Great center speaker for a good price
Great sound quality, long warranty, can be found at a great price
Acoustic suspension system doesn't give as much volume as bass reflex speakers
The Bottom Line:
For the home theater afficionado on a budget, you can't go wrong with the Acoustic Research AR-C225PS. Great sound quality at an incredible value!
After upgrading my home theater to Dolby Digital/DTS, I decided it was time to get rid of my cheap KLH center speaker and I had read many online reviews of Acoustic Research speakers. I found these on closeout at Accessories For Less (http://www.ac4l.com) for $69. They are an Acoustic Research certified online reseller and their customer service is top notch! This particular model is discontinued, so it was being sold at a greatly discounted price.
Yamaha HTR-5280 receiver
Infinty Reference Series Mains
KLH Platinum Series Rears (cheap)
JBL PSW-1200 Powered Subwoofer
Acoustic Research Pro Series 12 AWG Speaker Wire
Acoustic Research TOSLINK optical audio cable
Monster Cable Compositite video cable
Sony 27" Trinitron TV
The AR-C225PS is a great center channel speaker, especially if you are on a budget. It sounds much better than I was expecting. Granted, I was upgrading from an "el cheapo" $30 KLH center speaker, but I was amazed how my DVD movies came to life with this AR speaker.
This speaker has a great design. It is not too big, like many center speakers out there. I only have a 27" Sony
TV, so I don't need a huge center speaker. One great design aspect of this speaker is the angled cabinet. If you set the speaker on top of a TV, you arrange the speaker as normal, but if you put it below the TV, you can flip the speaker over, and the angled back of the speaker's cabinet allows the speaker to point at an upward angle. You can even flip the "AR" product badge so it won't be upside down.
Sound quality is very good. Highs are crystal clear and low frequencies are quite good. The speaker contains 2 5 1/4" drivers and a 1" dome tweeter. Bass frequencies are not great, but the center channel isn't expected to deliver bass punch. Set your receiver's center speaker setting to "Small" and let the subwoofer take care of the bass. This speaker's low frequency reproduction is not wimpy by any means. It will hold it's own! The 225 has a high quality gold binding post connector on the back, not those cheap spring clip connectors.
If you are looking for a great center speaker at a good price, this is a great choice. It voice matches to the other PS series speakers from Acoustic Research. My Yamaha receiver has settings to change equalization for the center speaker, so I tweaked it to match my Infinity front speakers. you should always listen to a center first, because voice matching is very important. It helps keep a similar sound level across the front sound stage of your home theater. Eventually, I am upgrading to an all Acoustic Research speaker setup, so I can use the 225 or upgrade to a newer model later. The AR-4C and 2Cs sound great, but were beyond my limited budget when it was time to buy.