Speaker clarity with dialogue - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 10-30-2012, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi
I constructed a home theater about a year ago and have been enjoying it immensely.
I posted the theater here : http://www.avsforum.com/t/1391328/the-farm-theater-complete-with-pics

I feel that at times the center channel dialogue is not clear; I have not addressed the rooms acoustics and i am wondering if i should treat the room acoustically or go with the Audyssey program built into the NAD M15HD processor first.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 16 Old 10-30-2012, 11:08 AM
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If you have the processor, what are you waiting for? run Audyssey. If it improves then you should be happy.

IMG_0612.jpg

Now the bad news. based on your speaker placement, low to the ground. the second row is always going to struggle with hearing the center channel. It looks like the second row doesn't have a clear line of sight of the speaker. That is a problem. That is why so many of use use acoustically transparent screens and place the center directly behind the screen.

How does it sound in the middle for the front row? that is probably the best seat right now.

I re-read your thread and I see that is wallpaper above the wood, so basically you have hard surface walls, correct?
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post #3 of 16 Old 11-04-2012, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi I would run the audussey but it is a 500 dollar add on for the software , and I am not sure if it will make a difference as there isn't too much on the forums about this model. You are correct, it is better in the front but not perfect. As the screen is purchased, would additional center channel speakers above and to the side help. Would likely compete with the front sides.
And yes , all the sides are hard, so would one go with acoustic treatments before room equalization with preamp?
Thanks !
G
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post #4 of 16 Old 11-04-2012, 07:15 PM
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I think it would be worth a couple experiments before you go spending any money. I've got two ideas for you as to why you're having trouble. Maybe we can come up with a way to determine if either of them is the cause.

The low position of the center channel speaker is the first guess. Like BIG suggested, line-of-sight for the second row may be the problem. Also, the proximity of the floor may be causing interference (SBIR) that creates a frequency response dip which may be in a troublesome frequency region for dialog. To test these hypotheses, maybe you can temporarily rig up the speaker up in front of the screen on a stand - at least high enough that you can see it clearly from the second row. Listen to a couple troublesome clips and see if that's a solution.

My second possibility is harder to test. There is the possibility that untreated resonances are masking other sounds. A sound in the recording may be unusually amplified by the acoustics of the room, making it harder to discern other sounds in a nearby frequency range.

Read about the phenomenon at wikipedia here.

Determining if masking is the problem won't be as simple, but you might start with a casual analysis of the troublesome clips; are they "busy" sonically - especially in the lower frequencies (below around 300 Hz)? "Yes" would suggest masking may be likely. Continue with some test tones of varying frequency - hopefully a sweep of frequencies (like the kind generated by REW); listen (or measure) for strong peaks in the response. If you find that bass response is strongly uneven, you may be dealing with some strong room resonances (eigenmodes), and potential masking as a result.

If masking is the problem, you'll need to do some more thorough analysis and maybe some treating as well as EQ.

Of course, I could be striking out here - let us know if this gets you anywhere.

Fred
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post #5 of 16 Old 11-05-2012, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Hopeful Fred, thank you for the suggestions. I will move the center channel and see what I hear. It is true that dialogue seems to be "muddier" with more complex sound tracks. For example, listening to a sports channel or news show is less of an issue than a movie.
Will update after trial
Thanks
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post #6 of 16 Old 11-06-2012, 02:32 PM
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99.99999% of the time, dialogue intelligibility problems are directly as a result of poor room acoustics ... not electronics or speakers. While automagic room correction systems can assist with sound quality improvements, they should be used to tweek in room response rather than be the primary method of attempting to get good sound. As well, room correction systems still have one remaining problem none of them have yet overcome ... they cannot violate the laws of physics.

Get a proper acoustic engineer, relocate that center speaker, and then a professional calibration.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all who replied to my post. Moving the center speaker did not help much; so i did my research on room treatments and put a few calls in. I decided to get 4 traps from GIK Acoustics; Bryan was most helpful in going over my room, and suggesting what i could add that would help my main issue with dialogue clarity. I have 2 traps in the front corners and 2 traps in the middle of the rear wall; covered with a chocolate brown fabric. Everyone at GIK was very responsive to emails and shipping was quick.

