Goodbye Center Channel - Page 11 - AVS Forum
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post #301 of 406 Old 12-09-2013, 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

The main thing IMO is that if someone finds a phantom speaker to give a superior result to a physical centre speaker, it probably points to a problem elsewhere. When Dolby designed 5.1 they knew what they were doing and part of what they were doing involved a physical centre channel. That is how 5.1 is meant to be heard. I have no doubt that some find that a phantom is giving them a better result, but if it were me, I'd try to find out what the real problem is and fix it.

You are right. I think the problem is a smaller center channel compared to the massive front LR speakers. I am not challenging Dolby's technology here. I made an observation that when I use a small center channel (compared to the front LR), the dialogue is tiny vs when dialogue is delivered by the front LR. I have no shame in admitting that I spent hundreds of $$$ before realizing what now looks obvious - audio coming from bigger speakers will deliver better depth/clarity than coming from smaller speakers especially when it has a range of frequencies like the human voice. It is possible that If I experimented with 1 or two center speakers that are the same size as the LR then I would enjoy even better audio but as of now, I am pretty satisfied with the LR doing the phantom center.

Maybe someone who has experience with commercial theater sound systems can chime in and tell us how they setup the speakers for 5/7.1. What's the configuration of center vis-a-vis rest of the speakers?
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post #302 of 406 Old 12-09-2013, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sjavs View Post

Maybe someone who has experience with commercial theater sound systems can chime in and tell us how they setup the speakers for 5/7.1. What's the configuration of center vis-a-vis rest of the speakers?
The front speakers in a commercial theatre follow the same rules you would for a stereo music set-up. You would never buy a large left speaker and use a smaller "matching" right speaker, let alone place them at different heights. Instead, you would use 2 identical speakers, placed at the same height off the floor.

That rule doesn't change just because the front soundstage is made up of 3 or 5 speakers (large/wide screens use 5 front speakers). ALL the front speakers in a commercial theatre are exactly the same, ALL mounted at the same height. Just like you would at home when using 2 speakers.

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post #303 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 12:07 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

The front speakers in a commercial theatre follow the same rules you would for a stereo music set-up. You would never buy a large left speaker and use a smaller "matching" right speaker, let alone place them at different heights. Instead, you would use 2 identical speakers, placed at the same height off the floor.

That rule doesn't change just because the front soundstage is made up of 3 or 5 speakers (large/wide screens use 5 front speakers). ALL the front speakers in a commercial theatre are exactly the same, ALL mounted at the same height. Just like you would at home when using 2 speakers.

And, combined with my experience of trying three different center speakers (always smaller than front LR) tells me that a small center channel is a marketing gimmick. And, a good one at that :P
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post #304 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sjavs View Post

And, combined with my experience of trying three different center speakers (always smaller than front LR) tells me that a small center channel is a marketing gimmick. And, a good one at that :P
Smaller, horizontal centre speakers are more a marketing necessity than outright gimmick. Two objects can't occupy the same space: i.e., you can't place a large TV and a floorstanding tower centre speaker in front of you. One of them has to yield. More often than not it is the centre speaker that ends up becoming the stepchild of the audio system.

Manufacturers would love for customers to buy 3 of their large tower speakers. Instead, customers buy 2 large towers and a small "matching" horizontal centre speaker. The manufacturer isn't trying to trick you into purchasing a gimmick. They're just responding to what the market wants. Customers would rather compromise how the centre channel is reproduced than compromise the size of the flat screen TV.

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post #305 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Manufacturers would love for customers to buy 3 of their large tower speakers. Instead, customers buy 2 large towers and a small "matching" horizontal centre speaker. The manufacturer isn't trying to trick you into purchasing a gimmick. They're just responding to what the market wants. Customers would rather compromise how the centre channel is reproduced than compromise the size of the flat screen TV.
Good to know my B&W HTM1 was "small". What about where I have used three identical speakers?

Too big a video screen is now the problem? But putting the screen off the speaker axis isn't?

