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I have been having trouble with dialog clarity with my Elac C5 center. Is this center just not good for home theater? Will replacing the center help? I'm using a Yamaha HTR-4065. I have Elac B5 L and Rs along with a SVS SB-3000 subwoofer. I have tried boosting the center level, turning on dynamic compression, changing surround decode (using LP II Movie), changing cross over (tried 60-90hz) and pulling center channel forward.

Here is a demo of my system. Obviously this is not the best way to evaluate it but it's the best I can do with my phone. I'm using a Pixel XL resting on the ottoman in front of my MLP. I have also included a photo. When Viggo is shouting I can hear it pretty well but when he is talking on the phone to John, I feel like the music overwhelms the conversation. Not really sure how else to describe the issue.

I know the TV is too high and cable management is terrible. I've got a new entertainment center on the way and I'll be adjusting TV height based on that once it's here.



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I have been having trouble with dialog clarity with my Elac C5 center. Is this center just not good for home theater? Will replacing the center help?

Wow I'm surprised no one responded to you yet. Elac Debut Series centers, such as the C5, are generally not good for dialog clarity. If you don't mind mixed brands or unmatched center, I have quoted Zorba below with his suggestions.


Speaker companies know that full well, so they often just half-assedly throw together something and call it a "center speaker"---some of them do it deliberately on their entry level and mid level model lines, so that consumers will be suckered into buying a whole 5-7 speaker setup from their top-shelf model line just to get the one decent (usually 3-way) center speaker.

Here are some proven performers in the $250-400 range, which most people are quite happy with:
* Emotiva C1 or C2
* Chane A2.4
* Ascend 340SE
* Hsu CCB-8

Centers with free return shipping:
* HTD Level 3 center
* RSL CG25
* JBL centers from the JBL or Harman website
* Infinity centers from the Infinity or Harman website

Other centers worth considering, available at Best Buy and Crutchfield for easy returns:
* Klipsch RP centers with 5.25 or larger woofers
* Martin Logan centers
 

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If you like your other speakers then consider simply upgrading the center. No law that you have to brand match.
Sigh, I copy and paste similar sentiments at least two dozen times a week on AVS...but superstition/folklore die hard.

:D
 

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I love the Elac Vela center, but that is a different price class. (the AMT tweeter is great for voices. Maybe look at the ELAC Carina CC241.4 center? But that still might not be in your budget.)



But are you sure the center channel speaker is the issue?



What AVR?

Are you doing room correction?

Is the center channel trapped? ie, shoved in a shelf/cabinet? (other placement issues? If it is below or above ear level, make sure you angle the speaker.)

Source? Some things are just mixed poorly for the center.

Also, what sound mode? You might been using a sound mode that uses the center when it shouldn't - and mixes it poorly.

How loud are you playing the content? Maybe people use less the reference which can have a big impact on voice (which is normally in the center) (also bass). If you are using a Denon AV you might want to try turning on Dynamic EQ. (i always stayed away from things like that as i try to be a purest.. but it helped a lot. Also, my room itself means i can never be a purest :) )





for movies the center is super important - so you want a good one, but makes sure it is the speaker itself and not something else.

(i'd not suggest SVS, they make great subs.. but their speakers aren't great IMO. At their price, there are much better ones.)
I am using a Yamaha HTR-4065. The problem persists regardless of source (Shield, built in Roku, ps4) but the video I posted is a Bluray of John Wick playing PS4. Since my AVR doesn't support HDR, I have an optical running from the TV to the AVR.

I have tried plugging to ports, isolating the center, re running YPAO, adjusting DRC, Surround Codecs (using LP II Movie).

I will probably end up replacing the center but I'm trying to improve the system as much as I can in the mean time.

YPAO/AVR settings are as follows:

Crossover 90hz (just brought up from 80)

Speakers: Small

CT Width 3

Dimension 0

C. Image 0.3

DSP 3D On (was off but can't hear much difference)

Panorama Off

Extra Bass Off

Front L 11.2 ft

Front R 11 ft

DRC Max

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Sigh, I copy and paste similar sentiments at least two dozen times a week on AVS...but superstition/folklore die hard.



:D
Lol I am listening! I will be doing the center channel showdown later this year based on your advice. I just wanted to show the challenges I've been having and see if I'm missing something besides my center sucking.

Still leaning towards Chane, RSL, SVS and Kef. No harm in trying Aperion since they have free returns too.

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I also have a terrible space acoustically. Here are some shots of what I'm working with. I just bought this home in the last year so moving really isn't an option lol.


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I also have a terrible space acoustically. Here are some shots of what I'm working with.
Your space isn't bad, just BIG...which is just a matter of adequate subwooferage.

A low-output, sealed sub like the SB3000 does not help in the least. I would resell it and get a pair of VTF-2 or VTF-3.
 

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Your space isn't bad, just BIG...which is just a matter of adequate subwooferage.



