Questions about Athenas!!

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by RyanJE, Apr 9, 2005.

  1. RyanJE

    RyanJE Second Unit

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    I was thinking about getting 3 AS-C1 for my mains and center. Would this work well or go with the AS-B1, B2 for mains and the C1 as the center...

    Heres the link to the site

    www.athenaspeakers.com
     
  2. MikeGee

    MikeGee Second Unit

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    Personal preference really i guess.
    I am running AS-B2's as my main speakers.. and am now looking for an AS-C1 as a dedicated center. I've heard the C1 and it is pretty sharp sounding.
    My suggestion would be to go with the B2's as your mains and the C1 as your center. Cant' go wrong at all.
     
  3. Mike^S

    Mike^S Stunt Coordinator

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  4. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    I have (5) AS-C1's and an AS-P400 sub, powered by a Yamaha 5760.

    The sound pans across the room are flawless, especially pans across the front LCR.

    They sound great on movies and multi channel music. They are very "punchy" with an almost perfect mid range. Powered by my Yamaha, they are anything BUT bright/harsh as well. And they play VERY loud with no signs of any distortion.

    If you have never heard 5/7 identical speakers, then you are most definitely missing a "real" cohesive/balanced sound stage.


    Darryl
     
  5. RyanJE

    RyanJE Second Unit

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    How is the center designed to be an LR speaker. Do the wire inputs rotate, I know this is rare but im just curious. So it seems I would benefit from three of these upfront rather than 2 as-b1 and a center.
     
  6. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't know how they are designed to be a "multi use" speaker, but it's Athena themselves that say they designed the C1 this way. Thats good enough for me.

    No, the wire inputs do not rotate, but the "Athena" emblem on the front grill does rotate so it's straight no matter how you place the speaker! [​IMG]

    You'll be very happy with the 3 C1's as your LCR.


    Darryl
     
  7. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    If you really want to go with identical speakers for the front, I would strongly suggest sticking with AS-B1's or 2's. The Athena center has a rather notorious reputation. But, if you do decide to go with the C1, consider orienting it vertically for best performance.
     
  8. RyanJE

    RyanJE Second Unit

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    VinhT what do you mean "a rather notorious reputation" i dont understand. Notorious for what?

    What benefit does the C1 provide over B2 when used as fronts, and vice versa.. If the C1 has the same extension as the B1 why use the B1 instead?

    Thanks for all the helpful answers so far guys!!![​IMG]
     
  9. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    The "notorious reputation" he is referring to, is basically a handful of people on these different forums that think the C1 stinks.

    Check out the link in post #3 that Mike gave you and you can see for yourself what a professional opinion looks like on the C1. It's very favorable, and i love them as well.

    Darryl

    P.S.
    I had the B1's for a while and they are now used in my garage system!!
     
  10. Ron T

    Ron T Stunt Coordinator

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    I would recommend 2 B2s as well. The C1 is a weak speaker and the worst in their lineup.
     
  11. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    I think the performance of the AS-C1 is very room-dependent (thus the mixed reputation). In my room I have seating areas that are off-axis to the left and right of the center location. In these off-axis areas the performance of the C1 suffered from lobing which caused a lot of dialog intelligibility problems. As Vinh mentioned, standing the C1 vertically will solve this problem, but it makes for a very tall center in this configuration. Because of this I switched to an AS-B2 for the center.

    If your seating areas are not too far off the horizontal axis of your center speaker, the AS-C1s may work fine. It is a very detailed and dynamic speaker.
     
  12. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    The lobing issue is common with any MTM (mid-tweeter-mid) speaker, from any manufacturer.

    So, if that is the argument of everyone who thinks the AS-C1 is "the worst in Athena's line up", then I guess the same MUST be said about: JBL,Paradigm,NHT,Klipsch,ect,ect... As they use the same design on their center speakers as well.

    Funny, doesn't THX spec speakers with a certain amount of dispersion control??

    If your primary seating position is way off to the side from the center of your display/center speaker, than that in itself is a FAR bigger problem than any "lobing" that will occur from any center speaker.

    I would look for a new room that is much more conducive to home theater, then stay in a room that I had to make large sacrifices with.

    Ryan,

    If you want clear, intelligible dialog, that sounds just like the actor is in your room, with a seamless sound stage/pans, then go for the (3) AS-C1's. [​IMG]


    Darryl
     
  13. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    Though my room layout is far from ideal, I see no need to change it to compensate for the center channel. I had no lobing issues with the center from my old Onkyo HTIB center(I believe it had the tweeter raised above the plane of the woofers) and have no such problems with the AS-B2. I would find changing the room a larger sacrifice than using the AS-B2 for a center.[​IMG]

    Like I said, I think the AS-C1 is a very detailed and dynamic speaker and I'm not trying to talk Ryan or anyone out of buying one (or more).
     
