Goodbye Center Channel - Page 13 - AVS Forum
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post #361 of 406 Old 12-19-2013, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by D Bone View Post

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

Out of curiosity, what are your mains?
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post #362 of 406 Old 12-19-2013, 10:02 PM
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Out of curiosity, what are your mains?


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post #363 of 406 Old 12-19-2013, 10:04 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'll tell you why I do it. I have a multi-purpose living room with a pull-up ~85" screen that is flanked by a pair of KEF Q65s in stereo. No good place for a center. In this configuration I also only run 2.0. It is space-constrained, but quite good. I've previously had a 6.1 system, where my L & R were substantially better than my center - and phantom sounded better there. I think a center is ideal in ideal circumstances, but I think a phantom center works much better in many cases - and it is a configuration option most people overlook, thinking oh, I must have 5.1 or 7.1.
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post #364 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 12:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post


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

 

So what would be a "good" horizontal center channel design that's commercially available?

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post #365 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 09:10 AM
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The number of posters on this and the other thread who have tried a matching center and preferred phantom just keeps mounting. I predict it won't cause even one single nay-sayer to reconsider.
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post #366 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post

The number of posters on this and the other thread who have tried a matching center and preferred phantom just keeps mounting. I predict it won't cause even one single nay-sayer to reconsider.

Which other thread? And your prediction is in little doubt.
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post #367 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 09:59 AM
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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

 

So what would be a "good" horizontal center channel design that's commercially available?

 

The B&W Nautilus HTM2 is properly designed:


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post #368 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 10:11 AM
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The B&W Nautilus HTM2 is properly designed:
Interesting: because I had this one setup and the phatom was superior in that room:

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post #369 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 10:19 AM
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The B&W Nautilus HTM2 is properly designed:
Interesting: because I had this one setup and the phatom was superior in that room:

Right, because that speaker still has multiple horizontal drivers—the Nautilus design is proper, the Diamond is still compromised.


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post #370 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Right, because that speaker still has multiple horizontal drivers—the Nautilus design is proper, the Diamond is still compromised.
If that is true, it also applies to the HTM2, as the port is not aligned with the center drivers. And that then tilts the advantage back to the HTM1, as the symmetrically displaced woofers "phantom image" directly in line with the mid/tweet. With a sufficiently low crossover, there will be no significant off-axis lobing issues.

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post #371 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 12:16 PM
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Right, because that speaker still has multiple horizontal drivers—the Nautilus design is proper, the Diamond is still compromised.
If that is true, it also applies to the HTM2, as the port is not aligned with the center drivers. And that then tilts the advantage back to the HTM1, as the symmetrically displaced woofers "phantom image" directly in line with the mid/tweet. With a sufficiently low crossover, there will be no significant off-axis lobing issues.

Port resonance is low enough that the bass is not localizable, that's true for just about any decent vented speaker.


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post #372 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Right, because that speaker still has multiple horizontal drivers—the Nautilus design is proper, the Diamond is still compromised.
Your absolute claim: horizontal drivers = bad.
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Port resonance is low enough that the bass is not localizable, that's true for just about any decent vented speaker.
Your contradiction of your absolute claim: horizontal != bad if the frequency is "low enough that [it] is not localizable"

Though I'm pretty sure that you still cannot support that claim. What stops the right side of a driver from interfering with the left side of the same driver? As I recall, anything spaced <1/4 wavelength acts as a single driver. I can go look up the physics if you like.
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post #373 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 12:55 PM
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Hello Please excuse in advance if this in not the correct forum for my question.

I am thinking about adding a centre speaker to my current Paradigm set up (its taken too long). I have two (2) Monitor 7 (v3) and a Paradigm sub powered by an Onkyo TX-Sr 500. My budget leans towoards a Paradigm Cinema 110C v3 center channel which I can get on ebay for $80 plus $50 shipping to Canada. Will this addition be compatible with existing set-up? Thanks for any input. Lar

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post #374 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by TullikB View Post

Hello Please excuse in advance if this in not the correct forum for my question.
I am thinking about adding a centre speaker to my current Paradigm set up (its taken too long). I have two (2) Monitor 7 (v3) and a Paradigm sub powered by an Onkyo TX-Sr 500. My budget leans towoards a Paradigm Cinema 110C v3 center channel which I can get on ebay for $80 plus $50 shipping to Canada. Will this addition be compatible with existing set-up? Thanks for any input. Lar
That is a center I would NOT buy...a straight MTM.
You want one that has the tweeter & midrange stacked vertically, and neither inline with the mid-bass drivers.
The Paradigm SE center is a much better choice. I would rather pay the extra $260 for the SE, than pay the $109 for the 100C v3.

