Center channel added to stereo speakers - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 06:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Curious what others think of this. The WWS guy said if you're a music lover and set up a 2-channel system, a center speaker will throw everything off bc a decent set of towers create the visualization. What do you all think of this.
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post #2 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 07:22 AM
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What do you mean by a "centerpiece"??????

Huh?
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post #3 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kklstereoquestio View Post

Curious what others think of this. The WWS guy said if you're a music lover and set up a 2-channel system, a centerpiece will throw everything off bc a decent set of towers create the visualization. What do you all think of this.

You mean a center channel speaker?

If so, your informant is generally wrong.

Yes, its possible to mess up any good idea, and center channel speakers are good ideas so yes they can be messed up.
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post #4 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Yes stand corrected I meant center channel or speaker. He wasn't saying it would not work, more that speakers intended for use in a 2-channel system have visual placement built into the design therefore adding a center channel would undermine the integrity of the system.
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post #5 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 09:17 AM
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Yes stand corrected I meant center channel or speaker. He wasn't saying it would not work, more that speakers intended for use in a 2-channel system have visual placement built into the design therefore adding a center channel would undermine the integrity of the system.
That is pure unadulterated hornswoggle.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #6 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 01:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kklstereoquestio View Post

Yes stand corrected I meant center channel or speaker. He wasn't saying it would not work, more that speakers intended for use in a 2-channel system have visual placement built into the design therefore adding a center channel would undermine the integrity of the system.

???????????????
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post #7 of 25 Old 11-29-2012, 05:54 PM
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Funny that "advisor"...klipsch designed the heresy originally to be a center speaker for the klipschorn and the laScale etc...
I guess klipsch clearly was out to destroy the integrity of the image and did give diddle squat about the build in (ftf does that mean, anyway?) "visual placement'..that one cracked me up...
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post #8 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 04:41 AM - Thread Starter
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post #9 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kraut View Post

Funny that "advisor"...klipsch designed the heresy originally to be a center speaker for the klipschorn and the laScale etc...
I guess klipsch clearly was out to destroy the integrity of the image and did give diddle squat about the build in (ftf does that mean, anyway?) "visual placement'..that one cracked me up...

Something I read decades ago was that Bell Labs, when inventing stereo, recommended a center speaker.
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post #10 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 05:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kklstereoquestio View Post

This explains it

http://composerstoolbox.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/tool-29-visualize-your-mix/

Really. I read the article and can find nothing adverse to the use of a center channel speaker. Please provide a quote and your more detailed analysis that supports your thinking.
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post #11 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 05:14 AM
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@kkl...

haven't convinced you yet not to listen to the guys at the store, huh? wink.gif

- chris

 

my build thread - updated 8-20-12 - new seating installed and projector isolation solution

 

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post #12 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kraut View Post

Funny that "advisor"...klipsch designed the heresy originally to be a center speaker for the klipschorn and the laScale etc...
I guess klipsch clearly was out to destroy the integrity of the image and did give diddle squat about the build in (ftf does that mean, anyway?) "visual placement'..that one cracked me up...

Something I read decades ago was that Bell Labs, when inventing stereo, recommended a center speaker.

Very true. There are dozens of references to this on the web, some from origional documents of the era.

Moving forward there is this what I find to be a rather interesting document:

http://www2.grammy.com/PDFs/Recording_Academy/Producers_And_Engineers/5_1_Rec.pdf

"The Recording Academy's Producers & Engineers Wing Recommendations For Surround Sound Production"

It contains what appears to be a wealth of current wisdom and historical facts, including:

"Throughout the 1930s, scientists at Bell Laboratories experimented with various
multichannel audio formats, including three-channel stereo (left, center, right). In
1938, Walt Disney conceived the idea of adding surround sound to his upcoming
cinematic release, Fantasia. Accordingly, Disney engineers developed a
technology called Fantasound, which stored three channels of audio and a
control track on the film itself, with playback through five channels: three front
speakers and two rear ones — a speaker configuration that, sans subwoofer,
was remarkably prescient of the 5.1 arrangement in common use today. In the
process of recording the film’s soundtrack, those same engineers also —
astonishingly — invented panning, multitrack recording, and overdubbing! "

While my current AV system does not include a center channel speaker several of its predecessors did, even when the only source material available was 2 channel (LPs, analog tape, FM).

