By Dick Tan
Few people realise that the centre channel speaker in a multichannel/home theatre speaker system crucially handles up to 60% of the overall audio signal from Bluray, DVD, HD broadcast programmes or multichannel SACD audio sources.
For this reason alone selection of the right centre channel speaker is essential in ensuring a top notch multichannel audio performance, particularly where intelligible reproduction of the vocals are concerned.
Unlike the early days during the advent of Dolby Pro Logic, where the attitude then was, any speaker will do, most speaker manufacturers today seem to have got their act right in ensuring that the centre channel speaker is designed with the proper dispersion characteristics, taking into consideration its unique horizontally shaped enclosure.
Yet, many centre channel speakers, even some expensive, pedigreed ones are not quite up to the mark when called on to reproduce truly clear and intelligible dialogues that forms the basis of practically all movies. In short if you can”t or need to strain to hear what the actors are saying the enjoyment is largely taken out of the movie experience .
Having gone through literally dozens of centre channel speaker ever since Dolby Pre-logic made the centre channel speaker a requirement in proper multichannel audio systems I can claim to speak out of painful experience.
The key is to find a dealer that will allow you to narrow down on a couple of option and allow you to make the decision after a try out at home.
Designed to compliment and enable its twenty series speakers to be used in a multichannel mode the twenty. C is a compact two way, three driver design measuring 6.75″ high x 20.5″ wide x 10.6″ deep. As with all PMC Speakers the twenty.C features the company”s ATL transmission bass loading principle. Getting all that labyrinth into such a modestly sized cabinet is no mean achievement but on extended bass is the pay off.
To be sure the twenty.C is no new kid on the block being introduced sometime in March last year but having lived with it now for more than two months I can say with conviction that it is one of the most transparent, detailed and holographic sounding centre channel speaker I have heard, irrespective of cost.
While the ability to produce decently extended bass is desirable in all speakers the twenty.C “s apparent ease in producing a rock solid, super clear vocal is nothing short of amazing. It easily bettered my resident Energy Reference I have used for over 4 years and just pipped PMC”s own TB2 in virtually every aspect.
Admittedly, while matching late night movies in lowish volume, I have often resorted to using subtitles, there was never a need to do so with the twenty.C, such is its ability to project a precise and palpably real vocal image.
It looks like the Twenty.C is set to take up permanent residence in my home theatre system. Problem is that I will be in hock up to a tune of RM6,900 ! On the other hand just imagine, no more stress in reading the subtitles and trying to keep visual pace with the movie at the same time !