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JBL SCenter II or Polk CSi30

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by JohnMcCallum, Dec 17, 2003.

  1. JohnMcCallum

    JohnMcCallum Extra

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    These center speakers can be found for around the same price and I was wondering on which speaker is better.
    JBL SCenter II Specs:

    General Section
    • Maximum Recommended Amplifier Power: 150 Watts
    • Impedance: 8 Ohms
    • Sensitivity (2.83V @ 1m): 91dB
    • Frequency Response (–3dB): 75Hz - 20kHz
    • Crossover Frequency(ies): 800Hz, 3200Hz
    • High-Frequency Driver: 1" Pure-titanium dome with EOS™ waveguide
    • Midrange Driver: 4" PolyPlas™
    • Low-Frequency Driver: Dual 5-1/4" PolyPlas™
    • Dimensions
    (H x W x D): 7-7/8" x 20-1/2" x 9" (200mm x 521mm x 229mm)
    • Weight: 15 lb (6.8kg.)
    • MSRP U.S.: $299.99 each

    Polk CSi30 Specs:

    video-shielded
    bass-reflex
    frequency response 55-26,000 Hz (-3dB)
    8-ohm impedance
    sensitivity 90 dB
    handles up to 180 watts
    5-way binding post terminals
    black wood veneer
    19-7/8"W x 6-5/8"H x 7-1/2"D
     
  2. ken-m

    ken-m Agent

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    john,

    i own the csi30 and it is a very good center speaker. what other speakers are you using?

    ken.
     
  3. GrahamT

    GrahamT Supporting Actor

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    I also have the Csi30 and agree that it is very good. We cant say which is better but one may be more appropriate for you. Dont be too concerned with the specs but have a listen before you buy.
     
  4. JohnMcCallum

    JohnMcCallum Extra

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    Well, I am going to upgrade my speakers and I am starting with the center speaker. It will be used for mostly movies, but also some music. The only thing I am really concerned about is distortion. I really want a center that can handle the chesty voices that can be a problem for some centers. The JBL would be slighly cheaper, but not much, and it has a midrange. However, the CSi30 seems to be pretty popular, and the frequncy range is wider,so I don't know. Does the addition of the midrange in the JBL make it a better speaker?
     
  5. ken-m

    ken-m Agent

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    not always! i have broken mine in and have listened to a lot of music and movies on it. i have also owned a jbl center in the past and the jbl had a bright and almost fake sound on the upper freq that i didn't like. the csi30 has a very natural sound that is very soothing and very accurate, especially with voices on both music and movie soundtracks. what amp/receiver are you going to use?
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

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    I kind of agree with ken-m, I am not a big fan of the JBL S-Center, and I am a JBL S-Series freak in general. Then again, I am not a fan of center specific speakers in general. I use JBL S-38's all the way around, including my center.

    I will be curious as to your impressions of the csi30, if that is what you go with.

    In a center, you really want it to produce 100hz just as strong as 1500hz, and just as strong as 15khz. In my opinion anyways, and very very few center specific speakers can do this, including the JBL s-center....
     
  7. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    Location:
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    Andrew Pierce


    According to JBLs specs it can, give or take 3db. Do you feel their specs are not truthful, or that 3db is too wide a range?

    In any case I have and enjoy the Polk CSi30, but I've heard the JBL is good too. But if possible stay in the same speaker lines as your mains (whatever they are), so that you get a proper timbre matched front soundstage.
     
  8. TommyWMedford

    TommyWMedford Stunt Coordinator

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    I just upgraded my Polk CSi30 to the CSi40, and I can tell you that the CSi30 is a great little center speaker, especially if you can find it for $100 or less, like I did. Circuit City has their CSi40's on clearance for only $200, and if you can spend that much, you should definitely opt for it instead. Just a little while ago, it sold for $399, and at only $200, it's a steal.
     
  9. Joseph Sabato

    Joseph Sabato Stunt Coordinator

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    A big factor in choosing your center is what you plan to use for your left and right speakers. I was using Boston Acoustics for my L & R and bought a later version Boston center that was close to the balance of my mains but not a perfect match by any stretch.

    I switched to an all JBL S series setup, first S38's and an S Center, then added S36's for surrounds later. Having the front 3 speakers "matched" made a very significant difference in the focus of the system and in how pans sounded. Ideally, all 5 speakers being the same ( Like John S above) will give you the best experience. An advantage of the 3 way design is that the mid/tweeter are vertically oriented so you do not get the lobing in response off axis that you get with a 2 way. That said, I like Polks too (my brother in law and nephew both have Polk systems) but they do have a different character.

    I like to play movies (and music) near reference levels and the JBL's dynamics (low and high level) and ability to play loud and clean without a lot of compression are hard to find any where near this price point or for considerably more.

    It is all a matter of what your preferences are and how you weigh the strengths and weaknesses of what is available. Good Luck.
     
  10. Mark:F

    Mark:F Stunt Coordinator

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    Tommy,is the circuit city deal in-store only? Neither of the polks are on the website. Closest they have is the CSI3 for $199.99...it's apx 2" deeper than the CSI30 and I think it has slightly better specs...I was planning to get the CSI30 from Crutchfield for $149.99...they want $399.99 for the CSI40 so if it's $200 somewhere I want it!
     
  11. Todd Christ

    Todd Christ Stunt Coordinator

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    hmm - i got my S Center II for $135 shipped to my door! and it is a brand new (not used) part!

    check ebay!
     
  12. Jack Shappa

    Jack Shappa Second Unit

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    I've got the csi30 center matched with rti28s (front and rear), fxi30s (sides) and a psw202 (sub) and it sounds very nice. Blends very nicely together, and dialogue is quite clear. About a year ago or so I got my set for a total of around $1,500, but nowadays they sell for much much less (probably half that). A great deal for the money. For about what I spent a year ago you could go with the csi40, matched with rti38s, fxi50s, and a bigger sub.

    - Jack
     
  13. John S

    John S Producer

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    Andrew, in the opening post, it says 75 hz on the low side, all I can say, is just one listen to a JBL s-center, compared to an s38, well, you should start to get the idea there.

    Specs are rough, the speaker is not flat at all, more middle frequencies actually jump 3 db on it like most center specific speakers. Not that it is bad at all, just not at all what I like in a speaker in general.
     
  14. Mark:F

    Mark:F Stunt Coordinator

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    Tommy....I checked the Polk site and things made sense. They have the CSi3 at $239 retail and the CSi30 at $249. Specs are slightly better for the CSi30. All Circuit City shows is the CSi3 at $199.
     

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