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As some of you know from off line conversations, recently our beloved 2CH rig in the living room has started to have trouble gasping trying to reproduce dialog accurately. The phantom center channel is having trouble handling dialog on some of the newer movies, such as _The Avengers_. The dialog is placed correctly, but too soft. This was not an issue with older movies and TV shows, but it is happening more and more often. The slightest extraneous noise can make dialog unintelligable, and that is quite unacceptable.

 

The two speakers in the rig are PSB Synchrony 1 B's on 36" stands. They look good and sound even better. For us at least, there is absolutely no need at all to use a subwoofer with them. The 6.5" woofers provide quite enough bass for all of us. Too much in some cases. Music sounds like music, hip, bops, and bangs in movies sound excellent. And up until recently, the dialog sounded wonderful. They also look beautiful, which is a number one requirement for my better half.

 

In an attempt to figure this out, we moved the PSB Imagine Bs from the bedroom, connected them to the center channel signal, and wired the pair of them in series. Then they were placed like a pair of Magnepan speakers on either side of the television, angled in, and voial! Instant highly increased performance, much better dialog. Tweaking and tuning these (speaker levels, speaker distance, and so forth) produced a relatively nice arrangement with great capability when watching videos. (We shunt the signals below 60hz to the Synch B1s, which have no trouble at all chewing on that.)

 

However, as other's might not, there is a problem with this whereby the two speakers cause a particularly nasty type of interference. This is not noticeable to us during video playback, and normally, the center channel is not engaged at all when we are playing music. In fact, the music signal does not even go through the AVR. But that bit of distortion is there, and after having it pointed out to me, I can hear it. I can live with it, but the suggestions people have made are to put a Center Channel in and be done with it.

 

Which at last brings me up to subject of this post.

 

The matching center channel for the Synchrony B1s is $2100. The lower cost slightly more limited version is $1100. There is a version for the PSB Imagine speakers that runs $849, and an even smaller version of that that runs only $699. There are PSB speakers below that range in the Image line as well.

 

PSB Synchrony One C (Dark Cherry) Center channel speaker at Crutchfield.com

PSB Synchrony Two C (Dark Cherry) Center channel speaker at Crutchfield.com

PSB Imagine C (Dark Cherry) Center channel speaker at Crutchfield.com

PSB Imagine Mini C (Walnut) Center channel speaker at Crutchfield.com

 

I honestly don't want to spend $2100 or even $1000 on a Center Channel speaker. I could be short sighted, or just Magooing the issue, but a grand seems like at lot to spend for doing nothing more than watching video with.

 

So, after cogitating on it for a while and asking opinions from some friends, I see three choices open to me.

 

1. I could just leave the Imagine B's in place and find some replacement speakers for the bedroom.

 

2. I could buy one of the matching CC speakers above and put my Imagine B's back in the bedroom.

 

3. I could replace the entire set of HT speakers in the Living room, running both music and video through them, move the Synch 1Bs to the bedroom and put the Imagine Bs upstairs.

 

4. I could replace the entire set of HT speakers in the Living room serving only video, play music through the Synch 1Bs, and put the Imagine Bs back in the bedroom.

 

 

What would you guys look at doing, with a budget limited to say, $700 max. There are some amazingly good HT Theater Speakers available in that range, or less. Most of which would make any self-respecting audiophile cringe I think, but hey, this change would be mostly for video, not audio.

 

There are of course, different solutions for each possible choice, enough to confuse a con man working on his next mark...

 

Please do let the suggestions fly- out of the box solutions are also welcome - so long as they are cheap. :)

 

Some of the suggestions I have heard for HT are Fluance, Axiom, and HDT. For replacing the bedroom speakers, Amphion and NSMT. (Those are a little above budget, but hey...) My local dealer is pointing me towards a set of Dynaudio Excites as well. :)

 

 

-Paul

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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The only question I have at this point is where you can or will place the center channel speaker if you go that route ? ......and could you let me know how off the vertical axis is from the seated ear height?

