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post #181 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

.The first movie to use 3 speakers across the front was Disney's 'Fantasia' in 1940. Anyone who has seen that film would understand that the centre speaker wasn't there for dialogue (since there was hardly any in the film), let alone to allow spoken voices to be "operated independently from the M&E (music & effects) channel if the audience had trouble hearing the dialog". It was intended for spatial resolution, that too for music.
+1, and it was a commercial failure, so theaters remained mono until 1953, and then only went to simple stereo, not multichannel. There were a few ventures into multichannel, but those were experimental, and none saw more than limited usage. The first widespread use of multichannel was Sensurround in 1974, and the main thing that did was to introduce subwoofers. Even through the 70s few films were released in stereo, and all had a mono track, as most theaters weren't equipped for stereo until the mid 1980s, and not for surround for another ten years.
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post #182 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 11:01 AM
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If sounds "appear" to you, you need to lay off the drugs.

This comment alone demonstrates that even you realize, somewhere deep down inside, that your arguments are baseless.

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post #183 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 01:33 PM
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Having no centre channel is like having fish and chips without sauce. They still taste nice, but they are missing that "something" to make them taste special.

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post #184 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by falconxr6 View Post

Having no centre channel is like having fish and chips without sauce. They still taste nice, but they are missing that "something" to make them taste special.

What if you dislike the taste of the sauce?

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post #185 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

What if you dislike the taste of the sauce?

Then you are (respectfully meant) going with a preference you like best, which has been said here, is perfectly fine. The thing is, know what you are doing and why. We don't care what you go with, we just care that information that is given is correct. The ultimate goal for everyone here is, even the people we might get in a heated discussion with, to help each other out to get a set up that is perfectly tailored to their needs and with which they couldn't be happier with.

I tried to stay out this discussion after it went into a bit of a war, but I hope people realize that it is all about getting the best set up you want. If you throw something out of the window because you prefer something different, that is perfectly fine with me, but at least know what you are doing.

I went that way with my surrounds, they are in no way timbre matched to my front stage, but I am so glad I got rid of my direct radiators (they were coming into the room way too much and distracted from being immersive). Though I know not having timbre matched speakers can be a problem, I prefer them anyways and have tested it thoroughly, though am not on a mission to convince every single person to go my way, but at least consider these options. Thinking out of the box will help you get the perfect system, but exclusively sticking with out of the box thinking is not the answer as well, there needs to be a balance.

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post #186 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Johan81 View Post

Then you are (respectfully meant) going with a preference you like best, which has been said here, which is perfectly fine. The thing is, know what you are doing and why. We don't care what you go with, we just care that information that is given is correct. The ultimate goal here is for everyone, even the people we might get in a heated discussion with, to help each other out to get a set up that is perfectly tailored to their needs and with which they couldn't be happier with.

I tried to stay out this discussion after it went into a bit of a war, but I hope people realize that it is all about getting the best set up you want. If you throw something out of the window because you prefer something different, that is perfectly fine with me, but at least know what you are doing.

I went that way with my surrounds, they are in no way timbre matched to my front stage, but I am so glad I got rid of my direct radiators (they were coming into the room way too much and distracted from being immersed). Though I know not having timbre matched speakers can be a problem, I prefer them anyways and have tested it thoroughly, though am not on a mission to convince every single person to go my way, but at least consider these options. Thinking out of the box will help you get the perfect system, but exclusively sticking with out of the box thinking is not the answer as well, there needs to be a balance.

Yes, it was rhetorical (and not disrespectfully meant). Shoulda put a "wink.gif" in there.

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post #187 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

Yes, it was rhetorical (and not disrespectfully meant). Shoulda put a "wink.gif" in there.

I get it! Though as heated up as this discussion has gotten I wanted to try and be as political correct as I can be to try and force some kind of a truce tongue.gif

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post #188 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

is it even true that someone deaf in one ear cannot directionally locate. I understand that it is theoretically so, but it is also theoretically so that people with one eye lack the ability to locate spatially with regard to 'depth' and distance. However, a friend of mine with one eye says that he can indeed do these things because, it seems his brain has discovered some way to add depth clues to his monocular vision.
Timing and volume cues between ears are the *primary* way we determine direction, but far from the only way. The brain is an impressive signal processor.

It's odd to see people think binocular vision (parallax shift) is the only way we perceive depth. Indeed: even with 2 eyes, parallax stops being useful after about 30 feet. Beyond that we use other cues (one reason our vision can be fooled) such as occlusion and assumed-vs-perceived size.

