Looking for a Major Upgrade for Center Channel for Home Theater, New to Home Audio

J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
I'm new to home audio, but already have the bug. I recently bought/installed the Jamo S803 Home Cinema System, but the center channel is falling way short for me, even after I upgraded to the larger S 83 from the smaller S 81 that's included in the system. My room isn't exactly a rectangle, but it's a basement that's about 14' x 33' with 7.5' ceilings. 77" TV. We have TV and couch on the walls that are 14' apart from each other (so fair amount of space to the left and right of the set-up). (I pre-ordered an RSL Speedwoofer 10s for when they become available next month, after my Jamo S 810 subwoofer died on me after a few days. I also bought the Jamo S 8 ATM atmos modules, which I'm undecided on so far.)

Anyway, the quality of the Jamo S 83 center channel, to me, is several steps below the L/R Jamo S 803 bookshelf speakers included in the system, which have been pretty fun to listen to. My concern is 100% home theater. The S83 is boring--soundstage just isn't there. It also struggles with dialogue, especially in certain frequencies and especially when it has to pull double-duty with other stuff going on during dialogue. When the L/R's aren't doing their thing, it's boring and often bad to listen to.

Any recommendations for a center channel to try out? I know about timbre matching across the 3 center speakers, but right now I'm just interested in getting a center channel in here that's a definitive, major upgrade from the S83 and hearing what it sounds like. I've been searching around like a maniac (including reading the forums here, a lot). I've been eyeing the below, but open to any/all suggestions for a nice, fun center channel for movies. The way my TV is set up, I can fit anything below it, really, so size isn't a concern. Bonus points for something that still sounds good/rich at night time volumes because my wife likes listening to things way lower than I do. For sure still want something that can play loudly, nicely though.

- Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 SE Center
- RSL CG25
- HTD Level Three Center
- Was also considering Monolith THX-365C, until I realized that it's 4 ohm (I have a Sony STR-DN1080, which only goes down to 6 ohm)

(I'm still within return window for my entire set-up (Jamo S 803 HCS + larger S 83 center + Jamo S 8 ATM Dolby Atmos modules + RSL Speedwoofer 10S that isn't here yet, even the Sony receiver is within return window), so I'm also open to more general suggestions beyond the center channel, but wanted to start with the center channel because it's the reason I'm on here.)
 
BoredSysAdmin

BoredSysAdmin

Audioholic Overlord
you should take some time and watch this video:
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic General
I'm new to home audio, but already have the bug. I recently bought/installed the Jamo S803 Home Cinema System, but the center channel is falling way short for me, even after I upgraded to the larger S 83 from the smaller S 81 that's included in the system. My room isn't exactly a rectangle, but it's a basement that's about 14' x 33' with 7.5' ceilings. 77" TV. We have TV and couch on the walls that are 14' apart from each other (so fair amount of space to the left and right of the set-up). (I pre-ordered an RSL Speedwoofer 10s for when they become available next month, after my Jamo S 810 subwoofer died on me after a few days. I also bought the Jamo S 8 ATM atmos modules, which I'm undecided on so far.)

Anyway, the quality of the Jamo S 83 center channel, to me, is several steps below the L/R Jamo S 803 bookshelf speakers included in the system, which have been pretty fun to listen to. My concern is 100% home theater. The S83 is boring--soundstage just isn't there. It also struggles with dialogue, especially in certain frequencies and especially when it has to pull double-duty with other stuff going on during dialogue. When the L/R's aren't doing their thing, it's boring and often bad to listen to.

Any recommendations for a center channel to try out? I know about timbre matching across the 3 center speakers, but right now I'm just interested in getting a center channel in here that's a definitive, major upgrade from the S83 and hearing what it sounds like. I've been searching around like a maniac (including reading the forums here, a lot). I've been eyeing the below, but open to any/all suggestions for a nice, fun center channel for movies. The way my TV is set up, I can fit anything below it, really, so size isn't a concern. Bonus points for something that still sounds good/rich at night time volumes because my wife likes listening to things way lower than I do. For sure still want something that can play loudly, nicely though.

- Ascend Acoustics CMT-340 SE Center
- RSL CG25
- HTD Level Three Center
- Was also considering Monolith THX-365C, until I realized that it's 4 ohm (I have a Sony STR-DN1080, which only goes down to 6 ohm)

(I'm still within return window for my entire set-up (Jamo S 803 HCS + larger S 83 center + Jamo S 8 ATM Dolby Atmos modules + RSL Speedwoofer 10S that isn't here yet, even the Sony receiver is within return window), so I'm also open to more general suggestions beyond the center channel, but wanted to start with the center channel because it's the reason I'm on here.)
I’d you had just got some jamo towers for front you probably would had enough spl .
You need bigger subs or multiple speedwoofers .
I guess I’d you can afford better bRands go for it !! Did you buy directly off there site ?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
I don't know your setup, but ideally the center speaker should also be a S 803. Would it be possible for you to raise your TV to allow that?
 
