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I have a cheaper receiver w/ cheaper Dayton speakers powered by it.. the Denon S750H (165W x 7). A friend who has a much nicer system all around purchased great speakers and got the HTD Level Three center channel speaker. Well, Crutchfield sent him two by mistake so let him keep it.. he was kind enough to give it to me.

I went from now center to using that and tried to like it but just ended up not because it's very apparent the sound is coming directly from that speaker whereas with just the left/right front speakers, the sound sounds as though its coming from the screen/people on it.

Is this due to my room being smaller and thus not spaced properly or is it a result of my receiver being crappy and not getting enough juice to the center or something?

Thanks in advance, I appreciate you guys helping me get my HT setup and humming!
 

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You just discovered why people use acoustically transparent projector screens.

Using LR speakers only for the front can sound very good if you sit in the center. People sitting off to the sides will tend to only hear the speaker closest to them though. If you always sit in the center and prefer that sound, then just stick with what you've got.

In my opinion using LR only produces too diffuse of sound for dialogue, but I also hate having the sound very localizable to a center speaker that's below the TV. Hence, AT screens to the rescue.

Where is your center speaker relative to your screen?
 

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You just discovered why people use acoustically transparent projector screens.

Using LR speakers only for the front can sound very good if you sit in the center. People sitting off to the sides will tend to only hear the speaker closest to them though. If you always sit in the center and prefer that sound, then just stick with what you've got.

In my opinion using LR only produces too diffuse of sound for dialogue, but I also hate having the sound very localizable to a center speaker that's below the TV. Hence, AT screens to the rescue.

Where is your center speaker relative to your screen?
Thanks for the answer and that makes total sense! What's weird is.. with my friends nicer HT, he has the same setup as me.. screen then a foot below it the center. He may have more space between center and couch but that's why I thought maybe his beefier receiver was making his center sound more substantial or something.

As a single guy who doesn't have a lot of guests, perhaps I can get away with just doing L/R and not noticing the muddle (I'm a novice). I guess I'll have to get a bigger place to be able to utilize center sound since I can't go behind the screen and can't make my room any bigger.

Thanks so much for the explanation!
 

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I have a cheaper receiver w/ cheaper Dayton speakers powered by it.. the Denon S750H (165W x 7). A friend who has a much nicer system all around purchased great speakers and got the HTD Level Three center channel speaker. Well, Crutchfield sent him two by mistake so let him keep it.. he was kind enough to give it to me.

I went from now center to using that and tried to like it but just ended up not because it's very apparent the sound is coming directly from that speaker whereas with just the left/right front speakers, the sound sounds as though its coming from the screen/people on it.
KEY QUESTION: did you level match the center speaker to your L/R speakers?

This is *absolutely* critical if there are big differences in speaker sensitivity and impedance.
 
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You can download a free SPL Meter app to your phone if you don't have a standalone SPL Meter. Won't be quite as precise but better than nothing.
 
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Depending on the surround sound source the majority of sound will come from the center channel, sometimes up to 80% of the content including most of the dialog with the L/R content used to provide the aural illusion of movement or placement of sounds off center, back, forth and around the listener. In short, the center channel content and speaker are the "aural anchor" of a surround sound system. Suggest you adjust your center channel volume, or ask someone familiar with surround sound to help you adjust your speaker volumes.
 
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