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post #331 of 384 Old 12-11-2013, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by craig john View Post

That wasn't directed at you. It was a response to D Bone and it was rhetorical.
And false.
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It's not a "theory." It's a well documented psycho-acoustic phenomenon:
Got it. You don't know what a theory is (hint: they are usually well documented). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory.
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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.
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.
Or I could take a step or two to test the same thing... and I have. But you seem to be responding as though I disputed the validity of precedence, as opposed to the reality that I disputed your conclusions regarding it.
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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.
But I do. Emperical data trumps hypothesis.

I'm still amazed that the many posters on here not experiencing the problems you imagine they would don't cause you to re-evaluate your conclusions. Given the stories of how we got here, and the consistency (and the lack of a contravening study); psychosomatic effect seems unlikely (and certainly not evidenced).
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Enjoy your phantom center channel. It's always an interesting effect to hear a sound coming from a place where there is no speaker.
Happens all the time. Ears are commonly fooled. You should hear what can be done in a really controlled environment (like headphones).
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post #332 of 384 Old 12-11-2013, 09:14 AM
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I completely forgot to detail how I arrived at the phantom setting as I had no real reason to try it since I had a matching center speaker in my setup. I was watching the local news on CBS channel 2 in the LA area on DirecTV, and I thought "man their audio mix sounds good". The news anchors' voices sounded rich, clear and detailed. Then a commercial came on and the effect went away, then the newscast came back on and all was well again.

I thought WTH? So I checked the info on my Denon thinking that maybe the new was in DD 2.0 or PCM and I was listening to PL II Cinema (I turn off the front display on my Denon), nope it showed DD 5.1 being received and being output. That's when I decided to get up and put my head against my center speaker, and lo and behold it was completely silent. CBS was actually broadcasting the newscast in 4.1, with no center. I rewound to the commercials and all of them were broadcast in DD 5.1 and I confirmed this by listening to the center speaker for each of the commercials in the 3 minute block.

So, that's how I ended up where I am today, by complete accident, in what basically was my own personal "blind test".

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post #333 of 384 Old 12-11-2013, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

I completely forgot to detail how I arrived at the phantom setting as I had no real reason to try it since I had a matching center speaker in my setup. I was watching the local news on CBS channel 2 in the LA area on DirecTV, and I thought "man their audio mix sounds good". The news anchors' voices sounded rich, clear and detailed. Then a commercial came on and the effect went away, then the newscast came back on and all was well again.

I thought WTH? So I checked the info on my Denon thinking that maybe the new was in DD 2.0 or PCM and I was listening to PL II Cinema (I turn off the front display on my Denon), nope it showed DD 5.1 being received and being output. That's when I decided to get up and put my head against my center speaker, and lo and behold it was completely silent. CBS was actually broadcasting the newscast in 4.1, with no center. I rewound to the commercials and all of them were broadcast in DD 5.1 and I confirmed this by listening to the center speaker for each of the commercials in the 3 minute block.

So, that's how I ended up where I am today, by complete accident, in what basically was my own personal "blind test".

TV audio source (HD 5.1) sucks. It happens to me as well, especially when watching sports. Although, it has completely the opposite effect. Commercials (real 5.1 source or mix) sound better than watching the broadcast (4.0 or 4.1 disguised as 5.1 DD). I usually have to turn the AVR to stereo mode to make it sound better, at the expense of a reduced sweet spot (because of the source).

I repeat what I said before, there is a situation for every circumstance where a phantom center image works better than a dedicated center.(not having a mix sourcing the center being one of them). The phantom center solution, is the exception not the rule. It is a good alternative when confronted with center speaker limitations (audio source, budget, location, etc), but that is what it is, a compromising alternative. Again, all things equal, a dedicated center is the way to go when there is a mix sourcing the center channel. In other words, provided the correct audio source, in a room and setup where a 5.1 speakers system sound great, the same equipment configured in 4.1 (phantom center) will not trump the former, and I dare to say, will underperform.

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post #334 of 384 Old 12-11-2013, 12:48 PM
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I think this discussion will probably go on forever. However, it's worth mentioning that the real reason I re-integrated a center into my system is because I had a chance to hear a perfectly calibrated home theater—it was calibrated by Keith Yates, one of the top home theater designers in the world. That experience, which I will post an article about very soon, had a profound impact on my understanding of how good a properly configured center channel can sound.

