I would still have to say the sub is much more important. If you dont believe me, just go and try it.
When you get a center it must at least be from the same series than your fronts. Preferebly it should use the same drivers and crossover frequencies, and for ultimate matching it should be an identical speaker.
IMHO... I'd have to say just the opposite. Buy the CENTER first. Center channels carry about 90% of the information in a surround sound mix, and subsequently is the MOST important speaker in your setup. It is this speaker which will (hopefully) give you clear dialogue and make the movie easier to understand.
Don't get me wrong, subs are great, and essential for a good 'wow' movie experience... but would you ever understand anyone who spoke only through a subwoofer?
depends really on whether or not your two fronts are producing a decent amount of bass. If so, I would get the center first and would agree it needs to match the fronts. If your fronts are not providing decent bass then I would go for the sub first.
Obviously this is assuming you are looking for music and not home theater as a center channel would be pointless for music only
The centre speaker is the most important speaker in a surround setup. It should match as closely as possible the main front speakers you are using. So if your main speakers are B&W 603's, you should buy the LCR60 or 600 so it matches the main fronts. Setup your receiver so it now knows that the centre is there and all dialogue will come from the centre (as it should). The receiver will then downmix the rear channel information with delays.
After that I would get the rears so you finally get proper steering in the way that surround sound was intended.
The sub, provided it's a good sub, should give greater depth in the bass, but it will not help bring the focus that a properly matched centre channel would bring. Try not to go for a bargain basement sub. Save up until you can afford a decent sub (look at $700 or so) so the bass is well defined tight and fast.
Thanks Frank and vols... at least I know that I'm not the only one out there saying the same that you are!
I want to get a receiver that allows control of the center speaker volume, as I have a hearing problem and often have a problem hearing or understanding the dialogue in a movie. Can anyone suggest a receiver in the under $400 range that has that feature? Also, how much do you need to spend to get decent a center speaker? Thanks!
On most receivers, the loudness can be altered on each channel in the set-up. But, for changing the volume on the center channel on the fly to assist your hearing condition, you might think about installing a volume controller on the center speaker wiring line. It would work similar to those mini-ear plugs/phones for walkmans and mobile phones. I would think most electronic shops could help you. As for center speaker prices I can't help as I'm in Australia. The better quality - the better resolution and clarity for hearing. I have a B&W LCR6 Series 2 and it's excellent. RRP $999.00AUD. But there are other great speakers and you should match it with your mains if possible.
NAD receivers (like most) also allow for center channel volume control. The receivers that utilize the HTR-2 remote have three controls on the bottom that allow you to change the center, sub, and surround levels "on the fly" during viewing / listening. These units, however, may be cost prohibitive... I'm not sure what one can be obtianed for in U$D.
anon...there are many receivers in the $400 range that are pretty good. I would suggest H/K Avr 330, Pioneer 1014, Onkyo Sr601 (i think). Of these the Onkyo is my least favorite choice but you may find it works for you. It also depends on your listening taste in regards to warmth or brightness and what speakers you currently have. You want to match the center channel to the front speakers as far as manufacturer and product line.
Thanks for all the information. I'm going to check out the receiver suggestions.