View Poll Results: What colour for a centre channel speaker cabinet?

Voters
61. You may not vote on this poll
  • Painted matt grey (like M20/30/40), no wood grain

    3 4.92%
  • Painted matt black, no wood grain

    16 26.23%
  • Painted matt "silver" or similar, no wood grain

    0 0%
  • Black ash veneer with wood grain

    15 24.59%
  • Cherry veneer with wood grain

    27 44.26%
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Thread: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

  1. #61
    jorg1980 Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Returning to the WAF for one more sec. I have a center speaker that sticks out about 18,5 cm's (or 7.3 inches) and my girlfriend doesn't mind at all, though to be honoust, it is oval shaped and very slim in all other ways. Just to repeat some notes from above: nobody buys Harbeth as a design conscious decision. I wouldn't mind putting it on a shelf, or better a wallmount, above my flatscreen. Just don't make it too high, and preferably only one woofer (i don't like d'appolito as my center speaker will always be quite a distance under, or above my tv and vertical off-axis is not good like Garmt has mentioned).

  2. #62
    wkatzir Guest

    Default Re: A Harbeth centre channel speaker

    Hello All-

    Most of the dealers that I have talked with have told me of the dramatic shift from stereo systems to multichannel systems based on their sales. Wether or not that is the case, the need Harbeth to produce a center channel makes sense as it will open their speakers up to users looking for a dual purpose set up. Users like myself. Reading through the posts on this thread, the general opinion seems to be on a P3 based center. Looking over the the Harbeth line, I have to disagree. The P3 is dramatically smaller in scale both physically and sonically then the rest of the line. I also hear that the Compact 7 is a much more popular purchase then the P3. For the owners of Compact 7's up to Monitor 40.1's how would a p3 based center fair in their system. I think that a Compact 7 based center would work perfectly for all of the speakers in the Harbeth line. It would also be able to sufficiently charge a medium to large sized room, while a P3 based center would be a little thin. For those wanting a system comprised of P3's or for small rooms, a single P3 speaker would work just fine as a center.
    I am awaiting my Super HL5's, and I currently have a set of Compact 7es3's. Since there is no current center, I was planning on splitting the Compact 7's and using 1 as a center (on its side placed on a Primacoustic RX12 Recoil Stabilizer http://www.primacoustic.com/recoil-specs.htm). Then I will fill out the rears with a set of P3's.
    I am not sure that this will be the final setup, i might swap out the single C7 for a set of P3's as a center, it will take some playing around. I have included a diagram of my listening room. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.
    Once last thought, I think that the speaker should come in any veneer that is offered in Harbeths range plus black stained ash (which they should have for all speakers for those who like that look).

    wkatzir
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #63
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Greece
    Posts
    13

    Default Update?

    hi all !

    Any news relating to Harbeth centre speaker ?

    {Moderator's comment: it's still being studied at concept level.}

  4. #64
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    149

    Default Sound Design mount?

    Sound Design in USA is advertising a Harbeth surround system. It sounds like a stand or mount for center channel. I read it on Audiogon, but unfortunately no pictures. Alan may want to ask then if the ad had a good response.

    {Moderator's comment: we're not familiar with this product or which Harbeth it is intended for. If we are asked in advance to consider or approve a related product we will do our best to be sympathetic. This is not really an issue for Harbeth UK, but maybe for Harbeth USA, if that's where the product is promoted.}

  5. #65
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Centre channel from P3ESR?

    Alan - I think something the size of two P3ESRs lying end to end (~600mm) would be about the right size for a center channel. I am currently using Martin Logan Stage, which is around 880mm in width with no problem. The Stage is mounted to the wall under a 110" diagonal projection display. I think that ~600mm would be ok for large flat panels as well.

