file A SuperCenter X review

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WayneWilmeth Posted 5 years 3 months ago
#5935
Our wonderful GoldenEar Tech distributor here in Thailand loaned me a SuperCenter X to audition in my home theater (a special thanks to him!). I am keeping it!
Here is my review:
My home theater is not a large room, around 16 X 25 and has Triton 2s front left and right, Triton 3s surround left and right, and Triton 7s rear surround left and right augmented by a ForceField 5 sub in the rear. Vincent hybrid amps power the Tritons L, C and R. Class D amps for the surrounds.
The center is powered by a Vincent T-100, with Elco Silver speaker cables. Power is conditioned.
I had a very decent center channel speaker, so I did not NEED a new one. My old one had a 1” titanium dome tweeter (which I never liked nearly as well as the HVFR tweeters in the GE line) and two 6 1/2” midrange drivers. It was rated to play a little lower and it was no slouch. Best of all, I built my home theater console around it, so it fit exactly full and flush just under the TV. Would the new SuperCenter X or XL fit in that spot? Well, yes and NO.
The SC XL definitely would not fit, and the SC X is just a 1/2” too wide. And there is around 2” of space above the SC X for the woofer radiator to do its thing without hindrance (so I was led to believe by GE writers and I believe it is truly no problem).
So it was a problem for me to even try the SC X, as I knew it really would not fit, was a bit too wide. But everyone recommended that I needed to keep a uniformity of drivers all around the home theater. I just had to try for myself and see IF I could hear a difference and IF it was an improvement.
I figured, IF it sounded better, then I could somehow make it fit. What I did not know was that the side, cheek plates of the speaker are removable. With them off and only pushed near to the place where they should fit, my old center speaker got replaced by the SC X quite easily and looks fine too.
The SC X is barely broken in, only around 20 hours on it, so it might get a bit better, if that is possible. But how to compare its sound, is this new smaller and cheaper speaker really better than what I had?
OK, you can play movies and see if the dialogue is clear, intelligible, sounds natural, if it fills that very important job of the most important speaker to make movies magic. I played the latest Transformers movie and the SC X did all that was required, even more, it actually impressed me when the deep voice of Optimus Prime was well portrayed, full and spot on. Check on movies!
But IF it could not hold its own playing center channel music, then I would not be impressed. How to test it? Actually the first way I tested the sound was sorta an accident. I had to set up the new center channel, and run Audyssey again, do all my auto and manual setup again. Then listening to a stereo CD, “The Fabulous Sound of the Three Blind Mice” I was just checking things out with a CD I know very well, and I was thinking, WOW, that phantom center is sweet, deep and spot on! I could have sworn it was the center speaker playing too. I got up and put my ear next to it and it was playing and deep bass too! I had inadvertently played in DTS neo 6 music mode, so was getting surround sound and getting kick butt center channel sound. At this point I had set the crossover at 40 Hz and just could not believe how much bass the SC X was playing!
OK, Wayne, test it out properly. I immediately thought of the RCA Living Stereo SACDs which are recorded in 3 channels, L, C, R. I played Rubenstein showing of his awesome piano skills on Chopin, it was fantastic piano sound. But when I put on Rhapsodies, by Stokowski it starts off with Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody, rich, full and with incredible width and depth of sound. This is what I was looking for! My front wall was sound, not just sound but all of a kind, totally integrated, seamless!!! My previous center could play this well, but not this well, now all my team was playing together perfectly. I played the whole SACD, it has the best version of Tannhauser I have ever heard, it was hard to stop listening and continue "reviewing".
To see what the SC X does with newer recording of piano, I played "Credo" a SACD by Helene Grimaud, on DG where I could hear “the clear piano right in front of me" in all its glorious sound. Two 2L Blu-rays: “Ole Bull” glorious violin in front of me, and “Flute Mystery”, flute and various instruments again LIVE and ALIVE, PRESENT sounding. LOVELY. Here was the agility of the HVFR showing itself off. Much sweeter, richer and fuller than that old dome tweeter.
The Counting Crows Blu-ray “August and Everything After” Town Hall is an awesome concert where the lead singer, Adam Duritz sings and talks, loud/quiet and totally intimately, emotionally front and center. This was as good as it gets!!!!
Leonard Cohen Blu-ray “Songs from the Road” showed off his great baritone voice, rich, deep, warm and heartfelt. I have never heard him sound better. Even from a smaller, but much more “agile” center speaker. On “Bird on a Wire” his guitarist plays a Telecaster, the sound is to die for. The 12 string is delicious sounding. Sax and harmonica solos, awesome. Female vocals in support, keyboards, bass, every sound has the RIGHT timbre.
I know I sound like a GoldenEar Fanboy here, but I really was not prepared to change out my old center if the SC X was not a significant improvement. This smaller and cheaper center is clearly more agile and faithful to the music and the way the speaker integrates with the rest of my speakers is not a subtle difference either. It just fits and melds, seamless is the best word I can think of.
Well, I am still listening to Leonard Cohen so the word that really comes to mind for the SC X coming to fill a gap in my home theater system is “Hallelujah”.
If you need a great center channel speaker, try the SC X or XL. Even if you have a good center speaker, but have GoldenEar speakers in your home theater, then you owe it to yourself to audition these center channels speakers as they really do make a difference.
Thanks for listening.
God Bless,
Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.
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rjohn79395 Posted 5 years 3 months ago
#5942
Hi, Wayne

Congratulations on what sounds like a super system! Great review of the Supercenrer!

