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** Man of Leisure **
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If an engineer mixes a source to have a center it is NOT stereo imaging. If you flat don’t have a center it then resorts to a stereo mix provided. Many manufacturers who provide a phantom center setting simply eq the stereo mix to overly pronounce the the frequencies of voices trying to enhance vocals... it is nothing even close to a real mixed center channel.
I honestly can't tell from your post, are you agreeing or disagreeing with me?
 

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LOL. I feed 5.1 into my two channel set up all the time, and it generates a fine phantom center (which is just equal content in each speaker which sounds to a person sitting between them like a center channel).
 

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Has anyone in the thread used the amp in an HT scenario that can comment on the lack of center channel? And not in a bedroom config, but a decent size living room. How bad is it or is it unnoticeable?
Phantom center sounds fine if you are sitting in the sweet spot.

In fact in a well calibrated system in a well treated room it should sound exactly the same when in the sweet spot (2.1 system versus 3.1 system) and anomalies are a sign that something is amiss.

It begins to sound strange (at the very least, off center) if you are sitting to one side.

And it (of course) makes it impossible to "raise the volume of the center channel to make dialog easier to understand" because there is no discrete center channel.

I wouldn't choose to do it unless I couldn't position a center channel in a smart way, since off axis viewers benefit greatly from a system with a center channel.
 

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I honestly can't tell from your post, are you agreeing or disagreeing with me?
I’m halfway agreeing... stereo imaging does place vocals in the center. But that’s NOT the same as selecting a phantom center setting in a AVR... Many AVR or Decoders that offer a Phantom Center, do more than stereo image. They eq the voice frequencies to high light them. They sometimes even allow those frequencies alone to be amplified separately. It supposedly makes it “more” like you have a center channel. I don’t like this. But it’s better than no center channel or just listening to stereo when it’s a movie and mixed as a multi track. If you’re playing music... by all means turn off the phantom center. This isn’t 1965 when Fischer and others tried to introduce a center channel to stereo... that was weird and sounded weird.
 

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Phantom center sounds fine if you are sitting in the sweet spot.

In fact in a well calibrated system in a well treated room it should sound exactly the same when in the sweet spot (2.1 system versus 3.1 system) and anomalies are a sign that something is amiss.

It begins to sound strange (at the very least, off center) if you are sitting to one side.

And it (of course) makes it impossible to "raise the volume of the center channel to make dialog easier to understand" because there is no discrete center channel.

I wouldn't choose to do it unless I couldn't position a center channel in a smart way, since off axis viewers benefit greatly from a system with a center channel.
I think you’re mostly right... but there are decoders and AVR’s out there that do have separate trim settings for the phantom EQ’s frequencies. This does “sorta” allow one to raise volume for the vocals in a phantom config. It’s just amplifying the frequencies most related to vocals in the L/R stereo speakers.
 

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I’ve never encountered an AVR that does adjustments to the eq of a phantom center separate from the general overall system.

But I’m far from familiar with all AVRs. I don’t see it in the models I have owned, but that is less than six units total.

That would be a cool trick.

What’s an example I can check out?
 

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I’m thinking some anthem, some outlaw, some Sony, some parasounds. I don’t “think” Yamaha, Denon or Marantz has a separate trim setting but I believe at least one of those when you calibrate actually plays a phantom signal in set up separate from L/R. Many of the EQ for vocals when the setting is engaged. I6s defiantly different then Stereo if you flip back n forth comparing.

I’ve ran into it fighting ridiculous decorators especially around stone fireplaces. I never recommend it and I tell home owners to expect a “compromised” audio quality in the very most important frequencies of their audio investment. A better solution is fauxing a in-wall grill to match stone or really compromise and put the LCR in ceiling with angled Triads. Sucks when you’ve gone to great effort to sell Atmos or other immersion formats because speaker placement is critical.
One of my greatest joys is to try and win decorators over... as I’m sitting on the flying pig, I often start to share with the husband even larger TV’s for the Livingroom. (Right back at you BeckieHomeckie). Face it lady now I’m gonna push to sell automated window treatments.
 

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Thanks.

I've got an Anthem 720 but can't see that option.

It's been too long since I had an Outlaw processor to recall.

And the other units I have had are all Yamaha, Denon and Marantz, so I guess I've never encountered it.

I pity folks that are stuck with Sony AVRs! (I assume Parasound is good unit. Never had one. Like their amps.)
 

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Thanks.

I've got an Anthem 720 but can't see that option.

It's been too long since I had an Outlaw processor to recall.

And the other units I have had are all Yamaha, Denon and Marantz, so I guess I've never encountered it.

I pity folks that are stuck with Sony AVRs! (I assume Parasound is good unit. Never had one. Like their amps.)
Sony isn’t my first choice but their newer ES series AVR’s are not terrible. In fact they are probably the easiest and fastest to calibrate. In some applications I like them. Yamaha is our go to unless they want a 5.4.1 or are into two channel and want to use their AVR.. then it’s Marantz all the way. While Anthem, parasound and Outlaw have made good stuff they are not a good fit in integration with entire home solutions.

It’s also my opinion that companies like Parasound, Outlaw and Anthem have trouble when tech is new. It’s hard for them to do HDMI, Bitstream, Atmos, HDR10+, DTS.. I mean the licensing, R&D when the tech is new and hot at any competitive price point. If tech is stale for a bit they can catch up and provide quality.. but by the time they d new tech and formats are out. Look at the outlaw 950. It was just about the most amazing sounding pre in its day, but along comes HDMI 2.2, Atmos... they never could catch up. What they did come out with was embarrassing. Look at the Emotiva at the same time, yeah they got a product out, but it was terrible. Sadly, the cheaply made big companies had the money to stay current and embrace the new tech. They concentrated on “working” and not quality.

