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Front soundstage without a centre speaker?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Dimmy, Sep 10, 2003.

  1. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    I've had a few frustrations about the tonality between my 775e fronts & 77c1 centre recently. The centre is way off the mark, and doesn't have the same tonal characteristics as the floorstanding fronts at all...

    Out of curiosity last night whilst watching Jurrassic Park, I turned the centre channel off, Result :D

    Of course it was rather odd not having dialogue 'locked' to the screen, but there were no more tonal inconsistencies or anything of the sort, and I have to say that the movie soundtrack subsequently became a lot more enjoyable.

    If I were to sell this speaker would you suggest just living without a centre, or replacing it with another floorstander or possibly a 771e standmount (which I tried, and works much better, but I only have two and I'm using them for L/R Rears).

    Will a descently matched centre channel be better than another 77 series loudspeaker? And will it offer benefits over just not having a centre?

    Thanks for reading :)
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Quite a few films have virtually all of the dialogue on the centre channel,and you'll certainly noice that when it happens!...you should really consider a well matched centre speaker for your system....just try as many as you can before you buy.
     
  3. dunkyboy

    dunkyboy
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    As long as you're the only one who watches movies (or cares much about the sound), then a phantom centre is perfectly fine. What you lose out on is dialogue coming from the right place no matter where you sit (not just the sweet spot), plus that added SPL and sense of scale and dynamics that an extra set of drivers provide (though TBH with your monster 775s, I doubt the 77C1 was adding much in the way of SPL...) The other thing to consider is whether the processing that mixes the centre channel into the front L and R speakers degrades the quality by any noticeable degree. Some processors aren't so good for that sort of thing, and may add distortion.

    In short, if you like how it sounds, don't feel you NEED to use a centre speaker.

    Dunc
     
  4. Jase

    Jase
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    I'm firmly in the camp of having an identical centre speaker to match the left & right speakers. Once you've heard a system like that it's very hard to go back to anything else as everything sounds so much more cohesive when they are identical.:)
     
  5. dunkyboy

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    Aye aye, I'm definitely with you there, Jase. :)

    Dunc
     
  6. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    Dimmy, while I was waiting for my M&Ks I tried a pair of TDL floorstanders with a "phantom" centre.

    Ugh. Horrible horrible horrible.

    Even a centre speaker which isn't tonally balanced is a huge improvement over no centre at all. The front soundstage loses alot of depth by going the phantom route imho, and doesn't sound cinematic at all. No centre speaker is criminal imho.
     
  7. dunkyboy

    dunkyboy
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    Smurfin, sounds like either a naff pair of speakers, or you didn't have time to set them up properly. I guarantee a pair of ATCs with no centre is infinitely preferable to the same ATCs with a Mission 77C1....... No lack of, uhh, cinematicness with just the two ATCs, honest. :)

    Bottom line - try it out. If it sounds good - great. :smashin:

    Dunc
     
  8. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    The biggest problem isn't Dialogue, it's that you don't JUST get dialogue from the centre speaker, you get other sounds too, and when these come out of the centre speaker they sound extremely flat & uninvolving, especially in PLII - which I use a lot.

    Without the centre the imaging for the dialogue's still pretty good, and I can't hear any drop in quality. Obviously I'd prefer to have a centre, but just not the 77C1.

    It sounds V good indeed now, but I don't doubt it'd sound better with a descently matched centre speaker. The problem is getting hold of a floorstander - and finding a place for it (i.e., it will obscure the TV & isn't shielded anyway).

    Matt - you probably used crap floorstanders :) And I'm guessing this is the problem you had with these very speakers just a few short months ago (prompted your upgrade?).

    Dunc - I'm often the only person using the kit, but don't always sit in the 'sweet spot' to to speak, so a centre would be helpful. Maybe if I could get hold of another pair of 775e floorstanders and invest in a projector... Or just use 773e floorstanders?!?!?

    Confusing!
     
  9. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    It's settled now - the 77c1 has to go. Just watched a bit more material on it & it sounds much better switched off - little less coherence from the front, but dialogue in particular takes a new 'zest' which wasn't present with it switched on...

    Now to try and get hold of a 773e floorstander...
     
  10. Smurfin

    Smurfin
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    The TDLs are far from crap, although I admit they were setup hastily as a temporary measure. I still stand by my original comment though, no centre speaker sounds crap to me.

    Ideally you need another 775e, although you'll potentially have trouble there:

    1. Finding someone who wants to sell these in the first place (they don't come up often)

    2. Finding someone willing to sell just one.

    3. They are huge buggers (as you well know)...which means your screen will need to be extremely high on the wall. And anything other than a projector/rear pro TV is out due to magnetic shielding.

    You'll probably need to buy another pair rather than just one, but I've never seen cherry 775es come up for sale on these forums (you could be waiting months).

    Alternatively, sell the 775es and look at buying 3 x identical front speakers....
     
  11. Dimmy

    Dimmy
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    Haha - I've only had them for three weeks!

    It wouldn't kill me not to have a Cherry centre 775e. I can live without the aesthetic balance (I guess).

    If I were to get a third one that'd instantly mean Projector - and I have no idea where my TV would go were a floorstander to be placed centre-stage.

    I think I'll have another play with using a 771e as a centre...

    Will get back to y'all on this.
     
  12. adesonic

    adesonic
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    I have no centre speaker (altho I have been toying with the idea of getting one) and altho my front mains are in the "budget" category, I find that dialogue is pretty much "locked" to my screen and is always crisp and clear.
    I am not sure how much improvement a matched centre speaker would give me, the matching eltax centre is a fairly large affair and I would have to balance any imporvement in sound against the potential "wife factors" of more money and yet another box in the front room!
     
  13. z5461313

    z5461313
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    How do you get the center speaker output to come out of your left and right speakers?

    Dolby Digital setting on the amp assumes a center speaker

    Is there another setting you can set to say you only have 4 speakers and a sub-woofer?

    ( I too don't like my center speaker and would prefer it to come out of the left and right )
     
  14. adesonic

    adesonic
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    Somewhere on your amps menu, you should have a speaker settings sub menu, which allows you to set the speaker sizes (i.e. large or small) and allows you to specify a channel as "off" if you want to (at least that's how mine works). On my AVR 100, I have set the centre channel to "off" and the amp send the centre signal to the front left and right speakers. If I leave the centre channel ON, the dialogue almost disappears!
     

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