Center Channels

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mark Fitzsimmons, Mar 13, 2002.

  1. Mark Fitzsimmons

    Mark Fitzsimmons Supporting Actor

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    Wouldn't it be the best idea to have your center channel to be the same speaker as your mains, so they blended together the best?

    I was thinking of getting a set of Paradigm Mini Monitors or Titans, and I probably wouldn't have trouble finding someone else making the same purchase to go ahead and split the cost of a third set of Mini Monitors with me so we could each have one for center duty. Wouldn't this be a good idea?
     
  2. Donald_Spry

    Donald_Spry Stunt Coordinator

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    I was wondering the same thing! I was debating using a Paradigm studio 20 to go with my 40's. I was unable to find out if this would be better/worse/no-change, from using a regular center. However, if we are going to find out, this is the place to ask it!
    I was told to make sure that the speaker is shielded if you plan to put it close to your TV. I think you have to special order the MM shielded. All center channels should be shielded.
    DJ
     
  3. Will Gatlin Jr

    Will Gatlin Jr Stunt Coordinator

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    Check this out:

    I have NHT VT-2's in the front/rear of my system with Super 2's for the side channels. My VS-2a centre spks wasn't keeping up with the VT-2's across the front. A good friend (Audio expert) told me to double up my centre spks. It so happened that my VS-2a's can be locked together with it's tilt bracket. I turned one upside down where the tweets are locked together atthe center. The two spks together look as one. The spks are 19 1/2 across and 15 1/2 high, with (2) 1" soft dome tweets, and (4) 5.25" long throw mid-woofers. They are driven by two Marantz MA-500 mono blocks (Want to upgrade to the MA-700 mono blocks).

    My centre diaog is outstanding. Good luck!!
     
  4. Chris Zell

    Chris Zell Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't think it is necessarily the best to have an identical center speaker. I'm sure identical L/C/R could be at least very good, because it is VERY important to have it timbre matched to the L/R speaks. But depending on your setup, I think a well designed matching center can do better. Placement of the center is quite different - Higher or lower than the mains (above or below the monitor), may be closer to the back wall, may be on a bulky monitor instead of at ear level on a stand like the mains etc. So the identical speaker as a center may not actually match in timber since timbre changes with placement. Also, sideways dispersion requirements on a center are different.

    Room placement has a huge effect on sound, as we all probably know, so an ideal center has adjustments for different placements. So I think a well designed center has advantages, but only if it is designed to be mated with your mains (eg. mixing brands is trouble!).

    Cheers,

    Chris
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I agree completely with Chris Zell. A center serves a different purpose than a L/R speaker, and that is wide, horizontal dispersion. A vertically designed speaker does not achieve this. As mentioned, if you aren't putting all 3 fronts at the same height, then there is not as much benefit to having identical speakers. If you will be listening to primarilly multichannel music, and can put the speakers at the same height, then YES, I would say this is a good idea, but I would not expect it to be in all cases.

    If you are considering Titans or Minis, Paradigm offers excellent centers. CC170 or -270 for the Titans, and CC370 for the Minis. Perfectly timbre matched.
     
  6. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Actually John a virtical speaker was designed to have better horizontal dispersion. That's why the horizontal MTM design center channel is not properly designed(only for looks). There is a big long technical answer for it that I only know part of but I do know that the center channel should be virtical whenever possible. Just like how they show the center channel on video essentials.

    I agree that it is best to have the front three speakers the same. And all placed virtical if possible. Just make sure the center is shielded.
     
  7. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    "..a wide, horizontal dispersion. A vertically designed speaker does not achieve this."

    Gotta love that one!

    If you do just a wee bit of research, you'll find that the horizontally configured mid-tweeter-mid(often known as a D'Apolito cofiguration) often produces problematic vertical and off-axis dispersion patterns when layed on its side. When stood up, it often works quite well, but it won't easily fit on top of a monitor. Savvy manufacturers are now offering vertically arrayed mids and tweeters flanked by 2 horizontal woofs which address some of these concerns. Some problems still remain regarding reflections off of that horizontal baffle.

