Centre channel speaker doesn't sound right!!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Adam LH, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. Adam LH

    Adam LH Auditioning

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    Hi all,
    First time post. All the way from the land downunder (Australia) [​IMG]
    Anyways my problem is that my centre channel speaker sounds low compared to the rest of my speakers. It's just an average centre channel speaker, nothing fancy. It's a DB dynamics (austalian brand) and cost about $150 US with some rear bookshelf speakers included. Bookshelf speaker are on my sony amp in the bedroom.
    The centre channels specs are -
    Normal impendance - 8 ohms
    Power handling - 120 watts
    Frequency response - 65 - 2000 hz
    My main and rear speakers are both 185 watts, response 26-20 khz and sensitivity 94 db.
    Now I don't know a great deal about what all this means, just thought I'd throw it in anyway.
    I just can't figure out why I'm getting crappy centre channel sound when I play a DVD. Through T.V and video the centre channel sounds fine.
    I always need to crank up the sound to hear speach the way it's meant to sound on DVD'S. But then if sound effects like machine guns, explosions, etc happen it becomes too loud. I tried lowering the db by -10 on the main speakers and incresing the db's on the centre channel to +7 but I'm still not satisfied. I shouldn't even have to muck around with these settings.
    The amp and centre speaker are still relatively new and I have been super careful with them which is why I don't think they have been damaged in any way.
    Could it be that I just have a crappy centre speaker? It only has the tweeter in the middle and a woofer on each side (6 inchs I think)!
    So does anyone have any ideas? I was going to get my friend to bring his jenson centre speaker over and try that on it but I don't know what else I should do. I just hope my amp isn't stuffed somehow.
    I accidently pushed "back to movie" on the Monsters INC DVD in the THX section and the movie started going in THX sound. Thought this might of done something to it. Surely it wouldn't though. How can my amp play THX sound if it doesn't have a THX decoder on it?
    Also pushed EX button on my controller while I was watching Attack of the clones on DVD to try and get the EX sound going. Apart from that everything else has just been normal. I always have the sound turned down when I switch settings, etc on the amp just as a precaution not to pop the speakers or damage the amp.
    Oh well, does anyone have any advice they can give me??[​IMG]
    Sorry about the long post. Hope I didn't make anyone fall asleep! [​IMG]
     
  2. Jaime B

    Jaime B Stunt Coordinator

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    ADAM:

    Your front and surround speakers are very efficient (94 [email protected] 1 watt). Your center speaker may have a much lower efficincy rating, in which case you have to compensate with your receiver's individual channel volume settings.

    If this doesn't work out, your best bet is to try another center channel to see if it sounds better. If it does, your center ch. speaker is at fault. If it doesn't, your receiver's center ch. amp may be at fault.

    Have a friend lend you their A/V receiver to test. Center channel sound makes or breaks a good Home Theater system, so I know the "pain" you are going thru right now.

    Good luck!

    -Jaime
     
  3. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Welcome to the forum "mate" [​IMG]
     
  4. Jose G

    Jose G Supporting Actor

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    Is your center timbre matched to your fronts? Is it the same brand as the fronts? Sometimes when the center and the mains don't match you get an unevenness in tone as well as sound level (again due to the probable distinct sensitivity ratings from different brands). If you can't fix the sound quality as has been recommended, take that center back and get a new one (same as the mains is best)- it's essential to enjoy that center channel.
     
  5. Adam LH

    Adam LH Auditioning

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    Also forgot to mention that my centre channel speaker has 8 ohms while my big front and rear speakers are 6 ohms.

    My friend said that this would make a huge difference into why the centre channel doesn't sound right as he reckons it should be 6 ohms too. Is he right?
     
  6. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    It's like having a Picasso between 2 Van Gogh's, but you use your ears to see them.

    You can make the loudness equal by adjusting your system accordingly (My sys is set up clockwise from Left front +3, -4, +3, +2, +1). This is fine for equal loudness, but the actual color of the sound may be radically different.

    In my system, it's obvious which speaker is different - The Center at -4. It is a different make, but tonally it is very close - Close enough that I can't find a fault with it.

    If I left it's level at -0, it would be 4db louder than it's neighbors, and I'd have a complaint about that.

    If you can get an SPL meter, you'll appreciate the difference.
     
  7. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    The fact that your mains are 6 ohms and you centre is 8 ohms will make a difference. Add to that the 94dB efficiency of the mains (I suspect the centre is no where near as efficient) means the mains will play much louder (all else being equal) which is why you would have to turn up the centre so much to compensate.
     
  8. Adam LH

    Adam LH Auditioning

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    Hi guys,


    Do you think if I bought this centre speaker it would suit my setup?

    Here are it's specs...


