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Vocals from centre channel are almost inaudible

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hey all,
Just put together my home theatre system.

Viera 50u50
Pioneer VSX-822k
Flaunce AVHTB set (2x towers, center, two bookshelf)
Lenovo IdeaCenter Q180 (running XBMC)

Its in a pretty small room, and I can't change much in regards to acoustic treatment, because I live in an apartment and can't mount anything on the walls so easily.

My problem is that high range vocals in movies are almost inaudible compared to the rest of the movies I'm watching.

I have turned off the dynamic range settings, and have boosted up the centre channel level by 8db but still not enough. This is after using the MCACC to set it up.

The centre channel is placed under the TV on a TV stand unit. It is angled up a little to compensate, and has almost direct line to ear height.

One concern I have is that the centre speaker is on one of the tv unit shelves.
Another I have is that it has something to do with the Dolby Pro Logic II sound processing, but even the other processing gives me this problem other than stereo sound.

Anything else that I am missing??

Please help,
Thanks
post #2 of 23
Given all the things you have tried, I suspect that the center speaker is defective.

I would try substituting another speaker, perhaps one of the satellite speakers, for it and see if the volume is more what it should be.

Actually, you could swap the center and one of the satellite speakers. That way you can compare the center speaker's output to the other satellite speaker and see if their output is markedly different.

If it works OK in that position, then of course it is the receiver's center channel that is your problem.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
If there was any defect then how would the MCACC calibration have worked? I definitely heard the center come on just as loud as the others.

Ill try switching them as you suggested and will see what happens.

I should add that the deeper vocals and sound still come out just fine. Its only the higher range tones.
post #4 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mook613 View Post

If there was any defect then how would the MCACC calibration have worked? I definitely heard the center come on just as loud as the others.
Ill try switching them as you suggested and will see what happens.
I should add that the deeper vocals and sound still come out just fine. Its only the higher range tones.

I'm not certain that MCACC can do anything about problems in the high end, it doesn't have an upper crossover point above which treble management on the AVR can send sound to an ultratweeter. It sounds like you may have a blown tweeter, or possibly some broken component in the crossover network.
post #5 of 23
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

I think saying that the vocals are almost inaudible was a little excessive. If I pump up the center channel then I can hear the voices, its just that increasing the center ruins the surround experience.

The tweeter is not blown. Tested with some music.

The crossover seems to be a possibility. Is there a way to test this? I don't want to have to go through with everything to return it unless I can confirm this first.

Thanks for the help everybody.
post #7 of 23
If the tweeter is audibly correct, then there shouldn't be any worry about the crossover.

Is there anything that could be physically blocking the sound? You said that the center is under the television, but is it sitting out in open air or is it boxed in? Sometimes simply moving the speaker forward so the front is in open air can make a real difference. Have you tried putting the speaker on a box in front of the furniture to test it that way?
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mook613 View Post

Thanks for the replies.

I think saying that the vocals are almost inaudible was a little excessive. If I pump up the center channel then I can hear the voices, its just that increasing the center ruins the surround experience.

The tweeter is not blown. Tested with some music.

The crossover seems to be a possibility. Is there a way to test this? I don't want to have to go through with everything to return it unless I can confirm this first.

Thanks for the help everybody.

Define "ruins the surround experience". Also "high range vocals". What does that sound like? Is that for movies? music? What are you comparing to previously, so as to consider it's other than your setup?

If the tweeter sounds fine in music then the crossover is likely fine.
Edited by lovinthehd - 1/6/13 at 4:14pm
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
If I pump up the center too much, then the lows coming from the center channel overpower the rest of the speakers and the sound is too focused directly center.

Im comparing it to normal sound. Id expect that when they mix the audio for a movie they make it such that one can hear people speaking.

The speaker is on a shelf below the TV. The actual speakers have direct line of sight to where listeners sit, but the enclosure itself isn't entirely unobstructed. I tried to place the speaker on the TV surface to see if it was any brighter. While it was slightly better, it still wasn't great. The other problem is that the speaker is kind of big and blocks part of the image, and the IR receiver. Id mount it above the TV, but my walls are solid and can't run speaker wire behind it.

Thanks
post #10 of 23
Could be your expectations, but the center should have most of the content with multi-channel sound. Surround is more subtle than all-enveloping, it's still the front that will be dominant. As far as positioning the center speaker, you want the front baffle at least on an equal plane as the front of the furniture you've placed it into, your description of placement is hard to envision ("isn't entirely unobstructed"??). My old Pioneer had a dialogue enhancement tweak in the menu, you might try that if yours also has one.
post #11 of 23
I would do a reset on the reciever and then rerun Auto MCACC.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
The center is slightly "inside" the shelving. I tested the speaker on top of the unit (where I won't leave it because it blocks part of the screen and the IR receiver). I could eliminate the IR problem, but need the remote to switch inputs because I use an HTPC directly to the TV (HDCP issue that can't be resolved through software). Either way, still blocks part of the picture.

Ill try a full reset and then will try MCACC again. The lowish frequency tones used for the MCACC come out perfectly, and MCACC worked great for that. The issue I am having is with higher frequencies.
Ex. When watching transformers, the robots voices come out great, but when humans talk it sounds too quiet.

Can't find an option for dialogue enhancement. Ive looked through all of the menus and the manuals. I may return this receiver because of the HDCP issue, but probably not b/c I got it for a great price and the sound for music is great.

I could just leave the center channel boosted, but then there is an issue of having the mids from that speaker too loud. I need to compensate this by lowering my towers, but then Im loosing out on my lows. I don't have a sub in my system (keep my neighbours happy).

