Can a sub give a weak center muscles? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Can a sub give a weak center muscles?

My sub experience is limited to pretty bad subs, so have a question for the experts here....

Would a okayish sub (not talking about $400+), something like dayton 1200 levels, give a somewhat weakling center a fuller sound? And when I say fuller sound, I mean basically make a thin soundbar equivalent to a fat heavy center?

Right now I have two centers here, neither are ideal -- pioneer c22 and a canton cd50.

Pioneer sounds decent for music/sound effects, not so great for dialogue, and aesthetically it's pretty terrible simply because I don't have room for it. If I go the fat center I'll have to get a center stand, which would work fine except it'll also probably block my glass case (with receiver/tivo inside).

The Canton I have matches my setup nicely, matches my sides (brand anyway, not model), is thin enough to fit on my tv stand... but sounds way too tinny/canned. No bass/deepness, which is to be expected from a speaker that size.

So just wondering if a proper sub would turn that canton into a big fat center ... or should I simply look for a speaker stand (and probably a new fat center too) and just deal with it blocking stuff behind it.
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post #2 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 10:53 AM
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No.
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post #3 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 11:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
No.
Well, that was succinct and to the point. Guess I'll be looking at center speaker stands then.

Figured it'd help, just not help as much as I'd like.

What do people do who buy horn tweeter centers, like the BIC recommended here quite often? Their subs don't make up the bass difference? Or they just go with a tradeoff of clearer sound vs fuller sound? Or they go with $500 subs?

And I realize the BIC I am talking about is still a 'fat' speaker, but read it's not great with bass. The Canton I own does have 4 woofers + tweeter, just on the small side ... so highs aren't bad, bass is awful though.
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post #4 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 11:08 AM
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Which Canton are you currently using for a center?

What are the Canton left and right?

What is your budget?

The BIC is a monster but people do like it; perhaps a different center that has good reviews but weighs less so it could be placed on a shelf that attaches to the top of the TV like this?

This one holds up to 15lbs.

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_769CSB1...9553145&awdv=c
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post #5 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 11:13 AM
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how much "music and sound effects" are coming out of your center?

did you use anything like Audyssey to set your speakers up?

are you using a sub now and are the speakers set to Small? What crossover?

there's probably nothing wrong with your centers (although the Canton is a better match), but of course a decent sub would help the overall sound.
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post #6 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Which Canton are you currently using for a center?

What are the Canton left and right?

What is your budget?


Left/right are Canton fonum 701 DCs... same ones you helped me diagnose in another thread here recently.

And right now I own the Pioneer C22 and Canton CD 50 II which can be used as centers.

Canton CD 50 has four 3"ish woofers and tweeter. Again, problem is, it simply sounds too 'canned' compared to the Pioneer, and very little bass. About as big as I can go and have it fit on my stand without blocking my TV. Aesthetically it also matches my side Cantons, although obviously it's like baby-sized in comparison.

I asked about center speaker positioning issues in another thread, and the idea I liked best was a center stand -- which leads to other issues (blocking glass case), but it was the least horrible solution to me.

That, or I just get this little canton to sound like a big boy somehow.

As for budget, I've been going the craigslist route mostly ... so figure cheap as humanly possible. My general plan when I started this was $100-$200 ... for everything, 5 speakers, sub and receiver. Some CL wheeling and dealing later, I'm actually under my budget -- just that my center + sub could use improving.

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post #7 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pitpat View Post
how much "music and sound effects" are coming out of your center?

did you use anything like Audyssey to set your speakers up?

are you using a sub now and are the speakers set to Small? What crossover?

there's probably nothing wrong with your centers (although the Canton is a better match), but of course a decent sub would help the overall sound.

As for music/sound effects from center -- actually quite a bit. It's really the workhorse for movies.

I just did manual settings with my receiver. I'm not sure if Audyssey could fatten up a weak speaker much.

I'm not currently using a sub, as the ones I own frankly stink -- one is a canton passive model and the other is some baby powered bassbyte thing that barely could be called a sub. Just going to sell them and use the money to get a better sub -- assuming I even need one. My sides get low... center bass is the problem (if using my canton).
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post #8 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doe Doe View Post
What do people do who buy horn tweeter centers, like the BIC recommended here quite often? Their subs don't make up the bass difference? Or they just go with a tradeoff of clearer sound vs fuller sound?
A good sub might make up for the center speaker's lack of midbass but all that will do is make male voices sound slightly deeper.

