Center Channel Dialogue - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 11:57 AM - Thread Starter
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Center Channel Dialogue

Is there any reason to believe a Ascend CMT-340 center would be better for dialogue than a Chane A2.4?

I'm willing to spend more than $300-$400 on a good center, but I'd like to know if these are particularly good.

If not, what's the next step or two up for dialogue clarity? I have plenty of room on the shelf below the TV, so speaker height shouldn't be a problem.
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post #2 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 12:08 PM
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What are your mains now


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post #3 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 12:09 PM
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both of those centers would be very good for dialogue and both are excellent companies.

if you want another option check out the Emotiva Airmotiv C2 as well.
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post #4 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rocky1 View Post
What are your mains now


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Left and right are PSB Century 400i and the center is PSB 200c. All are 22 years old and adequate but I'm looking for "improved" over what I have. If I like the center I'll likely match it with the Land R.

Last edited by Jaywalker1; 12-02-2019 at 12:31 PM.
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post #5 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
Left and right are PSB Century 400i and the center is PSB 200c. All are 22 years old and adequate but I'm looking for "improved" over what I have. If I like the center I'll likely match it with the Land R.
How is your current center placed? Could just be a placement issue. Better to rule that out before throwing money at the issue.
a picture would be helpful
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post #6 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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The center speaker is on an open shelf of the TV stand. The center shelf is about a foot under the bottom edge of the TV. I have elevated the front of the PSB center speaker with wine corks so that it points close to the faces of the viewers, 10 feet away. The front edge of the speaker grill hangs over and overlaps the shelf that it rests on about an inch. The room is carpeted, and it has an open floor plan.

I've already re-arranged the room so as to get this arrangement and eight feet of separation between left and right speakers as well as adjusting the center. So, at this point, I'm looking for a replacement center channel, and wonder whether the Ascend CMT-340 is better than the Chane A2.4 for dialogue.

If they are both equal for dialogue I wonder what the next steps up are in price/quality.
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post #7 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
Left and right are PSB Century 400i and the center is PSB 200c. All are 22 years old and adequate but I'm looking for "improved" over what I have. If I like the center I'll likely match it with the Land R.


The reason i asked was that ive allways been under the impression that the center be of same mfr and timber matched.. no harm



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post #8 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 01:27 PM
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I recently heard an Ascend Horizon at fellow AVS member @jsc79 's house and I can tell you that dialog is/was crystal clear, even for deep male voices. Zero muddling. Nada. None. Zip.


That said, as requested above, a pic of your space would be highly valuable. A pic is worth 1K words and I think you are only around ~265 so far. Post a pic and save 735 words.
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post #9 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rocky1 View Post
The reason i asked was that ive allways been under the impression that the center be of same mfr and timber matched.. no harm

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There seems to be a difference of opinion on that here in the forum. I read one guy write something like, "With a different center channel you'll have a MOTORCYCLE coming from the left, and moped across the center, then a MOTORCYCLE departing to the right."

Probably true, but I'll risk it for an initial test in order to get better dialogue quality. After I get that I can worry about the left and right.
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post #10 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 01:33 PM
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How do you feel about DIY?
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post #11 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 01:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by derekmoore View Post
I recently heard an Ascend Horizon at fellow AVS member @jsc79 's house and I can tell you that dialog is/was crystal clear, even for deep male voices. Zero muddling. Nada. None. Zip.


That said, as requested above, a pic of your space would be highly valuable. A pic is worth 1K words and I think you are only around ~265 so far. Post a pic and save 735 words.
Thanks, I'll post the pic after I've moved some things that I don't want in the picture.


I was actually wondering about the Horizon, but wanted to hear about the 340/A2.4 first, if anyone had anything about them.
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post #12 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 02:44 PM - Thread Starter
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How do you feel about DIY?
I suspect getting dialogue right is a subtlety beyond me. I have been avidly reading the Sub DIY forum, but for center channel I don't think I'm up to it.
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post #13 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 02:59 PM
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I suspect getting dialogue right is a subtlety beyond me. I have been avidly reading the Sub DIY forum, but for center channel I don't think I'm up to it.
The reason I ask is that ANYTHING from DIYsoundgroup.com, particularly the HTM's or 99's are known as the best, most cost effective solutions for this use case. They are mainly a case of assembly, especially if you bought the flat pack and crossover already assembled.

I'm only parroting what I've heard time and time again, as I don't have a home theater setup - but people seem to be extremely keen on them and they're within your budget!
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post #14 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
If not, what's the next step or two up for dialogue clarity? I have plenty of room on the shelf below the TV, so speaker height shouldn't be a problem.
I notice you've started multiple threads on the dialogue clarity subject over the weeks. What AVR are you currently running? Does it not have any "dialogue" or center channel controls?

Along with placement (which it sounds like you have experimented with, but still do provide pics of your setup), an AVR with the ability to increase the output of the center channel independently from the other speakers can make a dramatic difference.

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post #15 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 06:15 PM
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Not sure what kind of AVR you have but why don't most people just either max out DB output level for Center channel or turning down front mains a couple notches?

That's what I do I never have problems with hearing dialogue in movies

The fronts especially tend to be louder than any other speaker because they contain most of the soundtrack and music in a movie and sound effects etc
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post #16 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by smcmillan2 View Post
I notice you've started multiple threads on the dialogue clarity subject over the weeks. What AVR are you currently running? Does it not have any "dialogue" or center channel controls?

Along with placement (which it sounds like you have experimented with, but still do provide pics of your setup), an AVR with the ability to increase the output of the center channel independently from the other speakers can make a dramatic difference.
didn't see your comment right above mine but essentially same thing I said.

