Hello, I'm woundering what center channel speakers out there really shine for most people. I'm after a CCS (center channel speaker) that really shows all the characteristics of both male and female voices, something that doesn't hold back. A CCS that is just all around recommended my most people.
I have been auditioning anything yet, but to get a head start I want to know what brands to look for that will cover what I said above. I'm looking at getting the Axioms M60ti. So please, and recommened CCS that you had the most respect towards, please post them. TIA.
I have B&W LCR6 S2 which is the older model to the LCR600 S3. It's driven by our Marantz SR-7300 with JBLXti-60 mains and compliments them well especially in the high frequencies. There are many that will recommend having the mains and center (and even rears) from similar ranges and I do not disagree. However, I am very happy with the B&W, IMO - warm, open and very detailed with movies and music. Epinion reviews rating are between 4.5 plus out of 5 for both models.
A center channel is the most important speaker in a home theater and should be a tonal match with the mains so buy a center from the same brand. If you are buying Axiom fronts get a matching Axiom center. This mixing of brands in the front is a very iffy deal and should be avoided.
I agree with therealelitefan but only up to a point. For exmple: the centre speaker in the JBL Xti range IMO is more suitable for the lower end of the range. It would not handle the power for full clarity required for a center at decent volumes.
That is not to say there are many manufactures who make various centers to match their range of mains; that being the case, I totally agree with matching. With the center providing around 80% plus of sound in surround HT, it is important to get it right with power handling and tonal matching in relation to what your ears like.
I have the B&W LCR 600 for center as well as for main and rear channel. When I was shopping for my speakers, I first auditioned for a center because as said, it is the most critical and most important in a home theater set-up. I have audition several brands but I have to say that the LCR600 is one of the best one can get without shelling that much cash. I was so impressed that I bought another four LCR600 for my main and rears.
It is generally a good idea to have a center channel that matches the sonic characteristics of your front speakers. You don't want one that is brighter or more veiled and having one that has identical sensitivity generally makes listening much easier and better. That is why it is generally better to have the same brand and category of center channel. A good center channel will normally have the same tweeter and midrange/woofer combo or separate drivers. Most good center channels will have the tweeter in the center of the speaker flanked on both sides by midrange or midrange/woofers. This is more desirable when playing your center channel horizontally. If you will be playing your center vertically, it is not necessary to have the tweeter flanked on either side.
I have 2 pairs of Monitor Audio Gold Reference 10's (for the front and back). The MA GR center channel works very well horizontally as well as vertically---but I prefer it horizontal, as it seems to also fill in the off-axis soundfield from the other two front speakers, creating a much bigger soundstage.
There are many speakers that seem to work better in vertical center array. There is really no way to know this until you listen in your room. It probably depends greatly on the dispersion field and driver configuration in the center channel.
There are plenty of good center channels and plenty of not very good ones.
Like Mission Impossible, if you choose to take this assignment it is your job to find the center channel that best presents dialogue and voice presentation for your kit and room acoustics.
From HT speaker placement info I've read, the rule of thumb is to have the mains and center tweeters close to in-line at your ears listening height. Obviously this is not always possible and maybe not critical to some and very critical to others. Some centers (like the B&W LCR's) are designed for either vertical/horizontal placement.
For tips see here: http://dolbylabs.com/ht/Guide.HomeTheater.0110.html
I had my B&W LCR 600 mains and rears all vertically mounted on stand and the center horizontally mounted below the TV also on stand. Works just perfect for me. They are heavy for bookshelf speakers though.