Thinking of upgrading Center Speaker to a more dynamic, but want it to match the rest - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 05:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings. Currently I have a Polk Monitor CS1, Polk 50s, and Polk 30's as my system. I also have a VSX 821 Receiver. I sit about 20 feet behind where my front speakers are, and about 3 feet away from where my rear speakers are.

As you can imagine, I have no trouble hearing the rear speakers, but sometimes in quiet scenes, I have a little trouble making out words from the front of the room. It seems a little muddy, and a little quiet.

I also just added 2 big subs to the scene, and I would say it has made the problem worse. When I really crank the receiver up, the problem gets much better, but I'd like to be able to decipher words and quiet scenes without really working the system, especially for late night viewing.

So anyways, I have the Polk monitors in their Cherry veneer. Is there a more 'crystal clear' center channel that would match? I'm sure most would say the CS2, but as far as I can tell it has the exact same 1" tweeter and I'm thinking I either need more tweeters, something with a horn, or else just something more dynamic and I'm not sure the CS2 has all that. So, what are my options?

Thanks.

Derek
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post #2 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 06:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

Greetings. Currently I have a Polk Monitor CS1, Polk 50s, and Polk 30's as my system. I also have a VSX 821 Receiver. I sit about 20 feet behind where my front speakers are, and about 3 feet away from where my rear speakers are.

As you can imagine, I have no trouble hearing the rear speakers, but sometimes in quiet scenes, I have a little trouble making out words from the front of the room. It seems a little muddy, and a little quiet.

I also just added 2 big subs to the scene, and I would say it has made the problem worse. When I really crank the receiver up, the problem gets much better, but I'd like to be able to decipher words and quiet scenes without really working the system, especially for late night viewing.

So anyways, I have the Polk monitors in their Cherry veneer. Is there a more 'crystal clear' center channel that would match? I'm sure most would say the CS2, but as far as I can tell it has the exact same 1" tweeter and I'm thinking I either need more tweeters, something with a horn, or else just something more dynamic and I'm not sure the CS2 has all that. So, what are my options?

Thanks.

Derek


Is there any way you could move the listening position closer? What is your budget? I seriously doubt that any Polk speaker is going to help, and, I seriously doubt that your receiver is up to the task of providing enough power to fill such a large area. I would look into horn/compression driver designs from companies such as Klipsch, Elemental Designs, or Chase.
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post #3 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 06:39 AM
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Does your receiver give you the option to increase output of certain channels? If so, then you could just increase the volume of the center channel.
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post #4 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 06:42 AM
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The drivers in the CS2 are considerably bigger than the CS1...so yes, that would help. But 20 feet is a very long distance. You must have a HUGE TV....I wouldn't even be able to see my TV from 20 feet!

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post #5 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 06:52 AM - Thread Starter
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It's a good size, I think its 96". As for the receiver, I don't know, I would really doubt it it is just a pretty standard cheap receiver, but I may look into that. Yes, I did Kinda think I was going to have to go to a horn loaded tweeter, but I'm not sure I want to spend $4000 on new klipsch speakers, since I only spent about 400 on these polks!
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post #6 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 07:20 AM
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The CS20 is a much better speaker; get that. That should help a lot.

What kind of subs do you have? Some subs do not put out clean bass, particularly those that are underpowered (less than 350 watts RMS).

It is usually a lot of work to get two subs properly positioned do they will work well; a lot of trial and error.




Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

Greetings. Currently I have a Polk Monitor CS1, Polk 50s, and Polk 30's as my system. I also have a VSX 821 Receiver. I sit about 20 feet behind where my front speakers are, and about 3 feet away from where my rear speakers are.

As you can imagine, I have no trouble hearing the rear speakers, but sometimes in quiet scenes, I have a little trouble making out words from the front of the room. It seems a little muddy, and a little quiet.

I also just added 2 big subs to the scene, and I would say it has made the problem worse. When I really crank the receiver up, the problem gets much better, but I'd like to be able to decipher words and quiet scenes without really working the system, especially for late night viewing.

So anyways, I have the Polk monitors in their Cherry veneer. Is there a more 'crystal clear' center channel that would match? I'm sure most would say the CS2, but as far as I can tell it has the exact same 1" tweeter and I'm thinking I either need more tweeters, something with a horn, or else just something more dynamic and I'm not sure the CS2 has all that. So, what are my options?

Thanks.

Derek

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post #7 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

It's a good size, I think its 96". As for the receiver, I don't know, I would really doubt it it is just a pretty standard cheap receiver, but I may look into that. Yes, I did Kinda think I was going to have to go to a horn loaded tweeter, but I'm not sure I want to spend $4000 on new klipsch speakers, since I only spent about 400 on these polks!

