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Let’s talk center speakers!

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quicksrt

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I may have posted already in this thread that I use two speakers (smallish sized) together as center speakers. And it works fabulously.

They are mid 1980s Infinity brand. That was back when this brand was more highly respected.

I have been meaning to take some pics to show what and how I set this up. And I’m finally going to do it it. I know everyone just “can’t wait” to see my setup, lol
 

quicksrt

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Nope. I was talking about the exact opposite. See my EDITS.
I’d rather have total discreet separation from channel to channel (with multi-channel surround) than to have listening content mixed with not enough perceived separation of instruments.

My room itself has some liveliness to it that things blend together in the center of the room a bit... like they should. Hard wood floors work with bass in a realistic and deeply powerful feeling of womp! Large Rugs placed in a most tasteful arrangement deadens things nicely, and the vintage music / (large) Fillmore posters (+ Beatles, Stones, Who, Floyd, Zeppelin autographs) mounted in glass frames create a lively air to the high end of the spectrum.

Anyway after getting used to my listening room with it being an active part of the sound field, when I visit friends who have very nice and expensive systems I’ll often prefer my own more lively setup than their accurate (but) totally dead sounding rooms. Their small high end speakers and beautiful low watt amps sound small to me, and I don’t “feel” the music the way I like to.

I have been to plenty of concerts large and small, and I know what live music sounds like. My setup sounds (and feels) like a live performance.

I saw Bruce Cockburn the other (Weds) night at McCabe’s in LA. This little venue seats 150. I got second row center isle. It was (I noticed) immersive and full sounding like I get with my room at home, and not that smallish (expensive) pure sound I get at others listening rooms / homes.

Yeah, so anyway, I like live albums on my system in this setup particularly, Made in Japan, At Fillmore East, Love You Live, Hendrix at Winterland and others that are mixed well sound wonderful with this analogue stereo 4-speaker setup. But studio albums as well, The Final Cut, Aja, and those other audiophile works like Tea for the Tillerman do indeed sound better than good. Floyd’s TFC works well with hardwood floors giving the sound a base with which to anchor to. Lots of original analog mastered vinyl here. But JRiver from PC is also on tap, with ton of MFSL, DCC golds, AP, AF, DVD-A & SACD rips and super nice needle drops done mostly at 24/96kHz all pulling their weight too.

In fact, my richer friends with more money to spend on hi-fi gear, who do have that nicer gear - do not have quite the vinyl collection I have, nor the digital selection I have on PC server (to say nothing of 4.0 / 5.1 surround). They come to me for advice on (analogue cut) LP purchases and I get to go listen at the the purchases I recommended - at their homes on these somewhat superior systems. It’s all good and all fun stuff.
 
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Beefalo

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I may have posted already in this thread that I use two speakers (smallish sized) together as center speakers. And it works fabulously.

They are mid 1980s Infinity brand. That was back when this brand was more highly respected.

I have been meaning to take some pics to show what and how I set this up. And I’m finally going to do it it. I know everyone just “can’t wait” to see my setup, lol
 

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ar surround

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Cool. Question: Do you notice any comb filtering with this side by side setup of these speakers? I had comb filtering issues when I arranged two small Boston Acoustics A40’s like this.
 

Beefalo

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Cool. Question: Do you notice any comb filtering with this side by side setup of these speakers? I had comb filtering issues when I arranged two small Boston Acoustics A40’s like this.
I will admit ignorance when it comes to comb filtering. My old center had two woofers & one tweeter. This has two woofers & two tweeters.
I always sit dead center. I really like this set up.
 

ar surround

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You could lay 2 tower speakers on their sides under the screen and have lots of fire power for your CC
Not quite as extreme as it sounds. For my center I've got two Def. Tech. SM55 on their sides under the screen.
Thanks to both of you @hobie1dog and @Beefalo for turning on a lightbulb in my head. Based on your recommendations, serious or otherwise, I laid my large center channel speaker sideways on the floor. This aligned the drivers, which are identical to the fronts, horizontally rather than vertically. Although every publication seems to frown on this alignment, my center sounds better with the horizontal installation...a much more integrated and seamless frontal sound field.

I am trying various heights above the floor to do some fine tuning, but the horizontal installation shall remain.

