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  1. #1

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    Default Crazy idea... five center channel speakers?

    Hello Club Polk!

    We are building a townhouse, which will be completed in two months (they're just about to start putting up drywall this week). I wanted to put together a new 5.1 Polk Audio surround sound system, since we're having speaker wires run through the walls during construction. LCR and the surrounds will all be mounted on the walls. We'll probably be using an Onkyo 607 as the receiver, if that helps.

    The system will primarily be used for watching TV, movies, and playing PS3, although it should sound good with music too. I did live sound for a few years, and have a pair of Mackie HR824's for project studio work, so I do care about these things. My expectations are fairly reasonable (this is for watching TV, not mastering major label albums or something), but I do want a full, rich sound. Currently we're rockin' the two channel home theater with my old DCM KX-10's from 1995, which we're happy with except for the fact that the form factor (three way speakers) is wrong and there are only two of them.

    I've already decided on (and ordered) a Polk Audio PSW505 subwoofer, and a CS1 center channel speaker. I haven't listened to them in person, but the internet seems to love them judging by the reviews. This part is already a done deal, so it's too late to change these components, and I plan to build the rest of the system around them.

    (As an aside, I've gone into places like Best Buy a couple times, but they never could seem to show me a stereo that was actually hooked up properly and not being fed off anything better than a fuzzy FM radio signal. I'll take my chances with internet reviews, thanks).

    So, what I'm still trying to decide on are the front left/right and rear surround speakers. I've got it narrowed down to three options:

    ----------------------------------------
    1) Four CS1 center channel speakers in the front left/right and rear surround left/right surrounds, to complement the CS1 in the center channel. This would be five identical center channel speakers.
    ----------------------------------------
    PROS:
    - These will match the center channel entirely
    - Two 5.25" woofers
    - Only 9.5" deep (as opposed to Monitor 40's)

    CONS:
    - Do these sound pretty much like Monitor 40's in a slightly different box? I'm not sure. The frequency response is pretty similar, but is it basically almost the same thing in just a different form factor, or is it a markedly different type of sound, optimized for voices only?
    - If these are basically pretty similar to the Monitor 40's, this would be my first choice

    ----------------------------------------
    2) Monitor 40's in the front left/right and rear surround left/right positions.
    ----------------------------------------
    PROS:
    - I'm pretty sure these will sound excellent, and are the safest bet, from a pure sound quality perspective (or are they almost indistinguishable from the CS1's?)

    CONS:
    - These are in no way made for wall mounting, although with determination I can build some custom wall shelves. They are both longer and heavier than the CS1's, and I can't find much if any mention of people wall mounting these on the internet.

    ----------------------------------------
    3) Monitor 30's
    ----------------------------------------
    PROS:
    - Very easy to mount on the walls. They even come with a built in mounting hook.

    CONS:
    - Only one 5 1/4" woofer, instead of two like the CS1's and the 40's.
    - Will these sound thinner than the CS1's and the 40's? I've seen reports that they do.


    Other miscellaneous questions:

    - How directional are these speakers? If they are mounted 7' up on the wall, am I going to notice a huge difference if they aren't angled down right at the couch? If so, that could favor the Monitor 30's, as they could more easily be put on adjustable speaker stands.

    - Logistics aside, will the CS1 speakers sound better on music than the Monitor 30's? My assumption is that they probably will since they have two woofers, unless there is some other frequency response curve issue I'm not aware of. I'd be particularly appreciative to hear from someone who has first hand experience with or owns some combination of these speakers.


    At this point, I'm leaning toward getting five CS1's. They'll all be identical. They'll all have two woofers. They won't be quite as enormous to wall mount as the Monitor 40's, but hopefully sound almost exactly the same.

    Is there any reason I should re-think this? I can't help but notice that I might be the first person ever to attempt this :)

    If it helps, I have attached a picture of the room in question to this thread. The sub will actually be in the corner, but was pushed out on the diagram because it will be below the front left speaker.

