Which centre speaker to upgrade current B&W M1 7.1 system?

aph10

Standard Member
Hi folks,

Looking for some advice on upgrading my centre speaker.

My system is 7.1 with Marantz NR1603 amp, running 7 B&W M1 satellites (front 3 are mkII, surrounds and rears are mkI) with a PV1 sub.

The centre has always lacked though and even with the volume turned up on the centre, it’s just not enough. I was thinking of replacing the centre with a better dedicated speaker, but have read about needing to keep it the same as the fronts? I don’t have the option right now to do this, so was thinking of just getting a secondhand B&W HTM6 or CC2 S2 (budget doesn’t really extend beyond £300) to keep it at least in the same manufacturer…

Are there any issues with doing this? Any alternatives anyone would recommend? It will be housed in the TV cabinet, so 160mm high max

Many thanks in advance,

Andy
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
I think it would be quite ideal upgrade route if you still plan to upgrade the mains later. Then naturally you would start with the centre as it´s lacking and also most active speaker in your system.

If you are planning to upgrade the whole front three then it doesn´t necessarily have to be B&W. You can live with the mismatch until you get the new mains and the rest of speakers you likely want to keep compact sized so it´s ok to mix brands. You just need to setup the system carefully, hopefully you have the Audussey mic still there.

Used B&W speakers are almost always way overpriced. I found one white HTM6 S2 for 279£ which is rather high as you can get new latest HTM6 Anniversary S2 for 339£ (499£ normally) in three different finishes. Don´t bother with the old CC2 model, spend the max you can for good speaker. If you go with B&W i would try your luck asking if they can sell the HTM6 for 300£ if that is your max budget really. Would be silly to miss it for 40£ if you want that model. New is always new with 5y warranty and the range is not too old so you will find the "matching" 606 S2 / 607 S2 speakers later for front mains easily.



Hopefully the centre doesn´t go too low inside the unit shooting your knees as you can imagine it won´t sound best that way. You want to use the port bung sealing the rear port if you put the centre inside av-unit and bring it out as much as you can plus angle the front shooting upwards as it´s more than likely sitting too low vs. seated ear height. Best would be to wall mount tv or buy floor tv stand so you get the centre out and on top of the av-unit, but you do what is possible!
 

aph10

Standard Member
Thanks @Gasp3621 - and for your reply on the other thread… you can see my two options playing out across the two thread…
  1. (This thread…) I don’t get my way and get to move up to a bigger telly on the wall, what can I do to improve the sound
  2. I get my way, but can’t afford to do it in one fell swoop… so replacing the centre first, with future work on convincing the Mrs for the need for better front speakers too :)
If I was to switch out the front 3, given the setup I have on the other thread, what speakers would you go for?
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks @Gasp3621 - and for your reply on the other thread… you can see my two options playing out across the two thread…
  1. (This thread…) I don’t get my way and get to move up to a bigger telly on the wall, what can I do to improve the sound
  2. I get my way, but can’t afford to do it in one fell swoop… so replacing the centre first, with future work on convincing the Mrs for the need for better front speakers too :)
If I was to switch out the front 3, given the setup I have on the other thread, what speakers would you go for?

Oh crap i didn`t notice it was you. :) You can´t do much to improve the sound if the speakers remain tightly in the left corner with tv. I bet they would sound slightly better if you were to have them wider apart at the long wall with tv in the middle and listener sitting where the picture has been taken. Also subwoofer location optimized etc. But of course the jump from M1s to B&W 606 S2 would be very noticeable. You just missed the deals though it seems. That model cost 379£/pair few days ago, now they are 649£. That is quite salty price for the company`s budget speakers. Luckily there is ton of choices, but first need to know where the speakers can go and tv. The corner is bad idea. Time to bribe the wife with something. 65" tv minium, although the 70-82" doesn`t cost much these days either unless OLED or flagship model. It would be quite odd if wife wouldn´t like larger tv, usually they love it!

I can`t see how you can fit center channel if you mount the tv in the middle of wall and the small grey couch remains below the tv or have i missed something?
 

aph10

Standard Member
Thanks @Gasp3621, you’ve not missed anything… no sofas are ‘allowed’ to move.

I think the only way this would become an ideal situation was if the sofa was removed and some sort of media bench put in that the speaker could sit on. But that’s never gonna happen 🤣

I need to get down to Sevenoaks hifi and have a listen to some speakers me thinks… better fronts would help the overall setup regardless (and for music, which is awful through the M1s)…

Wife doesn’t want a bigger TV as it would dominate the room. Not a battle I will win - although as on the other thread, an idea to have an electric lift for a bigger telly to be hidden behind the sofa is my favourite at the moment. I mentioned to her… she didn’t jump at the idea 😂

Reminder to self… one step at a time! Actions then…
1. Agree future TV location
2. Work out if the TV is a ‘this year’ option
3. If 2 is a yes, then work on selling in better fronts. If 2 is a no, then prioritise the centre speaker to improve centre volume.
 

Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Thanks @Gasp3621, you’ve not missed anything… no sofas are ‘allowed’ to move.

I think the only way this would become an ideal situation was if the sofa was removed and some sort of media bench put in that the speaker could sit on. But that’s never gonna happen 🤣

I need to get down to Sevenoaks hifi and have a listen to some speakers me thinks… better fronts would help the overall setup regardless (and for music, which is awful through the M1s)…

Wife doesn’t want a bigger TV as it would dominate the room. Not a battle I will win - although as on the other thread, an idea to have an electric lift for a bigger telly to be hidden behind the sofa is my favourite at the moment. I mentioned to her… she didn’t jump at the idea 😂

Reminder to self… one step at a time! Actions then…
1. Agree future TV location
2. Work out if the TV is a ‘this year’ option
3. If 2 is a yes, then work on selling in better fronts. If 2 is a no, then prioritise the centre speaker to improve centre volume.

Sad to hear you have such big battle in your hands there. I think you should take wife with you to local hifi shop / Currys etc and show her how that the 65" tv is not large. I would feel it`s too small for living room unless sitting very close, better for bedroom. I would be really suprised if she still feels it being too large after seeing it. You need to make her understand that this is important thing for you. I don´t like this idea that Mrs. has so much of saying. There need to be better compromise agreed on. Otherwise you will move Mrs. sleeping in living room and build man cave in the bedroom. ;)

You can`t really do much for the current situation with the corner tv. That is the worst for audio. The speakers are so close each other, there is no space for better quality center channel (hiding it inside av-unit low shooting your knees is not ideal) and it would be questionable to add center channel if the main speakers are 1,5m apart as you squeezing the front three together.

You need to talk about the speaker upgrade too so she understands the whole new plan. I think there is lot of different speakers to choose from so maybe compromise could be made there that pleases Mrs. aswell.
 

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