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Raising centre channel level - good idea?

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by Godfather, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I sometimes find movie dialogue hard to make out and so have increased the centre channel level to 1-2 dB higher than the other channels. Does anyone else do this?
     
  2. eddiea

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    I had the same prob, cured it by tilting my centre a few degrees so the speakers were pointing directly at my head when in the listening position.:smashin:
     
  3. William Shin

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    I do the same thing.
    But also you can consider to upgrade a centre speaker, e.g. B&W LCR600 to improve sound.
     
  4. Squirrel God

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    I do this too, but I used the test tones to set it. Mine's +3dB above the left and right fronts. It's not that dialogue is unclear, it's just that it's too quiet for my liking. I think it's a side effect of the dynamic range of 5.1 soundtracks, as there's a huge volume difference between quiet conversations and big explosions.
     
  5. Nemesis Twin

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    Increasing the Centre Channel a few db won´t hurt. Might also be worth switching on the Dynamic Range Compression if you are constantly turning the volume level up & down. Most amps/receivers have a few settings for this, Low, Mid, High etc.;)
     
  6. Squirrel God

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    Yeah but then you miss out on quite a bit if you set it to anything other than max. I think turning the centre channel up a little is the best compromise. For me anyway :)
     
  7. Nemesis Twin

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    Its not that you lose any details but you will lose the impact of explosions etc. For example when you a have a quiet moment then a sudden burst of loudness. With the DRC on you wont get this as the dynamic range is decreased (depending on the setting).

    Personally I leave the DRC off but it is does have its uses if you have neighbours that don´t like being blown out of their chairs by your AV system.:laugh:
     
  8. Johndm

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    My Mission centre is set +3, as it fires directly into my knees!
    Might also try aiming it up a few degrees, but that means putting it in the bottom of TV stand.

    Also thinking of maybe two centres, one below the screen, and one above to 'centre' the centre if you know what I mean!
    But that means going back to an external amp to power them.

    Already use a external amp for twin rear centres with my VA555ES, and the Sony volume controls the external amps output level.

    Guess I could run two centre 8ohm speakers in parallel direct from the Sony?
     
  9. Nemesis Twin

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    You can also have problems running two centre channels with regards to one cancelling the other out at certain frequencies. You´d be better off repositioning and tweaking your current centre speaker.
     
  10. Johndm

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    ============================================
    Advice heeded, will try the angle job.

    Now need ANOTHER excuse to pop into Sevenoaks this morning:D
     
  11. Squirrel God

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    Yes that's what I was referring to ;)
     
  12. Squirrel God

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    Why isn't your centre speaker on the top of your TV? :confused:
     
  13. Johndm

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    ==============================================
    Its in TV cabinet about 10" from bottom of the screen.

    Just looking at TV, and top is angled down a few degrees!
    Think its gonna go on top for a test.....bugger the shopping!
     
  14. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I think part of my problem is that my centre is on top of my RPTV meaning that it's 5 and a half feet off the ground and a couple of feet above ear level. I've angled it down a bit but the positioning isn't perfect.
     
  15. Squirrel God

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    Yeah, guess it does depend on the size of your TV. My set is a 28" CRT and my sofa is quite high, so the centre is only slightly above ear level.

    However, I notice that placing speakers higher than ear level results in more treble, whereas if they're below ear level, it results in more of a bassy sound. I'd say that out of the two options, the former is more preferable for dialogue.
     
  16. GuitarGray

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    i find a few db above l+r works fine but....moviesin dts seem to have same vol centre and a lot louder surround sound. ..or is it just my cheep centre speaker causint the difference??
     
  17. jasper_mccrea

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    Godfather,

    I used to have my centre on top of my RPTV (when I still had it). I changed to putting it on a stand in front of the telly, so that the top was pretty much level with the bottom of the screen. Made a hell of a difference, I thought. Most dialogue seemed to sound more like it was coming from people's mouths, rather than the tops of their heads.

