Originally Posted by hbjdk
Thanks for some very good advice guys.
Well, I've been testing a lot today and it seems that I'm one of the people who thinks a "phantom centre" sounds better than using a centre channel, and by a large margin on that.
There's something about the way dialogue is chained to the centre of the screen with the centre channel which I find very unnatural/artificial sounding.
What's more, when I use the 210 C my fronts are reduced to handling minor stuff as, obviously, all dialogue is moved from the fronts to the centre channel.
Panning effects sound much better with a centre channel in the system though, however for the reason mentioned I will be returning the 210C after all.
Originally Posted by mtrot
I hear you. I went through 3 or 4 different center speakers, with little success. The problem was a loss of vocal quality in movies, especially male voice. It seemed that, no matter what crossover settings I employed, male voice would lose all of its baritone quality when using a center speaker. When I would go back to "phantom" mode, which meant that my large floor standing front L/R speakers were producing the voice, that's when the voice sounded like it should. My next center speaker will be very large, truly full range.
I'm in the "phantom center" sounds better camp. Or maybe in the "you don't need a center speaker" camp.
From my experience, a center channel is needed only when you are sitting 3 or more people across the sitting area. Since it's just my wife and myself, and most times it's just me, I have found no need.
The most important thing is to have your left and right main speakers really dialed in for 2-channel music. Whenever I get new speakers into my room, I spend hours getting them positioned just right. You also need a good pre/pro or receiver that is capable of doing a proper phantom center.
When I'm watching a movie and a person is to the left side of the screen, the sound of the person's voice comes from the left side of the screen, vice versa for the right side of screen, and center dialogue from the center. Same goes for other effects such as gunshots.
Since the channel for dialogue, and a few other things are down mixed into the phantom center, you can have the background music coming from both speakers (50/50) for the stereo effect, and at the same time have your dialogue or effects seemingly coming from their respective position in the screen.
I also get incredible panning.
My front speakers are about 8.5' apart and I get incredibly spatially focused dialogue whether it be right or left side of screen, or coming out of the center.
Here's a pretty good thread here on AVS that deals with the center channel issue: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/89-speakers/1449514-goodbye-center-channel.html