Dialogue and center speaker



<font color='#000000'>I first put together our home theater system about 6 years ago. We've enjoyed the result but are not satisified with the sound, especially the center speaker.

Our system includes a
Toshiba CF35F50 TV 35”
Pioneer Laser Disc
Philips Magnavox DVD825
Panasonic HiFi VCR  
Sony CD

I've used two receivers with the system: Onkyo TX-SV434 (great sound) and Aiwa AV-DV75 (not an Onkyo but has digital connections).

The speakers:
Acoustic Research AR2a – front speakers (official description: 10” cone woofer; 2- 5” cone woofers; 1.375” dome tweeter; 13.5” H x 24” W x 11.5” D; 36 pounds) [AR2 description: sound pressure at 5’ = 100.5 db; crossover 2000 cps. Historical interest: High Fidelity: [The AR2] “prompts disbelief that such deep sound could emanate from such a small box.” (by JGH)]

JBL Sat10 – center speaker from SCS110 System (freq resp 150 Hz to 20,000 Hz; Sensitivity 88dB @ 1 watt/1 meter; Crossover Freq 3.5kHz (midrange to tweeter); Tweeter 1 three-quarter inch neodymium driver, video-shielded; 6.5” H x 3.75” W x 4.25” D; 1.5 pounds0

Sony SS-U3030 bookshelf rear speakers (Have also used the JBL Sat10SS speakers)

Yes, the AR2a speakers are 40 years old, but they sound good and are much better than the front speakers with the JBL SCS110 system.

I need a good center speaker to hear the dialogue. My budget is limited because I recently added a Philips DVDR. I've read reviews of speakers in the $200 range. I would appreciate your ideas and comments about these center speakers (or another one you like), especially in the context of our system:

Klipsch SC-1 (I’ve read the comments about this in the $5000 HT system)
Polk CSI30
JBL-S 3-way
Cerwin Vega E76C</font>
<font color='#000000'>I guess the toughest challenge is that, next to clarity, you'll want to see how the tonal characteristics of the center match your mains. If it's way off, you'll end up with a very pronounced shift whenever anything pans or moves around in the sound stage.

For $200 you've got your work cut out for you. Is there any place near you that lets you audition the speakers at home (money back guarabtee, 100% exchange policy or the like?)</font>


<font color='#000000'>Thanks for your reply, Hawke. Circuit City, Best Buy, and NOW Audio are the main auditioning places close to where I live. There may be a few other specialty shops. I'll check that out.

I suspect that several of the choices I listed will be better than my JBL Sat10 with 3/4&quot; tweeter and 3.5&quot; woofer. However, I'd like to buy something that I won't have to replace in a year or two.

Suppose I don't put the $200 limit on it. Should I be looking at other possibilities?</font>
<font color='#000000'>Well, keep in mind two things:

1) A majority of your Home Theater sound is coming out of the center channel (nearly all the dialogue, every on-screen effect, etc)

2) Continuity of information traversing the front 3 speakers is important, as a mismatched set is likely to make the sound jump or dip when traveling from the left to the right.

So its a matter of allocating enough budget to get a decent speaker, and also of being able to tell if the new speaker will sound good with your existing system. Unfortunately, you probably won't be able to bring your speakers in to do a live audition, so you'll need to figure out how to match the tonal characteristics of the new center with your mains.

I can't really recommend anything as I would place tonal matching pretty high on my list and I don't know your speakers. But whatever you choose, perhaps you should hold off for a while and then get three new speakers. I just wonder if a new mismatched center channel will be a good purchase, or if it will create new problems for you.

Perhaps there are others who are more familiar with your speakers and can recommend soemthing that would be a fair match.</font>


Audioholic General
<font color='#0000FF'>hawke is absolutely right. Center chanel is the most important and its sound charecteristics should exactly match your main speakers. Also the size should match your main towers or bookshelf. I have Yamaha NS-300 mains and NS-300C centers, for rear you can get the same range of speakers in the smaller size.

Center and main speakers is where your budget should be devoted.</font>


<font color='#000000'>I agree with everyone else, tonal matching of the front three speakers is important for a seamless front soundstage and intelligible dialog.

You might try to buy another AR-2a used to use as a center speaker. &nbsp;Likely you would lay it on it's side.

I'm not sure how well it would fit on top of your TV, but you could mount it on a floor stand angled slightly up just under and in front of the TV.  Just make sure the tweeters of your main speakers and center speaker are within 2 feet of each other on a vertical plane.

I imagine you could probably buy another pair of AR-2a used for about $200.

You could try looking on ebay, or Audigon</font>


Audioholic General
<font color='#0000FF'>Apart from the importance of tonal matching, the center and main speakers should ideally be the same size for a seamless match.Many companies make center versions of their main towers or bookshelfs. It is also important to tilt the speakers downward for better imaging if they are sitting on top of a 53&quot; or higher projection TV.</font>

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