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So, which center should I get???

Danskir

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Hi All,
Need some help here. I’ve been on the search for a center speaker that meets my criteria for weeks now. I thought the Polk reserve 350 was the answer (wife would love the look, I’d be happy with the sound, fits my size requirements, nice bookshelf fronts to go with it) but you guys all tore it apart . This search is killing me. I’m certainly no audio engineer but I can definitely appreciate great audio. That is, I love great audio but don’t know enough about speakers to be able to choose them based on marketing and specs. And, the prospect of yet again excitedly pulling the trigger on what turns out to be another mediocre set of speakers is so crappy.

What center (and matching fronts too) would you guys recommend??? Despite my love of good audio, I’m stuck with certain parameters for now:

- no more than $700 for the center
- no more than 6” high
- no more than 7” deep
- ideally have similar looking bookshelf fronts
- would love 3 way but beggars can’t be choosers.

I’ve been checking out golden ear s50, Polk, paradigm, klipsch, etc… I have no clue which to get. I realize these parameters will definitely limit the quality but I’m hoping there’s a happy medium somewhere.

Thanks in advance
 
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staticV3

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KEF's use of a coaxial driver avoids the massive directivity error that most center speakers have.

KEF Q:
Kef Q650c Horizontal Contour Plot (Normalized).png Kef Q250c Horizontal Contour Plot (Normalized).png

Typical Centers:
JBL 125C Measurements Horizontal Directivity Center Home Theater Speaker.png Polk Reserve R350 Measurements Horizontal Directivity Center back panel bracket Home Theater S...png

In your budget there's the Q250c (7" high, 8.5" deep), Q650c (8.25" high, 12" deep), and the R2c (7" high, 12" deep).
 
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Steve Dallas

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Serious question: do you need a center channel in your configuration? I don't use one in the living room and don't miss it. I did not use one in the home theater for >6 months, and after finally setting it up, I am not sure we need that one either in that room with the particular LR speakers I have.

If the answer is no, use that money to buy the best LR speakers you can afford.
 
OP
D

Danskir

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I’d love to get KEF Q but looks like it won’t fit my space under the tv and above the fireplace. Would definitely prefer to have a center.
 

phoenixdogfan

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You might want to look around for the older, but still good Kef HTC 3001 SE which sells for around $150 on places like EBay. I have one which I pair with my LS 50 Metas because I wanted something slim I could put under my LG C1 without having it be on the floor. It has an earlier version of the Uni-Q driver along with a couple of very small mini-woofs. It really looks and sounds great IMHO. Shaped like an egg lying on its side, and l.t. 6" high at its highest point with an all aluminum body and piano black coating with magnetic grill. It's a quality piece.
 
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cavedriver

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The directivity error problem is a big problem. Without off-axis measurement data for the specific speakers you are considering I would only consider designs that are either concentric (like KEF) or known for their very smooth and wide off-axis response, like ribbon designs.
 

Laserjock

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You might want to look around for the older, but still good Kef HTC 3001 SE which sells for around $150 on places like EBay. I have one which I pair with my LS 50 Metas because I wanted something slim I could put under my LG C1 without having it be on the floor. It has an earlier version of the Uni-Q driver along with a couple of very small mini-woofs. It really looks and sounds great IMHO. Shaped like an egg lying on its side, and l.t. 6" high at its highest point with an all aluminum body and piano black coating with magnetic grill. It's a quality piece.
How about above the TV and pointed down towards ear level?
 

dshreter

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The directivity error problem is a big problem. Without off-axis measurement data for the specific speakers you are considering I would only consider designs that are either concentric (like KEF) or known for their very smooth and wide off-axis response, like ribbon designs.
Even with ribbons, so many centers are still faulty MTMs
 

hex168

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Up for some DIY? That can be the best choice if you need a box that is a specific size. It's easier if you don't have to do a fancy finish on the box, as is often the case for a center channel placed in a constricted space.

