Goodbye Center Channel - Page 14 - AVS Forum
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post #391 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post
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.
Decode the audio in the disc player. The AVR will not apply DRC to PCM. The issue is not the disc, it's the AVR. It should not force DRC with phantom center, but some did that.

More AVRs are offering things like dialog enhance that can emphasize the center channel or voice. Not sure how that works with phantom center, but it should still do so. Keep an eye out for it when next you shop for an AVR.

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post #392 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post
Decode the audio in the disc player. The AVR will not apply DRC to PCM. The issue is not the disc, it's the AVR. It should not force DRC with phantom center, but some did that.
He doesn't have an HDMI receiver.
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post #393 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Luke M View Post
He doesn't have an HDMI receiver.
oops.

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post #394 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post
Decode the audio in the disc player. The AVR will not apply DRC to PCM. The issue is not the disc, it's the AVR. It should not force DRC with phantom center, but some did that.

More AVRs are offering things like dialog enhance that can emphasize the center channel or voice. Not sure how that works with phantom center, but it should still do so. Keep an eye out for it when next you shop for an AVR.
Thanks for that suggestion Roger. I'm currently running a phantom center with my JBL M2's and they do a fantastic job of it, but the whole DRC issue had me a bit hesitant to continue. I also have the Marantz 7702, do you know if it applies DRC to DD with a phantom center?

PCM is a workaraound I can live with, but maybe I don't have to?
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post #395 of 406 Old 11-11-2014, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
Thanks for that suggestion Roger. I'm currently running a phantom center with my JBL M2's and they do a fantastic job of it, but the whole DRC issue had me a bit hesitant to continue. I also have the Marantz 7702, do you know if it applies DRC to DD with a phantom center?
I have a 7702 but have not tried phantom center. But all modern processors have shifted the downmixing away from the audio codec to the next DSP, post processing, and that breaks the trigger to activate DRC. Which is good. I'm confident you will not have a DRC problem with the 7702. And if you do, they can fix it with a firmware update, like they just did for the noise calibration bug.

And the 7702 has a Dialog Level Adj (p174), just in case...

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post #396 of 406 Unread 11-26-2014, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post

Passive biamping provides no benefit.
Here you go
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post #397 of 406 Unread 11-26-2014, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sbradley02 View Post
Why did you quote me?
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post #398 of 406 Unread 11-26-2014, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by A9X-308 View Post
Why did you quote me?
I added an active crossover (your post was in response to one of mine a long time back when I described how I passive bi-amped my mains since I had the extra amp channels freed up). I probably should have added more context.

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post #399 of 406 Unread 11-27-2014, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by bookishboy13 View Post
In a previous thread regarding using two center channel speakers, one above the display, one below, AudioJosh noted that he doesn't use a center channel, and that a good system doesn't need one. I was running Paradigm Signature bookshelves and my salesman talked me into adding a center speaker. With something bordering on evangelical passion, he told me the center channel is the most important speaker in the system. I bought it, installed it, hated it, and finally took it out. My receiver (Pioneer Elite) has the NO center channel setting and this works better than fine after a good set-up. The sound stage, for my tastes, are much more immersive. In fact, my current thinking is that the F/R are the most important, followed by the surrounds, followed by the center if you have a large, square room. Thoughts?
For all this talk about how important your center is and that it performs 70% or whatever of all the action, I'm not sure why it's so small. I think the only time you should have a center is when it's identical to your mains. Like the same exact speaker. That's why I don't use a center and it sounds fine, takes less power and cleaner
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post #400 of 406 Unread 11-27-2014, 11:01 AM
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My TX-NR929 9.1/11.1 receiver has adjustable 'screen centered dialog' setting.

It optionally adds an adjustable amount of center channel information to the l/r and height channels to improve the localization of sound around a projector screen or large TV.

This is sort of like running a phantom center channel, except it tries to preserve the advantages of a center while improving the localization to the center of the screen.

It seems to work fairly well, but in my system the heights and center all have 'compromised' sound and the seating position is close so the utility of the setting is not so great. It might work much better in a professional quality home theater.

Despite the coloration of voices I prefer the center channel. For a while, I used two horizontally-mounted towers as a center channel above the TV. That helped but it introduces its own problems, such as having to mount a huge shelf to the wall, and it also compromised the effectiveness of height channels. Plus the diffuse sound from the huge center channel essentially destroyed the imaging.