The procedure for changing the channel levels is on page 35 of the manual. You can turn up the center and see if that helps. You can also turn down the rears to balance out your sound-field. Also try and get the center as close, or pointing to, ear level in your seating area. Good luck.

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post #8 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 08:02 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks bguzman! I will check that out when I get home tonight. I guess if that doesn't solve the problem I would imagine it will atleast help! The Subs are Ed A7s-450, they definately aren't underpowered. I have them currently positioned right next to the couches until monoprice sends me my 50' cable to run them to the front of the room. Then it's going to be a total makeover on my system on trial and error set-up, who knows, maybe with the 18" subs at the front of the room it will blows the high's right towards me!
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post #9 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 08:18 AM
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you could look at the Polk RTi A4 center channel or whatever it is, even the A6 if you have space for it. But the CS1 is really a poor speaker. no offense.

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post #10 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 08:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Nah no offense taken. I'm very new to all of this, The monitors and CS1 were definately an upgrade from my little 3" htiab bookshelf speakers I had. It's a shame because I really like the way the 50's and 30's look and work (and price!), and In fact had kind of been waiting for the 70's to hit a sale again cause I was going to start working on a cheap but effective 7.2 system. But I definately need to get this center channel figured out first. I don't have the budget to do a full on klipsch or other mid-high grade speakers, so I'm definately gonna tinker with the receiver tonight.

As I said, when I'm playing a movie loudly (like 65-70) It clears up and definately comes alive. But that's just not real conducive to 2 am movies, ya know!

Another thing, and I just realized this. Right from the start I was a little let down by the center channel. I still had my other center channel from the htiab so I ran a jumper wire from the CS1. I thought it helped it a little bit, but do you think its maybe stealing some of the signal (and power, and clearness) from the cs1 having two speakers hooked up as center channels? I think I'll unplug that and mess with the receiver and see if I just can't turn up the center channel a bit tonight.
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post #11 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 08:46 AM
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I know a lot of people complain about the CS1s abilities, and think the CS2 is a much better unit. However, for the money from Polk Direct on ebay, the CSi5 here would be better purchase.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/CSi5-CHERRY-...item35b2c9d298

Something to think about if you cant get the center channel to perform the way you want.

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post #12 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

When I really crank the receiver up, the problem gets much better, but I'd like to be able to decipher words and quiet scenes without really working the system,

If this is still an issue after balancing your channel levels as suggested by bguzman, using the receiver's test tones (in Auto mode if you're doing it by ear), then it is possible that dynamics are actually part of the problem rather than the solution. Many movies these days have quite dynamic soundtracks, and you're expected to turn the volume up enough to decipher whispers in quiet scenes--if the rest of the soundtrack becomes too loud as a result, then you either need to "compress" (reduce) the dynamics or find a center speaker that will help make quiet dialogue more intelligible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

especially for late night viewing.

For this you will probably have to use dynamic range compression. Read through the options on page 32 of your receiver's manual. Try the "MAX" and "MID" DRC options to see whether they help, and have more pleasing results overall (maybe MAX for nighttime viewing and MID for daytime, or whatever you prefer). Also try the "LOUDNESS" setting to find out whether it helps with dialogue at low volumes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

So anyways, I have the Polk monitors in their Cherry veneer. Is there a more 'crystal clear' center channel that would match? I'm sure most would say the CS2, but as far as I can tell it has the exact same 1" tweeter and I'm thinking I either need more tweeters, something with a horn, or else just something more dynamic and I'm not sure the CS2 has all that. So, what are my options?

While the Polk Monitor series is definitely not known for its midrange performance in general, the CS2 is a noticeable step up from the CS1 in many ways, including sound quality, and may be worth a try. Or you could try the other options first--starting with balancing your levels--to determine whether buying a new center is necessary.
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post #13 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

It's a good size, I think its 96". As for the receiver, I don't know, I would really doubt it it is just a pretty standard cheap receiver, but I may look into that. Yes, I did Kinda think I was going to have to go to a horn loaded tweeter, but I'm not sure I want to spend $4000 on new klipsch speakers, since I only spent about 400 on these polks!

I will make my usual suggestion, which I'm sure ppl get sick of but here goes. If you want a horn loaded tweeter and don't wanna spend the coin that Klipsch and other brands cost. Look at the BIC Acoustech speakers, I have them and love them. Are they the best speakers no, BUT they are amazing for movies, TV and games. They project the highs and mids very well and very far, very efficient and can play very loud if need be.

http://www.acousticsounddesign.com/b...dex.cfm?bid=67

I have 2 of the towers with the 8" woofers and the center with the 8" woofers and 4 surrounds and paid less than $1k for all 7.

Shawn
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post #14 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

As I said, when I'm playing a movie loudly (like 65-70) It clears up and definately comes alive. But that's just not real conducive to 2 am movies, ya know!

