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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi all,

Since the center channel is so important for movie viewing I got the itch to try some low-cost but decent quality 3-ways in my room to see if I can "hear" any improvement over my current 2-way center. I consider myself a low- to mid-level audiophile with a bit higher priority to movies over music. I have a modest 7.4 set-up where just over 50% of my budget has gone to 4 subwoofers but only a tiny 5% has gone to the center channel. I feel that I should "fix" that. So I recently placed orders for 3 reasonably-priced centers I plan to try in my room. They are listed in the bottom 3 entries in the table below:

3132977


Once they arrive, my plan is this (please feel free to recommend modifications):

(1) Disable (a) Audyssey, (b) DEQ, (c) all channels except the Center, (4) set the center cross-over to "Full-Range" and drive each one of them for 1 hour with the test tone from the AVR for "break in"
EDIT: Per @sigpig suggestion I will set the XO at 80 Hz (no full range, makes no sense)

(2) Use REW+Umik1 to measure the response at 3 locations: (a) MLP, (b) left edge, (c) right edge of the listening area and calculate the on-axis SPL variation at MLP over the full frequency range as well as the spread over the 3 locations in dB.

(3) Play some movies with lots of dialogue and see if any one of these centers produces more clarity without brightness. That's a lot of 1-channel listening.

(4) Choose the best 2 from the above process and then add the subwoofer with a cross-over of 80 Hz ... see if a winner emerges

I should start getting the new centers by this Friday and should be adding to this thread during my free trial period.
 

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(1) Disable (c) all channels except the Center,
I wouldn't do that---you'd be asking the Center to do even more work than it does already.

Better idea imo would be to keep the receiver in full surround mode, but disconnect the speaker cables for all the other speakers. That way you'd get a more realistic idea of how the center would sound during normal use. (Just make sure your receiver doesn't detect the other speakers being disconnected and automatically revert to 1-channel mode.)
 

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... (1) Disable (a) Audyssey, (b) DEQ, (c) all channels except the Center, (4) set the center cross-over to "Full-Range" and drive each one of them for 1 hour with the test tone from the AVR for "break in"
EDIT: Per @sigpig suggestion I will set the XO at 80 Hz (no full range, makes no sense) ...
@sigpig makes perfect sense. Center speakers are specifically designed to be used with subwoofers and crossed over at 80 Hz. If tested full range they will be asked to provide bass performance that they are not expected to perform when properly used with the full speaker system with sub. The added bass responsibilities may unnecessarily affect overall speaker performance.

Combine the good advice from @sigpig and @Zorba922. Don't change any settings in the AVR including the 80 Hz sub crossover. Disconnect speaker wires for everything but the center and sub. Focus on content with plenty of dialog to confirm that human voices are reproduced clearly and accurately. Then test content with heavy special effects in the center channel to check for distortion at the highest SPL level you would normally use. This represents a more real world case than running the centers full range.

You could also disconnect the sub connection to isolate the performance of the centers alone. But you should leave the 80 Hz crossover in place as you will always be using that when the full system is running.
 

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I'm gonna suggest the opposite of the last two users: Use all-channel stereo, disconnect the other speakers, and you will get a summed mono signal for the center channel. This will get you a quicker answer on how well the center handles dialogue when other sounds are placed in the center channel.

Second, be careful that you get the mic in the same spot each time (mark it somehow).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I wouldn't do that---you'd be asking the Center to do even more work than it does already.

Better idea imo would be to keep the receiver in full surround mode, but disconnect the speaker cables for all the other speakers. That way you'd get a more realistic idea of how the center would sound during normal use. (Just make sure your receiver doesn't detect the other speakers being disconnected and automatically revert to 1-channel mode.)
Good input ... I'll try this way but can also see routing all-channel content to C because I am doing a comparison between different speakers and not necessarily caring for reproducing the partial content going into C-alone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You could also disconnect the sub connection to isolate the performance of the centers alone. But you should leave the 80 Hz crossover in place as you will always be using that when the full system is running.
I am definitely disconnecting the sub ... I want to isolate as much as possible what I am hearing from C-alone.
 