Again: We've all been to a theater. We've all heard a "proper LCR setup". When we say that the phantom center in our setup works well; that's because it works well.

It didn't work well in your setup? OK. It works well in some of ours.
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post #306 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:00 AM
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I am just more and more impressed with my HTD Level Two Towers running in phantom mode. The best way I can describe it is it sounds like the actor is now in my room speaking, rather than coming from a speaker. All of the dialog, both male and female, has more 'weight' to it...........The voice over at the beginning of WOTW now sounds like it should.

Also, I notice that the rest of the chaos in action movies that is normally produced by the center speaker just sounds better as well. Saving Private Ryan for example has a lot of CC info on it, ranging from yelling, to explosions, to gun shots and my towers teaming up together, produce all of it with authority.

Again, most of us just 25yrs ago had our stereo speakers hooked up to our TV's "variable audio out" jack and not one of us complained about "our dialog isn't anchored to the screen". I know I sure as hell didn't.

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post #307 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

I am just more and more impressed with my HTD Level Two Towers running in phantom mode. The best way I can describe it is it sounds like the actor is now in my room speaking, rather than coming from a speaker. All of the dialog, both male and female, has more 'weight' to it...........The voice over at the beginning of WOTW now sounds like it should.
I have a center and you cannot tell a person speaking on screen from one actually in the room. For that matter you can't tell the TV from a live person listening from the next room either. That has nothing to do with center versus phantom, it has everything to do with accurate reproduction.

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post #308 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

I am just more and more impressed with my HTD Level Two Towers running in phantom mode. The best way I can describe it is it sounds like the actor is now in my room speaking, rather than coming from a speaker. All of the dialog, both male and female, has more 'weight' to it...........The voice over at the beginning of WOTW now sounds like it should.
I have a center and you cannot tell a person speaking on screen from one actually in the room. For that matter you can't tell the TV from a live person listening from the next room either. That has nothing to do with center versus phantom, it has everything to do with accurate reproduction.

It's ironic that this thread is what convinced me to add a center channel after doing without one for almost five years. I thought I was happy with phantom mode, but now that my center matches my L/R the quality of the resulting soundfield cannot be denied, and I'm not going back.


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post #309 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

That has nothing to do with center versus phantom, it has everything to do with accurate reproduction.

I agree and disagree. I completely agree that it has everything to do with accurate reproduction, but in my case, that has everything to do with phantom vs center speaker. My towers are better at accurately reproducing sounds than my smaller center speaker is......... Phantom vs center speaker, in my case.

I am not saying that if I completely redid my room and purchased a large, capable 3rd tower speaker identical to my L/R speakers that I would still think the phantom setting would still sound better, I am not saying that, but that is not going to happen, ever. So for me, with my equipment, in my home, with my layout the phantom setting has more accurate sound reproduction than a physical center speaker has.

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post #310 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by sbradley02 View Post

My new mains are due Thursday so I will finally get to try out the phantom center with the new setup.

And regarding comments about three identical speakers. If I were to go to a center with the new speakers, the center, to fit, would only be half the height of L/R, with a ribbon 1/3 the length, and with the speaker center-point several inches lower requiring a tilt of around 7 degrees to get similar balance.

My current center is an MTM.
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post #311 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:59 AM
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And regarding comments about three identical speakers. If I were to go to a center with the new speakers, the center, to fit, would only be half the height of L/R, with a ribbon 1/3 the length, and with the speaker center-point several inches lower requiring a tilt of around 7 degrees to get similar balance.

My current center is an MTM.

Interested to hear your thoughts once you get them up and running. If I bought the matching center speaker for my L/R, it would have to live below the TV, in the cubby of my entertainment center, which would put it 16" off of the ground and tilting up, as well as about 18" lower than my L/R's tweeter. While I know that isn't the worst placement ever and many people have that same config, I also know it's not ideal.

