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In my room setup, there's no way to run a center. It's not ideal, but it's what I've got. Wondering if 1099 or HT(M)-12 would work better than my fusion-8 LR for clearer dialogue. It used to be fine, but watching at louder volumes these days with the new VBSS pair I lose some clarity. It was especially difficult in TENET, which I am only halfway through.
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If I remember correctly Tenet has a terrible sound track and the dialogue is very difficult to hear well. Have you calibrated the sound to accommodate the new subs? Experimented with different crossover set points? That might be all you need to do.

Edit: Also, have you considered a passive sound bar for the center speaker? I think one might fit on the mantle below the screen. A discreet center channel speaker (the passive sound bar) would probably help the most.
 

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The dialog in Tenet is often difficult for me to understand and I have a center channel 😃

The sound bar sounds like a good idea.
 

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In my room setup, there's no way to run a center. It's not ideal, but it's what I've got. Wondering if 1099 or HT(M)-12 would work better than my fusion-8 LR for clearer dialogue. It used to be fine, but watching at louder volumes these days with the new VBSS pair I lose some clarity. It was especially difficult in TENET, which I am only halfway through.
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I didn't have any issues with tenet on bluray.

I am convinced HBO max has the most inconstant audio quality of any streaming service. So much of their content is muddy and it seems to also vary between streaming devices.

So if you are watching tenet on HBO max I would try a different copy of the movie first.

That being said there are a LOT of center channels I think you could make work under that TV. If you mostly watch TV/movies in that room and have a center channel on your receiver seems like it would be worth while to find a center that fits in the space.
 

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I also had an impossible time with Tenet even on Blu-ray, with a center channel in my theater. But I run my upstairs living room system phantom center. There’s been htm-6’s up there, and 893’s. Both of those give a very well centered dialogue.

Over and above different speakers, that room would benefit from some acoustic treatments. Every surface looks hard and reflective.
 

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A very easy solution since you are a DIY'er and can build things,

The classic put the TV over the fireplace thing--the bane of audio/video mess over aesthetics but you already know that! :D

Looking at the shelf, the first thing that screams at me is to remove the shelf and put another one of your mains as the center channel. That being said your other humans that live in the abode might not be so happy with that so I offer this: Build the center to allow the shelf to slide through it.

Basically, it is along the lines of a two-piece with the horn above the shelf and the mid-woofer below the shelf. It can be two pieces with the midwoofer completely enclosed below the shelf and just the speaker bezel extending above the shelf to hold the horn. Horns are completely enclosed and don't require an enclosure--look at the Titans or the JBL theater speakers as they have no enclosures. The bezel can hold the horn and only make the enclosure deep enough for the midwoofer so the bezel rests directly against the shelf. This will improve the aesthetics since it will stick out past the shelf 3/4" of an inch. Heck, you can paint it white to match the wall and use a white grill cloth so it is not obvious.

Sure, it is a bigger hassle to do, requires thought, planning and a minimal amount of woodworking skill but you already have the skills (mad skillz!) so move to the next step with a custom center. If making the stock box of X sized cubic feet then convert to a different sized box of X cubic feet is daunting to you--ask away as we are all friends here and can help with making it work for you--at no extra charge!

Back around 10 years ago, I built a center channel to specifically fit my furniture because it was the only option. After considerable hassle--I had a blinding flash of common sense and realized it would of been easier to make the furniture fit the speaker. Six years later, once my system reached the limits of my center channel, I then took apart the furniture and built a proper (slightly modified) 88 Special and grills to be tucked into the furniture and done. I am a pure genius is making mistakes (ask my wife) but I only do that once. I'm not what you would call a pretty man so occasionally I have to use my brain to earn my keep--my wife can't keep the lights off forever! (I am a sexy man watching a movie in the dark--my wife vouches for that)

If, for some reason you don't like the look of a bare naked horn sitting on the shelf--you can enclose it also--your box will have a slot below the horn that will slide onto the shelf. All depends how you look at it. My buddies think I'm some sort of brainiac when they see my custom built/modified furniture and modified center channel so it all fits in full stealth mode. Most of my wife's friends don't know her pretty furniture has a speaker lurking inside and that is the way she likes it.

