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JBL N-CenterII optimal distance from wall

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello.

I have the JBL N-CenterII center channel speaker and I was wondering what the optimal distance from the wall should be?

http://www.jbl.com/EN-US/Products/Pages/ProductSupportDetails.aspx?PID=N-CENTERII

This is a dual ported speaker and both ports are in the back of the speaker facing the wall.

I presently have it 12 inches from the wall and was wondering if that is optimal or not?

I thought I read that 2 or 3 feet would be optimal, but unfortunately I do not have that kind of space in this tiny home theater room. (15 feet long by 12 feet left to right)

The room is very small, only 15 feet from the front wall to the back wall. I don't have too much room for it and in fact, would prefer to move it closer to the wall if possible.

I've read about wall treatments but so far I do not have any sound dampening material on the wall yet. Would that help if I need to have this speaker so close to the wall?
post #2 of 9
a foot will be fine - had one of these 5 or 10 years ago. I remember them always being a bit muddy on voice.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

a foot will be fine - had one of these 5 or 10 years ago. I remember them always being a bit muddy on voice.

Thanks.

That's odd. For me it seems that this speaker is almost too high to the point where it almost hurts my ears on the high types of sounds. Like for instance, some people in movies with high voices really come out too strong to the point I have to turn the volume down lower. I must have something set incorrectly.

That's one of the reasons I thought maybe it was too close to the wall, almost as if it was bouncing the highs off the wall into my ears or something. Would sound dampening material placed against the wall just behind the center speaker help at all for this problem?

If not, I may just have to lower the volume on the center channel after Audyssy sets it.
Edited by LittleLarry - 6/23/13 at 4:02pm
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleLarry View Post

That's one of the reasons I thought maybe it was too close to the wall, almost as if it was bouncing the highs off the wall into my ears or something.
Highs are directional, they don't bounce off the wall. Lows are non-directional, that's why ports can be placed on the rear of the speaker.
post #5 of 9
yeah - I remember the highs to be stronger then the mid. It was the mid-range that I found muddy. Not sure if your AVR will let you trim treble a bit on the center. I think you are just finding the limit of that the N-series could do. My experience was they were OK, but never great - and certainly priced right.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Highs are directional, they don't bounce off the wall. Lows are non-directional, that's why ports can be placed on the rear of the speaker.

Thanks.

Does that mean that it would be ok to place this center channel within a couple inches from the wall, say 3 or 4 inches, instead of 12 like I have it set up now? I don't think I'm using the lows too much on this speaker but I could be wrong. I have my AVR set to do crossover so that everything from 80hz and below goes to the subwoofer. As for the rear ports being too close to the wall, I thought they needed at least some clearance so that the air could come out of the ports unrestricted without being blocked by anything. Is this true, or not so true? I know some people stuff their ports with socks, not sure what that accomplishes or why they do that. Seems odd though, like it seems like something the manufacturers would not recommend.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

yeah - I remember the highs to be stronger then the mid. It was the mid-range that I found muddy. Not sure if your AVR will let you trim treble a bit on the center. I think you are just finding the limit of that the N-series could do. My experience was they were OK, but never great - and certainly priced right.

I know I can change the overall treble for all the speakers, not certain if I can set the treble for just 1 speaker though. So this is a limitation of the speaker itself? Is that why you upgraded from this speaker when you had it by any chance? Did you upgrade from it due to muddiness or brightness, or both?

Unfortunately, I just purchased this center speaker so my setup would be timbre matched. I have 6 N24II's that needed the matching center, so, I'm hoping I can make due with these speakers for a couple years. Hopefully there is something I can adjust on the AVR so it's not so sharp on the highs. If not, I'll have to lower the volume of the center channel I guess, but I imagine this option would not be optimal. (lowering the center channel volume).

This center is over 10 years old but I purchased it very recently and it supposedly has never been used (previous owner mentioned it sat in a closet for 10 years or so and I must admit it does look like it's brand new and perhaps the brightness is because it has truly never been used until now). That said, could these highs that are too piercing be a side-effect that could subside once the speaker is 'broken in' for a bit?

The reason I asked about the highs being too sharp and the possibility of it subsiding is due to a post I read where someone had an N-center (or ii) that was 'too bright' at first, but then after a while something 'loosened up' and I'm guessing stopped some of the brightness (too much treble / highness).

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/167919-anyone-using-jbl-n-center-ii/

"I have been using an N-center along with 6 N24's. I could not be happier with this setup. The N-center in particular is a great speaker for the price. It can be a bit bright at first but once everything loosens up the brightness really diminishes."

