Centre speaker: New budget vs old high quality?

gijoe50000

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I'm in the market for a centre speaker and I'm wondering what road to go down..

As the title says.. Am I better off buying a 10-15 year old high quality centre speaker, that cost maybe £200 back in the day, like the Kef 80c? Or going for a new budget speaker like Auna or Jamo? Or maybe somewhere in between?
I'm thinking around the €40-50 range at the moment. Or am I wasting my time at this budget?

I already have a few home theater speakers that'll do the job for the moment, but since I'm kind of new to audio I'd like to know the general consensus.

What I'm asking is: Have centre speakers improved in recent years?
I even saw an article on cnet that recommended getting rid of your centre speaker and using the front surrounds instead!

I currently have an Onkyo 606 and a pair of Kef Code 7's at the front, and I'm waiting on a Mordaunt 309i sub, and a pair of Sony satellites to arrive in the post. Basically I'm buying used components and trying to make it as cheap\good as possible.
Any input is appreciated..
 

Dugimodo

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I think with surround it's a good Idea to match speakers so you get the same tonality from them. My first surround setup used a pair of old kendwood stereo speakers and cheap wharfedale centre and rear speakers. And actually it wasn't that bad, but when setting up the surround you could very easily hear a major difference in sound between the different speakers.

Now I have a full 5.1 set of Diamond 9 speakers which are getting old now but they still sound great. It's hard to imagine a modern cheap speaker sounding any better than a decent speaker from 10 years or more ago. They've gotten much better at making smaller speakers sound good lately but personally I don't think the sound has improved much if at all overall.

The centre speaker does the most work in movies and is the one you hear the most so it's worth having a decent one, but for music you normally would use stereo and only the front speakers tend to matter.
 

gijoe50000

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Thanks for the reply.
So I ended up going for a kind of a compromise. I picked up a Kef C6LCR for ~£50.

Kef claim that it's "engineered for a perfect tonal match between every model ", but of course you always take this kind of thing with a pinch of salt. The specs on it look good though, and it's not too old, 2012, so hopefully it'll be fine.

Yea, I definitely found that stereo is the way to go with music when you have better gear. With my old Logitech z506 setup, music always sounded the same whether it was in stereo or 5.1, but when messing with my "new" receiver and speakers earlier there was a night and day difference when I switched music to stereo mode.
 
I was going to suggest what you just bought. Speakers is one of those "what can go wrong?" purchases. Actually tonal match is one of those thing I agree with. Music is mostly stereo so no need for center there except the occasional Surround music video, 90's Eagles reunion, Phill Collin's Farewell Tour, Tina Turner Amsterdam, Adele at the Royal Albert Hall are some very good sounding surround concerts.
 

gijoe50000

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Nice one.
You figure the Kef C6 might be an OK match so then?
I figure that, even if I make a few mistakes along the way, then I'll learn more, and not waste so much money if I'm buying older stuff. Like, even if the Sony satellites that I mentioned above (SS-SR250) are awful, I'll only be down €10, and still have a pair of speakers that might come in handy at some stage, like for zone 2, or a random project, or something.

Ooh.. I never considered that some live music might be in surround! I'll look forward to checking some of those out..
 

gijoe50000

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I assume that "s" on the end is a plural?
I can't find any m10s, but if you mean the m10 (s), then they look nice alright, I'll definitely take them into consideration.
Nice one..
Just looking at them on Richer Sounds there now.

I assume the 309i is, at least, a half decent sub?

P.S.
I wasn't trying to be a smartass about the "s". I just initially assumed the s was for satellite, but I got no results! :)

 

madmatt30

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Yeah the s was just plural, missed the apostrophe.

Would be excellent as rears if you want to pump the volume a little on movies.

The mordaunt sub, yeah it was fairly budget back 10 years ago but its a fairly beefy sub.

If you got it at the right price & it's in good nick you'll be happy.
 

gijoe50000

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Yea, I got the sub for about €60. It'll surely be better than the 3-4" sub from my z506 setup anyway..

I was a bit confused by one image though.. I know active subs have a lot of electronics in them, but I have no idea what the stuff in the following image is about?

 

gijoe50000

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It was on the item's ebay listing. I assumed it was underneath the sub, maybe some kind of mechanism to change the length of the the port pipe or something? but really I don't have a clue!

Can't find any info on it..
 

gijoe50000

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After a bit of searching it seems to look like the interiors of a Garrard turntable! Most likely, as you said, built into a custom cabinet.

Maybe the photo was an accidental upload so then, as the colours look similar to the sub..
 

gijoe50000

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So the sub arrived a few days ago, no mad ghetto mods (thank god!), just an accidental image thrown on to the listing, alright. Sub seems to be fine, although I don't have much reference.

I also decided to pick up a pair of the M10's, they just arrived today. They seem fine too.

I hooked them up as fronts for a while to see how they sounded. I couldn't hear much difference between them and the Kef's, so I hooked one of the M10's to the left front, and one of my Kef Coda 7's to the right front to compare them. The M10 sounded more unidirectional and had a bit more treble, while the Kef seems to have a fuller "echoey" sound. Not a drastic difference or anything, but I think I'll keep the Kefs at the front and M10's at the side, replacing the old "tinny" home theater speakers I had there.

I didn't realise how small the M10's were going to be, for some reason I imagined they were going to be the same size as the Kefs, but they're perfect. Very clear.

The Sonys are at the back, they're actually not too bad, a little bit muffley maybe. They'll only be for the odd bit of 7.1 anyway.
 
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