Recommend me a great centre speaker

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by 1992, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. 1992

    1992
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    Hi everyone, looking for some speaker/AV advice. I'm on the verge of purchasing a pair of Spendor A6Rs and a Naim XS2 that will mostly be used for music. However, I will also be watching films on them and am considering picking up a centre speaker and AV receiver, due to enjoying having a dedicated dialogue speaker and also having some slight audio issues with my blu-ray player and stereo DAC setup. I'd use the Naim as a power amp, and an AV receiver as a pre-amp and for the centre channel.

    Spendor make a CR3 centre speaker. However, I've found no reviews, a Spendor dealer told me it was not great, and I listened to it (individually, not with any other speakers) and found it to have a significantly different character to the A6Rs. Has anybody heard a CR3 in a AV full setup?

    If it is not a terrible idea to mismatch speaker brands, can anyone recommend a great centre speaker that would be a good match with the A6Rs (I suppose very crisp, probably with some good upper mids)? I like to get the right product first and foremost, although less than £1000 would probably be best.

    Thanks. Matt
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  2. Violator

    Violator
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    Ideally you want to match LCR. Is there a specific reason you're looking at those speakers?
     
  3. PSM1

    PSM1
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    As above you want a tonal match. If the spendor is not a good match then you need to take your fronts and demo a range of centres until you find one you are happy with.
     
  4. 1992

    1992
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    The system is primarily for music, and I really like the Spendors for this purpose.
     
  5. Violator

    Violator
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    You've listened to them I assume?

    If the system is primarily for music and you're maybe doing the odd movie you should look at how far apart your fronts are. If they're less than, say, 6-7 feet apart you could likely get away without the centre.
     
  6. Nick Odgers

    Nick Odgers
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    Does it have to be Spendor. I have KEF R900s and 600C centre and it sounds excellent.
     
  7. 1992

    1992
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    It's a tough one, as it'll be with a projector that will be on 7 foot wide screen (and I sit about 8-9 feet away) for about two or three films per week. I know many say that a stereo creates a phantom centre, but of the times I've listened to surround systems and switched between stereo and surround, I typically find the stereo setup noticeably spreads the dialogue out to the sides, which is why I was looking at a 3.0 setup (even though I will be sitting right in the sweet spot). Having said that, I probably will try 2.0 to begin with and see if it works for me.

    I appreciate the idea, but Spendor A6Rs are really what I would like. I assume no one knows anything about the Spendor CR3? I messaged Spendor and they claim it should match the A6Rs.
     
  8. Seriously Ltd

    Seriously Ltd
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    Could I suggest that we arrange a demonstration for you of some of our MK Sound systems that excel with 2 channel and movies.

    As posted by others, matched LCR is the way to go. We have several clients who have ditched their old Hi fi speakers for one of our systems and have improved their 2 channel experience.

    Regards
    [email protected]
     
  9. kobebeef

    kobebeef
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    I'd recommend Klipsch 440C or 450C centres. Horn tweeters so they're super crisp, high sensitivity and beautiful to look at.
     
  10. 1992

    1992
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    Thanks for all of the ideas. After actually hearing the Spendor CR3 with A6Rs a few days ago, I've come to conclusion that a) I really like a centre channel, b) the A6Rs actually sounded fairly poor for dialogue and c) the CR3 was okay but I suspect there is better for the money. I've also been thinking that although matching the LCR speakers is ideal, surely the primary consideration of a centre speaker is to get natural-sounding speech, and so that's what my goal should be.

    I'm now considering getting a Monitor Audio Silver Centre initially to give me a starting point (especially as I've always used 2.0 systems), and then I can potentially get something else in the future if the Monitor Audio is not satisfactory. I do like the KEF idea too, although I think I might be better off getting something a little cheaper to begin with and upgrading to something outstanding at some point.
     
