Center speakers

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Boris_V, Sep 21, 2001.

  1. Boris_V

    Boris_V Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just a thought: Why have the center speakers often worse characteristics then the others, at least on the paper. For example they can't play that low, probably becouse of the smaller bas drivers they have. But isn't the center channel the channel where most of the action takes place? So i for one would spend the most on the center speaker. Your thoughts?
     
  2. Chad Isaacs

    Chad Isaacs Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2000
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well,my center has dual 5 1/4 drivers while my mains each have dual 6 1/2 drivers..same tweeter though.Most folks(to my knowledge) run their centers small and let the sub handle all of the low end signals.I ran mine large once and it was ok but I perfer it small.
    ------------------
    My dvd collection
    http://www.dvdprofiler.com/mycollect...?alias=cisaacs
     
  3. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    You have touched on a pet peve of mine. It brings out this fact: "You dont get what you pay for". The center usually contains the same drivers (or more), but costs less than a L/R speaker. It's just marketing.
    I agree that the center speaker is the most important speaker in the system for a HT setup. But I would NOT spend the most money on the center. You can get a very good HT system with less-accurate, but tone-matched speakers.
     
  4. Boris_V

    Boris_V Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't agree that the center speaker costs less than the L/R speakers, it's often the opposite, except perhaps if you buy large tower (full range) speakers for the front. And could you please explain what exactly do you mean by saying "less-accurate" and "tone-matched". I'm an audio newbie, you must know.
    I'm about to buy a HT setup, with the same bookshelf speakers for front and rear L/R (with an 6 1/2 inch bass driver and tweeter) and the center speaker (with four only 3 3/4 inch bass drivers and tweeter). All the speakers are from the same E6 series from Jamo, so why Jamo decided to give the center such small bass drivers? I'm worried that the center will not handle the lower sounds as good as the others.
     
  5. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    don't skimp on the center channel. it is the most important speaker for home theater. most of what you hear comes from the center. don't worry about the center having smaller drivers - those small drivers are capable of handling the mid and hi frequencies. the mains and sub will handle all the low frequencies.
    typically, it seems that most manufacturers now "match" their ht speaker sets. this is known as timbre-matching. that is, they all have the same sonic characteristics, so that when sound travels from one speaker to the other, the sound will stay consistent. otherwise, that harley motorcycle engine sound that starts in your left speaker will turn into a moped when it gets to the center, then back to a harley on the right side. [​IMG]
    my .02
    ------------------
    You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here.
     
  6. Boris_V

    Boris_V Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for your explanations.
    But when a deeper sound (not as deep as that the sub takes it) is meant to play at the center channel, then the center speaker must play it, so the center speaker has to be capable of playing pretty low sounds as well, at least to the cross over point, where the sub takes over. When i say low i mean about 80hz, which is the cross over point of most receivers today. And i'm worried that an 3 3/4 inch drive isn't able to reach down to 80hz.
     
  7. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 1999
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    Actually, a center channel (or any speaker for that matter) set to small still needs to hold up well below 80hz. The crossover on HT receivers is not a brick wall, and by that I mean that it doesn't just cut off all sound below 80hz and send it to the sub.
    For instance, I have the Onkyo TX-DS595 receiver, which is crossed at 80hz with a 12db/octave slope. This means that 80hz is the point where both the speaker and the sub are producing roughly equal amounts of sound. One octave below that, and the sub produces +12db while the speaker produces -12db. An octave below that, the sub produces +24db and the speaker -24db from the levels they were producing at 80hz. So the crossover keeps your small speakers from trying to produce extremely deep bass at high levels... but they still need to extend pretty low for the best performance and the smoothest transition. My center channel only extends down to 55hz (by manufacturer's specs), and you can hear problems with deep bass in the center (specifically Titan A.E.).
     
  8. Bob_A

    Bob_A Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    876
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jeremy what do you think about those center channels with built in subs? To me it seems like a pretty good idea in that it extends the bass response of the center speaker.
     
  9. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 1999
    Messages:
    1,049
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't know that it's necessary to have a center channel with a built-in sub... but it damn sure couldn't hurt! I'd say if your center performs cleanly to about 40hz, you probably won't hear any holes in the frequency range. Of course, all your other speakers would have to perform similarly.
    In my particular setup, my center speaker is really not the best (Polk CS175i). But since I don't have the money to upgrade right now (after buying an Onkyo 595 and Panny RV-31), it'll do. I just can't play stuff like Titan A.E. without hearing my center channel groan a bit with heavy bass.
     
