Do I need a centre speaker?

marcarm

Member
I am not a very frequent user of this forum, but this is the best place for me to get advice on what I want.

My set up is as follows:

LG BX tv
Pioneer VSX 531 Amp
Mission Sub
Wharefdale Diamond floor standing speakers.

I know it's not the greatest, but on a budget and the speakers have done me well so far and more than meet my needs, however since getting a PS5 and watching some 4k movies, I've noticed that a lot of the time I am losing a lot of dialogue and getting too much with the effects. I've played with the settings a lot on the amp but haven't found the sweet spot.

Would a centre speaker help with this?

I also would love to add some rear speakers but the set up in my living room just wont allow for that, so a 3.1 is the best I can realistically hope for.

I would also need to change the stand for the tv as there wouldnt be enough room for the speaker in front of it, so a generic stand that fits on the VESA mounts to raise it up would be needed, I dont like the idea of mounting a centre above the TV.

I also have an issue where normally the amp would be set at 25-30 and that would be optimal volume, but watching The Matrix earlier, as well as some TV, and Ive had to turn it up to 40-45 to be able to hear it, even though I hadn't changed any settings today. No idea what happened there at all.

Thanks
 

scott88m14

Standard Member
Hi mate,
Just a quick question, do you have your AVR set to output the sound in stereo?
If it's trying to output the sound in a surround sound mode you will be missing most of the dialogue as it will be sending the information to the center speaker that you've not currently got.
 

marcarm

Member
I have checked, and I have the DRC set to Max, Stereo, and then FSS Advance.

I have played with a lot of the settings, and nothing has made a huge difference.

Even the volume being a lot lower than it was is a mystery to me now, as I think I've tried every combination of setting going.

Thanks for your reply.
 

scott88m14

Standard Member
This is just a suggestion to maybe help you decide through trial and error, put your AVR in to a surround sound mode of your choosing but connect one of your speakers in to the centre channel, this way you will hear the difference between said modes and having a centre channel or not. Obviously you will loose the channel you have taken the speaker from but it will give you an idea of how the system would sound with a centre speaker.

There may be other ideas more experienced people could recommend.

Hope this helps a little.
 

marcarm

Member
I have done the MCACC or whatever its called, so the system does know there are 2.1 speakers.

I can try and create a ad-hoc centre speakers using one of the side speakers.

Problem is, due to my room layout, I am a bit restricted in how I can do things, which is very frustrating
 

ChuckMountain

Distinguished Member
If it's trying to output the sound in a surround sound mode you will be missing most of the dialogue as it will be sending the information to the center speaker that you've not currently got.

Not if you have setup it up correctly.

You technically don't need a centre so long as you tell your amp either manually or via the automated setup that you don't have one. The centre speaker sounds will be then spread between your left and right speakers.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Dialogue AND effects still get routed to the centre speaker, so the balance or clarity probably won't change very much TBH.

A centre speaker makes perfect sense if your left and right speakers are set quite wide and are quite a long way from the TV. If they are within a couple of feet of it, I would suggest that a centre speaker might actually make things worse as you have added another source and this will increase the amount of indirect as well as direct sound that you will receive.

Things to improve dialogue can include reducing the bass level - particularly to the sub. This enhances the intelligibility, but some people prefer more bass and effects, so it's a bit of a juggling act. Worth playing with the height of the speakers and the toe-in angle, so they are aimed directly at you. This should improve the focus of the speaker and clean up the mid and high frequencies that contribute to clear vocals.

Room acoustics play a big part when it comes to dialogue and if you have lots of hard surfaces and reflections, this will harm intelligibility as well. Some nice thick rugs and curtains help a lot in this respect.

As you might have guessed, I don't hold with the view that simply throwing more hardware at a problem will be the solution. In a lot of cases, improving the environment is often the best approach. There was another thread on here about a year back where the OP admitted that his system sounded better without the centre speaker, but as he had paid for it, he wanted to use it! My suggestion was that he left it in place, but just ran the system without it connected , but no, he wanted a gadget or add on that would magically cure the problem and keep the speaker in play... Please, don't be that sort of person :)
 

marcarm

Member
My speakers are floorstanding, so changing the angle isn't possible. They are quite far from the TV, and not an equal distance. This is the best set up I can manage with the room layout I have unfortunately, so am just trying to get the best with what I have to work with.

I do have a lot of hard surfaces so that could be causing an issue, but not something i have really noticed until recently.

PS5 is set to output 2 channels and not 5 or 7.1, and bitstream. Not sure if that should be PCM or not?
 

marcarm

Member
A very crude picture of my layout
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
My speakers are floorstanding, so changing the angle isn't possible. They are quite far from the TV, and not an equal distance. This is the best set up I can manage with the room layout I have unfortunately, so am just trying to get the best with what I have to work with.

