Granted, a center-channel speaker may not have the sex appeal of a pair of hunky towers, but trust us--the center plays an absolutely pivotal role in any home theater. It handles virtually all of the dialogue on DVDs, as well as a good deal of the effects and music.
NHT's SC-1 center speaker not only sounds good, it's attractive, too. Decked out with a high-gloss black-lacquer finish, it would look cool sitting atop any TV. It is, of course, magnetically shielded for safe placement near CRT televisions.
The 11-pound SC-1 measures 16.5 inches wide, 5.6 inches high, and 6.6 inches deep. It relies on the same 1-inch metal dome tweeter found on the other Super Audio models, along with a pair of 4.5-inch polypropylene woofers. A nifty rear-mounted adjustable foot allows you to aim an SC-1 perched on a TV down toward the listening position, which can make a big difference in sound quality. The provided set of good-quality speaker-binding posts accepts banana jacks, spades, or bare wires. One other noteworthy design aspect: The SC-1 is an acoustic suspension, or nonported, speaker, so you can squeeze it into a cabinet without adversely affecting its sound. With a power-handling spec of 150 watts and an impedance rated at 8 ohms, the SC-1 should mate well with a wide range of receivers. It's also designed to complement its entire Super Audio family.
We used the SC-1 with an NHT subwoofer and a set of NHT satellites, though the slightly larger SB-2s would also work. During our listening tests, we discovered the SC-1 lacked the warmth of the SB-1 sats, but it still sounded articulate on DVDs and CDs. Furthermore, the treble was nice and smooth; its low distortion was easy on the ears. One thing's for sure: We never experienced listener fatigue with the SC-1 or any of its Super Audio brethren.
NHT's larger center model, the $400 SC-2, is another option, and we definitely recommend it if you're using NHT ST-4 tower speakers.
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