Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall

Posted by: tomtuttle

Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 01:48 PM

I'm considering using M2 or M3 as a center, and either the onwall or the inwall/onwall.

So, based on fit, cost, compatibility, and whatnot, I'm considering a single of one of the following for a center:

1. M2 onwall
3. M2 onwall/inwall
4. M3 onwall
2. M3 onwall/inwall (this probably doesn't fit)

I have M60ti's as mains. Currently, VP100v2 as a center. It sounds fine, but...

I've never been delighted with the presence and clarity of the center channel. Now, part of this is my fault, because I am inflexible relative to speaker positioning. The VP100 (and any successor in this system in this house) has to be positioned in/on a low-wide equipment rack on which the TV sits.

This is an old, bad picture of the furniture from a previous house and a components from a couple generations ago. It's what I had handy, and I figured you would find it amusing.



So, the center channel has to pretty much go in - or on the front of - that top-center cubbyhole. Form factor (fit) is more important than fidelity. This is our living room, we have kids and dogs and stuff.

I think I can get a Good-Enough installation and improve the fidelity because:

* Vertical Center channels FTW
* in-front-of the cabinet is better than in the cabinet
* Frequency Response of any of the four options (60-80Hz) is lower than the sealed VP100 (95Hz)
* V3

The idea is to "hang" the new center speaker on a hinge (pivot) from the front top edge of that rectangular opening. I would either attach directly to the speaker or make a small piece of finished oak as a fake "wall". I would then have a small foot or spacer on the back/bottom of the speaker to angle it slightly upwards toward the listening position. The bottom of the speaker will extend into - and perhaps beyond - the fixed shelf in the middle.

Of course, I thought about doing this with a standard bookshelf, but it's just too big and cumbersome. Sticks out too far. Non-starter.

That's not a big space. A VP180 in-cabinet doesn't come close to fitting. I don't have the exact measurements handy (I think it's about 19"w x 8.5"h). I don't think I can fit the vertical inwall part of the iw/ow M3 in there (so that's probably not really an option, but I haven't definitively ruled it out, yet).

So, I guess I'm looking for input on:

* Does anyone have direct experience on tonal match between those speakers and the M60?
* Does anyone have direct experience between the inwall/onwall and onwall versions of the M2 or M3?
* Does anyone have an opinion on whether the 60-80Hz response difference between the M2 onwall and M3 inwall/onwall is meaningful enough in my situation to warrant consideration or consternation?
* Is this madness?
* You know, riff on this. It's cyber Monday. You're not working anyway.

Thanks, friends.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 02:24 PM

Well, if it were me and I was willing to spend the money. I'd build a new cabinet that would house an in-cabinet VP160.

To do this and save some money, I'd use the existing outer shell of the cabinet you currently have, and rebuild the interior of it to house the in-cabinet VP160, and the rest of my equipment. I see that would require modifying, or replacing the doors also.

At least the end result would be a better sounding system that using a smaller center.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 02:36 PM

Brian, I appreciate the reply and the suggestions. I've certainly considered those things.

But I'm looking for a low-hassle, $300 upgrade. I'm not looking for a project. I don't want to buy more (or reconfigure old) furniture.

For me, a move to a VP160 (or VP180) is going to also include a move to a projector, which is impractical in our current home.

So, you know, smaller bites. Evolution not revolution. Form-factor over fidelity, for now.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 03:28 PM

You could accomplish the current furniture rebuild project by hiring a professional carpenter using money from a loan against your 403b, Tom.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 03:38 PM

Yes, clearly I just failed to appropriately prioritize this whim. Thank you.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 03:44 PM

Tom, with adequate subwoofery, I think you would be ok with the center. My fear (after having used on-wall M22s) is that there is not much bass out of those enclosures. So I would strongly recommend a) a subwoofer good in the upper range (how one determines this, I haven't a clue) and b) a receiver with multiple crossovers (which I think you already have.)

I think I'm just going to make my sig consist of parentheses. (Love 'em.)
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 04:07 PM

I get the feeling an M2 or M3 might be a downgrade from the VP100. That has been my experience anyway with an M2. YMMV. Others like it. (Or do they really?)
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 04:10 PM

Originally Posted By: pmbuko
You could accomplish the current furniture rebuild project by hiring a professional carpenter using money from a loan against your 403b, Tom.


Yes, I am used to this kind of sarcasm. (But Tom may not have seen the other comments. He has me on ignore.)
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 04:17 PM

So, Brian, you've heard both a VP100 and M2 as a center in your home?

Ken, I have an older SVS-PB12NSD. Always pondering a second sub. And, yes, the Onkyo 805 I am using sets separate crossover points for L/R, Center and surrounds.

I guess I'm wondering why I'd be MORE concerned about the low end with the M3 onwall (which is rated by Axiom at -3db at 70Hz) compared with my VP100 (which is rated -3db at 95Hz). Axiom did adjust the published frequency responses for the M3 for the various form factors (60Hz for the bookshelf and iw/ow).
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 04:23 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
So, Brian, you've heard both a VP100 and M2 as a center in your home?


