Best placement for center channel speaker - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Unread 08-16-2014, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Best placement for center channel speaker

I have a Marantz SR 6500 along with a Panasonic St series 42" plasma and Blu Ray, and CD changer in a large pine armoire type cabinet. On either side of the cabinet on speaker stands are a pair of Definitive studio monitor 450's,a Definitive 10" powered subwoofer sits on the floor nearby. The Definitive CLR 2002 center channel sits on top of the cabinet in the middle pointing slightly downward. The cabinet is about 66"or so tall.

The room is pretty dead and measures around 16 x 14 with a large covered coffee table positioned about 5' in front of the cabinet. There's also a large couch and chair in the room.

I have run the included audio setup several times but I cannot get the level of clarity I had hoped for. Often voices on DVD or when streaming films sound muffled so I'm wondering if this is caused by the center channel being too high. There's books inside the cabinet I could remove if necessary and could potentially place the center channel below the TV on a shelf. Does anyone here know whether lowering the position will solve the problem? Thanks
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post #2 of 12 Unread 08-16-2014, 08:41 PM
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I've always read that the center channel should be no higher than 2/3 the height of the screen.


Also stupid question, did you adjust the volumes of each speaker? Play a movie and adjust it to suit your ear?
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post #3 of 12 Unread 08-17-2014, 12:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jontalk View Post
On either side of the cabinet on speaker stands are a pair of Definitive studio monitor 450's,a Definitive 10" powered subwoofer sits on the floor nearby. The Definitive CLR 2002 center channel sits on top of the cabinet in the middle pointing slightly downward. The cabinet is about 66"or so tall.
First thing I would do is mount the center speaker as close as possible to the same height as the fronts. Once that is done try aiming it directly at the height of your head when you are sitting in your listening position.

If you end up placing the center speaker below the TV you might try aiming it somewhat over your head. I have my center speaker under my screen and when it's pointing directly at me voices appear to be coming from the floor and often I'd find myself staring at the floor (listening to the dialogue) instead of watching the film! I had some success by aiming it well over my head and its direction became less apparent... a good thing.

In my case what really helped is Yamaha's Dialogue Lift. It routes a portion (user defined) of the center speaker to the front height speakers and it nicely places the vocals in the middle of the screen. Even with the side seats the sound is still anchored in the center and doesn't become too directional to the side you are sitting.

You can also verify and or change how the EQ process set the center speaker. YPAO sets mine to Large and I manually change it to Small... A/Bing I have only noticed a slight difference and it's hard to say which sounds more accurate. Based on the content I might prefer one or the other.
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post #4 of 12 Unread 08-17-2014, 01:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Re: Center channel placement

Thanks so much.. I'm not sure how I'd be able to set the center channel so it's on the same height as the L & R due to the environment. Since the Definitive CLR is pretty large, I can't place it on the shelf with the TV since it would block viewing.

When I ran the Marantz audio set up (sorry forget what it's called) it sets my speakers as small since there's a subwoofer. Right now the shelf below the TV has the Marantz and other audio gear so were I to move the center channel from above, it would be on the bottom of the cabinet, which probably isn't a great idea if I understand you correctly.

I will say for the record that since I stream about 98% of content watched, I'm sure the audio quality varies quite a bit though I use a high speed WIRED connection rather than WiFi. Regardless, the sort of muffled mid range frequencies with voice is frustrating, especially since the equipment is pretty good quality.
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post #5 of 12 Unread 08-17-2014, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jontalk View Post
...Regardless, the sort of muffled mid range frequencies with voice is frustrating, especially since the equipment is pretty good quality.
Hi jontalk, can you go up close to your center speaker and listen closely to the tweeter? This just to rule out whether it's broken or not as being the reason for muffled sound? You know, thing happen. Report back please.
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post #6 of 12 Unread 08-17-2014, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
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The speaker works perfectly. And please don't misunderstand it's not that it sounds terrible but rather with various films the midrange isn't as clear as it might be. Since the room is not huge and there's carpeting along with a large, thick Chinese rug I have a suspicion that the acoustic environment isn't ideal. The coffee table is glass and on one of the setup discussions it was stated that it's better to cover it. So I have a wool type throw over it like a tablecloth.

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Originally Posted by mogorf View Post
Hi jontalk, can you go up close to your center speaker and listen closely to the tweeter? This just to rule out whether it's broken or not as being the reason for muffled sound? You know, thing happen. Report back please.
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post #7 of 12 Unread 08-19-2014, 12:08 PM
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Since you say the CC is "in" a cabinet, do you have the front face of the speaker sticking out of the cabinet by at least and inch or so??
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post #8 of 12 Unread 08-19-2014, 02:34 PM
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Have you considered a CC upgrade?

The "Definitive CLR 2002" is a jack of all trades, "D’Appolito Array" MTM that's recommended for any location, any orientation. I see this as marketing-speak intended to sell inappropriate speakers to folks who don't know any better (nothing personal). MTMs have real advantages until you turn them sideways, then you need either one of two things
- a very low crossover frequency, below the frequency where the two drivers interfere acoustically. 1130Hz is a 1 foot wavelength, so we're talking less than 1 foot C-C spacing with an 1.1KHz crossover. I bet yours cross 2.5-3.5KHz
- a WTMW 3-way design with over/under TM geometry.

I started with a small MTM, and thought I had upgraded using a toppled MTM for years before building a speaker that met the first criteria (9" c-c, 1.1KHz XO). It was not a small improvement. Dialog got much better, especially for my wife who sits off-axis. Note that this is not something you can correct without rotating the speaker to vertical. What's an advantage in a vertical orientation is a liability laid horizontally.