  6. #66
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    19

    Default Center channel

    Quote Originally Posted by jplaurel View Post
    Alan - I think something the size of two P3ESRs lying end to end (~600mm) would be about the right size for a center channel. I am currently using Martin Logan Stage, which is around 880mm in width with no problem. The Stage is mounted to the wall under a 110" diagonal projection display. I think that ~600mm would be ok for large flat panels as well.
    I LIKE THE SIZE OF TWO P3ESR'S FOR A CENTER CHANNEL. WHERE IS THE COMPANY ON THE DESIGN OF THIS OR ANY CENTER CHANNEL, i OWN M 30'S AND WONDER HOW THEY WOULD BLEND FOR SURROUND SOUND WITH THE P3'S. FOR ME THE TWEETER IS CRITICAL FOR VOICE ESP SPOKEN VOICE.

  7. #67
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    England and Cyprus
    Posts
    370

    Default Centre channel - again?

    Just seen this resurrected thread.

    If only one finish is to be available I think it must be piano black or black ash so as best to blend in with the majority of TVs.

    Something approaching twice the length of a P3, would seem to be optimum.

    Although not a helpful observation in this thread, I prefer to listen in two channel stereo. With speakers that image well I have never felt that I was missing anything by not having a centre speaker.

    Rear speakers I find introduce complications to the sound space I cannot cope with in a lounge - it's all different in a large auditorium.

    The availability of a Harbeth centre speaker would, however, be a good addition to the product range for those that want it.

  8. #68
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    England
    Posts
    837

    Default I haven't been asked (by the consumer) for home cinema for years ....

    Based on experience acquired whilst demonstrating and selling very high-end Home Cinema systems some years back, the centre channel speaker should have identical or, at least, very similar characteristics to the front L & R speakers. So, if you have a pair of M40.1, the centre channel speaker should also be a M40.1 !!!

    Now, I'm not a great fan of Home Cinema and prefer, as Labarum, to use one good pair of speakers in stereo and forsake the dubious pleasures of the surround sounds. This provides all of the benefits of quality sound without the complication, cost and space considerations inherent with Home Cinema.

    There is very little Home Cinema sold in this country now and most of that is very cheap packages banged out in the chains. I understand this is also the case in the US where the Home Cinema is part of multi-room installs for the affluent. The enthusiast has reverted to or kept with high quality stereo. It is years since anyone asked me about 'home cinema' when previously it was a popular request.

    Because of this, I am not sure how much of a market there is for a quality 'centre channel speaker'.

  9. #69
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    90

    Default Centre channel form factor and the market for 2 channel v. HT

    It is ideal to have the front three speakers matched exactly. But there is a big form factor issue with that, as you know. Something the size of a 40.1 would have to be mounted behind a perforated screen to be at the right level. In a room with typical 8 foot ceiling, a 110" diagonal projection screen leaves barely 2 feet clearance to the floor, so even something like a Compact 7ES-3 is problematic unless you put it behind a perforated screen But not everyone has space behind their wall and of course most are using LCD panels. A proper center channel that will mate with the left and right, can be wall mounted or placed on a tabletop and can be aimed up at the audience is key.

    It's encouraging to hear that 2 channel systems are still the most commonly installed higher end systems in the UK. I do find it surprising, though, and I don't think that's the case here in the US. I have been working on my home theater this year and when I went about auditioning speakers at the good audio shops, many salespeople were surprised that anyone would think to start building a home theater by auditioning speakers for 2 channel audio first. Around here at least, there is a strong market for home theater. Go into any showroom and you will see several big spacious, fully treated/furnished rooms with demo theaters, and maybe one or two for 2 channel, crammed with gear.

    Many of my friends have expressed incredulity that anyone would bother with 2 channel. "Why not just listen to music on the theater system? More speakers is better, right?" When people visit, it's "Oh, I love hearing the music all around me". And when I switch from the AVR to the 2 channel system, they think something is wrong. "Hey, what happened to the music? I liked it better the other way."

    Though my integrator has lately been saying that he feels there is a resurgence in the popularity of 2 channel, I don't think home theater is dead and that there's no market for a center channel speaker. I know loads of people from all income brackets that have some kind of home theater setup, but very few who have a stereo listening room. Plenty of people will would not consider a speaker line for which there is no matched, dedicated center channel. I had planned to build my theater around Magneplanars, which are wonderful, but I was just not convinced that they had their center channel offering sorted out. I regret that decision now, but that's another story! ;-)

    I'm as enthusiastic about 2 channel as anyone and much prefer listening to music from 2 speakers rather than 7. But let's be honest, watching a movie with only the front left and right speakers is just not as immersive as 7.1 surround.