A low-output, sealed sub like the SB3000 does not help in the least. I would resell it and get a pair of VTF-2 or VTF-3.
Yeah, I'm looking at replacing the SB-3000 for sure. It does a better job than the PB10 it replaced but I know I'm missing out on sub 30hz output. Might be able to go with a ported design in the corner but that's more of a waf thing. Thinking about trying dual Hsu ULS-15 as well.

Right now I'm just trying to solve the dialog issue first as it requires us to use subtitles even at -5 dB. As you can hear in my demo, the dialog just gets overpowered by music and effects. From everything I've read I think the Chane A2.4 will help a lot.



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Yeah, I'm looking at replacing the SB-3000 for sure. It does a better job than the PB10 it replaced but I know I'm missing out on sub 30hz output. Might be able to go with a ported design in the corner but that's more of a waf thing. Thinking about trying dual Hsu ULS-15 as well.

Right now I'm just trying to solve the dialog issue first as it requires us to use subtitles even at -5 dB.
The ULS15 is yet another sealed sub...great for music, but I wouldn't use it if HT is your main focus, esp. in a huge contiguous space like that.

I agree though, take care of the dialogue issue first...there are plenty of competent centers in the $200-400 range, I wouldn't even bother with a "shootout" to be honest...any of the ones I listed will be a big improvement. But no harm starting out with the free return shipping options first like the HTD Level 3 center, if you want the extra peace of mind.
 
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Didn't we just talk about the original Debuts and HT?

In a nutshell: Original Debut great for music, not so great for home theater. Center is not so great either.

You might consider selling the entire setup if it's primarily for HT.
 

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Didn't we just talk about the original Debuts and HT?

In a nutshell: Original Debut great for music, not so great for home theater. Center is not so great either.

You might consider selling the entire setup if it's primarily for HT.
Yes, I was already told that the Debuts are not goo for home theater. I was just seeing if there was anything else missing with my set up that could be making the issue worse. I am planning so either getting rid of the whole set up or using the B5s nearfield for music at my desk.

I am looking at replacing the center channel at the very least, but I may end up using something else for all the mains.

I wanted to share the demo to see what people thought about the dialog. Obviously a youtube video recorded on my phone has its own audio quality issues but I think it still illustrates the issue. I have wondered if the audio is being decoded incorrectly or something.
 

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PS. In the meantime, I would at least move your SB3000 into that right corner so that you get some boundary reinforcement to maximize output.
 
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PS. In the meantime, I would at least move your SB3000 into that right corner so that you get some boundary reinforcement to maximize output.
Thank you for the advice. I actually am going to do that asap, I just had to order a longer RCA cable so I'm waiting on that.There is a pair of Hsu VTF15h MK1 for sale locally that I can afford but it will be a tough sell aesthetically. I do realize that physics dictates that the box be bigger than what we want for maxium performance. I think some cardboard box mock ups are in order lol.

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I also have a terrible space acoustically.
Your space is not bad. I have similar open floor plan with ~25 feet ceiling (2 floors equivalent) with 2nd floor hallway overlooking the living room just like yours. In fact I use sealed subs (four subs, six 12" drivers total) to pressurize the room. It's doable.
 

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Your space is not bad. I have similar open floor plan with ~25 feet ceiling (2 floors equivalent) with 2nd floor hallway overlooking the living room just like yours. In fact I use sealed subs (four subs, six 12" drivers total) to pressurize the room. It's doable.

Let me guess, you are single? Either that or your wife is an absolute angel. :D
 

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Let me guess, you are single? Either that or your wife is an absolute angel. :D
My rear L22's are not visible from plain sight at all. The front L12's are so tiny they camouflage in the corners. It's either my way or the highway.
 

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My rear L22's are not visible from plain sight at all. The front L12's are so tiny they camouflage in the corners. It's either my way or the highway.
Something tells me that quad L22s are not going going to fly when my PB10 was "too big". XD
 
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I'd get the Chane center, then maybe audition the new Chanes when they come out. :)Get a second SB3000 at some point
 
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Thank you for the advice. I actually am going to do that asap, I just had to order a longer RCA cable so I'm waiting on that.There is a pair of Hsu VTF15h MK1 for sale locally that I can afford but it will be a tough sell aesthetically. I do realize that physics dictates that the box be bigger than what we want for maxium performance. I think some cardboard box mock ups are in order lol.
The other adjustment I'd make with your system is to move each of the L/R speakers at least 2 feet further apart, so that you get more of an equilateral triangle between them and your main listening position (which I'm guessing is dead center in front of the TV screen). I'd also pull them at least 6 inches further away from the wall, and toe them in towards your MLP.

Right now, their current position might be aesthetically ideal, but acoustically not.
 
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Opinion on AVR to properly drive Elac Uni-Fi's.

I have 2 Elac UF5s (floorstanders) and Elac UC5 (center channel). I am looking at Marantz SR6012 or Marantz SR7012

Any thoughts on how these receivers would be able to handle the Elac UF5s? Would they mute the dynamic performance of these speakers somewhat or take away from the full capabilities of these speakers?
 
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