 

From your links, the only CC I could recommend would be the most expensive one as that is the only one with a vertical tweeter/midrange which won't cause lobing......and it's the lobing that makes dialogue unintelligable.

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It would be pretty close to ear height when seated, and it can be placed directly under the television. Won't be quite centered between the front/main speakers, but very close. It would probably be an inch or two low for me and an inch or two high for Karen.

 

-Paul

 

The only question I have at this point is where you can or will place the center channel speaker if you go that route ? ......and could you let me know how off the vertical axis is from the seated ear height?

 

From your links, the only CC I could recommend would be the most expensive one as that is the only one with a vertical tweeter/midrange which won't cause lobing......and it's the lobing that makes dialogue unintelligable.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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It would be pretty close to ear height when seated, and it can be placed directly under the television. Won't be quite centered between the front/main speakers, but very close. It would probably be an inch or two low for me and an inch or two high for Karen.

 

-Paul

 

Within your budget, the Kef Q600c

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I use a center channel speaker from Martin Logan, it works very well and I like the way it integrates with my main speakers.

 

There are two models, ElectroMotion C2 ElectroMotion® Series and the Motion 8 Motion® Series compact home theater speakers

 

The Motion 8 is smaller and not so deep so it would fit in a little better.

But the C2 would give better sound so if that is critical it would be the better choice.

 

I don't listen to much multi-channel music so perhaps I am less critical and therefor I use a Motion 8.

It fits my setup better and was only $400 so I felt it was better for me.

I would expect the C2 to be only better and if space was more available, it would be my choice.

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That looks like just what I was thinking of, how did I ever miss it? Do you think it would work acceptably well with the PSB Synchrony B1s, or would I need to put a pair of KEF Q300's out there with it? (About $1400 total.) Definitely trying my best to avoid any kind of subwoofer, even at the expense of the very deepest bass.

 

-Paul

 

 

Within your budget, the Kef Q600c

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Thanks for the great suggestions - we have tried a Motion 8 here and it did not match well at all with the PSBs. Adding in some Motion 4's didn't add enough bass signal. I'll see if I can find one of the C2's though.

 

-Paul

 

I use a center channel speaker from Martin Logan, it works very well and I like the way it integrates with my main speakers.

 

There are two models, ElectroMotion C2 ElectroMotion® Series and the Motion 8 Motion® Series compact home theater speakers

 

The Motion 8 is smaller and not so deep so it would fit in a little better.

But the C2 would give better sound so if that is critical it would be the better choice.

 

I don't listen to much multi-channel music so perhaps I am less critical and therefor I use a Motion 8.

It fits my setup better and was only $400 so I felt it was better for me.

I would expect the C2 to be only better and if space was more available, it would be my choice.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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That looks like just what I was thinking of, how did I ever miss it? Do you think it would work acceptably well with the PSB Synchrony B1s, or would I need to put a pair of KEF Q300's out there with it? (About $1400 total.) Definitely trying my best to avoid any kind of subwoofer, even at the expense of the very deepest bass.

 

-Paul

 

The whole timbre matching thing......quite a bit of BS in my opinion so I wouldn't hesitate to match it up with your PSBs. And since you won't be using a sub, the dual larger woofers will give you decent extension with output before bottoming out. That's the really nice part of a Sub for HT. The mix down crew are always adding synthetic subsonic content that really taxes small midwoofers. In a case like yours, having a sub crossed very low say 50hz......even with the volume set low won't draw attention to itself and REALLY cleans up the midrange of small two ways.

 

If you're interested, I'll post some excursion models so you can see what I'm talking about. Certainly enlightening.

 

Go call on ML center channels....or any CC that uses ribbon/planar tweeters that can't be on the vertical axis......15 degrees off vert, the rolloff is like a brick wall.

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