Need some speaker advice from an audiophile

1Wolf

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
414
A good decade ago I'd asked for help here in selecting a good 5.1 sound setup for my PC. I used it for gaming and movies and I wanted to go with a 5.1 setup. A bunch of folks who will probably forget more about sound setups then I'll ever know stepped up and offered me some absolutely fantastic advice. I went with their advice and this setup has served me well for almost 10 years now.

Setup was my video card running out to a Denon 1613 receiver via HDMI
4 x Emotiva XRM 4.1 speakers for front & rear channels
Definitive ProCenter 1000 for a center channel
BIC F12 Subwoofer

Back then, I had the Definitive ProCenter 1000 left over and sitting in a closet so it was recommended to go ahead and use it for my center channel. Its that center channel that I was hoping to get some advice on....

I've been building a new gaming/work/movies PC this year, along with monitors, peripherals, etc. etc. Those Emotiva speakers have been wonderful, they look and sound like new, and I couldn't see any reason to change them. The receiver just takes the video card signal so I couldn't see any reason to upgrade that. The subwoofer has been terrific. The only part of the setup that has bothered me was the fact that the center channel was just kind of "thrown in" there and always just seemed like the odd-man-out. I was considering upgrading that center channel.

I shot an e-mail to Emotiva, described my setup, and asked if they had a center channel they felt would work good with my setup that would be an upgrade from the Definitive. They recommended the "Airmotiv C1+ Center Channel" and said it would be perfect for my setup.

I'm certainly NO audiophile so I was hoping that someone here might be able to give me their advice and let me know if they felt that the Emotiva Airmotiv C1+ Center channel would be a good upgrade over my current Definitive ProCenter 1000. When I start looking at specs and stats for sound systems and speakers I get lost pretty quick. I certainly don't want to spend that kind of money and end up stepping backwards or ending up in a worse situation than I started with.

Emotiva Airmotiv C1+ Center Channel
Definitive ProCenter 1000

Thanks!
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,993
A good decade ago I'd asked for help here in selecting a good 5.1 sound setup for my PC. I used it for gaming and movies and I wanted to go with a 5.1 setup. A bunch of folks who will probably forget more about sound setups then I'll ever know stepped up and offered me some absolutely fantastic advice. I went with their advice and this setup has served me well for almost 10 years now.

Setup was my video card running out to a Denon 1613 receiver via HDMI
4 x Emotiva XRM 4.1 speakers for front & rear channels
Definitive ProCenter 1000 for a center channel
BIC F12 Subwoofer

Back then, I had the Definitive ProCenter 1000 left over and sitting in a closet so it was recommended to go ahead and use it for my center channel. Its that center channel that I was hoping to get some advice on....

I've been building a new gaming/work/movies PC this year, along with monitors, peripherals, etc. etc. Those Emotiva speakers have been wonderful, they look and sound like new, and I couldn't see any reason to change them. The receiver just takes the video card signal so I couldn't see any reason to upgrade that. The subwoofer has been terrific. The only part of the setup that has bothered me was the fact that the center channel was just kind of "thrown in" there and always just seemed like the odd-man-out. I was considering upgrading that center channel.

I shot an e-mail to Emotiva, described my setup, and asked if they had a center channel they felt would work good with my setup that would be an upgrade from the Definitive. They recommended the "Airmotiv C1+ Center Channel" and said it would be perfect for my setup.

I'm certainly NO audiophile so I was hoping that someone here might be able to give me their advice and let me know if they felt that the Emotiva Airmotiv C1+ Center channel would be a good upgrade over my current Definitive ProCenter 1000. When I start looking at specs and stats for sound systems and speakers I get lost pretty quick. I certainly don't want to spend that kind of money and end up stepping backwards or ending up in a worse situation than I started with.

Emotiva Airmotiv C1+ Center Channel
Definitive ProCenter 1000

Thanks!
Airmotiv is a good technology (the planar tweeter) but impossible to say without hearing it live. Remember also that each speaker sound different in different rooms...
My advice is that try it in your home. If you like it, keep it. The rule of thumb in surround is that you should have each channel sounding as identical to eachothers as possible. Well, subwoofer excluded of course.
 

