equal alternative to no centre speaker

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by faodavid, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. faodavid

    faodavid
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    Hi

    dont really want to have a centre speaker under or on top of wall mounted tv - is there an alternative set up that i could use to avoid haveing a centre speaker without any loss of quality or impact

    Many Thanks
    dave
     
  2. swift1

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    You can set "No Centre" in menu of the amp and have a listen, see what you think. If you do without it then you have answered your question.

    It works for some set ups.

    I was just messing about the other day and selected "no centre speaker" in my amp and it sounded awful.
     
  3. Andy98765

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    Arguments have raged on this site regarding centre speakers and the need for and against them. But I must totally agree with the last poster and the fact for me, it is a MUST have. To have vocals coming from the far corner of the room just loses it for me.
     
  4. k13 wjd

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    i agree........5.1 vs 4.1


    I tried turning my centre off a few hours ago......it sounded horrific !
     
  5. Davieboy00

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    After buying new amps earlier in the year I had no room for my centre speaker. Set my reciever to " no centre " and don't miss the centre at all.
    I think a fair bit may be down to your front speaker imaging capabilities.
    My fronts are worth nearly £4k and work a treat but a past exprience with £500 fronts and no centre didn't fare well at all.
    I think the best bet is to try it and see if it works. If not sombody my be able to come up with a workaround.
    All the best.
    David
     
  6. William YZF-R1

    William YZF-R1
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    I agree with the YES to centres. A matched centre on the floor at 45 degrees would be infinitely preferable to me than no centre. But then I haven't spent 1/16 as much as the poster above who hasn't got one.
     
  7. Member 96948

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    It is certainly not a given that a centre is a must, just for the sake of a having centre. If it where, how come generations of people have listened to speech/vocals from all sources delivered clearly and with a homogeneous centre image?

    If your main speakers are setup poorly, or constraints force a less than ideal positioning for either them or where you sit, then it maybe that no centre won't work for you.

    The only answer is to try it and see.

    Russell
     
  8. William YZF-R1

    William YZF-R1
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    I agree with the above but at the end of the day a 5.1` or 7.1 system expects a centre speaker. OK you can tell your receiver/ amp that you haven't got one but a true 5.1 or 7.1 should have one.
     
  9. Member 96948

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    Why?

    Russell
     
  10. eaglemmoomin

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    Fair question but could I ask do you utilise a centre channel in your own system at home Russ? Me I think its one of those where if you can get by without it great if not buy a centre.
     
  11. blue max

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    You could of course just have one speaker and play in mono. :rotfl:

    After having stereo for many years, getting my first prologic amp was a revelation! It was a while before I could get any rears though. And it was over ten years before I could afford a sub!

    If I was not bothering with a centre, I would not bother with rears. Then with the money I saved, I would get a better quality stereo amp and speakers. You can still use a sub. I am sure there are usually stereo soundtracks on dvd's.

    The most popular setup is still 5.1 and I would want to hear each and every one to the best of my equipments ability. I can imagine a poor quality centre could actually make things worse, especially if badly setup or compromised positioning. But that's another thread entirely.

    Graham
     
  12. Grayman

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    I have comparitively cheap front L/R speakers and when I was in the process of chaning my centre I had to leave it off for a couple days. I basically set my amp to Stereo so it only used front L/R.

    Watched Kung Fu Panda like this and to be honest I thought it sounded superb, I suppose a lot depends on your room setup and speaker placement, but I was well impressed, made me think about leaving the hard work of fitting the centre and just buying expensive front L/R speakers and letting them do the lot!! Of course, too late now since ive spent the money....but id probably be tempted to try it as a L/r only, and then decide later whetehr you need or miss a centre.
     
  13. deckingman

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    I put my system together "piece meal", as and when funds became available. Started with the front pair, then added the rears. Next came the sub. At this point, everything sounded fine. Nice wide sound stage but at the same time, dialogue was centred exactly in the centre of the screen. I use my system more for music than movies and even multi-channel SACDs and the few DVD-A's I have sounded fine. Finally added the "matching centre", which temporarly sits above the screen but angled down slightly. No matter what I do, dialogue is slightly above the screen and just sounds odd. SACDs are the same and sound better with the amp set to no centre.

    I'm currently waiting for funds to get an AV unit made, which will eventualy house the centre speaker, just below the screen, but if this doesn't work, I'll sell the centre.

    I only bought it because I thought 5.1 sound tracks need 5.1 speakers. I know for some people, a centre is a must, but for me, with my kit, in my room, it definitely isn't. Let's face it, you don't have a centre speaker for two channel stereo yet there is no "hole in the middle".
     
  14. blue max

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    If your system sounds better with no centre channel than with two or more additional drivers, separate amplification and a discrete sound track, I would respectfully suggest that it is because it is exposing a weakness in your setup.

