Center Channel for Martin Logan Aerius

Can someone make a recommendation other than the Cinema or Logos? I am looking for something that will work well, but is not nearly that expensive.
I've done extensive testing with and without a center channel with Martin Logan CLS IIz's and a Martin Logan Theater center. Unless you are far off axis, phantom center (i.e. NO CENTER CHANNEL) sounds much better than with the center channel engaged. If your processor has a phantom center mode....forget the center.

If you still want a center...I suggest you consider something like a B&G Radia. They blend well with Martin Logan speakers.

I agree with Harry. No matter what you choose, even using identical speaker, it is impossible to get a seamless integration in a small room because the placement of the center is so different from the left and right speakers.
My experience: I had ML Aerius's for my front speakers in a combination 2 channel and 5.1 system. I used a Definitive Technology CLR1000 as my center channel on top of a rear projection TV. The Aerius's were out into the room a bit, and the TV/center was back farther. It always sounded like there was room for improvement. I assumed it was the unequal distances to my listening/viewing location. But I didn't really want to move the TV/center speaker closer to my chair or move the Aerius's back closer to the wall. My priority was 2-channel listening with home theater secondary. Then I got a Martin Logan Cinema to replace the CLR1000 and WOW, what a difference. It wasn't the unequal distances at all. It was the speaker matching. I never tried phantom center in my setup so I can't comment on that versus Cinema versus CLR1000.

I used my ML Theater center channel for 2 years before I started experimenting with phantom center. If you sit relatively central, try it. The sound stage is SO much more realistic without the center channel. I think that's why stereo was the mainstay of the audio world for years...even though a center could have been part of the scene years ago.


A center that will blend with the speed, timber, and unique
characteristics of a Martin Logan - will only be another
Martin Logan.

The Cinema is the least expensive center that will blend with
the Aerius. [ The Logos and Theater are more expensive. ]

If the Cinema is too much money - the only thing you really
have left is the most economical choice too - a phantom center
as those above have advised.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Dr. Greenman:

I agree with you completely, but prefer the phantom mode even to a Cinema or Theater.

Wow, thank you all for your help! Can anyone make a recommendation of a reasonably priced AV Receiver that would have this phantom mode and also run the Aerius?
If you don't need to decode any new 7.1 format, I suggest a used Yamaha DSP-A1. It is probably 5 or 6 year old technology but it is surprisingly good sounding, reliable, flexible, and easy to use. It was listed for $2,400 when new, you can probably get one for $500 - $700 in the used market.