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Center channel speaker: Yes or No

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Jim Mcc, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Well-Known Member

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    In our family room's 55" TV setup, the 2 front speakers are 6' apart(measured center to center). Between the speakers is 5' 4". Is a center channel speaker really necessary with this span? Thanks.
     
  2. BrennanOSD

    BrennanOSD Active Member

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    Hi Jim. Yes, a center channel is an important part of your home theater experience. It is the speaker that provides you with the majority of the dialogue and will add great dimension to your sound. Hope that helps. - Brennan, OSD Audio
     
  3. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    IMO it depends on where people sit. In the "sweet spot" it won't make that much of a difference. The further to the left/right the seats are the more important it becomes. In my room the speakers are about 9 feet apart center to center and I sit right in the middle. I set the Center speaker to "None" and didn't notice much difference, but there was a difference. It would still be enjoyable if I didn't use a center but when I switched the Center speaker back to Small it was a bit more realistic. And the tonal quality changed a bit. Most center channel speakers aren't an exact match for their fronts. Different driver compliment, different orientation, etc. But in the end, I would always use a center speaker if at all possible. But it certainly isn't necessary. After writing the above paragraph I moved my L/R speakers to your measurements. When I set the center channel to None it did sound like there was a hole in the middle of the audio. I would now say get a center speaker and enjoy the whole 5.1 experience as it was meant to be. Even in a small room with close speaker placement. It does make a difference. And of course, a lot depends onhow the surce material was mxed.
     
  4. TheGary

    TheGary Well-Known Member

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    Make sure to match the center with the fronts. If not in series, then in brand at the very least.
     
  5. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    You have a stereo setup or four-channel surround?
    I ran stereo for years -- though that was before HD and 5.1 digital. Stereo TV can sound great and is a huge step up from a TV's speaker. But if you've got four speakers, what's one more for the complete system?
     
  6. Brainwasher

    Brainwasher Well-Known Member

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    Though I've never run 4 channel, I can tell you the addition of center makes all the difference in movie soundtracks. Dialog alone would be worth the addition.
     
  7. Jim Mcc

    Jim Mcc Well-Known Member

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    I would think it would be the opposite. When the fronts are closer together, it seems like it would work better without a center channel speaker. Anyway, I'm going to stick with the 5.1 system. Thanks guys.
     
  8. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Width of the R/L has no bearing on having a center. If it did... Pinnacle wouldn't make the QP 9 or 15. BIC wouldn't have their 3 channel soundbar. Polk wouldn't have their 3 channel soundbar. Pretty sure HTD makes a 3 channel soundbar. Axiom I think even has one.
     
  9. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    If you don't have a center speaker then placing the fronts closer together would work better. But there would still be a hole in the middle, just not as big of a hole. I just think a 5.1 source (I was watching an episode of Elemantary at the time) sounds better with 5.1 speakers, regardless of how small the room is or where the speakers are placed :) . The room I was in is 15 X 17 but only 15 X 10 is used for the HT.
     

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