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Discussion Starter #1
in an earlier thread i remember someone posting about this problem ...


when i get to a quiet scene where the dialogue is hushed, i have problems with the clarity and overall volume of my center channel.


if i try and turn up the gain on the center channel via the receiver's menu, it is overall too loud during other scenes and overbearing.


i know some people have suggested different placements and room items, but i don't think that this is the real problem. could it be that low sensitivity speakers have more problems with this than others? or did we determine a solution that i failed to read about in a previous post.


roger
 

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Well first thing that comes to mind is did you calibrate your system?! Then second would be what kind of center is it...maybe it's just not well suited for that and you need a better center? Obviously low sensitivity in a speaker means its going to take more sound to make it go, so that might be where you're having the problem when it's real quiet, but when there's lots of sound coming out, it's too loud.


I'd make sure to calibrate the speakers...it's amazing how "off" the human hearing can be when you try to judge how close a sound is between two sources (or 5,6,7 in this case).
 

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I think speaker positioning IS quite important. Try pulling your speaker away from the wall/cabinet a bit more as a test. Try adjusting the height to be better matched with your mains. Is your center timbre-matched with your mains? If not, this problem might not be correctable, although you might still minimize it with placement experimentation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ok, i'll try these suggestions. thanks.


my center is pretty well matched with the mains. and yes, it sure cost enough to be a pretty good speaker.


so, i have calibrated my system, with a digital radio smack spl meter, but i've heard that these aren't very accurate, and may have to change the settings to get a better reading. is this true?


i also should mention that the speaker sits on a wooden shelf that is suspended from the ceiling and angles downward towards the listening position. it hangs just above the tv so that all 60 lbs. of speaker doesn't warp the dlp screen and also so that my one year old daughter can't get to it. also, the setup backs up to the corner of the rectangular room which is about 17' by 20' . this was really the only setup that passed the WAF.


thanks for the replies, i just thought that at very low volume scenes, there would be other factors with would account for this phenomenon.


-r
 

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Good comments from those above on placement, etc.


Also, no mix is ever the same, so having the abilty to easily adjust speaker levels on the fly is a big plus. That is one reason why I love my Parasound Halo C-2. It's remote lets you easily alter the volume for centre, surrounds, and ub with no fuss.


- Andy
 

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My digital SPL always gives good readings. Most folks prefer the Analogue, but hey I want to be different..:) I usually go for a setting around the 75db mark. Even on lower settings my Krix KDX-C as no problems digging out any dialogue.


Hey Andy, I want your parasound!


Mark
 

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Try playing with the " dynamic range controll ", i have found that this will tame most movies.
 

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Roger,


One of the biggest issues I've seen with center channel speakers is dialog clarity. If your center is close to acoustically reflective surfaces, you end up having to jack up the level to hear the dialog properly. This then creates other problems with too high a level in the overall mix, which is fatiguing. You end up chasing the center channel level all over the place.


This usually happens when a center is placed low and the floor is reflective, or with a high placement and a reflective ceiling. Placing a center directly on top of an RPTV can be a problem if you can't get the front of the center a few inches in front of the RPTV screen. (WAF Issue)


The fix is to apply acoustically adsorbent materials on the offending surfaces or to move the center further away from the reflective surface.
 

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My experience tells me this not easy to correct, however, you can improve things to a degree. I mean the typical speaker re-positioning, tweaks inside the receiver, etc do very little to improve such. However, if your center sits on top of a TV, where the television itself can act as extension of the speaker's baffle or if it sits posterior of the TV's edge and you get tweeter diffraction, move it slightly forward (couple inches) of the TV and place on a stand (or put it below the TV on a stand).


Even high quality centers have this problem (I've owned five centers over the years).


1. the center must be high quality (BTW - I see many suggestions, but no one has asked what brand / model center yuo are using)?

2. the room interactions are typically the source of this issue e.g. too many 1st and 2nd order reflections. Sound dampening and treating of the room is the best way to solve this.


Playing with the dynamic range control will take all of the wind out of the soundtrack, I wouldn't recommend beating down dynamics in lieu of a center issue. Fix the center and then enjoy all the dynamics. THose are what you pay for in a well thought out system.


If done properly, regardless of the soundtrack, the center channel volume rarely will need augmentation or reduction.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RIT
Try playing with the " dynamic range controll ", i have found that this will tame most movies.
Dynamic range control or what's often called "night mode" on some receivers/pre-pro's takes the normally dynamic soundtrack and compresses it so that loud passages are much softer and quiet passages are louder.


Sure, this'll make it easier to understand dialog at times (and is very useful to use at night if you're trying to watch something without waking up the family - hence the often used "night mode" description), but this is the last thing you'd want to use all the time as you'll have obsolutely no dynamic range! If it compresses enough it will your HT sound like you're listening through your TV speakers! (which is the point somewhat).


We all pay good money to get good speakers and associated electronics to give us an great dynamic range when playing our movies - don't ruin it with dynamic range control!


