Home Theater Direct Level Three Center Channels

Home Theater Direct Level Three Center Channels 


  • Max. Power Handling: 150 watts
  • Frequency Response: 45 Hz - 40 kHz
  • Impedance: 8 ohms
  • Sensitivity: 88dB
  • Voice Coil: 1.5"


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[Feb 05, 2007]
Audio Enthusiast


Well built, nice finish, clean sound.


You NEED a Subwoofer.

This speaker was purchased to act as a center channel for a home theater system using a pair of ESS Heil floor speakers as the main channels. My problem has been in trying to find a center channel that uses a ribbon tweeter that is bright and airy enough to match the Heils.

I ordered a HTD Level Three center channel with the thought that if it was a poor match it could easily be returned. The speaker was shipped promptly and arrived 3 days later. Unfortunately UPS had managed to drop it and damage a corner of the cabinet.. HTD shipped a replacement out the same day and started the process of getting me a return label. The system they use to generate the labels is not their own and was flakey that week and after waiting for it a few days I called them again and a label showed up a couple of days later. I was impressed by how quickly they were able to respond to my damage.

The first speaker did work so I placed it in service and did a quick sound pressure check to get it playing at the correct volume. The speaker began to break in quickly and after a couple of days it was necessary to reset the sound levels, the speaker had opened up and was playing 2 or 3 Db louder then when I had first set it up.

Even after just a few hours of listening I could tell that this was going to be a good match for the Heils, The ribbon was bright and airy, the midrange clean and crisp. The speaker is also very efficient, something that I believe helps the speaker to keep dialog understandable at low volumes.

HTD describes the midrange speakers as having a paper cone coated with a ceramic substance then coated with a clear rubber. The idea is for a stiff cone but still soft enough to not have a harsh ringing effect. My ear tells me that it seems to work. The ribbon is clean and has that airy feel of a good ribbon. A look inside reveled crossover of "so-so" quality. Small caps and one of the coils was wound on an iron core, but it was far better then a lot of others that I have seen. At this price point I would not have expected much more then what I saw.

After the replacement speaker arrived I had the opportunity to evaluate them as a pair of bookshelf speakers It was here that they really started to fall apart. I moved them into a smaller room and started to do come careful evaluations. First, these speakers need a subwoofer, there is very little base in the design, despite the ported enclosure. Music was bright and clean, but I began to feel that it was over bright. After a couple of days I found them to be a bit annoying. If I were using them for music I would have most likely sent them back. Music on my main system when in Dolby surround mode sounds great with the Level Three and the Heils, something that no other center channel I have tried was able to do, so they can do music, you just need to fill in the base.

HTD level three speakers are really designed for Home Theater. If your primary use is movies and TV then you will probably enjoy a system based around these speakers. I will certainly recommend them when I think it would be appropriate. They are an excellent value and I will be keeping mine in the main system.

Customer Service

Excellent, quick to answer the phone, quick to ship and quick to resolve problems.

Similar Products Used:

ESS Heils, Acoustic Research M1 and M2's, Raw Acoustics HT-2.

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