 

The main issue is this: integrating a center channel is difficult—more so than other speakers. It really needs to be a proper match, in terms of timbre, volume, frequency response, and dispersion. Without those things in place, a center channel speaker will call attention to itself, even if it is doing it's job well. That ruins the 3D audio illusion.

 

A well-integrated center channel will blend into the soundfield, in a manner that emulates the transparency of a phantom image.

 

I see no issue with a phantom center if the viewer is sufficiently far away from the L/R speakers, and the audience doesn't exceed two viewers. However, a bit of A/B testing reveals that the soundstage does collapse very quickly, and a percentage of phantom center fans tend to understate the extent to which being off-center affects the quality of the presentation.


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post #335 of 384 Old 12-15-2013, 03:33 PM
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I have decided to buy the matching Level Two Center Speaker, and will install it later this week. I am intrigued by the design of the speaker with the tweeter sitting up higher in the cabinet and HTD said that if I don't like it I can return it and get a full refund, so it's a no brainer. I will report back in a week or so..............

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post #336 of 384 Old 12-16-2013, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

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.

I have the new speakers up and running so here are my impressions. First some details. My old speakers were quite nice, Sunfire XT Ribbon Trios. The mains are around 2' tall on stands and the center is a horizontal MTM (yes, I know) on a stand well above the floor, just below the plasma. The mains are 8' apart and 13' from the primary seats (the 'guest' seats are awful from an audio standpoint so they are not worth considering. At least 90% of the time it is just my wife and I). The primary seating is a theater love seat with its center along the speaker center line. This means each seat is ~18" off center. Sound levels are set at the center line position

I upgraded to Newform Research Pyramid 45 towers. These are 48" tall coaxial ribbon speakers. The "matching" center would have to be their Line Source Monitor, half as tall and placed well below the mains. The company owner recommends strongly against using centers so I thought I would give it a try.

I matched the levels, set center to NONE and tried out some move clips. Contrary to some claims made here, panning across the sound field is seamless and perfect. Again contrary to some claims, dialog does not collapse to the nearer speaker. It stays solidly in the center. As far as intelligibility I made an interesting experiment. I listened to a clip where the dialog is pretty buried under the effects. So I tried turning the (Sunfire) center back on. It was worse in regards to intelligibility. Just a poorly mastered clip IMO. Another observation was, with the center on I did get some collapse, but in the other direction. The center draws undue attention, lessening the feeling of envelopment. I am a convert (at least in my setup) to phantom center channel.

P.S. I will be selling my Sunfires biggrin.gif
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post #337 of 384 Old 12-16-2013, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sbradley02 View Post

I have the new speakers up and running so here are my impressions. First some details. My old speakers were quite nice, Sunfire XT Ribbon Trios. The mains are around 2' tall on stands and the center is a horizontal MTM (yes, I know) on a stand well above the floor, just below the plasma. The mains are 8' apart and 13' from the primary seats (the 'guest' seats are awful from an audio standpoint so they are not worth considering. At least 90% of the time it is just my wife and I). The primary seating is a theater love seat with its center along the speaker center line. This means each seat is ~18" off center. Sound levels are set at the center line position

I upgraded to Newform Research Pyramid 45 towers. These are 48" tall coaxial ribbon speakers. The "matching" center would have to be their Line Source Monitor, half as tall and placed well below the mains. The company owner recommends strongly against using centers so I thought I would give it a try.

I matched the levels, set center to NONE and tried out some move clips. Contrary to some claims made here, panning across the sound field is seamless and perfect. Again contrary to some claims, dialog does not collapse to the nearer speaker. It stays solidly in the center. As far as intelligibility I made an interesting experiment. I listened to a clip where the dialog is pretty buried under the effects. So I tried turning the (Sunfire) center back on. It was worse in regards to intelligibility. Just a poorly mastered clip IMO. Another observation was, with the center on I did get some collapse, but in the other direction. The center draws undue attention, lessening the feeling of envelopment. I am a convert (at least in my setup) to phantom center channel.

P.S. I will be selling my Sunfires biggrin.gif


Thanks for the update! Beautiful speakers you have there. eek.gif

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post #338 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 03:46 AM
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I think this discussion will probably go on forever. However, it's worth mentioning that the real reason I re-integrated a center into my system is because I had a chance to hear a perfectly calibrated home theater—it was calibrated by Keith Yates, one of the top home theater designers in the world. That experience, which I will post an article about very soon, had a profound impact on my understanding of how good a properly configured center channel can sound.