Jumping spiders actually use focal length to determine depth; and I don't think we can exclude that coming into play with humans as well.
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post #189 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

First, yes, I agree that if you are listening to two channel music, you do not need a centre speaker. Two is perfectly adequate and a good phantom image can be formed at the centre from just the L and R channels, for one person listening. Of course, if the listener moves off centre, then the imaging is ruined as the whole soundstage shifts to the left or right. 

But if you are talking about movies then a centre channel becomes a requirement, simply because movies are often/usually watched by more than one person at the same time. Thus a phantom centre channel cannot work satisfactorily  in those circumstances because two people cannot sit at the same place at the same time. By using a physical centre channel, dialogue and other effects will always be locked to the centre of the screen regardless of where the listener sits in the theatre.
Your statement is very true, but your follow-up is hyperbole.

It's not as though moving your head 2ft on your average stereo setup destroys the sound-stage. Indeed: width of "sweet spot" is one of the things that speakers are rated on. Similarly: while you are completely correct that the use of a physical center places sound at that location regardless of listening position, and a phantom center cannot, it is not therefore true that a phantom center can work for only a single person and not two.

Several factors will come into play, including distance-to-speaker.

Sadly, you only partially solve the problem. If you with so remove ... let's call it "illusionary speakers" ... sound where there's not a physical box ... from the picture: then you only have far right, dead center, and far left. A car travelling across your screen will not pan: it will jump from right to center to left.

This would be an entirely unacceptable scenario: so movies are not recorded that way. They create the illusion of sound sources that don't exist. You are merely asserting that one arbitrary one is more important than the others.

In fact... the more I think about it... I don't run into that problem at all; even rather seriously off-axis. If I stand right next to a speaker, OK; but otherwise no.

Indeed: in that "sweet spot", I've found phantom surrounds to be *very* convincing. But *that* illusion breaks if I move too much. The center is pretty reliable.
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Also, approximately 70% of all the sound in a movie emanates from the centre channel. Because of the importance of that, a physical channel will always image better than a phantom channel.
With a phantom, approximately 100% of the sound eminates from the front pair (surround not withstanding): therefore a phantom will always image better than a center.

Do you see how silly that sounds?
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If your HT only has one seat, and it is dead centre between L and R speakers, then a phantom centre could possibly give a reasonable result. But it will never be as good as a physical speaker in the centre. Physical always beats phantom. 
In two of my setups it was *far* superior. *Many* audio problems were solved by removing the center speaker.

Experimentation always beats theory.
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post #190 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Johan81 View Post

I get it! Though as heated up as this discussion has gotten I wanted to try and be as political correct as I can be to try and force some kind of a truce tongue.gif

This thread is quite tame and actually full of some great discussion.

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post #191 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 05:01 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

If you want to seriously question that thought, effectively plug one ear and listen with just your center channel speakers, just the L&R, and then all 3 plugged in.
I don't have a center speaker, nor do I need one.

I am familiar with that sort of thinking. It was mine, right up until I obtained my current center channel speaker configuration.

However, as stated it is an unsupported assertion.
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And since I'm partially deaf in one ear, I don't need to plug it.

Not true. Partial deafness is generally not a severe as a fully blocked ear.
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If you care to study it's history, you'll find that the center channel is a relic left over from the early years of the film industry, when sound recording technology was extremely crude.

I've studied it and find a completely different set of facts. Center channels are widely used in theatres and home theaters to this day.

http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/Dolby_Surround_71_Whitepaper.pdf

Includes a center channel speaker.

This is a behind the screen view of one of the SOTA venues in the world - The Dolby theater in Hollywood:



LCR sound systems are common in modern performance venues all over the world.
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post #192 of 384 Old 11-25-2013, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I am familiar with that sort of thinking. It was mine, right up until I obtained my current center channel speaker configuration.

However, as stated it is an unsupported assertion.
As would be a "you need a center channel" assertion. Of course "need" is not a very helpful word.
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I've studied it and find a completely different set of facts. Center channels are widely used in theatres and home theaters to this day.
FWIW: Bose is also widely used in homes and other venues to this day.

