question-circle SuperCenter Reference - Overkill with SS 60s for L & R?

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tallensr Posted 1 year 3 months ago
Last edit: 1 year 3 months ago by tallensr. info_outline
Hey GEarheads!

I have a dedicated home theater with GEs all around, powered by an Anthem MRX1140 8K. My LCR are SS 60s, side surrounds are SS 50s, and rear surrounds are SS 3s. I have four Invisia 650s for ceiling mounted height channels. I have a SuperSub XXL upfront, and a SuperSub XL in the rear.

I use the system for 80% movies, 20% music/concerts.

The sound is well balanced, and the room shakes with deep, smooth bass (and it is on a concrete slab no less). Most of the time, I can push the whole system to "the limit" without straining anything, or losing audio quality. But sometimes the center channel gets a tad "harsh" before anything else. And I sometimes long for clearer tones on vocals, especially male voices, and more mid/low bass "anchored" at the base of the screen (my main bass is on the right wall up front).

So I started thinking about a SuperCenter Reference to replace my SS 60c (I guess you can't buy SCXXLs any more because it was not efficient to have two SKU's so close to each other?). I think I can fit it well in the same spot under my 83" LG G2 OLED, and I can repurpose my SS 60c in another room.

Everything I read about the SC Ref sounds like exactly what I am looking for -- primarily even smoother vocals due to the Reference HVFR tweeter and the deeper bass handling. But everything I read -- including in these forums -- says it is intended to pair with Tritons for mains.

I am not as much concerned about it being "overkill" or "too expensive" as I am this: Will it expose my SS 60 L & R as being "less than"? How will the front stage sound on high bitrate music etc? I know that because all of my speakers are GEs they will blend well, and also because the ARC room correction on the Anthem does a GREAT job at setting the optimal crossovers, and also the phase between the subs and the center, that it SHOULD sounds amazing. But I am concerned that the top-of-the-line center speaker will show up my left and right mains.

I am also worried it might make me want some Tritons up front, which unfortunately is not possible due to the room config (no floor standing speakers will work). B)

I look forward to hearing your feedback. I doubt anyone has gone this route, but I trust everyone here's opinion and knowledge on all things GoldenEar.


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rjohn79395 Posted 1 year 3 months ago
Hi Troy

A great question. In a prior version of my system, I had a SuperSat 50C paired with T2 fronts, and that worked well, great blended sound stage. In fact every GEt speaker combination I have had over the years has worked seamlessly for a unified sound stage.

The center speaker is critical in any surround system, and the SuperCenter Ref, which I have now, is amazingly clear and clean with dialogue, and musicality, and the bass fill is clean and deep. It would definitely upgrade the center speaker position in your system and I would think that with ARC room correction, it could be matched with all the remaining speakers for crossovers and relative sound volume so it wouldn't overpower any other speaker. I have found that Reference speakers add a lot to systems that aren't 100% reference, the added clarity seems to just become part of the whole sound stage.

My thoughts are that it would be a good upgrade to the whole system's impact.

Hope you get several perspectives from other members!

Good luck!

5.4.4 HT speakers: T Ref fronts/LFE 1, SuperCenter Ref, T1 surrounds/LFE 2 + SuperSub XXL, HTR 7000 top fronts, HTR 8000 top rears
Zone 2 speakers; 2 Invisa 525's
AVR: Marantz SR 8015
Amp: AT525NC 5 channel
Cable/TiVo, OPPO BDP 105D, Bluesound Node 2i, Apple tv 4K streamer
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tallensr Posted 7 months 2 weeks ago
Last week, the major GE dealers all marked down the SC Ref by $655, so I took the plunge! So glad I did, because as I predicted, they were sold out the very next day.

I had to change the Anthem ARC's recommendation of a crossover for the SuperSat 60s L and R from 160Hz down to 120Hz, leaving the SC Ref at the recommended 80Hz. The initial "larger crossover gap" made the three sound a tad "disconnected", and the center was a bit too prominent. I had set all three SS 60s to 120Hz before anyway, because I liked the sound better when they went a "bit lower", and the measured curve for their lower end was plenty smooth to do so.

I also had to tweak the ARC "measured distance from MLP" setting for the center to 6" shorter to "pull the sound back" a tad delay-wise because the back of the SC Ref is against the vertical of the TV stand, causing it to be a bit more forward physically than the LRs (they are all at the front edge of the shelf everything is on). I also used a small foam audio isolator pad under the front middle of the SC Ref to angle it up just a tad (I did not want to install the adjustable legs in case I wanted to put it back flat).

So far I am happy with the overall front sound stage. Going to listen for a week or three before possibly tweaking some more.

Regarding the new SC Ref itself, initially I was "underwhelmed", expecting more "uplift" to the front stage. I think it was just so "different" that I had to get used to it. One funny thing that happened is I thought it was not as "realistic" as before, and the vocals seemed somewhat disconnected from the screen itself. But in reality, it was so much more revealing in movies, that things like "natural room acoustics" such as echoes for actor's dialogue were so much more apparent, that it sounded like it was more "unnatural". After I realized this and turned off my analytic brain a bit, it really started to come through as better and more realistic.

The additional silky-smooth mid bass from the larger drivers, loaded passive radiators, and top-notch internal crossovers really shines. It also makes the 80-200Hz range feel more "attached" to my screen just like I hoped it would. It no longer feels like all the low end is coming from the SuperSub XXL that is placed to the right side of the room in front. I watched Mission Impossible 6, and Ving Rhames deep voice finally sounded realistic and accurate. And the helicopter chase/crash was more dynamic than ever.

I also tested some of the scenes that were a tad "harsh" on my SS 60C, like the police chasing the taxi cab through the tunnels in Fifth Element. The combination of the action, motors, and somewhat strident Egyptian music really strained my SS 60C, to the point where my non-audiophile wife even noticed it. "Can you turn it down a bit? It sounds sharp and I have never heard that in our theater." Playing that same scene with the new speaker for her, I actually had the volume UP a bit from before, and she definitely noticed it was no longer harsh or strident.

Going to put some serious listening across genres over the holiday weekend now that the speaker is fully broken in. I will post any other thoughts or changes to crossover etc here.

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