Also, this change opened up some options for me regarding the TV...so I immediately went to a local appliance center and bought a Sony 55" 4K TV. Note that the new center speaker configuration does not interfere with the IR remote control of the Lexicon or Oppo.

I haven't posted much lately because I am mesmerized by my new video toy...

Center.jpg
 

Beefalo

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I am looking for a Definitive Technology C/L/R 3000 center channel as it has a built-in subwoofer that fires out the top. Their sales literature has a section saying that the CC speaker needs to be full range to give depth to the sound.
I had a similar Def. Tech but it had 4 or 5" mid bass drivers. It had a subwoofer but I felt it lacked the nice mid bass punch of 6.5".
It looks like this one has 2 - 6.5" so it should perform well with music.
The built in subwoofer is nice if you don't have a stand alone. The sub amp on my Def. Tech. couldn't cut it and fried.....
 

Beefalo

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Thanks to both of you @hobie1dog and @Beefalo for turning on a lightbulb in my head. Based on your recommendations, serious or otherwise, I laid my large center channel speaker sideways on the floor. This aligned the drivers, which are identical to the fronts, horizontally rather than vertically. Although every publication seems to frown on this alignment, my center sounds better with the horizontal installation...a much more integrated and seamless frontal sound field.

I am trying various heights above the floor to do some fine tuning, but the horizontal installation shall remain.

Also, this change opened up some options for me regarding the TV...so I immediately went to a local appliance center and bought a Sony 55" 4K TV. Note that the new center speaker configuration does not interfere with the IR remote control of the Lexicon or Oppo.

I haven't posted much lately because I am mesmerized by my new video toy...

View attachment 44509
Limited space..no problem!
 

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hobie1dog

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Cool. Question: Do you notice any comb filtering with this side by side setup of these speakers? I had comb filtering issues when I arranged two small Boston Acoustics A40’s like this.
I am also ignorant to what comb filtering sounds like. For many years I have run stacked or side by side pairs of speakers. The benefits of the doubled cone surface area and resultant Large Scale Sound for me obviously allows me to ignore it.
 

ar surround

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I am also ignorant to what comb filtering sounds like. For many years I have run stacked or side by side pairs of speakers. The benefits of the doubled cone surface area and resultant Large Scale Sound for me obviously allows me to ignore it.
It sounds “notchy” or “phasey.” There a Youtube video that demonstrates it IIRC. I suppose that it depends on the installation, listening position etc. People used double-stacked Advent speakers for many years and I never heard anyone complain about sonic problems with that arrangement.
 

hobie1dog

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I'm going to now take one pair of my 4 Clements tower speakers and lay them down on the floor under the pj screen, and that way have full range speakers for a CC. I can run them off of the extra channels on my 6 channel amp as it will handle low ohm loads. The pair are just the right height when placed on their sides to come up to the bottom of the screen.
That way I can take my Def Tech CC speaker and move it into the living room, behind the big tv, firing upward, as i need it for the dialog during the evening news, ( the only time i watch tv )
 
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Sonik Wiz

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I’d rather have total discreet separation from channel to channel (with multi-channel surround) than to have listening content mixed with not enough perceived separation of instruments.

My room itself has some liveliness to it that things blend together in the center of the room a bit... like they should. Hard wood floors work with bass in a realistic and deeply powerful feeling of womp! Large Rugs placed in a most tasteful arrangement deadens things nicely, and the vintage music / (large) Fillmore posters (+ Beatles, Stones, Who, Floyd, Zeppelin autographs) mounted in glass frames create a lively air to the high end of the spectrum.

Anyway after getting used to my listening room with it being an active part of the sound field, when I visit friends who have very nice and expensive systems I’ll often prefer my own more lively setup than their accurate (but) totally dead sounding rooms. Their small high end speakers and beautiful low watt amps sound small to me, and I don’t “feel” the music the way I like to.

I have been to plenty of concerts large and small, and I know what live music sounds like. My setup sounds (and feels) like a live performance.

I saw Bruce Cockburn the other (Weds) night at McCabe’s in LA. This little venue seats 150. I got second row center isle. It was (I noticed) immersive and full sounding like I get with my room at home, and not that smallish (expensive) pure sound I get at others listening rooms / homes.

