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Pioneer SP-C22 Review (Center Speaker)

Rate this speaker:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 8 6.3%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 41 32.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 70 54.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 9 7.0%

  • Total voters
    128

thewas

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sarumbear

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mrmoizy

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For $73, I don't feel like the narrow horizontal directivity is that much of a deal breaker. Center channels are rarely called on to play music, their domain is human speech. The horizontal bandwidth is fine till about 1kHz, which covers the majority of human speech anyway. This speaker could certainly be improved, I've been tempted to try Dennis' mods to this line of speakers, but it's by no means broken. Feels like nit-picking. For good value dialogue duty, this fits the bill I'd say.
 

P_M

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Is lack of horizontal directivity in a center an issue ? In fact it may even be a good thing and may have been a conscious design decision. Because you dont want the center to overlap much with the left and right fronts otherwise center channel sounds won't seem like they are coming from the center.
 

Beershaun

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Is lack of horizontal directivity in a center an issue ? In fact it may even be a good thing and may have been a conscious design decision. Because you dont want the center to overlap much with the left and right fronts otherwise center channel sounds won't seem like they are coming from the center.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Is lack of horizontal directivity in a center an issue ? In fact it may even be a good thing and may have been a conscious design decision. Because you dont want the center to overlap much with the left and right fronts otherwise center channel sounds won't seem like they are coming from the center.
You want side reflection to increase the apparent size of the speaker to match that of the screen.
 

beagleman

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You want side reflection to increase the apparent size of the speaker to match that of the screen.


Not so sure I agree with that. Most dialogue is actually from the very center of the screen or close to it.
Dialogue usually pans to the Left or Right speakers when actors move towards the left or right side of screen.

Actual real cinemas, the L R C channel speakers are behind the screen and are not very wide radiating to increase the localization of where the sound is coming from.

Only the surround channel employs multiple overlapping sound images, to give a diffuse larger image.......
 
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Beershaun

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Not so sure I agree with that. Most dialogue is actually from the very center of the screen or close to it.
Dialogue usually pans to the Left or Right speakers when actors move towards the left or right side of screen.

Actual real cinemas, the L R C channel speakers are behind the screen and are not very wide radiating to increase the localization of where the sound is coming from.

Only the surround channel employs multiple overlapping sound images, to give a diffuse larger image.......
If you haven't watched @hardisj video I posted please check it out. He does a great job of explaining the connection between the measurements and differences you would hear off axis including some visual and sound demonstrations. It's very well done and informative.
 

Jon AA

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Allow me to semi disagree with a bunch of what you've said. ;)
There seems to be some mild obsession (on this forum) against anything that does not have very wide dispersion.

The idea as I understand it, is that any center channel with relatively narrow dispersion, will be utter junk and useless. I am simplifying it and being a bit sarcastic, but as you say Dennis, it should be fine.

There are quite a few speakers that, while not super narrow, are certainly not very wide either (medium dispersion?) that get a whole lot of love here--lots of Kefs, larger Genelecs, Neumanns, various JBL horn speakers, etc. It's not just a question of narrow vs wide, it's good vs bad. A really good narrow dispersion speaker can still sound quite good outside it's -6 dB rated/tested beamwidth, providing a smooth and flat response that's just down a few dB (which actually may be desirable for particular applications as I'll describe below).

The problem with simple horizontal MTMs such as this is not just that they're narrow. It's that they're a bad narrow. Listeners much off axis get a really lousy direct sound. In my experience, yes, this is very audible. I'm not aware of any science or tests or even opinions of scientists or testers that identify this as anything other than being a really bad thing, agreeing with what my ears tell me.

Center speakers are meant to cover a few listeners at the distances used in HOME theatre.
I would also add to that (especially anywhere near this price range) multi-purpose rooms and living rooms. While having everybody "in the narrow cone" is certainly ideal, most people simply can't afford to waste that much space. My favorite chair at my parent's house is about 60 degrees off axis... Even for home theaters, I think a great many people wish they had bigger rooms but they're making the best of what they have. Often the front rows are maybe a bit closer than they should be, but I don't think I've ever even seen a picture of a front row of an actual theater build with only one chair.

The goal of a multichannel system should be to provide the best experience to everybody you can (or would like to) fit in a given room. Having to toss out a number of seats because your speaker choice gives those seats such a terrible experience is not the right way to go about it.

Anyone sitting far to the left or right, would be RIGHT in front of the left or right channel speaker.
Creating another issue with the sound.

That's certainly true, but there's no need to add to that problem and make it worse with a really bad center channel. It's kind of like saying if you have any major health issues, you shouldn't bother going to the doctor if you break your leg--you're already screwed, so just lay there and suffer! A good center channel isn't going to fix all the problems for you, but it will give you a better experience than a bad one will.

