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Center for the ELAC DBR-62? (for home theater)

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I'm trying to develop my first home theater system. It seems everyone here loves these DBR-62 speakers, but I have read some reports here that the ELAC centers have issues. So what am I to do if I want to use these in my HT setup? Does the center speaker need to match the L/R as everyone says? I was considering the Emotiva C2+, or is there a better option?
 

Webninja

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Would a single DBR-62 fit in your setup? Might not be sold as a single, but it would be a great front 3.
 
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That's interesting. I was thinking that a proper center should be designed to be a center, but I guess that's not true?
 

Sancus

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That's interesting. I was thinking that a proper center should be designed to be a center, but I guess that's not true?

Nope, it's the opposite. Usually centers are worse speakers because the design was compromised to have a low height.
 

Webninja

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I wasn’t able to do it due to space, but I would love to have a 7.4.4 system with identical towers for all the front and surrounds.

If you can fit the three Elac for your front stage, your only problem might be sourcing a single speaker.
 
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Nope, it's the opposite. Usually centers are worse speakers because the design was compromised to have a low height.
This is mind blowing! Nobody talks about this in the home theater forums!

If you can fit the three Elac for your front stage, your only problem might be sourcing a single speaker.
Some guy on reddit said he is ordering 3 UBR62 with help from the ELAC support team.

I can see how that would be quite awkward to put a 14" bookshelf speaker under your tv instead of the horizontal centers. But if you guys say it's worth it, I guess I can build some kind of custom tv stand or something to make it happen. Are any of the horizontal centers good options though?
 

Timcognito

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Isn't the center channel used almost exclusively for dialog, which has a narrow frequency range. What are the Elac center channel issues mentioned?
AI-Speech-Factor.jpg
 

Sancus

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This is mind blowing! Nobody talks about this in the home theater forums!
Yeah it's weird. I feel like the way people choose speakers for HT is fundamentally broken. You should make sure you're getting a good center first -- that's THE most important thing since all the audio comes from that speaker. Then worry about the rest of the speakers afterwards.

Are any of the horizontal centers good options though?

Yes, some are fine. The rule of thumb is basically that 2-way MTM(midwoofer-tweeter-midwoofer) centers are always pretty bad. Basic 3-way centers like the Emotiva C1+ or Monoprice THX-365C are usually good.

The Emotiva C2+ is a weird one since it has two midranges and no one has measured it. I don't know if it's good or not.

The best case is a coaxial speaker on its side, which will typically be the same as upright(because a coaxial has the midrange and tweeter exactly on top of eachother). So Kef etc.

Now, can you mix different brand centers and L/R? IMO yes you can, but you need measurements of both for a good chance of success. The biggest risk is if the dispersion patterns are different -- there's research showing people really dislike this. So I would never mix a coaxial with non-coaxials for example. Also you should definitely be using room correction like Audyssey so that it will EQ them all to the same target curve at least. That won't guarantee they'll sound the same, but it will help. And yeah, no guarantees, you may not like it, it's not an easy approach.
Isn't the center channel used almost exclusively for dialog, which has a narrow frequency range.
That's a misconception. The center channel carries most of the audio in any multi-channel content. This includes dialogue but it's also the on-screen foley and central vocals for music, especially if upmixing. It really needs to have the same capability as your L/R.

Anyway, the problem with 2-way centers is their nasty, narrow horizontal dispersion, not necessarily the on-axis frequency response.
 

sweetchaos

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Now, can you mix different brand centers and L/R? IMO yes you can, but you need measurements of both for a good chance of success. The biggest risk is if the dispersion patterns are different -- there's research showing people really dislike this. So I would never mix a coaxial with non-coaxials for example.
Interesting. Is this from Dr Floyd Toole's research?
 
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@Sancus So what would be the easy way then? Start with an Emotiva center and find something to match it? Or try to match a center to the DBR-62? I'm not sure these would play well together. I remember reading that the ELAC has a cloth dome tweeter and the c2 has a folded ribbon tweeter and thus could have very different sounds, though I'm not sure how that plays into dispersion. I'm still learning audio. Browsing this forum has been eye-opening.

