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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all. Long time lurker.

A month or two ago I upgraded my Pioneer FS52 main LR speakers to some kickass vintage RSL floorstanders. I love love love these speakers, and they’re really wonderful as my mains. However, by center channel speaker seems to be leaving something to be desired. It’s a Philharmonic Affordable Accuracy center (upgraded Pioneer C22). For the duration of its life, I’ve noticed it’s kind of bad at reproducing male voices. They always sound somewhat muffled and a bit muddy. With the addition of these new mains, I’ve also noticed the volume of the speaker has suffered. I can get it to be loud enough by setting the dialogue enhancement setting on my AVR to +9-12db (depending on the content), but that seems like a lot. With the old towers, that setting was around +3-5db. I’ve run Audyssey multiple times, but it always needs to be boosted way more than Audyssey recommends.

To the point of my post. Will getting a new center channel potentially solve this need to boost the output? I’m also hoping a side effect will be getting something that can reproduce male voices better. I was watching Ted Lasso last night and could barely hear many of the characters without cranking the volume, thus making sound effects far too loud. I’m sick of the constant need to adjust the volume.

If y’all do think a new center would solve my problem, these are the centers I’m currently looking at, all around $400:

Monolith THX-365C
Klipsch RP-450C
Emotiva C2+
Elac UniFi 2.0 UC52
RSL CG25

Of these, the Klipsch seems like the best bang for the buck at $350 on Amazon, or the RSL for $325 on their blemish sale.

I’m not very concerned about timbre matching (I’ve never had matching center and mains so I guess what I haven’t heard I can’t miss), but I do eventually plan to move my current towers into a different area for dedicated music listening once the kiddos are a bit older in a year or two, so I would plan to buy matching towers or bookshelves to whatever center I get now.

Thanks for the help!
 

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Sounds like something is off with it, its placement or settings.
Do you run it as small?
If you run subs very hot with the center small that might give male voices too much low end but it shouldnt cause this big of an issue unless there are one or more factors as the main cause.


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Hi all. Long time lurker.

A month or two ago I upgraded my Pioneer FS52 main LR speakers to some kickass vintage RSL floorstanders. I love love love these speakers, and they’re really wonderful as my mains. However, by center channel speaker seems to be leaving something to be desired. It’s a Philharmonic Affordable Accuracy center (upgraded Pioneer C22). For the duration of its life, I’ve noticed it’s kind of bad at reproducing male voices. They always sound somewhat muffled and a bit muddy. With the addition of these new mains, I’ve also noticed the volume of the speaker has suffered. I can get it to be loud enough by setting the dialogue enhancement setting on my AVR to +9-12db (depending on the content), but that seems like a lot. With the old towers, that setting was around +3-5db. I’ve run Audyssey multiple times, but it always needs to be boosted way more than Audyssey recommends.

To the point of my post. Will getting a new center channel potentially solve this need to boost the output? I’m also hoping a side effect will be getting something that can reproduce male voices better. I was watching Ted Lasso last night and could barely hear many of the characters without cranking the volume, thus making sound effects far too loud. I’m sick of the constant need to adjust the volume.

If y’all do think a new center would solve my problem, these are the centers I’m currently looking at, all around $400:

Monolith THX-365C
Klipsch RP-450C
Emotiva C2+
Elac UniFi 2.0 UC52
RSL CG25

Of these, the Klipsch seems like the best bang for the buck at $350 on Amazon, or the RSL for $325 on their blemish sale.

I’m not very concerned about timbre matching (I’ve never had matching center and mains so I guess what I haven’t heard I can’t miss), but I do eventually plan to move my current towers into a different area for dedicated music listening once the kiddos are a bit older in a year or two, so I would plan to buy matching towers or bookshelves to whatever center I get now.

Thanks for the help!
How is the center placed in your setup? Let's rule out a possible placement issue before considering a new center. A pic or 2 would be helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sounds like something is off with it, its placement or settings.
Do you run it as small?
If you run subs very hot with the center small that might give male voices too much low end but it shouldnt cause this big of an issue unless there are one or more factors as the main cause.
I run the speaker as small, crossed over at 80Hz along with the rest of my speakers (except my Atmos height which I run at 150Hz).
I don't think I run my sub hot. I boost it maybe 1-2db over what Audyssey sets it at but that's just to give it a little more punch.

(from a different thread)

A new center may help.

