Who has a non matching center channel compared to fronts? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
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If you are using or have used a non matching center channel than your mains please post the make/model and your impressions.

THANKS!
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post #2 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 04:23 PM
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I have Energy Veritas 2.1 mains and an Energy AC 300 center. Dunno if that really qualifies, there is a Veritas center, but the AC 300 is from the same manufacturer. At any rate, my impressions is that it's a pretty close match, and not detrimental to the home theater experience. Dialog once in a while seems 'chesty' or 'colored' but that could very well be because my center is on top of my TV, and about 12 in. higher than my fronts. Sounds that pan across the front seem to retain their timbre/character just fine. I do have the front plane of my center about 1 in from the front plane of my TV, and I have it angled downward to the listening position.
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post #3 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 04:31 PM
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Being that the whole idea is to try and timbre match your center to your mains, I'm trying to figure out what purpose the OP's question has on...............anything.

Please expain, whorunit, what it is that you are trying to find out.
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post #4 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lwien View Post

Being that the whole idea is to try and timbre match your center to your mains, I'm trying to figure out what purpose the OP's question has on...............anything.

Please expain, whorunit, what it is that you are trying to find out.

lwien
Im just attempting to gain some insight as to what other people are using & if they are combining different company's fronts & centers for better sound.
An employee of a high end av store told me it was not as important as people may believe to have a matching center & optimal sound can/may come from mixing. I just wanted others opinions if there was truth to this or not, and if others are mixing speakers what their impressions are.
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post #5 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whorunit View Post

Im just attempting to gain some insight as to what other people are using & if they are combining different company's fronts & centers for better sound.

Unlikely. There may be reasons why someone uses a non-matching center but better sound, at least as far as I conceive of it, ain't one of them.

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An employee of a high end av store told me it was not as important as people may believe to have a matching center & optimal sound can/may come from mixing. I just wanted others opinions if there was truth to this or not, and if others are mixing speakers what their impressions are.

Cannot conceive of a reason why. Perhaps you can ask him to explain his position.

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post #6 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whorunit View Post

lwien
Im just attempting to gain some insight as to what other people are using & if they are combining different company's fronts & centers for better sound.
An employee of a high end av store told me it was not as important as people may believe to have a matching center & optimal sound can/may come from mixing. I just wanted others opinions if there was truth to this or not, and if others are mixing speakers what their impressions are.

If you check out my thread... I can't stand having a speaker that's different from my fronts period! Even if it's the same drivers just housed in a horizontal cabinent.

So I would say...yeah....at least timbre match your front 3 somewhat.
Same manufacturer and driver line. Preferably at least the same tweeter.

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post #7 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 05:37 PM
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When you watch movies, why you need a matched center to listen dialogs, explosion, car crash,.......? Maybe true for MCH music and it is just maybe.
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post #8 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 05:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneywalker View Post

When you watch movies, why you need a matched center to listen dialogs, explosion, car crash,.......?

When sounds move from one speaker to another, (called "panning"), you want the sound to be consistent from one speaker to the next. If it changes appreciably, it will be distracting and will reduce the "immersion" into the movie.

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Originally Posted by moneywalker View Post

Maybe true for MCH music and it is just maybe.

Having recently gone from bookshelf L/R's and a "matching" horizontal CC to 3 identical speakers across the front, I can confidently say that 3 identical speakers is superior. That is true for movies and it is even more important for MC music.

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post #9 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 05:53 PM
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For optimal sound you should definitely have at least a matching center and fronts. Will the world end if fronts don't match the center..no. I am currently in the process of upgrading my system. I originally had the polk lsi15's as fronts with the in wall Lc265i(in wall center matching the Lsi line) as the center. I sold the Lsi 15's and now have the Dali MKI 800's as fronts. I still have the polk center. In conclusion, after running Audessey on my 905, I rarely notice any mismatch across the front for home theatre. I occasionally notice a difference with sweeping sound effects but it is rare and I can live with it for now until I upgrade my center. So, if you are asking can you get by without matching a center then yes if the occasional mismatch doesn't bother you and if you have a device with good equalization capabilities like the Audessey.