It would be nice if this happens for me as well. If there is a possibility of this center speaker losing some brightness after being used for a bit, how long will it take? (I watch about 4 movies per week)

Would it be beneficial for me to play some music through the speaker for several hours every day or something to speed up the process? It also sounds like my room can be too bright as well, probably exacerbating the problem.

I've read a few interesting threads about speaker brightness, but it seems like I have a lot more to learn:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/473714/what-does-it-mean-when-a-speaker-is-bright

Also, are today's speakers in the same price range a lot better sounding than the n-centerII? Just curious. When this speaker came out 10 years ago, it was in the $150 to $250 range I believe.
Edited by LittleLarry - 6/24/13 at 8:10pm
post #7 of 9
Sometimes loosened up is somebody's ears getting used to a speaker.

I moved from a house to an apartment, and as a result only kept my 2-channel system, Funny, my N-center has been in a storage unit for the last 7 years or so along with the rest of a ~2003 mid-range surround system. I never loved the northridge line, but it was affordable at the time and what I ended up with. Not bad, but I could never get as clear of voicing as I wanted. Mind you, my 2-channel is KEF that cost about the same as 6-channel northridge.

I don't know what receiver you have, but if you can knock the treble down a few notches on the center, it would be worth a try. I found over time I prefer a phantom center using the L and R speakers.

You want those rear ports at least 3 to 6 inches from the wall.

I don't remember the x-overs on this speaker, so I'm going a bit generic. All of you deeper base at 80 Hz and below is going to the sub, the center and your N24s are probably struggling to reproduce from 80 to 100 or 120 Hz, if you can adjust X-over, try it higher. Your upper-base and mid-range is coming from the 4" (if I remember correctly) transducer up to 2500 Hz or so (could be 2000, could be 3500). The tweeter kicks in above that. As I mentioned before, I remember the N-center as a bit muddy mid and harsh/sharp high. It has been at least 5 years since I used mine.
Edited by lespurgeon - 6/24/13 at 8:29pm
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lespurgeon View Post

Sometimes loosened up is somebody's ears getting used to a speaker.

I moved from a house to an apartment, and as a result only kept my 2-channel system, Funny, my N-center has been in a storage unit for the last 7 years or so along with the rest of a ~2003 mid-range surround system. I never loved the northridge line, but it was affordable at the time and what I ended up with. Not bad, but I could never get as clear of voicing as I wanted. Mind you, my 2-channel is KEF that cost about the same as 6-channel northridge.

I don't know what receiver you have, but if you can knock the treble down a few notches on the center, it would be worth a try. I found over time I prefer a phantom center using the L and R speakers.

You want those rear ports at least 3 to 6 inches from the wall.

I don't remember the x-overs on this speaker, so I'm going a bit generic. All of you deeper base at 80 Hz and below is going to the sub, the center and your N24s are probably struggling to reproduce from 80 to 100 or 120 Hz, if you can adjust X-over, try it higher. Your upper-base and mid-range is coming from the 4" (if I remember correctly) transducer up to 2500 Hz or so (could be 2000, could be 3500). The tweeter kicks in above that. As I mentioned before, I remember the N-center as a bit muddy mid and harsh/sharp high. It has been at least 5 years since I used mine.

Thanks.

I have a Denon AVR 2313CI. Guess I'll leave the n-centerII at 12 inches from the wall if 6 inches is in the least range.

I've also been reading about how bright my room can be, and I must admit, it is very bright indeed.

"Bare walls, hardwood floors, glass=many, many high frequency reflections. Follow Chris' advice. You'd be surprised how different they will sound in a properly treated room." (from a thread about audio being too bright)

I don't have too much glass or hardwood floors, but I do have completely bare walls.

I would hate to have to use a phantom center as that would defeat the purpose of my center channel purchase. frown.gif I would only want to use a phantom in scenarios where I can't fit a center in properly or didn't have a center to use on a set-up. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that for me, having to use a phantom center.

Is that common, people ditching their center speakers? I could see it being a great alternative where space is very limited or when having a center speaker physically causes some cumbersomeness in a layout.

I'm definitely going to scour over the settings of this AVR. I'm also considering some room treatments as I keep reading a bunch of threads where people mention to try that for brightness issues with speakers.

I'm also wondering if room or speaker brightness can be detected with an SPL meter readout.
Edited by LittleLarry - 6/24/13 at 8:52pm
post #9 of 9
Room treatment is almost certain to help. I'm very happy with phantom center, as are many, but I agree having a center is more common.
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