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Add a centre channel to a good quality stereo and sub system purely for movies whats involved and what is the most economical way to do it


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Im currently running a system with a set of monoblock power amps and a set of magnepans and sub which is great for music. I just want to add a centre channel to watch the odd movie it does not need to be top notch which is the easiest fairly economical route-im not a big movie watcher more a music person

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If you are going to add a center channel make sure it a decent sized one, as once you switch it in most of your movies dialog is going to be coming from it, but you will also need a surround amp to split the signal and do the sound steering

 

KEF have several models, and they have the ability to fit in with pretty much any speakers you already have.

A KEF Q650c should fit the bill.

https://clefhifi.com.au/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=3049&gclid=CjwKCAjwjtOTBhAvEiwASG4bCLn7_3ggtO_qLP3Etnw7xOHyS_dxqM9y5eXaWrnKIp5KeEGgu2-4QBoC8WAQAvD_BwE

 

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It has virtually perfect imaging with voices and things sounds like its comming from thier mouths because my maggies are over 6ft tall but my amp setup is only 100w per channel-although it is a monoblock system but the maggies probably need more juice to sound thier best-just wondering if there is ways to allow the main speakers do thier jobs as left right channels-I am not sure what the best idea is. I know the quality of voices will go down a fair bit from the maggies to something cheaper-but maybe the extra detail just for films is worth it-not sure

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I had a similar idea to yours a few years ago. I'm really glad I stayed with a 2 channel system with sub.

If your imaging is good for movies then I think it's really a matter of saving the money you would invest in getting a centre channel and surround amp and putting it into your stereo. 

 

 

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I would echo the importance of a decent centre speaker. For watching movies etc, the centre channel is the most important channel  in terms of sound delivery and impact so  taking  a shortcut isn't really worth it. 

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I must be missing something here?? Can someone please explain how a centre speaker can be driven by a stereo setup. 

 

A centre speaker makes sense when an AVR (or AV decoder) is in use and can decode the centre channel of a movie, which carries the dialogue.

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A stereo preamp with a HDMI input can only take a stereo signal.  You need something to decode the centre channel.

 

Is your "surround amp" the same as an audio video receiver (AVR)? And I do not understand what you mean by piggyback? 

 

Can you please provide a diagram?

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It's a fairly high end nad preamp dac it has xlr outputs and it pulls the left and right signal off the fronts to go to the power amp and let's the rest pass trough to the surround reciever or decoder but I figure I've spent enough on the rest I don't want to go the multi power amp  route

 

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28 minutes ago, Anthony Goldie said:

It's a fairly high end nad preamp dac it has xlr outputs and it pulls the left and right signal off the fronts to go to the power amp and let's the rest pass trough to the surround reciever or decoder but I figure I've spent enough on the rest I don't want to go the multi power amp  route

 

Which Nad ?

 

It may have a theatre throughput function, which would mean the avr could handle the volume for a 3.1 system.

 

Ideally though, you would need a really impressive centre speaker (which it sounds like your cheaper avr may not match well, with) to perform well with the Maggie’s tbh. As echoed above the Maggie’s will provide a great phantom centre effect because of their soundstaging capabilities.

 

I think adding a cheap avr and cheap centre would be a bit of a wasted effort tbh, better to stick with the unsullied Maggie’s.
 

But if you can get a good quality centre channel (maybe a Martin Logan or similar ?) it may actually match the Maggie’s reasonably well and then with the sub, connected to the avr also, may create a decent effect for home theatre, but if it isn’t decent quality it’s going to be a bit of a wasted effort imo.

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52 minutes ago, Anthony Goldie said:

It's a fairly high end nad preamp dac it has xlr outputs and it pulls the left and right signal off the fronts to go to the power amp and let's the rest pass trough to the surround reciever or decoder but I figure I've spent enough on the rest I don't want to go the multi power amp  route

I am not aware of a NAD preamp DAC  with that type of capability?  I even checked their MDC optional cards.

 

Please provide model number...

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I tried a couple of center speakers, including the one designed by the manufacturer of my front left and right speakers to match with them, with matching tweeter and midrange driver.  However my front left and right speakers are big and these center channel speakers were much smaller.  The sound became boxy when it moved to the centre which bugged me, so I got rid of the centre channels and much prefer it that way.   I just need to make sure I am sitting in sweetspot for optimal imaging.  So I agree with above advice about only adding the centre channel if it can be done right. 
 

You would get a better uplift in movie experience by giving the maggies more juice.  

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Snoopy 8 It's a Nad c510 digital preamp dac I use it to run Jriver media centre for my audio which works really well  I purchased it new about 2 years ago. It says in the owners manual it can pull the stereo channels off the hdmi and pass the rest to a surround reciever so it must be able to do it

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16 minutes ago, Anthony Goldie said:

Snoopy 8 It's a Nad c510 digital preamp dac I use it to run Jriver media centre for my audio which works really well  I purchased it new about 2 years ago. It says in the owners manual it can pull the stereo channels off the hdmi and pass the rest to a surround reciever so it must be able to do it

 

I am afraid you have misunderstood its capabilities.  From the manual

image.thumb.png.2b2c3bbeab9a235a5667d87abbf2e7d7.png

 

There are 2 HDMI inputs, with 2 channel PCM (not multi channel).   There is a HDMI video out, which passes HDMI video to a TV/projector.  Sorry, there is no pass through of audio. 

 

---

If you are still keen to do a centre channel, you should be using an AVR with preouts.  For music, use your stereo as it is.  For movies, feed the hdmi signal to the AVR.  The AVR will output the left and right signals to your stereo setup via the preouts.  The AVR will drive the centre speaker.

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A good centre channel speaker needs to have the same sound as your main speakers - so when sound pans between sides (eg left speaker through centre speaker to right speaker), the character/timbre remains the same.

 

Unless you want to acquire a Maggie centre channel - just stay with stereo.

 

cheers

Mike

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16 hours ago, almikel said:

A good centre channel speaker needs to have the same sound as your main speakers - so when sound pans between sides (eg left speaker through centre speaker to right speaker), the character/timbre remains the same.

 

Unless you want to acquire a Maggie centre channel - just stay with stereo.

 

cheers

Mike

Agree with this 100%

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