    Thanks in advance, both if you reply to this post, and for making this forum so helpful. I've learned a lot here already!
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  2. #2
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    i think its nor good or bad, everythings gona sound the same in a small room

  3. #3

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    I can't say the thought ever crossed my mind to use 5 center channels as a 5.1 setup. Sounds kind of intriguing, I would however, recommend using the 40's and the CS1 option. I know space/mounting is an issue so that may not be the route you choose, just my $.02. I use the Monitor 40's as surrounds in my setup and they do a great job. I have also heard people rave about them as their fronts in setups that have issues being able to use floorstanders as their fronts. I would imagine this is going to be one of those things that you will only know by doing, lol. Maybe somebody else will have better advice for you, and good luck. Welcome to Club Polk.
    HT Rig
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    It's not that I'm insensitive, I just don't care.. :D

  4. #4
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    go with the centres all around and youl have a PERFECT !!!!! timbre match , your sound stage will be seamless

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    I've used 4 Radio Shack Minimus 7s for a center channel before; worked well!
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  6. #6

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    The Monitor 40's can be wall mounted via a key hole on the back of the speaker.

    I'd go with the 40's all around, or maybe the 40's for the front and the 30's for the surrounds. And if you haven't already purchased the receiver I'd recommend that you consider one with pre-outs. Many people (including myself) start off just like you are and quickly find out they want more, More, MORE -- and at least if you have pre-outs you won't need to replace the receiver if you upgrade the speakers and want more power.

    Welcome to Club Polk, and good luck putting together your system.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowpolky View Post
    go with the centres all around and youl have a PERFECT !!!!! timbre match , your sound stage will be seamless
    Agreed!
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  8. #8
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    Welcome to Club Polk livesoundguy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcrossma View Post
    The Monitor 40's can be wall mounted via a key hole on the back of the speaker.
    The 40's don't have the key hole slot for wall mounting, the 30's do. Even if they did I don't know that I would trust that little guy to hold up the 40 at 16lbs. lol. The 30's only weigh 9 lbs. which is probably why they have the slot and the 40's don't.
    HT Rig
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    Sub- Polk Audio PSW125
    Retired- Polk Audio Monitor 40's
    T.V.- 60" Sony SXRD KDS-60A2000 LCoS
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    It's not that I'm insensitive, I just don't care.. :D

  10. #10

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    Ah, ok. The combined 30/40 manual mentioned the keyhole and didn't say anything about the 40's not having it. And a product page on Amazon for the 40's had the specifications mention the keyhole -- so I just assumed it had it. And although a moot point apparently, if going into a stud you could easily support 16lbs. Even a heavy duty sheetrock anchor could do it.
    Speakers: Polk LSi15
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  11. #11

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    True, I guess the 16lbs. wouldn't be much of a problem for a stud to carry, I would be worried about the little screws holding the keyhole slot in the back of the speaker, lol. I know for sure they don't though (I had to go check mine, lol) Could be done though I'm sure if they were there though as you stated.
    HT Rig
    Receiver- Onkyo TX-SR806
    Mains- Polk Audio Monitor 70
    Center- Polk Audio CS2
    Surrounds- Polk Audio TSi 500's :D
    Sub- Polk Audio PSW125
    Retired- Polk Audio Monitor 40's
    T.V.- 60" Sony SXRD KDS-60A2000 LCoS
    Blu-Ray- 80 GB PS3


    2 CH rig (in progress)
    Polk Audio Monitor 10A's

    It's not that I'm insensitive, I just don't care.. :D

  12. #12

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    Speaker placement can be tricky even in a small room. I have patched more holes in my walls from trying different locations for my speakers, but it was all worth it because when the speakers are placed correctly (for your room) you can really hear the difference.

    Some of the things I've learned are, Higher is not always better, that I like the front L\R speakers and the center to be at or within 1ft of ear level (useing the tweeter as the guide), with the center channel just below the TV, another option for the front L\R would be centering the speaker at the center of the TV, (center of my plasma is 60" above floor) this position was good for HT, but sucked for music.
    The rears I had more trouble with, I tried them 5' then 6' then 7' off the floor with varying widths apart, so I finally put them on speaker stands about 6 inches above ear level......perfect, very good for HT. and excellent for music.

