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Upgrade Center?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by LTE, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. LTE

    LTE
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    My Setup includes B&W CDM 1NTs as fronts, a B&W CC6 Center and B&W LM1s as rears. (I also have a Rel Strata II sub and a Rotel RSX 965 Receiver). When I purchased the system, I realized it would be better to match the center speaker identically with the fronts, but the CDM CNT center is very large and I really don't have a place to put it ( it won't fit on top of my 27" TV, and my home theater is in a very small room, although almost completely open on one side. My front speakers are only about 5 feet or so apart). Additionally, I initially intended that the system would be used about 80% for stereo music listening, and so I was concerned primarily about that -- which is why I decided to go for the CDM fronts rather than the 600 series. Of course, I now find myself using the system more than I expected for movies -- although I still use it more for music.

    For movies, although good, I find the CC6 to be not as precise as the CDMs (for lack of a better description) and the dialogue not as clear as I would like. In action-type movies, the dialogue often seems to get covered up even though I have set the levels with an SPL meter (in fact I have the center 1db higher than the SPL suggests it should be in comparison to the fronts).

    Would it be worth upgrading the center channel to the B&W CM center, which is similar in size to the CC6, or perhaps to some other center channel? If I could find some way to accomodate the CDM CNT center, would I likely notice a big difference compared to the CC6?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Dom H

    Dom H
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    I have B&W mains with a CC6 which I ditched as it never sounded as detailed as the mains. I am yet to hear a matching centre that does!

    In my opinion, if dialogue clarity is important to you I don't think you'll beat using just your CDM's alone without a centre (not without spending a fortune or another single CDM for the middle), this is what I do. Obviously if you sit off center this won't be a very attractive option.

    Try turning the centre off and see what you think. You may find your mains need some more time adjusting toe in etc. to bring imaging on par with having a central speaker.

    Upgrading the centre will bring improvements (assuming they match tonally) but I still think you'll find the mains more accurate still.


    Dom.
     
  3. dts_boy

    dts_boy
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    buy yourself some really good short lengths of speaker cable and rewire your centre. i did this with my old cc6 s2 and it completely changed the sound, most hifi shops will have offcuts that they will clear extra cheap. its a pain to do but the outcome is worth it and will save you buying a new speaker:)
     
  4. LTE

    LTE
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    Thanks for the comments.

    Dom- I tried using the phantom center as you suggested, and it is slightly clearer and a bit louder in the mix (which seems a bit odd given that the SPL meter suggests that the center is a bit louder). As I do sit somewhat off center from time to time, however, I'm not sure if I would want to go without the center on a regular basis. Even in a very small room there does appear to be a difference. I might try increasing the volume of the center slightly more and ignoring the SPL reading.


    DTS--thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not really the type to start fiddling with the wiring in my speaker. If it comes down to it, I'll see if I can get a hi fi shop to let me take the CM and/or CDM center home for a demo and compare it side by side with my CC6.

    Thanks again.

    LTE
     
  5. sr78

    sr78
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    Great topic.

    I have the CDM7NTs, and i'm using an el cheapo Sony center. I've now turned it off and ditched it, as the CDMs can do a lot better just by themselves.

    Of course, a center would be much nicer, and it's pretty high on my list. Naturally, the CDM CNT would be the obvious choice. However, it's so BIG and UGLY. I can hardly place it on my TV, and if I did, the tweeter would be about 5 feet above the ground. Angling it down would help, but it wouldn't be aesthetically pleasing...

    I like the look of the CM center, and it's also available in the same color as my CDMs... but the CM4 was a huge disappointment to me, so I'm not going out on a limb... I'd be interested to hear your results if you demo the CM center!
     
  6. Dom H

    Dom H
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    Try this test;

    Set up a scene with lots of dialogue to repeat over and over (<10 secs is better)

    This may not be possible on all amps but get the centre speaker setting up on the amps display and flick it between on/off or rather small/off (with the remote, if not try and get someone else to do it while you sit). You'll probably find the dialogue jumps up and down in volume, use the level settings to correct this until the level remains constant when you flick between.

    Now flick the centre off & on, you can then listen carefully and see just how well the centre handles dialog in comparison to the mains.

    I think a lot of people will be surprised how poor most dedicated centres perform in comparison.
     

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