Are these upgrades worth it?

Exeon

Standard Member
My current setup is as follows (5.1 system):
2x B&W 683 towers
2x B&W 686 rear bookshelf speakers
1x B&W HTM62 center speaker
1x Monolith 15" subwoofer
And a denon x2400h reciever.

My use case is about 50% movies, 30% series (most of which don't really utilize the sound system) and 20% music.

To adres the elephant in the room, I cannot get a second subwoofer, I decided to get a single "big" subwoofer over dual setup because I have a gigantic open living room, and a second sub that size is impossible to integrate at this point.

The upgrades I'm considering

  • Getting 2 bookshelf speakers and using them in a 5.2.1 atmos setup, this would cost about 300€
  • Replacing the reciever with something like a denon X3700H which is 1000€ here
  • Upgrading the center speaker to a SvS Ultra, which is 900€ here (though I'm concerned about mismatching speakers)

Any suggestions would be appreciated
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Center channel without doubt cause you have the mediocre HTM62. Most active speaker in your system.

If you are going to be sticking with B&W LCR...

Look for used HTM 61 S2 (the big 3-way):

CMC2 S2 would be even better:

Best of the bunch the latest HTM71 S2 (look for ex-demo/ex-display close to 1k€ mark):


Of course you can mix brands too, but it´s more risky unless you have clear plans to upgrade the mains later to same brand & range. Some say when you run full correction with Audussey the tonal difference is harder to notice, but you don´t really know without trying so if you go with Ultra Centre try to get one for home trial before buying it.

For Atmos you could consider example Dali Altecos which have wide dispersion, are angled so when you mount them high up on your front wall just below ceiling they point down toward listeners, they have two keyholes at back for easy wall mounting (two screws). Full white finish is wife / living room friendly.

 

Exeon

Standard Member
Center channel without doubt cause you have the mediocre HTM62. Most active speaker in your system.

If you are going to be sticking with B&W LCR...

Look for used HTM 61 S2 (the big 3-way):

CMC2 S2 would be even better:

Best of the bunch the latest HTM71 S2 (look for ex-demo/ex-display close to 1k€ mark):


Of course you can mix brands too, but it´s more risky unless you have clear plans to upgrade the mains later to same brand & range. Some say when you run full correction with Audussey the tonal difference is harder to notice, but you don´t really know without trying so if you go with Ultra Centre try to get one for home trial before buying it.

For Atmos you could consider example Dali Altecos which have wide dispersion, are angled so when you mount them high up on your front wall just below ceiling they point down toward listeners, they have two keyholes at back for easy wall mounting (two screws). Full white finish is wife / living room friendly.


I wasn't aware there were several other B&W centers that are an upgrade to the HTM62.
I have looked at the HTM71 before, but I've never seen one on the second hand market or demo models, and my current color scheme is Oak, mixing in a gloss speaker won't happen.

The HTM61 can be found quite cheaply on the second hand market, for between 200-250€, I'm pretty sure I could sell my HTM62 and break even, wasn't aware the 61 was better than the 62....which doesn't make much sense to me.

How much better is the CMC2 S2? I've seen this one around for +500€ on the second hand market, but they are harder to come by, and I don't recall seeing a brown one on the second hand market.

The Dali's seem quite good for the price, they are out of stock, but definitly something I'll keep in mind.
Since my Sub is black ash I might be able to integrate them quite well.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I wasn't aware there were several other B&W centers that are an upgrade to the HTM62.
I have looked at the HTM71 before, but I've never seen one on the second hand market or demo models, and my current color scheme is Oak, mixing in a gloss speaker won't happen.

The HTM61 can be found quite cheaply on the second hand market, for between 200-250€, I'm pretty sure I could sell my HTM62 and break even, wasn't aware the 61 was better than the 62....which doesn't make much sense to me.

How much better is the CMC2 S2? I've seen this one around for +500€ on the second hand market, but they are harder to come by, and I don't recall seeing a brown one on the second hand market.

The Dali's seem quite good for the price, they are out of stock, but definitly something I'll keep in mind.
Since my Sub is black ash I might be able to integrate them quite well.

