Need a new center for my Paradigm Ref Studio 60s

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Karl D, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Karl D

    Karl D Auditioning

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    I have a Paradigm Reference Series home theatre speaker system. In my last house, the set-up consisted of Studio 60 mains, CC470 center, and ADP-470 surrounds with an M&K sub. It sounded great.

    We just moved into a new house. The Studio 60's are being used again as my front l&r speakers in the great room. The prior owner had installed Bose in-wall speakers in the rear wall of the great room (and also left some 701's and a VCS-10 for the fronts and center). Because of their position, I plan on using the in-wall Bose speakers for the back l&r channels (I have a Yamaha 7.1 channel receiver). My ADP-470's are much too big for the side left and right positions in this room, so I bought a pair of Cinema-ADP's for those positions, and I'm pleased with them so far. They actually seem to hold up to the Studio 60's quite well, at least at reasonable listening levels.

    I have a bigger size problem with the center channel. The room is dominated by a large stone fireplace flanked by built-in bookcases. Our display is a Pioneer 50" plasma that will hang over the fireplace mantle. There is just no place to put the CC470, which is quite massive. I could conceivably set it into the wall, but it is still really too tall for that (over 9 inches high). Every inch of center channel speaker height means the already too high display has to be moved even higher.

    I experimented briefly with a Bose VCS-10 center channel speaker that the prior homeowner left behind. It fits neatly on the mantle and is only three inches high, but it sounded awful with the Studio 60s. In fact, I could barely hear it.

    I've looked around and found three center channel speakers that look like they MIGHT work. I was hoping someone here would share their experience with them, and also comment on how each might sound in my set-up. They are:

    Paradigm Cinema 110C
    Infinity TSS-Center4000
    Mirage OmniSat v2 CC

    All are relatively short and shallow (4-5" in each dimension), so they should fit on the fireplace mantle without having to move the display too far up. They all use an array of smaller drivers stretched out in a horizontal line. The Infinity has the most drivers (6 midrange and 1 tweeter, IIRC), and the Paradigm has the fewest (2 midrange and 1 tweeter).

    The Paradigm is by far the cheapest, at well under $200. The Inifinity is the most expensive at about $500, and the Mirage is second at $400. I'm willing to pay the extra money to get the best sound, but don't want to waste a couple hundred extra bucks on something that won't be significantly better.

    Whaddya think? Is there another one I ought to be considering?
     
  2. Karl D

    Karl D Auditioning

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    Well, browsing this forum I found recommendations for HTD, which is a name I wasn't previously familiar with. HTD has a "flat panel" speaker that looks similar to the Infinity, and is only $129. Anyone listened to it?
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    There is no other matching center except the 570, so I would not be looking around much. I would put the 470 on a stand in front. If you want the "best sound" keeping that center should be a priority. Next thought would be to pick up some Studio 20s (used?) and use one as the front center.
     
  4. Karl D

    Karl D Auditioning

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    Sorry, John, but a massive stone fireplace with an 18" high and quite deep hearth prevents anything from being placed on a stand in front. The CC470 was on a stand at my last house, but I have to adapt to the environment here. The new house has a full unfinished basement that will eventually have a dedicated theater in it. The CC470 and ADP-470's will be in storage waiting for that day, but until then I have to make do with the room I have.

    I know I won't get "the best sound" with any of the speakers I mentioned above. I'm looking to get the best sound possible within the limitations I have. In other words, I need something of limited height and depth, and that will have some chance of standing up to my Studio 60's.
     
  5. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    I know what you're saying about the fireplace, but will you be using it that often other than winter?

    Well, there's the CC-370 OW that can be mounted on the wall (or fit on the mantle).

    Mabye bracket mount the 470 above and angled down?
     
  6. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Two words: Phantom center

    Those 60s are too good to compromise your front sound stage with a lesser center, IMO.
     
  7. Karl D

    Karl D Auditioning

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    John, the 370 is shorter than the 470, but it's still pretty tall at 7+ inches (the 470 is a little over 9). For the 2 inch height difference, I'd stick with the 470. Neither can realistically be mounted over the TV, because of the extreme height involved. The mantle height is almost neck height on me, and I'm 6 foot. That means it's at least 60" off the deck. The display (a Pioneer PDP-5040HD) is 29" inches tall. Even if the display was mounted al the way down in contact with the mantle, the top edge would still be more that 8 feet above the floor. I can't imagine that would work well at all. The center channel signal would sound like it was coming from above you, not in front of you. That's why I think the speaker has be between the fireplace and the display. And to keep the display from reaching neck-distorting height, I need as thin of a center channel as possible.

    I guess I'm going to pick up the Mirage and try it out. Best Buy has one I can take home, and return it if the sound just doesn't work. If all else fails, I may be forced to buy a whole new "compact" system for this room, and just store the Studio 60's along with the ADP-470s and CC470 until I get my basement theatre built. I'll miss them, though.


    What's a phantom center?
     
  8. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If you mount the center high and angle it down toward you, it won't sound like it is up high.

    A phantom center would simply be no center at all. I prefer to have one, but in your situation, this may be a viable option.
     
  9. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    As John said, it's going w/out a center. You tell your receiver or pre/pro that you don't have one hooked up, and it basically sends the signal to the mains instead. I've been running this sort of arrangement for about three years now. There are people who prefer a center, and people who prefer it w/out one, but you won't really know where you fall until you try it yourself. In my opinion, it only works once you get to a certain quality of speaker, and the 60's are definitely at that level. In fact, it was when I had my Paradigm studio/100s and the studio/cc when I first figured out that I liked it better w/out the center.
     
  10. DevinJC

    DevinJC Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, with that set up, I'm thinking no chance anything is going to sound better than a phantom center, unless all your seating is way way off axis.
     
  11. Karl D

    Karl D Auditioning

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    Hmmm...interesting idea. I hadn't thought of that. And my seating is squarely on axis (at least the center of the sofa is). I'll try it out and see how it sounds.
     
  12. AlanZ

    AlanZ Screenwriter

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    Yeah, you may or may not like it. Just remember that a general rule is that when you toe in a speaker you give up a little in terms of size of soundstage, but you typically gain greater image focus. I'd have them toed in at least a little. Also be sure that the front of the speaker is further out into the room than any entertainment center you may have in the middle of the speaker pair.

    And definitley be sure to remind your receiver that you don't have a center....or it will sound terrible [​IMG]
     

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