I may just have to figure out how to move the center somewhere higher and with no obstruction.

Thanks for the help everybody.

Great forums,
you guys are quick and helpful.
post #13 of 23
In my experience, location is not a strong driver of dialog quality. Sound localization, yes, but not quality.

However, a speaker can be malfunctioning, or poorly designed, and still sound fine with music unless you have a highly critical ear. We tend not to notice what's missing. I spent years with a CC that had the tweeter polarity reversed. The deep narrow dip at 2.4KHz was not at all obvious until I did FR measurement, and dialog markedly improved when I upgraded (before doing the measurement).

Your CC is a wide-spaced MTM that crosses at 4KHz, so it's a poor design in any horizontal application. Here's some data for a similar design.
http://www.audioholics.com/education/loudspeaker-basics/vertical-vs-horizontal-speaker-designs/600-mtm-horizontally-oriented-measurements.html

That said, the design issues only appear off-axis, and you're likely sitting close to on-axis if you're after the "surround experience" so frequency response distortion should be minimized, save for the reflected energy.

My money's still on a CC speaker problem. Having lived with a tweeter polarity error for a while, it's hard to ID save for the intelligible dialog... commsysman's advice was spot-on.

HAve fun,
Frank
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Are there any test sounds that I could play above the crossover point to see if there is anything coming out of the tweeter?
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mook613 View Post

Are there any test sounds that I could play above the crossover point to see if there is anything coming out of the tweeter?

Sure. If you have attached (or can attach) a computer to your system, you could visit http://www.audiocheck.net for all the test tones you'll need. Otherwise it's possible to download and burn CDs of test tones easily enough, although I haven't got any URLs handy right now.
post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JD in NJ View Post

Sure. If you have attached (or can attach) a computer to your system, you could visit http://www.audiocheck.net for all the test tones you'll need. Otherwise it's possible to download and burn CDs of test tones easily enough, although I haven't got any URLs handy right now.

I have a HTPC set up to the TV, and then through ARC is playing to the receiver. Does ARC carry the full audio, or is optical the better connection here?

Also, any advice as to what tones I should play to test the tweeter? Should I disconnect my towers first, or is there a way to test it otherwise?

Thanks for all the help
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Should add that I can't create a direct HDMI connection from the HTPC to the receiver because of an HDCP issue.
post #18 of 23
I don't think ARC vs. HDMI is something to be concerned about here at all. So long as you can generate tones which actually play through your center speaker, you ought to be good to go.

That being said, you'll need to make sure your receiver is set to a mode (like mono or multi-channel stereo or ProLogic) that will actually play the tones through the center, as most generators seem primarily concerned with left and right channels and the sub. Disconnecting the towers would help to isolate the sound, to be sure. Don't short anything out in the process!
post #19 of 23
There should BE NO LOWS from the center channel!!!

The center channel should be set up so that nothing below 120 Hz goes to it.

You obviously have it set up wrong.



Quote:
Originally Posted by mook613 View Post

If I pump up the center too much, then the lows coming from the center channel overpower the rest of the speakers and the sound is too focused directly center.
Im comparing it to normal sound. Id expect that when they mix the audio for a movie they make it such that one can hear people speaking.
The speaker is on a shelf below the TV. The actual speakers have direct line of sight to where listeners sit, but the enclosure itself isn't entirely unobstructed. I tried to place the speaker on the TV surface to see if it was any brighter. While it was slightly better, it still wasn't great. The other problem is that the speaker is kind of big and blocks part of the image, and the IR receiver. Id mount it above the TV, but my walls are solid and can't run speaker wire behind it.
Thanks
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

There should BE NO LOWS from the center channel!!!
The center channel should be set up so that nothing below 120 Hz goes to it.
You obviously have it set up wrong.

The only crossover I have any control over is for the sub (which I dont have anyways). All of the lows are directed to my towers. Im talking about the lower toned vocals (really just mid-tones).

Ive tried using both the Neo;Cinema setting and the Pro Logic II : movie setting. Both produce similar results.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

There should BE NO LOWS from the center channel!!!
The center channel should be set up so that nothing below 120 Hz goes to it.
You obviously have it set up wrong.
While I appreciate the sentiment, everyone with some EE training or experience knows that your statement is fraught with errors.
- 120Hz isn't "low frequency" it's more like a large room transition frequency, 3 octaves removed from the infrasonic range.
- all filters have finite slope; words like "no" and "nothing" simply don't apply to analog filters used here
- THX would seem to disagree...

But more importantly, you do the OP a disservice.

HAve fun,
Frank
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

While I appreciate the sentiment, everyone with some EE training or experience knows that your statement is fraught with errors.
- 120Hz isn't "low frequency" it's more like a large room transition frequency, 3 octaves removed from the infrasonic range.
- all filters have finite slope; words like "no" and "nothing" simply don't apply to analog filters used here
- THX would seem to disagree...
But more importantly, you do the OP a disservice.
HAve fun,
Frank

+1
post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mook613 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

There should BE NO LOWS from the center channel!!!
The center channel should be set up so that nothing below 120 Hz goes to it.
You obviously have it set up wrong.

The only crossover I have any control over is for the sub (which I dont have anyways). All of the lows are directed to my towers. Im talking about the lower toned vocals (really just mid-tones).

Ive tried using both the Neo;Cinema setting and the Pro Logic II : movie setting. Both produce similar results.



You have control over the crossover frequency of each speaker group. Your center will crossover bass to your R & L mains if you do not use a subwoofer. The crossover frequency is set to 100 Hz but can be adjusted in the menu.


http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/StaticFiles/Manuals/Home/VSX-822-K_OperatingInstructions062612.pdf
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