Center Channel Feels Disconnected From TV - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-27-2019, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Center Channel Feels Disconnected From TV

Hi All,

I'm new to the forum and a real amateur when it comes to A/V.

I recently bought an 85" Sony 4K TV and 5.1 surround sound system. The receiver is Marantz SR6014. My speakers are in-wall MartinLogan (ML) Axis for the LCR and MartinLogan Electromotion IC for the rears. Subwoofer is ML's Dynamo 1100.

My center channel is mounted 3.5" below the TV.

Here's my issue: sometimes during a movie I have a pronounced sense that the dialog is coming directly from below the TV rather than the actors' mouths. Obviously this is because the speaker is actually below the screen.

The only option I've read for handling this is to disable the center and have it play through the LRs. This is obviously not ideal from a reproduction standpoint.

Are there are tricks for making the sound seem higher up? Can a part of the center channel be mixed into the LR without all of it going there?

Also, with the in-wall design, angling the center channel "up" has some challenges. I could potentially build an in-wall box that angles it up, but that would lose some of the architectural finesse of this setup.

Note: Due to my house design, a ceiling-mounted projector and audio transparent screen would have been a non-starter. My joists have too much bounce in them and I feared that people walking on the floor above would cause shake on the screen. Also, I absolutely love the Sony display.

Any ideas would be appreciated!

Fred
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-27-2019, 12:49 PM
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Actually, a phantom center (disabling the center channel, sending that information to the FL/FR) is more "ideal" than a traditional center if the speakers and listening position are positioned in a way to take advantage of it. The phantom center will usually only work correctly for a single listener in a single position directly between the L/R speakers.

Some receivers have the ability to "lift" the center image...I think some Yamahas have this feature, maybe others. I do not think Marantz does.

If you are new to home theater, give yourself a little time to get used to the center channel. If you focus too much on it, you can pinpoint the sound. But after you lose yourself in the movie, you shouldn't notice it.

Do you happen to have any highly reflective surfaces between the center and your seating (e.g. hardwood floors, coffee table)? Reflections can cause issues with center channel clarity and dispersion.
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Last edited by Alan P; 11-27-2019 at 12:53 PM.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-29-2019, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Fauth View Post
My center channel is mounted 3.5" below the TV.
Where are the L/R speakers? Got a picture? The higher the L/R speakers are relative to the C. the more your brain will be reminded that the C is lower than the others. When they are all at the same elevation, (or withing a foot), there s less vertical shifting to call attention, and you acclimate to the sound.

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Can a part of the center channel be mixed into the LR without all of it going there?
Yes, but only easily done if you are playing stereo content with Dolby Surround mode, and activate "center spread" option. That will give equal dialog across L/C/R. Even though it is not a complete solution for 5.1+ sources, would be worth a try just to see if the result is any better. You just have to tell your video source to output stereo temporarily.

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post #4 of 10 Old 11-29-2019, 06:36 PM
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Check if the center speaker's distance is set to a somewhat higher number (that is, a greater distance, as it often should be) than the front left and right speakers. If all three of your front speakers are in the same wall and are set to the same distance, you will hear the center speaker a moment sooner than the front mains because it is closer to the center seat. It can sometimes be noticeable. A tape measure is helpful.

I also have had the same issue as you described. After using a sound-level meter to balance levels of the three front speakers using the AVR's test tone, I reduced the center speaker's level manually a bit at a time by ear. You can do it totally by ear, too. It did not take long to find a level that retained dialog clarity and allowed the center speaker to blend nicely with the front left and right speakers (see page 221 in the Marantz manual, linked below).

Also, check the tonality of the three front speakers with the test tone, listening carefully. You might find that the center speaker is brighter or more recessed in the upper midrange and/or treble, for example, making that speaker audibly stand out. Use the AVR's manual EQ (page 178) to more closely match its tonality with the front mains.

Finally, your Marantz has a feature called Dialog Control (page 168) that might help as a last resort.

https://www.us.marantz.com/DocumentM...6014_NA_EN.pdf

Good luck!

PS: When it is only the two of us (wife and moi) in the theater room, sitting in the middle, we prefer the phantom mode.

