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Conclusion, Rankings and Evaluation

By

In every case where we measured a center channel speaker with redundant horizontal drivers we were able to improve the smoothness of its horizontal frequency response in that range by reorienting the speaker vertically. While only the $600 MTM was symmetrical enough to be universally improved by using it vertically, we can clearly see the wave interference in the designs and ways to avoid it.

 

Center Speaker Ranking

Average Frequency Variation From 0-Axis Due to Wave Interference, Standard Deviation,
(Best to Worst, Lower is Better)

$2500 W(T/M)W Vertical

0.61

$600 MTM Vertical

0.80

$115 Bookshelf

1.01

$2500 W(T/M)W Horizontal

1.02

$250 MTM Vertical

1.19

$600 MTM Horizontal

1.62

$199 MMMM Vertical

1.6

$199 MMMM Horizontal

1.77

$250 MTM Horizontal

1.94

 

To get the most cohesive performance out of perhaps the most important channel in your home theater, strive for getting a center channel that is identical to your mains. If you can’t accommodate that goal, then do your best to avoid or minimize wave interference across your room by being wary of horizontal redundancy. Look for designs that have a vertical arrangement of their tweeters and midrange drivers. Look for planar, coaxial, lower tweeter crossover points, higher order crossovers, or other designs that avoid or minimize the “double slit” effect and incoherency that can result. Perhaps you’ll find yourself buying a speaker with fewer, higher quality drivers. Perhaps you’ll save yourself some money. Perhaps you’ll find your guests enjoying what you’ve put together and happily encouraging you to spend more money on this family fun. That’s what we’re all really after, right?

by Chris Seymour

 

 

Chris Seymour is owner of Seymour AV, an internet-direct manufacturer of “audiophile-first” audio and video equipment. Their first product is the Center Stage screen, an acoustically transparent, electrically retractable projection screen that offers a pure white image with positive gain at a reasonable price. Finally, audiophiles can get a screen that allows them to keep their sound.

Special thanks to who is perhaps the most impressive home theater dealer in the Midwest, Audio Video Logic. Ahead of their time, they’ve been demonstrating for years how you can often improve the sound of a center channel by simply rotating it vertically. They know first-hand the difficulties of countering myths such as “I can’t use that – it’s not a ‘center channel,’” and how to sympathetically counsel audiophiles into the intimidating world of home theater.

 

Confused about what AV Gear to buy or how to set it up? Join our Exclusive Audioholics E-Book Membership Program!

Recent Forum Posts:

TLS Guy posts on October 20, 2009 23:33
irish, post: 637493
Thanks for the recommendations. The Beta 360 would be too large for my application although it does look nice. The KEF Q series, iQ60c, looks like it might work pretty well as it's less than 7“ tall. The speaker cabinet design is a bit different but that isn't a breaking point. How do co-axials differ from in sound or performance from a more ”traditional" design where the speakers are seperate?

If more speakers had a wider bandwidth, then there would be no crossovers and multiple speakers. Multiple speakers are a workaround for a problem, not an inherent advantage.

The point of a coaxial speaker is to keep the sound coherent. What would be ideal is to have a bass/mid cone that crossed over to the tweeter, 4 kHz, then you would avoid a crossover in the speech discrimination band. However no such animal exists at present and crossover to the tweeter in current units is in the neighborhood of 3 kHz.

In a coaxial, the cone of the woofer acts as a wave guide to the tweeter. Things a re designed such that there is usually time coherence. However because a first order crossover is just about never possible, there are phase anomalies at crossover, just like any other speaker. There is symmetrical lobing and therefore the vertical and horizontal axis response is identical. The coverage is therefore conical.

As far as drivers to choose from the most well known are KEF and Tannoy. Thiel also has a coaxial center. Pioneer also have one in their range.

However, after having auditioned KEF recently the SEAS driver is in my view far superior.

You can buy a LOKI kit that is very good value.

I use these drivers in my center speaker. The tweeter is used only in the lower driver, the upper one is an active fill driver and the tweeter not connected.