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post #312 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

So for me, with my equipment, in my home, with my layout the phantom setting has more accurate sound reproduction than a physical center speaker has.
Exactly!

There has been a straw-man fallacy argued by many here that we are saying "the phantom setup in my room is better than an ideal 3-channel front soundstage". We haven't.
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post #313 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

I agree and disagree. I completely agree that it has everything to do with accurate reproduction, but in my case, that has everything to do with phantom vs center speaker. My towers are better at accurately reproducing sounds than my smaller center speaker is.........
.
In other words your new towers are sweet and your old center sucks. That doesn't make phantom better than center, that makes good speakers better than bad speakers. Bit of a no brainer that one is. rolleyes.gif
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If I bought the matching center speaker for my L/R, it would have to live below the TV, in the cubby of my entertainment center, which would put it 16" off of the ground and tilting up, as well as about 18" lower than my L/R's tweeter. While I know that isn't the worst placement ever and many people have that same config, I also know it's not ideal.
Agreed. If getting the best sound possible is the goal you must use a center that is up to the job, and place it where it works best, not wherever convenience dictates. Blame that on speaker manufacturers, who encourage the use of bad centers poorly placed because they're what the average consumer wants as they don't know any better.

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post #314 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

In other words your new towers are sweet and your old center sucks. That doesn't make phantom better than center, that makes good speakers better than bad speakers. Bit of a no brainer that one is. rolleyes.gif
Bill has forgotten that he already (if only implicitly) agreed that a phantom could be better for reasons other than the quality of the center speaker back in post #283.
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Agreed. If getting the best sound possible is the goal you must use a center that is up to the job, and place it where it works best, not wherever convenience dictates. Blame that on speaker manufacturers, who encourage the use of bad centers poorly placed because they're what the average consumer wants as they don't know any better.
Yes. You must use a speaker that you don't have in a room that you don't have and place it in a location that doesn't exist. Get right on that!!!

Some people just *need* to be right it seems frown.gif
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post #315 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

In other words your new towers are sweet and your old center sucks. That doesn't make phantom better than center, that makes good speakers better than bad speakers. Bit of a no brainer that one is. rolleyes.gif
Bill has forgotten that he already (if only implicitly) agreed that a phantom could be better for reasons other than the quality of the center speaker back in post #283.
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Agreed. If getting the best sound possible is the goal you must use a center that is up to the job, and place it where it works best, not wherever convenience dictates. Blame that on speaker manufacturers, who encourage the use of bad centers poorly placed because they're what the average consumer wants as they don't know any better.
Yes. You must use a speaker that you don't have in a room that you don't have and place it in a location that doesn't exist. Get right on that!!!

Some people just *need* to be right it seems frown.gif

That's a real stretch. Bill is giving good advice on how to get it right, but getting it right isn't for everyone. That doesn't make his advice any less valuable.


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post #316 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post

That's a real stretch. Bill is giving good advice on how to get it right, but getting it right isn't for everyone. That doesn't make his advice any less valuable.
The problem being: I don't think that's what he's doing at all.

He's telling a bunch of people, who have certainly heard a 3+ channel front setup in a theater, that their experience is wrong.

And his "solution" is something several of us have already called impractical (actually: I can do it because my TV is up so high. I did put a full-size, identical speaker in the center position, and I do have better sound in that room without a center).

When people have come on and said "My rig sounded much better with a center channel", no one has told them they were wrong; but every time someone says their system sounds better without them, there's a bevy of posts telling people that their own personal experience is wrong. It's like a religion. frown.gif

And what good advice did he give? Replace the house or get rid of the TV for movie watching?

Bill knows a lot, and is very often right. I very often agree with him; and I've often said in this thread that an ideal system is , well, a nigh-infinite number of speakers. But when he's wrong, he just cannot accept that fact. He calls anyone who sticks to their guns in disagreement a troll.

Let's look at my third post on this thread:
"I don't think anyone dislikes centers per-say. I think that some of us find that centers are not appropriate for all rooms."