 

The main issue is this: integrating a center channel is difficult—more so than other speakers. It really needs to be a proper match, in terms of timbre, volume, frequency response, and dispersion. Without those things in place, a center channel speaker will call attention to itself, even if it is doing it's job well. That ruins the 3D audio illusion.

 

A well-integrated center channel will blend into the soundfield, in a manner that emulates the transparency of a phantom image.

 

I see no issue with a phantom center if the viewer is sufficiently far away from the L/R speakers, and the audience doesn't exceed two viewers. However, a bit of A/B testing reveals that the soundstage does collapse very quickly, and a percentage of phantom center fans tend to understate the extent to which being off-center affects the quality of the presentation.

 

+1.  IMO if someone prefers the sound of a phantom centre to a real centre, then there is something not right with the system as a whole. As you say, a properly set-up system uses a centre channel, just as Dolby intended when they invented 5.1, and it does so without inducing additional problems of the kind mentioned by those who favour a phantom centre speaker.  The better route IMO would be to locate the problem and fix it rather than applying a 'phantom bandaid'. 

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post #339 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

+1.  IMO if someone prefers the sound of a phantom centre to a real centre, then there is something not right with the system as a whole. As you say, a properly set-up system uses a centre channel, just as Dolby intended when they invented 5.1, and it does so without inducing additional problems of the kind mentioned by those who favour a phantom centre speaker.  The better route IMO would be to locate the problem and fix it rather than applying a 'phantom bandaid'. 
Using the Dolby standard as an absolute guide is fallacious in my opinion. The standard was developed for commercial theaters many years before home theater existed. A commercial theater needs to more or less equally satisfy listeners across the entire width of the room. Many rooms (including mine) have the principal listeners located near the center.
Commercial theaters have three identical speakers at identical heights behind a perf screen (typically). I don't think anyone would argue that this is not superior IF you can manage it. The vast majority of home theater enthusiasts use a flat screen so this is impossible to achieve. We have to instead employ various compromises to deploy a center. In this case, the center is most definitely the 'bandaid'. Eliminating it (if your seating plan supports it) becomes the fix to the problem.
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post #340 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

+1.  IMO if someone prefers the sound of a phantom centre to a real centre, then there is something not right with the system as a whole. As you say, a properly set-up system uses a centre channel, just as Dolby intended when they invented 5.1, and it does so without inducing additional problems of the kind mentioned by those who favour a phantom centre speaker.  The better route IMO would be to locate the problem and fix it rather than applying a 'phantom bandaid'. 
What a load of rubbish. The CC is to mitigate the Haas effect for listeners removed from the centre axis.
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post #341 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 08:13 AM
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+1.  IMO if someone prefers the sound of a phantom centre to a real centre, then there is something not right with the system as a whole. As you say, a properly set-up system uses a centre channel, just as Dolby intended when they invented 5.1, and it does so without inducing additional problems of the kind mentioned by those who favour a phantom centre speaker.  The better route IMO would be to locate the problem and fix it rather than applying a 'phantom bandaid'. 
Using the Dolby standard as an absolute guide is fallacious in my opinion. The standard was developed for commercial theaters many years before home theater existed. A commercial theater needs to more or less equally satisfy listeners across the entire width of the room. Many rooms (including mine) have the principal listeners located near the center.
Commercial theaters have three identical speakers at identical heights behind a perf screen (typically). I don't think anyone would argue that this is not superior IF you can manage it. The vast majority of home theater enthusiasts use a flat screen so this is impossible to achieve. We have to instead employ various compromises to deploy a center. In this case, the center is most definitely the 'bandaid'. Eliminating it (if your seating plan supports it) becomes the fix to the problem.

 

Regardless of the origins of Dolby 5.1, almost every movie for home consumption is mixed for 5.1 and assumes a centre channel speaker.  While I can see that the removal of the centre channel speaker can provide a fix for instances of where home reproduction is imperfect, the removal can hardly be a recommended route to follow. Fixing the underlying issue is always going to be a better solution. If the underlying problem can’t be fixed for some reason, then using a phantom centre speaker may be the only practical route - but again, that hardly makes it a route that can be championed as superior to a real centre channel speaker.  A real speaker will always beat a phantom speaker (in a properly setup system).

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post #342 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 08:14 AM
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+1.  IMO if someone prefers the sound of a phantom centre to a real centre, then there is something not right with the system as a whole. As you say, a properly set-up system uses a centre channel, just as Dolby intended when they invented 5.1, and it does so without inducing additional problems of the kind mentioned by those who favour a phantom centre speaker.  The better route IMO would be to locate the problem and fix it rather than applying a 'phantom bandaid'. 
What a load of rubbish. The CC is to mitigate the Haas effect for listeners removed from the centre axis.