J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
you should take some time and watch this video:
Thanks for this, super interesting. Definitely had to do a fair amount of pausing and googling to keep up, but was nice to begin to learn the why's of sound quality. My major takeaways (and I watched it super late last night) were:

1. I should buy and run the Audyssey MultEQ iPhone app, and then EQ my entire system? (I ran the auto calibration on my Sony STR-DN1080 and haven't touched anything since then.) Any video or article recommendations on how to best do this?

2. I should kill early reflections. This one is challenging for me. The wall behind my listening position is closer to my center channel and L/R speakers than the walls to the left and right of the system. Would it make sense to put up some panel or foam behind the listening positions?

3. Consider upping the center channel ~2 decibels for dialogue intelligibility.

4. If I were to buy a new center channel, I should be looking at ones with good, consistent horizontal frequency response. Anywhere I can go online to look at speaker measurements?

Thanks in advance for dealing with all these question marks!
 
J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
I’d you had just got some jamo towers for front you probably would had enough spl .
You need bigger subs or multiple speedwoofers .
I guess I’d you can afford better bRands go for it !! Did you buy directly off there site ?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
I considered switching to the towers recently (pair of Jamo S 809s were on sale for $229), but I wasn't sure how much this'd help center channel performance, and was also worried that sound quality (especially imagine) might degrade from the S 803s to the S 809s (admittedly, baseless assumptions, really - haven't heard em, don't know anything at all about this stuff, really).

Yeah, I bought the sub directly off RSL's website. I had considered the Hsu VTF 2-MK5, but figured I'd give my wife a break (and thought maybe I could add a second Speedwoofer down the line).
 
J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
I don't know your setup, but ideally the center speaker should also be a S 803. Would it be possible for you to raise your TV to allow that?
The S 803 actually does fit under my TV, but I tried it out the other day and it sounded small. (When I tested it I didn't really crank it and I was listening to a pretty crappy broadcast of a football game, so maybe I should give it another honest try.) I definitely understand where you're coming from with identical speakers though, but I guess I'm willing to sacrifice the consistency that brings for a bigger impact from the center channel. Another thought - maybe a Jamo tower as the center channel with the S 803s as L/R. I could easily fit a floorstanding S 805, and could probably fit an S 807 if I pulled up the TV a bit on its adjustable wall-mount.
 
J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
This isn't going to pressurize that room. Hope your not expecting great performance
I'm not expecting the world, just something fun/new to me. I've used TV internal speakers my entire life, I've never even owned a soundbar. So everything is a step up for me right now. Was even excited to have the Jamo S 810 subwoofer for the few days before it died. But I'm definitely open to other subwoofer suggestions if you'd recommend another route.
 
mazersteven

mazersteven

Audioholic Warlord
I'm not expecting the world, just something fun/new to me. I've used TV internal speakers my entire life, I've never even owned a soundbar. So everything is a step up for me right now. Was even excited to have the Jamo S 810 subwoofer for the few days before it died. But I'm definitely open to other subwoofer suggestions if you'd recommend another route.
Just my opinion to spend $400 on something that's not going to perform instead of maybe saving another $400 and buying a woofer that will perform was saving another four hundred and making it worthwhile I guess that's your decision
 
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S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks for this, super interesting. Definitely had to do a fair amount of pausing and googling to keep up, but was nice to begin to learn the why's of sound quality. My major takeaways (and I watched it super late last night) were:

1. I should buy and run the Audyssey MultEQ iPhone app, and then EQ my entire system? (I ran the auto calibration on my Sony STR-DN1080 and haven't touched anything since then.) Any video or article recommendations on how to best do this?

2. I should kill early reflections. This one is challenging for me. The wall behind my listening position is closer to my center channel and L/R speakers than the walls to the left and right of the system. Would it make sense to put up some panel or foam behind the listening positions?

3. Consider upping the center channel ~2 decibels for dialogue intelligibility.

4. If I were to buy a new center channel, I should be looking at ones with good, consistent horizontal frequency response. Anywhere I can go online to look at speaker measurements?

Thanks in advance for dealing with all these question marks!
You need a processor that can handle Audyssey. The Sony doesn't support Audyssey, so don't worry about Audysssey.

Putting some absorption behind your seats may improve things a bit if you are seated close to the back wall. If you put some treatments there, make sure they are broadband acoustic absorbers. You can't just put any kind of acoustic treatment there and expect it to help.

A new center channel may be a big help. Your present one doesn't look very good. The center channels that have good horizontal frequency response are mainly 3-way centers; that is, speakers that have a midrange driver as well as a tweeter and woofers. The Monoprice Monolith 365C THX is an example of that. The problem is if you get a center as good as the Monolith THX, that will make you realize how lacking your left and right Jamo fronts are, so you will want to replace those as well.