Centers are not appropriate for all rooms. That's been the claim, and real-world experience of, those of us who have ever advocated phantoms. It has never been usefully refuted, though straw-men keep getting propped up.
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post #317 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 01:40 PM
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That's a real stretch. Bill is giving good advice on how to get it right, but getting it right isn't for everyone. That doesn't make his advice any less valuable.
The problem being: I don't think that's what he's doing at all.



He's telling a bunch of people, who have certainly heard a 3+ channel front setup in a theater, that their experience is wrong.



And his "solution" is something several of us have already called impractical (actually: I can do it because my TV is up so high. I did put a full-size, identical speaker in the center position, and I do have better sound in that room without a center).



When people have come on and said "My rig sounded much better with a center channel", no one has told them they were wrong; but every time someone says their system sounds better without them, there's a bevy of posts telling people that their own personal experience is wrong. It's like a religion. frown.gif



And what good advice did he give? Replace the house or get rid of the TV for movie watching?



Bill knows a lot, and is very often right. I very often agree with him; and I've often said in this thread that an ideal system is , well, a nigh-infinite number of speakers. But when he's wrong, he just cannot accept that fact. He calls anyone who sticks to their guns in disagreement a troll.



Let's look at my third post on this thread:

"I don't think anyone dislikes centers per-say. I think that some of us find that centers are not appropriate for all rooms."



Centers are not appropriate for all rooms. That's been the claim, and real-world experience of, those of us who have ever advocated phantoms. It has never been usefully refuted, though straw-men keep getting propped up.

 



Having enjoyed the last five years listening to a phantom center, I do agree with you that it is a viable option and that it is better than a poorly-performing center channel speaker, or a poorly positioned one. But that's only the case for a relatively narrow sweet spot—which was fine with me.
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post #318 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

Bill has forgotten that he already (if only implicitly) agreed that a phantom could be better for reasons other than the quality of the center speaker back in post #283.

For someone who complains constantly about straw men on these forums, it's interesting to see you create one yourself (misrepresenting Bill's position and then using that misrepresentation against him). Well done! biggrin.gif
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post #319 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

The problem being: I don't think that's what he's doing at all.

He's telling a bunch of people, who have certainly heard a 3+ channel front setup in a theater, that their experience is wrong.

And his "solution" is something several of us have already called impractical (actually: I can do it because my TV is up so high. I did put a full-size, identical speaker in the center position, and I do have better sound in that room without a center).

When people have come on and said "My rig sounded much better with a center channel", no one has told them they were wrong; but every time someone says their system sounds better without them, there's a bevy of posts telling people that their own personal experience is wrong. It's like a religion. frown.gif

And what good advice did he give? Replace the house or get rid of the TV for movie watching?

Bill knows a lot, and is very often right. I very often agree with him; and I've often said in this thread that an ideal system is , well, a nigh-infinite number of speakers. But when he's wrong, he just cannot accept that fact. He calls anyone who sticks to their guns in disagreement a troll.

Let's look at my third post on this thread:
"I don't think anyone dislikes centers per-say. I think that some of us find that centers are not appropriate for all rooms."

Centers are not appropriate for all rooms. That's been the claim, and real-world experience of, those of us who have ever advocated phantoms. It has never been usefully refuted, though straw-men keep getting propped up.
Jerry,

Do you ever watch movies with other human beings? If so, how do you decide which human gets the one seat where the "phantom image" works?

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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Do you ever watch movies with other human beings? If so, how do you decide which human gets the one seat where the "phantom image" works?

Craig


I keep hearing that with a phantom center setting I should be experiencing some awful image shift when seated anywhere in my room except dead center of the display, but I have sat in all 4 of the seats in my room where a person would "watch a movie" (not a game however, because then I use all channel stereo anyway, and people are all over the joint) and I hear no such horrific image issue. Maybe I'm lucky I don't know. In reality, it's just my wife and I at home now with my daughter in college, so it's just the two of us for movie night. I sit dead center and she's 3' to my right, 15' away from the display and both seats sound good.
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post #321 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 04:35 PM
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Jerry,

Do you ever watch movies with other human beings? If so, how do you decide which human gets the one seat where the "phantom image" works?
All the time. And despite the repeated claims of people here on AVS, I have no problem with an overly small sweet spot.

