Let's talk MTM center channel speakers

Shanman

Shanman

Junior Audioholic
Ever since jumping into this crazy pool of A/V gear, I have been reading and reading, and reading some more. As some of you know I started this journey about the middle of this year when I walked into a thrift store and off sparked an ember that has been building ever since. As the Snell center sits idle, I can't help but think it is a shame to keep going unused. It's of no use with the current Snell D7 towers and sub in my dedicated 2.1 music room.

First thing I notice about the Snell LCR7 center is the obvious D'Appolito MTM design.
Snell LCR7 front.jpg


Being fairly ignorant of most HT applications of center channel speakers, I assumed it was meant as a horizontal lying speaker under the TV as we have all seen many times. Then, I see a french cleat attached to the back of the LCR7. Obviously the previously owner had this mounted in a vertical manner..

Snell LCR7.jpg


So, I keep reading and reading. Off to the Snell manual. Off to the Audioholics forums.

Audioholics: Use a bookshelf for center. Don't put an MTM on its side for a center as there will be lobing issues- turn it vertical to get better results. Use a 3 way MTM if you go the horizontal center route.

The manual: Place the speaker either above or below the TV with front edge as far as forward as possible. Place all front speakers at approximately the same height, if possible the center within 2ft height of the L&R mains. If you need to place the center any higher or lower, angle it toward ear level. If this is not possible, place the speaker on its side for best results. Aha! Vertical is apparently preferred!

OK, so between the two sources, I am obviously picking up on what everyone is trying to tell me. I will be struggling to place this gorgeous center channel vertically within these parameters recommended. If I place the center vertically, where the MTM tweeter lines up with the tweeter on the L&R towers, a TV placed above the vertical center channel will be too high up on the wall.

Using my listening room as an illustration, first straight on pic shows the Snell towers lined up fairly well with the tweeter on the vertical center channel. Disregard the Elac's on the stands.

20191203_130338_1575396491593_resized.jpg


Here's a higher shot showing how much space is left if a TV was mounted above the vertical center channel. 8ft ceiling.

20191203_130503_1575396861212_resized.jpg


So, where do people like myself go from here? Plop the center on it's side which isn't recommended? Why in the hell are most manufacturers still pumping out MTM center channel speakers meant to be horizontal? Why is it not more common knowledge that 3 way center channels are superior and apparently easier to deal with logistically?
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
A few things to note:
The reason why there aren't more three-way centers is because they are more expensive and complex to design. It's also harder to keep them from reaching prohibitive vertical heights which makes them a no-go for many entertainment centers.

A two-way MTM like your speaker isn't terrible as long as you aren't listening at an off-axis position. If you are listening around on-axis, the response can be just fine.

If I were you, I would just use it horizontally, unless you do sit in a position that throws you off-axis. It will probably sound fine. There is a lot of literature on Audioholics about the pros and cons of center speaker designs, if you want to geek out on it, but don't let some academic quibbles keep you from enjoying your setup if it sounds good to you.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Samurai
If you are sitting directly in front of the MTM on its side, the lobing effect would probably not be noticeable. Make your own listening position the good one. :)
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
I wouldn't want my tv that high up on the wall to accommodate the vertical positioning, so I'd put the tv at a more reasonable height and use the speaker horizontally....as I do with my main setup....in my bedroom where my tv is that high up on the wall and angled down a bit, I have room under the tv to use a vertical center (actually same as L/R with waveguide re-positioned in this case). I wouldn't worry too much about it as long as you sit centered as mentioned....
 
Shanman

Shanman

Junior Audioholic
Thanks gents, I would also imagine the further back from a horizontal MTM would ease lobing compared to a closer sitting position or do I have this backwards?
 
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shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks gents, I would also imagine the further back from a horizontal MTM would ease lobing compared to a closer sitting position or do I have this backwards?
It's more about angle than distance. But yes, the further back you listen from it, the wider the space that it will project sound before lobing sets in.
 
William Lemmerhirt

William Lemmerhirt

Audioholic Ninja
Thanks gents, I would also imagine the further back from a horizontal MTM would ease lobing compared to a closer sitting position or do I have this backwards?
That’s pretty much it. But don’t push the center all the way to the back of the shelf. This will create other issues.
 
Pogre

Pogre

Audioholic Spartan
That was a great question.

3 of those center channels would be pretty cool across the front. Just stand the l/r speakers vertically (or all 3 :p ). It'd look cool too.
 
Shanman

Shanman

Junior Audioholic
That was a great question.

3 of those center channels would be pretty cool across the front. Just stand the l/r speakers vertically (or all 3 :p ). It'd look cool too.
That was actually the main impetus that led to my center channel inquiries, keeping the timbre/brand matched speakers together. I was banging around the idea of taking the Snells out of the music room, and making them the main LCR to my home theater system. It made no sense to use the towers, but then have to purchase a different brand/different sound signature center channel speaker.
 
K

kini

Audioholic
Thanks gents, I would also imagine the further back from a horizontal MTM would ease lobing compared to a closer sitting position or do I have this backwards?
IMO it's an overblown "issue". I doubt 99% of listeners could even tell it's happening. It's something that measurements can detect but usually not the listener. I use a MTM center and sit off axis (not that much) and don't notice anything. Heck I can go into another room and be 180 degrees off center and still hear dialogue fine.
 
Swerd

Swerd

Audioholic Spartan
That Snell MTM is probably a good speaker. I see no reason not to use it. If your situation doesn't have the room for a vertical MTM center channel speaker, let it sit sideways.

In my opinion, and that of several others who posted before me, having two mid-woofers plus a tweeter in horizontal array for a center channel speaker is not as much of a problem as some people believe. Unless you have an usually wide room, and if you or others tend to sit far away from the room's center axis, these types of center channel speakers work fine. I wouldn't worry over it, and I wouldn't spend large amounts in an attempt at correcting this.

See these two articles:
Vertical vs Horizontal Center Channel Speaker Designs – An Alternate Perspective
Pros & Cons of Various Center Channel Designs
 

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