4.0 (or 4.1) with phantom centre better than 5.0 (5.1) with badly placed centre?


Active Member
I have a setup in our attic room that I’m trying to optimise for both music and surround. My current struggle is whether it is better to use a phantom centre or have what would be a very badly placed centre (I’m really struggling to see where I could put a centre speaker at all - realistically it would need to above the TV which both would look silly but be far too high).

I have 4 Jamo Concert 8’s for the left, right and two surround speakers, and I do have a Jamo Concert Centre (apart from the issue above about where I could put it). The left and right speakers are due to the other configuration of the room not as widely spaced apart as a normal AV setup.

There are two listening positions in practice, one fairly dead centre, one somewhat off-axis.

Amplification is an old Primare SP31.7 AV pre-amp and some Atoll power amps - the 5.x config would require me lugging a fairly heavy 5 channel power amp, another reason why I’m actually keen to avoid this if it is anyway the better solution.

Any views whether better to go for the phantom rather than a very poorly positioned centre? An obvious answer might be “why not just try both options” but that means moving quite a bit of kit between locations so I’d rather not if it can be avoided.

I’m also trying to think whether it is worth adding a sub, but I must admit I have no idea where to start with that ....


No to the centre (although the off axis position will suffer a bit, but it's the least worst option).
Can you run a phantom in your current location and see if you like/dislike the difference?

Yes to the sub, your speakers and your amps will benefit from not having to reproduce the lower registers, plus you can place a sub optimally in the room (which often isn't is where the mains are) for the best bass response at the MLP.


Active Member
I’ve tried running it as 2.0 and that works well; I’m not entirely sure that is the same as running a 5.1 signal with a phantom centre. If it basically is, then I think I will just go for the phantom centre. Thanks for the view on the sub - I’ll have a think about what options there might be. On my main system I have a BK Monolith DF but that is too heavy to lug up all the stairs.

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
4.1 would be the preferred option or 2.1 - sometimes a loft is not ideal for surround sound, a poorly placed centre is best avoided in any system.



Active Member
Thanks Joe - I‘m def going to skip the centre - “poorly placed” is likely the best case option. It’s a loft that has been built out really well; it’s an old house but it got a new roof maybe 10-15 years ago, and has very good insulation. So at least as 2.0 it is acoustically very good. Weirdly it sounds much better since I swapped everything around (i.e. am now listening in the opposite direction to before).

I’m quite happy with this way forward now - much less lugging of stuff.

I’ll see what it sounds like and whether I need a sub. It is quite possible as the Concert 8’s don’t go so low. I also have a few placement options for the sub - more than the centre.

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