Yeah, so anyway, I like live albums on my system in this setup particularly, Made in Japan, At Fillmore East, Love You Live, Hendrix at Winterland and others that are mixed well sound wonderful with this analogue stereo 4-speaker setup. But studio albums as well, The Final Cut, Aja, and those other audiophile works like Tea for the Tillerman do indeed sound better than good. Floyd’s TFC works well with hardwood floors giving the sound a base with which to anchor to. Lots of original analog mastered vinyl here. But JRiver from PC is also on tap, with ton of MFSL, DCC golds, AP, AF, DVD-A & SACD rips and super nice needle drops done mostly at 24/96kHz all pulling their weight too.

In fact, my richer friends with more money to spend on hi-fi gear, who do have that nicer gear - do not have quite the vinyl collection I have, nor the digital selection I have on PC server (to say nothing of 4.0 / 5.1 surround). They come to me for advice on (analogue cut) LP purchases and I get to go listen at the the purchases I recommended - at their homes on these somewhat superior systems. It’s all good and all fun stuff.
I had been passing by this thread for some time cuz I thought the dreaded center front speaker was a dead end , like analog vs digital discussions. But once I got into it I am impressed by how much effort everyone here has put into getting it just right for their own individual needs. And the diversity in set ups is considerable. In’s in that regard, mainly from quicksrt that I’m responding. My whole room & CF speaker arrangement is almost the opposite of his but I find it fascinating that somethings so different can sound so right to different listeners.

My Bassment audiotorium (with video. I refuse to call it Home Theater when music is the most important part) is abouy 13’ w x 25’ d. The front speakers are Infinity Kappa 8’s & the back are Infinity Kappa 7’s. In between the front speakers is an 8’ (4 x 7) screen for my Panasonic 8000 projector. I use two BIC America 6.5” 2 way speakers for center front. Unlike anyone else here I have one on the floor underneath the screen sitting normally, and one suspended upside down from the floor joists by bunji cord to decouple and it is hung upside down. Woof on top, tweet on the bottom. The bunji cord decouples the speaker from the floor above & turning it upside down helps avoid reflections from the tweeter on the ceiling. The set up looks like this:
BASSMENT FRONT 4 copy.jpg


Obviously the speakers do not match the fronts but with a 100hz xover to the main fronts the sound is crisp & clean, better than you would expect from such inexpensive units. I went for over/under set up because with a room that small there’s always someone sitting on the floor. If you sit on the floor with only the top speaker that’s where the dialogue from movies seemed to be coming: the ceiling. Adding the bottom one smoothed that out perfectly. And because they are hung vertically there is no sense of comb filtering as you might get with L/R side by side speakers. Unlike quicksrt, I value my concrete floor & I have floor to ceiling wrap around convoluted polyurethane to absorb reelections. With high absorbtion in the front & a lot of diffusion in the rear it’s pretty close to the classic LEDE arrangement. I figure it’s the job of the recording & surround decoding to create the soundfield not the room.

For music if it is discrete 5.1 sure I use the center front ch. But if most everything through my SM is 4.1 & whether it’s stereo or quad the phantom center front imaging is so precise I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
But I do value the center front when watching movies off center. Another example can be seen when you see the rear of the room:
REAR OF ROOM 2.jpg


Only a portion of the room is devoted to presentation. Behind the couch is a 2 shelf credenza holding my A list records and another work area for my PC. My speakers are set up in a square all of them equidistant from the sweet spot. You can sit in the middle of the speakers or the middle of the couch & phantom center front works great. But anywhere else & it changes. When watching movies again it helps keep the dialogue centered. Most of the time I use this area for music, using my little oppo phone app so I don’t even have to turn on the projector. Underneath the glass table top is a DIY sub woof with 2, 12” drivers. Sitting in the sweet spot, directly in front of the sub woof it doesn’t take a huge amount of bass to actually feel it.
So there you have it. Yet another variation on the center front speaker set up. Vive la difference!
 

bossfan

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All of my speakers are made by the same company. The three across the front 2 floor standing models and a matching horizontal centre channel work perfectly for me. The sub is from the same Cdn company and the two rear speakers are smaller, active speakers from the same company that match beautifully. I'm sure there are better sytems but I'm super happy with mine.
 
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