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Wide dispersion centre speaker

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by AndrewB, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. AndrewB

    AndrewB
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    I'm getting a PJ and will be watching a 6'8" wide screen from about 10' 6" away. It's almost exactly the 36 degree THX recommended viewing angle but it occurs to me that really I will be sitting fairly close to a pretty wide screen. I only have some cheap centre speakers at the moment (I alternate them according to mood/latest tweak) and was thinking of buying a better one if I can find any more cash. Are there any that are specifically designed for a wide dispersion pattern? Would it make a difference in practice with my proposed set-up?

    Finally what are good centre speakers for (a) under £200 and (b) £200 to £500? My mains are Naim SBLs which are floor-standing full range speakers with a very fast, clean sound. Naim make their own centre speakers now but the cheapest is around a grand...

    Thanks

    Andrew
     
  2. petrolhead

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    Cinemas with large screens use 2 ctr speakers and 2 L&R speakers
     
  3. AndrewB

    AndrewB
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    I guess I could do that since on of the centres I use is a Ruark Icon bookshelf speaker and I have a spare one of those. Not sure how to connect them up though. Could I just run the normal wire to one of the speakers and then daisychain the second speaker's terminals from the first speaker's? This sounds like an electrical "series" rather than parallel configuration.

    The alternative, I suppose is to try to run them in parallel by running two sets of speaker wires out of the amp terminal and then connecting each speaker separately.

    I have a vague recollection of seeing a third way of doing it which involved a mixture of the two methods: possibly running the +ve amp terminal in to one of the speakers and the -ve amp terminal into the other speaker and then joining the other terminals together between the speakers. I think that would put them out of phase though [brain explodes at this point].

    Anyone know the answer?
     
  4. fred123go

    fred123go
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    what amp/receiver do you have?you can use the amp to power the single centre then via the pre out's from the amp/receiver you can attach a mono amplifier which will power your other centre speaker...not sure how it will sound, i wanted to do this because i felt that the sound coming out of my centre speakers were not wide spread enough and had a small 'sweetspot'. in the end i didn't try it-would b interesting to read about the results you will have.
    fred
     
  5. AndrewB

    AndrewB
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    I have the Denon 3801 - pretty powerful and flexible.

    But I have just found the following link which shows how to do it from a single amp output (connecting them in series to make an easier load - my option 3). Might well give it a try.

    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/qa/qa2002/qa281.html

    Andrew
     
  6. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    It would be better to use a stereo amp and use that for both front channels.
     
  7. AndrewB

    AndrewB
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    Not sure that a separate power amp is really necessary or actually desirable. I am only using the Denon for 3 channels out of 7 at the moment (since I use pre-outs and a fancy Naim active pre/power combination for the FR and FL) so it's hardly being stretched. Also a preout into another amp would mean another cable (more signal loss) plus another box (there are already 7 just to play CDs, ignoring the AV stuff!).

    I'll give it a go with the Secrets recommended configuration and see how that sounds. Haven't got the PJ or screen yet so it might be a month or so before I have any results to report. Could try it with the widescreen TV but that doesn't present the same problem.

    Any recommendations on centre speakers in the <£200 and £200-£500 categories? B&W?

    Andrew
     
  8. lowrider

    lowrider
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    Use a splitter from the center pre-out to two unused power channels on your receiver...:smoke:
     
  9. BadAss

    BadAss
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    I have the Kef 200c which boasts Uni Q technology. This has a tweeter built into the mid driver and supposedly gives a wide dispersion. It's a quality speaker but has now been replaced. If you could pick one of these up second hand i'm sure it would match your the rest of your sytem.
     
  10. avanzato

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    AndrewB why do you want a wide dispersion centre speaker, are you trying to cover a number of listening seats?

    More importantly as you've invested a lot in the Naims why do you want to put a cheap(er) centre with them? Phantom mode centre will be much more consistant sounding.
     
  11. AndrewB

    AndrewB
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    Perhaps "wide dispersion" isn't exactly the right term. My thought process went like this - I could be sitting on the left hand side of the sofa (nearly left edge of the screen) and there could be a voice coming through the centre channel of an actor who is most of the way to the right of the screen (therefore about 8 ft to my right and 11 feet ahead), and I'm thinking it might sound a bit weird to have that sound coming from a point source near the middle of the screen. Maybe it wouldn't... I'm just theorising.

    Anyway, I do need to buy a centre speaker and there is surprisingly little useful info around.

    I don't think Phantom mode is appropriate for DTS/DD because the centre channel contains 75% of the info on a movie and I have found that even a modest centre is better than a really pricy pair of L&R speakers. I think the weight of opinion is probably on my side here (but then they might well all be wrong!).

    Any more recs for centre speakers that are clean and fast?

    Andrew
     
  12. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    Mission's 78C and 77C1 have three tweeters arranged in a vertical alignement for wide vertical dispersion. Perhaps this would be ideal...
     
  13. avanzato

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    My screen is as your setup will be and I don't find that a problem, the sound mixers do use the left and right speakers as well as centre, when they need to.

    Hmm not sure what general rules for centres there are but mine are: Always the same speaker as the left/right pair. Not the MTM style one's unless I can fit it under the screen vertically. I've had a couple, neither sounded that good to me despite being 'matched' and generally they get ragged when listened to off axis. And more important than you'd think, all the front speakers at the same height.

    I've not heard it but Neat tend to be used with Naim so how about their Centrum centre speaker? Or PMC, those I have heard on the end of Naim amps and quite nice they were too.
     
  14. lowrider

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    I agree with you there... :smashin:

    The center´s duty is quite different than the front´s, not to mention that its placement is usually not the best, so it doesn´t make that much sence to be the same, of course it is easier to buy the same brand and range, but you can use another brand without problem, it has to be as good as the fronts, quite powerful, very detailed mids, and not brighter than the mains...

    I have the Proac CC2 with Sonus Faber EAII, it is a fantastic speaker, very good value for the money... :smoke:
     
  15. AndrewB

    AndrewB
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    Two more thoughts/developments:

    1. I auditioned a few centre speakers and ended up buying a KEF Q9c which had the slightly lean and fast sound I needed, together with a wider than usual dispersion/sweetspot (perhaps because of the Uni-Q driver configuration).

    2. I bought the Hell Freezes Over (DTS DVD) which I already own on CD. The CD and DVD are beautifully recorded. Experimenting with Centre speakers set to Large, Small and None revealed that the best sound was definitely when the Centre was set to "none". This disagrees with my general view posted above. However I think this is a slightly special case because:

    (a) the pictures (a live concert with multiple singers and guitars) are not as closely linked to the centre sound as a film would be with actors speaking - for example you might have a shot just showing the drummer or a single guitarist, while the centre channel is still focused on vocals and bass, so the visual/aural connection is not there as directly anyway; and
    (b) My AV amp plus centre cost about £1,000 whereas the L&R speakers plus amp cost around £8,000 - and both are good value for money, so it isn't surprising that the L&R are so much better.

    The sound from the CD blows the DTS sound away in any configuration - but again, my CD player cost more than 20 times as much as my DVD player :eek:

    But I like seeing the pictures and will like it even more when I get the projector...

    Andrew
     

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