HT Newbie: Decent (budget) center channel speaker recommendation for my setup?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Scott:H, Sep 5, 2004.

  1. Scott:H

    Scott:H Auditioning

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    I am basically a new "beginner" HT person. My system will reflect as much.

    My equipment so far:
    Panasonic SA-HE100K Receiver (great deal on Ebay)
    Bose 141 Bookshelfs (I know, I know, but they were close to free)
    Dayton 10" Subwoofer (bought as a result of recommendations here)

    This was enough to get me up and running with really a very minimal investment.

    The next piece I wanted to buy was a center channel speaker. Is there a great budget choice here (a la the Dayton Sub to subwoofers) I can look into? I'm pretty much just going budget, finding deals on Ebay, etc. for now getting a value system together.

    The last piece I'll buy will be the rear speakers. Was considering some JBL N24s since they can be had for under $50 for the pair. Open to recommendations all around though.
     
  2. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    I would use the JBL's for mains and put the bose in back. The you can pick up the JBL N center II.

    Or, if you want to go balls out you can get the Fluance SX-HTB for around $300, pair of towers, a center and 2 surrounds. Easily the best bang for your buck.

    Hey Scott.. just curious.. have you ever pulled the glued on front girll off of those bose 141's?
     
  3. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    I would reccomend a slightly different course of action. I would either get a new pair of mains or atleast pick out what mains you want to get first. Then pick the matching center. Regardless of which you get first (center or mains) I would make sure they are matched. Then when you get new mains (either before or after the center, your call) I would move the 141s to the back. I think either of these options woulr offer a much better upgrade path as it would give you a matched front sound stage with more of your money invested in where the bulk of the sound comes from, w/ your inexpensive yet still fairly capable speakers relegated to surround duty which is much less demanding.

    If you like the JBL N24s then I would reccomend them for the front more so than the Bose 141s. If you like that line then there are some great deals to be had. Look at the N26 and N28 bookshelfs and the matching N Center. The new E series also offers a great value.

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  4. Scott:H

    Scott:H Auditioning

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    Hmm--thanks for the suggestions--gives me some things to think about. Some good points here. New bookshelfs and center channel speakers do make sense.

    To Jimi C: funny you mention that glued on front grill. I actually started to pry it off once and it really didn't look like it was going to go back on so I wimped out and put it back. They might look better without those grills; but the speakers aren't really attractive to begin with. I also started attempting to pull the silver plating off the edge though, thinking I'd prefer an all black look--but there's holes behind the plating and I had to reglue the part I slightly pried off. Bummer.

    The problem with the Fluance SX-HTB is those speakers are big. Large towers are just not what I want to do. Definitely into this smaller speaker trend.

    Scott
     
  5. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Scott:H,

    Why are you getting the surround channel speakers last? These are where the special (i.e. surround) effects will come from, the effects that really make up a home theater's advantage over a stereo-only system. The center channel is only a supplement to the front mains & used to help viewers off to the side of the TV hear the dialog from where the image is. And unless the center channel is perfectly matched--sonically & location-wise--with the front mains it can stick out like a sore thumb & take away from the movie watching experience.

    IIRC those 141's use a single 5" full-range driver--such speakers can usually image quite well because of their simplicity. This means they can create a stable "phantom" center image for the viewers seated in front of your TV. My two-way Boston Acoustics CR9s can do this & I have lost track of how many times others have walked up to my TV to make sure the volume is turned off, because voices seem to emanate directly from the center of the screen.

    So my adivce would be to buy those JBLs, put them in front immediately [​IMG] & use the Boses for rear channels.
     
  6. Jimi C

    Jimi C Screenwriter

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    I mention it because i have done it and it is very very ugly...(had no problem getting them back on) thats why they glued them on.. the drivers are not round. they are almost a star shape.
     
  7. paul clipsel

    paul clipsel Stunt Coordinator

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    Matching those front trio of speakers is really vital because if the center channel voicing is different it really hurts the illusion when voices move across the front stage. The first time I ever got a center channel I made that exact mistake, but like a squeak in the dash it drives you nuts after a while. The other issue is the center channel works real hard so don't skimp just for the sake of saving some physical space. Run stereo and a phantom center till you save enough to put in the equal speaker (into the center).


    PC
     
  8. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Yep.

    BTW: The reason I haven't bought a center yet is because I am trying to save for this center--many smaller centers sound rather thin (though probably their location away from walls/corners contributes to this) so I figured why not go for the gusto. My second choice is the JBL E35 if my new job can't stand the strain of buying a 34lb [​IMG] center channel (besides the sound almost matching my CR9s, the Beta has a metal grill nearly identical to the ones on my Bostons).

    This is another possibility though I am not so sure a Cambridge's sonics will match well with the Bostons.
     
  9. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    Stephen took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn't agree more.
     

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