Since this new center will be the future brand choice for the whole system (which you mentioned in another post) you probably need to look at the rest of the system needs before choosing. For example, how large is your room, how far do you sit from the front speakers, and what kinds of subwoofers do you have?

The brands you listed in the other post are all good choices. But they are all very different from one another. You are kind of asking someone else to decide whether you should drive an SUV or a sports car. Both are great choices, depending on your needs.

In this instance, I personally would choose the EMOTIVA or the ELAC. To decide between the two, I'd pick up a pair of Elac Debut Reference DBR-62 Speakers, which are highly regarded and measure very well, and a pair of Emovita Airmotiv B1+ Bookshelf Loudspeakers and do some a/b listening in my room. I would keep the pair I liked the best. And unless the seating position is more than 12 to 15 feet from the front speakers, I'd use them for my L and R in the future. If my room is bigger than that, I would use them for surrounds and get the respective higher output floorstanders from the same line (even though I would always run them SMALL in order to get better bass response in the room).

If I wasn't able or willing to audition, I would probably go with the EMOTIVA simply because I have two of their AIRMOTIV monitors and they are excellent for imaging and clarity so I have a sense of what I would get.

----

But let's take a step back:

Often, dialog intelligibility has a lot to do with the room.

Do you sit against a wall, perhaps?

How much and what kind of acoustic treatment have you done in the room?

In what locations?

Have you an interest in measuring the speakers and in room performance? That might provide more clues.
I'm not super concerned with getting the matching bookshelves right away, esp if I can't get some that have free return shipping. I'm definitely willing to audition some centers before I pick (all of those have trial periods except for the Monoprice I think). I don't mind paying modest return shipping on the center if I must.

Do you sit against a wall, perhaps?
I sit about 2 feet in front of a window that almost always has the blinds closed. I'm about 10-11 feet from the center channel.

How much and what kind of acoustic treatment have you done in the room? In what locations?
The muddy dialogue has been an issue in multiple rooms, with and without carpeting, while sitting 5 feet from the speakers and 10 feet from the speaker. However it didn't become a huge issue until I changed the front speakers and ran Audyssey with them. I have a floor rug between myself and the center speaker. Otherwise the room is untreated. It's a multi purpose living room/kid's playroom with vaulted popcorn ceilings. Whole room is about 2200 cubic feet ballpark but hard to be exact with the vaulted ceilings.

How is the center placed in your setup? Let's rule out a possible placement issue before considering a new center. A pic or 2 would be helpful.
Under the TV, slightly angled up at me, about 6" from the wall behind it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It does sound like you need a new sub.
I am also planning to replace my current Speedwoofer 10s with the Monolith 10" once I'm able to sell the Speedwoofer.
 

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I run the speaker as small, crossed over at 80Hz along with the rest of my speakers (except my Atmos height which I run at 150Hz).
I don't think I run my sub hot. I boost it maybe 1-2db over what Audyssey sets it at but that's just to give it a little more punch.

(from a different thread)



I'm not super concerned with getting the matching bookshelves right away, esp if I can't get some that have free return shipping. I'm definitely willing to audition some centers before I pick (all of those have trial periods except for the Monoprice I think). I don't mind paying modest return shipping on the center if I must.

Do you sit against a wall, perhaps?
I sit about 2 feet in front of a window that almost always has the blinds closed. I'm about 10-11 feet from the center channel.

How much and what kind of acoustic treatment have you done in the room? In what locations?
The muddy dialogue has been an issue in multiple rooms, with and without carpeting, while sitting 5 feet from the speakers and 10 feet from the speaker. However it didn't become a huge issue until I changed the front speakers and ran Audyssey with them. I have a floor rug between myself and the center speaker. Otherwise the room is untreated. It's a multi purpose living room/kid's playroom with vaulted popcorn ceilings. Whole room is about 2200 cubic feet ballpark but hard to be exact with the vaulted ceilings.



Under the TV, slightly angled up at me, about 6" from the wall behind it.
Well that center has dual 4" drivers so male sounding small would make sense and add to that you're sitting 10' away a better center would make sense. The HSU HC-1 has dual 6.5" driver, is reasonably efficient and easy to drive. Price is very reasonable and has good WAF appeal. You may want to consider one of their subs as well.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Well that center has dual 4" drivers so male sounding small would make sense and add to that you're sitting 10' away a better center would make sense. The HSU HC-1 has dual 6.5" driver, is reasonably efficient and easy to drive. Price is very reasonable and has good WAF appeal. You may want to consider one of their subs as well.
I'd considered the HC1 but from other research I've done it seems like a 3-way is going to be a large improvement over a 2-way MTM design, so I was mainly targeting that kind of speaker in my hunt (aside from the CG25).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lol, sorry, meant to write center not sub. Ill edit that in.


