How important is it to mount a centre-front in the centre? :-)

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by timfg, Dec 21, 2006.

  1. timfg

    timfg
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    I have a plasma sitting on one of these:

    http://www.ebuyer.com/UK/product/115469/rb/23898991123

    And it may be on there for a while - certainly for longer than I'm likely to buy some speakers to partner with the Denon 1507 I bought at the same time. So...I'm thinking the only sane place to put a centre is under the TV, but that precludes dead-centre placement - I might get the tweeter near enough.....should I care that much? Or will the 1507 setup sort it out anyway?
     
  2. Cheekster

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    Depending on the centre speaker your using, how wide the soundfield if projected from it and how far away the listening position is, you may find it's not a huge issue?

    There's often reasons why we can't place speakers in the "ideal positions" as per text book but we seem to live with them, hehe.

    Cheekster.
     
  3. timfg

    timfg
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  4. Member 96948

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    The image may stay locked to the screen as long as you are not too far off axis.

    But, not having a center speaker, causes your amp to down mix the Dolby Digital center channel to the the two main speakers AND apply a dynamic range compression to prevent overloading them with the extra channel's output.

    Clarity will remain intact, but the full impact won't.

    Russell
     
  5. timfg

    timfg
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    OK - so how do I choose centre and rears to match my front floorstanders? They're big beasts from some company that went bust several years back - but I'm really loathe to ditch them , they sound fantastic (and cost £1k 10 years ago). I really don't want to to drag them to listening rooms, any rules of thumb?

    And do I really need a subwoofer, given the bass of the fronts?
     
  6. timfg

    timfg
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    And here's a daft thought (possibly)....

    The Panny TH42PX60 I have has a pair of audio inputs.... What would stop me from connecting the front-centre to these....? I'm wondering whether this will conflict with the audio over SCART from my Sky+ Box (or have no effect, as the volume will be zero'd...) But, for DVD....if I connect via component...this seems, theoretically, to be a solution? I'm not really bothered about decent HC audio apart from DVD in any case....

    Sheeesh. This stuff is too bloody complicated...
     
  7. huntere

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    I would try and get a centre. For movies its a very large %age of the sound stage.

    Has you Denon got 6ch output? If so you try only inputting the centre channel via a splitter to the Panny. BUT you can't have vol at ) or you wont here it. In this case you need to be able to select that as input audio with SCART for video when using Sky.

    And yes indeed compliated!
     
  8. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Hello timfg

    When you were out shopping for your 1K HiFi speakers ten years ago if the guy/girl in the shop had suggested you buy just one of them and use your TV speaker for the other channel would you have tried it???

    Mixing and matching loudspeakers in a multi-channel system is possible - though tricky to get a decent tonal and dispersion balance if you have too many 'extremes' in your loudspeaker line up.

    Depending on your budget, room size, ancillary equipment and listening taste you may be better off with a matched system - I'd suggest auditioning a few entry level 'systems' to begin with and then asses your HiFi speakers again.

    I find a lot of folk who have grown accustomed to listening to a decent HiFi are more at home with your current set up (everything mixed down to a front LR pair) and struggle to find a 5.1 'system' that sounds correct within a 'sensible' budget.

    If you do want to go 'multi channel' and stick with your HiFi speakers then personally I'd prefer to stick with your current 'phantom Centre channel' than introduce a poor quality Centre speaker (doubly so if you cant position the Centre properly) and add a decent set of surrounds and a sub to you current set up.

    Joe
     
  9. timfg

    timfg
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    Heh. I didn't pay £1k for them, my neighbour did - he gave them to me for £200 when he blew £3k on some electrostatic monsters.

    Interesting comments otherwise though. I previously had a Philips TV that output 5.1: I used the TV as the centre, fed the floorstanders via Rotel pre/power amps. The rears were a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 3s, my first 'proper' speakers, bought 20 years ago, fed via a NAD 3020e, my first 'proper amp. I thought it sounded pretty good, but I am no HCophile - it was my first and only experience of surround-sound. I'm intending to wire up the same speakers as rears in the next day or so and see what it sounds like, but I'm still struggling with the centre (and whether to procure a sub as well - not sure I need it). I'm thinking I might go and buy a decentish centre from Richer or similar and a sub - perhaps spend £100 on each. Interesting though, your comments re just L&R fronts - I had this on last night with the amp set to 'simulated surround' or whatever the setting's called, and I thought it sounded rather good. But I'm always going to be conscious that this isn't 'right' and, however good it sounded, there's no substitute for real rears...

    But, regardless, this will be a true mishmash, albeit one driven from a reasonable amp. When (and if) I mount the TV on the opposite wall I can mount a centre appropriately, so I'm not too bothered about it being a tad off-centre at the moment...but I am keen to do this as optimally as possible, without losing my floorstanders. And I struggle to find the time to audition stuff: I have a busy job and two young children :-(

    Thoughts?