    1) identical mains across the front WILL produce a more seamless pan of sounds from right to left.

    2) Problems CAN arise if that main won't fit on top of or below the monitor, but frequently, these problems can be addressed by tilting the speaker down(the one on top of the monitor) or by placing it on a stand and perhaps tilting it up.

    3) The center should at least be shielded if placing on top of a monitor.

    4) The only major problem with using identical mains for a center is that sometimes that speaker isn't capable of producing the spls necessary for center channel duty. As stated above, some manufacturers are getting around this by flanking a stardard bookshelf-sized main by 2 woofers in order to produce the requisite spls.
     
  8. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    You said it Randy, exactly what I was trying to get across.[​IMG]
     
  9. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    Yeah Jeff, but you beat me to it. I noticed your response right after I clicked on the submit button.

    Actually, this whole discussion is why I've been looking for the right bookshelf sized, SHIELDED speaker to use for my own set-up....everything crossed over to a sub at around 80hz, of course. I've narrowed things down to the ACI Emerald and the GR-Research AV1+(and regular AV1 for surrounds). For a more "budget-priced" system, I think the Paradigm Minis all around would be great, but I had no idea that you could order one shielded...smart move by Paradigm. At one time, I really wanted the Paradigm Active 20's all around, but Paradigm refused to make a shielded 20, and I refused to purchase that MTM configured center channel. If people could just sit down and compare an MTM with a regular speaker as far as dispersion pattern, they'd notice the difference pretty quickly.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'm WELL aware of the fact that a MTM is a compromise at best, but it is intended to give wide dispersion, NOT to reproduce music as accurately as a L/R speaker is. It's point is to give a moderately wide center stage and anchor on screen sound. I don't use my center for music, because it doesn't really add anything that isn't already there. With the exception of multichannel music, the only duty my center sees is movies, and it doesn't need to be identical to my mains to do it's job just fine thanks. If you LIKE to sit off axis for some reason, be my guest, but I prefer to sit in my "spot", sweet or otherwise, where things sound great - center on top of the monitor, slightly tilted down toward the listener.

    I've read the discussions about MTM center designs, and have come to the opinion that, while they are not perfect, neither is using an identical speaker as a center, so I will stick with what's been working for ME for years.
     
  11. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Damn, Randy. You sound like a fart smeller! Err...you know what I mean![​IMG]
    A normal bookshelf or tower speaker has a wide horizontal dispersion pattern and a limited vertical dispersion pattern. That's why sounds seem to be coming at you from the center of your listening position instead of from the left and/or right. It's also why your speakers will sound different when you are standing than they will when you are sitting.
    Now turn one of those speakers on it's side and they still will exhibit the same dispersion patterns. Only this time, what was a wide horizontal pattern is now a wide vertical pattern, which means you'll have problems with reflections from the ceiling and floor. And that limited vertical dispersion pattern has now changed to a limited horizontal pattern, which means anyone not sitting dead center or in front of the center channel speaker will notice response dips in the upper frequencies. This will make vocal intelligibility more difficult and pans across the screne will not have the same timbre.
    This is precisely why I have 3 bookshelfs across the front. The center sits on top of my RPTV and is tilted down to give me a seamless soundstage. It surely beats any of the cobbled together MTM systems I've heard regardless of price. I'd steer clear of any speaker that has a model designation anything similar to "L/C/R". These are just three identical speakers and turning one of them 90 degrees is just asking for trouble.
    Brian
    Edit: John, yes a center channel is designed to give a wide horizontal dispersion pattern, but an MTM speaker lying on it's side is incapable of giving you that. That's why in most cases, a vertically arrayed woofer and tweeter will give more satisfactory results.
     
  12. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    Hey fart smeller...er...smart...

