Suggestions on Center Channel Speaker pairing with Ovator S400

Hi there,

As we moved house, our Totem in-wall speakers sadly didn’t move with us, so we are now in lack of surround sound. Our setup with AV-receiver -> pre-out -> 272/250 with Ovator S-400 is working fine, but we are having trouble following conversations in movies.

The search for a matching center channel speaker is somewhat challenging. I can find a lot of centers to audition for around €1000, but can’t really do any up-front research as to the mids clarity and punch of some of the likely candidates. Brands that are relatively easy to audition in the netherlands are the usual suspects (b&w, focal, paradigm, dynaudio, q acoustics, martin logan, dali, sonus faber and such). I think Neat also made a center, but can’t really find a dealer near me.

Hoping anyone had to deal with this and has some suggestions.


Where about are you in the Netherlands? The Naim Dealer in Arnhem does also carry Neat and proposed me to borrow loudspeakers for the weekend …

I do think though that adding a centre speaker does not necessarily solve your problem. Since you are moved to a different place, it might well be that reflections in your new (empty/relatively modest decorated?) room make it much more difficult to follow a conversation. Our telly is in a little room having a lot of glass and when we close the velours curtains, the conversations are very clear.

The naim centre speaker comes up on ‘the bay’ (saw one recently) at very reasonable cost - is that an option? :slight_smile:

Naim made three centre speakers; the little N-Cent, which matches best with N-Sats and Arivas, and the Axent and Axess, which matched best with the rest of the range. The Axent was a real beast and I knew one dealer in France who swore by it as a stereo pair just for music use…

Anyway, getting to the original question, I’m afraid I don’t know which would match best with the Ovators.

We move house every 4 years, at the moment near Groningen for a year now. As we can up the dialogue volume in the center and lower the rest it makes for a quite comfortable situation with sleeping kids in the house. So a definite yes on the center.

Hoping that someone knows for a speaker company with comparable design thoughts, but if even Richard is blank on this, I might as well try anything.

Really didn’t know about a Naim center, will definitely search for one!! Maybe go for a low budget old 2nd hand b&w in the meantime.

If you feel like trying a Naim centre then look for an Axess or Axent.

Hi @RexManning, I have just seen this topic, so you may have already found a sutable centre speaker. If not, I am using a Bowers and Wilkins HTM62 along with my 272 and S-400’s, I also have their M1 satellites and ASW610 sub and they all work very well together, I did take a little time getting the set up in my Yamaha HT reciever just so. Well worth a try if you can get a demo of one of their new speakers.

Thank you Slim! I was also considering listening to the B&W’s. I stepped off of trying to pair it perfectly, just having the best bang for low budget to increase ability to hear conversations in movies, not musical sound enhancement. B&W is a safe bet also on resale if it ever comes to that. I rather spend the better portion of my savings on upgrading my n272 into separates.

Centre speaker matching can easily become a fool’s errand, IME. I had my B&W 804Ss for a while with a much cheaper B&W centre and wasn’t always convinced they matched very well. I was therefore very excited when the exact B&W centre speaker which matched my 804Ss came up preloved with TomTom and it was even the right wood finish. Bought it, connected it, and… well, it was a great improvement, but was it seamless? Not really. Even after a lot of settling in and tweaking, if I send a white noise test tone around the room you can hear the sound change as it goes from speaker to speaker. It’s clear that, as others have said, room acoustics and lots of other imponderables or non-negotiables play a large part in how well a L/C/R blends together.

I suspect all we can do in a domestic context, apart from a full custom-built room, is to achieve the least of several evils and know when to shrug and say ‘I can’t reasonably do much more, so that’ll have to do’.


I will likely eventually replace my centre for a ProAc one to match the Tabs but I don’t really notice anything to off with the current Tannoy one I have.

A number of us (myself included) have found that getting a seamless integration with a centre channel can indeed be very difficult, if not impossible, thanks to domestic considerations. Even when given an ideal situation, I usually preferred multichannel music played without a dedicated centre, instead with a phantom centre.

The search is also too confining, not important enough to have to consider every time (not too often hopefully) you think of changing your front speakers.

Agreed, absolutely can live with phantom for multi channel music. For movies however, I will limit my funds and go and purchase a mainstream center, built for the masses :slight_smile:

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.