    PS - a bit of sotto voce heresy....I'm going to have to join an additional length of cable to the existing for the rears, as I'm not recabling the room for what may be a very short-lived arrangement. How much is this going to impact the reproduction?...it's pretty cheap cable anyway.... I know it will work, but....
     
  10. Joe Fernand

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    Hello timfg

    With 200.00 GBP in the budget I'd stick with the Phantom Centre and spend the 200.00 GBP on the sub.

    Anything from bare wire twist (covered with electricians tape) and chocolate block upwards has been used in countless systems to 'extend' loudspeaker cables - in a high resolution system you would want to avoid it but for many real world systems its a matter of necessity; just make sure no stray strands from the + and - side can touch.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  11. timfg

    timfg
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    Really? I thought the sub might be a bit superfluous, given the floorstanders...perhaps I'll just do that - I can always add a centre when the TV's positioned so I can put one in the right place.... On the budget front... I think there's an element of HiFi snobbery in me that says Front L&R are proper Hi-Fi speakers, all of the surround stuff doesn't need to be that clever to do its job.... Heck, I just baulked (a bit) at spending £250 on an AV amp, when I happily ran my fronts though £800 of pre/power amps and considered it no more than a sensible investment.

    This is probably wrong :) I just need to continue adjusting my thinking...

    Thanks for (what I think was) reassurance on joining cables not being the sin I would consider it if it was my music setup a few years ago :) Children have mellowed my perspective on the pursuit of sonic perfection, along with my views on 'a sensible sum' to spend on HiFi /AV kit...
     
  12. italianninja

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    its very important to have a centre speaker. your just unlucky with your stand. Put it on ebay see what you can get for it and buy a soundstyle rack!
     
  13. Joe Fernand

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    Hello timfg

    Lots of Music/HiFi fans tend to have the same outlook/problem - partly down to being used to a certain quality of two channel playback and a reluctance to spend the required amount to achieve that same quality across a 5.1 (or more) system.

    Your floor standers combined with the Denon AV Receiver wont give you the affect/attack an active sub will deliver from the LFE channel of a well mixed movie - though you'll want to set the AV Receiver to NOT use the sub for Music playback.

    Have you ditched the Pre/Power?

    Joe
     
  14. timfg

    timfg
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    You do realise that you're just persuading me that I need to spend more money? So you're not really helping? :)

    I haven't decided what I'm going to do with the other bits of kit.... I have a Pioneer A250 driving some JPW Sonatas in another room (my second 'proper' amp and speakers :)), from a Richer Philips CD player I bought about 15 years ago, so I'll probably do some swapping around. The irony of all this is that I virtually never listen to music in the room with the best kit, a tad more in the second room (which has really been taken over by children) and the vast majority in the kitchen through some Aiwa micro-system. The latter from CD, or WMA streamed over the network and fed from a small laptop.

    This is what happens when you have children.
     
  15. Jaunty

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    How big is your rear speaker going to be - can't it fit in the middle of the unit? As long as the tweeter is not directly blocked by the centre support bar it should be ok I would have thought. I guess it depends how much other kit you have to fit in to the unit.
     
  16. timfg

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    I presume you mean the centre? But yes, I'm thinking this is much what I'll try and achieve: I may have to stack some kit to make the room, but I think that will probably work, as long as I choose 'source' components. And I can stagger the stand slightly if needed, to get the tweeter dead-centre - but I'm not sure it really needs it.

    I'm off to Richer tomorrow and I might well be coming back with an MS 304 and an MS 309 sub. I'm more comfortable with the latter as an audio selection, the centre is more of a punt to see how well it works - but I'm happy risking £100 on a punt, the sub would be too much :)
     
  17. stevos

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    I have never heard that an AV amp downmixes the centre channel when you are using a phantom centre and to be honest i don't understand why it would need to. The talk of it overloading the main speakers doesn't add up since cd and even more so sacd/dvd-a/dolby trueHD pass far far higher bit rates through the speakers than standard dolby digital does.

    Anyway, i have recently added a B&W htm2 centre to my system after running phantom with my 805's for a year or so and can't actually say there is much difference.
     
  18. timfg

    timfg
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    Interesting comment: I did put a MS304 in as a centre, and also added a Gale 4070 sub, both bought from Richer on the basis that they'll take them back if I don't like them. I'm not convinced about the centre either - it's certainly no worse, but I don't really hear it being any better either. The benefit may be to people sitting in less than optimal positions, but most of the time there aren't any - and SWMBO could care less in any case.

    The Gale sub was well worth it though - I'm sure there are HCisti out there who would consider it sub-optimal in the sub arena, but it lends no end of presence to the soundtrack. I am now sold on the concept of subs, however good I may think my floorstanders :)
     

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