    Alan is arguably one of the world's top speaker designers when it comes to voice reproduction. We all know from his posts that he places a huge emphasis on reproduction of the human voice. Well, center channel speakers are mostly about dialogue! I'm sure a Harbeth center channel would set a new standard for home theater and open up new opportunities for the company.

    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    Based on experience acquired whilst demonstrating and selling very high-end Home Cinema systems some years back, the centre channel speaker should have identical or, at least, very similar characteristics to the front L & R speakers. So, if you have a pair of M40.1, the centre channel speaker should also be a M40.1 !!!

    Now, I'm not a great fan of Home Cinema and prefer, as Labarum, to use one good pair of speakers in stereo and forsake the dubious pleasures of the surround sounds. This provides all of the benefits of quality sound without the complication, cost and space considerations inherent with Home Cinema.

    There is very little Home Cinema sold in this country now and most of that is very cheap packages banged out in the chains. I understand this is also the case in the US where the Home Cinema is part of multi-room installs for the affluent. The enthusiast has reverted to or kept with high quality stereo. It is years since anyone asked me about 'home cinema' when previously it was a popular request.

    Because of this, I am not sure how much of a market there is for a quality 'centre channel speaker'.

  10. #70
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    England
    Posts
    160

    Default Thoughts on a centre channel...

    When I found this thread my first thought was "Just use a single Harbeth speaker from the existing range". However, there are really two different customers for the centre channel.

    The first is the Home Cinema enthusiast who needs a speaker to fit around a screen. Either below the screen on a pedestal or sitting in their main equipment rack. The user would be watching DVD and Blu-Ray movies predominently, which have a huge amount of information being fed to the centre channel - 70-80% is a figure you hear often.

    The second (and sadly rarer customer) is the dedicated surround sound music enthusiast. Classical SACDs would be the main interest for this customer. In this scenario a surround sound setup with no screen in the system allows for the most perfect solution - a standard-shaped Harbeth speaker, possibly identical to the front L/R.

    If I were setting up a 5.0 system for my Classical SACDs (very few use the .1 channel) I would be quite happy to use, say, C7 for the fronts in Cherry veneer plus a matte black P3 in the centre and Cherry P3 for rears. Visually this would work because everything would still appear symmetrical.

    I really detest the huge, wide centre speakers you see sitting on pedestals well below the ear level. I'd rather not have one at all than have something like that.

    So I think the HT fan and the surround sound music fan are different animals entirely. There are some very serious 5.0 SACD systems out there and their owners take their Classical surround sound very seriously, just like 2 channel enthusiasts.

  11. #71
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Belgium
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    115

    Default Centre speaker one day?

    I hope one day Harbeth decides to release a centre speaker. I own seperate stereo and surround systems, and since I own the Harbeths, I'm really starting to notice just how unnatural my other speakers from a different, but respected brand, sound. Especially since most of the centre channel is dialogue, it makes the difference all the more noticeable.

    Either a centre channel, or the option to buy the painted pro cabinet as a single speaker would be really something.

    {Moderator's comment: it wouldn't be difficult to make such a speaker. The only issue is *how big should it be*? We can't begin to design it unless we have a dimensioned drawing. In the old days of CRT TVs, it could be big ... but now, with flat TVs, how big and where to put it????}

  12. #72
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    883

    Default Harbeth soundbar?

    I'll throw in a more way-out suggestion if I may: instead of a centre-channel speaker, an integrated stereo soundbar with amplification built in (something like the ZVox range, but higher quality).

    Like many, I have neither the space nor the inclination for a full-surround system. However, if Harbeth made a neat little integrated (speakers plus amplification) box that could sit under and form a base for my flat-panel TV, I'd look at that very seriously. I've experienced first-hand how beneficial the RADIAL technology is to the intelligibility of dialogue, and a nice neat domestically acceptable solution would be just the thing.