 

I think you have confused your Hass and your elbow.

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post #343 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 08:18 AM
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Regardless of the origins of Dolby 5.1, almost every movie for home consumption is mixed for 5.1 and assumes a centre channel speaker.  While I can see that the removal of the centre channel speaker can provide a fix for instances of where home reproduction is imperfect, the removal can hardly be a recommended route to follow. Fixing the underlying issue is always going to be a better solution. If the underlying problem can’t be fixed for some reason, then using a phantom centre speaker may be the only practical route - but again, that hardly makes it a route that can be championed as superior to a real centre channel speaker.  A real speaker will always beat a phantom speaker (in a properly setup system).
So what is the "fix" for the vast majority of us who have flat panel screens (and therefore must employ different speakers at different heights?
Looking for your practical solution to this near universal real world situation.
What is "properly setup" when you have a flat screen?
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post #344 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 08:22 AM
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Regardless of the origins of Dolby 5.1, almost every movie for home consumption is mixed for 5.1 and assumes a centre channel speaker.  While I can see that the removal of the centre channel speaker can provide a fix for instances of where home reproduction is imperfect, the removal can hardly be a recommended route to follow. Fixing the underlying issue is always going to be a better solution. If the underlying problem can’t be fixed for some reason, then using a phantom centre speaker may be the only practical route - but again, that hardly makes it a route that can be championed as superior to a real centre channel speaker.  A real speaker will always beat a phantom speaker (in a properly setup system).
So what is the "fix" for the vast majority of us who have flat panel screens (and therefore must employ different speakers at different heights?

I use Primus PC 351 for L, C, and R. They are on a shelf just over the screen. 2 fairly stout 12" subs finish the 3.2 system out. Works!
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post #345 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 08:32 AM
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I think you have confused your Hass and your elbow.
An attempt to be a wit, but proving you're only half that.
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post #346 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 08:52 AM
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I think you have confused your Hass and your elbow.
An attempt to be a wit, but proving you're only half that.

 

Enjoy your phantom centre speaker.

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post #347 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 09:05 AM
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Regardless of the origins of Dolby 5.1, almost every movie for home consumption is mixed for 5.1 and assumes a centre channel speaker.  While I can see that the removal of the centre channel speaker can provide a fix for instances of where home reproduction is imperfect, the removal can hardly be a recommended route to follow. Fixing the underlying issue is always going to be a better solution. If the underlying problem can’t be fixed for some reason, then using a phantom centre speaker may be the only practical route - but again, that hardly makes it a route that can be championed as superior to a real centre channel speaker.  A real speaker will always beat a phantom speaker (in a properly setup system).
So what is the "fix" for the vast majority of us who have flat panel screens (and therefore must employ different speakers at different heights?
Looking for your practical solution to this near universal real world situation.
What is "properly setup" when you have a flat screen?

 

I think that any issues caused by having the centre speaker at slightly different heights to the L & R speakers is a marginal issue, or even no issue at all. If the centre speaker has reasonable directivity and is angled towards the listeners' ears this shouldn’t cause much, or any, noticeable problem when listening. And a proper centre speaker will certainly produce better imaging for anyone not sitting dead centre than a phantom speaker will.  My own LCR are identical and all mounted at the same height but in the past I have had a centre speaker where the tweeters were approx 10 inches lower than those in the L&R and this was never an audible problem. Certainly I would never for a moment have considered removing the centre speaker entirely because of it. It's taking one small problem and making one big problem out of it IMO. 

 

When I had that flat panel TV I raised it as tolerably high as I could on the wall (not too high or you just create another problem) so that the height of the centre speaker tweeter below the TV was as close as I could get it to the height of the L&R tweeters. I agree that it is not a simple solution.

 

I think the greater problem with a setup like you describe is that the centre speaker design is usually going to be different to that of the LCR - forced by the horizontal shape of most centre speakers. I think this is a far bigger problem than non-identical tweeter heights, especially when ill-conceived MTM designs are used, which seem extraordinarily popular for such a flawed design concept. Nevertheless, I still maintain that throwing out the centre speaker is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Better solutions can be found IMO (and I found one as detailed above).

 

I am also not sure that it is the difference between the height of the centre speaker and that of the L&R which is the main reason people adopt a phantom speaker. 

