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Compact Center Channel Speaker

excaliburm

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Apr 29, 2022
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I am looking for a compact center channel speaker which can fit inside my media console (BDI Sector). Unfortunately, the top shelf is designed for soundbars, so any speaker would have to be less than 7.75in D x 6.5in H. The rest of the setup makes a center which doesn't fit in the console infeasible.

Is there anything that would fit within these size constraints that isn't a terrible performer? KEF's T301c fits, but is apparently is a poor performer. Budget is <$800. For L/R I have KEF LS50 Metas.

If I am relegated to a poor performer, is a poor center speaker better than none for HT usage (since it primarily plays dialogue)?
 
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excaliburm

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IMO, a phantom center, i.e. no center, is better than a poor one.
Why is this? Is the fact that the center is primarily playing dialogue not mean that quality matters less?

Also, can a poorly measuring speaker be fixed by RoomEQ such as Dirac? Is there any component of a subpar speaker (other than loudness) that Room EQ can't fix?

A second hand KEF HTC3001SE perhaps?
Sadly, seems difficult to find.
 

oversky

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Get a coaxial speaker for center channel.
How about JBL104.
Although its high frequency is not good, vocal frequency is OK.
But you have to find a way to fix it if you want to put it in landscape orientation.
The other drawback is it is sold in pair, but you only need one.

Do you use EQ in the system?
Matching left and right channel will produce better phantom center.
 

DonR

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Why is this? Is the fact that the center is primarily playing dialogue not mean that quality matters less?
It's usually because even with EQ it is difficult to tonally match a center with different mains. A poor center may also have much higher distortion. With a phantom set up you do lose out a little directionality and left/right pans are not as convincing. You also can't boost up the dialogue because you can't separate it from the mains, at least it was not possible on older AVRs but maybe some of the new ones can pre-emphasize before they mix the center.
 
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excaliburm

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After doing some research, it seems some options (which fit the size constraints) are
1. Polk ES35
2. Definitive Technology ProCenter 1000
3. JBL Studio Center
4. Klipsch Reference Centers (RP-404C II, R-34C, R-30C)

Give some of the reviews for the first three, I am tempted to pick up a Klipsch. I know some of their speakers are known for issues with mids, but I am hoping Dirac Live should fix this. Note, I also have a Rythmik Sub.

Unfortunately I can't find measurements for the R-34C (its currently on sale for 300) -- same for the R-30C. The RP-404C II has measurements(link) which look reasonable (with some EQ) -- but at 600, its probably not high value.

I am wondering if anyone has any info on the objective performance of the R-34C -- and thoughts on whether its limitations (being toppled MTM) can be worked around in a setup with room correction and seating for 2-3 people.
 
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