    Of course this is only my opinion and for my room and listening tastes this is what worked, but I think starting a ear level and then adjusting from there is a good place to start, and may save you from spackleing and painting the walls a dozen times

    Welcome to Club Polk

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I'll have one CS1 and the PSW505 sub in a few days, so then I'll at least be able to get a feel for the character of those two speakers. So far it sounds like at least I might not be crazy. If the CS1 is a good general purpose speaker, then I think five CS1's might make a whole lot of sense in my situation.

    I guess my big remaining questions would be:

    1) Does the CS1 fundamentally sound pretty much like a Monitor 40, or are they very different?

    2) Given that I will have a decently powerful sub, will I notice the difference in sound quality, especially in the lower mid regions, between the Monitor 30 with one woofer vs. a Monitor 40 or CS1 with two woofers?

    Thanks so much everyone!

  14. #14

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    Do yourself a favor, and pick a pair of Monitor 30's to run and compare with the CS1 you already have. You could set all 3 as L/C/R, or try one Monitor 30 and CS1 in stereo (adjusting balance, as one may sound a little louder than the other) swapping them left to right and running a few tunes you are familiar with. They are similar speakers, and you may actually prefer Monitor 30.

    If you must compromise placement (7' high is not optimal, IMHO) only to get larger Monitor 40, I would use Monitor 30 instead with an identical center or CS1 set at ear level.

    Do Monitor 30 and 40 sound a bit different? Sure they do to some extent, but again, placement is key.

    If at the end you like CS1 significantly better and want to use 3 of them as LCR or with Montor 40, Monitor 30 can easily be our surrounds.

    - Val

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    I am not familiar with the speakers in question, but since the drywall is not in place, I would place several 2x4's horizontal between the studs to give you a solid base to mount the speakers to.

    The 2x4's can be nailed so the 3 1/2" surface is facing the room. I would place several in the area to give you a many location options for the type of mounting bracket you plan on using...

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    If you haven't already bought it, don't get the onkyo 607, get something with pre-amp outs! Trust me. Either that or stop reading this forum so you'll never know what you're missing.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by dkmuch View Post
    If you haven't already bought it, don't get the onkyo 607, get something with pre-amp outs! Trust me. Either that or stop reading this forum so you'll never know what you're missing.
    Definetly look for a receiver with pre-outs, the house isn't even finished and your already starting to upgrade.

    If your going to pre-wire the house make sure you use a good 12ga speaker wire.

    Jimmy

  18. #18

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    Thank you everyone for all the replies!

    @jimmydep
    I'm definitely aware that ideally the speakers should be pointed right at your head. In many ways, this whole exercise in an act in balance and compromise. The room is slightly unusual, the speaker jacks are going into the walls before we have electricity to the house, I have a wife with decorating preferences, etc. I think for better or worse, the speakers are going to be on the walls, 7 feet off the ground. I'll still probably look into ways to angle them somewhat though.

    @VSchneider
    This is an interesting idea as well. I have some powered KRK RP5 monitors with 5" woofers that I know would be fine in that room (except they're powered, and SO directional). It's quite possible that I might like the Monitor 30's, but then if I don't I'll have to try to sell them on eBay, etc. I think I'm going to wait to receive the first CS1 and see how I feel about that and how it pairs with the PSW505 before proceeding further.

    @jm1
    Your idea about putting additional 2x4's in place is very interesting. I'll have to think about this. This is a townhouse with a tight construction schedule, so I'm not sure if I'll even have a chance to do this at this point. If nothing else I've taken pictures of where all the studs are and think I can work with them.

    @dkmuch, @jimmydep
    Can you recommend any high quality HDMI upconverting receivers with Audyssey room correction and pre-amp outputs to be found new with a warranty for under $500? :)

    Unfortunately, I have to force myself to be realistic here. I don't have a lot of extra budget to get higher end gear than what I've talked about here right now. We also need to get new furniture and a laundry list of other things. It seems that for some reason my wife would rather have a love seat than pre-amp outs and folding chairs from the beach :)

    I think if money was no object, I'd probably find myself with 19" rack mounted gear, 5 Mackie HR824's and a matching HRS120 sub, and XLR cables running through the walls*. That would, ahem, get expensive though. Maybe next time... :) I think what I want to do here is get a system that I'm going to be pretty happy with for several years, buy it once, and then enjoy it.