Supporter of whatever looks and sounds good to me
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post #10 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 06:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whorunit View Post

lwien
Im just attempting to gain some insight as to what other people are using & if they are combining different company's fronts & centers for better sound.
An employee of a high end av store told me it was not as important as people may believe to have a matching center & optimal sound can/may come from mixing. I just wanted others opinions if there was truth to this or not, and if others are mixing speakers what their impressions are.

Ah, ok. I thought you were trying to get an idea of what center you could use with your mains without telling us what your mains were. I understand now and think that you have been given some very good insight here.

I set up my first home theater system almost 2 decades ago and I always had identical mains and center, so I've never had any experience having a different center than my mains, but I have had my center both above and below my screen, and even then, with all speakers timbre matched, I noticed a difference in the panning, so I would have to assume that if they were not all timbre matched, I would be quite unhappy with the outcome (man, that was a long sentence)
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post #11 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moneywalker View Post

When you watch movies, why you need a matched center to listen dialogs, explosion, car crash,.......? Maybe true for MCH music and it is just maybe.

As long as you can tolerate an actor's tone of voice changing as he walks across the screen, it would be OK. I do not think it is tolerable.

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post #12 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 07:12 PM
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I have been trying out different center channels for about a month and while not ideal, it is no where near as bad as I thought it would be. Sure you can here subtle changes as sound moves across the fronts but for me it is not to the point of being distracting.

That said, I could not live with it for an extended period of time and I cannot wait until I finally settle on a center.
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post #13 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 07:13 PM
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The only place where I use a different cc brand than the front pair is in my listening room, not HT. As I'm using the Panasonic SA-XR57 and having a DVD source for life concert recordings, they often contain multi channel DTS source. The Newform R630 I'm using doesn't have a matching center due to its already wide soundstage but that was 10 years ago and technology has moved forward. So I'm planning on getting an Usher S-525 for the cc. If you're using the center for HT, then I strongly recommend getting the recommended model from the manufacturer to match the fronts.
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post #14 of 51 Old 05-28-2008, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

Cannot conceive of a reason why.

a REEAAAALLLLY crappy center channel offering

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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post #15 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 04:37 AM
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I am using a different center then mains because I just bought my Salk HT2's three weeks ago . I have the Salk center on order and I am looking forward to getting it. I am not using a different center by choice.

Thomas DiCecco
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post #16 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 06:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

a REEAAAALLLLY crappy center channel offering

Sure. If the alternative is junk, anything, including a phantom center, is better. OTOH, just as with cables, biwiring, etc., I cannot see the value of an alternative if the starting device is competent.

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post #17 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 06:21 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

As long as you can tolerate an actor's tone of voice changing as he walks across the screen, it would be OK. I do not think it is tolerable.

I don't know, maybe its just me and I am dead wrong here, as my wife likes to point out often. But when a person who is talking to me and is off to my left continues to speak as they pass in front of me and move off to my right, the timber of his or her voice changes in real life, as distance and volume change (they are farther away on my left and right so consequently if they speak in the same volume, it changes to my ears as they pass in front of me and now are closer) Or if they are aware of the distance change they will often speak louder when they are off to the sides and will raise and lower their voices to compensate for distance, which changes the timber. So what is so horrible about this happening on my theater system? Now, through many iterations I have always attempted to maintain a timber matched set of speakers. I have had a phantom, a center from the same line, a center from a different line, a center of the same brand but different line, and 3 exact speakers. Was there a difference? Certainly. Was it palpable? Not always. I know that when engineers mix the sound they account for the change in timber and volume as things move in and out of frame, but changes in timber are natural in real life so I wonder, sometimes, why I worry about them so much in my theater system.
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post #18 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atdamico View Post

I don't know, maybe its just me and I am dead wrong here, as my wife likes to point out often. But when a person who is talking to me and is off to my left continues to speak as they pass in front of me and move off to my right, the timber of his or her voice changes in real life, as distance and volume change (they are farther away on my left and right so consequently if they speak in the same volume, it changes to my ears as they pass in front of me and now are closer) Or if they are aware of the distance change they will often speak louder when they are off to the sides and will raise and lower their voices to compensate for distance, which changes the timber. So what is so horrible about this happening on my theater system?