It's not that they're bad speakers, its bad geometry. Audioholics has a great article showing that both cheap and expensive MTMs have the same issues, while a proper WMTW does not. Mounting in a cabinet only makes it worse.

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post #9 of 12 Unread 08-19-2014, 06:01 PM
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+1 - I agree that MTM speakers on their side are not ideal for center channel speakers - Def Tech isn't doing anything about it but other speaker manufacturers are like Paradigm, NHT, SVS, etc with a proper three way Woofer-Tweeter over Mid-Woofer design and a very low crossover frequency to the separated woofers.

My 15 year old set of three identical Paradigm Reference LCR-450a (MTM / D'Appolito design) speakers sounded great on their ends, but the one in the middle on its side always sounded so different (even though it was an identical speaker). As soon as I upgraded to the Paradigm Studio CC-590 (WT/MW) things sounded incredible.

One way you can rule out the design of the center - sit exactly in front of it. The separated mid-range speakers will work as one at all frequencies in exactly one spot - the dead center. If you still have intelligibility / clarity issues when you are in the "sweet spot" there could be other issues like interference from the cabinet.

Is there no way that it can go in the cabinet right on top of the TV?

2-Ch (HT L/R): Oppo BDP-105 BD, Adcom GFP-750 pre, Bryston 10B Sub Xover, Bryston 4BSST2 / Paradigm Signature S4 v.2 (L/R), (2) SVS SB12-NSD (Subs)
Home Theater: Bryston 4BSST2 amp / Paradigm CC-590 (C), Outlaw 7700 amp / (4) Def Tech UIW-RSSII (LS/RS/LB/RB), Samsung 46” 3D LCD
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post #10 of 12 Unread 08-20-2014, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jontalk View Post
I have a Marantz SR 6500 along with a Panasonic St series 42" plasma and Blu Ray, and CD changer in a large pine armoire type cabinet. On either side of the cabinet on speaker stands are a pair of Definitive studio monitor 450's,a Definitive 10" powered subwoofer sits on the floor nearby. The Definitive CLR 2002 center channel sits on top of the cabinet in the middle pointing slightly downward. The cabinet is about 66"or so tall.

The room is pretty dead and measures around 16 x 14 with a large covered coffee table positioned about 5' in front of the cabinet. There's also a large couch and chair in the room.

I have run the included audio setup several times but I cannot get the level of clarity I had hoped for. Often voices on DVD or when streaming films sound muffled so I'm wondering if this is caused by the center channel being too high. There's books inside the cabinet I could remove if necessary and could potentially place the center channel below the TV on a shelf. Does anyone here know whether lowering the position will solve the problem? Thanks

Here's my system:



So the answer I'd give is that the speakers can't be too high within reason if they are aimed at the listener's ears. Obviously, if they shoot over everybody's heads as seated, then its not usually so good.

This is called soffit mounting, and it widely used for professional studio monitoring. It gets the speakers off the floor and less likely to be blocked by absorptive things sitting on the floor like people.

BTW the LCR speakers are 3x Infinity Primus PC 351s which are modern 3-ways with the tweeter and midranges stacked vertically. There are also 2 12" subs. I'm a little less positive about the PC351s since I fried the tweeters in two of them (L+R but surprisingly not center) with some aggressive listening levels (110 dB SPL+). Inifinty no longer sells tweeters for the Primus line, but Vifa Vifa OX20SC00-04 can be fitted with some cutting and gluing. Probably a bit of an upgrade.

Other speakers that are good for using 3X LCR are any of the KEF Q-series and Behringer, the B2031. The JBL LSR 305/308 (powered only) are also good for use this way because they are also built in an unusual way that provides more consistent performance when vertical or horizontal.
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post #11 of 12 Unread 08-20-2014, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post
Here's my system:



So the answer I'd give is that the speakers can't be too high within reason if they are aimed at the listener's ears. Obviously, if they shoot over everybody's heads as seated, then its not usually so good.

This is called soffit mounting, and it widely used for professional studio monitoring. It gets the speakers off the floor and less likely to be blocked by absorptive things sitting on the floor like people.

BTW the LCR speakers are 3x Infinity Primus PC 351s which are modern 3-ways with the tweeter and midranges stacked vertically. There are also 2 12" subs. I'm a little less positive about the PC351s since I fried the tweeters in two of them (L+R but surprisingly not center) with some aggressive listening levels (110 dB SPL+). Inifinty no longer sells tweeters for the Primus line, but Vifa Vifa OX20SC00-04 can be fitted with some cutting and gluing. Probably a bit of an upgrade.

Other speakers that are good for using 3X LCR are any of the KEF Q-series and Behringer, the B2031. The JBL LSR 305/308 (powered only) are also good for use this way because they are also built in an unusual way that provides more consistent performance when vertical or horizontal.
Thanks.. not planning on investing in new speakers.. the Definitive are really quite excellent From the appearance of your set up, your LCR speakers are MUCH higher off the ground then mine. The big difference is the room it would appear. It seems apparent that the there may be too little in the way of reflective surfaces as compared to listening rooms in AV stores where the speakers were purchased. I'm going to have to live with it for the time being it would seem.
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post #12 of 12 Unread 08-20-2014, 11:37 AM
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Since you say the CC is "in" a cabinet, do you have the front face of the speaker sticking out of the cabinet by at least and inch or so??
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