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Centre Channel & dialogue

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by Tracey, Feb 12, 2001.

  1. Tracey

    Tracey
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    I've got a Sony STR-DB830 and Mission 78C centre and 781 front speakers. I have noticed for a while that on some films, eg. The World is Not Enough, I struggle to hear the dialogue from the centre channel but if I turn the volume up so that when people are speaking it sounds clear and at a reasonable volume, it wakes up the whole street if there is an explosion or someone firing a gun it's unbelievably loud, too loud in fact, which means I end up struggling to hear most of the film for fear of bursting my ear drums when an unexpected blast occurs! I've tried turning my centre channel up to full volume on the test tone, but it doesn't make any difference. I like films to be loud but there isn't such a stark contrast when watching a film at the cinema. Is it my system or is it just the way DVD's are? At the moment I'm powering my centre channel with the Sony but it will soon be powered by an Arcam 10p becuase I've just sent it away to be upgraded.

    Just wondered if anyone else has trouble hearing the dialogue in films or am I just going deaf!
     
  2. Paul D

    Paul D
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    You could try two things, first check the ohm switch at the rear of the amp. It could be set at the wrong ohms for your speakers. Or you could set your DVD player to the compressed night viewing mode (at least that would even out the high/low sounds etc). Hope that helps Paul.......

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    I'am not drinking anymore....but i'am not drinking any less
     
  3. Jeff

    Jeff
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    Tracey are you using a subwoofer? it may need to be turned down a tad. Do you know what the bass management setting are set to?(speakers large/small, LFE to sub, main or both)

    Also I noticed the same thing when I set up my first system, but after upgradeing my speakers it became less of an issue. It could be that with higher quality speakers you can hear all the dialogue and ambient sound at lower volumes. Just a thought.
     
  4. Tracey

    Tracey
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    Hi Jeff,

    yes I am using a sub but I'v even tried this with the sub turned off, I have also tried setting the front and centre to small and large, still the same problem. I have Mission 781 front speakers and a Mission 78C centre, they improved the sound a bit but still didn't make that much difference. tro be honest I've never really got the settings as I like them. I'm sure it could sound better but I fnd the Sony amps very confusing.
     
  5. Reiner

    Reiner
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    I was watching Heat (R1) last night and as usual I had to turn the volume way up (around 11 o'clock) to hear the dialogs clearly while effects then make my neighbours listening, too. Specifically when the plane in chapter 49 passes by ...

    Anyhow, bottom line is that movie soundtracks are very dynamic (from very low volume to very loud) and hence need to be turned up quite a bit to make you hear everything.
    If it's too loud then change the Dynamic Range setting of your AV amp to Standard or Minimum.

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    If I can't eat it, drink it or fudge it, I ain't interested.
     
  6. tan1415

    tan1415
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    Hi tracey.

    I believe you can increase the volume of your centerspeaker seperately.
    USe the testtone first to check if from your listening position you hear the same tone.
    Maybe the volume of you center is much lower than the rest of your speakers.

    Anyway it's always possible to increase the output/volume of your center speaker till you're satisfied.
    Also for best dialogue you should use normal surround.

    Anyway I have the str db 940. To tell you the truth i am quite dissappointed with the power of the amp compared to my old yamaha 1070.
    To have a good home cinema experience i have to increase the volume till 9 o'clock(a quarter power). Too bad that when i increase the power to more than one quarter that i hear this irritating hiss from my speakers . Esspecially from the center.
    Anyone has this problem?
     
  7. dUnKle

    dUnKle
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    Tracy, everybody is saying for you to increase the volume of the center speaker but you say you have done this and turned it to full. I am not familar with your amp but there are a few things that ALL amps have in common that you should try first.

    < 1 > Check the wiring of ALL your speakers and make sure that they are connected correctly and tightly to the amp. This is a very simple thing to go wrong and may be worth checking. You do not say what speaker cable you are using but if you are using cheaper cable try borrowing or buying a few meters of something like the QUSOS silver cable, one of the biggest improvements I ever mad to the center speaker was with better cable.

    < 2 > Is the center speaker faulty ? Have you tried running it on the left channel to see what sort of reult you get ? If the problem is as bad as you describe then this could be a probability !

    < 3 > Set ALL speaker to small, and send the bass to the subwoofer ONLY !

    < 4 > Make sure you do NOT have something like DYNAMIC RANGE CONTROL or MIDNIGHT MODE engaged. This can be a feature of BOTH a DVD player AND an AMP !

    < 5 > Get hold of a sound meter. The ONLY way you can correctly set the volume of sound is with one of these. As an experiment I tried to set all my speakers by ear and when I did use a SM I found that there were BIG differences.

    < 6 > Set ALL speakers to the same DB setting WITH a Sound Meter. If you are still having problems try decreasing other speakers rather than increasing the ceneter. From past experience I have found that some speakers start to sound a bit nasal and distorted when turned up to much.

