Hey @erik_squires , how is the project coming. I have a powered center channel (Paradigm Active CC) below my screen and a passive one above it. The active has a volume knob on the back, a high pass filter, bass and treble contour knobs and both XLR and RCA inputs. You can see the specs using this link:
I don't use a receiver in my main rig, I use a pre/pro. My preference is to have the amplification internal. It is biamped internally with an active crossover. It means less amp and speaker wires for my rack. I agree that you can get a good result with a receiver and a passive soeaker. The active route is nice with everything dedicated for that speakers drivers. YMMV.
I’m just wondering who’s your target market and what’s your price point (sorry if I just missed this info somewhere)? Knowing you I’d have to think this is a higher-performance — and likely an excellent — product, but at that level people tend to like to match their center speaker and amps so thinking that might be a tough sell so just curious what your thoughts are along these lines. Also, I’d love to see some pix of whatever ya got along with specs, components, etc., and I’d be happy to give you a shoutout to potential customers I happen to find wherever. This seems like a labor of love, and I’m all in on stuff like that!
Hey @soix - That’s the consideration. Honestly I’ve said (multiple times) on this forum that attempting to survive as a speaker builder as a small time maker is a fool’s errand.
This is, first and foremost, a project for me to have fun with and keep me out of trouble, so I'm certainly going to build at least one because this is how I do my hobby. It is also going to meet my needs in my listening room and equipment.
I decided what I wanted was:
I looked at commercial and commercial kits and while I could find a lot of expensive speakers have this most of these features, AFAIK, none of the high output centers I looked at were built for shelf mounting, and this created the limiting factor which I decided to take on as a design challenge: It had to be relatively compact.
Relatively meaning compared to some of the monster sized center channels I’ve seen from Wilson, ATC or Legacy. I’m sure they are fine performers, but I wanted the same output levels in a smaller cabinet.
The design is a 3-way with 2x 7" woofers about 13" deep, and the equivalent of a thousand watts of nCore power on tap. :)
The first cabinet should arrive in a month or so. I’ll post more in my blog when I have actual pictures.
@carlsbad2 - Sir, this is an audiophile forum and good enough is not actually good enough! 😁
Now to answer why active instead of passive, if you have followed me at all you know I don’t push one over the other necessarily.
There were a number of features I realized I could combine into making a really superior center if I went with an active, DSP based solution. By choosing the driver sizes, crossover points, and delay to make a coherent whole I’ve achieved a "virtual point-source" center channel that behaves 95% like a true point source, with none of the drawbacks inherent AND gain control over the EQ of the center channel which my current receiver wont’ let me.
I not only want to try this as my center but if it works as I hope I may end up replacing all of my front speakers with the same "center" channel.
Not to mention, well, tons of low distortion, high output capabilities.
It looks great! I love that you use a tweeter over a dedicated midrange as almost all the best centers do IMHO. I’m no speaker designer, but the best center speakers I’ve ever heard have used that configuration. If you design a passive version you’ll likely expand your potential market quite a bit. Just a thought FWIW.
When you listen to Frank Sinatra via atmos or an upmixer coming through that ACTIVE center channel you will never look back, SUBLIME!
Did you know that Frank used a center channel in 3 channel stereo at home?
There are some physical realities about using a dedicated midrange that is nearly impossible to overcome any other way. A super wide listening angle, low distortion and wide dynamic range are all made possible thanks to the mid. True for all speakers really. What we have to have though is speaker height to make it work.
The market is saturated with good passive 3-way center channels. This design is not translatable to a passive system in the same box. The VPS (virtual point-source) magic won’t work without an excess number of passive components, or a different cabinet altogether.
I could put these components into the same box with a passive crossover but it won’t be excellent, it will be merely good.
Comparable active designs would be from ATC and Legacy, around $12,000 to $20,000 each.
Where I have diverged significantly from their intended use is I never attempted to make a full-range center. My center has always been intended for use with a subwoofer and that lets me build a much smaller cabinet, with plenty of dynamicrange, around 118 dB at 1 meter, and with less distortion in the intended range, and the ability to fix the usual speaker-on-a-shelf bass issues in the amp.
I’m pretty sure ATC and Legacy are making their active centers for those with dedicated home theaters or studios, a luxury I don’t have. I may not have the floor space but I want the same or better level of performance. That’s why I feel like my design is a bespoke answer for me.
It’s all a package deal with VPS, including much lower distortion than you’d get from a 2-way or co-axial designs.
Great, a lot of them do. That’s not what I was trying to say. I meant to say that if I designed this center as a full-range speaker the box volume would be 3x larger. By starting from the premise that this will be working no lower than 80 Hz I can get a lot more shelf real estate back, not to mention increased dynamic range and lower distortion.
That’s something you can’t get with a switch. :)
I am not debating my CC, I am simply cheering you on that you are making the right choice going active. The features I am sharing are simply ideas you might want to use for your design. You can’t buy a CC like mine from Paradigm any more, I think you hit on a splendid idea, ok?
Thanks!! So no, a switch on the back is not something I can use for the design parameters of a small box. :)
In fact, what got me started was a very large center design from Troels. I looked at it and kept asking myself "why is he using such a large box, and attempting to make this a full-range speaker?"
The same with ATC’s larger center, and Legacy.
Making a smaller, bass limited box is a key design parameter here. Now all of the woofer and amp’s output goes to the 80Hz to 350 Hz range, which is actually serious overkill, but able to match my subwoofer at full output. The normal distortion which would be present below 100 Hz will now vanish.
I guess the divergence between the other high-end, high-output centers I found boiled down to where I wanted the speaker to be placed.
The previous designs are no-holds-barred when floor standing.
I wanted a no-holds barred when on my shelf, under my TV. I didn’t want to give up any performance just because I can’t have it on the floor 3’ into the room.
We could argue that making it bass limited is a limitation, but to me that’s an enabling feature. :)