I do have a lot of hard surfaces so that could be causing an issue, but not something i have really noticed until recently.

PS5 is set to output 2 channels and not 5 or 7.1, and bitstream. Not sure if that should be PCM or not?

Can you post picture of your system at front? It´s always hard to guess what it looks like and where one could possibly place the speaker. You said you can buy new stand to get the speaker higher, so at least that part sounds good.

Edit. Ah the darn corner tv placement..
 

marcarm

Member
As requested.

Yep, the damn corner placement but I have tried and tried and there really is nowhere else for it to go.
 

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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
That looks very tricky! The speakers are placed oddly and being large floorstanders against wall doesn´t help to get good clear sound, so no wonder you aren´t happy. Lot of members here have went with soundbar in these situations. Example passive soundbar in front of tv if you can raise it higher with new av-unit to get the drivers closer to seated ear height. At least if you sit opposite to tv it should sound better than what you have now.
 

marcarm

Member
I have been toying with the idea of a soundbar, the Sky soundbox gets good reviews so was looking at that, but I've had those speakers etc for quite a while I was thinking a soundbar wouldnt be as good.

I do still get very good sound from the speakers, but I am aware it could be better, and more clear.

I could then move the PS5 down a shelf as the amp wont be there, and place the soundbar where the PS5 is.

I do sit opposite the TV, I like to sit so I am looking square at the screen.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I would suggest those speakers - particularly with a sub are too big for your room, you have lots of hard surfaces and positioning is not ideal.

I would suggest moving the TV out into the room a bit more and considering some smaller speakers on stands, situated either side of the TV. This will still look neat and tidy but will sound a lot better. You could probably just about manage it with your current speakers, but they really want to be away from that wall at least 6"

A nice rug on the floor will reduce some of the reflected sound and will help a lot.

I think you would need to go up a level or 2 from the Sky Soundbar to get something that's closer to your current speakers in terms of quality, dynamics and response, but that's outside of my sphere of experience.
 

marcarm

Member
Thank you, I have no experience of soundbars at all as I've had these speakers for years.

Definitely something to think about though

Thanks for your help everyone
 

marcarm

Member
Would some bookshelf speakers positioned not directly on the floor, but kind of next to the stand underneath each corner of the screen work?

I'm guessing not and they should be ear level really. Just trying to work out how much room I have by adjusting the position, due to the stupid fireplace jutting out

Or maybe adjusting the position and putting both speakers next to the tv?
 
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Gasp3621

Distinguished Member
Stands won´t take much space and will cost about 50£/pair lowest (600mm tall usually optimal), there is matte black,gloss black/white options and walnut too i think. Then some decent pair of bookshelf speakers around 200£/pair. If you can fit them like noiseboy mentioned.

Or passive soundbar which means you would be using your av-receiver to power the speakers. But it would need to go higher, not shooting to knees. It has 3x tweeters and 3x mid-bass drivers.
 

marcarm

Member
Thank you, I will try the other speaker next to the TV to begin with, and then look at getting some smaller speakers.
 

scott88m14

Standard Member
Not if you have setup it up correctly.

You technically don't need a centre so long as you tell your amp either manually or via the automated setup that you don't have one. The centre speaker sounds will be then spread between your left and right speakers.

That's what I was meaning by if the avr is sending a signal to a centre channel because the listening mode isn't set correctly it would sound "dodgy" as the speaker isn't there.
Sorry if I didn't explain it correctly. Lol
 

marcarm

Member
I've changed the position of the left speaker so will see how I get on with that. Need to run the set up again as now the speaker distances have changed.

BUT, it seems from watching the film for 5 mins, that things seem a bit better, so playing with the levels etc will probably help even more (hopefully)
 

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noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Nice one, see how you get on. If possible, I would pull them around a bit more, but hopefully you will notice an improvement.
 

suzonka

Active Member
I am not a very frequent user of this forum, but this is the best place for me to get advice on what I want.

My set up is as follows:


Thanks

I've changed the position of the left speaker so will see how I get on with that. Need to run the set up again as now the speaker distances have changed.

BUT, it seems from watching the film for 5 mins, that things seem a bit better, so playing with the levels etc will probably help even more (hopefully)I just purchased a very good sound bar, its very adjustable with every thing from blue tooth to optical outputs , its enough for me on , my preference,
I just purchased a very good sound bar, its very adjustable with every thing from blue tooth to optical outputs , its enough for me on , my preference,
1611491128130.png
1611491128130.png
 

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