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I see that Wharfendale (sp?) was listed. It has an AMT (folded motion) tweeter. QUESTION: is the folded motion tweeter style considered to be a generally “positive” attribute for a center channel? e.g. good clarity contribution to voice ?
Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I'm gonna suggest the opposite of the last two users: Use all-channel stereo, disconnect the other speakers, and you will get a summed mono signal for the center channel. This will get you a quicker answer on how well the center handles dialogue when other sounds are placed in the center channel.

Second, be careful that you get the mic in the same spot each time (mark it somehow).
Are you saying that setting the AVR to 2-channel stereo will "force" the content that typically goes into the mains to automatically come into the C-channel?

You know guys I don't think it makes any difference to the comparison if the Center gets only Center-content, All-content, or Mains-content. This is a "relative" comparison between different center speaker choices ... who cares what the content is.

Yes I am fully aware of keeping the mic within an inch of its intended location for each measurement. BTW, the Center will be located 11 feet in front of the MLP.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I
I see that Wharfendale (sp?) was listed. It has an AMT (folded motion) tweeter. QUESTION: is the folded motion tweeter style considered to be a generally “positive” attribute for a center channel? e.g. good clarity contribution to voice ?
Thanks.
I have no idea man ... I'll let know when I find out :)

Sorry for the spelling .. ain't fixing it though.
 

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I


I have no idea man ... I'll let know when I find out :)

Sorry for the spelling .. ain't fixing it though.
IMO trying each speaker without the others may provide some insight but unless you plan on watching content that way it doesn't really make sense. You need to hear how each speaker performs when all channels are active as this is how you're going to be using it.
 

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Are you saying that setting the AVR to 2-channel stereo will "force" the content that typically goes into the mains to automatically come into the C-channel?

You know guys I don't think it makes any difference to the comparison if the Center gets only Center-content, All-content, or Mains-content. This is a "relative" comparison between different center speaker choices ... who cares what the content is.

Yes I am fully aware of keeping the mic within an inch of its intended location for each measurement. BTW, the Center will be located 11 feet in front of the MLP.
Yes, all channel stereo should put all material into the center. At least, that's what I've found on my Yamaha and Denon receivers. I agree that it's not make or break no matter how you go about generating the center signal.
 

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QUESTION: is the folded motion tweeter style considered to be a generally “positive” attribute for a center channel? e.g. good clarity contribution to voice ?
Yes. The two Emotiva centers (C1+ and C2+) also have AMT tweeters and get overwhelmingly positive user feedback...never seen anyone complain of a lack of voice clarity from them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
IMO trying each speaker without the others may provide some insight but unless you plan on watching content that way it doesn't really make sense. You need to hear how each speaker performs when all channels are active as this is how you're going to be using it.
Its a good point but I am leaning toward the other side of the argument that I don't want to have my other speakers "mask" a poor performance by the center ... especially since I am thinking of later upgrading mains as well. Stripping the center of its "supporting cast" should allow quick determination of the winner.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Have you ever tried listening with the center disabled?

Sent from my SM-G781U using Tapatalk
My mains sit 12 feet apart ... going phantom center has not worked well for me.

But I see a lot of guys with mains placed on each side of their TV with less than 6-feet spacing. I can see those guys as good candidates for "skipping" the center and investing their $ on subs.
 

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Okay. My mains are 6' on center. I have it setup as if it were a 2 channel only setup and so far I dont miss the center.

Get the best center you can. Good hunting :)
 

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Yes. The two Emotiva centers (C1+ and C2+) also have AMT tweeters and get overwhelmingly positive user feedback...never seen anyone complain of a lack of voice clarity from them.
How much of the dialogue is produced by the tweeter versus the other drivers in the center speaker?
 

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I look forward to seeing your results and opinions. I have the RC263 and Emotiva C2+ but have not done a test like you.
 

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