    Let me know how you get on
     
  8. Tracey

    Tracey
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    Hi Duncan,

    I unplugged and re-connected all my interconnects and speaker cable last weekend. I'm using Cambridge Audio Pacific interconnects and XLO/CDA bi-wire speaker cable (£8.50 per metre)for my fronts and I've just ordered some for my centre, at the moment I've just got some cheapish Gale cable. I've used my centre speaker to play a music cd by switching off my sub and unplugging my front and rear speakers and it sounds absolutely excellent on it's own, I really don't think it's a problem with that. I've made sure that I haven't selected night theatre modes and the compression (whatever it's called) is definitely off. When I get my Arcam 10p back with the extra channel fitted I'll connect my centre speaker to that with the new bi-wire speaker cable, I'll try putting the Sony 830 amp back to the factory settings and go through the whole set up process again, if that doesn't work, I'll give up!

    Thanks to everyone for the advice, maybe it's just that I need a better quality processor!
     
  9. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    I hate to state the obvious here (and I haven't read all of the above so I am sorry if I am repeating somebody else) but this may just be you getting used to the dynamic range of DD and/or DTS. Although DD obviously does not offer true full dynamic range (from the sound of the wings of a butterfly to an atomic bomb going off) it offers better dynamic range (soft to loud) than we are used to. So if you are setting the level of speech to a "normal" listening level then things that are loud in real life will sound LOUD!!! It is meant to be an advantage of DD and DTS but a lot of people find it difficult to get used to, that's why a lot of equipment have dynamic compression options set somewhere in their menus (sometimes listed as "late night listening mode" or some such description), this compresses the sound by making quiet sounds (such as speech) a bit louder and loud sounds (explosions) a bit quieter. Normal FM radio has a lot of compression applied to make it easier to listen to in cars etc.

    If you knew all this and still feel this is not your "problem" then I apologise!
     
  10. mart.stokes

    mart.stokes
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    MANY APOLOGIES TO REINER! He said in a few sentences what I said in a few paragraphs.
     
  11. mart.stokes

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    Mind you, it brings up an interesting point; The vast majority of people are shocked at first by the fantastic dynamic range of DD and DTS. I have actually known people suddenly lose interest in home cinema because of this. They want (and it is not unreasonable, it's just not what home cinema is about) fantastic clarity of sound without the large dynamic range.
     
  12. nickeng

    nickeng
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    I agree with Martin above, Its taken me ages to get use to the sound of DD/DTS after 6 years of Pro-logic.

    I though I had a sub problem...and my center sounds quite, I had done all the tests above as well and mine works fine SO i just had to write it off as 'me' getting into it..

    But it did have me questioning the Cost of my Pioneer THX amp....LOL

    Bear with it, stop looking for perfection for a while and just sit and lisen to a few movies....

    Still not sure Im use to it...though...


    Have fun!!

     
  13. StuartBooth

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    I eventually had to enable Medium Dynamic Range Compression on my Denon A10SE as I was fed up constantly battling the volume control up and down 4 or 5db.

    Since setting it to Medium I've been able to find a volume I like and LEAVE it there.

    When I get a place of my own hopefully I'll be able to undo DRC and see how it is then without worrying about the landlord...


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  14. tan1415

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    Hi Tracey,

    What about setting your center speaker to small.
    This way your center can concentrate on the mid range.
    You don't really need any bass from your center. Midbass is more than enough for voices.

     
  15. Tracey

    Tracey
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    thanks to everyone for the replies, looks like I've hit on quite a talked about subject. I haven't reied using the dynamic compression yet but I might give it a go, I find I'm doing the same as Stuart B, constantly turning the volume up and down because it's too loud then too quiet. My system does sound good and I like films loud, it has actually improved too since I changed my speakers to the Mission 78 series, my Eltax ones were very harsh at times. I still think I may get a processor on loan to see if it makes a huge difference, otherwise I probably will stick with what I've got and buy an SPL metre.
     
  16. MarkB

    MarkB
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    I have to agree with mart.stokes and all others who mention dynamic range. My DENON AVC-A1SE really does lure you into a false sense of security – during watching the Bone Collector I had been nudging the volume up – until the scene where she stops the train – it nearly blew us out of the windows. I now set my centre to +4dB, small setting.
    The thing is, if you crank up the volume and increase a quiet sentence by 10 times, the sentence is still quiet. An explosion (driving 6 speakers, not 1) increased 10 times is anything but quiet, especially on an amp like yours.
    Hope this helps – you're not alone!
    Mark B
     
  17. Ramius

    Ramius
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  18. RobG

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    I'm working off the top of my head here but I'm fairly certain I recall reading in my Yam DSP-A5 manual, that there was an audio setting specifically for late night viewing, which enhanced the presence of the sound without need to increase the volume...(can't say I ever used it though...)

    ... perhaps your amp has a similiar setting - I'll check out exactly what this setting is tonight.

    Rob
     
  19. Arthur.S

    Arthur.S
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    "I probably will stick with what I've got and buy an SPL metre.
    Tracey,
    This could well solve your problem. I found that when I balanced my system up with an SPL (after 2 years of doing it by ear!)The centre was 2db DOWN, & my rears were actually 8dbs UP! Needless to say, the rears were drowning out some dialogue. I've since upped the rears a bit, but nothing like as loud as before.

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