    Jamo E8


    Woofer (inch/mm) 2 x 5½ / 140
    Tweeter (inch/mm) 1 / 25
    Power, long/short term (Watt) 140/200
    Sensitivity (dB - 2,8V / 1m) 89
    Frequency range (Hz) 50 - 20000
    Cross-over frequency (Hz) 2000
    Impedance (Ohm) 6
    Weight 18 lb
    Dimensions HxWxD 7.32x18.11x8.50 in.


    I'm looking at this or a jenson which I think is even higher in specs but more expensive. This jamo is about $265 US = $540 AUST
     
  9. ColinM

    ColinM Cinematographer

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    Probably a nice speaker on it's own and likely an upgrade.

    But, we here all think that 3 identical speakers are the best way to cover the front. If that's not an option, then the smaller version of the L/R pair from the same make / model line.

    If that's out, then go with as close a copy as you can - Tweeter material, woofer material, cabinet design, crossover design, etc. Even then, it's what it sounds like compared to it's mates on either side.

    Jamo = good, though.

    Jenson or Jensen? Here in ze states, Jensen isn't the hottest thing...
     
  10. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    There is no question that a different center "MAY" help....

    You absolutly need to properly calibrate your systems speaker CORRECTLY first.
    A sound pressure meter, Radio Shack Analog SPL Meter ~ catalog #33-2050 ($35.00 US) and a Calibation disc like VE, (Avia-25.00 to $39.00 US), or S&V is absolutly in order..

    Do they have Radio Shack Stores in Aussi land or an equivelant store to get a SPL meter, anyone....?????

    With the use of these tools you can set up your speaker volumes to properly MATCHED calibrated levels. Then if the center is still tonaly very different than the rest of your speakers, or muddy and unclear (this after calibation has been done correctly) and all channel volume levels match, then you might consider a new Center speaker, and preferable one that is in the same speaker line as the front two mains.
    Less chance of a tonal differance this way.

    The SPL meter and Calibration DVD are not one time use purchases, you will find yourself going back to them for many things after your first calibration. Until you have done this, (CAILIBRATED YOUR SYSTEM PROPERLY) it is diffucult to say what is exactly at fault.

    If your new to the multi channel relem of DD,DTS, etc, I recommened the (*Avia Calibration DVD*), as it dose a very good job of "explaining in geat detail" what your doing and why....
    With different speaker brands along with their respective different ohm-loads and effeciencys their in no question volume levels changes will have to be made in the receiver to compensate for this.
    And guessing may get you close but even the best of ears are a few dbs off.

    Running out and buying a new Center channel speaker or Receiver at this point is a bit to early, you need to get things "properly calibrated first"!
    Then if problems persist with unclear dialoge you may have to change out your center, etc. If you've calibrated properly and the center persists to be unclear and you decied to change centers, you will need to (recalibrate that channel again) for the new speaker....

    Even useing the receivers test tones and the SPL meter would be better than by ear.
    The differance in a poperly calied system regardless of system cost can be amazing compared to one set by ear, or just pulled from the box and pluged in with no real calibration done at all. There are a number of threads dealing with system calibration in the basics area.
    Also a quick search for specifics might find more detailed information on something you don't understand clearly once you start to try to calibrate properly with the tools I hope you intened to pick up.

    Best money you will ever spend on your system.

    Good luck Mate
    Geoff
     
  11. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    before you go and spend more money, make sure you understand what everyone has already told you.
    it sounds like you're happy with the sound of the center, just not the volume output.
    you're running a different center speaker then your mains. that's causing you most of the problems. if you get a different center speaker, do you think that's going to change anything? tbh, it may...it may not. [​IMG]
    be sure you understand these concepts (already mentioned):
    calibration
    you need to make sure that the same amount of sound is coming out of all your speakers. that way, you'll hear the sound the way the director wants you to. at the very least, run the test-tones from your receiver - at the very best pick up a radio-shack spl meter and a calibration dvd. this will ensure that your speakers are properly level-matched.
    timbre matching
    because your center is different than your mains, the sound characteristics will also be different. this means that a motorcycle engine will sound different in your left speaker then it will in your center. in a perfect world, you would have three *identical* speakers in the front - that would provide a seamless front-end. many companies now sell their speakers in packages - those are almost always timbre matched for this exact reason.
    efficiency
    your mains are pretty efficient. an "efficient" speaker requires less power from a receiver then an inefficient one. it's possible that your center speaker falls into the latter category. if you get another center try to have it fall inline with your mains.
     