It seems like people forget that you can raise/ lower channel level outputs.

The Main Fronts especially tend to dominate and end up being louder than any other speakers in a movie
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post #17 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
There seems to be a difference of opinion on that here in the forum. I read one guy write something like, "With a different center channel you'll have a MOTORCYCLE coming from the left, and moped across the center, then a MOTORCYCLE departing to the right."

Probably true, but I'll risk it for an initial test in order to get better dialogue quality. After I get that I can worry about the left and right.
yea but on the contrary if you have a center speaker with heavy bass output then you also run the risk of hearing a woman sound like a dino roaring...

I think with most center speakers you want them to great at those frequencies that dominates human speaking range which I believe is between 1k -4k on the EQ band below that and voices sound too bassy and above that voices might sound too treble-ish
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post #18 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by the7mcs View Post
It seems like people forget that you can raise/ lower channel level outputs.

The Main Fronts especially tend to dominate and end up being louder than any other speakers in a movie
Volume isn't clarity. I have and use center channel level but it would be nice not to have to raise volume in order to hear things clearly - thus my question about comparing two speakers.
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post #19 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
Is there any reason to believe a Ascend CMT-340 center would be better for dialogue than a Chane A2.4?

I'm willing to spend more than $300-$400 on a good center, but I'd like to know if these are particularly good.

If not, what's the next step or two up for dialogue clarity? I have plenty of room on the shelf below the TV, so speaker height shouldn't be a problem.
No, I doubt you'd go wrong with either one. Toss a coin. Emotiva C1 would be equal or perhaps slightly better in this $200-300 range. If you want a free return shipping option, HTD Level 3 center.

Next step up would be the $400 Emotiva C2: 3 way design, dual midwoofers, 6.5" woofers, big ported cabinet.

After that, I would think the Ascend Horizon center which is $1K (extra $300 if you want the RAAL tweeter version).

Personally I like to start with the lowest cost options first.

~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #20 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
it would be nice not to have to raise volume in order to hear things clearly
That will also depend on if there are big differences in sensitivity and impedance between your center and L/R speakers.
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #21 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
Volume isn't clarity. I have and use center channel level but it would be nice not to have to raise volume in order to hear things clearly - thus my question about comparing two speakers.
oh sorry... just buy the most expensive speaker you can afford

I see a lot of those $700+ speakers
can't go wrong with one of those.... I'm sure it'll feel like the people speaking are inside your room

good luck friend
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post #22 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Zorba922 View Post
No, I doubt you'd go wrong with either one. Toss a coin. Emotiva C1 would be equal or perhaps slightly better in this $200-300 range. If you want a free return shipping option, HTD Level 3 center.

Next step up would be the $400 Emotiva C2: 3 way design, dual midwoofers, 6.5" woofers, big ported cabinet.

After that, I would think the Ascend Horizon center which is $1K (extra $300 if you want the RAAL tweeter version).

Personally I like to start with the lowest cost options first.
Thank you.


I agree. It may be time to try the Emotiva center now. My current front three are 22-year-old PSB six-Ohm. The Emotiva is four Ohm, so there will be a difference, at least until I match the center after auditioning it.


I notice you didn't mention the Ascend Sierra-1 or Duo centers before the Horizon. Is there not enough differential to matter?
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post #23 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
I agree. It may be time to try the Emotiva center now. My current front three are 22-year-old PSB six-Ohm. The Emotiva is four Ohm, so there will be a difference, at least until I match the center after auditioning it.

I notice you didn't mention the Ascend Sierra-1 or Duo centers before the Horizon. Is there not enough differential to matter?
The Ascend Sierra 1 is just a single woofer bookshelf that you can lay on its side, and I assumed you were looking only at horizontal centers. And the Duo's cost is prohibitive given its small size IMO, though I'm sure it's a solid performer.

Of course, the acoustic ideal is actually to have 3 identical VERTICAL speakers as your front stage (see pic) but few people can swing that due to WAF or cabinet/TV placement constraints. If you could, 3 x Ascend 170SE would probably be all you'd need unless you were sitting over 12 feet away AND a total volume freak (assuming you also have an adequate sub in play).
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~ Are you a "geek hobbyist" obsessed with squeezing out that last 5-10% improvement? The economy will thank you...especially the Chinese one. Or are you more of a get-set-and-forget "casual user" who simply wants to increase your enjoyment of movies, TV and gaming? Relax, HT isn't rocket science, nor does it have to cost an arm and a leg---especially if you ignore the aforementioned vocal minority. And remember to smile...it's just a silly hobby, after all. :)
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post #24 of 24 Old 12-02-2019, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jaywalker1 View Post
Thank you.


I agree. It may be time to try the Emotiva center now. My current front three are 22-year-old PSB six-Ohm. The Emotiva is four Ohm, so there will be a difference, at least until I match the center after auditioning it.


I notice you didn't mention the Ascend Sierra-1 or Duo centers before the Horizon. Is there not enough differential to matter?
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The Ascend Sierra 1 is just a single woofer bookshelf that you can lay on its side, and I assumed you were looking only at horizontal centers. And the Duo's cost is prohibitive given its small size IMO, though I'm sure it's a solid performer.

Of course, the acoustic ideal is actually to have 3 identical VERTICAL speakers as your front stage (see pic) but few people can swing that due to WAF or cabinet/TV placement constraints. If you could, 3 x Ascend 170SE would probably be all you'd need unless you were sitting over 12 feet away AND a total volume freak (assuming you also have an adequate sub in play).
You're right - I'm looking for a horizontal center. I don't have quite enough room to fit 12-inches vertically. And yes, now that you mention it the duo is a little smaller than I think I need. Thanks - now I understand the jump to the Horizon.
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