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Need a center channel for my LaScalas AL5


JAGX
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So I have a budding HT set up, and the LaScalas are not sufficient for some dialogue whereas my old cheap soundbar excelled. I want to add a center channel, and wanted to get guidance on what would make a good match (aside from a third La$scala). Maybe a Cornwall, Hersey, or Forte? The audio shop guy suggested a reference center channel, but that didn't make sense to me and wouldn't match very well anyways. Ideas?

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59 minutes ago, JAGX said:

Maybe a Cornwall, Hersey, or Forte?

 

If you can't do a third La Scala or a Belle Klipsch, then get the largest one of those three that your setup will accommodate vertically.

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A Belle Klipsch makes a great TV stand as well as a centre speaker.  Or you can always use the TV speakers for centre fill at low volume.

 

Another obvious choice would be a Heresy II, III, or IV.  They were probably the world's first centre speaker, all the way back in 1957.  And the Heresy works fine in either a vertical or a horizontal orientation.  And being a Heritage Series speaker, the Heresy has similar timbre to the La Scalas.  The Forte would be good, too, if its height is not a problem.

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Don't knock the Reference Series center channel until you've tried it.

 

Buy one on the used market i.e., eBay, craigslist, or Facebook marketplace. If it doesn't work out you can always resell it.

My local craigslist has an RC-3 and an RC-42 II each for $100. Not bad.

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An RC-64 can keep up with the LS.  I had mine between some Khorns and the listening experience was excellent.

 

I've found "timbre matching" over rated.  The L/R already play discrete audio information and in HT that usually means music.  They don't play a lot of dialog, that's the job of the center.  And the center doesn't play music.  What you want from your center is crystal clear dialog, accurate sounding voices.  It doesn't matter if the L/R can do that or not.  The center speaker is the star of the show.

 

Ninety percent of dialog/vocals come out of the center speaker and 90% of TV/movies is dialog.  Get the best center speaker you can afford.

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1 hour ago, PrestonTom said:

Where is the OP located?

 

Alexandria, VA.

 

 

Size is not really an issue since I will be mounting the TV slightly higher than the La Scala.

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4 minutes ago, wvu80 said:

An RC-64 can keep up with the LS.  I had mine between some Khorns and the listening experience was excellent.

 

I've found "timbre matching" over rated.  The L/R already play discrete audio information and in HT that usually means music.  They don't play a lot of dialog, that's the job of the center.  And the center doesn't play music.  What you want from your center is crystal clear dialog, accurate sounding voices.  It doesn't matter if the L/R can do that or not.  The center speaker is the star of the show.

 

Ninety percent of dialog/vocals come out of the center speaker and 90% of TV/movies is dialog.  Get the best center speaker you can afford.

 

8 hours ago, MMurg said:

 

If you can't do a third La Scala or a Belle Klipsch, then get the largest one of those three that your setup will accommodate vertically.

 

 

1 hour ago, Peter P. said:

Don't knock the Reference Series center channel until you've tried it.

 

Buy one on the used market i.e., eBay, craigslist, or Facebook marketplace. If it doesn't work out you can always resell it.

My local craigslist has an RC-3 and an RC-42 II each for $100. Not bad.

I was also thinking about this, a third large foot-print and expensive speaker seems like a bit overkill (from my understanding), would a center channel really take advantage of the large size and bass capabilities of a LaScala or hard-to-find Belle?

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6 minutes ago, billybob said:

No center would not go down into the bass as far being a center.

What AVR are you using?

Thanks!

@JAGX

A Denon x3700H. It also has some pre-outs I may use to try and play around with a Decware Tube amp for the LaScalas at some point...

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9 minutes ago, JAGX said:

A Denon x3700H. It also has some pre-outs I may use to try and play around with a Decware Tube amp for the LaScalas at some point...

Cool...another modern Denon has this function you could try if your AVR has it too:

 

Center Spread: Center Spread expands the center channel signal to left and right front speakers to create a wider frontal audio image for the listener. It is optimized and designed for playback of stereo music content when using the Dolby Surround mode.

 

Also called a Phantom center, thanks.

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I used a Cornwall between my La Scalas... it was good, but another La Scala would have been even better.

 

Find someone to share the pair with and each of you can get a center channel...

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1 hour ago, Schu said:

I used a Cornwall between my La Scalas... it was good, but another La Scala would have been even better.

 

Find someone to share the pair with and each of you can get a center channel...