Putting the horizontal towers under the TV would have meant replacing the stand with something that will hold them, and separating the l/r towers more. That would have compromised the wide channels.

There is really no substitute for a good center speaker. IMO the choice of speakers for surround is driven by the choice of center channel, unless budget comes into play (as it does for me) in which case, well, either live with it or without it but it is not the same.

Placing the center speaker into a stand, even one like mine that is open around the sides, will confine the speaker between two parallel shelves and that instantly degrades the sound even more than an inferior center speaker alone will. An enclosed stand is even worse. Gone are the days when speakers had such poor bass they needed the added boom of a bookshelf to enclose them in boundaries. Just putting it on a dedicated stand will improve the sound of a poor center speaker.

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Originally Posted by indio22 View Post
With my 100" projector screen, a negative I have found using a center channel, is that the vocals and many other sounds, appear to be coming from below the screen. Well, this is because the center channel is in fact located below the screen! This seems to me a problem intrinsic to single center channel setups - unless perhaps you can place the center channel behind the screen using a material that allows sound to come through.

I tested using the phantom channel setup, and in some cases it seems to do a better job of making sounds appear like they are coming from the charactors/objects on the screen. This is likely because the L/R speakers are located higher up on each side, and volume of the sounds between them can trick the brain into thinking voices and other sounds are coming directly from the screen, or even somewhat left or right on the screen. Center channel can't do this since it is only one speaker.

I would be interested to read comment on the above mechanics, because it does seem a flaw when using a single center channel located below a screen. I would also add, phantom channel to my ear, gives a more expansive sound, compared to center channel, where sometimes if a part of a film has mainly center channel sound, it seems like I am watching the movie in mono sound. Might not be a problem with a small screen, but larger screen it is noticable. On the other hand, a few times using phantom center, the sound did seem too wide and expansive, maybe not focused enough.

For now I am using the real center channel in 5.1 setup, since I have it. But might try playing around with phantom setup again.
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post #401 of 406 Unread 11-27-2014, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by snyderkv View Post
For all this talk about how important your center is and that it performs 70% or whatever of all the action, I'm not sure why it's so small. I think the only time you should have a center is when it's identical to your mains. Like the same exact speaker. That's why I don't use a center and it sounds fine, takes less power and cleaner
It's the center *channel* that is important.

It's the center *speaker* that is often small as manufactured and purchased.

It's a mindset holdover from centers as novelty afterthought in Pro Logic days to use a wimpy center. We still call the stereo pair "mains". If anything, the center could deserve to be a beefier, more capable timbre-matched speaker, IMO.

Manufacturers don't necessarily design the best center speaker acoustically, performance-wise. And customers don't necessarily pick or look for the best speaker for their room. And they don't place it correctly.

Customer education (and manfs playing into miseducation), space, aesthetics, all play a part.

But that doesn't mean that the center channel is a compromised concept. It's been shown to be ideal, objectively and subjectively.

Phantom can work just as well, maybe better, than LCR... for a single listening position.

But if you care about off-axis listeners, you'll try to keep their distance-to-speakers more consistent. Use a bigger room. Use more speakers (center and surrounds).

Last edited by Eyleron; 11-27-2014 at 11:49 AM.
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post #402 of 406 Unread 11-27-2014, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Eyleron View Post
It's the center *channel* that is important.

It's the center *speaker* that small as manufactured and purchased.

Manufacturers don't necessarily design the best center speaker acoustically, performance-wise. And customers don't necessarily pick or look for the best speaker for their room.

But that doesn't mean that the center channel is a compromised concept. It's been shown to be ideal, objectively and subjectively.

Phantom can work just as well, maybe better, than LCR... for a single listening position.

But if you care about off-axis listeners, you'll try to keep their distance-to-speakers more consistent. Use a bigger room. Use more speakers (center and surrounds).
Not just for a single listener. Most of the time I have two listeners, myself and my wife. We have a theater loveseat (with cupholders in the center section) with the seat's centerline roughly aligned with the center point of the speakers. So we are definitely off axis, but not dramatically. Imaging is superb with the phantom center.

A number of people here prefer phantom centers. For them, an informal poll. How many seats do you have in your theater, and how many of them are off axis, and by how much? What issues if any do you experience in the off axis seating positions?
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post #403 of 406 Unread 11-27-2014, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
My TX-NR929 9.1/11.1 receiver has adjustable 'screen centered dialog' setting.