Notice i mentioned the HTM 61 S2, not the HTM 61. There is big difference in size alone of the cabinet, drivers are 2x 6,5" vs. 5,25" (HTM 61) and the extra 6" FST midrange driver. So the S2 is 3-way design vs. HTM61 is smaller 2-way and for a horizontal center channel you would want the first one when possible. Notice the CMC2 S2 is similar 3-way design, there is also the CMC S2 which is smaller and i didn´t mean that! You will notice the difference when you google picture search of these models. The CM range is one range earlier to current 700 serie so clearly step up from 600 serie.
 

Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
So the S2 is 3-way design vs. HTM61 is smaller 2-way and for a horizontal center channel you would want the first one when possible.
Totally agree that the HTM61 S2 is the better speaker (and the one I would go for if possible) but actually the predecessor HTM61/HTM62 models are 2.5-way designs (not 2-way) so only one of the woofers is used on mid-range frequencies. This is actually very important as it totally avoids the lobing issue that's long associated with running a tweeter on-axis between with two woofers firing simultaneously.

With the subsequent 2x5.25" driver HTM6 models B&W chose a 2-way design to increase sensitivity (87dB vs 85dB of the HTM62) but placed the tweeter off-axis with the woofers to mitigate the lobing issue.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
I have a gigantic open living room’ - details/pics of the room and system would be handy.

What are you hoping to achieve with an ‘upgrade’?

Joe
 

Exeon

Standard Member
Notice i mentioned the HTM 61 S2, not the HTM 61. There is big difference in size alone of the cabinet, drivers are 2x 6,5" vs. 5,25" (HTM 61) and the extra 6" FST midrange driver. So the S2 is 3-way design vs. HTM61 is smaller 2-way and for a horizontal center channel you would want the first one when possible. Notice the CMC2 S2 is similar 3-way design, there is also the CMC S2 which is smaller and i didn´t mean that! You will notice the difference when you google picture search of these models. The CM range is one range earlier to current 700 serie so clearly step up from 600 serie.
Thanks for the additional information, but it was pretty obvious you meant the 3-way center speaker on all of those, doubt a different 2 way speaker in the same brand-line would make much of a difference.
I'll probably try and get one once my couches arrive, as right now I have no clearance between the TV (wall mounted) and the center speaker, and the HTM61 S2 is like 3-4cm taller.
I have a gigantic open living room’ - details/pics of the room and system would be handy.

What are you hoping to achieve with an ‘upgrade’?

Joe
Added my living room layout, on the left bottom is the doorway to my kitchen, which has no door, so the room isn't sealed.
I'd say I want more soundstage and have more places where the sound is coming from, so I can locate them during a movie.

The front hights would have to be above the FR and FL towers, if I can convince the wife that is.
That said the distance to the listening position is 4m, I'm not entirely sure they will reach unless I can pivot them in the right angle.

In ceiling won't happen, it's a leased house so I'm not going to cut holes in the roof.
 

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Mr Wolf

Well-known Member
Thanks for the additional information, but it was pretty obvious you meant the 3-way center speaker on all of those, doubt a different 2 way speaker in the same brand-line would make much of a difference.
You're actually mistaken here. The HTM61 uses larger 6.5" drivers and has 90dB sensitivity while the HTM62 has only 85dB. Aside from the sonic benefits of using larger drivers, this extra 5dB sensitivity means the smaller HTM62 uses 3.2x more wattage power than the HTM61 to do the same thing. This is a massive difference as the centre channel has the loudest peaks and highest duty cycle.

Also, as said already, they're both 2.5-way speakers (not 2-way) so are very close to a 3-way in performance. I would still try and get the S2 version though as it is the better speaker.

I actually used a HTM62 myself as a centre for 10 years in my living room 6.1 system and can assure you that it is nowhere near as good as the larger 2x6.5" driver B&W LCR600 S3 (immediate predecessor model to the HTM61) I use in my HT room. By comparison, it sounds muffled and undynamic. It does however makes a first class surround speaker when oriented vertically due to having very wide dispersion which is what I'm now using it for so don't necessarily get rid of it.

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