In a prior post, I also described adding a Supercenter to my system, which included Triton 2's as fronts.

I totally agree with you that Supercenters transform what that channel can add to the listening experience! Since my last post, i also added an NAD C275EE amp to my system to power the Triton 2's, and clearly got more clear and deep bass. But what mesmerized me was what happened when I added the supercenter XL to stereo music. I played around with sound levels and crossover levels, and settled on -6 db and 80 HZ crossover for the Superceter center channel (vs. -1 db and 70 HZ.. the Audyssey recommendation for listtening in tv or movie mode). I use the Audyssey settings for DVD's and tv. What I wanted and got for music was a richer, more immersive sound than I got with the T2's alone in stereo mode.

All I can say is, I am addicted to adding the center to any music I listen to. I played around with center channel settings until I couldn't hear the channel unless i got up close, but could still detect an additional richness fromt the front walll of sound. With the settings I use (which no boubt would vary with different receivers/amps), the Supercenter doesn't even intrude.. , but it adds so much to the richness, immersion of the music, and the wall of sound seems so enveloping. The sound seems to me to be several steps closer to what Triton 1's sound like all by themsevles. To me, that makes sense, adding another tweeter, and those two mid/bass drivers that are so like the Triton 1 drivers.. the total sound is so integrated, like you described, Wayne.

I rarely listen to just (just? they're awsome, too) the Triton 2's in stereo mode. The supercenter adds so much to the listening experience that I almost always listen in enhanced stereo or NEO 6 music mode. I know that is so against what stereo purists recommend (fronts only), but I know what my ears like and respond to.

I'd be interested in any feedback from Triton 1 owners who also have Supercentesr on whether they've tried adding the center to stereo music and whether that added to the sound quality.

Thanks, Wayne, for yet another great post!

(I'm still debating when to take the plunge and add Triton 1's.)

Rick
5.4.4 HT speakers: T Ref fronts/LFE 1, SuperCenter Ref, T1 surrounds/LFE 2, HTR 7000 top fronts, Invisa 525 top rears
Zone 2 speakers; 2 Invisa 525's
AVR: Marantz SR 7010
Amps: AT525NC 5 channel, Parasound 275 v.2 stereo
Cable/TiVo, OPPO BDP 105D, Bluesound Node 2i
47" Panasonic 3D smart tv
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WayneWilmeth Posted 5 years 3 months ago
#5943
Hey Rick,
Thanks very much for the great response!
I never thought about the Triton One connection, but you may well be right.
Do you listen to surround sound music? Blu-ray concerts?
I love that kind of music and the center channel adds so much.
As I mentioned, IF you like classical music, try the RCA Living Stereo discs which say they are in 5.0 but really they were recorded in 3.0, left, right and center. Symphony orchestras were recorded with 3 mikes and the whole front of my room becomes a recreation of that symphony spread perfectly and seamlessly by the three front GEs.
In all my years of playing around with audio, this has to be one of the most satisfying results.
I am with you Rick, three channel ROCKs!!!
Enjoy and I hope you can get those Ones.
God Bless,
Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.

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rjohn79395 Posted 5 years 3 months ago
#5945
Hi, Wayne

Yes, I like to listen to surround music on BluRay Master Audio DVD's. Since changing over to the Supercenter, I've relistened to a number of them, and am always amazed at how much richer the sound got.

Thanks for the tip on RCA Living Stereo discs... I'll look for them.

Rick
5.4.4 HT speakers: T Ref fronts/LFE 1, SuperCenter Ref, T1 surrounds/LFE 2, HTR 7000 top fronts, Invisa 525 top rears
Zone 2 speakers; 2 Invisa 525's
AVR: Marantz SR 7010
Amps: AT525NC 5 channel, Parasound 275 v.2 stereo
Cable/TiVo, OPPO BDP 105D, Bluesound Node 2i
47" Panasonic 3D smart tv
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anthem Posted 5 years 3 months ago
#5947
It will be another month until my tube amp arrives, so I've been looking into adding the GE60C center channel to the T2's to further my listening experience (3 channel setup)...Wayne seems to think this is the "cats meow". I'll be using 3 Emotiva xpa-1 monos and a Anthem d2v processor. I've disconnected my stand alone subs and have taken the RCA LFE and placed it in the LFE input of the T2's. Question... what should the crossover settings be for the T2's and the built-in sub? It doesn't seem like I'm getting full bass extension compared to a "wire only" setup.
D-Sonic m3a-600m Mono > Decware Zen Torii mk4 > McIntosh MC152 > Emotiva xpa1 Mono's > Anthem Statement P2 > Primaluna ProLogue Premium Preamp > Morrow Audio > Oppo 205 > Decware ZLC > Triton Reference

Every great performance deserves an Audience!
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WayneWilmeth Posted 5 years 3 months ago
#5950
Yeah, brother Anthem, I too am struggling a bit with the new advice to wire into the LFE. I have finally done that all around and am still experimenting with my processor between LFE only and MAIN + LFE. (I know the Moderator Dude says not to do this, but I am trying to get the ForceField 5 to augment my Triton 2s up front with some deeper bass).
Funny thing is for me, my results seem VERY dependent on what I am playing. I thought I was getting nowhere, and then I put on a DVD-Audio of REM, "Automatic for the People" and was blown away with the amount of bass and detail and well, everything was playing together in surround sound like this was a DEMO for Surround sound!!!!
So try this and that and see what you come up with.
And let us know?
God Bless,
Wayne
God bless the child that's got his own.
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