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post #348 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 09:21 AM
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I think that any issues caused by having the centre speaker at slightly different heights to the L & R speakers is a marginal issue, or even no issue at all.
It's no issue at all, as your eyes will tell you the source of the sound is the screen, and that will over-rule what your ears tell you, so long as the center is within reasonable proximity of the screen.

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post #349 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 09:50 AM
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I think the greater problem with a setup like you describe is that the centre speaker design is usually going to be different to that of the LCR - forced by the horizontal shape of most centre speakers. I think this is a far bigger problem than non-identical tweeter heights, especially when ill-conceived MTM designs are used, which seem extraordinarily popular for such a flawed design concept. Nevertheless, I still maintain that throwing out the centre speaker is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Better solutions can be found IMO (and I found one as detailed above).

I am also not sure that it is the difference between the height of the centre speaker and that of the L&R which is the main reason people adopt a phantom speaker. 

That and if you are using 48" tall towers for the mains (as I am) you are going to have to use a much smaller speaker in addition to having to angle it as you describe.
When I tried a phantom center many years ago with my Maggie 3.5Rs it didn't work (possibly due to the very wide spacing between them). I tried it again with my Newforms and it works wonderfully (with my setup and my room). I don't have a problem that needs solving.

I am uncertain as to why some of the posters here are unwilling to admit the possibility that in some setups a phantom center might actually be preferred.
I think I have posted enough on the topic. The configuration works well for me and I am very happy with the results.
I will let others continue to beat this (for me) dead horse wink.gif
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post #350 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 12:46 PM
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I think that any issues caused by having the centre speaker at slightly different heights to the L & R speakers is a marginal issue, or even no issue at all.
It's no issue at all, as your eyes will tell you the source of the sound is the screen, and that will over-rule what your ears tell you, so long as the center is within reasonable proximity of the screen.

 

I certainly never found it a problem when I had that kind of configuration.

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post #351 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 12:47 PM
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I think the greater problem with a setup like you describe is that the centre speaker design is usually going to be different to that of the LCR - forced by the horizontal shape of most centre speakers. I think this is a far bigger problem than non-identical tweeter heights, especially when ill-conceived MTM designs are used, which seem extraordinarily popular for such a flawed design concept. Nevertheless, I still maintain that throwing out the centre speaker is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Better solutions can be found IMO (and I found one as detailed above).

I am also not sure that it is the difference between the height of the centre speaker and that of the L&R which is the main reason people adopt a phantom speaker. 

That and if you are using 48" tall towers for the mains (as I am) you are going to have to use a much smaller speaker in addition to having to angle it as you describe.
When I tried a phantom center many years ago with my Maggie 3.5Rs it didn't work (possibly due to the very wide spacing between them). I tried it again with my Newforms and it works wonderfully (with my setup and my room). I don't have a problem that needs solving.

I am uncertain as to why some of the posters here are unwilling to admit the possibility that in some setups a phantom center might actually be preferred.
I think I have posted enough on the topic. The configuration works well for me and I am very happy with the results.
I will let others continue to beat this (for me) dead horse wink.gif

 

I can definitely see that it is preferred by some. The question I ask myself is why is it preferred?

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post #352 of 384 Old 12-17-2013, 03:31 PM
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I can definitely see that it is preferred by some. The question I ask myself is why is it preferred?

Why? Because they have a subpar center, overpowering mains, location limitations, budget, etc. There is no question a center channel is better when they have an audio source intended specifically feeding that speaker. Some people have setups where including a center may make the experience sound worse. Phantom center is a compromised solution, therefore, "these people", find it preferable given their compromised situation. It is not always possible to have or accommodate a good setup.

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post #353 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 02:14 AM
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I can definitely see that it is preferred by some. The question I ask myself is why is it preferred?

Why? Because they have a subpar center, overpowering mains, location limitations, budget, etc. There is no question a center channel is better when they have an audio source intended specifically feeding that speaker. Some people have setups where including a center may make the experience sound worse. Phantom center is a compromised solution, therefore, "these people", find it preferable given their compromised situation. It is not always possible to have or accommodate a good setup.

 

Yes, agreed. What I meant was that some people seem to prefer the idea of a phantom center, period.

