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Author Topic: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?  (Read 33498 times)

Tim Weaver

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Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« on: October 29, 2008, 04:45:26 pm »

These guys keep coming up on ebay and I have never heard of them before. I really like the driver compliment, 2-12's horn loaded 8 and 1 inch. The subs are triple 12's. Has anyone ever used or heard these cabs before? Or know anything about them?

I would probably strip the crossover and run them 4 way stereo.

The subs would probably be more like kick bins than anything else, but in a club I'm sure they would work fine.

Are the cabs made from ply, or mdf, or osb?

Will they take a beating? Like a club rock band for a few hundred water bags?

So share your knowledge and let the world know if these are trash or a diamond in the rough. I am not really a brand snob and I can cross rent to satisfy riders. I am looking for a club PA that'll fit in a trailer and entertain up to 500 folks. These look like a good candidate from the outside.....
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SteveKirby

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2008, 04:50:44 pm »

They are low priced bargain speakers.  Typically better cosmetics than the garden variety B52 or Gemini.  They seem to be trying to appeal to folks who recognize that quality is often inversely proportional to flash.

Stamped frame speakers with smaller voice coils.  You are going to have to get fairly big ones to keep up with a quality smaller cabinet.  But for a small club/pub install, those big cabinets can look impressive and work okay.
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Jeff Babcock

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 05:14:01 pm »

Tim this reminds me of your other Renkus Heinz thread....

Are you after good sound or just what it looks like on the outside?

The latter doesn't hurt but the former is always #1 in my book.  I would steer clear of cheap stuff like this.  You won't find any "diamonds" at those prices.  More like polished turds.

kyle forbes

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2008, 05:23:36 pm »

My buddy has some of these, huge cabinets but no big sound. They handle like 300 watts on the low end and that is the extent of it. They use them for vocals in bars for up to 150 people.
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2008, 05:39:49 pm »

Wow, I'm so flattered that you remember.  Rolling Eyes


The crux of this question is this. Have you heard them? And what do you think of them?

I have not. That is why I am asking for opinions. Just like you said, they look nice on the outside, which is why I ask in the first place. They could look AND sound nice, or they could be a total farce. It looks like it may be the latter. Until someone comes along with actual hands on experience with these cabinets I will reserve judgement.

That being said, I cannot afford to drop 5-10k on racks and stacks right now. I am a busy SE, and this trailer rig is my side job/hobby. If I could get some stacks that aren't total crap then I would be ahead of the local small time competition already. As far as buying what is available locally, that is totally out of the question for me. The local provider owns vertec and HLA. I cannot use either for my trailer rig. I can however rent a full racks and stacks package from him when the need arises.

Peace Jeff.....
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2008, 05:46:51 pm »

kyle forbes wrote on Wed, 29 October 2008 16:23

My buddy has some of these, huge cabinets but no big sound. They handle like 300 watts on the low end and that is the extent of it. They use them for vocals in bars for up to 150 people.



Cool, thanks Kyle...

This is what I'm looking for.

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Tim Tyler

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2008, 07:49:38 pm »

Tim -

http://www.hkel.com/speaker2.html

There were some A-C speakers that were sort of a "pro" line, these may be them.  The big, cheapos were the "ACE" line, pretty basic stuff.  

If the ones you are looking at are the painted, not rat-fur, versions, they may be worth a look - if the condition is good and they meet your needs at a GOOD price.  IIRC, they were plywood, decently made.

Good luck,

-Tim T
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Jeff Babcock

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #7 on: October 30, 2008, 12:33:06 pm »

Tim Weaver wrote on Wed, 29 October 2008 17:39

Wow, I'm so flattered that you remember.  Rolling Eyes


The crux of this question is this. Have you heard them? And what do you think of them?

I have not. That is why I am asking for opinions. Just like you said, they look nice on the outside, which is why I ask in the first place. They could look AND sound nice, or they could be a total farce. It looks like it may be the latter. Until someone comes along with actual hands on experience with these cabinets I will reserve judgement.

That being said, I cannot afford to drop 5-10k on racks and stacks right now. I am a busy SE, and this trailer rig is my side job/hobby. If I could get some stacks that aren't total crap then I would be ahead of the local small time competition already. As far as buying what is available locally, that is totally out of the question for me. The local provider owns vertec and HLA. I cannot use either for my trailer rig. I can however rent a full racks and stacks package from him when the need arises.

Peace Jeff.....


Tim, I am not trying to be a jerk about this.  You are free to do what you want with your money.

I have not heard those specific boxes.  They might sound "OK".  But I know that buying boxes with cheap drivers usually results in those drivers letting out the magic smoke at some inopportune moment, and in some cases finding replacement drivers quickly can be a headache. I doubt Audio Centron has any sort of parts/service/warranty dept that could stand up against someone like Yorkville for example.  

Quite honestly I would rather go the DIY route than buy those boxes you are looking at.

Or looking in the marketplace, Scott L is selling LA400's for $400 each.  A few of those with some tops on sticks would be a much better option IMHO, and a lot more output per watt.  You don't need to spend big $$ to get something decent, especially in the used market.

