Center or sub first?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam_S, Mar 4, 2002.

  1. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I recently got four JBL N24s and plan on adding in a JBL N center and a PB10 or 12 in the near future. Should I get a sub or the center first. I'm pretty happy with the sound so far, having never experienced home theater sound, and was wondering what you would recommend I add onto my system first.

    Also when I get a sub, what sort of cable do I need to get to connect it with? and it's self powered right? so It'll need it's own outlet?

    Adam
     
  2. Greg Br

    Greg Br Second Unit

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    get the PB12, the sub takes you to a new level of enjoyment, but the center must not be left unaddresed for long. I had heard that buy.com had the JBL N series package(4 n24's and a N center for $209.00, add the sub and your looking at $500 for a system that sounds better than anything in that price range,
     
  3. Marty Lockstead

    Marty Lockstead Second Unit

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    Hi Adam,

    I strongly recommend that you pick that JBL center channel up first. Mainly because more than 50% of the sound comes from the center channel, it not only handles basically all of your dialouge in movies, but if you are happy with your left and right front speakers, you can adjust your receiver to send bass signals to your fronts which would work perfectly until you buy the sub.

    With regard to the subwoofer connection, you will need to hook it up via a single male RCA to RCA, that's assuming your receiver has a sub-out connection. If not, it's a little more difficult. When it comes to purchasing a subwoofer connection I suggest a THX-certified gold-plated Monster cable. Not cheap, but certainly well worth it for deep, tight bass response. Lastly, if you haven't already, buy a nice power bar to connect your equipment (including your sub)to. Yes the sub definately needs its own outlet.
     
  4. Terry Flink

    Terry Flink Stunt Coordinator

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    A good pair of main speakers can handle the front soundstage very well. Running the "center" in phantom mode is an ongoing debate in this forum. I would recommend the sub since the impact of lower frequencies will substantially improve the HT experience. Adding a center channel is less dramatic...the sounstage improvements are subtle but the finer points can be found in the detail (when properly matched with the mains).
     
  5. Rich G

    Rich G Stunt Coordinator

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    A few questions for you:

    1-Do you have a family or any other listeners in the room sitting off axis? If you are the only one there is nothing wrong with running in phantom mode. If you or others sit off axis then you should have a center channel.

    2-What receiver are you using?

    3-Save up $600 and get a SVS PCi!
     
  6. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Sub, definitely. I have both a center and a sub, and I often turn off the center, but NEVER the sub.

    Don't worry about using a cheap cable for the connection at first, but like Marty said, a good dedicated sub cable is a good idea but put the money in the sub first. Save for an SVS if you can.

    I used Ixos from accessories4less.com with good results. 3 meter run, made a big diff compared to a cheap cable.
     
  7. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I'd have to say sub also. Yes, the center is very important, but the sub makes the system. I'd recommend a different sub though, since I have heard enough complaints on this forum, and personally have seen my friend's JBL sub litterally smoke and die. On the low end, Sony SA-WM40 and add a little poly fill to it.
     
  8. Johnny Mac

    Johnny Mac Stunt Coordinator

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    Depends on how far apart your mains are. More than 6 feet or so and i'd consider the center first. Even so, if you think you are getting a good soundstage without it, get a sub.
     
  9. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    Are you using this for movies or music?
    For music, I mostly use stereo, so a center channel is not very necessary.
    But if you watch a lot of movies, get the center channel first. The center channel is working almost all the time, while the sub sometimes not much at all.
    I feel that you should get 5 good speakers first, then the sub last. To me, a sub is almost like a luxury. It is not needed, it only covers 5/1000's of the frequency range, and is just there for effects. The main 5 speakers are responsible for getting the sound to you from the proper place. Of course I am not saying not to get a sub. It adds so much depth to the system and you will never want to do without again.
     
  10. Doug BW

    Doug BW Stunt Coordinator

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    I'd suggest getting the sub first.

    With no center, your receiver will redirect the center channel sound to your left and right fronts. Your left and right fronts are perfectly capable of handling that.