That said: I support the wide use of center channels. I just disagree with some of the false facts and bad logic that some posters have put forth; and I disagree that phantom center will always sound bad (or even inferior). It depends on the particulars of the setup.
Dolby is the company that came out with those 5w centers in Dolby ProLogic, right?
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This is a behind the screen view of one of the SOTA venues in the world - The Dolby theater in Hollywood:

Since all three of those are behind the screen, the would all seem to be centers (left center, center center, and right center).. but I suppose that is semantics. Less semantic is wondering how will they ever make a sound come from "off screen to the right but in front of us"?
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post #193 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 03:11 AM
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Originally Posted by JerryLove View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

First, yes, I agree that if you are listening to two channel music, you do not need a centre speaker. Two is perfectly adequate and a good phantom image can be formed at the centre from just the L and R channels, for one person listening. Of course, if the listener moves off centre, then the imaging is ruined as the whole soundstage shifts to the left or right. 

But if you are talking about movies then a centre channel becomes a requirement, simply because movies are often/usually watched by more than one person at the same time. Thus a phantom centre channel cannot work satisfactorily  in those circumstances because two people cannot sit at the same place at the same time. By using a physical centre channel, dialogue and other effects will always be locked to the centre of the screen regardless of where the listener sits in the theatre.
Your statement is very true, but your follow-up is hyperbole.

It's not as though moving your head 2ft on your average stereo setup destroys the sound-stage. Indeed: width of "sweet spot" is one of the things that speakers are rated on. Similarly: while you are completely correct that the use of a physical center places sound at that location regardless of listening position, and a phantom center cannot, it is not therefore true that a phantom center can work for only a single person and not two.

Several factors will come into play, including distance-to-speaker.

Sadly, you only partially solve the problem. If you with so remove ... let's call it "illusionary speakers" ... sound where there's not a physical box ... from the picture: then you only have far right, dead center, and far left. A car travelling across your screen will not pan: it will jump from right to center to left.

This would be an entirely unacceptable scenario: so movies are not recorded that way. They create the illusion of sound sources that don't exist. You are merely asserting that one arbitrary one is more important than the others.

In fact... the more I think about it... I don't run into that problem at all; even rather seriously off-axis. If I stand right next to a speaker, OK; but otherwise no.

Indeed: in that "sweet spot", I've found phantom surrounds to be *very* convincing. But *that* illusion breaks if I move too much. The center is pretty reliable.
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Also, approximately 70% of all the sound in a movie emanates from the centre channel. Because of the importance of that, a physical channel will always image better than a phantom channel.
With a phantom, approximately 100% of the sound eminates from the front pair (surround not withstanding): therefore a phantom will always image better than a center.

Do you see how silly that sounds?
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If your HT only has one seat, and it is dead centre between L and R speakers, then a phantom centre could possibly give a reasonable result. But it will never be as good as a physical speaker in the centre. Physical always beats phantom. 
In two of my setups it was *far* superior. *Many* audio problems were solved by removing the center speaker.

Experimentation always beats theory.

 

We'll have to agree to disagree on many of the points you raise, but thanks for the response.



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post #194 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

If your HT only has one seat, and it is dead centre between L and R speakers, then a phantom centre could possibly give a reasonable result. But it will never be as good as a physical speaker in the centre. Physical always beats phantom. 

This is a very strong assertion to be making without any supporting arguments. I disagree with it. An HT with one seat is precisely the situation where it's possible for a phantom center to be superior to any center channel speaker, because (a) timbre matching, low-frequency cancellation, and phase effects are no longer issues, and (b) there are no performance limitations imposed because of size or positioning. Room boundaries, for example, always affect the sound of a speaker, and it's implicitly impossible to have a center speaker in the same relationship to room boundaries as the mains, so it will always sound different even if it's an identical speaker.

I do think that three identical speakers and an acoustically transparent screen will usually give optimal results in real world conditions, and that if there are multiple seating positions a CC speaker is necessary. But there are a lot of HT setups in bedrooms and basements and man-caves that are set up for single viewers, so the phantom-center approach can be a very useful strategy for small setups.
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post #195 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 12:24 PM
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Too many logical people in this thread! biggrin.gif

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post #196 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 01:00 PM
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Too many logical people in this thread! biggrin.gif
There's one too few, I'm afraid. rolleyes.gif
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An HT with one seat is precisely the situation where it's possible for a phantom center to be superior to any center channel speaker, because (a) timbre matching, low-frequency cancellation, and phase effects are no longer issues, and (b) there are no performance limitations imposed because of size or positioning.
It still wouldn't be superior, as material that's supposed to be sourced from stage center will also be coming from stage left and stage right. If the L/R are placed very close to the screen that won't occur, but then what's supposed to be coming from stages left and right will always seem to be coming from stage center. If you're going to hear stage left, center and right as three distinct sources you must have three distinct sources.
OTOH I never play music in surround, only in stereo. That's because it was engineered in stereo, so any phantom center effect created by imaging is supposed to be there, whereas a real center emanation is not. .