Here is a good coax driver that avoids the problems common with a non-coaxial center:
https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.c...cr25-4-coax-5-paper-cone-coaxial-4-ohm-round/

Should work in your box size. SB Acoustics recommends crossover values for you:
Crossover Schematic PDF

The crossover has no baffle step compensation, which means it will work when it is flush with your TV and TV stand but will not work free-standing.

I don't know your location, but this SICA driver may be a better choice if it is available to you. It has a more robust tweeter, can play louder, and is used in some very sophisticated speakers (example below):
Crossover (same caveats on the lack of baffle step compensation):
Example speaker using the SICA (do not expect this performance from a basic design):
 
OP
D

Danskir

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You might want to look around for the older, but still good Kef HTC 3001 SE which sells for around $150 on places like EBay. I have one which I pair with my LS 50 Metas because I wanted something slim I could put under my LG C1 without having it be on the floor. It has an earlier version of the Uni-Q driver along with a couple of very small mini-woofs. It really looks and sounds great IMHO. Shaped like an egg lying on its side, and l.t. 6" high at its highest point with an all aluminum body and piano black coating with magnetic grill. It's a quality piece.
You might want to look around for the older, but still good Kef HTC 3001 SE which sells for around $150 on places like EBay. I have one which I pair with my LS 50 Metas because I wanted something slim I could put under my LG C1 without having it be on the floor. It has an earlier version of the Uni-Q driver along with a couple of very small mini-woofs. It really looks and sounds great IMHO. Shaped like an egg lying on its side, and l.t. 6" high at its highest point with an all aluminum body and piano black coating with magnetic grill. It's a quality piece.
generally, are used speakers a good idea?
 
OP
D

Danskir

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Up for some DIY? That can be the best choice if you need a box that is a specific size. It's easier if you don't have to do a fancy finish on the box, as is often the case for a center channel placed in a constricted space.

Here is a good coax driver that avoids the problems common with a non-coaxial center:
https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.c...cr25-4-coax-5-paper-cone-coaxial-4-ohm-round/

Should work in your box size. SB Acoustics recommends crossover values for you:
Crossover Schematic PDF

The crossover has no baffle step compensation, which means it will work when it is flush with your TV and TV stand but will not work free-standing.

I don't know your location, but this SICA driver may be a better choice if it is available to you. It has a more robust tweeter, can play louder, and is used in some very sophisticated speakers (example below):
Crossover (same caveats on the lack of baffle step compensation):
Example speaker using the SICA (do not expect this performance from a basic design):
Great idea but I dont have time for a diy project like that
 

phoenixdogfan

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How about above the TV and pointed down towards ear level?
It weighs around 5-6 lbs, but if you have a stable platform and shim up the back and put some blu-tack on the front, I don't see why not. The Kef driver has about as good a vertical directivity as horizontal, though this one does have some miniwoofs. IDK where they cross, so can't tell you if they create some kind of lobe, but I kinda doubt it. Mine are around 18-24 inches below ear level and when I did the Dirac measurement, there didn't appear to be any large dips, so you should be ok.
 

phoenixdogfan

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They (used speakers) are if they only cost $150, sound good, and are built to a high standard like the Kef. Plus a lot a these can be had new from the warehouse inventrory of some defunct bricks and mortar home theater retailer (Circuit City, anyone?)
 

dshreter

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I’m with others and think you’re better off putting your money into a great stereo pair and skipping the center. A slim and mediocre center is going to hurt the overall quality because in a 3.0/3.1 setup most sound will be sent to the (mediocre) center channel. In stereo, the mix will go to the (better) R & L speakers and you’ll still hear a phantom center.

Is there a reason you’re convicted to get a center?
 
OP
D

Danskir

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I’m with others and think you’re better off putting your money into a great stereo pair and skipping the center. A slim and mediocre center is going to hurt the overall quality because in a 3.0/3.1 setup most sound will be sent to the (mediocre) center channel. In stereo, the mix will go to the (better) R & L speakers and you’ll still hear a phantom center.

Is there a reason you’re convicted to get a center?
If I were to skip the center, what would you guys recommend?
 
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