    With no subwoofer, all the bass from all the channels will be sent to your N24s. (Depending on how your bass management is configured, probably most of the bass will be sent to the L/R fronts.) Since the N24s are only rated down to 75 hz, for all intents and purposes, you are getting zero bass in your current setup. (Typically, the bass sent to a subwoofer is everything from 80 hz down.)

    Whether you have a center speaker or not, you're still hearing all the (non-bass) center information, though you may not be hearing it in the best possible way.

    But without a subwoofer (or at least without main speakers that can go quite a bit lower), you are simply missing a lot of the sound that is on your DVDs.
     
  11. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    A center channel is used to anchor the dialog to the screen for viewers who are outside of the main speaker's sweet spot. I actually prefer setting the center to "phantom" while watching a movie by myself (better soundstage IMO). On the other hand, a subwoofer will be an immediate improvement (regardless of where you sit).
     
  12. Stephen Houdek

    Stephen Houdek Second Unit

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    Just to be different I'll say get both at the same time!! Thought I'd add this to the already diverse recommendations!
     
  13. BenjiA

    BenjiA Auditioning

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    if you are spending most of your listening time watching movies, go for the n-center. most of the information will be using the center channel, and you would be able to clearly understand the dialogues better. I tried the "4.1" setup before, and i couldn't understand the conversations as the voices get drowned by the effects coming of the mains.
    if you spend more time listening to music, go for the sub. the center will most of the time not do anything.
    My 0.02[​IMG]
     
  14. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    I don't know that I have the patience to save an extra two weeks and get both at once [​IMG] I've planned out my HT for about a year and finally buckled down and saved and bought my fronts, and, WOW! I love surround, and am anxious to finish it off for 5.1 (eyes were opened abit when I spent $25 on banana clips, 20 on an optical cable, and $30 on speaker wire and looking at more for speaker stands [​IMG]). I don't want to invest in an SVS because I'm going to college in the fall and haven't yet decided if I"m going to taek my hardearned set up with me. I'm powering this with a Pioneer DSX309 and looking to possibly upgrade to an Onkyo 595 in the summer. Right now I"m thinking of working my ass off spring break and using that money to pick up a sub. [​IMG] then add a center a couple of weeks later.
    How much am I looking at for a powerstip/surge protecter and sub cable? i've seen the monster surge protectors for 70-100 at best buy, what should I invest in one?
    This will primarily be for personal viewing, although I noticed that while deoming this when I was sitting a few feet off of my main viewign position while someone else was there it didn't sound nearly as full (now I know what you are talking about! I was using chapters 20 and 37 of phantom menace as demo references (opening pod race and beginning assuault on theed palace, lots of surround zipping around in that last one).
    Should I set my front's to large even though they are only N24s?
    also can I make a sub cable by just grabbing some regular coaxial cable from walmart (the cable you use for cable tv) and some F to male rca plug converters for a sub cable? or do I need another type of coax cable?
    Adam
     
  15. Ed Vandeweerd

    Ed Vandeweerd Stunt Coordinator

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    Adam,

    I agree with Marty go with the Centre Channel first. The Centre carries the dialogue and If you have reasonable towers then they can compensate nicely for any added bass response until you get a sub. Also When you do buy a sub go for a powered sub versus a passive sub because you will require a powered sub to properly handle any dts tracks. Have Fun!
     
  16. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I don't think JBL N24s would ever be considered decent towers. As mentioned, they are only good to 75Hz, which means to me that they were intended to be used with a sub. Adding a sub will add the bass that is basically nonexistent right now, while a center will add very little comparatively. This one is a no-brainer to me.
     
  17. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    BUY THE SUBWOOFER [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. MikeKaz

    MikeKaz Stunt Coordinator

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    SUB- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD A SUB FIRST. especially with those speakers
     
  19. joe logston

    joe logston Stunt Coordinator

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    i say get them both, there both important, get them on credit, or with a credit card, dont cheap out
     
  20. EricHaas

    EricHaas Supporting Actor

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    You had a question about surge protectors. I don't know much about the weather in Missouri (except probably that its HOT some of the time), but if it is electrical storm country out there, you cannot go wrong investing $75 in a good surge protector. Out here in California, I use a nice, solid $35 model. Don't spend more than you need to on it though. Find a good model and get the cheapest price online. You don't need to demo a surge protector.
     

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