1Wolf

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
414
Thanks for the advice Boonie. Its much appreciated. I think maybe I'll check what their return policy is, and then if its decent maybe I'll just go ahead and give it a shot. Unfortunately I'm absolutely awful at actively listening to differences in audio setups. If I am actively listening and trying to discern a difference I just never can. The more I listen the more and more the same something sounds. But then, I'm one of those folks who will be passively listening by playing a game or something later and thats when I'll notice something that isn't right...when I'm not trying so hard to hear it.

I was kind of guessing that the Emotiva Airmotiv center channel might match up better with the Emotiva XRM 4.1 front and rear speakers than the Definitive ProCenter as they are all Emotiva.
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,993
Thanks for the advice Boonie. Its much appreciated. I think maybe I'll check what their return policy is, and then if its decent maybe I'll just go ahead and give it a shot. Unfortunately I'm absolutely awful at actively listening to differences in audio setups. If I am actively listening and trying to discern a difference I just never can. The more I listen the more and more the same something sounds. But then, I'm one of those folks who will be passively listening by playing a game or something later and thats when I'll notice something that isn't right...when I'm not trying so hard to hear it.

I was kind of guessing that the Emotiva Airmotiv center channel might match up better with the Emotiva XRM 4.1 front and rear speakers than the Definitive ProCenter as they are all Emotiva.
In speakers, brand means nothing. Emotiva speaker x may be totally different from Emotiva speaker y. I mean totally different, even technically and principally. What you should look for is something that is as much similar to your existing speakers (or even better, start upgrading them little by little). I don't personally use center channel at all, if your speakers are properly set up and you sit in the center, stereo imaging takes care of the center channel for you. The center channel is for cinemas where many people watch side by side so they can't all be in the center.
 

JSHamlet234

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 9, 2021
Messages
117
I would go with Emotiva's recommendation since they would know their own product line better than anyone else. Failing that, you could use one of the same exact speaker you are using for your mains if you can find one being sold individually.
 

warhol76

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
101
A good decade ago I'd asked for help here in selecting a good 5.1 sound setup for my PC. I used it for gaming and movies and I wanted to go with a 5.1 setup. A bunch of folks who will probably forget more about sound setups then I'll ever know stepped up and offered me some absolutely fantastic advice. I went with their advice and this setup has served me well for almost 10 years now.

Setup was my video card running out to a Denon 1613 receiver via HDMI
4 x Emotiva XRM 4.1 speakers for front & rear channels
Definitive ProCenter 1000 for a center channel
BIC F12 Subwoofer

Back then, I had the Definitive ProCenter 1000 left over and sitting in a closet so it was recommended to go ahead and use it for my center channel. Its that center channel that I was hoping to get some advice on....

I've been building a new gaming/work/movies PC this year, along with monitors, peripherals, etc. etc. Those Emotiva speakers have been wonderful, they look and sound like new, and I couldn't see any reason to change them. The receiver just takes the video card signal so I couldn't see any reason to upgrade that. The subwoofer has been terrific. The only part of the setup that has bothered me was the fact that the center channel was just kind of "thrown in" there and always just seemed like the odd-man-out. I was considering upgrading that center channel.

I shot an e-mail to Emotiva, described my setup, and asked if they had a center channel they felt would work good with my setup that would be an upgrade from the Definitive. They recommended the "Airmotiv C1+ Center Channel" and said it would be perfect for my setup.

I'm certainly NO audiophile so I was hoping that someone here might be able to give me their advice and let me know if they felt that the Emotiva Airmotiv C1+ Center channel would be a good upgrade over my current Definitive ProCenter 1000. When I start looking at specs and stats for sound systems and speakers I get lost pretty quick. I certainly don't want to spend that kind of money and end up stepping backwards or ending up in a worse situation than I started with.

Emotiva Airmotiv C1+ Center Channel
Definitive ProCenter 1000

Thanks!
The Airmotiv C1+ is a good speaker. As mentioned above you can't know how it will sound for sure until you get it. Though having Emotiva's recommendation to match to their products as best as possible is a plus. They didn't just give you a rec for their most expensive speaker.