Well, it is that the change is dictated by the fixed acoustical differences between the unmatched speakers and not determined by the soundtrack. Subtle difference, perhaps, but it is a factor that detracts from the accuracy of the reproduction.

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Now, through many iterations I have always attempted to maintain a timber matched set of speakers. I have had a phantom, a center from the same line, a center from a different line, a center of the same brand but different line, and 3 exact speakers. Was there a difference? Certainly. Was it palpable? Not always. I know that when engineers mix the sound they account for the change in timber and volume as things move in and out of frame, but changes in timber are natural in real life so I wonder, sometimes, why I worry about them so much in my theater system.

If it doesn't matter to you, don't worry about it. A perfectly YMMV issue.

Kal Rubinson

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Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile
http://www.stereophile.com/category/music-round

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post #19 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 06:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kal Rubinson View Post

...If it doesn't matter to you, don't worry about it. A perfectly YMMV issue.

But if I didn't worry about the sound in my system what else would I have to worry about?

Perhaps worry was too strong a word. Part of the fun is the exploration and experimentation of different sources, speakers, room acoustics, etc. Experimenting for that last drop of perfection (a highly individual thing) and then changing it all around as newer technologies become available. But does the fact that the center is not the exact same speaker, positioned at the exact same height, with seating the exact distance away, mean that the timber mis-match will detract from the sound in such a way as to seriously impact the actual tone of voice more than it would have been impacted by the wind, trees, car noise, distance, etc. that we experience in real life. Sometimes I just wonder. But I probably think too much anyhow.
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post #20 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 06:51 AM
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I'm with atdamico, the timbre matching doesn't bug me. I have the Polk center that matches my towers but when I was getting all my gear in I read a few horror stories on the boards about how bad a horizontal center is so I did a few tests with it and I had no issues. No issues on axis vs. off axis. Didn't notice anything better with a tower used as a center, etc... Also, I have "cheaper" bookshelf speakers as surrounds and I don't notice any timbre issues when a car goes flying by from front left tower to surround left bookshelf.

There are tons of people here that have the experience and ear to notice these subtle differences, I don't (or haven't yet). Like Kal said, your experience might be different, only you can decide.
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post #21 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 06:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

a REEAAAALLLLY crappy center channel offering

Or as a bandaid to address a different problem.

At one point I ended up using a mismatched center because the tone/placement controls on it helped to ease less than ideal placement/acoustics issues. Granted, it was not a perfect solution, but it did sound better than the matching center (which lacked controls). It might have been a "better" solution for me at the time, but it was still far from ideal.


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post #22 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 07:07 AM
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I have Paradigm Studio 20's as my left and right. I don't have a matching center yet, so I tried using the Klipsch KSF-C5 center channel I had laying around. The difference was huge. My example is extreme, but it proves a point. It was a big enough difference that I turned off the center channel in my receiver. I'd rather run a phantom center channel than run one that doesn't match the left and right. The best center channel is one that is the same model as your left and right.

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post #23 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 07:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by jnickrand View Post

I'm with atdamico, the timbre matching doesn't bug me...

I didn't say it didn't bug me. I said I sometimes wonder why it does more so than timber mis-match in the real world.
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post #24 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by atdamico View Post

I didn't say it didn't bug me. I said I sometimes wonder why it does more so than timber mis-match in the real world.

My guess would be is because it is more natural, and I the soundtrack has been mixed to replicate it, have the speakers mis-matched is just like running random interference.

That said, currently I am mismatched, and I only use the center for PLII, DD etc I shut it off.
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post #25 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 08:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by camus11 View Post

...the soundtrack has been mixed to replicate it, have the speakers mis-matched is just like running random interference.

