Speaker Matching

I am in the process of upgrading my home theater. I just bought the Panasonic VT25 plasma TV and Marantz SR6006 A/V receiver, and I want to get the right speakers. I bought the B&W CM2 center channel, so my challenge is now the in-ceiling speakers. I am considering Martian Logan, B&W, and Current in-ceiling speakers. If I stay with the B&W center, should I go with B&W in-ceiling?

The Martin Logans cover more of the highs, while the B&Ws cover more of the midrange. With music, the B&Ws sound more realistic, but with movies, the Martin Logans sound better. I was told that matching manufacturers is key to maintain the same tonal character. If I don't, will there be an impact to movies and music? Any feedback on these speakers in general and/or matching manufactures would be very helpful. I am willing to go listen to other speakers that you suggest.

Mike Perrone

My first response is that using in-ceiling speakers with an ear-level center-channel speaker is not a great idea, no matter what the brand. The entire front soundstage should come from the front, not from the front in the middle and from above on the left and right. I really hope you can find a way to use standalone speakers for the front left and right channels.

If you can do that, I strongly recommend B&Ws for the front left and right. It's true that speakers from the same manufacturer have a much better chance of matching tonally, which is critical for creating a seamless soundstage. Also, I would get the B&W model that most closely matches the CM2—B&W recommends the CM9, shown above with the CM2.

In-ceiling speakers are not so bad for the surrounds, since the surround soundfield is supposed to be diffuse anyway. I would stick with B&W to maintain a consistent front-to-back tonal quality.

If you have an A/V question, please send it to askhometheater@gmail.com.

theo's picture

Dont mix and match the fronts. Go with free standing for the fronts and ceiling for the surrounds. (that's my setup actually). And don't mix brands. Either stick with B&W or sell the center and start over. You will be glad you stuck with the same brand. And yes there is a difference tonally.

Mittchell's picture

I have a pair of Monitor Audio Silver RX 6 speakers as my front left & right speakers. Currently,I have them set-up in a 2.1 stereo configuration.

My question is this : When I add a center channel speaker to the set-up,will there be a big loss if I go with the Monitor Audio Radius 180 ?? Also,would there be any advantage to go with a center channel speaker from Monitor Audio's Gold series or would that be worse in my case because it would not match as well with the RX 6's as the Silver RX center channel speaker ??

- Thanks in advance.

Scott Wilkinson's picture
I would definitely stick with the RX Centre, which has drivers that match those in the RX6. The Radius180 is a multipurpose speaker that can be used horizontally or vertically, and I'd much prefer a dedicated center-channel speaker. As for the Gold GX centers, they use an entirely different tweeter and woofer, so I seriously doubt either one will tonally match the RX6.