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You weren't wrong though! I do need a new sub ;)
 

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What receiver do you have? If it's a Denon/Marantz that can be used with the Audyssey app... I would try modifying the response curve for your center channel first. It sounds like Audyssey may have dialed in some "corrections" that may actually be hurting you. I would start by bringing down some of the lower-mid-base (200hz-500hz) and maybe bringing up some between 1khz-2khz... small corrections are all that is needed.

To really understand what's happening... grab a $75 Umik-1 microphone and use Room EQ Wizard to measure your center channel. Post your frequency response (SPL) plots here so we can help more.

Buying new gear can be roulette if you're still going to let Audyssey have its way with it. You may get lucky and Audyssey gives you something good by default... but being able to measure and see what's happening and then making small tweaks can make a world of difference
 

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Before you add a center try stereo

More speakers = more of a sonic mess in 90%+ of homes

In theory yea 5.1 is great and we'd all benefit from a properly calibrated system. So much immersion

In reality 5.1 sorta sucks and stereo will get the vast majority of people better SQ
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What receiver do you have? If it's a Denon/Marantz that can be used with the Audyssey app... I would try modifying the response curve for your center channel first. It sounds like Audyssey may have dialed in some "corrections" that may actually be hurting you. I would start by bringing down some of the lower-mid-base (200hz-500hz) and maybe bringing up some between 1khz-2khz... small corrections are all that is needed.
Here's my audyssey EQ result for the center speaker.
3075283


My receiver supports the app, but I've always avoided getting it since it's $20. If I get the app it'll let me manually adjust the EQs?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Before you add a center try stereo

More speakers = more of a sonic mess in 90%+ of homes

In theory yea 5.1 is great and we'd all benefit from a properly calibrated system. So much immersion

In reality 5.1 sorta sucks and stereo will get the vast majority of people better SQ
I do listen to some content in stereo and it does sound quite good. However I'm a sucker for surround effects and atmos effects. I do a lot of gaming and I find that 5.1 brings a lot to the table with games.
 
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Here's my audyssey EQ result for the center speaker. View attachment 3075283

My receiver supports the app, but I've always avoided getting it since it's $20. If I get the app it'll let me manually adjust the EQs?
The app is great, many will say its a must and i would agree.
It lets you limit how high you want to correct and yes manually adjust EQ so you can make a house curve, it can also diable the BBC dip.
You will need to redo measurement through the app though but can save multiple measurements and manipulations of them.


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I do listen to some content in stereo and it does sound quite good. However I'm a sucker for surround effects and atmost effects. I do a lot of gaming and I find that 5.1 brings a lot to the table with games.
Yea it is very good for directional cues and game sound mixers actually use this stuff.

If you're committed to a center might as well get that EQ app and play with it. Might be able to fix it up and not need a new speaker.

There may be free pirate alternatives IDK so might want to check that too.
 

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Those blinds are a major problem. Just as an experiment, hang a large thick blanket over it and re-do the Audyssey and see what you get.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Alright I'll grab the app and rerun it tonight after the kids go to bed and do the EQ adjustments that friedmud recommended.

I'm thinking I might just go ahead and order a center channel that has free returns to try it and see if it magically fixes my problem as well. The Klipsch is on Amazon for $350 and I'd be able to return that for free.

Those blinds are a major problem. Just as an experiment, hang a large thick blanket over it and re-do the Audyssey and see what you get.
I may do this, but I wouldn't be able to permanently add drapes to that window as I have a cat that would just shred them to pieces.
 

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Alright I'll grab the app and rerun it tonight after the kids go to bed and do the EQ adjustments that friedmud recommended.

I'm thinking I might just go ahead and order a center channel that has free returns to try it and see if it magically fixes my problem as well. The Klipsch is on Amazon for $350 and I'd be able to return that for free.


I may do this, but I wouldn't be able to permanently add drapes to that window as I have a cat that would just shred them to pieces.
Cat? Don't even ... :rolleyes:

You don't have to have drapes. You can use a light filtering shade (rolls up and down inside the window sill). Old fashioned pull down or Roman or Cellular ... Just avoid wood and metal.
 
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