For me it is all about the sound. When my speaker system did not, as deployed and listened to did not provide an adequate central image, the center channel speaker was a good solution. At one point I schemed to have an indentical center channel speaker when the speakers I used were only sold commercially in pairs!

My current system is listened to from a greater distance and is able to provide an adequate central image using 2 toed-in soffit-mounted speakers. So no center channel speaker is required.

If the situation changes, my approach will change.

I listen to a great many very fine systems with center speakers and find that in a well-designed system that needs one, a center channel speaker is a strong advantage.
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post #13 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 05:27 AM
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The 30s were an exciting time for development of sound reproduction, not that I was around but just from reading. My current speaker system has a great phantom image so that I can switch back and forth between 3 front speakers and two and the difference is slight but favors having the center active. I do often listen to music with DPLII with a center speaker which I know is heresy to many. It is essential that the center be as high in quality as the R/L and of similar construction.
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post #14 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 06:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Thought provoking responses.

CC,
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

@kkl...
haven't convinced you yet not to listen to the guys at the store, huh? wink.gif

tee hee... I listen to everyone then decide what makes sense to me, or else realize I lack the technical knowledge to come to a conclusion, as will likely happen here. If the salesman were trying to increase my tab he would have said that a center speaker is necessary, so it struck me as something he might believe (whether true or not).

For those of us learning basics, here's a good article on audio theory:

http://www.moultonlabs.com/more/principles_of_multitrack_mixing_the_phantom_image/P0/

One article from Soundonsound.com mentions the issue obliquely, the role our physiology has in interpreting 2-channel vs. surround (I did not find anything on 2- vs. 3-channel though it's probably out there)
Quote:
The final weapon in our armoury of sonic location-finding relies on spectral analysis. The human hearing system seems able to recognise specific peaks and notches in the frequency spectrum of received sounds which are caused by a comb filtering effect, resulting from the mutual interference of sounds reflecting from the pinna and the shoulders. The nature of these spectral notches relate not only to the bearing of the sound source but, critically, to the specific shape of the pinna. So this is very much a personal direction-finding mechanism, and a specific set of spectral notches could imply a different source direction for different people. This technique is not particularly accurate, but it does help to remove ambiguities in the other mechanisms. Some pseudo-surround-from-stereo systems have made use of this effect in the past, but with variable and unpredictable results, as you might expect.

The above is from this article

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/nov10/articles/stereoprocessing.htm

Many of my LPs were recorded in 50s-70s (my parents and mine) which means they were mixed for stereo speakers to create a concert effect, so it seems intuitive that the music would best be heard on two channels... however intuitive does not necessarily mean correct. On the surface it makes sense that if tower speakers are designed to be 'self-contained,' adding a center channel could, if not degrade the sound, be superfluous. Maybe now all tower speakers are designed to be used either alone or as part of a three-channel or surround sound system. Just a possibility... I'll keep reading.
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post #15 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 08:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kklstereoquestio View Post


Many of my LPs were recorded in 50s-70s (my parents and mine) which means they were mixed for stereo speakers to create a concert effect,

Really? I was in and out of several studios in the 60s through just lately and the house monitoring system may have had two speakers, but they weren't typical home audio speakers, and they weren't anything like current tower speakers:



Note the studio monitor on the right, probabaly with an 15 inch Altec 604 driver inside:



Note that the following studio mixes are done with (heaven forbid!) a center channel speaker?

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post #16 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I was not invested one way or the other, just wanted your opinions. The consensus from you experts is that this idea is "hornswaggle," thank you for weighing in!

Apparently this has been debated before.

http://www.avsforum.com/t/608750/for-music-center-channel-necessary
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post #17 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 06:10 PM
 
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well just think about all the comb filtering that is broken from the center channel speaker.

sure.. the comb filtering doesnt need to break when playing audio with a specfic track for the center speaker ... but without the modulation done, the soundwaves from the center speaker is going to cut your soundstage in half (or maybe turn it off completely because the left speaker cant talk to the right speaker).


with speakers in each corner toed in.. the biggest effects come when the left soundwave floats to the middle of the room, and then keeps on going towards the right of the room where it mixes with the soundwaves from the right speaker to create a sound effect.
why is it the strongest?
because two speakers working the time is less of a load compared to one speaker working double duty.
one speaker working twice as hard could amount to moving in and out four times faster (and yeah.. maybe that is when the speaker sounds four times worse).
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post #18 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 06:23 PM
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or maybe turn it off completely because the left speaker cant talk to the right speaker).