    Since you both mentioned it though, what do you feel I'd be missing out on by not having pre-amp outs? Obviously I'd be able to use external amps later if I chose to, although I personally doubt I'm going to hit the ceiling with this system in a room that size. I'd like to hear more about this though, if anyone is willing to take the time :)

    As an aside, make the trip to Guitar Center or Sam Ash someday and listen to some Mackie HR824's someday if you get a chance. They're kind of a de facto standard for mixing engineers, and there's a good chance some of your favorite albums (made within the last ten years), TV shows, and movies might have been mixed on them.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by livesoundguy View Post
    Since you both mentioned it though, what do you feel I'd be missing out on by not having pre-amp outs? Obviously I'd be able to use external amps later if I chose to, although I personally doubt I'm going to hit the ceiling with this system in a room that size. I'd like to hear more about this though, if anyone is willing to take the time :)
    Actually I mentioned it first :) But I really think it's a big mistake to purchase a receiver without pre-outs. If for any reason you want to experiment with an amp in the future, your current receiver will be 100% useless. With pre-outs, you can get an amp and keep the current receiver until you feel it has run its course on features.

    I've seen countless people come to this forum and wish to upgrade only to realize they need a new receiver because theirs didn't have pre-outs. I was in the same boat several years ago when I first started this journey, and thankfully my receiver had pre-outs (luck had a play in that, because I never expected to upgrade to an amp at the time).

    You can usually upgrade to the next model with pre-outs for very little money, so I for one would recommend that you do.
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    Since you both mentioned it though, what do you feel I'd be missing out on by not having pre-amp outs? Obviously I'd be able to use external amps later if I chose to, although I personally doubt I'm going to hit the ceiling with this system in a room that size. I'd like to hear more about this though, if anyone is willing to take the time
    1. The idea of using 5 CS1 is not a bad idea at all (if you look at the RM series for example, the RM20 center is the exact same as the RM20 bookshelf and the same applies for the RM30. The only thing that changes is the position of the Polk logo on the grill). Looking at your room, have you considered a SurroundBar as an option IE: 50"?)

    2. The advantages of pre-outs would only be limited by your imagination! External amps. Don't forget your 2 pair of powered monitor can also be hooked-up since they do have their own powered amps! If you really wanted, you could even set them up in a different room through channel "B" for example. This could even be done through wireless sender(s) if need be (while you could even use your receiver amp in the remote room!!)! If you do not have the amp at this point, pre-out is a must while shopping! Afterall, you mentioned you do not want to upgrade for a few years, right? So many more things you can do with pre-outs!!

    Cheers!
    TK

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    this type of setup is usually referred to (in my experience) as LCR, where the Left Center and Right are the same speaker. Usually when they're packaged as a set the surrounds are different, but you could use the same all around. The only issue (not sure if it were mentioned already above) is that some speakers may have a wider or tighter dispersion (esp the tweeter) depending on the arrangment of the drivers and the tweeter(s), thus mountig the spekaer horizontal or vertical may impact the sound and how big or small the sweetspot is.

  22. #22
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    i feel offended as a proud 607 owner. Why would you tell the guy not to visit the forum if he doesnt go for pre outs? who died and made you the polk forum king? . The 607 is awesome ,especialy for full bass sound effects. i plan on keeping mine for a long time and trying out diff combo's of polk speakers

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    Quote Originally Posted by slowpolky View Post
    i feel offended as a proud 607 owner. Why would you tell the guy not to visit the forum if he doesnt go for pre outs? who died and made you the polk forum king? . The 607 is awesome ,especialy for full bass sound effects. i plan on keeping mine for a long time and trying out diff combo's of polk speakers
    I do believe he was saying that by coming here he may eventually get the itch to upgrade, and he'll be a bit handcuffed without having a speaker with pre-outs. He wasn't saying "don't come here!"... so lay off the attitude a bit, eh?

    Fact of the matter is, there's a ton of speakers out there that all but require an amp -- and if you don't have a receiver with pre-outs, you do not have an upgrade path. Simple as that. I don't think anybody is saying that the sound from the 607 is not good -- I'm sure it is. But it doesn't have pre-outs, and for someone about to make a purchase I think it's a very important point to consider.
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    Being as the CS1's are MTM designs if mounted horizontally, using them for left,right and surrounds will result in a narrow sweet spot.Horizontal MTM's can work OK for center channel use if you are seated within 20-25% of the center axis.But using a horizontal MTM for left and right will result in bigger than normal changes in percieved frequency response with changes in listening position.