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post #354 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 06:34 AM
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Regardless of the origins of Dolby 5.1, almost every movie for home consumption is mixed for 5.1 and assumes a centre channel speaker.
Downmixed. Theaters are 9.2 IIRC.
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While I can see that the removal of the centre channel speaker can provide a fix for instances of where home reproduction is imperfect, the removal can hardly be a recommended route to follow. Fixing the underlying issue is always going to be a better solution. If the underlying problem can’t be fixed for some reason, then using a phantom centre speaker may be the only practical route - but again, that hardly makes it a route that can be championed as superior to a real centre channel speaker.  A real speaker will always beat a phantom speaker (in a properly setup system).
Will always "at least match", with said "properly setup system" being "a movie theater".

You are following the THX requirement for a floating floor, yes? All the THX material is mixed for that, and anything less is a compromise / band-aid.
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post #355 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 06:38 AM
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It's no issue at all, as your eyes will tell you the source of the sound is the screen, and that will over-rule what your ears tell you, so long as the center is within reasonable proximity of the screen.
Just want to make sure I understand this.

1) We should not use a phantom because our ears will overrule our eyes and we will hear voices coming, not from the screen, but from the L and R speakers (which ever one is a few inches closer).
2) We should not worry about the center not being behind the screen because our eyes will overrule our ears and we will not hear the sound as coming from the speaker location.

So your two claims contradict one another.

Also: That's not my experience (nor the experience of many who have posted on this thread) who run a phantom and experience none of the problems you, and others, have asserted that we must be experiencing.

I suppose we could have ears of stone, but it's not like we don't hear a difference... it's just that the phantom setup sounds *better* in our room.
(and again, phantom does not sound better to me in all rooms I've setup. In several, I run a center because *that* sounds better. It seems room-dependant)
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post #356 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 12:55 PM
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I suppose we could have ears of stone, but it's not like we don't hear a difference... it's just that the phantom setup sounds *better* in our room.
(and again, phantom does not sound better to me in all rooms I've setup. In several, I run a center because *that* sounds better. It seems room-dependant)

Its not just room dependent, its also the quality of the mains and center.

1. With quality speakers that project a strong phantom center, that allows one's head to rift from side to side by a foot or so and still lock the center image, its all good.

2. The other side of that coin, is a center that is poorly designed and/or poorly placed.

3. A quality center and properly placed.

1 or 3 are of coarse, what is wanted. And both can be had in the same room, same system.
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post #357 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 01:10 PM
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Its not just room dependent, its also the quality of the mains and center.
True. I made my first center adequate to match my mains at that time. I designed and built new mains and the center no longer worked well compared to the mains. So I designed and built a new center that was the equal of the new mains. End of problem. If your center isn't of the same quality as your mains it won't sound as good as your mains. One need not be Einstein to come to that conclusion. cool.gif

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post #358 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 01:21 PM
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Its not just room dependent, its also the quality of the mains and center.
I did try with B&W Nautilus 801's and the matching HTM center at one point; tweeter level-height with the mains.

Several here have asserted that all horizontal MTM designs are problematic (though my HTM was WMW with the tweeter above them in a little "bullet" housing). If so: the audio market doesn't seem to have caught on even a little (many won't sell you a single speaker that isn't a horizontal center)... but it seems unlikely to be the sum of the problem since some of the setups that have worked well with a center speaker have used horizontal MTM or WMTW designs.

But yes, I agree. The speaker quality would indeed matter; and yes, I agree, #1 or #3 is what you would want.
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post #359 of 384 Old 12-18-2013, 02:42 PM
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Yes, agreed. What I meant was that some people seem to prefer the idea of a phantom center, period.

I don't necessarily think they prefer the idea of phantom center. I think most people here argue they have been able to achieve a better experience with a phantom in their unique setup.

I don't think most people want to build their HT system thinking a phantom center is the way to go. Again, Phantom center is a compromise solution.

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post #360 of 384 Old 12-19-2013, 05:49 PM
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Well, I received my Level Two Center, and it lasted 36hrs. The end was last night when we were watching Modern Family and I was switching the center speaker setting between small & none trying to talk myself into the center, and my wife who was sitting next to me but was playing a FB game while watching TV said, "Ewww, whatever you did there, I don't like it". I engaged the Level Two Center from phantom. She never pays any attention to what I'm doing and can't hear even a large change, so when she said that, I actually laughed, explained what change I made and she said "See, you should've just left well enough alone".

For me, in my home, with my equipment and in my layout, a physical center speaker is the compromise solution. I suppose I could completely rearrange the living room, but that would require finding a new wife, and I'm kind of fond of the one I have. I could buy a new home, but that seems to be a little extreme just to add a physical center speaker. So, I took the easy way out and my theater sounds better because of it. cool.gif
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