Speaker set-up: Towers, center channel, subs ….concerned about sound now, since not all speakers are here, and future sound when complete

I ordered a pair of Chane A3rx-c’s towers and a Chane A2rx-c center channel and a Denon 4520CI AVR but some of the speakers are out of stock until late March so I was planning on just running the center channel until my other speakers arrive. But then I was told you can’t run just one speaker so I would like to know if it is possible or should I wait until I get the rest. I also bought two Powersound V1500 subs and I will be getting surrounds after a while. Do you think the system will sound good after properly setting it up? Thanks for the input.

– Corey W
Stanley, WI

Thanks for the question, Corey! All too often one needs to set up a temporary system, whether it’s because something’s on backorder or for some other reason. For example, when my wife and I moved into our current home, we ran a temporary 2.0-channel setup for months while we found the right installer to properly wire our house for surround sound and build some of the speakers into the walls. Our TV served as preamp and DAC ! The TV’s headphone output fed a compact amp, which drove two stand-mounted speakers. Surround (and now immersive) sound are wonderful experiences, but sometimes good ol’ fashioned 2-channel stereo with well-placed speakers can hit the spot too.

But back to your specific questions. While I’m not familiar with that specific Denon AVR, generally AVRs expect a minimum of two speakers. So you could find a temporary pair of speakers and run them in stereo mode while you wait for the rest of your order. Alternately, and this is what I would do if I were in your position, cancel the order for the towers, order two more of the A2rx-c’s, and get stands for them. Then you avoid the backorder problem, and improve your setup. It is always better to run identical speakers for left, right, and center. The soundstage just coheres much better with identical speakers. As for your second question about the setup sounding good…all I can say about that is that it’s as much on you as it is on the equipment. Can you place the speakers optimally? Will you make good use of the Power Sound Audio subwoofers’ included microphone and miniDSP subwoofer controller to optimize the subwoofers’ placement and frequency response? Will you carefully follow the instructions for Audyssey calibration? And so on.

Lastly, one very big key to getting the best possible sound from your chosen equipment is to place the center channel vertically if at all possible. Speakers configured like that – central tweeter flanked by two woofers – always perform much, much better standing up than lying down. Just be sure to rotate the tweeter so that the long end is facing up-and-down.

– Jay Haider