Here's my center combos, so far.

1) VP100
2) M2
3) M2 + VP100
4) VP150
5) VP160
6) VP160 + M22

In my opinion, the higher priced Axiom speakers sound better than the lower priced Axiom speakers. This includes the comparison between M2 and VP100. Also the bigger the box, the better the overall sound. Bookshelf vs on or on/in wall.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 04:46 PM

Sorry, Tom, I was thinking M2.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 05:10 PM

Right, but even the M2 onwall version is rated to 80Hz. Which does seem counter-intuitive since it has a much smaller (nearly insignificant) box and one less woofer than the VP100.

I suspect that the bigger, sealed VP100 probably has quite a lot more power-handling. But, if I could hear dialog more clearly, I wouldn't have to turn it up as loud.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 05:20 PM

Ported design must go lower than sealed VP100. But only if you make use of the ports. Putting a M2 in that hole probably wouldn't make use of the ports. I never noticed the M2 going lower myself, but this is probably because I never mounted it to the wall as a speaker by itself. I put it on top of something to hold it in place for a few days while I tried it as a center. Then later mounted it above the TV with the VP100 below the TV. It could be that it wasn't close enough to the wall to register the lower notes.

The small on wall bookshelf designs have ports on the bottom of the speaker allowing the bass to escape and reverberate (?) off of the wall below them, perhaps amplifying it in the process. So a good mounting location is probably a requirement for them.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 05:28 PM

Yes, the ports would be clear in my installation. If you had them blocked, that would certainly account for less bass response. Thanks, Brian.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 05:51 PM

Do you have room there for the on wall 150? I think it would play nicer with the M60s. the M2's would be my next choice as the M3's don't match all that well (I have tried them before with M80's). I recently set up a friend's living room with on wall 22's and a 150, with a sub and was pretty surprised at how well it sounds. I'm actually a fan of the on wall speakers. They do quite well when considering their physical limitations.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 06:21 PM

Mike, I think that the onwall VP150 is too wide - i.e. it would extend across not only the center opening and the vertical rails, but into the openings on the sides. But I had not seriously considered that option, so I will measure for it. Thank you for the suggestion.

I know you guys want to make the round hole square so that it fits, but my goal is to get "something better than a VP100v2 that works in this configuration" not necessarily just "a better center channel".
Posted by: fredk

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 06:56 PM

Well, the M2 is a good match for the M08 (that's what I use), but I don't know if a single M2 would give you the volume you need.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 07:10 PM

You can always turn up the center channel volume.

I think just trying an M2, then send it back if not satisfied is probably warranted at this point. Without being mounted on a wall, I'd go with an in-wall model, mounted into a piece of wood that fits the hole. Some renovation, but very minor. Can build using hinges on inside to make it easy to tilt upward.
Posted by: michael_d

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 07:17 PM

Originally Posted By: fredk
Well, the M2 is a good match for the M08 (that's what I use), but I don't know if a single M2 would give you the volume you need.


that's what I was thinking as well. Maybe two M2's??
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 07:30 PM

Come to think of it, this is all mute conversation anyway. Tom said the hole is 8.5 inches high. An M2 is 11.5 high and M3 is 13.5 high. Sideways mounting is not a preferred method.

Vp100 is 7.5 inches high.

After looking at picture again, I'd say that hole is around 10 to 11 inches high.
Posted by: 1sweetspot

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 07:45 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Right, but even the M2 onwall version is rated to 80Hz. Which does seem counter-intuitive since it has a much smaller (nearly insignificant) box and one less woofer than the VP100.

I suspect that the bigger, sealed VP100 probably has quite a lot more power-handling. But, if I could hear dialog more clearly, I wouldn't have to turn it up as loud.


Have you tried angling the VP100 up more? I put 2 rubber door-stops under the front of mine to point it up more towards my listening position and dialogue was improved. Hockey pucks work too.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 09:29 PM

Tom, the only thing that has a touch of madness about it is doing all this figuring without having a precise measurement of the vertical space available. You mention 8.5", but I made a quick comparison(hardly precise)with the VP100 height, and figure it's at least 11". The regular M2 might just be able to be squeezed in. If so, that should be the pick; it's essentially the upper section of the M60 and should match very well. A couple of years ago Dean tested extensively and praised the M2 as either a center or width speaker with the towers.

If it can't possibly fit, my next thought would be that the in-wall part of the M2 in/on certainly would.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 09:57 PM

Betcha a Bose cube would fit in there!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 09:58 PM

STAB STAB STAB STAB
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/26/12 11:54 PM

Thanks, guys. I knew I could count on you. Especially Ken.

The opening is 9.5"h x 21"w. No room for a VP 150 between the doors.

I knew that it was too short for a standard M2 and never considered putting a bookshelf speaker on its side.

As johnk mentioned, it looks like I can fit the inwall portion of a M2 ow/iw in there with enough room for angling. I'm tempted to buy a pair on the closeout, although I can't really imagine what I'd ever do with the second one.