  11. PSM1

    PSM1
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    Although the speech side is important the other important function of a centre speaker is to seamlessly transfer sound from one side to the other. This is because not all the speech will come from the centre and sound effects will also move across the screen/soundstage. If the tone of the centre is different to the L/R speakers then a sound (effect or voice) can change as it moves across the screen which can be very distracting. Hence when looking for a multi speaker system you need to look at all the components. If the centre of a given range is poor then I would suggest not getting any of that range but look for a set that gives the sound you like and has a decent centre.
     
  12. 1992

    1992
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    Thanks PSM1. It seems that what I really need to do is try out a centre to see if I particularly notice the tonal mismatch.

    On a slightly related note, I am considering getting a Marantz NR1506 AV receiver to run the centre, and to use as a pre-amp for the Spendor fronts (via a Naim XS2 stereo amp in AV bypass mode). For this setup, am I likely to be missing much in terms of sound quality by using this relatively cheap receiver?
    Marantz UK | NR1506
     
  13. PSM1

    PSM1
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    I have always found slimline receivers compromise sound quality so would not recommend getting one unless space is a real issue.
     
  14. Sibloo

    Sibloo
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    Hi 1992
    Did you find a decent centre speaker to match your Spendor A6R's in the end? I also have these (which are great by the way) and I'm looking for something to match. I currently use a MA silver, which sounds OK, but can be a little shrill or brittle at times. I am considering getting a PMC centre as they use soft dome tweeters and have found one on offer, but it is a little more than I'd ideally like to spend...
     
  15. pretoriano

    pretoriano
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    not as it would be married with the timbral spendor but the kef q600c is a great center channel
     
  16. 1992

    1992
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    Hey Sibloo, I decided to get an ATC C1C: ATC C1C centre loudspeaker - Criterion Audio
    I've found it great overall--very expressive, full-sounding dialogue and seemingly a good tonal match with the Spendors. However, in the end, with my setup, I decided against a centre, which means I have barely-used ATC C1C! I have been holding on to it in case I change my mind about having a centre speaker, but it probably is time to let it go. Feel free to PM me if you're interested.
     
  17. Sibloo

    Sibloo
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    Thanks for coming back to me. I'm surprised you're going without a centre though. I've tried 4.1 with mine, and it didn't sound right with most material, and that's in comparison with the MA Silver, which isn't a great speaker, or match. The ATC is quite a small box isn't it, just 41 cm wide, it might be a bit small for my room. It reviewed well at What Hifi, but they did caveat for small to medium rooms, and my lounge is quite big. I'd need it in Oak to go with the rest of my equipment.
     
  18. 1992

    1992
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    Yeah, after a bit of testing of 2-channel stereo and 3 channel (with the centre), I decided the difference didn't justify the extra boxes and cost of having a centre speaker.

    No worries--it sounds like my ATC won't work for you (and it's black). They do make a bigger one, but I believe it's quite expensive like the PMC. I found that the C1C was fine for my 4x4x2.5m room and had very good low-frequency response (sometimes a touch too much I were being very picky).
     
  19. Sibloo

    Sibloo
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    Have you not found that the dialogue often get's lost in the mix if a centre channel isn't used? I always have to raise my centre channel 3db higher than my left and right to hear dialogue clearly. I assumed a better speaker than the MA Silver would overcome that? I find it's even worse with a phantom centre, i.e. 4.1. I'm trying to justify spending £900 on the PMC, it's been reduced from £1,250, which is a good deal, but they only have black or Amarone. I could live with Black, what are you hoping to get for the ATC then?
     
  20. 1992

    1992
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    A centre certainly does clear dialogue up, but like I said, I was finding it hard to justify the expense and extra boxes in my particular setup. But then, probably unlike most on here, I don't have an AV amp and I like to have a very minimal-looking room. In addition, I always sit in the sweet-spot, my speakers are not that far apart, my Naim amp is great for dialogue, etc.

    It would make sense that the closer a centre sounds to a real and full-bodied voice, the more intelligible it would be. I would imagine that the higher quality, the more likely it is to sound like a real voice, which is no doubt why Whathifi and the like talk about centres being "expressive."

    I'll PM you about the ATC.
     

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