It's not cheap and easy but as a DIY'er, I'm sure you are not horrified like a traditional audiophile type person when it comes to using those opposing thumbs and building a custom box to fit your needs. Extra bonus, you gain "cool points" from others when they see your creativity and skills to solve a problem without it being some ugly contraption.

Final answer? If you have only done AIY or assemble it yourself--time to move to DIY and step up to building a custom box. Not hard to do, teenagers the world over do it yearly when installing car audio so not too hard. Heck, I built many enclosures for family/friends for their cars, boats etc. because that was the only option.

Sorry, now that you know it can be done...it will bother you now...that nagging feeling in the back of your mind that it can be much better if you generate a little sawdust. Yeeeaaaah, we have all been there. ;)

Extra tip, Diablo makes some very nice saw blades....jus' sayin'. Enjoy your new project!
 

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Always do whatever possible following best practices to optimize what you have before chasing after new speakers. This often results in a cost savings that can be applied to other projects. For example simply moving the LR closer together and/or changing toe-in can enhance a phantom center. Even when fully optimized reality is that some people can't be satisfied with a phantom center from the best available LR while others are just fine with the phantom center image from an average LR setup.
 

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post #6-epic response
shorter suggestion
HT 10's on the subs, inverted . tilted wrt ears at MLP, and toed-in
and measured
SEOS 12 horns should be a hit
 

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You could use a Sony 77 inch A80J & the TV acts as the center speaker and a big screen looks better over the mantel. You need to lower the TV a bit now it looks like watching the arrivals & departures in the airport with a stiff neck
 

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Home Depot sells kits that you can hung the TV from the celing & can adjust the height up & down & this option frees up the mantel to put a center speaker
 

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With two completely bare walls to either side of the fireplace wall, and an "L" shaped couch, there is zero reason to place the TV above the fireplace (engendering all the disadvantages of that layout). Choose a blank wall, orient one side of the couch towards it and the other towards the fireplace. That gives you free reign to place the TV at the proper viewing height and the speakers, as well. Also, no reason to pursue the phantom center channel approach, as you will have plenty of room for a real center.

Alternatively, get yourself a Mantlemount and attach a center channel to the bottom. Then you can put the TV "away" when not in use. This allows you to both have the TV above the mantle while still having the ability to watch at a proper level when pulled down.
 

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Nolan is known for this
Yup. As others said don’t base anything on Tenet dialog. Try John Wick 2 or something with a better presentation. Tenet has some fun soundtrack things going on but dialog isn’t one of them.

Dave in Green makes an excellent point. I saw your subs in another thread and thought they looked great, but noticed the mains placement could be improved. Mains set back from the front edge of the subs you’ll have a reflection from the top of the sub, move them forward to the front edge of the subs, and as Dave said move inward. They’re quite close to an untreated wall.

I’d try centering them under the windows, you could move the subs in a little to try it, and see. Also consider an acoustic panel on the side wall at the first reflection point.
 

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I've had good luck with the HTM-6's for a phantom center fwiw.

Also, when/if you get sick of looking up while watching tv I'd highly recommend getting a MantleMount. I installed the MM-540 on my 65" TV in our living room which is mounting above our fireplace and when fully extended down the tv is just above eye level. They are definitely spendy, but IMO worth every dollar to not have to look straight up and it keeps the significant other happy.
 

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This might not be ideal for you, but for me especially looks wise. I would move the subs closer to the fireplace and put the LR speakers on stands in the corner. Widening the distance for a phantom center. Would probably loose some of the corner loading extra volume from the subs though.
 

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^ +1
which is exactly why , for all the speculation,
REW should be setting a baseline about what is happening before -anyting, actually
 

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++ to hard to hear dialog. I watched Tenet on HBOMax last night as well. Some characters were worse than others.
 
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