Adam Kane

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #8 on: October 30, 2008, 01:56:35 pm »

Tim,

I remember running a rig with those exact same boxes (the CE series stuff) found here: http://cgi.ebay.com/AUDIO-CENTRON-ProAudio-Speaker-System-12 -Trap-Cabinets_W0QQitemZ200269507997QQihZ010QQcategoryZ47094 QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

This was several years ago...I'll try to remember the best I can...

The ones I ran through were painted baltic birch cabs with flytracks.  I remember not being excited when I first saw the Audio Centron badges based on previous experience with their other gear...but they must have had a different engineer working on this line.

Don't remember what kind of power/processing...but I remember thinking that it sounded pretty good for what it was.  I think there were two per side each of subs and tops.  There was a suprising amount of output for just the 4 boxes...crowd was probably somewhere around 350ish and I remember having plenty of headroom.  The subs went lower than I expected.  These wouldn't come close to touching something along the lines of a Yorkville TX8, or a KF850, or anything similar. But for the money, as long as they're working it may not be a bad deal.

Follow Tim Tyler's link...on that site is a picture of the ones I'm talking about.
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Jerry Turnbow

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #9 on: October 30, 2008, 04:34:32 pm »

Tim -

I know a bit about the cabinets you're talking about.

Audio Centron was the MI audio brand for SLM Electronics (as in "Ampeg" and "Crate") up until we phased the line out in the mid to late 90's and merged it into the "Crate Pro Audio" line.

I was director of engineering for SLME from 1992 to early 1999, and the product was developed on my watch as a more or less top of the MI line audio box.  As I recall, they sounded pretty decent, compared to what was out there at the time, although technology and price (can you say "offshore production?") have changed much since then.

The CE-34 is a "fuzzy" box made of OSB.  The CE-34F is painted, and constructed from 15mm Baltic birch, and heavily reinforced internally with metal brackets.  As this was our first (and probably last) foray into flyable cabinets with an SLME design, we paid a strutural engineering firm a lot of money and trashed a number of units to ensure that they were safe to fly as directed.  The engineer on the project was known to engineer all his designs like an outdoor masonry latrine, and they generally performed and held up well.

All the drivers, including the HF compression driver, are Eminence.  At some point in production we switched to a newer version of the Eminence compression driver, which had been enhanced for better HF response.

As another poster has said, if you can buy them right, and particularly if you get a chance to hear one and like what you hear, it's probably a good deal.  The good news is, if a driver goes out, etc., the company that made them is still right here in the good 'ol USA, and I'm sure recone parts are available.

(Note - I just checked our database, and while it looks like there aren't any complete drivers, the 86-519-05 replacement diaphragms are still on hand in our service department in Woodinville, WA)

Anyway, that's what I know.  Send me a PM with a good email address and I'd be happy to send you a .PDF of the user's manual, complete with specs, etc.  This forum doesn't allow us to send anything other than a JPEG of 512KB or less.
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- Jerry Turnbow (aka 'Mako')

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Tim Weaver

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2008, 07:26:50 pm »

PM sent  Cool
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Chris Gruber

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2008, 01:36:56 am »

The 1/4" plugs say it all. The after-thought Speakon is a nice touch.index.php/fa/18703/0/
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-Chris
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Jerry Turnbow

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2008, 10:55:08 am »

Chris Gruber wrote on Fri, 31 October 2008 00:36

The 1/4" plugs say it all. The after-thought Speakon is a nice touch.index.php/fa/18703/0/


Chris -

While it's easy to be glib in todays environment, with pro and pro-sumer gear in abundance, let me help put this in perspective for you.

This product was developed around 1995-96, and introduced at a time when very few manufacturers of MI grade audio gear were putting speak-ons on their products.  We were among the first US manufacturers to incorporate them into our Audio Centron, and Ampeg enclosures in the US.  Manufacturers in Europe, where the Speakon was developed, led the US manufacturers in this area.

Secondly, the speak-on connector on this unit is most definitely not an afterthought.  All the components on the jackplate are mounted on a wave-soldered PCB assembly, (the 07-733-01 to be exact), and the speak-on is an integral part of the circuit, along with the switch to go between full range and biamped, which would be completely unnecessary if we only designed it with 1/4" jacks.

At that time, speakons were expensive and relatively scarce in the US, unlike today where it almost seems like you can by a speakon cable at Walmart.  We had to wrestle with the product manager to get him to accept the additional cost that the speakon added to the unit, but in retrospect it seems like it was a pretty good idea.

Eleven years in the progress of pro audio is like dog years - the improvements and changes in standards have evolved almost exponentially.

You wouldn't make fun of a '57 Chevy because it didn't have cruise control, would you??

Sorry bro, but you hit a nerve here.  

Have a great day!

Jerry Turnbow

IT Manager, St. Louis Music div. of Loud Technologies
(formerly director of engineering, SLME - 1992-99)


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Jerry Turnbow

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2008, 11:39:01 am »

Chris Gruber wrote on Fri, 31 October 2008 00:36

The 1/4" plugs say it all. The after-thought Speakon is a nice touch.index.php/fa/18703/0/


Chris -

I had forgotten about this until I looked at the manual, but apparently the flyable version was all speakons.  Hardly an afterthought.