As for giving that listener an even better experience, that really goes beyond discussions of the center channel. But since I alluded to possible advantages of a more narrow dispersion for some applications, I'll explain.

While in my opinion, dispersion width for two channel listening is largely a matter of taste/personal preference, to me for multichannel systems intended for multiple listeners it's much more of a math/geometry problem. Given a room size, seating locations, speaker locations...cover the seats in good sound. Going much beyond that may do more harm than good.

Considering the case of that chump stuck sitting in the front row right in front of the left front speaker...if that speaker has extremely wide horizontal dispersion, even if he's 40 degrees or so off axis, he's certainly going to get fantastic sound from it. But it's going to be loud, very loud. It will tend to drown out or mask the sound of the center channel (biggest problem) no matter how good that center channel is as well as masking all the other channels.

But if that speaker has a more moderate or narrow (depending upon room size, distance, etc) horizontal dispersion and is a really good design, and is toed in fully to the MLP, he'll still get a nice flat, smooth sound from it and it will sound very good. But it will be down 6 or 8 dB, depending upon the exact dimensions, dispersion, etc. This really helps his ability to hear the other channels.

Will it turn his seat into an ideal seat? Of course not. But it will give him a better "multi-channel" experience instead of a "left front channel only" experience.
 

beagleman

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Allow me to semi disagree with a bunch of what you've said. ;)


There are quite a few speakers that, while not super narrow, are certainly not very wide either (medium dispersion?) that get a whole lot of love here--lots of Kefs, larger Genelecs, Neumanns, various JBL horn speakers, etc. It's not just a question of narrow vs wide, it's good vs bad. A really good narrow dispersion speaker can still sound quite good outside it's -6 dB rated/tested beamwidth, providing a smooth and flat response that's just down a few dB (which actually may be desirable for particular applications as I'll describe below).

The problem with simple horizontal MTMs such as this is not just that they're narrow. It's that they're a bad narrow. Listeners much off axis get a really lousy direct sound. In my experience, yes, this is very audible. I'm not aware of any science or tests or even opinions of scientists or testers that identify this as anything other than being a really bad thing, agreeing with what my ears tell me.


I would also add to that (especially anywhere near this price range) multi-purpose rooms and living rooms. While having everybody "in the narrow cone" is certainly ideal, most people simply can't afford to waste that much space. My favorite chair at my parent's house is about 60 degrees off axis... Even for home theaters, I think a great many people wish they had bigger rooms but they're making the best of what they have. Often the front rows are maybe a bit closer than they should be, but I don't think I've ever even seen a picture of a front row of an actual theater build with only one chair.

The goal of a multichannel system should be to provide the best experience to everybody you can (or would like to) fit in a given room. Having to toss out a number of seats because your speaker choice gives those seats such a terrible experience is not the right way to go about it.



That's certainly true, but there's no need to add to that problem and make it worse with a really bad center channel. It's kind of like saying if you have any major health issues, you shouldn't bother going to the doctor if you break your leg--you're already screwed, so just lay there and suffer! A good center channel isn't going to fix all the problems for you, but it will give you a better experience than a bad one will.

As for giving that listener an even better experience, that really goes beyond discussions of the center channel. But since I alluded to possible advantages of a more narrow dispersion for some applications, I'll explain.

While in my opinion, dispersion width for two channel listening is largely a matter of taste/personal preference, to me for multichannel systems intended for multiple listeners it's much more of a math/geometry problem. Given a room size, seating locations, speaker locations...cover the seats in good sound. Going much beyond that may do more harm than good.

Considering the case of that chump stuck sitting in the front row right in front of the left front speaker...if that speaker has extremely wide horizontal dispersion, even if he's 40 degrees or so off axis, he's certainly going to get fantastic sound from it. But it's going to be loud, very loud. It will tend to drown out or mask the sound of the center channel (biggest problem) no matter how good that center channel is as well as masking all the other channels.

But if that speaker has a more moderate or narrow (depending upon room size, distance, etc) horizontal dispersion and is a really good design, and is toed in fully to the MLP, he'll still get a nice flat, smooth sound from it and it will sound very good. But it will be down 6 or 8 dB, depending upon the exact dimensions, dispersion, etc. This really helps his ability to hear the other channels.

Will it turn his seat into an ideal seat? Of course not. But it will give him a better "multi-channel" experience instead of a "left front channel only" experience.
You make many great points, and honestly I do sort of agree with many of them. Maybe not the "Severity" of a lowly MTM being quite as bad as described.
I am not even advocating we all jump to low priced MTM centers or that they are ideal or great, but simply I think the issues they do have are being blown a good bit out or proportion, if that makes sense?