Wow, just wow. The best explanation yet.
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post #19 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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...i'm certain a movie with a center channel that has been put into thought about the center channel's soundwaves getting mixed with the soundwaves from the front left and right speakers should sound largely improved compared to the audio from the sound designer that didnt think about the center channel's soundwaves.


cant cross a busy street with cars in the way, they run you over and you dont make it to your destination.
funny?
these little 'perks' can be the reason why an entire scene in a movie is completely re-written.. to specifically avoid timing errors in the audio that would limit how much audio data could actually be poured into the room.

the only way to grab time and control it is to give it a clock (also known as sample rate).

just know that i care about small details like needing to skip a few clocks in time because if i pour everything out all at once there is going to be a massive collision with the soundwaves.
and the only way to avoid it is to take out some of the audio, move it in the time domain to prevent the collision, or change the phase of some audio (and make it sound false).


its a good example of 'if you cant love yourself.. dont expect to love anybody else'
and the difference is sound from a virtual speaker coming up from the direct sides of you (and whether that cool audio effect can exist or not)
really.. it is anything in front of the left or right speaker on towards the side of the listening position .. all of those points in space are unable to function when the center channel is flowing soundwaves in the way without modulation to keep the collisions from happening.

i wouldnt expect the receiver to modulate the center channel.. because the only way to write up a method is to use phase information to control whatever it is you want.
and that is how 360 degrees of phase gets cut down to the 180 half
nobody knows what they are missing from the other 180 degrees of phase because none of the content has it .. i think dolby still has a license claiming rights to the phase being split together with any other surround sound format that doesnt use discrete channels for ANY speaker (even the rear center or front height channels).
..it means we get only half of the quality.

yes.. a center channel can lift a sagging decibel level ... just like adding another telephone pole between two telephone poles .. that sagging cord will go up.
and no.. you dont need to hear or feel invisible objects in the air to get the benefit.
all you need is audio that pans from left to right and some time alignment to get the left front in function with the right front.

for 2 channel music.. the audio in the middle of the speakers can get louder if you take the time to calibrate the air the soundwaves 'bathe' in.
duh.. that is why pink noise fills up the room and gets smashed into one line of pressure.
that is exactly why the snow from the pink noise starts to lose decibels and turns into a pressure you cant hear but you can feel.
...if you have ever done it, congratulations.... you've just done ONE pressure in the room, but there are more than one.
funny though because if everybody uses the same pressure tone... then the audio can swing up or down from that single tone with a knob dial.
and if you had 'em all done.. you would know the audio effect that makes the room feel like it is water waves going up and down is really nothing more than a few presses of pressure from the speaker cone like squeezing a stress ball a few taps.
(just picture the squeeze two different ways.. one without any change of phase, and the other one with the phase rolling up and down)



a purist will tell you listening to 2 channel audio with a center channel active is like trying to hear the details of the audio with a loud vacuum cleaner on in the same room.
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post #20 of 25 Old 11-30-2012, 08:58 PM
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should sound largely improved compared to the audio from the sound designer that didnt think about the center channel's soundwaves.

exactly!
Quote:
just know that i care about small details like needing to skip a few clocks in time because if i pour everything out all at once there is going to be a massive collision with the soundwaves.

What we call a sound catastrophe.

One of the most enlightening soundly pressurized posts. Pssst...what are you talking about?
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post #21 of 25 Old 12-01-2012, 10:41 AM
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I have an excellent system consisting of a pair of Gallo Classic CL-3 speakers and a NHT subwoofer.

Don't need no stinking center speaker. Fabulous sound without one.