The most bass-intensive sound effects in HT do NOT come out of the center but are routed to the sub.

No sub at any price is going to magically fix a center that has crappy muddy midrange (i.e. lousy voice clarity), however.

I would sell off both of your current centers on CL for whatever you can get, and put the proceeds into the BIC center.
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post #9 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doe Doe View Post
Left/right are Canton fonum 701 DCs... same ones you helped me diagnose in another thread here recently.

And right now I own the Pioneer C22 and Canton CD 50 II which can be used as centers.

Canton CD 50 has four 3"ish woofers and tweeter. Again, problem is, it simply sounds too 'canned' compared to the Pioneer, and very little bass. About as big as I can go and have it fit on my stand without blocking my TV. Aesthetically it also matches my side Cantons, although obviously it's like baby-sized in comparison.

I asked about center speaker positioning issues in another thread, and the idea I liked best was a center stand -- which leads to other issues (blocking glass case), but it was the least horrible solution to me.

That, or I just get this little canton to sound like a big boy somehow.

As for budget, I've been going the craigslist route mostly ... so figure cheap as humanly possible. My general plan when I started this was $100-$200 ... for everything, 5 speakers, sub and receiver. Some CL wheeling and dealing later, I'm actually under my budget -- just that my center + sub could use improving.
Ah yes, that was a tremendous find those speakers.

I'm sure with time you'll find an equally cheap used center that is has at least two 4 1/2" woofers.

I own this one in my secondary system and it actually sounds pretty darned good for $40.

http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-...eaker--300-453
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post #10 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
A good sub might make up for the center speaker's lack of midbass but all that will do is make male voices sound slightly deeper.

The most bass-intensive sound effects in HT do NOT come out of the center but are routed to the sub.

No sub at any price is going to magically fix a center that has crappy muddy midrange (i.e. lousy voice clarity), however.

I would sell off both of your current centers on CL for whatever you can get, and put the proceeds into the BIC center.

So I'll take that as neaning a sub might help my Canton CD50 at least somewhat? Voice clarity is actually not bad from my Canton, but everything else simply doesn't sound so great... thin, lack of bass, somewhat tinny.

BIC center has the problem of being a fat boy too (without much bass), so if going that route, I might just wait it out on CL for a fat Canton (and hope the seller isn't asking for too much).

Basically asking here just so I know what to focus on... should I hunt down a proper sub to at least try with my thin Canton .... or forget the thin Canton, go with a fat center/center speaker stand.

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post #11 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gajCA View Post
Ah yes, that was a tremendous find those speakers.

I'm sure with time you'll find an equally cheap used center that is has at least two 4 1/2" woofers.

I own this one in my secondary system and it actually sounds pretty darned good for $40.
Yeah, the Cantons I picked up was like a miracle CL find (at least for me). Ideally I could find a center to match it (meaning a fat, originally expensive Canton) at a reasonable price, but that would probably take a ton of luck.

Simply finding cheap 4-5" woofer centers on CL is easy. I mean, even my Pioneer now has those. Issue is if I want to get the thing to fit on my stand (4-5" woofer models won't fit) or if I should go thin and somehow 'fatten' it up with a sub.
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post #12 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 12:37 PM
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I changed my center cross over to 110hz (audyssey set it to 60) after I was advised to do so on this forum. I wasn't getting the clear dialogue I should have. Mind you, pulling it all the way forward on the shelf and angling it to align the tweeter to ear level also helped quite a bit. Having a decent sub (or 2) will help with your over sound and relieve your center from having to pull bass duties, it made a noticeable difference for me, although YMMV.
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post #13 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by pase22 View Post
I changed my center cross over to 110hz (audyssey set it to 60) after I was advised to do so on this forum. I wasn't getting the clear dialogue I should have. Mind you, pulling it all the way forward on the shelf and angling it to align the tweeter to ear level also helped quite a bit. Having a decent sub (or 2) will help with your over sound and relieve your center from having to pull bass duties, it made a noticeable difference for me, although YMMV.
If I was running a sub, or center at large, I guess that could help with center clarity on my Pioneer. But I'm not ... it's actually a common complaint with that model.

It's actually not that bad -- it's not like it's horrible, can't understand a thing -- it's simply not as clear as one would hope. I guess in theory if I got a sub, set the center crossover really high, the Pioneer would be clearer.

I'm not entirely sure if I could set separate crossovers on my receiver or not ... so it may be moot. Guess I could do speaker wire connection and set crossover in sub if that was the case though.