I have experimented with various angles of the VP100. Like I said, it's fine; I just wonder if it could be better on my terms.
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 12:15 AM

Tom, then get just one M2 in/on, apparently at $169, not half the sale price for a pair.
Posted by: Adrian

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 10:05 AM

Tom, have you considered mounting the TV on the wall and using the top shelf of the cabinet? you could pretty much go with any speaker you like then.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 10:13 AM

Yeah, that's what I did.
Posted by: SBrown

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 10:45 AM

I think he said he had a projection TV, which would be kinda hard to mount on the wall. smile
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 10:47 AM

Yes, of course. That's the ultimate plan. We currently have a RPTV so that won't work. Also, where we have (and prefer) the TV in our current house doesn't have a wall behind it; there is a shuttered window. So, I'm certainly looking for an interim solution pending larger expenditures.

Plus, if Mark did it, how good could it really be?
Posted by: Murph

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 12:21 PM

Could you mount a speaker on the window with 200 or so of those little suction cup thingies?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 12:49 PM

Well, "time and money", Murph.

I was trying to avoid hanging a VP180 in the middle of the room from the cathedral ceiling, if you know what I mean.

Mrs. Tuttle is also lukewarm on any stereo installation requiring use of the word "girder".
Posted by: SBrown

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 01:24 PM

This is what I have Tom, which sits above the TV. www.amazon.com/OmniMount-CCH1B-Center-Channel-Speaker/sim/B00067AIEU/2

I see they are out of them but you could probably order directly from Omnimount.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 01:51 PM

Yes, I actually HAVE one of those (which I had sort of forgotten...). My experience with the VP100 was that the sound was pretty significantly improved by putting the speaker BELOW the TV, but I'm willing to give it another try.

I was not comfortable using that device for a VP160/180.

If I wanted to try the VP100 above and the M2 below the screen, how would that be wired? A set of wires ganged at the amp and running to each speaker?

Thank you!
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 01:57 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Yes,
If I wanted to try the VP100 above and the M2 below the screen, how would that be wired? A set of wires ganged at the amp and running to each speaker?

Thank you!


I have 2 pairs of Mains and 2 centers. I use the banana plugs that allow another set of banana plugs to be plugged into them. Such as these. The single ones are best for the receiver, while the double ones are best for speaker. I plug the single ones into the receiver for the lower speakers, then I use the ones made by Monster (because they are short) to plug the upper speakers into the ones already in the back of the receiver.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 02:49 PM

Tom, should I design a product that will allow a center-channel speaker to mount above a thin TV? grin
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 02:53 PM

Helluva idea, Mark. It's a wonder you didn't think of that like 6 years ago. It probably wouldn't pencil out, though.
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 03:20 PM

It likely would have to have been manufactured in China.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 03:28 PM

Just glue it to the top of the TV with Liquid Nails. Then when changing it, separate the 2 with a reciprocal saw.

See how easy that is.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 03:58 PM

Duct tape.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 04:15 PM

Originally Posted By: tomtuttle
Duct tape.


Duct tape works best when you wrap it entirely around the TV, Front and Back side.
Posted by: cb919

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 05:30 PM

Hi Tom,
Just read through this thread and I think there are some good options. 1st of all I would say stick with the M2 or M22 over the M3 to better match your M60's. The full bookshelf would be preferred, but since you don't have room under, I'd see if you can make one work above - maybe Mark would like to do some woodwork out west? grin
If above the TV does not work then I think you could try the I/O M2 with some mounting board below the TV as you suggested. Note that I have not heard the VP100, but my experience was that the M2 performed better than the VP150 in my setup. Plus the general consensus 'on the line' (as my 5 year old was saying this weekend) is that there is a gain to be had going to a vertical center all other things being equal.
If nothing else it will be a fun experiment!

Cheers,
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 05:45 PM

Thanks, Dan. I couldn't remember what else you had compared the M2 to, so that clarification is really helpful and encouraging.

I think putting an M2 on top of the TV will only get me mockery from the missus.

You guys are helpful. Much appreciated!
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 05:47 PM

I always though Axiom should sell speakers with a mirror finish. This would solve the problem for you. Mirror finished speakers would seem to blend into the environment, and she wouldn't even know a speaker was there.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 06:01 PM

Kind of like "Predator", right?

Placed an order for a single M2v3 iw/ow. Note: even though the "add single speaker to cart" from the main page calculates at $169 (the old, full price), if you go to "Customize" and then specify a quantity of 1, the closeout price is applied.

I'm hobbying!
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 06:49 PM

Where's the "Like" button?
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/27/12 06:57 PM

It's under a big chunk of cherry wood in your shop.
Posted by: SBrown

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/28/12 01:04 AM

I have my VP160 sitting on it. I made a back brace that looks like its made in china...........it works.

Mark,


how much?
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Center - M2 v M3 and inwall/onwall v onwall - 11/28/12 06:35 AM

I had some good plans, but I never had time to go forward with them!