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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have just recently had a new Home Theater system installed in my family room. Which is composed of a Canton Movie 22 system with a pair of Plus X's to make it a 7.1 system. In general the system sounds wonderful and have impressed many of many friends and neighbors with it. However, I have one concern and that is that sometimes during a movie I find it hard to hear the people speaking due to music or other background noise in the movie. Is there something that I can adjust in the receiver (Denon 4802 THX) to correct this problem, or do I need to purchase a bigger center channel speaker. If this is the case what should I look for in a center channel speaker? I have been looking at both the Canton AV 600 and AV 700. Any help would be greatly appreciated


Thanks
 

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The first thing you need to do is purchase or borrow an SPL meter. Something like the Radio Shack Analog or Digital SPL meter is a must have for every enthusiast IMO.


Calibrate your speakers level, so that at the listening position all speakers measure 75dB.


I have a feeling this is part of your problem.


Regards,
 

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First, use the Radio Shack meter to set the levels equally for all channels. When you still have problems understandng the dialog on specific films, you should be able to increase the center channel level using the controls on your Denon processor. In general, I have found that it can be very difficut to understand the dialog on many modern, surround sound films with a lot of special effects sounds. This is made worse by the fact that in a lot of home theaters it is difficult to ideally place the center channel because the screen is in the way and you need to put the speaker above or below it.
 

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One other issue is proper calibration of delay times. Make sure your set-up distances for each speaker are as exact as possible otherwise the sound from the mains may interfere with the center info. Also make sure your sub is properly set-up since too much bass can drown out dialogue.
 

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Might be that the dymanic range of dolby digital/DTS sources is too much for you at your preferred volume level. If you receiver has a "night mode" or other feature that compresses dynamic range a little, you might try it.
 

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This is a pretty common problem. You should first make sure that your levels are set using the RadioShack meter (the analog one is best for this). If it is OK, then I would simply raise the level of your center speaker about 3db or so. I have to do this myself, and my system is calibrated to the 'nth degree.
 

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My system is properly calibrated with a RS meter and I find myself cranking up the volume to hear dialog in a lot of movies, then when there is an explosion or something, I nearly get blown off the couch.


My wife is always asking me to "turn it up a bit" for the dialogue and I really hesitate to as I know what's coming up ahead. Rather than screw around with the settings for every movie, I just keep the remote handy so I can turn it down a bit if needed.


As mentioned above, "Night Mode" does wonders but it also ruins the dynamics of the sound track.
 

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Is it possible your center channel speaker is wired out of phase?


Chris
 

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R8der, if you are speaking to me, my system is properly phased.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank-you all, for the replies. Your information has been quite helpful and I have found that raising the center channel volume to about 4db over the 0db for the rest of the channels takes care of the problem.


Thank-you again
 

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Turning up the volume of the center has the downside that it may overemphasize the middle soundstage for music and effects. One other thing to check is speaker placement: point the center speaker directly at the listening position, get it away from any wall behind it, and get the listener's head away from any wall behind him.
 

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I agree. There is a tendency to want to raise the volume of the center, but I've found this adversely affects the surround effect more than using features that compress the dynamic range.


The wide dynamic range DD and DTS is designed to add realism to movie soundracks by simulating the relative level of sounds in the real world, so gunshots, explosion and other fx are going to be, relatively speaking, much louder than dialogue, and rightly so.


The relative loudness of the fx in a small room is too much for some people (my wife, for example). Using features like night mode involves a tradeoff, but may be the only solution if the explosions, etc., are just too loud even after you checked your levels and tried repositioning your center. My Outlaw receiver has 4 compression settings, and usually Comp2 is enough.


JR
 

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Go to the Tweaks section and check out the thread Center Speaker.
 
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