No Center Speaker - good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by tommy, Mar 6, 2002.

  1. tommy

    tommy
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    If using very good front speakers, would adding a center really make a difference?
    I would guess that maybe there is a sweet spot issue, but if the sweet spot is large enough only using front speakers...
     
  2. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    Big difference. With 5.1 / 6.1 and 7.1 signals, typically 70% goes through the centre speaker. Feed it a good centre and you will see real benefits. However feed it a cheap small centre and just a L/R may well be better. Think about the size of your/ everyones L/R speaker and then see how small the C is that is taking the lion share of the music and ask yourself whether you think it makes sense. Most people use a small centre (with different drive units to the L/R) and these just don't work.

    We want more big centres.;) The centre is an important channel, perhaps the MOST important
     
  3. mjn

    mjn
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    there's another thread, i think its in the amplifier section, regarding this query.

    I think the thread is called Phantom centre speaker.....have a look
     
  4. Lowrider

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    You defenetly need a center for movies and TV listening, it also gives you a larger sweet spot...

    Now, for music, I would say you don´t need for the majority of discs, but some do sound worst without it...

    I used to think the center was the most important speaker, and I had the 5 speakers with same drivers and similar size boxes. After much experimenting I came to the conclusion that in most 5.1 discs you mainly get voice thru them, so they have to play voice at least as well as the fronts and match exactly their timbre, or you get two different voices per person.

    So I upgraded the fronts, but still use the center, as it does what I mention above very well...
     
  5. Guest

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    I'm composing a major post about why we don't need centres...
     
  6. lmccauley

    lmccauley
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    Another thing to bear in mind is that the location of a speaker can have a large effect on how it sounds. E.g. the same speaker may sound differently if it is standing free compared to being on a shelf underneath the TV.

    Cheers,
    Liam
     
  7. bob007

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    Common knowledge that if you have the front speakers 8/9ft apart and you are sat bang in the middle and you don't move your head and one's ears to be rigidly fixed in place as Confucius puts it, all the way through the film it will give a reasonable sound stage with the dialogue appearing to be from the screen, as soon as you move from that position your soundstage goes out the window.
    We are talking HOME CINEMA here, not every home will have just one chair bang infront of the TV.
    I have seating down the side wall and across the room, if i were sat on the settee on the side wall without a centre the right hand speaker would dominate, where's the sound stage now, but with a centre it helps lock not just dialogue but all special F/X to the screen, helping to create the soundstage from that seating position.
    ......... you can get away without a centre, if you and only you are sat bang in the middle of the main fronts, but not ideal and wouldn't advise it.
    If you have various seating angles then a centre is a vital part of the system.
     
  8. uncle eric

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    I'm all ears.

    Eric
     
  9. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Like Gary Lineker ?
     
  10. paiger

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    Or Des that used to be on Neighbours.
     
  11. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Here's my take on this issue (cut and pasted from the recent thread on this subject within the Amplifiers section):

    I'd say that it is surprising how good DD/DTS can sound with a phantom centre (I've tried it) as long as you sit centrally between the left and right speakers.

    However, when you switch the centre back in there is a definite improvement. Anyone who thinks the centre speaker overwhelms the left and right speakers has probably got their centre set at too high a volume - mine certainly was until I got an SPL meter and set it up properly.

    If I had no room for a centre speaker I reckon I could cope on the phantom centre option but, then again, you can get some pretty classy centres (e.g. M&K S85C) that take up next to no room but sound wonderful.
     
  12. uncle eric

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    I can't think of a single valid reason, why it would be beneficial sonically, to avoid the use of a 'hard' centre channel and matrix this signal to the Left and Right fronts.
    If anyone else does, educate us please.

    Eric
     
  13. uncle eric

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    Now I know why you wanted me to do the listening tests on those speakers. :mad::rolleyes:

    Eric
     
  14. Guest

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    As a big-eared Irish man, i take offence at your Gary lineker gibe Ian. So we have a big pair of sky dishes welded to the sound of our heads. You know what they say about men with big ears don't you? Big ear buds...:clown:
     
  15. mjn

    mjn
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    ok, you posted this over 15 hours ago.......and we're still waiting, can only assume thats a huge post you're typing!!
     
  16. Guest

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    Stand down. I'm actually really busy doing far more important things than educate you lot [tougue -> cheek].

    Mike.
     
  17. uncle eric

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    whoooooo

    Eric
     
  18. greeny

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    Uncle Eric Said:
    The question arises Eric if you have a good hifi system with front speakers costing several thousand pounds and you want to add a reasonably priced HC extention to this (in my case using a Denon 3802).

    Is it better sonically matrixing the centre into the fronts that are driven by £4000 worth of Power amp and cost £2500 or to let the Denon produce the centre through an unmatched £200 centre speaker???.

    This is a genuine question.
     
  19. uncle eric

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    Greeny,
    In order for me to make a comment, can you tell me what your other equipment is. L/R speakers, amps, surounds etc.
    You've only specified the 3802 by name. All the rest are prices.

    Thanks
    Eric
     
  20. Lowrider

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    Please read my post about the center channel on the "amplifiers and receivers forum.

    It is not a technical paper, just sharing my experience... :cool:
     
  21. mjn

    mjn
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    Surely, speakers costing thousands.....are going to be a bit out of place on a denon3802...?

    what power amps etc are you using?
     
  22. greeny

    greeny
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    Eric

    I was trying to make the query not specific to see what the general advice may be, (and so it might be useful for others also).



    but since you ask.
    My fronts are Naim SBL's driven by Naim 135 power amps (and Naim 82 preamp). As said I wanted to add a reasonably priced (compaired to main system) Surround HC experiance. So to this I have added a Denon 3802, 4 * Kef Cresta 1's (cheap) as rears and surround, a REL Q400 (cheap s/h).

    Here is the funny bit, at the moment my TV is not between the Front L/R speakers but just to the right of the right front speaker. So clearly a centre is essential, and I have a Mission 77c1 (?? I think) on top of the TV. But when I rearrange the Lounge in a few weeks I was thinking I would probably Junk the centre and would get better results with a phantom. Bear in mind the new Naim centre speaker costs around £2000, I think Proac are suppost to match Naim quite well but even their option is arround £800 (I think).

    The total price of my HC additions are about £1200.
     
  23. uncle eric

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    greeny,
    The general advice is as before.
    If you are going to use Kef's as part of your home cinema set up, then get another for your centre.
    If you want to use your hi quality Naims from your two channel set up, then match them up with the Naim centre. Its that simple.

    In the meantime, consider this very carefully, you may get the picture.
    Definition of Phantom:
    Apparition, hallucination, mirage, and my favourite and perhaps the most apt, Delusion.

    Eric
     
  24. Guest

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    How about Spectre ?
     

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