The two rooms where I ended up removing the center channel are my bedroom (where I almost always watch with my wife), and my parent's family room (which has 2 couches and a single seat). Imaging is fine in any reasonable location (sitting in the couch against the side-wall in my parents family room, for example, does ruin imaging; but it would on any speaker setup not specifically calibrated for that position).

I have no doubt that, in some setups, removing the center is deteriorous; but not in all.
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post #322 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

I keep hearing that with a phantom center setting I should be experiencing some awful image shift when seated anywhere in my room except dead center of the display, but I have sat in all 4 of the seats in my room where a person would "watch a movie" (not a game however, because then I use all channel stereo anyway, and people are all over the joint) and I hear no such horrific image issue. Maybe I'm lucky I don't know. In reality, it's just my wife and I at home now with my daughter in college, so it's just the two of us for movie night. I sit dead center and she's 3' to my right, 15' away from the display and both seats sound good.
You're sitting 15' from speakers that are 5' apart. You have no front soundstage. Spread your speakers apart to the recommended 22 to 30 degrees to recapture the front soundstage... and then you'll notice the off-axis collapse of the soundstage.



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post #323 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

All the time. And despite the repeated claims of people here on AVS, I have no problem with an overly small sweet spot.

The two rooms where I ended up removing the center channel are my bedroom (where I almost always watch with my wife), and my parent's family room (which has 2 couches and a single seat). Imaging is fine in any reasonable location (sitting in the couch against the side-wall in my parents family room, for example, does ruin imaging; but it would on any speaker setup not specifically calibrated for that position).

I have no doubt that, in some setups, removing the center is deteriorous; but not in all.

Jerry,

Look up the "Haas Effect" or "Precedence Effect". It's a well documented psycho-acoustic phenomenon. If you're sitting closer to one speaker than the other, you will hear the closer speaker because it will be louder and the sound waves from it will arrive earlier. The sonic image will collapse to that closer speaker. If a voice "phantom-images" in the middle when you are equidistant from the L/R speakers, and you move closer to the left speaker, the phantom image will collapse to the left speaker. There's no way around it.

If you are insisting that this doesn't happen in your systems, you're kidding yourself.

Craig

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post #324 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

You're sitting 15' from speakers that are 5' apart. You have no front soundstage. Spread your speakers apart to the recommended 22 to 30 degrees to recapture the front soundstage... and then you'll notice the off-axis collapse of the soundstage.

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lol if I could Craig, I would. I'll say again, in my home, with my living room based system that has limited placement options as I am not the only person that lives here, and with my seating arrangement, I have what I have. And in my case, and I can only speak for my case, the phantom setting sounds better than a horizontal center channel speaker, placed in a cubby, near the floor, because of the restrictions that I have mentioned before.
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post #325 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 05:31 PM
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If you put the speakers close to the screen edges at a decent listening distance, I believe you would still get a good phantom center image, just like you do with TV speakers, so no small sweet spot. It would come at the penalty of soundstage.

If you put them apart just as if you would do in a 3.0 configuration, then the sweet spot for the center image will be potentially smaller and very sensitive to room acoustics, listening distance, etc.

I guess I'm with Jerry to the fact that if you can make it work, and it saves from the added cost or the space used center speaker, then it's all good. However, claiming to be better than a dedicated center using a 5.0 or 5.1 source, highly unlikely. There are many scenarios you can present to justify a phantom center is better (ex. subpar or poor location of a center speaker) but all things equal, a dedicated center channel is the way to go.
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post #326 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

You're sitting 15' from speakers that are 5' apart. You have no front soundstage. Spread your speakers apart to the recommended 22 to 30 degrees to recapture the front soundstage... and then you'll notice the off-axis collapse of the soundstage.
My speakers are as far apart as the room will allow, and I am in the only listening position possible in the situation.