  13. #73
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Belgium
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    115

    Default Wider and deeper?

    Quote Originally Posted by TimVG View Post
    {Moderator's comment: it wouldn't be difficult to make such a speaker. The only issue is *how big should it be*? We can't begin to design it unless we have a dimensioned drawing. In the old days of CRT TVs, it could be big ... but now, with flat TVs, how big and where to put it????}
    I wouldn't worry too much about depth, most people in the market for a centre speaker will already have matching left and right speakers, which by themselves will take up a quite prominent place. For most homes I believe a horizontal P3 or M30 would work very well, perhaps preferably the speaker could be made a little wider (and perhaps deeper) and a little less high, for cosmetic reasons only. Like I said, if possible, I would not mind buying a single P3esr and using it a centre channel.

  14. #74
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    England and Cyprus
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    370

    Default Test market single P3ESR?

    The market could be tested by making the P3 available singly, however I see they are packaged as a pair in a single delivery carton, and I understand that rather complicates the matter.

  15. #75
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Belgium
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    115

    Default Splitting pairs

    They could use the M30 size carton, which are packed single if I'm correct, with more protective material in the box to ensure a good tight fit.

    Before we brainstorm any further, will Harbeth seriously take our voice into account here? Is there a slight chance that such a product, whether a centre speaker or single speaker purchase, will enter the market in the near future?

    I'd actually consider buying a pair with someone, and split it up to provide each with a centre channel. But what if something goes wrong, what with warranty etc.? I'm just not willing to take that risk.

    {Moderator's comment: No we will not raise a design brief until the cabinet size is tied down. We here simply do not believe that a meaningful number of users will make space for a big conventional box (even the P3ESR and never the M30) adjacent to a slimline modern TV no matter how good the sound. It would be a completely wasted design effort.

    Split pairs of P3ESR are sometimes made available. Talk to your dealer.}

  16. #76
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Malaysia/Singapore
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    435

    Default Size is a serious issue

    I too agree with mod the size really is a serious consideration as I raised this in #3. Majority of the TH guys care only for bass and blasting effect, don't care about true center quality or care in a very different way.

    Why not create a poll to understand how many true harbeth lovers in HUG use Harbeth for movie or use more for stereo or surround.

    {Moderator's comment: we've tried polling (here) before. Too few replies. We cannot make sensible business decisions based on 0.1% of HUG membership responses. That is not enough feedback.}
    "Bath in Music"

  17. #77
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    Canada
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    883

    Default Incentives

    Quote Originally Posted by keithwwk View Post
    {Moderator's comment: we've tried polling (here) before. Too few replies. We cannot make sensible business decisions based on 0.1% of HUG membership responses. That is not enough feedback.}
    Have you considered incentives? Prize draw, discount coupon, etc. That could drive up your response rate.

    {Moderator's comment: .... but would they actually buy?}

  18. #78
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    USA
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    12

    Default Centre channel takers?

    Anyone want to go 50/50 on a pair of SHL5's, split the pair for use as a center channel and report back to HUG on the SQ?

  19. #79
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Netherlands
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    Default Thin and wide, if you must have centre channel

    My priority is for stereo music. So, given that I do not want to clutter my lounge too much, the choice was between five smaller surround speakers or two larger stereo ones, and also listen to movie audio in stereo. In my view, two large stereo speakers give better sound than five small ones, even for movies.

    However, if one wants surround, I think the centre speaker should be as shallow as possible (10-15 cm) to blend with ever thinner televisions, quite low (15-20 cm), and as wide as is necessary to have enough internal volume (even 1 metre would be fine). One important technical concern would be that the speaker should be designed to sound best when fitted flush against the wall (as are modern televisions).

    Altogether I am sure this is quite a challenge. I don't think a Centre speaker needs to be enormous or designed to work best with very large speakers. I at least would never combine one with something like an M40.1. The largest combination that I would find domestically tolerable would be something like two M30.1 fronts, two P3ESR rears, a smallish centre such as I outlined, and a sub of medium size proportions.
    Willem

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