I wonder. Does the engineer that does the mix actually take into account that tree 5' away from the actor and its effect on how somebody actually standing 10' away would hear the content with that tree reflecting sound? Or does he take into account that the wind is blowing 10 knots and what its effect will have on how the sound would actually reach a person's ears? Isn't the sound track often laid in after the movie is shot and in that circumstance, in the studio, that tree or wind, or plane, or whatever, isn't there anymore to influence how the sound is reflected. Does the sound engineer actually look at the background in detail and mix the sound the way it would actually be with those natural items in the mix? If so, I am impressed. If not, then how realistic is what we are hearing anyhow? I just sometimes wonder about things like this. I have no background to make a judgement so I just shoot for a blended and natrual a sound as I can but what, in reality, does a natural sound sound like if not adjusted for the myriad of things in the way in the real world. Inquiring minds want to know
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post #26 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 08:41 AM
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If we are going to talk tree reflection and wind knots why not also consider temperature and ambient pressure? We all know that sound travels better/faster when it's cold out right? Next time we watch a movie with arctic scenes I vote we all chill our HT's to 0 degree F to try to achieve a more accurate sound reproduction.
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post #27 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atdamico View Post

I wonder. Does the engineer that does the mix actually take into account that tree 5' away from the actor and its effect on how somebody actually standing 10' away would hear the content with that tree reflecting sound? Or does he take into account that the wind is blowing 10 knots and what its effect will have on how the sound would actually reach a person's ears? Isn't the sound track often laid in after the movie is shot and in that circumstance, in the studio, that tree or wind, or plane, or whatever, isn't there anymore to influence how the sound is reflected. Does the sound engineer actually look at the background in detail and mix the sound the way it would actually be with those natural items in the mix? If so, I am impressed. If not, then how realistic is what we are hearing anyhow? I just sometimes wonder about things like this. I have no background to make a judgement so I just shoot for a blended and natrual a sound as I can but what, in reality, does a natural sound sound like if not adjusted for the myriad of things in the way in the real world. Inquiring minds want to know

Yes, I am sure the sound is mixed with the barometric pressure and air temperature in mind as well.

But really do not match the center to the fronts, actually do not bother matching the fronts, I am sure they can be blended as well, if not it doesn't matter because the soundtrack will not accurately represent real conditions anyway.
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post #28 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 09:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camus11 View Post

Yes, I am sure the sound is mixed with the barometric pressure and air temperature in mind as well.

But really do not match the center to the fronts, actually do not bother matching the fronts, I am sure they can be blended as well, if not it doesn't matter because the soundtrack will not accurately represent real conditions anyway.

Your sarcasm well represents most on this site. I never suggested that anybody, including me, shouldn't match their speakers. Never. I simply said that I wonder, sometimes, why we all place such great emphasis on a timber matched center channel when in real life, timber hardly every matches. Which is an acceptable question to ask and even to have a discussion about. But of course the acceptable thing to do here, is to paraphrase, invent, pull stuff out of your ass that was never suggested or said, and then offer up a sarcastic bit of drivel based on the sh*t that you invented. Idiotic behavior that most likely represents who you are as a person.
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post #29 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 10:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atdamico View Post

Your sarcasm well represents most on this site. I never suggested that anybody, including me, shouldn't match their speakers. Never. I simply said that I wonder, sometimes, why we all place such great emphasis on a timber matched center channel when in real life, timber hardly every matches. Which is an acceptable question to ask and even to have a discussion about. But of course the acceptable thing to do here, is to paraphrase, invent, pull stuff out of your ass that was never suggested or said, and then offer up a sarcastic bit of drivel based on the sh*t that you invented. Idiotic behavior that most likely represents who you are as a person.

Exactly, just how I stated the engineer mixes effects trees.

I am really glad you are here for "discussion". Good day.
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post #30 of 51 Old 05-29-2008, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanbrain View Post

I have Paradigm Studio 20's as my left and right. I don't have a matching center yet..............

As a bit of an aside, if you can accommodate it vertically, and the dealer will sell you a single, consider using another 20 for your center.

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