(low budget) center speaker help wanted

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Bart_R, Jun 27, 2004.

  1. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm pretty ignorant still when it comes to this home theater stuff so I could very much use some help here.

    You see, I'm going to buy a new center speaker for my HT-setup. The one I have now, which isn't even a proper center speaker but an old panasonic speaker from a stereo set, is sort of busted. At low frequencies it distorts/interferes heavily. This causes for example the descending spaceship in the beginning of Aliens to sound quite grating/cracking. I figured there must be something damaged in the speaker. I've put the receiver setting for that speaker on small (instead of large), which helps but also causes the speaker to sound quite insignificant.

    Anyway, I'm going to buy myself a (new) center speaker. It will be the second actual proper and up-to-date "surround" speaker in my system (next to my active sub), since my mains consist of an ancient Jamo s2 sattelite system (a passive subwoover system, so that would make the little front satellites a little "larger", I suppose), and my rears are similar sattelites (without attachment to any "enhancing" [passive] sub).

    I've been looking around for some centers, but I'm not really sure what to look for. What is the most important aspect of a center? Is the frequency range important, and if yes, is it more important that it starts (very) low or ends high?

    What are good brands or series to look for? I've seen some cheap Magnat center speakers (like the motion c210, the needle center 10, vintage center 13 [that would be my max. prize, though]). Are they any good? What about sticking to the brand of my other speakers? Is that better (or should I buy proper mains and surrounds, regardless)? What about the Jamo A3cen? The JBL atx 10? I've also seen the Tannoy MXC-M speaker. Is that one any good?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...

    Thanks... [​IMG]
     
  2. Pus Suchre

    Pus Suchre Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm no speaker expert by any stretch. But I do know that you want your speakers to be matched in timber. So it's probably a good idea to have your center and your mains from the same speaker "family" what ever you choose.

    It's taken me a year of saving- and I am just now getting my surrounds which will finish off my speaker purchases. I bought my center first- then 6 months later my mains, 5 months later my sub- and now finally my surrounds. Other than the sub, they are all JBL Northridge- same family.

    It's taken a while- but I don't plan on upgrading any time too soon.

    Good luck.
     
  3. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your reply, Pus.

    Yeah, I've heard that too. That it's best to have speakers of the same brand. That would mean that I would have to go for Jamo in this case. I'm just not sure if that would be the best choice in the long run.

    You see, I might be upgrading my other surrounds in the near future too, so adjusting my center to the ones I have now, would be sort of taking things backwards, in a way. Of course I'd want to have an enjoyable sound until the time I decide to upgrade the rest, but I might regret buying a Jamo center if it's not really that great in itself. I mean, what if I would have to buy all speakers anew from scratch (which it will come down to), would I then settle on Jamo too? Does it represent the best bang for buck?

    So, yes, on the one hand I want the center to be integrated as well as it can be in my current system, but on the other hand I wouldn't want to see myself forced to buy Jamo mains and surrounds in the future (to match the center I will then have) which I wouldn't have bought if I would have had a "free" choice.

    Basically my question would be then: What is the best choice for a (low budget) center speaker (regardless of brand), and is a matching speaker really a prerequisite (at this point)?

    I'm just thinking out loud here...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    When I needed a very low-budget center channel a couple years back I bought a Wharfedale off Ubid. It cost me about $60 after shipping. I'm pretty pleased with it for the price. There's definitely better speakers out there, but none for under $60 that I've seen.
     
  5. Brad_See

    Brad_See Stunt Coordinator

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    What's "low-budget" to you? For some it's $200 and for some it's $50. I can tell you this...I bought a BIC DV62CLRs center channel from www.acousticsounddesign.com for $99.00. It's a fantastic center channel that has real depth and great sound.

    IMO having the same brands/family of speakers is not near as important as everyone says it is. There is certainly something to say for it in that it just makes setup easier IMO but with most surround receivers you can tweak all the speakers until they sound matched. Sometimes it's just not possible if the speakers are radically different but in most cases it works out fine. I have a friend who's 5.1 setup consists of the aforementioned BIC center, some white-van Theater Research tower speakers, B&W in-ceiling surrounds and a HSU STF-2 sub. Sounds like a recipe for disaster (especially the towers) but after he ran his setup on his Denon AVR-2805 it actually sounds well-matched.

    brad cook
     
  6. Bart_R

    Bart_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks Brad,

    This gives me something to go by. I haven't seen this particular brand around here (the Netherlands) yet, but maybe I can find something comparable (whether in stores or through the Internet). Around 100 dollars is an ok price for me. I think 120 or 130 would be my ceiling, so to speak.

    Anyway, if I could get something good for around 100 dollars, then that would be great. Do you happen to know of similar models in that price range?

    Cheers,

    Bart.
     
  7. Tod Golden

    Tod Golden Stunt Coordinator

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    I got a Cerwin-Vega RL-25C over at bidz.com for $20.00 [​IMG] But after doing some checking they are no longer being sold there. You can find it on ebay. Just do a search for RL-25C

    I have this in a system with 4 JBL-HLS610s and am very pleased with it. The concern I had it that the spec says 6ohm nominal and that it would cause my receiver (Pio VSX-810) to shut down. So far so good.

    Just my .02 worth - Tod
     
  8. Brad_See

    Brad_See Stunt Coordinator

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    Bart,

    Fluance is a newer budget company that gets a lot of great reviews from purchasers. Their AV-SC center channel can be purchased directly from their website (www.fluance.com) or from www.acousticsounddesign.com. Surely one of those two would ship worldwide.. I guess it would probably be expensive though...but if you could get it shipped for 30 bucks then that would total 100 bucks. From the details that I've read on this CC from their website it sounds like they use quality materials although the BIC center has slightly better performance specs. I try not to get too caught up in specs though. It all comes down to what sounds good...THAT is the most important aspect of a center channel or any other speaker.

    brad cook
     

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