Matching a center channel - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 7 Old 04-22-16, 06:22 AM Thread Starter
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Matching a center channel

I was in Best Buy last night to pick up a webcam and was naturally drawn over to the A/V section just to check things out. I went over to the area where you can listen to various Front, center, surround, and subwoofers by picking them on a touchscreen interface. Something was wrong with their setup because the centers were not working. I watched an intense "escape from the natural disaster" scene from a movie and was amazed at how little sound was coming out of the big floor-standing speakers. For the amount of sound coming out of these speakers, it made me think that a $50 pair of front speakers would be fine as long as you had a good center channel as long as it was only for HT. Let's say that you plan on spending $300 on a 5.0 setup, how would you divide the money per speaker?
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-22-16, 09:03 PM
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Re: Matching a center channel

With 300$ I would get only the 2 front main speakers. I would be looking for used stuff, too. I you plan to invest more later, prefer bookshelf speakers that you can later use a surrounds.
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-22-16, 09:31 PM
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Re: Matching a center channel

I would def be looking at buying used speakers as suggested above.


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post #4 of 7 Old 04-23-16, 10:23 AM
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Re: Matching a center channel

Agree, used speakers. You can set up your receiver to "phantom" the center channel meaning all the dialog will be sent to your front left and right channels.

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Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

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Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #5 of 7 Old 04-24-16, 11:59 PM
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Re: Matching a center channel

I submit the following with the caveat that I agree with all the previous recommendations of trying to find a good deal on a set of L/R for $300.

Let's say, for the sake of argument, that 5 new speakers must be purchased, and that $300 is a hard limit. Within those parameters, you have some options that aren't too bad. Keep in mind that we're talking about a price range that puts us squarely in "budget" territory, and that spending more money will almost certainly yield better results.

The Micca MB42X, MB42X-C - two pairs of MB42X at $89/pr, and one MB4X-C center channel for $79.95. This setup leaves you $42.05, and the Micca's have very high ratings. (78% 5-star, 14% 4-star on Amazon) That's $45 each for L/R/SL/SR, and $80 for C.

You can get Yamaha NS series for L/R and C, leaving you about $60 for a pair of rear speakers... but there's a good chance you'll have to step outside the Yamaha family to fill those channels. This allocates $70 each for L/R, and $100 for C... and therefore $30 each for SL/SR

Polk T Series can get you a similar setup with a little more left over for rears, with an allocation of $50 each for L/R and $130 for C. You'd have $70 left over for rears, but they might not be Polks.

This exercise can be repeated in the entry-level tiers of several other manufacturers, and the price-channel allocation won't deviate too far from what I've already outlined.

Any of these setups would probably sound better than the typical HTIB package. They would likely also surpass a 5.1 package at a similar price point, (There are a few $300 systems that include 5 speakers and a subwoofer) with the consideration that inside a package which includes a sub the manufacturer will likely skimp on the 5 channels because of the cost of the subwoofer. The disadvantage the setups mention above would have is that they don't include a subwoofer (that wasn't in the rules), so a 5.1 package might have a better bottom end at the expense of everything else.

So... it can be done. But you'd be better off either increasing your budget, or spending the $300 on a 2.0 setup rather than a 5.0 setup. You'll get a lot more quality for the extra money spent per-speaker in this price range.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-25-16, 08:14 AM
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Re: Matching a center channel

clint357 wrote:
... Let's say that you plan on spending $300 on a 5.0 setup, how would you divide the money per speaker?
If I were trying to put together a 5.1 set-up (I wouldn't want a 5.0 set-up for movies), I would start by putting that $300 on a good pair of gently-used main speakers.

Then I'd save up and, as money became available, add:
- a good-quality subwoofer ($500-$1K, new);
- a matching CC speaker (used or new); and
- surrounds (used or new).
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-25-16, 11:32 PM
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Re: Matching a center channel

First of all, any demo done in BB should be considered suspect. Second, there are a few things left out of the equation.(room size, expectations etc). For my 300 bucks, I'd start with the best mains I could get with that. Although I think saving for as long as you can stand will get you farther. Used gear can be a great way to start out. Craigslist is absolutely full of deals, and many will trade for stuff so you can get stuff for free. And it's garage sale season! You never know what you can find.

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