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post #197 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

.The first movie to use 3 speakers across the front was Disney's 'Fantasia' in 1940. Anyone who has seen that film would understand that the centre speaker wasn't there for dialogue (since there was hardly any in the film), let alone to allow spoken voices to be "operated independently from the M&E (music & effects) channel if the audience had trouble hearing the dialog". It was intended for spatial resolution, that too for music.
+1, and it was a commercial failure, so theaters remained mono until 1953, and then only went to simple stereo, not multichannel. There were a few ventures into multichannel, but those were experimental, and none saw more than limited usage. The first widespread use of multichannel was Sensurround in 1974, and the main thing that did was to introduce subwoofers. Even through the 70s few films were released in stereo, and all had a mono track, as most theaters weren't equipped for stereo until the mid 1980s, and not for surround for another ten years.

in the early 50s we also had Cinerama, with 7 channels, 3 of the 7+ speakers behind the screen, one centered:



There was a engineer who manually switched the 7 channels around to speaker sets in different locations, including the rear of the room.

The notes say these are Altec A2s
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post #198 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 02:11 PM
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The 'early years' of the film industry was 1927. What you describe did not come along until the 1970s, being the earliest form of multi-channel sound, a precursor to what we have today.
The entire purpose of binaural hearing is it allows one to directionally locate a sound source via triangulation. Our brains have sufficient processing power to triangulate the location of literally dozens of sources simultaneously. The notion that we need an ear per sound source, and all of the rest of the disinformation that you've posted, indicates a profound lack of technical knowledge with respect to both sound reproduction gear, acoustics and audiology. Posting it is your right, but it should be qualified with the disclaimer that your opinions are purely subjective, with no objective facts to support your conclusions.

Actually Cinerama, which had 7 channels, came out in 1952. Many people forget this pioneering technology today, but a Cinerama movie can be an incredible experience. Unfortunately there are only three theaters left in the world.

Back to the topic at hand. As the person who revived this thread, my question is still unanswered. Do the HD audio formats present any particular obstacle to using phantom center, or does the processor manipulate the signals just as effectively (or ineffectively) as with the lossy formats? I suspect it makes no difference.

I will be trying out phantom center when I get my new mains. Most of the time I have two watchers, neither of which are sitting at the center of the two speakers. Will see from experience how well it works (or doesn't). When I tried it before 10 years ago, I had much larger separation between the two speakers than I do now.
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post #199 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 03:04 PM
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Today I watched Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol and tried it with a phantom center and I can tell you this, NEVER AGAIN! What a terrible experience, my speakers are 9' apart though the difference is night and day, so much clearer and the panning is so much more realistic. For my and my situation it is not an option!

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post #200 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 03:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

It still wouldn't be superior, as material that's supposed to be sourced from stage center will also be coming from stage left and stage right. If the L/R are placed very close to the screen that won't occur, but then what's supposed to be coming from stages left and right will always seem to be coming from stage center. If you're going to hear stage left, center and right as three distinct sources you must have three distinct sources.
.

If you perceive sound as coming from the center, and the imaging is stable and accurate to the source, does it really matter if the sound is actually emanating from the mains? There's no reason splitting the center channel signal between the mains shouldn't produce a stable phantom center for a listener sitting between them, and there's no reason the left and right content shouldn't appear where's it's supposed to. Much relies on the imaging characteristics of the speakers, but we are (or I, at least am) talking about a smaller room where the speakers are operating more like nearfield monitors for the benefit of a single listener, and room acoustics are relatively less important.

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post #201 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sbradley02 View Post

Do the HD audio formats present any particular obstacle to using phantom center, or does the processor manipulate the signals just as effectively (or ineffectively) as with the lossy formats? I suspect it makes no difference.

It redistributes the center channel info identically; splits it evenly across the front channels.

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post #202 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

If your HT only has one seat, and it is dead centre between L and R speakers, then a phantom centre could possibly give a reasonable result. But it will never be as good as a physical speaker in the centre. Physical always beats phantom. 

