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Setup giving me muddy voices - suggestions?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I have an H/K AVR 65 (65W/ch surround) receiver driving Paradigm Monitor 7 v2 mains with a matching Paradigm CC290 center channel. My rear speakers are Polk bookshelf speakers. I don't have a sub.

I'm considering upgrading my receiver mainly because I feel like the AVR 65 isn't really driving my setup the way I would like, especially the center channel. In 2 channel stereo mode, the Monitor 7s sound fine, even at lower volumes - plenty of dynamic range, not muddy, etc. In surround mode, I'm happy at higher volumes - again, plenty of dynamic range, voices are clear, sounds seem "true", etc.

However, I don't usually watch movies at high volume. I'm usually at mid to low volumes. The AVR 65 just doesn't seem to perform well at these volumes. No matter how I adjust the center channel, it always seems out of balance with the mains. Voices coming out of the center channel are indistinct to the point where the viewers often have trouble understanding them. If I adjust the center volume so that the speaking during intimate scenes (e.g., normal and whispered voices) are good, the voices during standard scenes (e.g, in the mall, shouting, loud talking on the phone, etc.) are deafening. Likewise, if I adjust for standard scenes, the intimate scenes are virtually inaudible. At lower volumes the mains are muddy - things sound like they're coming from cheap speakers.

I'm suspecting my receiver just isn't up to the task of driving my setup at lower volumes in surround mode. Would you concur? Can you give me any recommendations on what direction to go with things? I spent too much on the Monitor series to replace them, and besides, I really like them when they are really driven or when they are in stereo rather than surround.

Another piece of the puzzle is that when I hook up my older Polks (RT55s with cheap Polk center channel) to the AVR 65 in the same setup, things sound much better at lower volumes.

I've been messing with speaker position and receiver settings for a good 3 years, and can't stand it anymore. Suggestions?
post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by bprjam View Post

I have an H/K AVR 65 (65W/ch surround) receiver driving Paradigm Monitor 7 v2 mains with a matching Paradigm CC290 center channel. My rear speakers are Polk bookshelf speakers. I don't have a sub.

I'm considering upgrading my receiver mainly because I feel like the AVR 65 isn't really driving my setup the way I would like, especially the center channel. In 2 channel stereo mode, the Monitor 7s sound fine, even at lower volumes - plenty of dynamic range, not muddy, etc. In surround mode, I'm happy at higher volumes - again, plenty of dynamic range, voices are clear, sounds seem "true", etc.

However, I don't usually watch movies at high volume. I'm usually at mid to low volumes. The AVR 65 just doesn't seem to perform well at these volumes. No matter how I adjust the center channel, it always seems out of balance with the mains. Voices coming out of the center channel are indistinct to the point where the viewers often have trouble understanding them. If I adjust the center volume so that the speaking during intimate scenes (e.g., normal and whispered voices) are good, the voices during standard scenes (e.g, in the mall, shouting, loud talking on the phone, etc.) are deafening. Likewise, if I adjust for standard scenes, the intimate scenes are virtually inaudible. At lower volumes the mains are muddy - things sound like they're coming from cheap speakers.

I'm suspecting my receiver just isn't up to the task of driving my setup at lower volumes in surround mode. Would you concur? Can you give me any recommendations on what direction to go with things? I spent too much on the Monitor series to replace them, and besides, I really like them when they are really driven or when they are in stereo rather than surround.

Another piece of the puzzle is that when I hook up my older Polks (RT55s with cheap Polk center channel) to the AVR 65 in the same setup, things sound much better at lower volumes.

I've been messing with speaker position and receiver settings for a good 3 years, and can't stand it anymore. Suggestions?

You need receiver that has either Audyssey Dynamic Volume or THX Loudness Plus capability. These two technologies help to keep tonal and surround balance when listening at low volume.
post #3 of 4
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by bprjam View Post

I've been messing with speaker position and receiver settings for a good 3 years, and can't stand it anymore. Suggestions?

Do you have any acoustic treatment in the room? Lack of absorption at the side-wall and ceiling reflection points does more to harm clarity than anything else. More here:

Acoustic Basics
Early Reflections

--Ethan
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