The reason Klipsch decided they needed a center speaker for SOME Klipschhorn applications was because Klipschhorns MUST be placed in the room CORNERS, which sometimes meant that they were TOO FAR APART. This can cause the "hole-in-the-middle" problem. FOR THESE CASES AND ONLY THESE CASES, they came up with a center speaker, WHICH WAS INTENDED TO BE POWERED BY A 3RD AMPLIFIER OPERATING AS A MONAURAL CHANNEL.

A Klipschhorn setup, ACCORDING TO KLIPSCH, ONLY needs a center speaker when the main speakers are TOO FAR APART relative to the listening position!!! It depends on the room size and listening position. Some of the previous discussion seemed to assume that Klipsch ALWAYS recommends a center speaker, and that is absolutely NOT TRUE!

In general. a center speaker is only needed for a stereo system when the main speakers are too far apart due to placement rerquirements.

A home theater system is entirely different, because the 5.1 sound mix Assumes the existence of a center speaker and the sound is mixed for one. A stereo mix assumes that only two speakers will be used. Most of the above discussion seems to be ignoring or confusing the issue of how the sound being listened to was mixed in the first place by the engineer.
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post #22 of 25 Old 12-01-2012, 11:16 AM
 
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when you go back to thinking about people trying to literally write the laws of sound in a room with some speakers ... you are going to find out whether they can zoom up and out of the room like a satellite view and do some math or if they stay in the room bouncing off the walls a bit confused and lost without the extra room to think.


rich people back then would come across rooms that were very open, as if kitchen and dining rooms coming together without walls .. and maybe some island counter tops placed somewhere abouts the middle or to the side of the middle.

lets think about too far apart.. because volume and decibel level fits here perfectly.
you could have two floor speakers with a 12 inch woofer and 5.25 or 6.5 midrange twenty foot apart from eachother and still get the middle to fill up.
just dont expect to lay next to the speaker because it is going to be loud .. much louder than the room that is only 10ft apart.

now think about the speakers from the 1990's ... because those speakers average 75 - 150 watts RMS and they would scream louder than an innocent baby teething?
(pretty close comparison for decibel.. and add in the sound pressure and things start to lean the way of the speaker, until the baby screeches into treble to cut through some of the pressure ..or learns to help themselves cut through the soundwave with the phase of their voice..)

see..
you cant be splashing the soundwaves into eachother like a slip and slide from 20ft apart and think you are hearing something solid.
because as the soundwave moves further away, there is going to be decay ... and that loss of energy means the soundwave will grow to become sick more easily ... and then you tell me you havent done any impulse response files to help stop the lousy chaotic reflections ... and with that said, one room will have much more violence than the other with the soundstage being blown apart by it's own self elsewhere in the room.

a simple 3 band parametric equalizer can cut some things down to show you where the calm wind begins to exist.. and that is in part to the real time analyzer picking the ring of the room and smashing it down (or up) with the equalizer knobs.
and that is why one room really isnt the same tone as another until the phase can be adjusted.
it is pretty simple.. if i give you a target number.. it doesnt matter what number your room is because you can always subtract whatever is needed to reach the target number.

and that means yes.. it doesnt matter what room you are in, how hot it is, or how pressurized it is.. you can always get the room to match atmosphere pressure as long as you've got the watts and the phase (and sometimes the phase includes manipulating the air at the molecular level by adding molecules).
when the room is neutral.. it can shift pressure from extreme cold to blazing hot.
and then you know it is something like a listening room for the FBI when those pressures exist and the audio can continue playing through the pressure without being rippled.


too far apart = not enough power or cone movement
if you look at average room sizes.. you will see it could be split into three categories.
all three could see the gap filled.
and what a 100 watt RMS category speaker wont fill .. that is why there are speakers higher up in watts.
DJ speakers fill large rooms on a daily basis and they range from 100 - 300 watts usually.