My main question though was if I got a proper sub, would it provide more of a full sound for my smaller Canton ... it would solve several problems at once (clarity, positioning, aesthetics and perhaps even somewhat match timbre.)
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post #14 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Doe Doe View Post
If I was running a sub, or center at large, I guess that could help with center clarity on my Pioneer. But I'm not ... it's actually a common complaint with that model.

It's actually not that bad -- it's not like it's horrible, can't understand a thing -- it's simply not as clear as one would hope. I guess in theory if I got a sub, set the center crossover really high, the Pioneer would be clearer.

I'm not entirely sure if I could set separate crossovers on my receiver or not ... so it may be moot. Guess I could do speaker wire connection and set crossover in sub if that was the case though.

My main question though was if I got a proper sub, would it provide more of a full sound for my smaller Canton ... it would solve several problems at once (clarity, positioning, aesthetics and perhaps even somewhat match timbre.)
If you get a sub, it's just going to add low bass. So sure. Things will sound fuller, but that doesn't seem to be the issues with yours centers.

Now I noticed above that you said you didn't run Audyssey? You should try it. Room EQ could very well help with your center issues, and might even make your whole speaker setup sound better. You just have to make sure that you do the measurement process correctly (place the mic at ear level, put it in the prescribed positions, keep it pointing straight up).

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If you get a sub, it's just going to add low bass. So sure. Things will sound fuller, but that doesn't seem to be the issues with yours centers.

Now I noticed above that you said you didn't run Audyssey? You should try it. Room EQ could very well help with your center issues, and might even make your whole speaker setup sound better. You just have to make sure that you do the measurement process correctly (place the mic at ear level, put it in the prescribed positions, keep it pointing straight up).
Actually my center (Canton) not sounding fuller is my exact problem. I own two speakers here I could use as centers, so that probably confused you -- my pioneer has the muddy voices, my little Canton has lack of fullness/bass/tinny sound. Thing I'm wondering about is if midbass is what the canton is primarily missing (besides just real deep bass) ... if midbass, I expect a sub wouldn't do a whole lot to help.

And one reason why I haven't used Audyssey is I'm not even entirely sure what my receiver has... it's an older Denon, so assume it has some version of it, but I bought it used and the guy didn't have the accompanying microphone for it. So I just set things manually. I can always buy a cheap mic for it eventually though. It may help overall, but really don't think it'll do much for my center issues... for either center.
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post #16 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 02:38 PM
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You cannot use just any mic for audyssey. But you can usually pick the right mic up rather inexpensively on eBay. What Denon model do you have?

Meanwhile, the goal of audyssey is to smooth out the frequency response of the speaker. So it could be your Canton just needs to have the frequency response smoothed out. Hard to know but I wouldn't discount it.

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You cannot use just any mic for audyssey. But you can usually pick the right mic up rather inexpensively on eBay. What Denon model do you have?

Meanwhile, the goal of audyssey is to smooth out the frequency response of the speaker. So it could be your Canton just needs to have the frequency response smoothed out. Hard to know but I wouldn't discount it.
Well, Audyssey would also need to somehow add bass/fullness to small drivers ... not saying it can't sound better with audyssey, but it'd seem unlikely to somehow add that much fullness to it.

It's a denon 1907 by the way. I think I saw compatible mics on ebay pretty cheaply, I just never got around to getting one. Not sure if they are knock offs or originals, or if that even matters. And not sure if my model even has audyssey to begin with, or just some general auto setup stuff.

I guess I was never superkeen on the mic setup thing after I bought/tested a Pioneer Elite model I got during this past xmas (ended up returning it). Besides being underwhelmed with it in general, autosetup/mic just made things much worse.

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post #18 of 69 Old 08-06-2016, 03:17 PM
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I don't think the 1907 has Audyssey. You could check the manual.

When "autosetup/mic just made things much worse," in my experience, it's because of poor speaker placement or some problem with the measurement process (user end). Typically, but not always, room EQ can help *if* one is looking for a more neutral, smooth response.

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post #19 of 69 Old 08-07-2016, 09:20 AM
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Below is your manual.

It likely still has the auto calibration settings from the original owner so you should reset the receiver to factory settings and start over manually if you have no microphone.

See page 42 on how to reset the microprocessor to factory settings.

See page 30 for the different sound modes and surround modes after you've done manual crossover settings and selecting "yes" for center channel etc.