  10. Frank Frandsen

    Frank Frandsen Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 1998
    Messages:
    112
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like the idea of a Built in sub for the center channel but just worry that extra bass may screw up the calibration of my RPTV since it is right on top. Anyone using one of these have a problem?
    Frank
     
  11. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Boris_V: Sorry if my post confused you. I did write several paragraphs, then cut it back to the two you saw.
    Several well-respected members here have some fairly good (read ~$5,000) systems. Then they get invited to a friend/relatives house to set up one of these HTB (Home Theaters in a Box) system that sell for $500-$1,000 for speakers and a receiver. They come home rather shocked at how good these box systems sound.
    Is it as good as their home rigs? No, but it does produce a very good HT experience for about 1/10 the price.
    So how does this come about?
    One salesman said something to me that seems to explain it:
    Music speakers are about ACCURACY, but HT speakers are about Impact
    The speaker market knows that accuracy is the key for audiophiles so the price goes up with more accuracy.
    But the typical DVD soundtrack is very different from a CD. It does not need/want a high degree of accuracy. (This is why people are advised to audition speakers with music rather than movies. Music is much more demanding and will show up problems that a DVD soundtrack will not expose).
    This is why I talk about less-accurate (less expensive) speakers working well for a HT system.
    Did this help?
     
  12. Boris_V

    Boris_V Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2001
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bob McElfresh: My mood has risen as i read your lines. Thank god, i don't have to spend a whole fortune to fully enjoy a movie, since i'm not one of those guys with 5000$ in my wallet.
    So accuracy - as i understand it - means how close to the original material the reproduced sound by the speakers is? Please correct me if i'm wrong.
    The specs of the speakers i'm about to buy says for the mains and rears that they reach down to 50hz but for the center only to 60hz - for me that's not tone-matched. I don't understand why it's often the case that the center isn't able to play as low as the mains.
    One stupid question: How much is an octave?
     
  13. JerryW

    JerryW Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2001
    Messages:
    640
    Likes Received:
    0
    One difference is that most bookshelf speakers that people use as mains are ported allowing for lower extension, while most CC speakers aren't (because of their usual placement near walls). This isn't always the case, but does seem to be the issue most of the time.
    As far as timbre matching is concerned, make sure that the CC you buy has the same high-frequency drivers (tweeters) as the mains you purchase. This usually isn't an option when it comes to the woofers/bass drivers (due to CC size restrictions), but as long as your tweeters match most effects and voices should blend very well.
    See as it goes, most CCs have a WTW (woofer tweeter woofer) configuration because this supposedly allows for wider dispersion (many would argue with this) and a more asthetically pleasant appearance in most HTs.
    Here's an option, check out Hometheaterdirect.com ( http://store.yahoo.com/htd/levthrespeak.html
    ------------------
    September 11, 2001
    "Those who died will always be remembered.
    Those who killed will never be forgotten.
    We who remain will not let it happen again."
    [Edited last by JerryW on September 24, 2001 at 08:40 AM]
     
  14. LarrySkelly

    LarrySkelly Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2001
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    0
    BorisV,
    re: 'How much is an octave'?
    African or European?
    (could not resist)
    Seriously, it was on my daughter's (grade 5) word list this week, an octave is 'a series of 8 notes that double in frequency' or thereabouts. So in the context it was probably used (somewhere back in the thread) an octave is a doubling of frequency.
    Larry
    ------------------
    Upgrading: 'What if this is as good as it gets?'
     
  15. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 1999
    Messages:
    6,873
    Likes Received:
    2
    The Left, Center, and Right speakers should be identical in every way. They should be exactly the same speaker. Anything less is a compromise. You simply would not believe how much of a difference identical speakers make in a soundfield compared to so-called "timbre-matched" (a misnomer if there ever was one) speakers.
    Identical L/C/R is the only way to go. once you've experienced it you will never go back.
    ------------------
    Philip Hamm
    Pat's the best!™
    AIM: PhilBiker
    click on the little green house to see the evolution of my home theater!
     
  16. Hubert

    Hubert Second Unit

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2001
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    0
    I respectfully disagree Philip. There is no one correct way for everyone. I have BP3000s and a CLR3000 center speaker from Def Tech. I notice no change in timbre when sounds pan at all. The sound characteristics match each other incredibly well. I use to have 5 identical speakers, and while you make a valid point, my current system sounds far better. The identical speakers is a good way to go, but it's not the only valid setup. Just giving a different opinion.
     
