Center Channel Speaker Ruins Spatial Imaging


Novice Member
I have been working on tuning my 3.1 system to optimize vocal and music for watching movies and musicals. I have a pair of “vintage” Infinity Reference 3s that seem to work very well. I also have an unbranded subwoofer and a Bose VC-10 center channel. Whenever I connect the center channel, everything goes bad. The front left and front right channels get very quiet and the Bose VC-10 soundbar takes over the majority of the imaging duties, becoming flat and tinny. When I return to stereo, the spatial imaging improves dramatically. As a matter of fact, It becomes very very good, though dialogue seems like it might suffer.

I’ve spent a bunch of time in the menus of my Yamaha RX V3667 trying to turn the levels down on the center channel and turn the FL and FR levels up. That only helped marginally. I tried then adjusting the equalizer to clip the low frequencies and highest frequencies (>18kHz and <400kHz) from the center channel hoping that it would prevent it from attempting to play sounds it was incapable of reproducing. The end result is always the same, the center channel suppresses the sweetness of the infinity FL and FR speakers.

I tried using a decent but small bookshelf speaker as a center channel and it wasn’t noticeably better.

I can confirm that the receiver is operating in 3.1.
All the speakers are 6 ohm.
I am streaming off an Apple TV through streaming services. The receiver says that it is receiving Dolby dts 5.1 over HDMI.

Is there something wrong with my configurations or my expecations?
Are my Inifinitys so much better than anything else I am connecting that I need to spend lots more money on a center that will match the quality?


Active Member
Are my Inifinitys so much better than anything else I am connecting that I need to spend lots more money on a center that will match the quality?
Probably and likely the Bose soundbar is below par as well, also not ideal to use a soundbar with an AVR.

Try configuring your system as 2.1 and then when playing multi channel material the Yamaha will create a phantom centre channel.

Here is a thread discussing this:-
Happier with results running a 4.1 system with Phantom Center rather than 5.1.


Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Depending upon the space you have between your front left and right speaker, you could try the system in phantom mode which basically removes the centre leaving the three channels split between the front two speakers. It's a really simple thing to do, within the amp, turn off the centre channel or if you are wanting to run the eq, simply detach the speaker from the amp and then room the eq system without it connected (do remember to un plug the amp from the mains before doing anything).

Many people who do this do enjoy it, but do note that if your amp isn't the best ad converting the audio, some sound formats could be left wanting where vocals are important.

As @Dolus has mentioned, earlier, give it a go, in truth you have nothing to loose and maybe everything to gain as @Seriously Ltd has mentioned, the centre channel is woefully inferior and no matter what you try, you will never really get them to match without reducing the quality of the main fronts allowing an AVR to strip the essence of them

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