A used Aerial CC3B. Just sold mine for $700. Too late. :-)
Centers are best matched with the rest of the system so that will also be an issue as you shop for a center. I've been impressed with the Monitor Audio Silver's (haven't heard the reference Golds) and Paradigm Reference speakers. The sound is very different with the Silvers being a bit brighter. Both are good.
If you're an audiophile or in the least bit picky, you're asking a question that you should not be asking. If you don't match the center speaker with your mains, you're going to run into the very good chance of a bad situation.
Think about a vehicle panning from the left through the center and on to the right. If that doesn't make you realize the potential of the problem, it doesn't matter what speaker you use. In fact, you can just use your TV speakers.
I've heard great sounds from the Thiel PowerPoint and the Martin-Logan Cinema (baby brother to the Theater). The latter, unfortunately, may be out of your price point.
In both cases, all other speakers in the system are of the same design, from the same company, and are carefully matched to provide a very coherent, seamless sound.
With the Thiel PowerPoints in particuler, ALL five speakers are identical! They can be wall-, ceiling, or floor mounted. They literally disappear to give a great illusion of live experience. They also produce surprisingly loud sound despite their diminutive size. A truly interesting design concept.
there are plenty of non-matched centers in theaters out there, as long as you cant tell a huge gap in sound, go for it, movies are just entertainment IMHO, so I dont care as much as I do for 2 channel, plus SACD DVD-A doesnt float my boat if not 2 channel, I heard a boston Acoustic 3 way center that uses 6X9 woofers and I am telling you it is a really nice center for the money, I was also curious to hear the Definitive Tech with the powered woofers.
Thanks all.. Guess I ned to rephrase.. I currently have an all Axiom speaker system With the VP-150 Center, M22i's Front, and QS8's as all surrounds. With that is a VMPS sub. I wanted to upgrade to a great 2 Channel system for my Music.. Dave Matthews Band, Tori Amos, Norah Jones, Hope Sandoval, Mary Fahl ect... However, because of others and myself, it gets used for Movies more then music. Only when I am home alone can I enjoy my music.
Needless to say in my search, I was looking into Green, Mountain, Totem, Von, ect... But I realized I never see anything about a center for these. So what I need is an upgrade from Axiom but allowing the 30% Music, 70% Movie use. I use Rotel Power, and have a Usher CD-100 CD Player. DH Lab wire, and upgraded power chords are the rest of my stereo.
I use a Klipsch KLF C-7. It is the best center channel I have heard so far. It has two 8" drivers flanking a giant horn center with an efficiency of 99dB @ 1 watt. The thing weighs over 40 pounds. I always loved the big sound heard at the movies which got me interested in horned speakers as thats what they used. That led me to Klipsch. My mains are Klipsch Epic cf3's. They have 2 10" drivers with a big horn in the center, all using neodyium magnets and are 100 dB efficient. They will play as loud as you can stand without compression or distortion and bring alot of added fun to movies and concert videos. These are not made anymore but can be found on the used market and also increase in value over time. Happy hunting
I had a problem similar to yours trying to strike a compromise between stereo music and 5.1 movie sound. I cannot emphasize enough that if you like movies, it is essential that all three front speakersat leastare from the same company to ensure similar tonal quality (similar design and drivers) and seamless blending. If you want to upgrade your stereo sound while retaining good movie sound, you must at least upgrade all three front speakers.
At one time I used my audio speakers (Wilson Watts & Puppies) as the front left and right speakers for my video system with various center speakers. The results were consistently disappointing. During dialogs, whenever the actor turns his/her head or moves across the scene, it sometimes sounded like he/she suddenly caught a cold or had a sex-change operation in the middle of the sentence. Very disconcerting.
Since it was impractical for me to use a Watt center channel, I ended up separating my audio from my video system. I used all Celestion speakers for video with great success. You case is not as drastic. You just need to upgrade all three front speakers to get better stereo sound (and the rear speakers too if you can afford it).
If you are willing to replace the Axiom speakers, there is a huge choice out there for good movie speakers that will also make pretty good music speakers. All you need is...money.