Look at the fall of Oppo. Here’s a company that said... we don’t care we’re going to do it, support it. And they did, what did they get for their effort? It bankrupted their entire division. No more Oppo players.
 

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I went from 3.1 to 2.1 several years ago and have no regrets. In fact I’m not planning to use a center channel again unless I can ever build a dedicated theater room. That said Sonos could sell the crap out of a 3 channel amp for the front stage, I’ve always wondered why they won’t make one.
 

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I went from 3.1 to 2.1 several years ago and have no regrets. In fact I’m not planning to use a center channel again unless I can ever build a dedicated theater room. That said Sonos could sell the crap out of a 3 channel amp for the front stage, I’ve always wondered why they won’t make one.
This is what i was thinking! The obvious alternative is using a multi-ch AVR with a Connect or Port attached, but the price tag quickly goes up, with the port at $450 and a decent AVR at the same or much more, kinda like this.... Sound bar vs 3.1 home theater system

What is your 2.1 setup now?
 

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What is your 2.1 setup now?
I have a Sonos Connect feeding an Integra DTM-7 (a 2 channel AVR) driving Canton Chrono 502.2 with a Rythmik L12. At this point I typically only use the Connect when I'm doing multi-room because I can stream straight to the AVR using its app or Airplay.

I'm actively considering the Sonos Amp or Bluesound Powernode because I should be able to exclusively use ARC after I cord-cut cable TV. I might get an AVR again for room correction, though. It's one of the few things missing from my receiver.
 

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I have a Sonos Connect feeding an Integra DTM-7 (a 2 channel AVR) driving Canton Chrono 502.2 with a Rythmik L12. At this point I typically only use the Connect when I'm doing multi-room because I can stream straight to the AVR using its app or Airplay.

I'm actively considering the Sonos Amp or Bluesound Powernode because I should be able to exclusively use ARC after I cord-cut cable TV. I might get an AVR again for room correction, though. It's one of the few things missing from my receiver.
Nice setup. I did things similarly as you with Sonos only for multi room background music only along with 'my' dedicated systems for music, although without a separate room they've had to live side by side. Now I've been downsizing recently, and at this point i don't do a whole lot of 'critical listening' anymore. I can't even tell you how much gear i've gone thu over years, from compete HT systems to complex computer audio, AVR's, separates, integrated amps, you name it. One thing i can say though, i was never really impressed or satisfied with HT AVR's for music listening, they just don't compete with a good 2ch preamp/amp combo, or 2ch integrated, hell i still have a 1970's 'silver face' Kenwood integrated that kicks ass for music over modern day AVR's, and i used to love the little Peachtree Audio Nova i had a while back, shouldn't have sold it. Anyway, now i'm just trying to figure the best way to simplify a system for Tv and music using sonos as the main source. One product i came across recently were the Klipsch The Fives which include HDMI ARC, pretty rare for powered speakers, they receive quite favorable reviews, but at $800 plus $450 for a Port (that's if i want to upgrade from the Connect) is not chump change. Which as a side question, is the Port much of an upgrade over the Connect? Also, we recently cut the cord from Comcast, using Youtube TV through the Apple TV, love it.
 

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I consider the Port the single most overpriced Sonos product. Every single Sonos thing all the way down to the $99 IKEA speaker has the same capability to decode a stream and play it but it's $450 if you want that without a speaker. I feel like it's a case where the home installation market is actually their primary customer and they're typically not price sensitive at all. If Sonos doesn't want to deal with hifi enthusiasts they should just license it to be built into AVRs, integrateds, etc. or have subscription software like Roon that can run on anything (I'd love a Sonos Apple TV app even if it was fairly expensive).

As it stands I could build 3-4 Raspberry Pi endpoints and pay for 2 years of Roon for the same price as one Port.

Side note on cable TV: I feel like I'm in a similar position with Sonos that I am with my Tivo, it's a great experince and an ecosystem that I was willing to invest in (I'm on my 4th DVR) but the company seems to not have a ton of interest in its primary use case anymore and doesn't seem terribly interested in keeping me as a customer.
 

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Good point on the Port, the only feature/upgrade over the Connect to me would be the inclusion of the HDMI Arc port, same with the Amp. The Amp does pose the 'simplest' setup for sure, I'd ditch the soundbar, either leave my Sonus Fabers on their stands (wifey permitting) or move them to the table with just the Amp and Apple TV, no more SB, no more preamp/amp combo, good enough for TV/Movies and great for music. I wonder if the Apple Tv's remote could control the volume of the Amp (via hdmi arc from tv)? Right now it's perfect we only use one remote, the ATV remote, it turns on the TV and the Tv turns on (via HDMI Arc) the SB, and the ATV remote controls volume.
 

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Just remembered, my Sonus Fabers are 6ohm nominal, the sonos Amp is 8ohm, therefore I cannot use the Amp with these speakers.
 

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I have a Sonos Connect feeding an Integra DTM-7 (a 2 channel AVR) driving Canton Chrono 502.2 with a Rythmik L12. At this point I typically only use the Connect when I'm doing multi-room because I can stream straight to the AVR using its app or Airplay.

I'm actively considering the Sonos Amp or Bluesound Powernode because I should be able to exclusively use ARC after I cord-cut cable TV. I might get an AVR again for room correction, though. It's one of the few things missing from my receiver.
Question about the DTM-7 / TX-8270...they both tout the ability to 'work with sonos', (kind of a joke/marketing bs as just about anything will work with a Connect), they say this because the optical input(s) in auto sensing right? so the unit will turn on when you select the connect as a source and play music, so if a TV were connected via optical, then it should also turn on the amp as well, have you tested this?
 
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