The CS1 may not be a great speaker, but watching a movie with a dynamic soundtrack at 2 am is a challenge with any speaker. The DRC settings should help significantly in this regard, and is what a lot of us use late at night, even with better speakers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

Another thing, and I just realized this. Right from the start I was a little let down by the center channel. I still had my other center channel from the htiab so I ran a jumper wire from the CS1. I thought it helped it a little bit, but do you think its maybe stealing some of the signal (and power, and clearness) from the cs1 having two speakers hooked up as center channels?

Without going into a lengthy discussion over this, just don't do it. If you hear an improvement, it may be because the center channel is now being reproduced more loudly than before, but this is achievable by adjusting the center channel level in the receiver, and there are other bad effects that you would be wise to avoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

I think I'll unplug that and mess with the receiver and see if I just can't turn up the center channel a bit tonight.

Look on page 35 of the manual and follow the channel level balancing procedure there--do this first to get your speaker levels balanced. Then watch a movie (not necessarily the whole thing, of course ) to see how much this helps, if any. Then try the other options I mentioned earlier to find out how much they help. If all else fails, try turning up the center channel so that it is louder relative to the other channels. I consider this a last resort because it means that your system is miscalibrated--do whatever you need to do, don't get me wrong, but try everything else first (testing with a challenging movie scene after every change you make).
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post #15 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks a million for all of your suggestions guys. I'm definately going to do some tweaking tonight and see if I can't find some other modes to listen to my speakers with. If that doesn't do the trick, I'm going to adjust that center channel. And If that doesn't solve it for me, I dunno, I guess it will be time to open up the wallet. I do like the look of both the CSi, and the BIC Acoustech, I really like how they look and the idea of having a horn. No Idea how they would compare to Klipsch, but I have heard those speakers with a horn and the high's were stellar. I just would hate the idea of starting over from scratch, but who knows maybe my polks would be worth something on craigslist. I also didn't see any 7 speaker packages for under a grand, looked like it would be more like $1500 ??

I"ll give 'er a shot tonight and see if I can't solve it cheaply, I hope I can. Either way I'm sure I'll let ya know, thanks again.
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post #16 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 09:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derekhonda View Post

I also didn't see any 7 speaker packages for under a grand, looked like it would be more like $1500 ??

Prices may have gone up slightly since I got them in February... BUT if you say you are with AVS you get a 15% discount. Also they have a make an offer option. And I just flat out asked what was the bottom line absolute cheapest they could ship them to me.

Shawn
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post #17 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Damnet. FlickhtGuru, just looked at your location and was really excited. I'm from Lebanon also woulda loved to run over and take a listen to your set-up. Then I realized you're PA and im Lebanon Indiana!
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post #18 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 11:17 AM
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You definitely want to unplug the smaller htib speaker as you could do damage to your receiver running them like that. I agree with some of the earlier posters that you need to really make sure you set up your system correctly and then maybe use dynamic range compression to help with dialogue when you can't have the volume up high. Even though the CS1 isn't an amazing speaker, try all of the above first and you'll most likely be fine. If you feel confident you've got it all set up correctly and balanced and still don't like it, then start looking at new speakers.
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post #19 of 20 Old 06-04-2012, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, I have tried and failed at the first part. I just spent about an hour trying to get it to go into either DRC mode or midnight mode, and it wouldn't let me do either. I never could even find the Dynamic setting, it wasn't in the options as they laid it out. I also thought midnight mode might solve some of the quieter problems, And I could get to it but couldn't get it on. Don't know what I'm doing wrong there.

I did however play with the 'width' and 'decibles' and 'distance'.

I set the width a little bit wider (3) and I went +6 on center channel and +4 on front speakers. I also turned the rears -3 since they are right in my ear. All of the speakers were set 10 feet away I put the fronts to 15 and the rears to 2.

It seems to have helped a little, still wouldn't say I'm 100% satisfied but atleast i know I have some options to tinker with. Heck, I hadn't even put the batteries in the remote control yet! Just plugged it in and went.

Do you guys think I'd be doing any damage to the speakers turning them up that much? I think it will go to +10, so I'm not maxing it out, but I'm sure it is extra strain.
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post #20 of 20 Old 06-06-2012, 08:57 PM
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Wait, maybe this is a dumb question, but have you run MCACC? You don't mention if you have or not, but I'm thinking maybe you didn't since your surrounds seem to be louder than the other speakers and MCACC should compensate for that. I'm not totally familiar with Yamaha receivers, but if it's like my Denon at all, you'll need to run MCACC before you can use dynamic volume control or the midnight mode. Check your manual for how to run it but it should make a big difference. Once you run it, check for the dynamic volume control or midnight mode or whatever. Also, on the Denon those are directly available from the remote, they're not a menu setting. The Yamaha may be similar.
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