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Thread: Center Channel Suggestions!

  1. #1
    Constant Bitrate
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    Center Channel Suggestions!

    Hey everyone I am interested in setting up a center channel for my system. I was looking into the Alpine MXE-M350 but I heard that the quality is not really up to par and there is not enough power. I was also thinking to piece my own together with a small 4" 2-way and a used small amplifier. Either way I want this project to be around a $100 (possibly get all parts off ebay). Does anyone have any suggestions? Is it even worth it? Thanks ahead of time!

  2. #2
    Constant Bitrate chuyler1's Avatar
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    It all depends on how much space you have.

    Clarion makes a half-din center speaker but from what i've heard the Alpine is a little better.
    http://www.clarion.com/us/en/product...912143075.html

    If you have the room in your dash, you should put the same size speaker in as your left and right speakers. Otherwise you will need a processor that understands you don't have a full-range center channel. Usually they are capable of sending the center channel low frequencies to your left and right speakers instead. If you do have something like that then I would try to get a smaller speaker that best matches your front left and right speakers. For example, a 3.5" or 4" speaker from the same model line.

    If you bought a component set, you could mount the driver further back in teh dash and port it to the front where the tweeter is mounted. I'm not sure how good it would sound but it may be worth a shot.

  3. #3
    FLAC
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    why are you adding a center seaker?

    *hint- don't do it unless you have a great reason*
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  4. #4
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    Well the thing is that I have the soundblaster X-FI soundcard and I am running it to 2 amps. One amp is a 4 channel that runs the components and the other is a 2 channel that is bridged to the subs. If I run the soundcard in 4.1 mode then it will send no signal to the subs via the sub/center Jack on the soundcard. If I put the soundcard in 5.1 it will feed sound to all the inside speakers and the subs, but since I do not have a center channel (only running a 4.1 setup) all I get is filler sound from the 4 speakers and it sounds really bad. I think I am in a lose-lose situation unless I get a center channel to take over the front stage. Do you have any other suggestions?? Any help is appreciated. I originally didnt want to get a center channel, but ive tried messing around with all the settings and it doesn't seem to help so I thought this was a good solution. Thanks!

  5. #5
    FLAC
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    to be honest, i have that problem myself...or had. Running my NX, there was 4 speaker or 5.1, which annoyed me a bit snce i wanted 4.1. So, what i did next was a simple, though accidental, solution: i bought a crossover.

    front/rear in, front/rear/sub out. It does all the work in mixing and matching the frequencies to the right output and i can change it as neccessary. Has a ground loop isolator too. By all reports, install isn't complete yet, its a great little device- and should be cause it won crossover of the year once or twice.

    Anyways, get a signal proccessing unit. Some eq's, such as the clarion eqs744, have similar capabilities, but you really want a crossover.
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  6. #6
    Variable Bitrate
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    Take a look at my PT cruiser thread. I build custom center channels using a pair of AVI full range 2.5" drivers and a VIFA silk dome tweeter. I also build a custom crossover network using Solex parts, and a fiberglass enclosure for the setup. I tell ya it sounds better than the MB Quart Q series in the PT. Those little AVI drivers are quite slick, they can easily handle being crossed over as low as 100Hz, and don't break up at high listening levels. I could write a whole page about the vifa tweeter, needless to say I like it alot.

  7. #7
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    Damn that PTcruiser is sweet. How many speakers you got in there, Vinister? How does it sound? Do you feel like the center takes over the right side speakers because it is closer to you?

    Thanks for the advice on the crossover, Genesisfactor. Which one you have? I will definately look into getting a crossover because I know im going to need one either way.

    I just ran across the CDT Centerstage CS-25. This is a sweet set.

    http://cdtaudio.com/stagefront_centerstage_systems.htm

    What do you guys think? Anyone have experience with these?

  8. #8
    FLAC
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    audiocontrol 3xs. Its discontinued and a hard find, but the 4xs is a great buy....plus, if you DO decide to do the center console thing, it can keep up with that. Won some awards itself as well. I brag about it a bit too much m so i deleted its name. They're an amazing and helpful company that understnads what a customer is and knows the the meaning of service. I've learned so muhc invaulable information from them that had aboslutely NOTHING to do with the crossover.
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  9. #9
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    I dont know much about that centerstage set but it seems to me it will be seriously lacking in low frequency responce! I think the big mistake most people make about center channels is that they think they can get away with tiny little speakers. The DIN Clarion speaker is a prime example, sure its small, but it sounds like the artists have their noses pinched!

