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No need for centre ?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by jimbowley, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. jimbowley

    jimbowley
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    Do most/all av amps have a phantom centre mode where the centre channel is sent to the fronts?

    If the fronts are spaced evenly this must centre the speech just fine? And it saves all the trouble of getting a tonally matched centre and probably looks better as well.

    At this rate I'm only going to use 4 of my 7 amplifier channels, perhaps I need an amp with pre out/power in connections so I can feed the subwoofer pre-out to the unused channel(s).
     
  2. General Skanky

    General Skanky
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    Correct imho. However, I run 4.1, and as good as it looks and sounds, were a centre to appear, the sound will be much better.

    Unfortunately, the more speakers that are present, the more cohesive and discrete the sound can be.
     
  3. eviljohn2

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    I'd tend to agree but it does depend on a few factors. If your speakers are evenly spaced but a long distance apart then it would sound a bit weird as voices wouldn't be locked to the screeen but float around it. I would expect the most important factor to be how well the decoder amalgamates the centre channel into the front 2 channels.

    Don't forget that the 6th channel was introduced because people thought there was a gap in the rear soundstage (Not that I use the ES capability I have at the moment). :)
     
  4. General Skanky

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    I'm not sure about that.

    The more that you can 'place' a sound accurately, the better it'll sound overall.

    A good front stereo pair will always be very good. However in DD/DTS 5.1, the front centre for example plays a big role, the biggest some would argue.

    The best decoder for instance, can therefore sound better still with a centre. ie, the left to right pan would be so much more realisitc.
     
  5. ajkean

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    I'm relatively new into HC (about 2yrs now), but what I remember many people telling me, from reputable shops, is that the centre is the most important speaker.
     
  6. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    That would depend on how well matched the centre and front pair are. If they aren't identical then there could be a good chance of it being better without.

    It will also depend on how well mixed the DVD is etc. I don't think there's a definitive answer as it depends very much on equipment and room layout. Using a dedicated should sound better though.
     
  7. Mr Cat

    Mr Cat
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    I was upgrading my system bit by bit and I didn't have a centre speaker for a while - the sound whilst watching movies was terrible (whilst at the time I thought it was ok) - when someone was talking I had to turn the volume up, and when an action scene came on I kept having to turn the volume down! - very unbalanced in my experience...

    if you have another stereo in your house - even a bedroom mini, try a test with the speaker (and cable) from that...even that will sound better than no speaker! it's what I'm using now, an old technics speaker until I can buy a Kef Q9c centre...!
     
  8. jimbowley

    jimbowley
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    Mr Cat - Did you have a phantom mode? or were you just missing the whole channel?

    Ajkean - people who sell speakers are always going to think 3 sound better than 2. (and 7 better than 5. Is there a 9speaker DSP mode yet? what about 15?)

    It's the age old problem, until I have 3 good speakers at the front I won't know what I'm missing (or not) when I take one away.

    When I finally get all my kit, I will answer all my own questions and let everyone know.

    But my view would be that if a good stereo image can accurately place instrument positions in an orchestra, then it should have no trouble positioning speech in the middle.

    I was going to, but didn't, ask whether 5.1 soundtracks tend to put the speech dead centre or whether they move it around anyway.

    My view is that it's probably important eg in a cinema where you may be sitting with a right channel speaker 2m from your right ear and the left channel might be 10m away. But not important if L and R are in front of you like at home.
     
  9. Jules Tohpipi

    Jules Tohpipi
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    If you are sat bang centrally, and your L+R speakers are well set-up, then one could argue a strong case that the centre channel becomes redundant, in that specifically described situation. This is how one would ideally listen to music - and get a good central image. So that's all well and good for that situation.

    Where there is more than one listener, or you are not sat centrally, then a centre speaker becomes imperative, as the mono centre channel information will jump to the nearest speaker, collapsing the front sound stage.

    So, if it's just you listening to films in the same manner as a top quality music system, then don't bother with the centre speaker. If you have wife/girlfriend or kids in the room too, then you'll seriously be impairing their enjoyment and sense of realism if you ditch the centre. That's ultimately what it comes down to (for someone approaching this all from an audiophile music direction).

    BTW, it is written into the Dolby and DTS specs, that all processors MUST offer a phantom mode - otherwise you don't get approval. And 99.72% of films place the dialogue dead centre rather than moving it around. Off-hand, I can only think of Apocalypse Now where the dialogue moves around.
     
  10. Paulbmw

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    Ive always thought the centre output a let down with av when it comes to dialogue.If you get your centre speaker choice correct then i think its essential to have it.(Dolby knows best :) )It may be me,but i always have to tinker with the centre output/speaker and sometimes i cant get 100% satisfaction.I just got a VSX-D814 and found that you dont need to space fronts equally anymore to get that pretend centre feel.Its auto setup sets the various delays so that almost wherever you put your fronts it will sound fairly centered.I tried some really strange placements and was very surprised with what you could get away with :)
     

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