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Last edited by Alex F.; 11-29-2019 at 08:13 PM.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-30-2019, 05:45 AM
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I know you wanted the left and right centered with your tv but that's causing your issues since the center is so much lower. Not only dialog coming from a speaker so low but sounds often pan across the front 3 and that will sound disjointed. Also, you have sound from the center bouncing off that table. Ideally you'd have a center speaker sitting on the table with it's front edge even with the front edge of the table.

Without changing your setup you're going to have to just deal with it or turn off the center speaker and just use phantom. I'm sure that would sound better. If you wanted to make a change, you could buy a regular center speaker, sit it on the table and angle it up. Raise it right to the bottom of the tv with some kind of stand and angle it. Try no center first.

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post #6 of 10 Old 11-30-2019, 05:52 AM
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Here is a left field idea :


can you buy another matching centre and mount it above the TV ?



Wire it in parallel and set the receiver to the lower ohms.


Should (might?) give you a phantom centre right in the middle of the TV
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-30-2019, 04:33 PM
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I'm going to guess that the speaker is mounted right above a flat surface? If so, try putting something absorptive, like a folded towel so that it covers the hard surface completely (assume a 30 degree outward angle from the edge of the speaker, each side, as the coverage area). That may help to de-localize the sound (or not). If you have close side "walls" (cove or built-in mounting), covering them may help, as well.

Do try the different distance settings in your receiver, as suggested above, to better integrate the center's sound with the L&R. I also liked your idea of creating some sort of mechanism to angle the speaker upwards. Not a full box, but some sort of angled bracket for the front only.

It's a VIRTUAL channel unless stated otherwise.

Last edited by RayGuy; 11-30-2019 at 04:36 PM.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-30-2019, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by niterida View Post
Here is a left field idea :


can you buy another matching centre and mount it above the TV ?



Wire it in parallel and set the receiver to the lower ohms.


Should (might?) give you a phantom centre right in the middle of the TV
Not sure if this would work but if the phantom center doesn't work out well I'd think this is worth a try. Just rig a way to test before you put holes in the wall.

FWIW I had the matching center for my B&W speakers that took me a couple of years to find at the right price and while funds were available. (I was younger and shopping the secondary market above my pay grade). I used it happily until 2 years ago. I got a new TV and didn't have time to wall mount it right away so I benched the center channel and tweaked the L & R placement and toe in. I've been running phantom center ever since. It's a large center and I prefer the viewing angle with the tv in it's new lower position and I don't miss the center speaker. Despite being the center designed to match my mains i some ways I consider the phantom approach an improvement.
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-01-2019, 01:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artzilla View Post
Not sure if this would work but if the phantom center doesn't work out well I'd think this is worth a try. Just rig a way to test before you put holes in the wall.

FWIW I had the matching center for my B&W speakers that took me a couple of years to find at the right price and while funds were available. (I was younger and shopping the secondary market above my pay grade). I used it happily until 2 years ago. I got a new TV and didn't have time to wall mount it right away so I benched the center channel and tweaked the L & R placement and toe in. I've been running phantom center ever since. It's a large center and I prefer the viewing angle with the tv in it's new lower position and I don't miss the center speaker. Despite being the center designed to match my mains i some ways I consider the phantom approach an improvement.

Mounting one above and one below will work but you probably need to aim them up/down to point at the listening position which OP may or may not be able to do ??


A phantom centre from just L & R speakers works really well ( I used to run that setup) as long as the listening positions are well inside the L & R speakers. The further you go from the centre the less phantom imaging you get.
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-01-2019, 10:03 AM
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You can try mounting it above the tv and pointing it down toward the listening position.

or if the center is below the tv and pointing straight ahead, try placing something below the center speaker to aim it up so the tweeter is pointing directly at the listeners heads.

but also dont be afraid to try a phantom center. some speakers are very good at doing this and some feel that this does indeed anchor the dialogue to the screen better.

[edit]

your room pic didnt pop up for me until after I posted.

with the setup you have now, your options are extremely limited. you cant angle the center better because its in-wall.

but the same problem exists for your mains. you cannot aim them for a good phantom center.

shooting straight forward, their center image likely to be not as strong as having a discrete center channel.

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Last edited by NuSoardGraphite; 12-01-2019 at 10:06 AM.
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