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Center upgrade thoughts
#425496 05/10/17 05:45 PM
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Hi All,

Hoping this isnt to repetitive with other posts but I am contemplating an upgrade to my Center. I currently have a VP150 (not sure what the version) but I have had it since 2002. I dont really have any major complaints about it but reading through some of the forum posts it seems to have some challenges.

I was especially intrigued reading @cb919 post comparing the VP150 vs an M2. I might be open to a vertical as a center if I can make it fit.

I currently have m60TI in the front with the VP150. Rear surrounds are QS4s and the side surrounds are M3s.

What does everyone recommend as an upgrade for the VP150 with my setup?

thanks

Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425503 05/11/17 01:59 AM
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With all the information that comes out of the center channel i truly believe you need a robust center to get the full sound picture. If you have room i would recommend the VP 160 ,many people have made this very upgrade and the results are always impressive. I have read that a vertical center is ideal but i find it gets in the way of my tv screen. A third M60 would theoretically be ideal but no many have that option.


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Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425509 05/11/17 04:52 AM
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I had a VP 150. It was weak. I picked up a VP 160 and a VP 180. I like the 160 a lot. The VP180 is awesome!


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Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425512 05/11/17 01:00 PM
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FBC, much has been written on the merits of horizontal vs vertical center channels (Audioholics has great articles on the subject). In reality, it simply boils down to a couple of considerations.

Identically matched L-C-R speakers vertically placed at the same height is the industry standard. If you were to look at speakers in state of the art movie theaters, this is what you would see. The key here is that the front speakers are all at the same height and all project through a sonically transparent screen. If you use a TV or your screen is right up against the wall, this becomes harder to replicate in a home theater.

Another consideration, movie theaters are also HUGE and the likelihood you are seated off axis from the center is also greater. Using typical horizontal Mid-Tweeter-Mid (MTM) speakers in very large rooms increases the chances of sound wave cancellation from the mid's the further you are off axis. Were talking about 40degrees here for it to be noticeable. So, if you consistently have people watching movies sitting along your walls, a horizontal MTM center speakers could be an issue.

So, it's a compromise. The VP150 is a T-3M-T design that addresses typical MTM designs but I suspect this works great in small/medium size rooms but is likely to still exhibit wide off axis issues. The VP160 uses a slightly different design with a tweeter and mid mounted vertically in the center. This is likely a step up to address side wall listeners. The VP180 is back to MTM design is but is 10" wider and can take more power for better imaging.

So... if you have the space and can place your speakers at essentially the same height, are having off axis imaging problems, and budget is an issue, the M3 (or M5) would be the compromise vertical center channel of choice (an additional M60 being what industry standard would dictate to match your L/R).

Otherwise, for the reasons explained above, the VP160/180 incrementally address the issues traditionally posed by horizontal centers.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by TDIPablo; 05/11/17 01:02 PM.
Re: Center upgrade thoughts
TDIPablo #425514 05/11/17 01:42 PM
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Agree with TDI. VP160/180's were not available at the time I tried the M2 switch from the VP150. However it's a moot point for me as I am limited to an on-wall setup. I am now very happy with my 3 M5 on walls across the front. It may look unconventional but I am very happy so far.

I think it would be interesting to try a comparison between say 3xM5 vs M5/VP160/M5. From all reports however, a VP160 would be a good improvement over a VP150 (though I've not had the pleasure to audition one myself).

In the end experiment and find what makes you happiest!

Cheers,


Dan
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1
Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425516 05/11/17 01:50 PM
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I guess there are at least 4 issues to consider re: which speaker to use for a vertical center channel:

- crossover frequency between sub and other speakers (guessing you might be using 100 ?)

- ability to handle power / generate SPL to keep up with M60 mains (some movies put a lot of content to center channel)

- timbre matching with mains

- what do you have space for (is the center below the screen or can it go behind the (acoustically transparent) screen ?

In the general dumb questions department, would there be any reason why OP could not start by turning the VP150 vertically ? That should address most of the MTM concerns immediately, shouldn't it ?

For what it's worth, my first thought was "M5HP" for the center because it sounds very similar to the M60, would have a decent chance of keeping up with power handling/SPL if you play at medium-high volumes, and is physically short enough that it might fit. A smaller speaker (M2/M3) seems like it might end up being too small unless you only run moderate volume, in which case M2 would probably be a better timbre match than M3 as long as you crossed over at ~100 Hz.

That said, while I haven't heard a VP160 I know that my VP180 was a big and worthwhile update (I bought it before VP160 was introduced) and my impression is that with your system a VP160 would be just as big an improvement if not more.


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Re: Center upgrade thoughts
bridgman #425518 05/11/17 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted By bridgman


In the general dumb questions department, would there be any reason why OP could not start by turning the VP150 vertically ? That should address most of the MTM concerns immediately, shouldn't it ?

For what it's worth, my first thought was "M5HP" for the center because it sounds very similar to the M60, would have a decent chance of keeping up with power handling/SPL if you play at medium-high volumes, and is physically short enough that it might fit. A smaller speaker (M2/M3) seems like it might end up being too small unless you only run moderate volume, in which case M2 would probably be a better timbre match than M3 as long as you crossed over at ~100 Hz.


OP mentioned that they "might" be able to make an M2 fit leaving me to suspect space is an issue.

However, I agree that the OP should have fun first and turn the VP150 vertically first (even if it blocks the screen) and see if that produces immediate improvements. If so, the M5HP could be a decent upgrade if OP doesn't have 28" of room but 19" fits. Otherwise, an M2 or a VP160 needs 12" of space.

Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425519 05/11/17 02:37 PM
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Awesome thanks for all the responses guys. Great info here. I have a wall mounted screen so the speaker would have to go under it. I could take one of my M3s and throw it in as a center to test the difference however based on the off axis info posted by TDIPablo and the high praise for the VP160 I think that may be the way to go.

Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425520 05/11/17 03:12 PM
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Suggestion - order and try both options, and return the one you don't prefer.

Edit - extra thought on VP150 vertical - try it but don't read too much into results as it was designed to be used horizontally. Vertical would put a tweeter on top and bottom and since alot of localization comes from the tweeters, depending on where they are located relative to your screen I'm not sure what that would do for dialogue (& other) localization effects with movies and the like.

Last edited by cb919; 05/11/17 03:24 PM. Reason: Coffee, more coffee needed!

Dan
On-Wall M5HP LCR, QS8 & EP500 in 7.1
Re: Center upgrade thoughts
Fatboycarney #425522 05/11/17 04:29 PM
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I went from VP-150 from 2004, to a 160 a couple months back. This is your solution, look no further.

I've read the other forums as well, and seen all the negative nonsense about the 150. It's way over the top nonsense. The 150 is not a bad speaker. My father has mine now and loves it. But I did feel it was not able to keep up with the vocal quality I wanted, and I had to bump the center volume up to compensate. Not bad, just not quite what I wanted.

I choose the 160 for two reasons. It's not 4ohm, which the 180 is and requires an expensive amp, and it's not as large. Well, it's large, but not as large. It is a big a$$ speaker though so measure before you order.

MY fronts are the M80's btw.

Last edited by Newf; 05/11/17 04:31 PM.

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