Centre speaker volume

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Steve Matulich, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. Steve Matulich

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    With 5.1, 6.1 & now 7.1 HTSs is it becoming more common to have to turn up the volume of the centre speaker?

    With my AVR (Denon) I can individually turn my speakers up to +12 or down to -12; the usual settings for my speakers is 0.

    When watching DVDs my centre channel is competing with 2 tower speakers with powered subwoofers, 2 rear speakers & a 2 x 10 inch subwoofer.

    When there's action scenes with bombs, gunfire, cars racing etc I find that I have to turn my centre speaker volume up to around the +8 mark so that I can clearly hear dialogue - is this something everyone else is having to do when watching movies in dolby or DTS or is there something else I need to do?

    BTW, my centre speaker is timber matched with the rest of my system.

    Cheers.
     
  2. Blaine_M

    Blaine_M Second Unit

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    Well, the sounds shouldn't cancel eachother out, in otherwords, no. What I do is use the testtone, and set it so the volume is the same on all the speakers from my listening area. If I set that properly I have no problems hearing the center. It's all about frequency, your center is not competing with your subwoofer. You may also have some room accoustic problems. I have those issues right now that I'm trying to resolve.
     
  3. Scott Tucker

    Scott Tucker Stunt Coordinator

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    Get a spl meter, set all speaks to the same level from the listening position, and you should not have a serious problem.
     
  4. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Scott is right. Without an SPL (Sound Pressure Level) meter, it is tough to set your speakers at the correct level. Your ROOM is the largest factor in setting these levels, and that is what the adjustments on your receiver are for. "0" is does not mean your speakers will play at the same level in your room.
     
  5. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    Haven’t personally experienced it since I only have 5.1, but I can see where it might be a problem, especially in scenes where there’s a lot of intense sound happening in all the channels simultaneously. It’s not an issue of “sounds canceling each other,” it’s an issue of more being added in one place vs. another. The center channel is now competing with five or six speakers instead of four. The output from one or two extra speakers is certainly going to add a few dB to the overall volume of the surround effects. No reason that couldn't overwhelm the single center speaker to a certain degree.

    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt
     
  6. Rutgar

    Rutgar Second Unit

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    I agree with Steve and Wayne. With the center channel speaker set at the same level as the other speakers in the system, I often find that dialog can get buried when the rest of the speakers are blasting. I usually set my center channel about 3dB louder than the other speakers when using my SPL meter.
     
  7. Steve Matulich

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    I had my HTS set up by the guys at the place I puchased the system from - they had the SPL meter - my issue is that the centre speaker has to 'give out' it's infor (dialogue) at a higher sound level because I am also getting sound effects etc from 5 other sources.

    The drivers of my centre channel are smaller than the rest of my system - 2 x 4 inch versus 6.5 inch mains & 5.5 inch rears but I've been told by the manufacure (Mirage) that the centre channel in question is the right match for the rest of my system.

    The SPL distance for my mains is the same as the SPL for the centre channel (3.2 metres) what if I indicated the centre channel was 4.2 metres away from normal listening position - would that make a difference, would the centre channel play louder & solve my problem?
     
  8. Brad E

    Brad E Second Unit

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    No it wouldn't. This only sets the delay. If you switch your center to 4.2, then the sound will get to you a millisecond or two sooner, but will not be any louder. To set the SPL levels the same, you need an SPL meter and then adjust your channels accordingly.
     
  9. Steve Matulich

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    So would re-setting my SPL to a louder level for the centre channel be the same as manually increasing the sound level via my remote?

    It's only on movies (DVDs) that it's s problem.
    When listening to football & other sporting events it's fine.

    Is it safe for the centre channel to have it cranked higher than the rest of they system?

    My CC can take up to 100 watts where as my mains are up to 200 watts so would having the volume of the CC at +6 compared to the rest of the speakers which are set at 0 cause any possible damage?
     
  10. Rutgar

    Rutgar Second Unit

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    It shouldn't. Especially if you're using an external sub, and the center channel speaker is set to "small".
     

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