back in those days they said.. well these paper things arent going to fill the room ... looks like we need more excursion, and more excursion means the reflections in a smaller room are going to ripple with multiples.
and that is how harmonics went beyond the 2nd and 3rd order.
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post #23 of 25 Old 12-01-2012, 06:31 PM
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Quote:
The reason Klipsch decided they needed a center speaker for SOME Klipschhorn applications was because Klipschhorns
Quote:
BRIDGED CENTER LOUDSPEAKER
or
WHO PUT THE SOLOIST
on A FLYING TRAPEZE?
Benefits of using the bridged center speaker
were recognized by Steinberg and Snow (Symposium
on Auditory Perspective - 1934)· and their
teachings revived and reconfirmed by this writer
in 1958. The basic improvement effected by adding
a center speaker was analysed in "Stereo
Geometry Tests" in 1962.·
The first benefit of center speaker technique
is the enlarged stereo listening area. As any
listener approaches a wall against which two
speakers are operating in stereo, there will be a
region in which the solidity of the apparent
source divides into two separate sources. Some
writers refer to a "curtain" or "waterfall' of
sound, referring to an apparent source that is
continuous between the speakers. The addition
of a center speaker permits the listener to come
closer to the wall before perceiving spatial discontinuity.
The second benefit is the localization of the
center-stage performer. Whether you are listening
to Dylan in front of the Band or Rostropovich
soloing with Boston Symphony, two channel
stereo yields either two distinct soloists, or an
indistinct soloist as wide as the room. The greater
the angle from listener to the two speakers,
the more prominent the separation or smear. The
center speaker will localize the soloist at centelstage.
This is because the center speaker is fed
a mono·· left channel plus right -channel mix.
It closely recreates what would have been picked
up by a soloist mike at center stage. Fig. 1 show!!
one means or deriving the left plus right signal
for driving a center speaker. To extol the addition
of a center speaker, it eliminates the "hole
in the middle" which most stereo systems exhibit.
It "puts a leg chain on the soloist". It completes
a "curtain of sound" between the flanking speakers.
And the "soloist" need not be at stage- center;
if the Best Bloomin' Baritone Blower in Buffalo
Bill's Big Brass Band By Gosh stands up in
his chair at right center stage, that is where you
should hear him, and that goes for all the members
of the grOUp from flank to flank.
The center loudspeaker provides the ultimate
refinement in stereophonic geometry localization.

Three speaker stereo portrays most accurately
the spatial relations in a realistically recorded
program. Of course many recordings are not
"realistic" in that the engineer "mixed down"
from 16 or 8 or .. channels to 2 channels and his
judgement isn't necessarily representative of the
way you would have heard the performance in
the concert hall. But 3 speakers do the best with
whatever program material is available.
Even if the mix-down from 8 channels to 2 is
poorly done, the bridged center speaker tends to
alleviate the faults of the mix-down and restore
acceptable spatial perspective.

• The Sympollum, Stereo Geometry Teatl and other
paperl are available In reprint f'orm at $1.00 f'or the
Svmpollum and .25 centl each f'or the paperl; or
$7.00 f'or the complete let of' AUDIO PAPERS In
loole-Ieaf' :bInder f'rom KLIPSCH and ASSOCIATES
Inc. '
•• The late W. B. Snow, "Baalc Prlnclpl" of' StereophoniC
Sound", Nov. 19113, Jour. of' the SMPTE,
Vol. 81, uled the term "mono-phonic" f'or a lingle
lound lource; "mono" II Ihort f'or "mono-phonic"
It II In the "AUDIO PAPERS". •

The above is taken from "Dope from Hope, Paul Klipsch' own news letter.
So your contention that klipsch introduced or meant the Heresy just for "flanking" or a centre speaker for the Klipschorns is, to say it mildly, utter bull.
Maybe next time you want to argue certain statements, do a bit more research on source material.
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post #24 of 25 Old 12-01-2012, 08:31 PM
 
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flanking is nothing more than getting the audio to fill a gap .. no matter if it is in the middle of the air or reflected off a surface.

attitude is jst as rough and violent as the speaker's that can electrify their magnet and reach out to bite you like a pitbull as you float up off the ground with the speaker cone zapping you forward and backwards.

**edit**

dont forget speakers are also robot arms and they are known as tools of obnoxious force
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post #25 of 25 Old 12-07-2012, 03:59 AM
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So your contention that klipsch introduced or meant the Heresy just for "flanking" or a centre speaker for the Klipschorns is, to say it mildly, utter bull.
Maybe next time you want to argue certain statements, do a bit more research on source material.
wish I wrote that!wink.gif
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