Is there a good combination of L/R/C that you guys commonly recommend here? Or should I explore the idea of getting 3 DBR-62's and just sticking one under my tv? A little below ear level albeit.
 

sweetchaos

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Sancus

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Interesting. Is this from Dr Floyd Toole's research?
It's an AES study from 1998, here it is. The parts relevant to centers start in Section 4 - Frontal Experiment. They also studied surround speaker types.
It's not in his book but I think Dr. Toole cited it somewhere I can't remember, maybe a post on AVS or something?

(question 3 is: "How natural is the projected presentation?", pg300)
index.php


Note that they used a pretty wildly differing combination -- cardioid L/R with a dipole center -- so while it is clear different is bad, it remains unclear just how different is bad. Given that information though, I figure it's best to keep the deviation to a minimum if you can.

So what would be the easy way then? Start with an Emotiva center and find something to match it? Or try to match a center to the DBR-62? I'm not sure these would play well together. I remember reading that the ELAC has a cloth dome tweeter and the c2 has a folded ribbon tweeter and thus could have very different sounds, though I'm not sure how that plays into dispersion.
I agree matching a ribbon tweeter to domes is risky. It might work out, it might not. The obvious solution is to go with 2x Emotiva B1+ and 1x C1+. The Emotiva B1+ and the T2+ towers have both gotten excellent reviews from Erin for their price range and are mentioned on @sweetchaos 's best passive speaker thread.

No clue when the C1+ will be back in stock though. It unsurprisingly sold out quickly due to Black Friday deals. The C2+ is kind of a wildcard until we get a review(buy one and send it in for review to Erin or Amir!! :)).
 

Willem

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And then there are the practicalpositioning concerns. They should preferably be wide and low, and sonically they should be tuned for placement close to or even directly against the wall.
 
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The obvious solution is to go with 2x Emotiva B1+ and 1x C1+.
So you are recommending the Emotiva's over the highly regarded DBR-62? Is that just because the center is proven?

Thanks for this! It looks like a very good guide. I was under the impression that the UCR52 was not great after reading Amir's review. Yet here it is recommended. Am I missing something? I would love to match a center to the DBR-62's as they seem to be a step up from the Emotiva B1+.

The Monolith THX center uses a silk dome tweeter and has measured very well. Would probably match up well with those Elacs.
This is an option. How do you guys feel about this? Or should I try to stick to ELAC speakers to match?
 

sweetchaos

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Thanks for this! It looks like a very good guide. I was under the impression that the UCR52 was not great after reading Amir's review. Yet here it is recommended. Am I missing something?
Only because we don't have many other recommendations for that price point. If we had more speakers tested, it wouldn't be on that list.
 
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Only because we don't have many other recommendations for that price point. If we had more speakers tested, it wouldn't be on that list.
Ahh. I'd love to help with testing. But this would be my first system, and I'm more excited to get it home and use it than measure it! Perhaps in the future; I was thinking about getting some Yamaha studio monitors for a keyboard that we could measure.

You seem very knowledgeable in the audio world. What would you do in my situation? Maybe try the Monolith with the DBR-62's, or just stick to all Emotiva?
 

sweetchaos

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We've seen Emotiva's measurements for both their 3-way Towers (T2+):
CEA2034.jpg


and Bookshelf B1+:
CEA2034.jpg


Both seem to perform well-above their price points.

Towers compete up to $2600/pair price point, but they cost $1000/pair.
Booksheves compete up to $500/pair price point, but they cost $250/pair.

That leads me to believe their 3-way center will be a good performer as well.

Here's monoprice THX-365C:
CEA2034.jpg

It looks decent as well.

Monoprice is $350, while emotiva's are $250 (you'll have to wait for stock first).

Once we full the full spinorama, I can say one way or another. But for now, I'm okay with either.
 

Sancus

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So you are recommending the Emotiva's over the highly regarded DBR-62? Is that just because the center is proven?
Well, the DBR62 is definitely the better(and more expensive) bookshelf, so yeah. Emotiva doesn't make any other bookshelf sizes so if you want better you have to go up to their 3-way towers.

I think it'd be interesting to try DBR62 + Monoprice center.
 

Dougey_Jones

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Not sure how nobody has posted this, since the OP's question is shockingly easy to answer. The DBR-62 is from the "Debut Reference" line, and yes, there's a matching center channel:


Stop making everything harder than it is guys.
 
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