  14. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    Good response Chuck, it's nice to converse with someone rationally! [​IMG]

    I guess my biggest complaint about the lobing issue is as follows:

    People are worried about the lobing or frequency response of the center speaker for listeners sitting off to the left or right of the theater room.

    But I never hear people speak about how they calibrated their HT to the primary seated position (SPL's/delays/x-over) and if your seated off axis at all, those settings are now meaningless!

    For those seated off axis, the SPL's of all the speakers will be off, the delays of all the speakers will be off, and we all know what happens to the sub SPL as we walk around the room, it will be WAY off!

    And if you aimed your speakers to the primary seated position, then everyone is getting off axis response of all the speakers anyway, except for you! (although that's all that matters, right?)

    So to me, there are far greater problems for off axis listeners than the center speaker lobing....Wouldn't you now agree?


    Darryl

    P.S.

    Don't even get me started about off axis viewing of your calibrated display!! [​IMG]
     
  15. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    I agree with you Darryl that calibrating to a central position is definitely a compromise in many areas. And the room plays a large part in this as well. The sub response in my room is a great example - the prime location gets great bass, one off-axis seat gets tremendous bass and the other gets very little.

    But out of these problems, lobing was the only issue that could completely ruin a movie experience for me. I can live with compromised bass or SPL in a non-central seat, but if you can't understand the dialog it's all over.

    I really like the idea of 5 matching speakers...one of these days perhaps I'll find the perfect set for my room (as you have for yours Darryl)!

    Anyway...Ryan - sorry if I got a little off-topic in your thread. If you are going to try one or more AS-C1s, this may be a great week to try. Best Buy has a great sale price on these right now!
     
  16. RyanJE

    RyanJE Second Unit

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    Chuck thats why I was looking into this, I saw the sale at BB. What is lobbing?

    I was also looking into just getting 3 pairs of the AS-B2 and using those all around. Or I could get the 3 C1's and 2 B1's in back. I cross my sub over at 80hz.

    Which would work better the 5 B1s or 3C1's and B1 rears. Thanks for all of the good conversation so far guys!!
     
  17. darrylCHER

    darrylCHER Stunt Coordinator

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    Ryan,

    Either the 5 B1's, or the 3 C1's & 2 B1's will sound nice. I had the B1's (4 B1's + C1 + AS-P400) and ultimately replaced the B1's with 4 more C1's.

    The great thing about BestBuy is that you can buy and audition the speakers in your house for 29 days, and if your not happy you can take them back and get a refund or exchange them for another set for 29 more days.


    Darryl
     
  18. Chuck_W

    Chuck_W Second Unit

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    I think this article does a pretty good job of explaining lobing:

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...er-9-2001.html

    As far as which would work better...that not easy to say. You might want to pick-up an AS-C1 and a pair of the bookshelfs, set them up as your front three, calibrate and listen to them carefully for a few days in all the seating areas of your room. By the end of the week (I know you are trying to get these on sale) you might have a better idea of which way to go - you could then buy more C1s and move the bookshelfs to the rears or exchange the C1 for more bookshelves.
     
  19. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    Darryl, Chuck, good points, good discussion.

    My issue with the Athena center concerns more than just the lobing. If I recall correctly, the THX specification suggests tightly controlled directivity to minimize room interactions. What many manufacturers have done is try to limit vertical dispersion to reduce floor, furniture, and ceiling interaction, while maintaining uniform horizontal dispersion. Hence, the popularity of waveguides. If the orientation of their waveguide is any indication, Athena seems to have taken the exact opposite approach, maximizing vertical dispersion and minimizing horizontal dispersion. So, in addition to the lobing of the midrange drivers, off-axis listeners are also subject to compromised high-frequency output. Frankly, to me it looks like the AS-C1 was designed as a left/right speaker first, and then conveniently badged as a center speaker. Of course, any time now I'm expecting an Athena representative to show up and prove me wrong. [​IMG]

    Anyways, I tend to avoid center speakers that carry any sort of LCR designation. It's a clue that the speaker is most likely not optimized for center channel use. It was Tom Nousaine's lab report in the November 2003 issue of Sound & Vision Magazine that originally turned me away from the Athena Audition line. He stated, "Our averaging techniques obscure the heavy lobing of the AS-C1 center speaker at listening angles wider than 15°." That's about as negative as his reports get. Granted, when it comes to lobing, many MTM center speakers don't do much better than 15° anyways, but I still do not agree with Athena's overall center speaker design. It just looks like a little more effort could have improved its performance potential. I do realize that it was probably a tradeoff between high-frequency directivity and lobing, with preference given to not exacerbating the latter.
     
  20. VinhT

    VinhT Second Unit

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    With regards to receiver calibration and subwoofer EQ, yes, many choose settings based on a sweet spot. However, some choose to average the values over a number of seats. I started with a sweet spot and adjusted values until each of the five available seats had levels within 1-2dB with no alarming frequency response anomalies. I would not hesitate to sit in any of the seats. Though my setup is not perfect, I do not feel the experience has been compromised much, if at all.
     

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