  12. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Adam,
    Another factor could be the level or height of your center channel in relation to your seating position. If you are sitting well below the height of your center channel chances are the sound is passing above ear level. The same can be said if your center channel is below your seating position. The center channel should be placed at ear level while seated if possible. If your center is positioned above your seating position then you need to angle the speaker down so the dailog is directly aimed at ear level. The best suggestion is to buy a couple of rubber door stops from the hardware store and angle the center toward your ear level. If your speaker is placed below your ear level then you have to angle the speaker up toward ear level.

    My second suggestion (calibration has already been mentioned...and is an absolute must) is to check the distances that you set in your receiver during initial setup. Take a tape measure and check the distance from your seating position to the center channel. Go into your setup mode in your receiver and set the appropriate distance.

    I wholeheartedly agree with Ted. Make sure you have done everything possible before you decided to go buy another center channel. Once you have tried calibrations etc., then if there are no other options, and you are not satisfied look into getting another center.

    My $.02,
    Jason
     
  13. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Jasons and Teds points are ROCK SOLID!

    I didn't mention those as if you pick up the Avia-DVD and SPL meter (A MUST HAVE) all this is covered in the DVD disc and explained extremly clearly.

    But if you go with just the SPL meter for now, (the most important) these suggestions hold allot of merrit as you would have not known with out them mentioning them. The distance setting, getting the center aimed properly at ear level, and the difference in effeciency of speakers. You can use the receivers test tones and SPL meter for set up but some receivers tones are pretty accurate while others are not so good.
    Thats why the mentioning of a proper cali disc is in order when you can afford to buy it.. There is lots of other stuff included on these discs. TV calibration, phase, freq sweeps, panning test, etc.

    Good job guys....

    Geoff

    Edit:
    Your center is NOT setting inside a entertainment center is it? If so this will cause it to sound boxxy, and un-natural. It's like a box in a box. Channel tone controls (not the receivers front panel tone controls) if you have them, can help, but ay center if inside a cabinet will alter it's sound drasticaly!
     
  14. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    thanks for the compliment geoff. we'll get him dialed if it kills us! [​IMG]
     
  15. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]=[​IMG]
    Adam
    We all were their to some extent at one time or another when we started into the world of multi channel formates.
    Give all this new information a try and let us know what you find....
    Geoff
     
  16. Adam LH

    Adam LH Auditioning

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    Thanks for the input guys! [​IMG]
    My centre speaker is sitting on top of a huge rear projection sony t.v.
    How much does the Avia-DVD and SPL meter cost?
    I will try them first I guess before buying another centre channel. I'll let you all know how it goes. Cheers!
     
  17. Mike_Ch

    Mike_Ch Stunt Coordinator

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    Adam,
    What receiver are you using? Does it have in-built test tones? You might want to try balancing these tones by ear first (adjusting output levels to each speaker), the Db Dynamics are meant to be pretty decent judging from some reviews in the mags. It would be even better to get an SPL meter and balance the tones using it. Generally speaking, even a half-decent receiver will be able to drive 6 ohm loads, and it is sensitivity which has a major impact on how loud you can go.
     
  18. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Use the search function at the ~{TANDY}~ link above and type in (Sound Level Meter), you will get 2 types. Both work fine but more buy the Analog meter than digital.
    I don't know if they have a PAL verzion of AVIA or the others, ~{but for "AUDIO" set up in your system, Avia will work for that part of your system, it region free. As noted, you can order any of these from:
    www.Amazon.com
    Currently 37.46-free shipping, normaly 49.99+ shipping.
    Same thing here, use the search function, select DVD and type in (Avia) you shoud get that and a number of other calibration discs...Avia, I recomended simply because it's region free and (very easy for people) to understand what the their trying to tell you..
    It can be a bit overwelming in the begining.
    Geoff
     
  19. Adam LH

    Adam LH Auditioning

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    Hi mike_Ch and guys,
    My amp is a yamaha v6-30.
    It has built in test tones. I used these to get my speakers sounding right. But to have the centre speaker sounding half decent I had to turn it up to 9+ db. When I go back into test tone my centre speaker sounds lounder than the fronts and rears, but when I watch DVD's it's the other way around.
    Man I'm confussed. [​IMG]
     
  20. Geoff L

    Geoff L Screenwriter

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    Your Receivers/preamp test tones may be accurate and they may not be. Your ear may be very good but, the SPL meter won't lie along when used with the Avia cali disc....
    So don't freak yet...[​IMG]
    You might very well be right in the fact you need a different center channel speaker. But till you have the proper tools (Avia and SPL-meter) you may make an unesessary purchase..
    I can only imagen how frustrated you are, but these tools as we call them, will serve you well and for years to come....
    Geoff
    Edit:
    Are you running a subwoofer?
    If not, what are you speaker settings, small, large, and where?
    What is you receivers crossover set at if your running some speakers small?
     

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