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Thread: Mixing & Matching Center Speaker?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Mixing & Matching Center Speaker?

    I was thinking about updating my system in the near future. However, many of the brands that I am considering (more conventional dynamic cone based speakers) - either have centers that are underwhelming or seem to be significantly overpriced. Many brands seem to treat the center as an afterthought.

    I saw that Martin Logan just came out with a new center, the Focus ESL C18. It's reasonably priced and seems like it may be an improvement over their prior models. I was thinking about using the Focus ESL C18 as the center when I update my system. Do you think that mixing and matching the fronts - 2 dynamic cone based speakers like GoldenEar, etc. with the Martin Logan center can work?

    I found an article where John E. Johnson from did the opposite a dynamic, cone based center (Paradigm) with Martin Logan fronts and he was happy with the results. I believe he did so because he didn't think the Martin Logan centers, at the time, were up to the task. However, years later he gave a great review for the Stage X.

    My goal is to get the best center I can afford (dialog intelligibility key), that works in terms of looks, size, etc. However, I don't want to distracted if there is going to be a significant mismatch across the center.

  2. #2
    Member GW1800's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011


    I have the Focus you can read about it my system is #504. I like the focus very much and I don't see a real problem doing what you are talking about. Do you intend in the future to change the L&R's also with ML? I'm thinking once you hear how great the center channel is maybe something to think about. Of all the speakers in a surround sound system the center is the most important so not sure about your comment that many brands seem to treat the center channel as an afterthought - if they do they are just wrong. I ended up attaching it to the wall and really like the look of that. I had the Stage X and the new Focus is much better particularly in the bass.
    Music Rm #503: CLX Art DC/ 2-212's / Bricasti M1 & M28 SE / Aurender N10 / Nordost O2/V2 Pwr, Odin SC & IC, QX4, QV2, QK1, QB8, Sort Fut, Lift & TC Kones, QKore 6, Earth Ground, Acoustical Panels Media Rm #504: Summit X's /Descent i's / Vanquish / Focus / Parasound A23 & 31 / 65" LG 4k OLED / Anthem AVM60 / Nordost T2/F2/H2 Pwr & IC, H2 HDMI & Net, QK1, QV2, QB8 & QX2 / Entreq Silver Minimus

  3. #3
    Super User JonFo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Big Canoe, GA


    In general, it is not recommended to mix speaker types, so if using a folded-motion / AMT tweeter main left/right, I'd get the center from that same line and brand.

    ESL centers are a tough game, and getting a good match to the large, ESL line-source mains is hard. The new Focus looks like a nice model if you have ESLs.

    And yes, the center is a critical component in a high-performance surround setup, so get the best you can get, or build your own, that's what I did

    System #45 (Monolith IIIx, Sequell IIb, SL3XC)

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