There aren't many sites that actually show horizontal dispersion measurements for center speakers. Mainly just Audioholics. I think Audio Science Review has also dealt with a few center speakers.
 
J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
You need a processor that can handle Audyssey. The Sony doesn't support Audyssey, so don't worry about Audysssey.

Putting some absorption behind your seats may improve things a bit if you are seated close to the back wall. If you put some treatments there, make sure they are broadband acoustic absorbers. You can't just put any kind of acoustic treatment there and expect it to help.

A new center channel may be a big help. Your present one doesn't look very good. The center channels that have good horizontal frequency response are mainly 3-way centers; that is, speakers that have a midrange driver as well as a tweeter and woofers. The Monoprice Monolith 365C THX is an example of that. The problem is if you get a center as good as the Monolith THX, that will make you realize how lacking your left and right Jamo fronts are, so you will want to replace those as well.

There aren't many sites that actually show horizontal dispersion measurements for center speakers. Mainly just Audioholics. I think Audio Science Review has also dealt with a few center speakers.
Thanks for the reply, and for the Audio Science Review recommendation. Any experience with Infinity? RC263 3-way center channel has good measurements on Audio Science, it's $350 refurb. $250 for pair of matching refurb RC162 bookshelf speakers. Pair of RC152 for surrounds are new for $230. $830 total, compared to the $530 I've spent on the Jamo system (Jamo S 803 HCS + I upgraded center channel + I added Dolby Atmos modules). Thoughts on if this Infinity set-up would be a decent upgrade?
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Thanks for the reply, and for the Audio Science Review recommendation. Any experience with Infinity? RC263 3-way center channel has good measurements on Audio Science, it's $350 refurb. $250 for pair of matching refurb RC162 bookshelf speakers. Pair of RC152 for surrounds are new for $230. $830 total, compared to the $530 I've spent on the Jamo system (Jamo S 803 HCS + I upgraded center channel + I added Dolby Atmos modules). Thoughts on if this Infinity set-up would be a decent upgrade?
I think the Infinity would be a major upgrade over your present speakers. I would definitely go for that if you are able.
 
J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
Thanks for the reply, and for the Audio Science Review recommendation. Any experience with Infinity? RC263 3-way center channel has good measurements on Audio Science, it's $350 refurb. $250 for pair of matching refurb RC162 bookshelf speakers. Pair of RC152 for surrounds are new for $230. $830 total, compared to the $530 I've spent on the Jamo system (Jamo S 803 HCS + I upgraded center channel + I added Dolby Atmos modules). Thoughts on if this Infinity set-up would be a decent upgrade?
Sorry to pile it on, but also curious to get your take on using 3 JBL Studio 530s across the front, as those just went on sale for $289/pair new. Have seen a lot of people going crazy on the internet for those, but haven't heard much about them for movies/TV.
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic General
Just my opinion to spend $400 on something that's not going to perform instead of maybe saving another $400 and buying a woofer that will perform was saving another four hundred and making it worthwhile I guess that's your decision
How can this sub have 18mm xmax and a huge 80mm xmech? So does that mean it can output a lot of power ? Move a lot of air ?
Impressive sub for sure !!!
That 12 is better then my 15 sealed .
Surprised you don’t see 18” subs anymore, still wishing I had got one for diy .


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
How can this sub have 18mm xmax and a huge 80mm xmech? So does that mean it can output a lot of power ? Move a lot of air ?
Impressive sub for sure !!!
That 12 is better then my 15 sealed .
Surprised you don’t see 18” subs anymore, still wishing I had got one for diy .


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Xmech isn't that important. Yes, 80mm is a lot of displacement, especially for a 12", but who cares when 3/4s of that travel is nonlinear. The only good news about that much Xmech is that the driver is not easy to bottom out, not that it could anyway with the sophistication of the limiters that it uses.
 
S

shadyJ

Speaker of the House
Sorry to pile it on, but also curious to get your take on using 3 JBL Studio 530s across the front, as those just went on sale for $289/pair new. Have seen a lot of people going crazy on the internet for those, but haven't heard much about them for movies/TV.
You could use all 530s as front stage speakers, but you need to use them all standing upright. You don't want to use one laying on its side for the center.
 
Kingnoob

Kingnoob

Audioholic General
You could use all 530s as front stage speakers, but you need to use them all standing upright. You don't want to use one laying on its side for the center.
Don’t they make a special center for that line ?
Those look to have a big horn , they comparable to klipch reference?
Cool

Not sure I’d ever pay full price for that line but they look good for cinema speakers .
Maybe worth sale price the duel 8 towers loook nice

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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J

JohnnyN

Enthusiast
Anyone have an idea how the SVS 3-way center channels (Prime and Ultra) compare to the Infinity R263C center channel? I have store credit and can get new SVS Prime for $250 or Ultra for $500, compared to $350 for refurbished Infinity R263C.
 

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