Does that receiver give you access to all the modern codecs you might want? Speakers can last years and years. Receiver's generally need to be upgraded every few years.
 

1Wolf

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
414
The Airmotiv C1+ is a good speaker. As mentioned above you can't know how it will sound for sure until you get it. Though having Emotiva's recommendation to match to their products as best as possible is a plus. They didn't just give you a rec for their most expensive speaker.

Does that receiver give you access to all the modern codecs you might want? Speakers can last years and years. Receiver's generally need to be upgraded every few years.

Thanks warhol76. To answer your question, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I really don't know the answer. I bought that Denon receiver in 2012 and its sole purpose has really just been DAC for gaming. I run HDMI out of my video card into the receiver. I've watched a few movies on it since then and listen to music once in a while. Its used 99% of the time for gaming though. I'm not sure what Codecs it has or what not or whether its outdated and I should consider an upgrade. I always just figured that it really wasn't even doing most of the stuff folks do with receivers and that it was just converting my audio signal from the video card to analog and sending it to my speakers.
 

spaceman

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
14,813
Well. The new denon receivers have Aydyssey room correction. That makes a noticeable difference in the sound quality. It is with the higher end models though. I think the multeq xt 32 is the latest version. Those receivers can be pricey though. I think accessories4less is the official denon outlet. They have the best deals for new and refurbished denon.

As to the speaker. Getting a center that is from the same series as what you have is ideal. You want to match. So look for a used center or consider getting a matching set.

I use two really good custom monitors and two subs. The surround sound and center are actually pretty good. Especially the center imaging. I can "see" sounds all over my room.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1Wolf
like this

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,993
Well. The new denon receivers have Aydyssey room correction. That makes a noticeable difference in the sound quality. It is with the higher end models though. I think the multeq xt 32 is the latest version. Those receivers can be pricey though. I think accessories4less is the official denon outlet. They have the best deals for new and refurbished denon.

As to the speaker. Getting a center that is from the same series as what you have is ideal. You want to match. So look for a used center or consider getting a matching set.

I use two really good custom monitors and two subs. The surround sound and center are actually pretty good. Especially the center imaging. I can "see" sounds all over my room.
I prefer Dirac live instead of Audyssey, but that's not for everyone. AV receivers are tricky because tech changes so fast that your expensive receiver may be worth nothing after a couple of years if it lacks some new fancy standard.
 

warhol76

Weaksauce
Joined
Jan 1, 2013
Messages
101
Thanks warhol76. To answer your question, I'm a little embarrassed to say that I really don't know the answer. I bought that Denon receiver in 2012 and its sole purpose has really just been DAC for gaming. I run HDMI out of my video card into the receiver. I've watched a few movies on it since then and listen to music once in a while. Its used 99% of the time for gaming though. I'm not sure what Codecs it has or what not or whether its outdated and I should consider an upgrade. I always just figured that it really wasn't even doing most of the stuff folks do with receivers and that it was just converting my audio signal from the video card to analog and sending it to my speakers.
I would say that if gaming is your primary purpose, that upgrading the receiver probably would not give you much bang for the buck. However, if you were looking to do that, I would echo accessories4less being a great place to look for outlet Denon products.
 

1Wolf

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 10, 2007
Messages
414
Thanks again for the help and advice. Just as an update, it looks like I'll probably just end up sticking with my ProCenter 1000 as a center channel after all. I'd like to go with the Emotiva but ffter taking some measurements and comparing the dimensions of the Emotiva center channel to my space available on my desk and it is WAY too big. I guess it just didn't really sink in how big that center channel is. That is bigger than the center channel I have on my living room home theater. The ProCenter 1000 I have no is really pretty small and fits quite nice on my desk. It doesn't look like Emotiva makes a center channel that is of comparable size to the ProCenter 1000 and I can't really go much bigger than that.
 

Nenu

[H]ardened
Joined
Apr 28, 2007
Messages
19,624
I found around 8 years ago, with good enough front speakers, at a distance, I can remove the centre speaker and have a better experience.
This has proven well for other people with as good or better speakers, even with a very poor amplifier.
ie decent metal dome or ribbon tweeter speakers. I havent tried it with recent good soft dome speakers, they could work ok too.

