Please help with center speaker selection - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-24-2012, 05:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi, all. After reading many posts in this forum I find that I have little expertise in this area, so your guidance will be much appreciated.
This all started when my wife & I purchased a nice a/v cabinet to house all of our equipment (yes, the WAF is at play here). As a result I found that my middle-of-the-road Denon a/v receiver wouldn't fit in the cabinet. So I bought an inexpensive a/v receiver that would fit nicely (see below).
So now, onto my problem - I have found that dialog in movies is not as clear as it used to be. I don't know if it because of my age (62), or the new receiver isn't strong enough in the center channel, or if my center channel isn't up to par anymore or is damaged, or a combination of all of these.

Here is what I have:
A/v receiver: Yamaha RX-V371
Fronts: Infinity Reference 2000.6
Center: Infinity CC-2 (I want to replace this)
Rears: Infinity Reference 2000.2
Sub: SVS 25-31PCI

I definitely need to replace the center speaker. I have tried it inside and outside of the cabinet and it just isn't clear enough for me to understand dialogue.
Also, in the cabinet, the center speaker sits in its own enclosed space, surrounded on all sides by wood.

I have read a lot in the forum about timbre matching, etc so I am pretty confused about what would match up with what I have.
I am considering the Def Tech Procenter 1000 for $220.
That is my approximate price range up to about $300.

Any reccomendations?

Again thanks for any help - it is appreciated.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-24-2012, 09:05 AM
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Oddly enough, a lot of speakers which sound pretty good with music actually do not reproduce the human voice well.

Music can sound pretty good to our ears through a speaker even if it is not perfectly reproduced, as long as there is no significant harmonic distortion.

Voice, on the other hand, tends to not be very intelligible if the slightest distortion is present.

That is why knowledgeable people experienced with audio use CDs with female and male singers on them. especially a chorus or vocal group, as one of the acid tests of an audio system.

The fact of the matter is that two good front speakers will do a great job of reproducing voices without any center speaker, and using a center speaker as a band-aid is no substitute for getting good front speakers to start with.

If the front speakers are muddying the sound, does it really make sense to mix that sound up with a center speaker that is somehow different? You are still going to hear sound from all 3 speakers, and it is still going to be a muddle.

A smaller two-way speaker will often do a better job with voices than a larger speaker that is a 3 way design. A 3-way design can definitely be worse if it is made with relatively inexpensive components.

I would try the 2000.2 speakers as your front speakers in a 2.1 configuration and evaluate that sound quality. Set the crossover point between fronts and sub to 60 Hz. This will probably sound noticeably better.

Then try adding the center speaker in a 3.1 configuration and see what you think of that. Make adjustments to the voice-matching control on the CC2 and see what it does.

If either of those configurations sound better, you should dump the 2000.6 speakers and get some small speakers for the rear channels; Cambridge Audio S20 would be good.

If neither of those work, you just need to dump all of the speakers you have and carefully select some new ones.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-24-2012, 09:10 AM
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Where was this center channel placed before you got the cabinet?
Additionally does this center channel have 2 sets of connectors? If so it might be possible that the connection is loose.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-24-2012, 10:11 AM
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First, definitely check all the connections and make sure the phase is correct for the center speaker (red/black)

Second, it is bad to stuff the center into a cabinet, so try to at least push it forward enough so the drivers are not recessed. But, it sounds like you tried that and it still is not clear.

A few things you could try.

1) If the center is above or below your seated ear level, tilt it so it is aimed at your ears.

2) If your receiver has the capability, simply increase the volume on the center channel by a few decibels and then see if that helps. I run mine at +3dB above what Audyssey recommended.

3) Try a phantom center. Unplug the center and tell the receiver you have no center. It will send the dialogue to the L/R towers. Maybe you will like it better with no center at all. You could try this with the 2000.6 speakers that you have right now as L/R or, as suggested above, the smaller 2000.2 ones you are using as rears.

Oh, Commsysman seems to always recommend setting the crossover to the sub at 60Hz, but most people recommend 80Hz. I don't want to get into that here.

