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#430838 - 01/02/19 08:56 PM Which center speaker??
Slimpikins Offline

Registered: 11/19/17
Posts: 237
Loc: New England
OK, here is the situation at hand. Since I wrapped up a major outdoor project, I am finally tackling the long awaited inside living room entertainment center make over.

I am not really into HT, I am 98% music/vinyl; however since I'll have the ability to expand things a bit, I am thinking of adding in a new center speaker for TV/Movies to replace an older Def Tech small center I have.
The current set up is this: Bryston Model T mains converted to Signature series with PX1 outboard crossovers, EP800V4 with the 'switch' to the left side, EP500 to the rear and a Bryston Model T sub to the right. The main amps are a pair of Anthem M1 Statement mono blocks at 2000 watts per channel and I have a left over Parasound A51 5 channel amp which is there to drive the center at either 250w/8 ohms or 400w/4 ohms. That will leave me several other channels to drive a pair of QS10hp surrounds.

My question is this: the center from my experience is not really a heavy lifting speaker in terms of bass/mid and high output; it seems to be primarily voices and some effects in the center front. Perhaps I am wrong on this; but I was looking at the VP160 which is an 8 ohm or 6 ohm in HP version. I don't think I'd need the HP version as it's only slightly higher in power rating and I don't know how the Parasound would like a 6 ohm load. The VP180 looks like a monster and I don't know if that would be required for a guy who is not much of a HT type.... I watch occasionally, but its more about two channel stereo here. Is the VP160 up to the task based on the set up I have? Again, I am not a heavy hitter with HT.


Edited by Slimpikins (01/02/19 09:20 PM)

#430839 - 01/02/19 10:10 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
Mojo Offline

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 5343
Slim, for any more mortal set-up I'd recommend the 160. I have the 160 and absolutely love it. For you though,I recommend the 180. smile

I would not recommend putting it in a cabinet but rather on the cabinet or a stand.

BTW, the center speaker does a lot of heavy lifting in movies and since you like it loud and clean, a 180 is very much warranted.

#430842 - 01/03/19 12:42 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
nickbuol Offline

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5347
Loc: Marion, IA
Mojo is spot on. So many people still have the misconception that the center channel just does dialog. That is far from the truth any more. My center channel, the VP180, is really big, even compared to my left/right mains (M60s) and when I go through calibration (automatic, manual, or just listening to scenes in movies), there is a large amount of sound energy coming from the center channel. It is actually used almost non-stop during all movies, even when nobody is talking. I definitely would not skimp on the center.

Either the VP160 HP version or the VP180 should be on your list of considerations.
2-M60s, VP180, 8-M3s, SVS 20-39PCi, DIY Sub, 8-Shakers, JVC RS45, Anthem MRX-1120

#430843 - 01/03/19 01:45 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
Mojo Offline

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 5343
Apparently even though Slim listens to music really, really loud, movies are a different story for him. I use the non-HP version of the 160 and I can dump everything the Onk can dish out to it without any problem or perceived compression (at least to the level that can be detected by my ear-brain).

BTW, I've confirmed my $700 Onk can dump 150W into each M100v4 simultaneously. I tested at 250Hz for 5 seconds because that's all I needed to take a good measurement. This is at +10 on the gain knob and 25.95V RMS. It can go higher because I think its rails are at 32V but I dare not do it. As for linearity, that's harder to assess because I don't know how linear the changes in the gain knob are (is a 0.5 dB change really 0.5dB of voltage gain or is it 0.52 for example). THD+N and transient response would be good things to characterize but I can't because I just don't have the requisite gear.