I have one, along with a 2.5 way and a true 3 way.

Something Dennis Murphy said a while back, possibly a few times made me look closer at some of the comments against MTM and so on.

He suggested doing a blind test with the speaker set vertically and then horizontal and to see if one could tell which way was which.

I actually did this with my entry level MTM that was in a closet unused, and having my daughter help do the test with the incentive of ROBLOX money, I found indeed it was merely not that easy to tell which orientation was which, when I was not visually seeing the positioning.

Not saying this is definitive nor even means anything to anyone else in another room and so on, but just found my certainty became far less certain.

Yes a true 3 way with vertical positioning will be "Better", but with many things in audio, I tend to find some shortcomings a bit "Exaggerated".
Thanks for the well thought out reply.!
 
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anphex

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As I keep saying: D'Appolito aka MTM for the win!
Just keep the membranes vertically aligned and enjoy your artificial single point audio source.
 

sarumbear

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As I keep saying: D'Appolito aka MTM for the win!
Just keep the membranes vertically aligned and enjoy your artificial single point audio source.
How is that going to work on a centre speaker? The main requirement for those speakers are low height!
 

anphex

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How is that going to work on a centre speaker? The main requirement for those speakers are low height!
True, but if paired with one or two subs this would make a nice budget full range system. With EQ. Although you'd probably have a dip around 80-120 Hz.
Edit: Oh, I misread your last sentence. Yes, speakers have to be flat of course to fit below the tv or in a shelf but you could still just use two in a vertical position for stereo. Just because it's mainly intended to be used as a center you aren't disallowed to use them elsewhere :).
 

Glitch

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MTM just means a Midwoofer-Tweeter-Midwoofer topology. D'Appolito is a special crossover designed to reduce the lobbing (destructive interference) for MTM topology. Typical crossovers are even 2nd or 4th order Linkwitz-Riley, D'Appolito is a 3rd order with inverted phase.

Makes sense now?

#1 = lobbing pattern from a MTM with a 2nd order LR
#2 = lobbing pattern from a MTM with a D'Appolito

dap.jpg
 

sarumbear

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MTM just means a Midwoofer-Tweeter-Midwoofer topology. D'Appolito is a special crossover designed to reduce the lobbing (destructive interference) for MTM topology. Typical crossovers are typically even 2nd or 4th order Linkwitz-Riley, D'Appolito is a 3rd order with inverted phase.

#1 = lobbing pattern from a MTM with a 2nd order LR
#2 = lobbing pattern from a MTM with a D'Appolito

View attachment 205630
An inverted 3rd order crossover is not a special crossover. Small wrote about it in 1971 whereas D'Appolito submitted his design in 1983, more than a decade later. His paper's title should be clear what his design was about: "A Geometric Approach to Eliminating Lobing Error in Multiway Loudspeakers."

Besides, D'Appolito changed his mind later and recommended a 4th order LR.
 

Glitch

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sarumbear

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Oh, I didn't know inverted phase 4th order LR works too. Much easier to design!
The 4th order LR requires in phase connection. Invention is required for a 3rd order crossover only. As I said earlier D’Appolito is a layout type, not a crossover type. It just needs a steep crossover, that’s all.

BTW, why do you think a 4th order crossover is easier to design than a 3rd order?
 

Loathecliff

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Let me generalize it to all plastic woodgrain finishes. The fake teak wasn't much better.
Have you seen the fabulous Fablon range lately?
Much of it sold out!
 

Dennis Murphy

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MTM just means a Midwoofer-Tweeter-Midwoofer topology. D'Appolito is a special crossover designed to reduce the lobbing (destructive interference) for MTM topology. Typical crossovers are even 2nd or 4th order Linkwitz-Riley, D'Appolito is a 3rd order with inverted phase.

Makes sense now?

#1 = lobbing pattern from a MTM with a 2nd order LR
#2 = lobbing pattern from a MTM with a D'Appolito

View attachment 205630
Thanks for posting that. I think the main problem with the MTM with either crossover is the very close driver spacing that's needed to make it work as planned. I don't believe that spacing is achievable in a typical MTM. I just finished an MTM where I raised the tweeter and pushed the woofers in as far as I possibly could, and the off-axis response is still horrid. Just for grins, I'll try a 3rd order and see if it helps at all.
 

Theodore8

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Or just throw away the entire speaker and buy a decent centre. Neither the C21 or C22 were/are decent speakers for the all-important voice - their only reason for existing...
Fair point. But am genuinely curious what you would suggest instead, at, say, up to double the price?
 
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