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Let’s talk center speakers!

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hobie1dog

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All of my speakers are made by the same company. The three across the front 2 floor standing models and a matching horizontal centre channel work perfectly for me. The sub is from the same Cdn company and the two rear speakers are smaller, active speakers from the same company that match beautifully. I'm sure there are better sytems but I'm super happy with mine.
what company?
 

J. PUPSTER

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I had been passing by this thread for some time cuz I thought the dreaded center front speaker was a dead end , like analog vs digital discussions. But once I got into it I am impressed by how much effort everyone here has put into getting it just right for their own individual needs. And the diversity in set ups is considerable. In’s in that regard, mainly from quicksrt that I’m responding. My whole room & CF speaker arrangement is almost the opposite of his but I find it fascinating that somethings so different can sound so right to different listeners.

My Bassment audiotorium (with video. I refuse to call it Home Theater when music is the most important part) is abouy 13’ w x 25’ d. The front speakers are Infinity Kappa 8’s & the back are Infinity Kappa 7’s. In between the front speakers is an 8’ (4 x 7) screen for my Panasonic 8000 projector. I use two BIC America 6.5” 2 way speakers for center front. Unlike anyone else here I have one on the floor underneath the screen sitting normally, and one suspended upside down from the floor joists by bunji cord to decouple and it is hung upside down. Woof on top, tweet on the bottom. The bunji cord decouples the speaker from the floor above & turning it upside down helps avoid reflections from the tweeter on the ceiling. The set up looks like this:
View attachment 44540

Obviously the speakers do not match the fronts but with a 100hz xover to the main fronts the sound is crisp & clean, better than you would expect from such inexpensive units. I went for over/under set up because with a room that small there’s always someone sitting on the floor. If you sit on the floor with only the top speaker that’s where the dialogue from movies seemed to be coming: the ceiling. Adding the bottom one smoothed that out perfectly. And because they are hung vertically there is no sense of comb filtering as you might get with L/R side by side speakers. Unlike quicksrt, I value my concrete floor & I have floor to ceiling wrap around convoluted polyurethane to absorb reelections. With high absorbtion in the front & a lot of diffusion in the rear it’s pretty close to the classic LEDE arrangement. I figure it’s the job of the recording & surround decoding to create the soundfield not the room.

For music if it is discrete 5.1 sure I use the center front ch. But if most everything through my SM is 4.1 & whether it’s stereo or quad the phantom center front imaging is so precise I don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
But I do value the center front when watching movies off center. Another example can be seen when you see the rear of the room:
View attachment 44541

Only a portion of the room is devoted to presentation. Behind the couch is a 2 shelf credenza holding my A list records and another work area for my PC. My speakers are set up in a square all of them equidistant from the sweet spot. You can sit in the middle of the speakers or the middle of the couch & phantom center front works great. But anywhere else & it changes. When watching movies again it helps keep the dialogue centered. Most of the time I use this area for music, using my little oppo phone app so I don’t even have to turn on the projector. Underneath the glass table top is a DIY sub woof with 2, 12” drivers. Sitting in the sweet spot, directly in front of the sub woof it doesn’t take a huge amount of bass to actually feel it.
So there you have it. Yet another variation on the center front speaker set up. Vive la difference!

 

Sonik Wiz

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I love the sub!
and the thread.
Yeah with 4, 12" woofs in the Infinty's I didn't really feel the need for a sub woof with music. But one movie showing, The Wizard of Speed & Time, had such little bass & the on scene action really suggested a lot of bass. So I bought another Adcom 555, bridged it, & sent it to the sub. That way I could independently control the really low freq's & not mess up the rest.

Even tho my environment is mostly structured around optimum music listening I have also enjoyed throwing movie parties that are theme specific. By theme I mean not just decorating but actually building a set within the room to simulate the movie theme. By simulate I also mean if an explosion happens on screen it probably happens in the room. When Wang tries to cut a beer bottle in half & it shoots toward Jack Burton, a beer bottle (plastic) shoots across the viewing area. When it rains at the beginning of Labyrinth I have a mister in the ceiling so who ever sits on the couch also gets rather damp. An exploding fire place. Etc. The movies I've presented include Matinee, Time Bandits, House on Haunted Hill, Joe vs the Volcano, Labyrinth, Big Trouble in Little China & Night at the Roxbury. The Sub woof & the center front speaker has been important for all of these.

Well, I'm getting a bit too far off topic so I will now return you to our regular program in progress.
 

ssully

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Thanks to both of you @hobie1dog and @Beefalo for turning on a lightbulb in my head. Based on your recommendations, serious or otherwise, I laid my large center channel speaker sideways on the floor. This aligned the drivers, which are identical to the fronts, horizontally rather than vertically. Although every publication seems to frown on this alignment, my center sounds better with the horizontal installation...a much more integrated and seamless frontal sound field.

I am trying various heights above the floor to do some fine tuning, but the horizontal installation shall remain.

Also, this change opened up some options for me regarding the TV...so I immediately went to a local appliance center and bought a Sony 55" 4K TV. Note that the new center speaker configuration does not interfere with the IR remote control of the Lexicon or Oppo.

I haven't posted much lately because I am mesmerized by my new video toy...

View attachment 44509
Did you try placing it vertically on the floor, but tilting it up so that the sound is directed at your head?
 

Soundfield

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They now specialize in synchronized theatre seating that his attached to your sound system and move according to the sound being output... Interesting concept
But hardly new, didn't Cerwin-Vega come up with the "Sensurround" idea for wobbling seats about in 1974 for the film Earthquake?
 
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gene_stl

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Sensurround was TERRIBLE. It made ONE bass note. The Sensurround track on the movie merely gated it. After you heard it the third time it was ridiculous.