    The usual suspects are likely to be letting the side down (in no particular order - amplification, speaker quality, speaker positioning, setup, processing or source).

    Get it all right and it can sound amazing.

    However, most real-world systems usually have to deal with overcoming a number of the weaknesses listed, so they may well benefit from omitting the centre channel. It's certainly worth a go. Also, clearly you need to audition a centre channel just to make sure it actually earns it's keep in your setup.

    Graham
     
  15. Mark.Yudkin

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    Don't know about Russ, but I have no centre (see sig) and can confirm that given quality speakers (like David, my speakers are in the £4000+ range) trying to squeeze a centre into the limited physical space can result in an audibly worse soundstage. OTOH, William's sub-£250 ("haven't spent 1/16 as much") speakers may be less well able to project an accurate stereo image, and so a centre would be a useful addition. of course this would mean that the sonic stage of stereo CDs is suboptimal.
     
  16. Mark.Yudkin

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    All systems are a compromise and making the best of the situation is all we can do - pending winnng the lottery. Of course I'd love to add another Quad ESL in the centre, but even if had the necessary £2000+ for the speaker, it just isn't going to happen. I can't install a projector and motorized screen (the TV is in front of a window) to make room for the speaker unless I also have a simple means of darkening the room (I can't get to the window due to the TV, plants and speakers). This means replacing the "manual" blinds in the rented flat with motorized blinds - at my expense. The end result is a lot of costs (blinds, projector, screen) that just aren't available and which I'd anyway rather spend elsewhere (e.g. putting children through university, Full HD Plasma, high-end BD player, BD/DVD films, CDs, opera tickets). The "No centre" is a good compromise for my case.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2009
  17. IRobot

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    Watching "Master & Commander" recently (DTS MA track), I had a go at switching the centre on and off to see what difference it made.

    With it switched on, the dialogue was more uniform no matter which character was talking, it came through at a consistent clear level.

    With the centre switched off, the dialogue was still centred to the screen and clear, but I did notice some variation. For example in the scene where the characters are discussing tactics in the ships cabin, a character at the back of the cabin sounded a bit quieter than one at the front. I also noticed the ambience more such as the creaking of the ships cabin.
     
  18. deckingman

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    Have to disagree because, without a centre speaker, my system does sound amazing (within the usual budgetary constraints which we all have, of course). The centre just sort of screws thing up by shifting the dialogue away from the horizontal center axis. I would also suggest that, if the system sounds good with no centre, then it is probably a "good" system and suited to the room acoustics, etc etc. I would argue that the opposite of what you say is true. i.e. if adding a centre improves things, then this it is probably because it is overcoming a weekness.
     
  19. blue max

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    Not sure I am disagreeing with anything that has been said and I hope I didn't cause any offense Mark.

    I currently listen to stereo only as I have to sleep in my living room - part of the compromises I have to make. And my speakers are my surrounds as the other ones are too large.

    My comments are only theoretical. I'm just trying to say that done properly with no compromises, it will sound better.

    The rest of us will have to get as close as we can by whatever means we can - and that of course means if it sounds better without a crappy centre stuffed in an alcove next to the radio times, then it's a compromise definitely worth considering.

    Hey it's only hifi :thumbsup:

    Graham
     
  20. Member 96948

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    I am not in any way saying that centres are a must/must not have, but simply pointing out that blanket statements like "because 5/7.1 should have one" pay no attention to, nor show any knowledge of, the different sets of circumstances (and their effects) that different setups have to endure.

    Sometimes a conclusion about the beneficial effects are reached, not because the centre is so good, but because the setup of the other speakers is bad. I can remember one recent setup (and I'm not going to say who's) where the main floorstanding speakers were about 60cm apart (the width of the screen) and the whole shebang pushed into the corner of a room.

    Now I'm pretty sure that if you setup a stereo only pair of floorstanders in such a way, the boundary gain and corner loading would blow the bass out of all proportion and render any vocals or speech horribly muddy, thick and unintelligible. On the other hand, the much, much smaller 'matching' centre above the screen sounded far clearer not because it was, but because it simply didn't suffer the same bass issues, because by comparison it doesn't output any bass in the region of the frequencies reinforced by the rooms main modes.

    This was not an example of centres being better, but an ample demonstration of requiring one to overcome a pair of floorstnding speakers mismatched to the circumstances in which they were going to be forced to operate.

    Now for all I know, there was simply no other way of arranging the room or a 'significant' other simply wouldn't let it be so and wanted nice, neat looking speakers without stands or whatever, but listening to that setup would lead to the conclusion that a centre is better, when it's simply less worse. In that situation, a small pair of standmounts either side of the screen would have been clearer and as they were so close to each other, there was no chance of any 'hole' in the middle needing filling.