Finally, unfortunately, many modern movies are mixed so that the sound effects have maximum impact at the expense of dialog. Often, the grumbly male voices are tough to make out. It may be the source material. I find that when watching TV shows or news, voices are easy to understand, but in many action movies, not so much. See if you can correlate when you are having trouble making out the words with what you are watching.

If none of that helps, and you decide you want a new center still, knowing the dimensions of the cabinet where it will sit will help people make recommendations. Try to post a pic of the entertaiment center. Pics always help also.

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-24-2012, 10:24 AM
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With all due respects, that is a some-what muddy sounding center to begin with.
Also, the receiver is not real efficient in surroud mode.
From HT Labs:
Five channels driven continuously into 8-ohm loads:
0.1% distortion at 32.4 watts
1% distortion at 35.1 watts

You will need to decide where to go, or start from here.

One option to look at, is the KEF iQ series
Center channel
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882156010

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Speakers > MB Quart VS05, Boston VS260, Snell K7
Subwoofer > Mordaunt Short Aviano 7
Receiver > Tascam PAR-200, Pioneer VSX-30
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-24-2012, 11:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I'll try to address all the comments so far:

Many of the comments are hitting the nail on the head - I am not a critical listener (you can tell from my equipment).
I am not having a problem listening to music - for me it seems like the human voice is the hardest to reproduce.

As was referenced from contributors, It is the dialog on action movies that I have my problem with so the mixing of the original material is probably a big contributor to the problem.
As a benchmark for dialogue clarity (be it good or bad benchmark), I use Clint Eastwood's grumbly voice. Maybe that is too harsh a test?

I have tried the phantom setting on the receiver. Dialogue is clearer, but I do miss having the dialog anchored in the center of the listening area, so I would like to fill that gap with a center speaker.

I have tried the voice-matching control on the CC-2, but I can't hear a difference between its lowest and highest setting - I don't know if it is the speaker malfunctioning or my 62 yr. old ears not being able to percieve the difference. When I run the receiver's tone test, all speakers seem about equal. And I have used my Radio Shack decibal level measuring tool - the speakers are OK in that regard. However, I have to bump up the output of the center speaker significantly to get the speaker output equal.

I have checked the connections and they are tight, and have checked the phase and it is correct.

Before the cabinet, the center speaker was above a different TV. With the WAF, I am trying to keep the center speaker in the cabinet. The center speaker cube is 8" high x 20" long x 17" deep. For further clarification, the Infinity Reference 2000.6's that I use as fronts are floor standing speakers that are on either side of the cabinet - they are not in the cabinet - only the center speaker is in the cabinet.

I would love to replace every piece, but money is tight - that is why I had to settle for the budget a/v receiver. At this point I am trying to solve the problem within budget. Someday I hope to ask you guys for recommendations on a whole new system!!!

Zieglj01 - I will check out the KEF.

Thank you all for your comments & suggestions!
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post #7 of 7 Old 03-05-2013, 04:05 AM
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Timbre matching requires you to keep the same brand and close to the same model of speakers different materials have different tonal qualities ideally the tweeters of the front left center and right should be within in 6-12 inches of above ore below the horizontal plain in a perfect world you would want them in a perfect line across. your cc2 has a vocal adjustment dial on the back you can try adjusting that. the yamaha receiver is not as rich in sound as the denon. make sure your front three speaker wires are the same gauge and length, go to radio shack and pick up a cheap sound pressure level meter, set it to C weighted and set it on the coffee table directly in front of your seating area, set the volume level on your receiver to the maximum level you listen at, now activate the receiver test tone for all the channels, you want to set each level for each speaker around the room at 70db. now you are dialed in at THX specifications. I own the same exact speakers using a denon receiver ....try this before you waste your money o a mismatched center. if your cc2 was bad it would not be puting out any sound from the drivers or the would sound scratchy. the phantom setting is only used when you do not have a center speaker and sends that information to the mains.
your 2000.6 speakers are the closest to a THX speaker configuration the yamaha has a weaker power supply than the denon so the denon will drive harder and clearer

hope this helps
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