    The PT cruiser previously had a 3.5" eclipse coaxial as its center channel, mounted in the center console position where I've since installed an autometer clock. This eclipse speaker sounded ok, but at high volume levels, it just couldn't hang in the low end. After switching to a properly designed center channel with the full-range AVI woofers, the difference was amazing.

    Point is, make sure your center channel can reproduce everything from 100hz to 20Khz nicely. Also, while I went with a different approach in the PT, it's a great idea to aim your speakers towards the windsheild. What happens is the sound will bounce off the glass and will spread out more towards the sides, creating a wider, less focused image. This especially helps taking the edge off of typical small, aluminum or titanium domed tweeters. In the PT I was working with an absolutely beautiful VIFA Silk tweeter with a butyl surround, which must be one of the most natural, sweetest sounding tweeters available. This tweeter sounds best directly on-axis, that is, facing directly at you or within a 15-20 degree angle. That's why I mounted it facing straight at the listener.... something I would not have attempted with a 'sharp' tweeter.

    Crossover point is key. With my setup I used a tight enclosure along with a custom built 3rd-order butterworth passive crossover. The result is that I can feed it a full-range signal at immense power levels, with now low frequency distortion. It naturally rolls the signal off at around 80hz at (estimated) 24db/octave. Most speakers, especially if not enclosed, will need to be actively crossed over according to their frequency response. If you have a fully adjustable crossover, this is really easy. Simply play your reference music at your maximum estimated volume, with only the center channel connected. Turn the crossover up to about 200hz. Turn the gain up until you hear distortion, then back it down until it's clean. Then turn the crossover down lower and lower until the bass is too much for the speaker, then back up until it's clean. Fine-adjust the gain and crossover until you're happy with the sound and volume level, and you're done.

    To answer your questions:

    The PT has a total of 19 drivers, including all woofers and tweeters. There is 2 pairs of Quart Q Series components (front and back mains), The center channel (2 avi's and 1 vifa twt), and 2 subwoofers. When you open the hatch, the outside zone is activated, which powers up a pair of AVI components, and an eclipse center channel. Amazingly enough all these speakers are powered by a single Audison VRX6 Direct (except for the subs!). This is one huge 6 channel amplifier with no internal crossovers. The 5th and 6th channels, which are higher-powered to drive subwoofers, are powering the front main Q series components, as well as the two hatch mains (only when the hatch is open).

    It sounds absolutely stunning. I've never heard an amplifier so clean in my life. You can drive the inputs into full-clip, and it automatically adjusts its sensitivity and prevents audible clipping. Basically, when you get to the max output power, turning the volume up more doesn't do anything, it just 'resists' it. This is an excellent feature for anyone selling amplifiers! Your customers can't blow up their speakers with clipping even if they try.

    As for the center channel imaging, everything is time-corrected and properly gained so no, the center channel never gets 'in the way'. The system sounds much better in 'dolby surround' mode than it does in 'stereo' mode, even on stereo signals. The reason for this is that the mains are in the kicks, way down low. Activating the center channel pulls the image up to eye level, but the time correction makes sure everything still sounds balanced.

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate chuyler1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhatMo
    I just ran across the CDT Centerstage CS-25. This is a sweet set.

    http://cdtaudio.com/stagefront_centerstage_systems.htm

    What do you guys think? Anyone have experience with these?
    I have been skeptical about CDT for a while. They put alot of effort into their passive crossover designs to the point where it is almost overboard. I understand the usefulness of the up-stage kit and how it can help slightly raise your sound stage but I don't think it's worth the price they are charging. It's nothing more than an ultra-high-pass filter and a second set of tweeters. This can have it's benefits but it is not an end-all solution to staging and imaging. Your ears still get positional cues from your midrange drivers and if they aren't installed and angled properly to begin with you will end up with mixed results from such a kit.

    Now I'm completely calling the B.S. flag on this center-stage kit. It may help localize high pitched sounds like cymbals directly in front of you but it's going to come with some wierd echo affect when your ear receives the signal from the other tweeter. This idea has been tried before in the past and there is a reason you don't see competitors doing it. I don't think their special crossover is going to change the results people have had in the past.

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