You are telling me to get a new room, which means a new house, so that I can make my existing setup sound bad so that I can fix the problem I just created with a center channel. You'll understand if I chose to not do that.
Quote:
Look up the "Haas Effect" or "Precedence Effect". It's a well documented psycho-acoustic phenomenon.
See? There it is again. "I've got a theory that you, and everyone else here who has stated the same thing as you, is not experiencing what you say you are. There's no possibility that I am mis-applying the facts in question. There's no study of your setup to support it. But I'm sure based on my understanding of the model that you suddenly become deaf as a post when you take the center away.

I'm not disputing Precedence Effect, but I am disputing your claim to the outcome it will cause at my listening positions in my room.
Quote:
If you're sitting closer to one speaker than the other, you will hear the closer speaker because it will be louder and the sound waves from it will arrive earlier. The sonic image will collapse to that closer speaker. If a voice "phantom-images" in the middle when you are equidistant from the L/R speakers, and you move closer to the left speaker, the phantom image will collapse to the left speaker. There's no way around it.
How many nanometers, exactly, can I be closer to one than the other before this suddenly kicks in completely moving, I assume in an instant, a mono sound from dead center to entirely left or right.
Quote:
If you are insisting that this doesn't happen in your systems, you're kidding yourself.
It only happens at signifigant off-center locations. It does not happen anywhere on my bed (in the bedroom), nor in the couch opposite the TV in the family room. I haven't noticed it. My wife (who is picky) hasn't noticed it. My parents (not quite as picky) haven't noticed it. My sister hasn't noticed it. The friends who have come by, if they have noticed, have not commented; and it appears that other posters here have a similar experience.

Guess we are all just kidding ourselves.

So my note to people considering trying a phantom center: Good news! There is a good chance you will instantly delude yourself into believing you are getting good sound... which is just like actually getting it, only cheaper. (odd that I was unable to delude myself similarly when I was going through all those center-channel configurations before trying a phantom)
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post #327 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 08:24 PM
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I think we can all agree that some set ups work better with a phantom center and some work better with a center speaker.
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post #328 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:22 PM
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I have 3 of the same speakers for my front L/C/R channels. They are the Pioneer C21s. The display is a 100" projector screen. The center channel speaker is located below the projector screen. Guess where generally I hear the dialog and center channel sound coming from? Below the screen. That is the problem with center channel. I have a big screen with people talking on it, but the sound of them talking is originating from below the screen, because that is where the speaker is located.

What I like about removing the center channel speaker, is that the side speakers producing the voices, are sometimes better able to trick my ears into thinking the sound is originating from the character’s mouths on the screen. Although sitting off-center can mess up where the sound appears to originate with phantom center, so does a real center with sound origin pinned below the screen. You can't complain only about one without the other - both are a compromise whatever Dolby intended with 5.1.

Now I have played a bit with real center channel and phantom center channel. What I like about the former, is that it can bring some clarity and control of the center volume (particular vocals). But what I like about the latter, is it can bring a width of sound sometimes missing from the real center, and also as mentioned sometimes better locate the vocals (or sometimes not). Personally, I've found some movies I like better with real center, and some better with phantom. Neither is perfect. What I would really like to try is a center channel mounted behind the screen, with a screen that allows sound to pass through, that way I would get real center channel from the center of the screen.
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post #329 of 406 Old 12-10-2013, 10:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post


I'm not disputing Precedence Effect, but I am disputing your claim to the outcome it will cause at my listening positions in my room.
How many nanometers, exactly, can I be closer to one than the other before this suddenly kicks in completely moving, I assume in an instant, a mono sound from dead center to entirely left or right.