I know I had to turn up my center's volume from where it was set by the auto calibrations EQ.

http://pdf.crutchfieldonline.com/Ima.../033AV1907.PDF
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post #20 of 69 Old 08-07-2016, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
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I know I had to turn up my center's volume from where it was set by the auto calibrations EQ.
Thanks. I used manualslib to hunt down the instructions when I first got this thing. Not sure if I did a factory reset or just manually went in and changed things... but yeah, had to redo some stuff.

I turned off cinema equalization and any weird settings, set distances (tape measure method), did the tone test (had to boost the center a couple of db -- just guessed by what sounded best to my ears), also boosted my backs a tiny bit, and turned off the sub (since I don't have one hooked up right now). Set fronts to large, everything else to small. I left the back backs (7.1) speakers at two instead of one (6.1), since there is no way to turn that off for this receiver, but don't think it matters since I don't have 7 speakers hooked up anyway (not really enough room for extra surrounds in the back). Crossover I only changed when I had a sub hooked up... otherwise it's at 80 default (which I expect doesn't matter so much with a sub not hooked up).

For modes, just going with standard prologic IIx, which kicks into Dolby/DTS (when available) automatically. Only issues I ran into, which aren't biggies to me:

When doing a frequency test (back when I was diagnosing my sick Canton), I noticed prologic II was playing both left/right back speakers at the same time (assumed that only occurred with prologic I). But that may have been an oddity with the bluray, as in Dolby it played normal.

And due to no hdmi on the receiver, some sources (netflix) don't come in Dolby/DTS flavors.... although my TV optical out can handle Dolby, so some streaming services through my roku (or if I want to use my smart TV apps), can do it ... hbogo, sometimes vudu, and so on works in Dolby/DTS. Not a biggie to me really, at least right now... one of those things I might upgrade down the line.

And for hookups I have my Bluray + Tivo hooked up directly to receiver via coaxial/optical, and Roku hooked up to TV via hdmi, TV out optical to receiver.

If you see anything I did wrong there, let me know.
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post #21 of 69 Old 08-07-2016, 10:12 AM
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No no, that seems fine.

I have a slightly newer receiver so when watching some shows on Netflix via Roku I can go the audio menu on the Netflix menu where you say "play movie" and if I change from stereo to surround on my receiver it selects DDD+.

But not all receivers have the same number of options from which to select so many default to pro logic which mine does as well depending on the video.

BTW, if you tilt your center so that it aims directly at your ears when sitting that can make a big difference.

I use a foam wedge like this and it also helps clarify the sound.


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post #22 of 69 Old 08-07-2016, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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No no, that seems fine.

I have a slightly newer receiver so when watching some shows on Netflix via Roku I can go the audio menu on the Netflix menu where you say "play movie" and if I change from stereo to surround on my receiver it selects DDD+.

But not all receivers have the same number of options from which to select so many default to pro logic which mine does as well depending on the video.

BTW, if you tilt your center so that it aims directly at your ears when sitting that can make a big difference.

I use a foam wedge like this and it also helps clarify the sound.

I'm pretty sure netflix + dolby only works if you have hdmi through your receiver though, right? Again, not a giant deal to me, although all things being equal, would prefer dolby if I could set the thing to do it.

And that foam thing is pretty much exactly what I have been using with my Pioneer center. Although using a flat gray piece vs angled wedge ... and then titling my Pioneer with foam under it -- probably not ideal, as it's currently on the floor angled up. Sounds slightly low (compared to ear level), but not low enough to really be a problem. Just looks weird though.

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post #23 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 08:34 AM
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I'm pretty sure netflix + dolby only works if you have hdmi through your receiver though, right?
Yeah, if you have a Roku that is not connected with HDMI, Optical digital audio cable or Coax digital audio cable to your TV you would only get Pro Logic sound.

But even with HDMI that's all you can get from Roku.

Maybe a picture of how your TV and front three speakers are setup might be helpful.

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post #24 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, if you have a Roku that is not connected with HDMI, Optical digital audio cable or Coax digital audio cable to your TV you would only get Pro Logic sound.

But even with HDMI that's all you can get from Roku.

Maybe a picture of how your TV and front three speakers are setup might be helpful.
One interesting thing I noticed yesterday ... I hooked up my Amazon FireTV stick (because watch tcm finally came out with their non-mobile app) ... and there is a setting on it for dolby on netflix.

