Originally Posted by jeremytodd1
On movies the dialogue is a bit drowned out by music and other noises in the movie. To fix this can I just raise the center speaker's volume by a couple of points?
Or is there a better way to do it that I should do instead?
There are a whole host of technical issues that could be (and most assuredly are) at fault here. Just know that fixing these issues (such as the inefficiency of MTM configuation for Center speaker) is the purview of Audiophiles and perfectionists.
I am going to assume that you are neither, and that you just want clear and audible dialogue, like most of us and aren't necesarily after "perfection" (whatever that is)
You have stated that you have auto-calibrated your system. That's a good start. Have you been to the Auddessy FAQ thread in the Reciver forums here? If not, visit them. It's a sticky so I won't need to link it here. There's a TON of information in there to help you get the most out of Auddessy calibration. The one thing about that I'm going to suggest here is that if you have not done it, activate your Dynamic EQ. If you play movies at lower volume, this will help somewhat with the dialogue issues. The second part of this equation, is the Dynamic Volume. This will help even out the loud peaks and quiet parts and bring them closer in line. It does this by restricting the Dynamic Range of the program material you are playing. Audiophiles don't normally like this sort of thing, so they will usually tell you not to turn it on. I say experiment with it and if it helps you hear the dialogue, keep it on (I do. It helps. My wife and I agrue about the loudness of progamming and I have to turn it down some to compromise...Dynamic EQ and the lowest level of Dynaimc Volume helps immensely)
Also, after you have turned on Dynamic EQ, it will boost the sound level of your Surrounds to make them more audible, as a lot of surround content can be very quiet at times, so Dynamic EQ makes your surrounds blaze to life when its activated. Unfortunatly, this has the side effect of making louder sounds coming from your Surrounds such as background music etc, way too loud and it can drown out your center and in some cases, even drown out your mains. In this case, you must set the Volume Offset in the Auddessy menu and what this will do is turn down your surrounds to a more reasonable level. When I discovered and implemented this, things worked out a lot better. You can set the offset at -5db, -10db, or -15db. I have mine set for -15db. Play some music in Multi-Channel stereo with Dynamic EQ active and you'll see what I mean. Then play some music in Multi-Channel stereo setting the different offset options to see which one "evens out" your sound from each speaker the most. That's what you are going for here, so your surrounds don't overpower your main's and center.
Next, make sure your Center speaker is sitting high enough that it is close to pushing the sound at your head/ear level. This is quite important as the frequencies produced by your center's tweeter are very directional in nature. This will also help with the clarity of the dialogue somewhat.
As mentioned above by another poster, go into your Bass management menu and make the crossover for your center 120hz or higher. If your center isn't so good at producing bass frequencies (and a lot aren't. Mine sucks at it), taking away those freqs and giving them to your mains or sub will be better and help clear the dialogue a little. Experiment with different crossover frequencies to find out which one works best for you. a lot of people like 80hz as a set it and forget it referrence point, but all speakers are not created equal, so different speakers will have different crossover points where they will sound better. I set mine at 120hz and it's seems better to me now.
However I'm going to give you the bad news now. From my own experience, the two biggest culprits to interfearing with the clarity of your dialogue are the source material and how it was recorded or is being processed (in the case of Cable/Sattelite material) and room acoustics. The first culprit you can do nothing about. The second culprit you can control, but it is a long and arduous process and one that may not be viable at all depending on your living situation (significant other?). In my own case, I had a lot of trouble hearing the dialogue of movies and shows in my old apartment, but when I moved, a lot of the problems I was having went away after setting my equipment up in an acoustically superior room. (its far from perfect, but it is acoustically better than the old room)
So there you go. A few things that you can try immediately to see if you get any improvements to your sound clarity. and if all else fails, click the center volume up a few decibels. There's nothing wrong with it!