  17. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    i read something curious in (i think) the latest issue of a/v interiors, or else it was sght. anyway...
    they were talking about center speakers and how the typical center configuratin of woofer/tweeter/woofer in a horizontal plane was not very good.
    they recommended a tweeker/midrange in a vertical alignment flanked by woofers on the side. i'd never heard of this.
    i don't think i've ever seen any center in this kind of setup. i'm thinking maybe ml's, but i'm not sure.
    any comments?
    ------------------
    You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here.
     
  18. Eric-J

    Eric-J Auditioning

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2001
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    If I understand you what your saying Ted, my Atlantic Technology center is like that.
    -------|Midrange|-------
    Woofer |Tweeter | Woofer
    -------|Midrange|-------
    [Edited last by Eric-J on September 25, 2001 at 04:56 PM]
     
  19. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2001
    Messages:
    8,390
    Likes Received:
    0
    pretty close eric -
    i think it's more like:
    ---------tweeter-------
    woofer----mid----woofer
    ironically enough, i just found an article on hometheaterhifi.com that talked about this very topic.
    here's an excerpt:
    quote: One way to get around the lobing problem is to arrange the drivers such that the tweeter is not in the horizontal plane with the midwoofers. Some designers have squeezed the midwoofers closer together, while raising the tweeter up off the center plane. A typical example of this design is the Paradigm CC300 (an older model that is currently in my system), where Paradigm was able to maintain a 4th order Butterworth crossover and still have decent horizontal dispersion. In order for Paradigm to accomplish this in a relatively short enclosure, they had to design a special tweeter with its flange cut away so the woofers can get close and personal with the tweeter. B&W went as far as removing the tweeter from the main enclosure and stuck it on top of the cabinet. [/quote]
    pretty interesting...i never thought about that. i guess there's actually several center speakers like that.
    ------------------
    You step in the stream,
    But the water has moved on.
    This page is not here.
    [Edited last by Ted Lee on September 25, 2001 at 05:02 PM]
     
  20. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

    Joined:
    May 22, 1999
    Messages:
    5,182
    Likes Received:
    0
    Boris: glad I could help you avoid "sticker-shock".
    Yes, audiophiles want a speaker that avoids any coloration of the sound. This does not really exist, but you can get fairly close. But to do it right, you need some good acoustic, electrical and mechanical engineers to do the design, high-quality parts and rigid controls on the manufacturing process. Each of these add $$$ to the cost.
    Now for a little more about tone-matching:
    Dont look at how low the speakers will go. Your hearing is most sensitive around 10,000 hz which I think is where the tweeter handles all the sounds. Your ears are fairly insensitive to the sounds that the woofers make. So a set of speakers is still tone-matched, even if they have different lower-limits.
    Ideally, as Phillip pointed out, all speakers should be identical for the best possible match. (If thats not possible/too-expensive, the front 3 speakers should be from the same set. They are the most important in a HT setup).
    But the center speaker is not used identically as the left/rights. It contains nearly 100% of all the dialog, music and special effects. The L/R speakers tend to take a fraction of the dialog, some of the music and some of the special effects.
    Because the center is so important, and the audience is spread out horizontally, the center usually has dual mid-range drivers and is in a horizontal configuration to give the sound a wide-throw.
    As some have pointed out, there is controversy over this. Speaker builders have vertical vs horizontal alignment decisions to make, they can go with a Midrange-Tweeter-Midrange (MTH) alignment, or move the tweeter up a smidge and call it a "D'Applito" array, etc.
    IMHO: your buy/dont-buy decision should not be based on these issues for a HT speaker system.
    A last point on speaker selection: it's a matter of taste.
    If I brought out 5 brands of chocolate ice-cream and put them in a row from best-tasting to worst, you would likely put them in a different order. Especially if you happen to be a vanilla-lover.
    Dont ask people to tell you what is "best". They will have different tastes. Whenever possible, visit a dealer and listen for yourself. Even if you dont like the major chain stores like Good Guys or Circuit City, these places have listening rooms that allow you to fire up some disk and snap many different speakers in/out. This instant A/B/C comparision is wonderful.
    Take at least 1 CD with familar music, and some DVD's that are your typical favorites to an audition. The better stores will expect this of you.
    Try to find chapters on the DVD that have a complex mix of male/female dialog, music, special effects. Play this chapter on every speaker system you can and note which ones are more detailed. And try to remember: louder is NOT better. Listen for detail, nuance, and be alert for overly-bright sounding speakers: these will give you a headache by the end of most movies.
    One of my favorites is the Borg Battle chapter on Star Trek:First Contact. Lots of material that starts slow and builds up over 5-6 minutes. (If you need a starting point).
    Good Luck.
     

Share This Page