Center Channel - Help be choose

I am looking to upgrade my center channel. Have B&K REF 10 and REF 7250 amp. Will eventually upgrade Fronts (Paradigm Ref 100s). Soliloquy, Monitor Silver, Aeriel, B&W are current considerations, but B&W is only one of them I have heard (and am likely to hear). I upgrading from reference Paradigm powered center (which is excellent) so 1) we know I'm nuts, (but I do have the amp now with the B&K) and 2) the upgrade must be substantial but a good bargain. Dealers or people with something to sell are welcome to comment, but please identify yourself as such. Thanks in advance. Ed
When choosing a center channel I think matching tonal characteristics of your front speakers are crucial. If they sound just like your fronts you will get seemless intereaction between them. I would recommend getting what ever brand center speaker that you will have for the fronts. If possible you should also match the tweeter quality also.
I agree with Perectimage, and at the risk of restating the obvious, err on the side of better for your center channel. My personal experience is that so much of the home theater information is delivered by this single speaker, that this is really the last speaker where you'd want to cut any corners. I am using an all B&W system, and frankly, my center (CC6) is what I would consider the weak link (the fronts are DM603s and the rears are DM601s. Will probably upgrade the the HTM one of these days and leaving the DM series in place for everything else.
Thanks so far....I am interested in anyone that has heard or owns teses for opinions. One other consideration is regarding B&W / Monitor Audio. I have a similar situation to Kweisner in my second system. Have 601s2 and cc6. A B&W upgrade has size problems but a monitor silver cc10 fits, Has anyone heard both or have comment on compatability. Also interested in Soliloquy / B&W comparison (at high end). Thanks in advance!!
I agree voice matching the center and fronts will get you the best results overall.
Shacqspack, I aggree with the above post about tonal matching. I'm always surprised at people who spend thousands of dollars and then don't voice match speakers. If that doesn't matter then why bother even auditioning speakers, they must all sound the same. Seriously, you need to decide what fronts you like the best. That manufacturer will make a center which matches the sound you liked the best. Your current speakers, although not expensive, are good speakers for the money. You may need to lay down alot of $$$ to get a big difference. Another thought, since you may not voice match your center, retain your current center and go for the fronts now. Good luck.....LR
I would agree that its a safe recommendation to use a manufacturer's center channel designed for use in a given line of speakers. From my own experience this approach hasn't always guaranteed great results. I didn't think that my B&W HTM Matrix matched well with my Matrix 802IIIs, but worked very well when using Matrix 805s for the L/R. There was always a big difference as sounds panned across the screen. A while back I had a Paradigm Ref HT system in another for HT, and while I think the Ref cc is a very good center for the money it always sounded sharper (for better speech intelligibillity?) then the 60v2s. In this case I'd say the 60v2s couldn't keep up with the center. Until recently I was using a Thiel MCS1 with my CS7.2s. The MCS1 shared the same clarity, transparency and tone, but the MCS1 always sounded more laid back and less punchy then the CS7.2s on bombastic scenes. I currently use an Aerial CC3B center with my Thiels. It is slightly darker tonally, but blends in very well and never calls attention to itself. It is a much better center channel then the MCS1 in that it has a lottt! more punch and jump factor, and reproduces the human voice quite accurately.
Hey Ed--nice name! I sell both B&W and Paradigm in a specialty store. I would consider the CDM9 and the CDM Center to replace your studios. Having listened to both combinations in the same system (B&K AVR307), I feel the jump in price is very well justified. The B&W's offer tons more more resolution, better definition in the bass, and a better soundstage. I think what stands out most is the midrange clarity and the quicker bass. The new CDM9 is essentially the N804 without the cool cabinet (and $900 lighter). Unfortunately I have not listened to any of the others you mentioned, so I cannot give you any help there. I do agree with the other posts--don't skimp on the center, and definitely match all three. In fact, match the surrounds, too, for the ultimate result. Although the CDMC is very ungainly, it is basically a reconfigured CDM1--which is a helluva speaker. Good luck. Ed
Thanks to all....My resolution so far.... Do nothing. Interestingly, my local B&W dealer thinks it's the B&K pre-pro that is the weak link in the "big" system, altho' I think eventually I'll have to have B&W. May also go the next step up in the B&W center, if I can "create" 1/2 inch of space. Your inputs have saved me some costly mistakes of impusivity over what I knew already. PS shaqspack is for my lab, Shaquille, and he was named after his somewhat smaller namesake. Ehm3 - let me know how to find you for future B&W
Shaq, I can be found at As a dealer, I am not allowed to sell outside of my territory, but often an employee has personal stuff for sale, or maybe we have a demo piece we need to move. I will be happy to keep in touch with you, and feel free to email me with any questions/opinions you may have. Happy holidays!