Matching Old Speakers to New Center Channel

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Craig_W, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Craig_W

    Craig_W Auditioning

    Nov 19, 2003
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    I just upgraded to an Onkyo HT-510 6.1 receiver after years of living with my Sony two-channel set. I'm holding off on the rear speakers until I move because the room set-up makes wiring them difficult. I would, however, like to add a subwoofer and a center channel speaker to my set-up to get some advantage from my new HT setup.

    My old front speakers are AR TSW 210 bookshelves. I have really grown to like them and they sound good with the Onkyo. I realize that matching them with a new center channel speaker (and later with rear speakers) would likely compromise my system's sound but I'm somewhat loathe to give them up.

    Is there any way I can minimize the timbre-matching issues with a new center? Or do I just need to bite the bullet and get a matched set of front speakers (perhaps keeping the AR's as a B set for listening to music - my receiver usage is split about 50/50 between music and video)?
  2. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

    Aug 5, 1999
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    Katy, TX
    Real Name:

    Craig, it’s always challenge to bring vintage speakers into the modern era of home theater. Obviously nothing is going to timbre-match your speakers like an identical make and model, so IMO the best way utilize vintage speakers is simply to find more of them on the used market.

    Something to consider: The next-best thing for center and surround speakers from a timbre-matching standpoint is a smaller speaker from the same model line, which usually have identical tweeters and smaller woofers with similar acoustical qualities.

    In our case you might want to look for the TSW 110. From what I can tell from my old Audio Equipment Directory it is a smaller version of the 210, with a 8” woofer instead of a 10”, and most importantly, appears to have the same tweeter as the 210. A pair of them recently sold on eBay for a mere $50 ( ). True, you will probably end up with one extra speaker, but for those prices, who cares? [​IMG]

    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
  3. Joseph Sabato

    Joseph Sabato Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 13, 2003
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    The other option if you can't find an old speaker is to take yours to and audio dealer that carries a variety of centers. Hook it up to one channel and run the level calibration tones on the receiver (pink noise) and compare the characteristics of the sound. Since it is "broadband" noise, it will help you narrow down the choices; then listen to music on your final candidates to choose. I did that and got a reasonable match that served me well for about a year until I replaced everything. Any decent store will be glad to help you with this.

    I agree with Wayne though, it is worth the trouble to find the same speaker, or one from the same family if you can

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