I took my soon to be Mrs. to see Midway and I almost walked out. I had already been an audiophile and had worked in the business by that time. And I was and am generally favorably disposed to Cerwin Vega.
I found Midway so annoying that I never went to another Sensurround film ever again.
 

hobie1dog

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But hardly new, didn't Cerwin-Vega come up with the "Sensurround" idea for wobbling seats about in 1974 for the film Earthquake?
no seat movement techniques involved for that movie, just additional subwoofers added to the theaters. I always wondered what the theaters did with all those subs after the movie quit being shown.
 

Sonik Wiz

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D-Box I believe. Now out of business. They now specialize in synchronized theatre seating that his attached to your sound system and move according to the sound being output... Interesting concept
I was completely un-aware D-Box made speakers for home use. What style/type were they? Were they held in high regard? Like D-Box nobody thinks speakers if you say dbx. But dbx did make some home speakers that came & went pretty fast, I guess like the D-Box?
 

Sonik Wiz

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Sensurround was TERRIBLE. It made ONE bass note. The Sensurround track on the movie merely gated it. After you heard it the third time it was ridiculous.

I took my soon to be Mrs. to see Midway and I almost walked out. I had already been an audiophile and had worked in the business by that time. And I was and am generally favorably disposed to Cerwin Vega.
I found Midway so annoying that I never went to another Sensurround film ever again.
In the mid-70's I was too busy with sex, drugs & rock 'n roll to go to the movies haha etc. So I never saw a Sensurround movie. But I heard similar complaints from others. That was leading edge theater tech for back then which often means it has a long way to go before being useful. Today at my Cinemark theater there is XD Theater which is actually more than just thumpy seats with motion, but yes, that is the main selling point people will remeber after experiencing one. I have only seen one movie like that, a forgetable Avengers thing with my son in laws. The sound, the visual presentation was top notch. The thumpy seats were a distraction.

Now as I said in an earlier post I have a sub woof behind the sweet spot listening chair in my Bassment. However it is adjusted on the lean side, just enough to add to a live performance, not enough to distract.
 

gene_stl

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I always wondered what the theaters did with all those subs after the movie quit being shown.
The film I saw . Midway had what looked very much like a rented subwoofer in the front under the screen. Gave the impression it traveled with the movie print. Definitely not permanently installed. It was also showing in a surprisingly small theater as well. The subs were slot loaded with a big slot but tapered down from what were likely 18 inch CV wooofers. They tapered down to rectangular openings. Must have been very high Q because I noticed they only had one note, like the second time they triggered it. "Back to the drawing board!" :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO: It was so bad I am still irritated about it 45 years later. Because I guess I had high expectations going into it.
 

Philip Spinner

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I saw Earthquake at the Ziegfeld theatre in sensurround. They brought in what looked like a trailer full of subs set up in front of the screen in addition to what they already had behind the screen. The front 15 or 20 rows of seats were roped off so nobody could sit there, probably for safety reasons. No turning seats but the popcorn in the lobby was vibrating from the sound. We arrived in the middle of the movie and downstairs we thought there was a subway going by underneath except there is no subway line under the Ziegfeld.. As we moved up the escalator the rumblings got significantly louder. That's when we realized it was the movie we were hearing, and feeling. I will never forget when we opened the door to the theatre and it almost looked like people were hanging on to their seats. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. so many wonderful memories from that theatre.
 

HDave

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Haven't done much music or movies lately because of location of my system and wife's work hours along with the dogs surgery. Dog not allowed to climb stairs for awhile and to minimize the changes we take turns on the couch with the recovering pooch.
Now with the covid19 we watched a 4k Dolby Vision/Atmos movie and I noticed a lack of dialogue big time from my center channel.
Today on inspecting it, the tweeter is shot, well hell the Infinity Primus C-25 is 18 years old. The options are to replace the tweeter or buy a different more updated new center channel. I prefer a sealed style for this position in my home theatre setup, don't need volume and quantity of bass with a ported box because I have a Subwoofer for those frequencies..
Talked to the audioquest guru and decided to buy a cheaper option because of the space that it will be going to in replacing the infinity.
But I've got to order specific capacitors for a modification (cheap) that would cost me considerably more for a high end brand in comparison.
I've got solder and a solder iron so I'll be good to go.

P_20200210_170316.jpg
 

sjcorne

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I'm listening to Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream with my Denon SACD/DVD-A/Blu-Ray player set to 4.1 (since my center speaker is out of commission for the time being) and I have to say, I'm struggling to tell that the center channel isn't actually in play :eek:.

But here's the strange thing - I tried turning off the center on my Sony 400 SACD/DVD Changer (where I keep all my SACDs, DTS-CDs, and DVD-Vs) and it totally screwed up the sound. It seems to have dramatically lowered the overall volume and cut all the bass.

Do all disc players fold the center channel information into the fronts the same way? I'm not sure what accounts for the difference I'm experiencing between my two units...
 

Beefalo

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I'm listening to Porcupine Tree's Stupid Dream :eek:.
But here's the strange thing - I tried turning off the center on my Sony 400 SACD/DVD Changer (where I keep all my SACDs, DTS-CDs, and DVD-Vs) and it totally screwed up the sound. It seems to have dramatically lowered the overall volume and cut all the bass.
I set my AVR configuration to "center none". This basically adds the center channel information to the front speakers with no loss of volume or bass.
I'm not sure you can get the desired setting with your SACD player.
 

sjcorne

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I set my AVR configuration to "center none". This basically adds the center channel information to the front speakers with no loss of volume or bass.
I get exactly that with the "center none" setting on my Denon DBP-2012. What's really strange is that I don't get the same effect on my Sony DVP-CX985V.

Changing AVR configuration isn't an option for me - I run an old '70s quad amp in conjunction with a separate amp powering the center channel.
 
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