A tale of three speakers

jaegerfly

Novice Member
Hi all, and would welcome some views on a situation I'm in over centre speakers.

After many years of using a soundbar, I started using 5.1 sound again - with an arguably unusual set of L and R and SL and SR speakers. They are the Canon S70 (fronts) and S50 (rears). I've had these for 15 years. Chosen for the retro/unusual look and the sound IMO is really good. I had set these up in phantom mode, coupled with a Q Acoustics sub. Overall the sound has been great but over time I got tired with dialogue sometimes drifting across from L to R fronts.

So I bought and tried out a few centre speakers - Celestion S2 Centre, Mordaunt Short Genie and Monitor Audio Radius 225. Don't ask me why the selection! All 2nd hand and within my tight fist £50 budget (although the Celestion was really cheap at £10).

Now I know next to nothing about home theatre but I do trust my ears. And what I found really surprised me:

I really wanted to like the Genie, because it looks cute. Tonally it more or less matches the Canons and spatially it had just about enough presence. But it let itself down on quieter dialogue or where dialogue got mixed up with sound effects.

The I turned to the Radius 225. Have read some tremendous reviews, I love the look, and liked the idea of an almost sound-bar physical presence under the TV. But..I found that dialogue just got too mixed up, sometimes wafting as if from one side of the speaker to the other. I found the listen a bit confusing, being a bit too much LCR for my liking, and ever so slightly muffled c/w the other two.

And then finally the Celestion. Cheap as chips, but probably 20 years old (but in very good nick). Boring to look at (unless from the top where you see an aesthetically pleasing rounded shape) and a speaker grille from the 80s/90s. But blow me, dialogue was pin sharp, held its own with explosions etc, and it somehow balanced tonally with the Canons the best out of all 3.

I rotated the speakers over and over again, playing back the same scene. I even subjected my wife to a blindfold test hearing. And we both kept coming back to the Celestion.

So, if you're still reading:
- Can a 20 year old speaker still sound as pin sharp as those of younger vintage? Are my wife and I audio philistines?
- Why didn't an expensive Radius 225 blow me away?
- I'm settled now with the Celestion, but does anyone have any first hand experience of matching a centre speaker with those exotic Canon speakers, and if so what did you use? (excluding Canon's own centre speaker model)

Thanks!
 

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