#430846 - 01/03/19 03:25 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
Mojo Offline

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 5343
To give you an idea of what Nick and I are talking about, I just played a fire and brimstone scene from the Game of Thrones Blu-Ray using Dolby HD MA. For reference, I have my PS3 volume set to +4 (the max). I turned my Onk up to -10 which is simply ridiculous even for my large room and 14 foot MLP distance from the center. I would normally watch this scene at -25 which is thunderous enough. Anyway, I was measuring 7V peak RMS at the fronts and 27V peaks at the center. That's a four-fold difference in voltage and a 16-fold difference in power between the fronts and the center! That's like somewhere between 90 and 120 W peaks at the center!

Note this is pretty much at the rail limits of my Onk and I wouldn't doubt if I have some amp compression taking place because although it sounds loud, it doesn't sound great.

#430879 - 01/05/19 11:00 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
brendo Offline

Registered: 10/14/14
Posts: 430
Loc: West coast Canada
Another consideration for you Slim is the VP180 while bigger than the VP160 is that the 180 isn't as tall as the 160.
Depending on the placement of your T.V. may be a hassle remembering to always lift remote higher. I use an entertainment stand with the T.V. mounted to it, for me my VP160 is slightly taller than the mounting unit. After a couple years now I still always forget to lift the dang remote higher than the speaker.

Beware the HT is now basically the center your L\R will be completely trumped by your center. You'll need minimum VP160.
I originally purchased my 160 after researching center speaker lay outs and it kept leading to the driver layout of the 160 as being the most ideal for off axis response.

Funny note To which the VP160 was also a suggested speaker lay out for AXIOM. They built it because of listener demand, for such layout.
My time on the forum here can easily say that the 180 has no problem with off axis response.
But with the amount of power holding your mains those 2 are your options.

#430882 - 01/05/19 11:57 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
Mojo Offline

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 5343
When I heard the 180v4, I couldn't believe how it sounded like my 160 given its unorthodox driver topology.

#430887 - 01/06/19 02:58 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
Mojo Offline

Registered: 01/21/07
Posts: 5343
I measured the current drawn by the M100 with my Onk's gain at +10. Using that measurement and the voltage across the speaker terminals, the Onk is dumping 175W at 250Hz into each M100. I don't know if it's distorted or not because I don't have the right instrumentation and I don't dare listen to it.

#430902 - 01/07/19 07:44 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
bridgman Offline

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 6178
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I am in the "center should be able to generate almost as much SPL as both mains together" camp. That's probably a bit of overkill but over the last decade it seems like more and more content is getting routed to the center channel.

Currently running M60 mains and VP180 center on an HK 630 AVR. I bought the 180 before the 160 was introduced, but if I had to re-purchase a center today I would still be thinking hard about the VP180 over the VP160.

Theoretically the VP160 layout is better in the sense that it avoids comb filter effects from midrange and tweeter frequencies, but IIRC when I did the math looking at driver separation vs wavelengths the VP180 layout was done well enough that comb filtering should be pretty much a non issue. The TC-1 puts the tweeters in the center which, while it seems like the intuitively correct layout, didn't work as well when I was playing with the numbers.

With model T mains I think the VP180 becomes the obvious choice unless you plan to be using 3-channel only at significantly lower SPLs than the model T's can generate. I would probably not bother with the HP version though, assuming that you will be crossing over the deepest bass to your subs.

The obvious counterpoint to this is "you've survived so far with a much smaller center" but interesting question would be whether your perception that not much content goes to center channel is related at all to inability of your current center to turn signal into sound, ie dynamic compression.

Edited by bridgman (01/07/19 07:51 PM)
M60ti, VP180, QS8, M2ti
M5HP, M40

#431198 - 02/04/19 02:44 PM Re: Which center speaker?? [Re: Slimpikins]
exlabdriver Offline

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1757
Ref Center Channels:

Check out recent third post here.

Interestingly, I don't remember Axiom 'promoting' dual center channels. This was discussed 10 years ago & the gist of the conversation was to try it if you want to experiment - like many do in this pastime.

Dual center channels being 'recommended' by Axiom was not their normal policy that I can recall. Perfectly reasonable advice IMO.


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