This is a very strong assertion to be making without any supporting arguments. I disagree with it. An HT with one seat is precisely the situation where it's possible for a phantom center to be superior to any center channel speaker, because (a) timbre matching, low-frequency cancellation, and phase effects are no longer issues, and (b) there are no performance limitations imposed because of size or positioning. Room boundaries, for example, always affect the sound of a speaker, and it's implicitly impossible to have a center speaker in the same relationship to room boundaries as the mains, so it will always sound different even if it's an identical speaker.

I do think that three identical speakers and an acoustically transparent screen will usually give optimal results in real world conditions, and that if there are multiple seating positions a CC speaker is necessary. But there are a lot of HT setups in bedrooms and basements and man-caves that are set up for single viewers, so the phantom-center approach can be a very useful strategy for small setups.

 

That will be why I said "If your HT only has one seat, and it is dead centre between L and R speakers, then a phantom centre could possibly give a reasonable result".

 

Note I said 'reasonable' not 'superior'.



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post #203 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

It redistributes the center channel info identically; splits it evenly across the front channels.
Any dynamic compression added? (e.g. Dolby Digital)

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post #204 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by rdclark View Post

An HT with one seat is precisely the situation where it's possible for a phantom center to be superior to any center channel speaker, because (a) timbre matching, low-frequency cancellation, and phase effects are no longer issues, and (b) there are no performance limitations imposed because of size or positioning.
You're claiming that the mono centre channel will have less phase problems and cancellation when reproduced in dual-mono through two speakers rather than its own separate centre speaker? What would be coming out of the centre speaker that would cancel sounds in the L/R speakers? Dialogue?

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post #205 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by psgcdn View Post

Any dynamic compression added? (e.g. Dolby Digital)

Not really relevant. I think there is some discussion about DRC in this thread. Apparently the way different AVRs handle this differs. But I would expect that if there is DRC being applied when configured as having no center, the way it is applied should be identical for both the lossy and lossless soundtracks, which is what he asked about.

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post #206 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

There's one too few, I'm afraid. rolleyes.gif
It still wouldn't be superior, as material that's supposed to be sourced from stage center will also be coming from stage left and stage right. If the L/R are placed very close to the screen that won't occur, but then what's supposed to be coming from stages left and right will always seem to be coming from stage center. If you're going to hear stage left, center and right as three distinct sources you must have three distinct sources.
Which is why it's impossible to hear something "right half of screen", since there's no speaker there. It's also impossible to hear something as "corner of room", as there is no speaker there.

Fortunately: my (apparently physics defying) mutation, shared by everyone I personally know, allows people to control echo and relative volume across a less than infinite number of speakers to create sound in almost 360 x 360. I experience this effect all the time in my home (no center in the room where I mostly listen), and in theaters (center, but many other gaps).
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post #207 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by psgcdn View Post

Any dynamic compression added? (e.g. Dolby Digital)
Shouldn't be (though if you are less than 3db from clipping your speakers before turning on phantom, there's a possibility)
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post #208 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

in the early 50s we also had Cinerama, with 7 channels, 3 of the 7+ speakers behind the screen, one centered:
That's one of the experimental rigs I mentioned. They were not used in a significant number of theaters, nor were many movies made using the technology.
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If you perceive sound as coming from the center, and the imaging is stable and accurate to the source, does it really matter if the sound is actually emanating from the mains?
It doesn't matter, but you can either have the L/R speakers so close to each other that everything sounds like it's coming from the center or you can have them spread wide enough that they have a true left/right imaging. You can't have both.

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post #209 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

That will be why I said "If your HT only has one seat, and it is dead centre between L and R speakers, then a phantom centre could possibly give a reasonable result".

Note I said 'reasonable' not 'superior'.

And i said "potentially superior." But such superiority can only be demonstrated by the sort of testing that we're not really equipped to do by talking about it more.

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post #210 of 384 Old 11-26-2013, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

It doesn't matter, but you can either have the L/R speakers so close to each other that everything sounds like it's coming from the center or you can have them spread wide enough that they have a true left/right imaging. You can't have both.

That has not been my experience, using a phantom center with mains separated by the normal distance relative to the listening position, any more than the imaging suffers listening to stereo material through the same pair.

This is not an easy comparison to make. You can't just switch the processor to "center=none." Recalibration, and probably some tweaking of speaker positioning, is also required. That's why I'm not making any argument in absolute terms, only in terms of what can be achieveed under the right circumstances. Whether it's desirable or worthwhile depends on many variables. Just using a CC speaker is usually going to be simpler.

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