So it's not a hardware issue with the device or tv (or at least my tv) ... it can do dolby over optical out from tv. Just for whatever reason, netflix on roku doesn't allow it.

Although downside is I noticed the video quality seems worse on my firetv, so I probably still won't use it much.

And yeah, I probably should post a pic of my fronts just to check if positioning isn't too horrible. But I'm pretty confident my center is horribly positioned anyway ... was hoping to get that figured out somewhat before posting a pic.
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post #25 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 08:58 AM
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And yeah, I probably should post a pic of my fronts just to check if positioning isn't too horrible. But I'm pretty confident my center is horribly positioned anyway ... was hoping to get that figured out somewhat before posting a pic.
Go ahead and snap a smartphone picture of your front soundstage even as is, and we can try to help. Placement is always the first thing to try to address before worrying about anything else in this kind of situation.

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post #26 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Go ahead and snap a smartphone picture of your front soundstage even as is, and we can try to help. Placement is always the first thing to try to address before worrying about anything else in this kind of situation.
Okay, well here are some pics... let's just say there is definite room for improvement in this setup. Also included a pic of the canton center and about how much height I have if I put a speaker on the stand -- maybe an extra half an inch in height could fit... maybe. The other pic is using the Pioneer.


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post #27 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 12:37 PM
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Looks like you have the Canton aimed up at your ears. And it's a sealed speaker, so it shouldn't be affected so much by being right up against the TV stand in the back (if it was ported, that could block the port).

My guess would be that the lack of fullness you desire is probably mostly related to size of the drivers. I didn't realize that they were that small, so I looked them up. 2.5" drivers.

And then I realized another way you can tell if the room is influencing it. Disconnect the other speakers. Go sit up close such that the CD50 is within three feet of your ears and aimed roughly at them. That would put you in nearfield where there would be even less room influence. If it still sounds very lacking to you, it's the center.

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post #28 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 12:39 PM
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Ever thought of using a riser to elevate your TV so that you could put one of those bigger center speakers in front of it?

This one gives you 11" height...maximum weight capacity is 40lbs:
https://www.amazon.com/Furinno-13191...words=tv+riser

This one has a 60lb capacity...
https://www.amazon.com/Convenience-C...words=tv+riser
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post #29 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 12:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
Ever thought of using a riser to elevate your TV so that you could put one of those bigger center speakers in front of it?

This one gives you 11" height...maximum weight capacity is 40lbs:
https://www.amazon.com/Furinno-13191...words=tv+riser

This one has a 60lb capacity...
https://www.amazon.com/Convenience-C...words=tv+riser
Yeah, considered risers before... issues are:

Samsung uses a weird stand. It's not a normal stand with a base, the entire bottom of the TV is the base, with those little 'wing' thingies at the end (which barely fits on my tv stand as it is). To be balanced properly, probably need about a 32" long riser. You probably can't tell scale from the pic, but I really doubt risers meant for 20-24" TVs would hold a 51"er so well, especially one that needs a lot of support on the bottom.

That first tv stand might not make a terrible center speaker stand on the floor though...

-- problem there is, which again you might not be able to tell from the pics... that is glass behind the center speaker. Anything in front therefore makes getting in there sort of annoying.
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post #30 of 69 Old 08-08-2016, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Looks like you have the Canton aimed up at your ears. And it's a sealed speaker, so it shouldn't be affected so much by being right up against the TV stand in the back (if it was ported, that could block the port).

My guess would be that the lack of fullness you desire is probably mostly related to size of the drivers. I didn't realize that they were that small, so I looked them up. 2.5" drivers.

And then I realized another way you can tell if the room is influencing it. Disconnect the other speakers. Go sit up close such that the CD50 is within three feet of your ears and aimed roughly at them. That would put you in nearfield where there would be even less room influence. If it still sounds very lacking to you, it's the center.

Think they are actually 3" drivers, but not like that makes a big difference. But yep, small woofers are the issue with that thing. But I have to go small if putting a speaker on the stand -- hence the conundrum.

The way I have been testing all of my speakers (if I want to check any specific one) is to disconnect the rightside, hook up whatever I want to compare to on the left -- set to stereo, then a/b them.

That way it's just those two speakers I can compare directly. Pioneer vs Canton is no comparison really (in regard to fullness). Canton gets a slight nod in clarity, but everything else about it sort of stinks. And yeah, usually a couple of ft away when testing, so it's not the room.

Last edited by Doe Doe; 08-08-2016 at 01:05 PM.
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