Cheers!

- Jerry
index.php/fa/18704/0/
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Chris Gruber

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2008, 06:10:22 am »

Jerry,

Sorry about that. You are correct, It was just a generalization about your average prosumer gear and was not an attack on the Audio Centron stuff at all. Again, Sorry for the words.
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-Chris
Arthur Audio

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Jerry Turnbow

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2008, 04:05:26 pm »

Chris Gruber wrote on Sat, 01 November 2008 05:10

Jerry,

Sorry about that. You are correct, It was just a generalization about your average prosumer gear and was not an attack on the Audio Centron stuff at all. Again, Sorry for the words.


No problem, Chris.  I was probably a bit cranky the other day.

The truth is, coming to SLM in 1992 after 17 years with a pro audio systems contractor, I found it frustrating that we didn't spend more engineering and marketing resources on developing the brand into a higher-end product.  It was designed and built in St. Louis by the same folks that designed and built the Ampeg and Crate products, and we had some pretty talented audio engineers, and some very dedicated and quality-conscious folks in production, but the company focused more on the core business of guitar and bass amps, along with the box mixer and "speakers on sticks" end of the business, which we had a large share of at that time with the Crate Audio brand.

And with a hokey name like "Audio Centron", I can easily see how it could be perceived as another "Lucky Golden Dragon Audio Company, LTD" outfit nowadays that offers complete line array systems for $9,999.00 to someone not familiar with MI audio history 101.   Twisted Evil

Take care, and best wishes!

- Jerry
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Shaun Bohannon

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2010, 04:46:34 pm »

I know i'm resurrecting a rather old thread, but I wanted to see if Jerry was still watching this forum, or anyone else with information about Audio Centron.

I've recently added the title of chief AV tech, to my normal tech support duties at a college here in Georgia.  We have a lot of equipment that no one has made use of in 10 years, and I've found a set of 4 Audio Centron ACE-1's hanging in our gymnasium.  After finally tracking down the wiring I got them going with an old 600 watt amp and ran a few songs on them...very impressed I had to say, really filled the gym nicely and had great low end for just four 2-way boxes I felt.

Anyways, I was just wondering if you had any info on them, or if you knew of a place the manuals might be available.  We had considered replacing them when we just didn't know if they worked or not, but they definitely sound like keepers to us.  Thanks.  
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2010, 06:01:34 pm »

I've found that the low end AC speakers were voiced very well. They sound good. But don't expect them to give you tons of output because you will start blowing stuff up.

When I bought my AC speakers they came with 4 of the 15/1" monitors that should be very similar to the ACE line that you have. They sound great, but I quit using them because I can't get enough SPL out of them to satisfy the bands without blowing the (pricey but good) EV compression driver.

I did buy that set of speakers from this thread and they have served me exceptionally well. However, I had to do quite a bit of repair work on them to get them up and going (because of the former owner/DJ running things too hard). This is still acceptable to me because of the price I bought them for. My mains are the CE36s subs and the tops are the CE17's. I have four stacks of this and easily provide audio for 500 people in most situations. My rig is triamped with a nice DSP crossover and limited well. I am using 2x the RMS power for this rig. I was caught out one show when 1000+ people turned up and I was railing on it all night. I wasn't happy bouncing off the limiters so much, and it was a fight to get the vocals up, but we made it through with no damage.


BTW, I bought 4 subs, 4 tops, and 4 monitors that were in serviceable condition (couple of blown diaphragms and crossover damage) for $750 total! These cabs have had the best ROI out of everything else I have. They really sound good too. And, before any naysayers come out with "you don't know what you're talking about" attitudes, I just got done with a couple shows flying Vertecs running V4, and an MH4 out front with a very sweet outboard rack. I can put on the big boy pants and work on any show out there. This is my personal rig that I use for the band I engineer for and I would rather have my rig than a ratted out JBL 47xx rig that everybody else is sporting around here. Yes, it may not get as loud, but loud is not really what I'm after....
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ThomasDameron

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Re: Audio Centron? Anybody heard them?
« Reply #18 on: September 07, 2010, 08:28:49 am »

Tim,

I'm glad the AC's are serving you well.  I just now found this thread, but wanted to add my 2c.  A single Ce34/side with no subs was the rig that I cut my teeth on.  I came into it powered by a single Ce1000 and with $0 I had to figure it out.  An experience any engineer should have to go through.  After awhile I got some real power behind these and grew to like them.  It's been years since I've been back on that rig, but it really took some significant abuse and kept on ticking.  Maybe time and nostalgia put them higher up on my scale than they deserve, but I would quickly take these 15 year old boxes over any of the current 2x12" main stream solutions.  Do they have some MI trappings? yep  Do they have Eminence drivers? yep  Do they sound better than a Yami club 2x15, Jbl 2x1X or Ev 2x1X?  On the internet whatever you own sounds better.

thomas d.
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