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Hey guys, I've been running without a center channel in my family room for several years (been using 15 yr old Klipsch KG1.5 bookshelf speakers for L/R in a 2.1 setup). About a week ago, I picked up a Boston Acoustics VRC center at CC on clearance for a great deal. At the time, I wasn't overly concerned about matching the center with L/R...the VRC was $69, so I jumped all over it.

Well, a couple of days letter, I decided to order a pair of Polk Rti8's for my mains. They aren't connected yet, and won't be until I rearrange my room (probably a few weeks from now).

So, my question...should I keep the VRC and just run it with the Polks? Or should I order a Polk Csi3 and sell the VRC? From a $ standpoint, I'm sure I can get more for the VRC than a Csi3 will cost...so it really comes down to which is a better option for the sound in the room.

Advantage of the Polk center is that it would match the mains. I don't really know how important that is...many here seem to feel strongly that the L,C, and R should be the same brand. Is that true?

The disadvantage (I think?) of the Polk is placement relative to the TV screen (60" Sony A3000). It will have to be placed above the TV...speaker will be on a shelf about 6" above the top of the screen. The VRC fits on a shelf underneath the TV, with the speaker about 9" below the bottom of the screen. So...the Polk would actually be closer to the TV, but would be above. From what I read here, below the TV seems to be the preferred location. Is that true?

I also have no idea of how the two speakers compare to each other...VRC vs Csi3. Are they similar quality/sound? I can't find the Csi3 locally, so don't have a way to listen to it. I'm relying on folks here that know more than I to help me understand the importance of matching the center to the L/R...and if the input is to go with a Polk center, to confirm that placement above the TV is OK. I can angle it down a bit, towards the audience.

Oh, receiver is Denon AVR-3802 (7 x 110W), and the room is 16x22x18H, and open to the foyer. Seating is 12ft from screen (TV on long wall).

Thanks in advance!
 

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The reason many people recommend getting a matching centers is due to possible timbre differences that could be caused by using different drivers or dissimilar crossover networks. Many people find that having mismatched timbre response lowers enjoyment of movies because reproduction is not seamless especially during shots that are panned in the front. Ideally you would have the same three speakers in the front, but since that isn't possible the next best choice is the matching center.

As far as placement of the center below or above the display placement of the center channel above the display will likely result listeners being less able to localize the sound thus making it sound more like it is coming from the display.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The reason many people recommend getting a matching centers is due to possible timbre differences that could be caused by using different drivers or dissimilar crossover networks. Many people find that having mismatched timbre response lowers enjoyment of movies because reproduction is not seamless especially during shots that are panned in the front. Ideally you would have the same three speakers in the front, but since that isn't possible the next best choice is the matching center.

As far as placement of the center below or above the display placement of the center channel above the display will likely result listeners being less able to localize the sound thus making it sound more like it is coming from the display.
Thanks Andrew...enjoyed seeing you in Fri nite chat last nite, btw.

To clarify, this isn't in our dedicated HT...it's for our family room on the main floor. So, while we watch an occasional movie in this room, it's used 95% of the time for watching (normally HD) TV.

Let me put you on the spot a bit...if it were you (given this usage), would you buy the matching Polk and sell the BA VRC? BTW, if I do end up getting the Polk, I think I can rig something up that will allow me to rest the center channel on top of the television. So, placement won't be as bad as I was thinking.
 

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Thanks Andrew...enjoyed seeing you in Fri nite chat last nite, btw.

To clarify, this isn't in our dedicated HT...it's for our family room on the main floor. So, while we watch an occasional movie in this room, it's used 95% of the time for watching (normally HD) TV.

Let me put you on the spot a bit...if it were you (given this usage), would you buy the matching Polk and sell the BA VRC? BTW, if I do end up getting the Polk, I think I can rig something up that will allow me to rest the center channel on top of the television. So, placement won't be as bad as I was thinking.
The chat was a good time last night :).

Well since this isn't the primary room if it were me I would hook up the towers with your current center and see how well they work together. If it sounds good to you there is no need to spend your money, but if something doesn't sound right then you could always get the matching center. From the sound of it you aren't in a huge rush so I see no reason to.
 

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The chat was a good time last night :).

Well since this isn't the primary room if it were me I would hook up the towers with your current center and see how well they work together. If it sounds good to you there is no need to spend your money, but if something doesn't sound right then you could always get the matching center. From the sound of it you aren't in a huge rush so I see no reason to.
Nope, not in any hurry at all as far as getting things hooked up. But...the Csi3's (last year's model) are being clearanced out for the 2008 model at about 1/2 off. My only concern is that by the time I get my mew mains hooked up and listen to them with the VRC the Csi3's may be gone. So, worst case would be if I end up in a scenario where (for example) a month from now I get things hooked up, I don't like the VRC as the center, and I can't get my hands on the Polks any more.

I'm almost sure I could get about $200 for the VRC and buy the Csi3 for <$150 shipped...so the debate is if I should pull the trigger on that. Based on my research it seems the consensus is that, in and of itself, the VRC is a better center than the Csi3 (an actually more comparable to the Csi5, one model up)...but I don't know if that's more important than having a matching center or not. And, I don't want to :spend:the money on a Csi5.

Sorry for the rambling...
 

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I would dump the VRC and get the Polk center. :bigsmile: That would just be me. Personally I probably would not be able to tell the difference, but I would want them all matched up and it would bother me to no end until I matched them all. I am not sure why things like that weigh on my mind, but they do.

I also agree if you can place it above the set, it would be better. If you notice, the mouths are generally in the upper half of the screen, so when above the screen the speaker is most likely going to be closer to the mouths that are speaking. You might angle it down towards ear level.
 

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I would dump the VRC and get the Polk center. :bigsmile: That would just be me. Personally I probably would not be able to tell the difference, but I would want them all matched up and it would bother me to no end until I matched them all. I am not sure why things like that weigh on my mind, but they do.

I also agree if you can place it above the set, it would be better. If you notice, the mouths are generally in the upper half of the screen, so when above the screen the speaker is most likely going to be closer to the mouths that are speaking. You might angle it down towards ear level.
:rofl:

Sonnie, your post got me thinking. Upon reflection, I think that's EXACTLY why I started the thread. Because, deep down, having the front 3 speakers unmatched just bugs me. But, if the consensus from those that know more than me was that the VRC is much superior, then I would stay with it.

That is a really good point about the voices coming from the top half of the screen. I'd always heard that below the TV was best...but just above makes more sense if you think about the location of the talking head on the screen.

I thought (for a moment) that the Csi3 had a built-in kickstand that allows placement on top of an angled TV. But, it turns out that it's only available on the Csi5 (one model up).

Anyone know of any 3rd party add-on devices that allow a center to be placed on top of an RPTV?
 
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