In this TL, I could not be more happy with it.
irish posts on October 20, 2009 16:54
lsiberian, post: 637476
For If you are interested in a coaxial accessories4less sells KEF speakers for a pretty cheap clip. Still you'd have to like their other offering. I think the best horizontal center I've heard in the budget range is the Beta 360 treated with rockwool and peel-n-seal

Thanks for the recommendations. The Beta 360 would be too large for my application although it does look nice. The KEF Q series, iQ60c, looks like it might work pretty well as it's less than 7“ tall. The speaker cabinet design is a bit different but that isn't a breaking point. How do co-axials differ from in sound or performance from a more ”traditional" design where the speakers are seperate?
lsiberian posts on October 20, 2009 16:12
irish, post: 637446
Thanks for your response! I was pretty sure that was the case but I may have no choice due to my set up. It's a living room/HT set up and acoustically won't be great but it's what we have. I'm still learning and have no idea what the bolded words mean. If I understand correctly when a center is horizontal the tweeter needs to be raised vertically so that it's not in line with the mids…
The stand I have is like this one http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=15604297&postcount=105 so there isn't room a for a center due to the units being pushed together. I'm also size limited due to using a plasma on it's stand with a 7" clearance from base to screen so bookshelf speakers won't fit.
The best fit from quality mfgs that I've found would be the Def Techs or Paradigm CC-190 which does have vertically aligned tweeters http://paradigm.com/en/paradigm/speaker_only-specification-6-1-3-4.paradigm. Would that be a better option that the Mythos?
Thanks a bunch for helping me out!

These might work too but they're aligned as well http://paradigm.com/en/reference/speaker_only-specification-65-1-3-20.paradigm

For If you are interested in a coaxial accessories4less sells KEF speakers for a pretty cheap clip. Still you'd have to like their other offering. I think the best horizontal center I've heard in the budget range is the Beta 360 treated with rockwool and peel-n-seal
TLS Guy posts on October 20, 2009 15:30
irish, post: 637446
Thanks for your response! I was pretty sure that was the case but I may have no choice due to my set up. It's a living room/HT set up and acoustically won't be great but it's what we have. I'm still learning and have no idea what the bolded words mean. If I understand correctly when a center is horizontal the tweeter needs to be raised vertically so that it's not in line with the mids…
The stand I have is like this one http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=15604297&postcount=105 so there isn't room a for a center due to the units being pushed together. I'm also size limited due to using a plasma on it's stand with a 7" clearance from base to screen so bookshelf speakers won't fit.
The best fit from quality mfgs that I've found would be the Def Techs or Paradigm CC-190 which does have vertically aligned tweeters http://paradigm.com/en/paradigm/speaker_only-specification-6-1-3-4.paradigm. Would that be a better option that the Mythos?
Thanks a bunch for helping me out!

These might work too but they're aligned as well http://paradigm.com/en/reference/speaker_only-specification-65-1-3-20.paradigm

The paradigm C190 is on the right lines, but I think you would have to go with an all Paradigm system, as they have a definite voicing about them, that I did not care for when I auditioned them, at least the Studio 100s
irish posts on October 20, 2009 15:13
TLS Guy, post: 637438
Yes they would. To make a good horizontal center, you need either a coaxial driver, or a three way with at least the tweeter above the mid, and preferably the mid band/pass crossover point spread 350 Hz to at least 4 kHz, like the B & W.

Thanks for your response! I was pretty sure that was the case but I may have no choice due to my set up. It's a living room/HT set up and acoustically won't be great but it's what we have. I'm still learning and have no idea what the bolded words mean. If I understand correctly when a center is horizontal the tweeter needs to be raised vertically so that it's not in line with the mids…
The stand I have is like this one http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showpost.php?p=15604297&postcount=105 so there isn't room a for a center due to the units being pushed together. I'm also size limited due to using a plasma on it's stand with a 7" clearance from base to screen so bookshelf speakers won't fit.
The best fit from quality mfgs that I've found would be the Def Techs or Paradigm CC-190 which does have vertically aligned tweeters http://paradigm.com/en/paradigm/speaker_only-specification-6-1-3-4.paradigm. Would that be a better option that the Mythos?
Thanks a bunch for helping me out!

These might work too but they're aligned as well http://paradigm.com/en/reference/speaker_only-specification-65-1-3-20.paradigm
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