    Now I have a 28" (tv too big for flat), I've gone back to speaker on top of telly, and don't notice it too much, but when the screen was 55", I really did notice a difference.

    Jasper
     
  18. petrolhead

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    I must admin being a little muton I have raised the ctr by 1db.
     
  19. Godfather

    Godfather
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    I had my centre on a stand in front of the TV for about 6 months but have put it back on top when I upgraded to a much larger centre speaker. I'll try putting it on a stand again to see if it sounds better. A problem with this setup though is that the centre would be 1-2' in front of the L and R channels which I believe isn't ideal.
     
  20. jasper_mccrea

    jasper_mccrea
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    1-2', my god that must be huge! I suppose for those people watching off centre might notice a difference, but as long as you have the delays set ok, it should sound allright for most positions.

    I upgraded from a tannoy mxc to an eyris. The front of the mxc was 8-10" from the front of the telly. I suppose when I get a big screen again (unless it's a plasma), I might have this 1-2' problem myself (sigh).

    Jasper
     
  21. uncle eric

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    There is actually a new school of thought (and something that I've tried and liked) that says the centre channel should be adjusted downwards by a few dB ????

    The reason for this is that most of todays soundtracks are mastered with the centre channel a little too "up front".
    In other words, it's felt that this discrete channel is mostly too isolated from the rest of the front soundstage in terms of it's discreteness. This is of course unnatural as "full isolation" of the central soundstage just doesn't take place in real life as the front soundstage is more of an overall presentation.

    Taming the centre channels output by a few dB's adds more realism to the overall front soundstage and offers a little less isolation to the centre channel whilst still being able to anchor things on centre when neccessary.
     
  22. FoxyMulder

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    When i'm listening to a Dolby 5.1 track i set to +1 for centre when i have DTS on i find between +2 and +3 to be ideal depending on the film and i don't know if anyone else has noticed a difference between Dolby and DTS with regards to the centre channel output ? (( centres on top of the tv about 1 foot above left and right speakers)) also i moved my subwoofer from one side of the room to a central position between all 5 speakers and made sure the spikes into the floor were secure and the bass from my RelQ201 has vastly improved its made the world of difference and i'm very happy :)
     
  23. Squirrel God

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    See, the problem with setting speaker volumes using test tones and/or SPL meters is that it assumes a 'perfect' soundtrack mix, which is not always the case.

    We should therefore not be surprised that we have to tweak a little.
     
  24. adox

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    i had until recently my centre channel at about +1 or +2 above left and right, but i have brought it back to the same as the left and right and now find it much better. it increases the "wideness" on the front sound stage as the centre doesnt dominate anymore.
     
  25. petrolhead

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    Very good point and relevant if you suffer from a little deafness. Its all to easy to accept the spl setting, yes they are correct BUT not nesesserally for the individual
     
  26. uncle eric

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    Exactly my point.
    Squirrel God also has a good point in that soundtracks are of course variable. However, you've got to start somewhere.
     
  27. deckard

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    Well, my little bit of trial and error goes along with Eric, I find I like the centre just 1dB lower than the other channels. This seems to just take the 'edge' off of it without it subjectively sounding any quieter.
     
  28. stranger

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    that may be fine for some but when I tried it I couldn't make out the speach in a lot of films, a lot of actors don't speak clearly (mainly american) either which doesn't help.
     
  29. Squirrel God

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    Also, in cinemas, isn't the centre speaker placed behind the screen? This is clearly not the same as in HC set ups and I don't think that DVD releases modify their 5.1/6.1 mixes to compensate for this do they? If not, this would also contribute to the dialogue problem I would've thought (even with correct speaker delays set).

    Maybe someone else can confirm/refute this :)
     
  30. nathan_silly

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    I don't need to adjust the centre (to deviate from the test tone SPL setting) Perhaps only good centre speakers reproduce intelligable voice, and the bad ones can't?
     

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