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Center channel sounds like it's in a box...

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#1 of 6 OFFLINE   hlain



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Posted April 04 2007 - 09:22 AM

My front center channel sounds like it's in a box for some reason. Bit of an echo sound. Front center channel is a Polk RMS Series II speaker. Front L/R speakers are Bose 210s. I noticed a distinct difference when my receiver was unknowingly set to stereo. The sound was very rich and full from the 210s I recently replaced my old Polk RMS II front L/R with... then when in 5.1 with the RMS playing center, the sound was more directed from the center but sounded like it was coming out of a box. A bit of an echo sound. Verified all speakers are wired correctly. This Polk center is almost nine years old. Maybe showing it's age? Time for a replacment? I can spend $200 on a center channel if there would be a decent replacement for this price. Appreciate any input. somegeek

#2 of 6 OFFLINE   JohnRice


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Posted April 04 2007 - 10:07 AM

It could be placement, or it could just be a difference in the speakers. Bose are extremely midrange heavy, which could make other speakers sound odd by comparison, when it is actually the Bose which have the severe coloration.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.

#3 of 6 OFFLINE   ThomasC


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Posted April 04 2007 - 10:31 AM

Do you still have the Polk RMS II speakers that you used to use for your front left and right? If so, set them back up as the left and right speakers and see if the center center still sounds weird. The three front speakers should be timbre-matched, and in pretty much every case, that means you should use the same brand and maybe even series of speakers. Mixing two different brands of speakers for the fronts isn't a good idea.

#4 of 6 OFFLINE   MaxL


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Posted April 04 2007 - 10:38 AM

i don't know any of your specific speakers, but i have a couple ideas on what's going on and how to fix it. the up and downside of the bose design is the "direct/reflecting" concept. they use multiple drivers and or angles in the enclosure to disperse the sound waves coming out of the speaker. for some, the good part is that sounds are less localised in the room and you don't have to be in a specific location to hear a more or less even sound from both speakers. that might be good for music in a non-critical-listening situation like a party or a room where you're moving around a lot like the kitchen. but if you want real stereo imaging or surround sound, you need the front speakers to be localised, so the bose design is bad for this. the bose may be acceptable for surrounds instead of a dipole speaker. so as to your specific case, you may want to replace the center, but not because there's necessarily anything wrong with it. you should replace it because you are going to need to replace the bose speakers if you want to experience decent surround on movies, and for that decent surround sound you need the front 3 speakers to match. you may be able to find a decent match from another product line but chances are you will try many unsatisfactory pairs before and if you ever find a good match. the easy solution is to buy 3 speakers from the same manufacturer and line. so maybe your center is bad, but more likely it just matches/ fits poorly in your system. polk has a pretty good reputation and decent speakers last for decades not years. for all the bose haters out there, i have the following analogy. bose is to sound as mcdonalds is to food. if mcdonalds really tasted horribly bad, no one would eat it. they make it taste good enough to sell it for the price they do. bose doesn't sound horrible, i'd say it sounds better than many entry level and mini-systems you'd find at a bb/cc. it's just that for the price there are many options that sound better than bose, especially for critical listening in stereo or surround. IMO their products, especially the sub minisat systems are a ripoff. and i could also buy a 1/4 pound of certified angus beef, a slice of good cheddar, a decent roll and an organic potato for the price of a "value meal". but then again sometimes i just have to hit the drive-thru.
HT: Marantz SR8000, PSB Alpha B fronts, Alpha C center, CSW Newton S200 surrounds, Martin Logan Dynamo Sub, Marantz DVD, Sony CRT TV

Stereos include vintage Sony receivers/amps into vintage AR and KEF speakers.

#5 of 6 OFFLINE   Matt_Smi


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Posted April 04 2007 - 11:51 AM

I like that analogy a lot, I would also add to it that not everyone has the time or desire to fully research/audition many different speaker systems and instead just goes with something that is easy and sounds good to them, and probably better than the limited selection of setups they have heard, just like how many people may not have the time to prepare that cheeseburger that would ultimately be better and more satisfying for them...

#6 of 6 OFFLINE   Ballgeier



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Posted April 07 2007 - 04:20 AM

I had the same problem with my old center speaker, the voices from movies/tv sounded like everyone was in a "box". No matter where I placed it, made no difference. I just ended up building my own, well, using someone elses plans, and it turned out great. So good in fact, now the sound seems to reverberate into my metal ceiling air diffuser, now I have to change that-does it ever end?

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