    Ya might want to recheck that last line.
     
  13. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Randy,
    OK, it's fixed. That's what happens when you type lying down. Your reference for horizontal and vertical changes! [​IMG]
    Brian
     
  14. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    >> Your reference for horizontal and vertical changes
     
  15. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    The other thing you have to watch is that you get a shielded speaker if you have a direct-view TV. Make sure you get the Magna-Shield version for the center.
     
  16. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Randy,

    I suggest you go with the GR's. I have a pair of AV1's and they really are superior to the paridigm reference line. I was going to get minimonitors but after discovering DIY, I will never go back. I got MB1's/AV1's for roughly the same price the mini's would have costed me. Brian is also about to finish a pair of AV1's. Check the DIY area to see a pic of his cabinets. How did you find out about GR BTW? They aren't very popular on this forum(yet). But I have a feeling they will be very soon with the quality, sound, and value. They are unbeatable for the cost!

    Brian,

    Somehow I knew you would step in here.
     
  17. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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    No need to "split" the cost, just buy 3 pairs and use the 6th speaker for your EX setup [​IMG]
    I have 3 B&W 303's accross the front, it is seamless and I really love the sound.
    Saying you don't listen to music from your centre channel so you don't care is kind of "back asswords" err "ass backwards" [​IMG]
    Movies have music! Modern movies have LOTS! Unplug all your speakers and watch a movie with just the centre, you'd be surpised. I'd rather a "main" doing that job, and that's what I have.
    I went from JBL front with the N-centre which was VERY well timbre matched but I could tell how much better it was imediately when I through in 3 identical speakers.
     
  18. Randy G

    Randy G Second Unit

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    Jeff,

    Way ahead of ya there. Brian's a good friend, and I was the one who turned him on to GR-Research speakers because I was looking for a competitor to the ACI Emeralds...which I still might end up with. I was looking for something under 12" in height, shielded, and that sounded good. Those speakers presented the best value. The advantage that the Emerald has over the AV1 is that Madisound makes a matching DIPOLE for use as surrounds(same drivers), which I definitely am a big fan of. I've asked Danny about designing some matching dipoles, but at the present, he doesn't have the time. The advantage the AV1 has is that it'll play a little deeper(bigger box), a little louder, and if I want something even more powerful, I can try the AV1+. Either way, Brian will likely end up making them for me to my specs. He does excellent work, btw. His website is rutledgeaudiodesign.com for anybody who's interested.

    How did I find out about GR-Research.com? That's easy...like everybody else!...audioasylum.com

    And BTW, the Paradigm ACTIVES were some of the best bookshelves I've ever heard, period. I'm a huge supporter of active speakers and extremely disappointed that they've never really taken off in the marketplace...probably due to them damned audiophools who insist on matching up their OWN choice of amps. If somebody made a good quality $1000/pair active bookshelf, I'd be all over it like flies on ....
     
  19. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Jeff,
    Randy and I know each other very well! He's been bugging the hell outta me for about 2 years now either over the phone or through emails. He's usually aware of what I'm working on before anyone else around here. He's actually waiting for my impressions of the AV1's vs. the Emeralds as it may have some bearing on which speakers he ultimately goes with. I'm assuming I'll be building whatever he ends up with![​IMG] We'll just have to wait and see!
    Brian
     
  20. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Randy/Brian,
    2 years???
    Does it really take you this long to decide on a speaker?[​IMG]
    BTW, I actually was lucky enough to have Danny email me directly. I never heard of GR before he emailed me. This was actually from the madisound board too(I had aksed about some good bookshelf kits). This is how I found out about Dennis Murphy's MB1's too(which I have as well). Never heard of the Audioasylum till Danny pointed out some GR reviews there. No mention of GR on this site(HTF) at all that I could find till I brought them up about 4-5 months ago.
    BTW Randy, you a DeVry grad too???[​IMG]
     

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