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post #375 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 01:26 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Right, because that speaker still has multiple horizontal drivers—the Nautilus design is proper, the Diamond is still compromised.
Your absolute claim: horizontal drivers = bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

Port resonance is low enough that the bass is not localizable, that's true for just about any decent vented speaker.
Your contradiction of your absolute claim: horizontal != bad if the frequency is "low enough that [it] is not localizable"

Though I'm pretty sure that you still cannot support that claim. What stops the right side of a driver from interfering with the left side of the same driver? As I recall, anything spaced <1/4 wavelength acts as a single driver. I can go look up the physics if you like.

Choosing the right crossover frequency is how you prevent that.

 

And, there you have it. The HTM2 Diamond crosses over to the midrange at 350Hz. 1/4 wavelength at 350 Hz is about 9.5 inches, and the center-to-center spacing on the HTM2's woofers exceeds 9.6 inches. Now personally I don't think that's a big deal, the woofers will act as one driver for most of their effective range, but not all of it. By contrast, 1/4 wavelength at port tuning is typically several feet—somewhere in the 5-10 foot range for the HTM2 nautilus—and again, so low that the sound from the port is not localizable.

 

The HTM2 Diamond is simply not as close to ideal in terms of driver alignemnt as the HTM2 Nautilus, which is perfectly logical considering that brand's hierarchy. 


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post #376 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 04:22 PM
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Thanks for the input. I looked up SE on line and wonder if i'm on the right track are they also known as ~~Centre 1, Centre 3 ??

Thanks again

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post #377 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

The HTM2 Diamond crosses over to the midrange at 350Hz. 1/4 wavelength at 350 Hz is about 9.5 inches, and the center-to-center spacing on the HTM2's woofers exceeds 9.6 inches.
Except in this case the spaced woofers are covering some of the same spectrum as the midrange driver between them, with crossovers with finite slopes. The only real way to know the HTM1's off-axis response is to measure it.
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post #378 of 406 Old 12-20-2013, 04:47 PM
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The HTM2 Diamond crosses over to the midrange at 350Hz. 1/4 wavelength at 350 Hz is about 9.5 inches, and the center-to-center spacing on the HTM2's woofers exceeds 9.6 inches.
CTC spacing need not be 1/4 wavelength unless the listening distance is quite close. In general 1 wavelength is fine. Where 1/4 wavelength spacing is significant is the cone to cone distance for fully additive mutual coupling. This speaker doesn't look bad where comb filtering is concerned, since it is a 3 way with a low crossover point to the mid. Widely spaced two ways tend to be far more problematic.
Quote:
the woofers will act as one driver for most of their effective range
Where they do dispersion on the horizontal plane will be well less than half that of one driver, which is another reason why horizontal MTMs aren't the best idea. In the case of the HTM2 the woofers could be closer together, but still, with a 350hz crossover to the midrange I don't see a major issue. Again, it's widely spaced 2 ways that have problems.
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post #379 of 406 Old 12-22-2013, 04:55 AM
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Thanks for the input. I looked up SE on line and wonder if i'm on the right track are they also known as ~~Centre 1, Centre 3 ??
Thanks again
It would seem the SE series is the older. The center 1, 3 are the Monitor series. I saw the SE center on Amazon.
Being you have the Monitor series, get the monitor center.

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post #380 of 406 Old 12-25-2013, 11:19 AM
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A secondary benefit in my case is without a center I have enough amplifier channels available to bi-amp the mains
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post #381 of 406 Old 12-25-2013, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
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A secondary benefit in my case is without a center I have enough amplifier channels available to bi-amp the mains
Passive biamping provides no benefit.
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post #382 of 406 Old 12-25-2013, 01:24 PM
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Passive biamping provides no benefit.

Oh noes...another debate in a debate is going to start lol.

Happy Holidays folks!
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Oh noes...another debate in a debate is going to start lol.

Happy Holidays folks!
Sorry, I couldn't resist.
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post #384 of 406 Old 12-25-2013, 02:03 PM
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Oh noes...another debate in a debate is going to start lol.

Happy Holidays folks!