End result- The difference is absolutely amazing. Even my 13 year old son appreciated the improvements immediately. Dialogue is clear, bass is tamed, and i am hearing sound effects in movies i have watched a few times that i have never heard before
Clearly there could be more to tweak, but as mentioned in other posts on room treatments; this will potentially give you the most bang for your dollar.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 10:42 AM
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That's great news. Do you have any new pictures that show the installed treatments?
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post #9 of 16 Old 02-20-2013, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are the photos of the front and rear sound treatments.
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post #10 of 16 Old 02-20-2013, 03:39 PM
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Thanks for following up! Looks pretty sharp and restrained.

Also, I'd like to point out that the professional advice you got and followed did not call for absorbing lateral reflections. You may not know what that means, but if you see what most acoustic treatment strategies look like (and read about using a mirror to find reflection points), you'll find most DIYers start with early strong reflections and absorb them. That's been a common successful approach to treating mixing rooms and has been brought into home listening for reasons that haven't been explained clearly to those who take that advice. I'm glad to see that this simpler and better grounded approach worked for you here. smile.gif
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post #11 of 16 Old 02-20-2013, 04:55 PM
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Fantastic! What kind of shipping time did you see? I just ordered some myself.

Did you get 244s? Monsters?

I want to echo what the OP said about Gik. Brian politely and quickly answered all of my (many) questions. I haven't received the product yet, but, I'm already happy with the company.
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post #12 of 16 Old 02-21-2013, 12:21 PM
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Do bass traps need to be placed "in" the room? Or is it effective to place them behind a screen wall which is built "acoustically transparent" to accommodate speakers and subs?

In my setup, I'll have about 3 feet behind my screen wall. In that space (perhaps 6-8 inches behind the screen wall) will be a front baffle wall that houses the speakers and that space will also house as many subs as it takes to get good bass response. Could the bass traps be mounted either between the screen and baffle wall or behind the baffle wall? I understand that the best locations are in corners where 2 or 3 planes intersect. In my setup, there are "corners" behind the screen wall as well.

Also, do the bass traps have to be used in pairs? Again, due to my room configuration, I could put a trap in one rear corner, but not the other. Would I be wasting my time and money there?

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post #13 of 16 Old 02-22-2013, 05:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Hopeful Fred for your comments. The initial recommendations, based on my limited budget, was to place the front and back traps and see how it went. I am very pleased with the results, but it was recommended to add more traps to the sides for reflections as money allowed. Fully tweaked rooms have alot of traps it seems, and i dont have the perfect room to add everything based on my current design.

jdanforth - I think it took a week or so to get the products, it came well packaged. Monsters and panels both
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post #14 of 16 Old 02-22-2013, 11:24 AM
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6-8" won't do squat for as a bass trap. In front of the baffle wall ... depends on the proximity to the speakers mounted in the baffle wall.
You cannot install "enough" subs in a baffle wall to get good response in seating locations ... they need to be distributed around the room.

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post #15 of 16 Old 02-22-2013, 12:29 PM
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Behind the baffle wall, there's another 24" or so.  I guess the basis of my question revolves around the assumption that the bass modes are a reflection of the total room volume and shape and not by the various screen walls and baffle walls that are placed within this space.  If that assumption proves to be valid, then by extension, my next assumption would be that traps place in the corners of the "true" room (i.e. not just the space in front of the baffle and/or screen walls) would be effective.  The secondary benefit would be that they would be hidden by default in that location and you wouldn't have to worry as much about the aesthetics.

 

================================

|XXX   Space Behind Baffle               XXX|

|                                                                 |

|                                                                 |

|        -------- Baffle Wall  -----------              |

|                                                                 |

| ++++++++++ Screen Wall ++++++++++|

 

 

 

 

                Seating Goes Here

 

 

 

My example inquires about bass traps installed at the XXX locations.


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post #16 of 16 Old 02-22-2013, 12:49 PM
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True...but the baffle wall should extend from wall to wall in your room.

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