It optionally adds an adjustable amount of center channel information to the l/r and height channels to improve the localization of sound around a projector screen or large TV.

This is sort of like running a phantom center channel, except it tries to preserve the advantages of a center while improving the localization to the center of the screen.


It seems to work fairly well, but in my system the heights and center all have 'compromised' sound and the seating position is close so the utility of the setting is not so great. It might work much better in a professional quality home theater.

Despite the coloration of voices I prefer the center channel. For a while, I used two horizontally-mounted towers as a center channel above the TV. That helped but it introduces its own problems, such as having to mount a huge shelf to the wall, and it also compromised the effectiveness of height channels. Plus the diffuse sound from the huge center channel essentially destroyed the imaging.

Putting the horizontal towers under the TV would have meant replacing the stand with something that will hold them, and separating the l/r towers more. That would have compromised the wide channels.

There is really no substitute for a good center speaker. IMO the choice of speakers for surround is driven by the choice of center channel, unless budget comes into play (as it does for me) in which case, well, either live with it or without it but it is not the same.

Placing the center speaker into a stand, even one like mine that is open around the sides, will confine the speaker between two parallel shelves and that instantly degrades the sound even more than an inferior center speaker alone will. An enclosed stand is even worse. Gone are the days when speakers had such poor bass they needed the added boom of a bookshelf to enclose them in boundaries. Just putting it on a dedicated stand will improve the sound of a poor center speaker.
That is really nice; I was not aware the 929 had that capability! I have the 809 and as far as I know, it does not. This might address the issue I have has with center channel speakers.

I have tried 4 or 5 different center channel speakers and not been much impressed with any of them. Invariably, I lost the resonant, baritone quality of male voice, no matter what crossover settings I tried with both my Yamaha RX-V1800 and Onkyo TX-NR809, or the subwoofer. It did not help that, because of my huge Mitsubishi CRT RPTV, I had to set the speaker on top of that big box.

Now, maybe more high end models with a feature like that 929 might be able to allow me to get the type of sound I get with running the "phantom" setting. I have been running phantom for 4 or 5 years now.

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post #404 of 406 Unread 11-29-2014, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by mtrot View Post
I have tried 4 or 5 different center channel speakers and not been much impressed with any of them.... ...Now, maybe more high end models with a feature like that 929 might be able to allow me to get the type of sound I get with running the "phantom" setting. I have been running phantom for 4 or 5 years now.
You probably are shopping with too little budget, IMO, like me. If we could afford something like this

http://www.mfk-projects.com/Home_The...r_speaker.html

we would most likely be happy... and broke.

I do not consider the TX-NR929 to be a 'high end' receiver. All Onkyo IMO will have HDMI failure due to local regulator electrolytic filter capacitors losing their storage capacity within 5 years under normal use and sometimes within 1 year, according to my personal experience with them (and others with similar experiences to mine).

I do not consider any equipment that 'reliably fails' to be 'high end' unless it is a disposable part like a projector lamp where such failures are expected and disclosed.

I presume 'high end' equipment to use reliable designs and high-end components that last for decade(s) under continuous use.
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post #405 of 406 Unread 11-29-2014, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
You probably are shopping with too little budget, IMO, like me. If we could afford something like this

http://www.mfk-projects.com/Home_The...r_speaker.html

we would most likely be happy... and broke.


I do not consider the TX-NR929 to be a 'high end' receiver. All Onkyo IMO will have HDMI failure due to local regulator electrolytic filter capacitors losing their storage capacity within 5 years under normal use and sometimes within 1 year, according to my personal experience with them (and others with similar experiences to mine).

I do not consider any equipment that 'reliably fails' to be 'high end' unless it is a disposable part like a projector lamp where such failures are expected and disclosed.

I presume 'high end' equipment to use reliable designs and high-end components that last for decade(s) under continuous use.
Uhhh...yeah, that might do the trick! On a more affordable level for mere mortals, I have always dreamed of one of these:

http://legacyaudio.com/products/view/marquis-hd/



By "high end", I just referred to the 929's ability mentioned above to customize the vocal qualities in the center signal and divert some to the front L/R channel speakers.

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OR, mod an existing speaker you might already have (providing its a good sonic match).

I just finished doing a mod of one of my JBL PT800s. So now I can orientate it either vertically or horizontally, and still have the tweeter & midrange drivers vertically aligned.
Its just a matter of cutting a circle around the tweeter/midrange to make a rotating modular HF/MF unit.
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