Try it.
If you feed audio through an AVR or sound processor, tell the AVR you have no centre speaker and see how good it sounds. (Feed the AVR all speakers, it will sort out the lack of centre)
The AVR will feed the centre speaker audio to the front left and right speakers.
This can be very useful of you have no place for a centre speaker. And if you sit in the centre, audio will come from the centre of the display (when it works well), not above or below it like with a centre speaker.
If it doesnt work well, centre sound will appear to come from left and right, not in the centre. Unfortunately the speakers are either too close or not good enough for the job.

If you dont use an AVR/processor there may be problems. The last time I tried disabling the centre speaker in Windows it was missing in some things, but this was a long time ago.
This might have improved so is worth trying again.
 
Last edited:

XenIneX

Gawd
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
760
I found around 8 years ago, with good enough front speakers, at a distance, I can remove the centre speaker and have a better experience.
This has proven well for other people with as good or better speakers, even with a very poor amplifier.
ie decent metal dome or ribbon tweeter speakers. I havent tried it with recent good soft dome speakers, they could work ok too.

Try it.
If you feed audio through an AVR or sound processor, tell the AVR you have no centre speaker and see how good it sounds. (Feed the AVR all speakers, it will sort out the lack of centre)
The AVR will feed the centre speaker audio to the front left and right speakers.
This can be very useful of you have no place for a centre speaker. And if you sit in the centre, audio will come from the centre of the display (when it works well), not above or below it like with a centre speaker.
If it doesnt work well, centre sound will appear to come from left and right, not in the centre. Unfortunately the speakers are either too close or not good enough for the job.

If you dont use an AVR/processor there may be problems. The last time I tried disabling the centre speaker in Windows it was missing in some things, but this was a long time ago.
This might have improved so is worth trying again.
Agree.

Getting a center channel that matches the timbre of the front channels can be obnoxiously intractable. Furthermore, unless you have an acoustically-transparent screen you can park the center behind, it will still sound out of place because of the inevitable height-mismatch.

I was forever trying to tweak the sound of the center channel of my rig so that it didn't sound out of place. Then the center channel of my receiver died.

Best hardware failure I ever experienced.

As soon as I let my receiver know that there wasn't a center channel anymore, all of my balancing issues went away. I went from having to constantly futz with levels -- compensating for some vocals punching out too much, while others were vanished into the BGM -- to just being able to enjoy my damned sound system.

As far as I'm concerned, 4.1 is vastly superior to 5.1.
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,993
I found around 8 years ago, with good enough front speakers, at a distance, I can remove the centre speaker and have a better experience.
This has proven well for other people with as good or better speakers, even with a very poor amplifier.
ie decent metal dome or ribbon tweeter speakers. I havent tried it with recent good soft dome speakers, they could work ok too.

Try it.
If you feed audio through an AVR or sound processor, tell the AVR you have no centre speaker and see how good it sounds. (Feed the AVR all speakers, it will sort out the lack of centre)
The AVR will feed the centre speaker audio to the front left and right speakers.
This can be very useful of you have no place for a centre speaker. And if you sit in the centre, audio will come from the centre of the display (when it works well), not above or below it like with a centre speaker.
If it doesnt work well, centre sound will appear to come from left and right, not in the centre. Unfortunately the speakers are either too close or not good enough for the job.

If you dont use an AVR/processor there may be problems. The last time I tried disabling the centre speaker in Windows it was missing in some things, but this was a long time ago.
This might have improved so is worth trying again.
One important thing to check if you seem to lack the center image that your speaker cabling is at the correct phase. If your speakers are wired to cross-phase (+ and - posts mixed) then the imaging will be very vague without a center image. Second thing to check is that the speakers are positioned exactly symmetrically in the room and in reference to the listening position. Often it's good to take a measuring tape and verify by measuring. The effect is especially powerful with highly imaging speakers like planar speakers (Magnepan, Martin Logan etc).
 
Top