Can you describe why/what the Cornwall lacked or did not do well?

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8 hours ago, JAGX said:

 

... would a center channel really take advantage of the large size and bass capabilities of a LaScala or hard-to-find Belle?

A center channel level should be adjustable by your HT equipment so it can level match your main speakers. I know of NO center channel speaker with the efficiency level of a La Scala or Belle so you either buy a complete, matched A/V speaker system or do the best you can with the center channel you select through output level setting. As for bass; as has already been said, center channel is for dialog. If bass were a real issue with center channel speakers, you'd see them with larger woofers.

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10 hours ago, JAGX said:

I was also thinking about this, a third large foot-print and expensive speaker seems like a bit overkill (from my understanding), would a center channel really take advantage of the large size and bass capabilities of a LaScala or hard-to-find Belle?

 

I don't think it's overkill.  The ideal front stage would be three identical speakers.  The only reason we have smaller horizontal center speakers is because most people don't have the space to accommodate three identical speakers up front.  They are not made that way because that is the ideal design.  MTM speakers (or variants of that) oriented horizontally are a compromise for space.

 

Also, I have to disagree with the statement that "timbre matching is overrated".  This will depend on your sensitivity to mismatches and how much it bothers you.  I can't stand mismatches across the front stage.  I find it constantly distracting when the sound changes as sound effects pans happen across the front.  Also, it not just "timbre" that can be mismatched.  Differences in the levels of distortion can also be distracting.  For example, I could never live with a RP center with Heritage mains.  In the Klipsch consumer lines of speakers, most of the 2-way speakers like Reference and RP hand off from horns to cones in the range of 1200 Hz to as high as 2500 Hz. In contrast, the consumer line 3-way speakers (that are not fully horn-loaded) like Heritage or 3-way Legend series transition from horns to cones in a range of like 500 Hz to 850 Hz. This means that the consumer 3-way and fully horn-loaded speakers (whether 3-way or 2-way like the Jubilee) will have less distortion in the critical lower and middle region of the mid-range frequencies where the bulk of the musical and vocal action is.  The fully horn-loaded speakers will also have much lower distortion in their bass operating range.  These differences in the distortion levels are plainly audible to me.  That's why I recommended the largest Heritage speaker you could accommodate as a center.  While the Cornwall, Hersey, or Forte will never have the low bass distortion levels of a La Scala or Belle, their timbre and distortion profile will be a closer match than RP.

 

You have to figure out if you are one of those people who are bothered by mismatches or aren't.  I found this out the hard way when I was buying my first center speaker to go with my Forte mains in the 90's.  At first, I tried going as inexpensive as I thought I could reasonably go and purchased a KG 2.2V.  This speaker was totally inadequate to match the Fortes.  It sounded nothing like them and could not “keep up” due to much lower sensitivity/max output.  So, I traded that in for an Academy.  I did not find it to be a sonic match for the Fortes either (despite Klipsch marketing it as such).  It was a much better center than the KG 2.2V but still didn’t work for me.  It sounded more like a match for the original kg series, not the Forte family.  From the moment I started using it, I was aware of the sound character change in the center as sounds panned across the front.  It was very disconcerting and was a constant distraction.  Soon after I got the Academy I went back to the dealer and made a deal to trade it in for a single Heresy II.  The 3-way design was a much better match for the 3-way Fortes.  I was very happy with that decision, but I lost money on each trade in to learn this lesson.

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10 hours ago, JAGX said:

Can you describe why/what the Cornwall lacked or did not do well?

Timbre is close, but ultimately slightly different because of the size and flare of the mid horn... but more impactful was the difference between a direct radiating woofer and one that is horn loaded... it's significant.

 

That being said, a Cornwall will work fine.

 

I might have interest in a al5 center if a single was available and at the right price.

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The basic premise of mixing the output from one of finest performing Klipsch speakers with that of a lesser performing speaker should really just be rejected. The center  speaker contributes at   least as much to the front stage as do the mains , so a degraded sound and capability compared to the mains will  result . If that’s acceptable to you then alright ,good  , but from my own experience trying  several different center channels between my Khorns , I was just never satisfied until I went Lascala . I had my reasons for wanting to use a lesser center  , the big Lascala was too tall for  my tv arrangement. Ultimately the solution for me was to go projector and transparent screen, but there are other solutions that will also work. If there is a way to do it go Lascala .🤓

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