a center that is timbre matched to their mains & surrounds.
    Will you notice the difference if they are not matched? Yes. Will it kill you? Probably not. It would bug me, but you can always upgrade the rest of your speakers over time, to get them to match.
    Polk would be a good choice, but the CS245 would be a much better one in the long run.
    On a budget, and out of those mentioned above, I would definitely check out Paradigm.
    ------------------
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    [Edited last by John Garcia on August 13, 2001 at 10:30 AM]
     
  4. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Chad. Welcome to HTF! [​IMG]
    The HT in a box sets can give you a very good HT experience. One of the important points is that all 3 front speakers have identical drivers so that as sounds move around the speakers, they dont change.
    So I think it would be a BAD idea to upgrade just the center. Yes, you could get a better-sounding center, but it will not blend will with the L/R's. And I think you will quickly fixate on the tone-shifts and how funny they sound.
    But you can do a lot to make the center speaker, and the array of speakers sound a bit better:
    - Get the center speaker up off the TV by making "feet". This can be pink-rubber erasers, rubber door-wedges, paper-back books, etc. (The speaker cabinent will couple to the TV/shelf and muddy the sound).
    - Pull the center forward so it over-hangs the TV by about 1/4 inch. (Flush with the TV will couple the sound to the front of the TV. Pushed back will reflect sound from the shelf in front.)
    - Get the tweeters on all the speakers the same height from the floor.
    - Make sure the center speaker is aligned with the L/R. Use a cheap laser-pointer to tell where each speaker is pointing (Hint: roll the laser-pen on a flat surface and make sure the dot on the wall does not make circles).
    - Use a SPL meter and test-tones or the Avia or Video Essentials DVD to adjust the volume of the center so it matches all the others. (Do this AFTER you have adjusted all alignment/positions of the speakers. A few degrees of angle change or tilt can make a big difference in volume several feet away).
    Doing all of this can make a big difference.
    We have even seen some very-experienced members here with some fairly high-end equipment go to a in-laws house and hook up their new box systems. They come back suprised at how good things sound when they are done.
    IMHO this is for 2 reasons:
    - HT is about Impact and does not need highly-accurate music speakers.
    - These members know about speaker placement, level adjusting, etc., so they do it right the first time.
    Good Luck.
     
  5. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    You may also want to save up enough money to either buy a new set of speakers or the front three at the same time. I know a couple people own the nOrh speakers and they live in your area. Plan on spending $750 - $1,100 or more for new speakers. The confort is that they will stay in your system for many years to come.
     
  6. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Bob offers some excellent advice. Before spending money on a non-matching center speaker, Chad, spend some time playing with the speaker placements and then get the sound levels adjusted properly. A sound pressure level (SPL) meter from Radio Shack is a great tool for a home theater hobbiest to own, along with a calibration disc such as Avia or Video Essentials. Try out these tools before giving up on your center speaker.
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    [Edited last by Scott Merryfield on August 13, 2001 at 12:40 PM]
     
  7. Chad_R

    Chad_R Auditioning

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    Thanks all for the suggestions. I will try out the speaker placement and the calibration for sure. I definitely know my speaker placement is less than optimal due to my current arrangement.
    Any idea where I could find one of the calibration CD's?
    Hopefully one day I can come up with an intelligent question for you, but until then, thanks very much for the responses. [​IMG]
    Chad
     
  8. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Try contacting some of the HTF members in your area and see if they have one you could borrow. If not, try Amazon.com, wal-mart.com, etc.
     
  9. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Any decent place that carries DVDs should carry one or both of Avia or VE.
    ------------------
    All progress is based upon a universal, inate desire on the part of every organism, to live beyond it's income.
    ITRCA ** Honda/Acura Club ** Speedring (sorry, car guy)
     
  10. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Chad: we welcome new members and basic questions. We wont slam you for doing something wrong or that we disagree with.
     
  11. stephen abbot

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    Chad, I think most others have already outlined the fact that the speakers that came with you HT in a box are ideally matched and will probably give you optimal perfomance without an upgrade of the receiver and all speakers. Experimentation with placement should prove the best results at this point.
    A further thing to watch with many HT in a box setups like say the Sony DAV-S300, the impedance of the speakers is very low, 3ohms in fact. I don't know what type of HTIB you have but many like the DAV-S300 use low voltage switchmode type amplifiers (similar infact to many Car Audio systems), to match commonly available 6-8ohm speakers to these systems can prove difficult if not impossible without a large loss in output power.
    Cheers
    Stephen
    [Edited last by stephen abbot on August 13, 2001 at 06:26 PM]
     

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