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post #385 of 406 Old 11-10-2014, 11:35 AM
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I like the idea of not having a center speaker, mainly for it's poor placement in my system (too low below the screen, too high above it), but I like having control over the level of dialogue that was mixed to the center channel (my hearing drops significantly in the 2k-4k range). Is there a way to control the center channel level into the front L&R if you delete the center speaker? I have an Integra DTR-50.3.
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post #386 of 406 Old 11-10-2014, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boontok View Post
I like the idea of not having a center speaker, mainly for it's poor placement in my system (too low below the screen, too high above it), but I like having control over the level of dialogue that was mixed to the center channel (my hearing drops significantly in the 2k-4k range). Is there a way to control the center channel level into the front L&R if you delete the center speaker? I have an Integra DTR-50.3.
Unfortunately this is an incredibly rare feature (adjustment of phantom center level), even though it would be trivial to implement in software. Your Integra doesn't have it, and the only one I have personally worked with that does is the Theta Casablanca.
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post #387 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 10:15 AM
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I've looked at a bunch of receiver manuals recently (Denon, Marantz, Yamaha, Onkyo, Sony) looking for any hint that they offered any features related to downmixing...found nothing. My 16 year old budget Sony receiver is just as capable in this regard as a top of the line 2014 model.
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post #388 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 01:10 PM
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My 2005 Pioneer 1014 THX receiver reduced the dynamic range a great deal when downmixing to 4.1. A number of other threads on AVS and HomeTheaterShack talked about and tested this with other receivers as well.
I have Master & Commander DVD & BluRay. If I pick the DTS track, the phantom center doesn't make the receiver reduce DR, but on the Dolby Digital track, it does, and it's terrible. The same as using the receiver's dynamic range compressor settings, which robs the soundtrack of all life and impact.

Other films, even new ones like the Star Trek reboot do this. I'd drag a much less capable center speaker out of storage just to watch the movie with the DR it's supposed to have.

I haven't seen it definitively confirmed that the DR reduction doesn't occur on Blu-Rays over HDMI. As I don't have a receiver with HDMI I couldn't test that.

I'm going to an acoustically-transparent screen shortly, so I'll be building another matching speaker for center.
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post #389 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boontok View Post
I like the idea of not having a center speaker, mainly for it's poor placement in my system (too low below the screen, too high above it), but I like having control over the level of dialogue that was mixed to the center channel (my hearing drops significantly in the 2k-4k range). Is there a way to control the center channel level into the front L&R if you delete the center speaker? I have an Integra DTR-50.3.
Exactly! There is no reason to omit the center channel level control just because you are not using a center channel speaker. I've never understood why this is done. Hopefully one day manufacturers will wake up and realize how incredibly stupid this is.

As for needing a center channel, I've always felt that if you only sit on axis and your main speakers image well, there is no need for it. You can always sum the center channel information into the mains creating your own phantom mode and not lose the center channel level. Of course this mandates external amplifiers and the ability to build the electronics to do it or these days you could do it with a miniDSP module and not need to build anything.

As for maintaining center image it's amazing how little it takes to do that. I once put a 2.5" full range driver in as center, crossed into it at 600 Hz and summed below 600 Hz back into the mains and it maintained center image well very far off axis. So basically it was phantom mode from 600 Hz down and an actual very tiny center speaker 600 Hz up. I just did it for s#its and grins but it was amazing how well it worked.

Barring experimental projects like the above, if you are going to have a center speaker it should be comparable to your mains. The original center in my HT was a constant directive symmetric pair system, basically W, MB, M, T, M, MB, W but when I put in near floor to ceiling line array mains the center was lacking. The final solution was a CBT array with comparable output capability with the mains. So basically if you use a center speaker, don't skimp on it.

mk
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post #390 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 04:10 PM
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Exactly! There is no reason to omit the center channel level control just because you are not using a center channel speaker. I've never understood why this is done. Hopefully one day manufacturers will wake up and realize how incredibly stupid this is.
Also LFE and surround.

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As for maintaining center image it's amazing how little it takes to do that. I once put a 2.5" full range driver in as center, crossed into it at 600 Hz and summed below 600 Hz back into the mains and it maintained center image well very far off axis. So basically it was phantom mode from 600 Hz down and an actual very tiny center speaker 600 Hz up. I just did it for s#its and grins but it was amazing how well it worked.
That's interesting. If you don't use a sub, receivers will redirect bass from the center equally to left and right speakers. Using a small center and the highest crossover frequency the receiver allows (e.g. 250Hz) just might simulate a powerful center, hmm?
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