Center Clarity

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joe Barefoot, Jul 1, 2002.

  1. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    I've found that when my system is calibrated properly with AVIA, the center dialog can be difficult to hear clearly. I have a Sony DA5ES running Klipsch RS speakers all around and an SVS PCi sub. I have boosted the center channel by 2-3 dB which helps, but I believe will upset the proper surround balance. I have also set dynamic range to .5 without the center channel boosted, which also seems to help. Any thought on this, particularly the dynamic range adjustment? Also, what should dynamic range be set at "properly"....STD or OFF? Thanks.
     
  2. Duke

    Duke Stunt Coordinator

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    set it to OFF
     
  3. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Well thanks! That short reply helped in an unexpected way. After playing with dynamic range, listening and re-reading the manual, I learned several things. Firstly, dynamic range only works in DD format, on the DA5ES. I had mine set to STD and .5 but never OFF, attempting to improve dialog. I found that it doesn't do much for dialog either way. What I did find is that now DD sources are much more enjoyable with dynamic range off. I preferred DTS much more than DD because I thought it had much more "room shaking" bass. Now I've realized that I just had that attenuated on DD with dynamic range. I still like DTS (on the one DVD, for the five minutes that I played with it) but found the difference between DD and DTS allot less than what I had heard before with dynamic range on. This will improve listening when DTS is not an option. And who knows, I may eventually enjoy DD more than DTS. So at this point dynamic range is off and the center channel is 2 dB hot. Anyone know any tricks with the built in equalizer to improve center channel clarity?...I'm all ears [​IMG]
     
  4. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    lurking yamaha owner...

    ...been waiting for Sony owners to appear, but, does yr AVR have a Center Delay function in milliseconds that can be adjusted to "move" the center a foot closer into the speaker field by reducing one ms per perceived foot?

    Just a thought. I'm unclear what you mean by "clarity" as in muffled or perceived sound level.
     
  5. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Yes...but it's not adjusted in milliseconds. If it's what I think you are talking about, it's called "screen depth" and has selections of OFF, MID, and DEEP. Mine is set to MID. Do you think I should try OFF? The manual claims that this emulates a movie theater where the sound comes through the screen. It also says that it shifts the sound of the "front" speakers, but I would guess that the center speaker would be more accurate. If I were to "shift" any sound, it would be the dialog from the center. By "clarity" I mean I want to clearly understand the dialog...particularly when there are allot of surround effects going on. My center speaker is not muffled, but just sounds like the volume is too low after calibration with AVIA. I am just looking for tricks to improve the center "clarity" without having to boost my center volume too much and upset a properly calibrated system.
     
  6. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    ...like I said, I hesitate to go into Sonyland, but yes, this sounds like a rough adjustment for the center, more spatial effect than a loudness control, I suspect.

    Try a DVD soundtrack with dialog and adjust this from MID to OFF to hear if the center "pops out" a litle better in your sound field.

    Dolby Labs likes to see the front spkr stage placed on the arc of a circle around the listener. Sometimes people have their mains alongside the tv console with the center lined up atop the tv. In this case, one wud add the DEEP feature, I think, to electronically "move" the center back a foot or two.
     
  7. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    I believe the dialog is clearer with the OFF setting. I also took out my laser pointer and found that atop my Mits 65909 that I was pointing the speaker way too high. The RC3 has a built in angle adjustment that I adjusted up quite a bit more until my laser just hit the top of the couch where I sit. Between the OFF setting and pointing my speaker properly, things have improved considerably. Thanks for the help...I learned a lot today (again).
     
  8. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Joe

    This is a common problem that doesn't really get much attention. One thing that I am curious about but don't know much about is the THX dialog circuit that can boost the dialog by 4 db or more (I think). I am sure someone else on the forum can explain more about it.

    Quite a few forum members will tell you that if you can't hear the dialog adequately, you do not have the overall volume high enough. These folks tend to like to talk in terms of reference level. That is, if you would only set your system to reference level (105db) on peaks, you wouldn't have to worry about hearing the dialog clearly. You also wouldn't have to wonder why your ears were ringing afterward.

    While a wide dynamic range is great in theory, in practice, the loud parts are too loud and the soft parts are too soft.

    Some equipment has a night setting or range compressor. That could help.

    I also believe that it is important to choose a center channel speaker carefully. Almost all center channel speakers have a mid bass bump around 150 Hz. This thickens male voice and I believe can muddy the sound.

    One of the few centers that does not have that bump is the Klipsch SC-1. Unfortunately, the higher line klipsch models have the bump.

    Since you won't want to change centers, turning up the center by 2-3 db won't really throw things off. I also find myself constantly turning the volume up and down to hear the dialog and tame the gun shots.

    I guess I'm goin to go THX next time around, and get one of those SC-1s for about $180.

    Artie
     
  9. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    "I also believe that it is important to choose a center channel speaker carefully. Almost all center channel speakers have a mid bass bump around 150 Hz. This thickens male voice and I believe can muddy the sound."

    So, based on that bump, do you think that using the built in equalizer on the DA5ES to tame that peak would improve things? I haven't played around with it yet but I do know that you can make adjustments on each channel independently. Anyone have experience with the equalizer on a DA5ES?
     
  10. Michael Mohrmann

    Michael Mohrmann Screenwriter

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    Artie,

    "I also believe that it is important to choose a center channel speaker carefully. Almost all center channel speakers have a mid bass bump around 150 Hz."

    What reason(s) would cause this condition? My only guesses for the mid-bass hump? Center speaker placement and dual mid-bass elements used in the center speakers.

    Close?

    Michael
     
  11. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Joe, getting back to the original post. I'll bet your repositioning of the center goes 90 percent to your perceived "unclarity." But no one has talked about the DVD player yet.

    I was reminded this morning reading the Panasonic RP-56 manual that this unit provides a DIALOG ENHANCER for DD soundtracks. I have not used it, but I pass it on...
     
  12. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Your're right...my problem is pretty much solved, and I think a big part of it was re-positioning the speaker. My DVD is a Sony 9000ES. I'll have to look through the manual to see about a Viagra button for the dialog. I'm still curious about the equalizer function on the DA5ES though...not that the dialog is a problem now, I just like to learn and this seems like a great place to do it.
     
  13. Bill Kane

    Bill Kane Screenwriter

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    Viagra button
    [​IMG]
     
  14. Wayne_T

    Wayne_T Stunt Coordinator

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  15. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Michael

    If I am not mistaken, the mid bass bump has a lot to do with the fact that most center speakers are sitting on a big flat surface, the TV. The TV screen acts as what they call a baffle. An extreme example would be a speaker mounted flush in the wall. The whole wall then acts as a baffle. Generally, the smaller the baffle the better. Long story short, I believe that the TV screen contributes to the mid bass bump.

    Joe

    Learning about the equalizer may serve you very well. You can probably boost the upper dialog region without changing anything too dramatically. If you can boost the 200HZ to 2,000 Hz range a couple db, it might help with dialog intelligibility.

    Artie
     
  16. Joe Barefoot

    Joe Barefoot Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a follow up...over the last couple of days I've turned my center down to +1 dB and reset my screen depth to "mid". It now appears that the biggest change that I made was to re-position the speaker. I did have it angled down but not nearly enough.
     
  17. Bob_L

    Bob_L Supporting Actor

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    If your system allows it, I've also found that setting the center channel crossover a bit higher than your front L/R can also help clarify the dialog.
     

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