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    A guy on AVS had something like 7 speakers for a center, you should look it up. He some issues with comb filtering.
    There is no genuine justice in any scheme of feeding and coddling the loafer whose only ponderable energies are devoted wholly to reproduction. Nine-tenths of the rights he bellows for are really privileges and he does nothing to deserve them. We not only acquired a vast population of morons, we have inculcated all morons, old or young, with the doctrine that the decent and industrious people of the country are bound to support them for all time.-Menkin

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    jhdiggs, I believe the OP meant using a speaker intended for use as a center for each channel, not 5 or 7 speakers for the center channel--That's what I though at first as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmydep View Post
    If your going to pre-wire the house make sure you use a good 12ga speaker wire.
    Jimmy
    Depends on how long the cable run is. 12ga might actually be worse in some situations. Since there is talk of the room being "small" I would say 14ga. wire would probably be better, but do some research on speaker wire and sizes and find out what is best for your room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EniGmA1987 View Post
    Depends on how long the cable run is. 12ga might actually be worse in some situations. Since there is talk of the room being "small" I would say 14ga. wire would probably be better, but do some research on speaker wire and sizes and find out what is best for your room.
    Enlighten us, in which situation the 12 AWG speaker wire run is worse than 14 AWG. I am all ears.
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    While I have no doubt that the 607 is a solid unit (as most Onkyo AVR's are) but I do agree with the "suggestion" to look for an AVR with pre-outs for adding an external amp. Now in the current plan I don't see that he will "need" external amplification with either the 5 CS1's or mixed and matched Monitor 40's and 30's but if the upgrade bug bites (only a matter of time) he will be very limited in where he can go in terms of speaker choices. Room setup/size does seem to be an issue so I doubt he will be getting huge floorstanding speakers in the near future, that will benifit from external amplification but never wise to rule that possibility out. Luckily when I purchased my 806 it came with pre-outs although I must be honest in saying it was a mere coinsidence that I bought that AVR, I didn't even know what external amplification was nevermind that I needed pre-outs to make it happen. As was stated in a previous post, it was "suggested" he think about buying an AVR that had pre-outs to give him the option of adding an external amp later on down the road. It was, after all, only a suggestion and the OP doesn't have to buy another AVR with pre-outs if he doesn't want to. As far as Onkyo goes the "lowest" model that has pre-outs (that I know of) is going to be the 700 series. The 705, and 706 both have pre-outs and can be had for around $600, which is a little over budget, but IMHO well worth the extra cash for the flexibility they offer with pre-outs. Both are solid units and while I'm sure the 607 is no slouch it does lack the option of pre-outs. Go for whatever makes you happy and whatever fits your budget. I'm sure no matter what you choose you will be happy with Onkyo's preformance, I know I am.
    Last edited by wutadumsn23; 06-24-2009 at 03:08 AM.
    HT Rig
    Receiver- Onkyo TX-SR806
    Mains- Polk Audio Monitor 70
    Center- Polk Audio CS2
    Surrounds- Polk Audio TSi 500's :D
    Sub- Polk Audio PSW125
    Retired- Polk Audio Monitor 40's
    T.V.- 60" Sony SXRD KDS-60A2000 LCoS
    Blu-Ray- 80 GB PS3


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    Polk Audio Monitor 10A's

    It's not that I'm insensitive, I just don't care.. :D

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    Just speaking aside. I haven't experienced most monitor series speakers people have recommended you get as opposed to all-centers for your surround setup, but I HAVE heard all centers used before and to be honest it sounded horrible. I had a neighbor that had the same idea a few years back. He purchased all his stuff from Circuit city? or BB, just to make sure he can return them but we hooked it all up, all speakers set to small on a decent AVR, and there was still distortion to be found. Also he couldn't get the right cut off for his subwoofer, leaving him to set the freq. fairly high, which in turn just made the low frequencies sound bad. It was an all-bad experience, I just hope that isn't the case for you. Goodluck!
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