    I do use a centre but only sparingly. At normal volumes, it's presence or not is barely discernable. It's only real benefit comes when listening at Dolby reference volumes when an additional 50% more drivers and amplification is obviously really handy. I do not use DPLII or DTS Neo:6 or any other fake surround modes, because as anybody used to good stereo will tell you a stereo soundtrack has width and depth all of which allows a natural space to separate out the individual components of the soundtrack. Faking the additional centre channel simply collapses this depth and produces a one dimensional image for no increase in clarity.

    I'm am lucky enough to be able to run three identical speakers at identical height/orientation across the front of a large screen, with room to have 30cm+ of space behind them and have a wife who tollerates it. If you look in my 'HT Piccies' you will see that I had a similarly cramped setup with rubbish dialogue when I first moved into this house. I have evolved my system to what suits the room and the irony is a that now I've achieved that seamless centre integration across the front, I use the centre less than I ever have, simply because the stereo reproduction is so much better than it was having benefited from the same changes that improved the centre's reproduction.

    Russell
     
  21. -Ad-

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    Running a 4.0 setup (no sub YET), and it sound much better than any cheap 5.1 system I have heard. Stereo imaging from the fronts is excellent, and all I have done is plonk them either side of the screen and toe them in a bit. I haven't even put the spikes on the stands yet which just sit on the carpet atm :rolleyes::)

    Running my ATCs as front spowered by the lyngdorf, which feeds into a yammy DSP-E800 that takes care of the DD + DTS processing and feeds the MA B2 rear speakers. It's a bit of a bunged together system atm, but when I get the SPL meter along with my BK sub, I can actually go about setting the levels correctly as doing it by ear really isn't accurate at all.

    In my boat I wouldn't sacrifice the quality of a good pair of fronts just to fit in a centre as I listen to a lot of music, plus to get a matching centre would cost me a silly amount, just for the one centre as well as an amp capable of matching the lyngdorf.

    Will steal one of my dads wharedale Modus cubes and try it out as a centre to see how it sounds, but I don't have high hopes in the slightest ;)
     
  22. swiftpete

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    I've been running a 4.1 setup for about 2 weeks and just got the centre yesterday. It doesn't sound hugely different really. It sounded good before the centre came and now I've heard the difference in sound (not huge) I wouldn't miss the centre that much if it wasn't possible to have one.

    Depends if the rest of your speakers are half reasonable I guess.
     
  23. Normal Bias

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    I think this is a case of theory vs reality. In theory, no centre is needed because a decent processor will be able to mix the centre channel in perfectly, and if the seating position and speaker placement is right, the vocals will seem to come out of the screen itself (try putting a driver there!). In these geometrically ideal conditions, no centre may well be better.

    In practice, the L and R channels are typically either end of the short wall of the room, which means any given sofa placed along the long wall will position a listener closer to one of the stereo speakers. In this case it may beneficial to have the vocals eminate from a dedicated driver nearer the screen.

    In other words, YMMV :)
     
  24. smarty

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    This is very interesting.
    I have Kef iQ7 front speakers and was using a Q95c centre from the time I had Q55.2s as fronts. I decided I wanted to upgrade the 95 to the iQ6c as I was never that happy with the 95 and the iQ6c matches the iQ7s better.
    However, the iQ6c is quite a big speaker and would mean changing our fireplace surround to one with a deeper shelf, which I'm prepared to do. However, the one thing I never thought of trying was to completely remove the centre (I'm using an Arcam AVR300 to power this).
    I'll have to try this tonight. The reason I want to try it is that it would save a lot of expense and hassle!
    My front speakers are 6 feet apart (either side of the fireplace) and we sit about 12 feet away from them, directly opposite and centred to the screen. We listen to normal TV through them in stereo generally and the speech is very centred. In fact, I've asked people before where they think the sound is coming from and they point at the centre speaker when there's actually no sound coming from it.

    It will be interesting to see what happens when I play a DVD back to back with and without a centre. If there's no difference then I'll flog the iQ6c and keep the existing fire surround.
    I'll let you know how I get on.
     
  25. Normal Bias

    Normal Bias
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    For the avoidance of doubt, one must tell the AVR that there is no centre rather than just disconnect it :)
     
  26. jtritton

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    smarty how did you get on.

    im planning on getting some kef iq50 fronts and iq10s for the rear and dont really have any room for a center speaker anywhere. yet to purchase as still trying to work out if having no center speaker is possible yet.
     
  27. Mark.Yudkin

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    The KEF IQ60c is 16.5cm high. You should not have too many difficulties fitting 16.5cm above or below the TV, and the IQ60c will nicely match the IQ50s.

    In other words, just because I don't run a centre doesn't mean you shouldn't.
     

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