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My speakers are in an alcove..acoustic tweaks??

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
The title says it all. Here's my setup. It sounds pretty good. The one area that can be an issue is dialogue, particularly mens voices. They tend to sound chesty. I think that's the description I'm looking for. All of my reading suggests having the speakers setup in that alcove and the center so close to the top is not ideal. Any suggestions on how to best minimize negative effects of my layout? I had the center below the TV but it's too big to bring out to the edge of the shelf and it's pointed at your legs.

post #2 of 6
Are you sure this is the right word, alcoves?


1) Get that center off the top of your TV. You are likely getting reflections off the ceiling that are creating interference. Perhaps that is the source of your chestiness.

2) Get an appropriate stand (height and weight and material) for the center. Ideally, it should be as high as possible in the center without interfering with the picture. You may have to rearrange your components to accommodate it.

3) Is that center an appropriate match for the mains? If not, I would consider replacing it with one that is the right match, or even doing without it and switching your AVR to a phantom center. That would eliminate the chestiness, make the dialogue sound more natural (assuming your mains can sound good on dialogue), and avoid the possibility of weird change in tonality during panning of sounds across the front soundstage. Proper placement (you may have to experiment -- even an inch here or there, or a few degrees of toe in can make a big difference) of your front mains can help tighten your soundstage and help with correct imaging.

I think all three suggestions are likely better than leaving your center where it is. Good luck with it.
post #3 of 6
You sound like me after building my first CC... I'm happy with #3.

+1 to #1. The issue is "baffle step compensation" or BSC, specifically its presence when not required. When designing a free-standing loudspeaker for flat frequency response, the designer is faced with a fundamental problem; highs are louder due to sound reflected from the baffle, while lows receive no such augmentation. BSC pulls down midrange and treble levels to match the free-standing response of the woofer when located well away from walls and other reflective surfaces.

If your CC was designed as a free-standing speaker, it will be boomy in your application. My first CC had BSC, my second was identical, but with an on-wall crossover circuit, and no boomy bass.

As to Will's other comments, it's all in the compromises you make. Ear height is optimum, but I've no issues with my CC below the TV because it's got good off-axis response. Matching your mains is a good thing, but 3 identical speakers will sound different unless they're placed the same relative to boundaries. The BSC discussion applies; a free-standing, high BSC design will sound boomy if mounted near boundaries.

One compromise I would not suggest is phantom CC. Those who suggest it must be hearing something I don't, as it just don't work for HT. You want to localize the CC dialog, not spread it out. The right CC for a given application is frequently not the same as it's L/R partners.

Have fun,
post #4 of 6
I think that your main speakers appear to be out far enough that their location is not a problem.

The center speaker location sucks.

You should put it below and tilt it so it is aimed at your ears. You can either put some large rubber spacers or feet under the front of it or put a wooden dowel an inch or so in diameter crosswise under the front of it. A couple of pennies on the shelf will keep the dowel from rolling.

If the one you have is too large, I suggest the Cambridge S50 center speaker. It is very good and not too large.
Edited by commsysman - 2/14/13 at 2:44pm
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies. I wall mounted my TV to free up space for the center channel. I'm also trying out a different speaker. Much improved. Going to install some acoustic panels in the next few weeks too.

post #6 of 6
Can't tell from the pics as the grills are on... what's the old/new CC? Any chance you upgraded from an MTM to a WTMW? That's typically the upgrade that really makes the difference...

Have fun,
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