I thought the same thing when I read the previous post. I have been in audio for many decades, and you can get a pretty good stereo effect well off the center line. To state that the Precedence Effect means that the stereo image collapses to one side when you go off center is hyperbole. In many speaker reviews you will see comments along the lines of which speakers have a larger or smaller sweet spot. Much has to do with the speaker in question's dispersion characteristics.

I have yet to try phantom center so can't yet speak from personal experience, but I feel we can summarize this by stating that unless you have the flexibility to deploy three identical speakers at identical heights, you are choosing between two sets of compromises.

With a center, you get rock solid localization left/right of dialog in the center of the screen. This is independent of listening position. The compromise is that you will likely get some degree of tonal mis-match from the center to the L/R. Using a different speaker or an identical speaker at a different height makes this probable. You may also get a mis-match on perceived center channel audio height depending on the particular installation.

With a phantom center, you prevent the tonal mis-match completely. The compromise is that depending on listening position, when listening off-center dialog will be shifted to the left or the right of center (not, however, to the far left or far right). You also lose a little headroom.
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post #330 of 406 Old 12-11-2013, 09:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

My speakers are as far apart as the room will allow, and I am in the only listening position possible in the situation.

You are telling me to get a new room, which means a new house, so that I can make my existing setup sound bad so that I can fix the problem I just created with a center channel. You'll understand if I chose to not do that.
That wasn't directed at you. It was a response to D Bone and it was rhetorical.
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

See? There it is again. "I've got a theory that you,...
It's not a "theory." It's a well documented psycho-acoustic phenomenon:
Quote:
Precedence effect
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The precedence effect or law of the first wavefront is a binaural psychoacoustic effect. When a sound is followed by another sound separated by a sufficiently short time delay (below the listener's echo threshold), listeners perceive a single fused auditory image; its perceived spatial location is dominated by the location of the first-arriving sound (the first wave front). The lagging sound also affects the perceived location. However, its effect is suppressed by the first-arriving sound.

The Haas effect is a psychoacoustic effect, described in 1949 by Helmut Haas in his Ph.D. thesis. It is often equated with the underlying precedence effect.

If you want to verify for yourself that the Precedence Effect is a real phenomenon, try putting on some 2-channel music that has vocals mixed to provide a phantom image in the middle, (female vocals work well for this.) Sit in the middle and then go into your receiver's menu system and change the "Distance" setting of the left or right speaker. You can actually move the phantom image left or right as you do this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

...and everyone else here who has stated the same thing as you, is not experiencing what you say you are. There's no possibility that I am mis-applying the facts in question. There's no study of your setup to support it. But I'm sure based on my understanding of the model that you suddenly become deaf as a post when you take the center away.
I never said you went "deaf as a post" when you take the CC away. I never even said you wouldn't get good sound. I only said you wouldn't get the "phantom image" from a phantom center channel if you're not sitting in the middle. Ridiculous overstatement doesn't help you make your point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

I'm not disputing Precedence Effect, but I am disputing your claim to the outcome it will cause at my listening positions in my room.
How many nanometers, exactly, can I be closer to one than the other before this suddenly kicks in completely moving, I assume in an instant, a mono sound from dead center to entirely left or right.
It only happens at signifigant off-center locations. It does not happen anywhere on my bed (in the bedroom), nor in the couch opposite the TV in the family room. I haven't noticed it. My wife (who is picky) hasn't noticed it. My parents (not quite as picky) haven't noticed it. My sister hasn't noticed it. The friends who have come by, if they have noticed, have not commented; and it appears that other posters here have a similar experience.

Guess we are all just kidding ourselves.

So my note to people considering trying a phantom center: Good news! There is a good chance you will instantly delude yourself into believing you are getting good sound... which is just like actually getting it, only cheaper. (odd that I was unable to delude myself similarly when I was going through all those center-channel configurations before trying a phantom)

Enjoy your phantom center channel. It's always an interesting effect to hear a sound coming from a place where there is no speaker.

Craig
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