Opinions needed: surrounds or center channel?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bob-N, Oct 26, 2001.

  1. Bob-N

    Bob-N Supporting Actor

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    Hi all,
    Just want to get a census on what is more important as my next purchase. I don't think I will be able to buy both at the same time thus the question.
    I currently have B&W 602 S2's as mains and an SVS 20-39PC sub, Rotel RB985mkII 5ch amp and am patiently waiting for the Outlaw 950 but am considering a used Lexicon DC-2, MC-1 and the B&K ref 30.
    Surrounds considering are 602's or 601's and I'm pretty much set on an LCR6 as the center.
    Thanks for the input.
     
  2. BryanZ

    BryanZ Screenwriter

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    Get the center now for you do not know if you will be able to buy it in six months.
     
  3. Scott Page

    Scott Page Stunt Coordinator

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    Get the center. A good center is very important to a quality movie experience. You want dialog to sound natural. I would spend more on the center than the surrounds which are mainly ambient sound producers.
     
  4. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Definitely go with the center-channel. It is a far more important channel to have representation in. There are *some* films where you will lose quite a bit of information without surrounds. Without a center-channel, in almost *all* films, you will lose alot of info. Obviously, you want balance but if you have to make a choice, get the CC now.
    Bruce
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    Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
    [Edited last by Bruce Hedtke on October 26, 2001 at 04:07 PM]
     
  5. Craig Ball

    Craig Ball Second Unit

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    Over 50%+ of information comes from the center channel when watching DVD's, definately the center.
    Craig
     
  6. Jake T

    Jake T Stunt Coordinator

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    left CENTER!!! right
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    Jake T
    --"The Things You Do In Life Echo In Eternity"
     
  7. Drew Eckhardt

    Drew Eckhardt Stunt Coordinator

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    There's a lot recorded in the center channel, although in "phantom" mode the same information is still there in the same location provided that you're sitting both equidistant from the left and right speakers and not too close.
    Without surround speakers, you can get the surround information when listening to a matrix encoded source or when down-mixing a discrete source to pro-logic; although it will be vaguely off to the side rather than beside or behind you.
    So, if you sit equidistant from the main speakers but not close enough for them to collapse into islands of sound, skip the center because it won't make a positive difference for you while the surrounds may. If you have a direct view or rear projection TV with the same seating situation, consider doing so permanantly because even with an identical speaker having the TV underneath it will give you a chesty, boxy sound different from the main speakers.
    If you have a front projector with a perforated screen, a center channel matching your left and right main is probably a universally good idea because it will help off-axis seating and improve clarity at low volume levels.
    If not, you're making trade-offs. I think a nearly matching center is the right answer if you ever sit off axis or listen at low volumes; although no center beats something that's tonally different. In that area, the tweeter seems to make a bigger difference than the mid/bass driver(s) in providing a match accross the fronts. A mismatch results in a noticeable triangle shape to the image which is very noticeable on non-discrete sources.
    As always, YMMV. You might play with a friend's system and see how you feel about the center being there or absent.
    [Edited last by Drew Eckhardt on October 26, 2001 at 06:55 PM]
     
  8. Bob-N

    Bob-N Supporting Actor

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    Thanks guys for the confirmation. I was leaning towards the center channel as I can make due with some crappy bose 301's as surrounds until I can get some real surrounds.
    Drew, thanks for clarifying what I thought I had heard. I watched the Matrix a couple months ago. If I sat in equidistant from each speaker, the dialogue seemed to come right out from the TV. However, as if I was a bit out of center i.e. not centered between my mains, the dialogue seemed to "lean" towards whichever speaker I was closer to.
    BTW, I have a direct view Sony 32" analog wega.
    Have a good weekend all!
     

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