Kal
 

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Nobody has mentioned the time alignment/distance control for the speakers, so let me.


You might try altering the "delay" 1-2 ms. plus or minus (closer or further away) for the center speaker (or 1-2 feet depending on how it is referenced in your prepro), ignoring the actual distance it is from the listener, to see if it improves the intelligibility of the dialog.
 

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Its the corner you have put yourself into, literally. You have three reflecting surfaces - each wall and the ceiling. Your shelf may even be adding a fourth surface to create a resonant chamber. What you are hearing is the reverberant sound overpowering the direct sound. Excess reverberation or first reflections will kill dialog clarity. Acousticians even have a standard measurement for dialog clarity - a real problem in public speaking spaces.


Night compression mode will help - but that never sounds very good. You have a wide dynamic range setup with Dolby Digital DVD that you paid for - you might as well go back to your VCR!


You choices are sit closer, move speaker away from corner, or add absorbant to the reflecting surfaces (sound reflection works like light reflection - use a mirror to see where)


Corners for listening on diagonal are actually good if the speakers are pulled out of the corner enough so that the first reflections bounce behind your ears.
 

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Quote:
Even high quality centers have this problem (I've owned five centers over the years).
All American made......eh , ?? :p
 

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Actually, Canadian (Mirage MC-Si) amongst others....even ran Audio Alchemy digital to no avail. :D


IN all seriousness, we need a little more info from teh poster. placement and room issues are typically the problem. But another poster's thoughts on adjusting the center delay is also a good point
 

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use gladiator chapter 5 purely centre dialogue to test


place your fingers onto the speaker mid/bass drivers to see if they vibrate with sound and place your ear close to tweeter to hear any sound coming out. this is to ensure proper connection inside the speaker as sometimes it is simply just a loose wire inside due to poor soldering
 

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Gladiator is admittedly a good test for dialogue. It is a very difficult soundtrack to listen to at near reference w/o dialogue intelligibility issues or blaring of the dialog.
 

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Quote:
Dynamic range control or what's often called "night mode" on some receivers/pre-pro's takes the normally dynamic soundtrack and compresses it so that loud passages are much softer and quiet passages are louder.


Sure, this'll make it easier to understand dialog at times (and is very useful to use at night if you're trying to watch something without waking up the family - hence the often used "night mode" description), but this is the last thing you'd want to use all the time as you'll have obsolutely no dynamic range! If it compresses enough it will your HT sound like you're listening through your TV speakers! (which is the point somewhat).


We all pay good money to get good speakers and associated electronics to give us an great dynamic range when playing our movies - don't ruin it with dynamic range control!
For similar problems I've been having, i've been studying up on dynamic range suppression myself. One explanation I've heard was that DD 5.1 movies were optimized acoustically for large theatres and because of that, the sound can be overbearing in a HT setup with no compression. My receiver manual says to enabled standard dynamic sound compression to "hear the track as was originally intended by the recording engineer".... for DD 5.1 movies only.


Though i'll admit with the compression off there's obviously more fidelity, I also have problem hearing dialogue at times because the other speakers are drowning out the CC even though my speakers have been balanced with an SPL meter. Being totally honest about it, I probably do like a lot of you - i have to have remote in hand with the compression off so i can turn it down during action scenes, and turn it up during dialogue. What's good is that doing me???


DPLII doesnt have this problem.


Azanon
 

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It is doing you no good. To me, this is one of the most important aspects of good HT. Dialog is often overlooked on soundtraxk reviews for the sexier low end and surround effects. Typically, equipment isn't the issue: it is room acoustics & freq response.


One needs to consider room treatment and calibration to find and treat the offending freqs. EQ may be needed. I have seen first hand what EQ AND CALIBRATION have done with my system. My guy spent time just tweaking for sibilants during my speaker install and via test tones and EQ got things excellent. I am fanatical about dialog intelligibility but can say that one can have it all: piercing dynamics with concomant natural, unstrained dialog. It just takes work (and money).


Regarding your luck with DP II, unless I'm mistaken, it is a non- discrete matrixed limited dynamic algorythym - analo¼
 

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I took a peek at dolbylaboratories website. They seem to acknowledge if you're listening to "low" volume levels, it might be normal to not be able to hear dialogue at times on DD 5.1.


The problem for me is the "real world". I can hear the dialogue fine when i have my volume set at a level you'd normally hear in a theatre. Problem is, my wife with our 6 month old doesnt always see me in the best light when an action scene has explosions that border on compromising our windows.


I'm afraid for me, "standard" dynamic compression will have to be the default setting, and for those "special" times where the wife is gone or during midday when i'm not going to wake up the baby, i'll turn standard compression off and enjoy the true fidelity of a good action flick.


I will make sure and turn it off though if i'm listening to DVD-A's.


You single guys in a house have fun with compression off. I guess there's give and take to everything in life.
 
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