Question about dialogue/center channel

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by MarcWi, Jun 20, 2003.

  1. MarcWi

    MarcWi Agent

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    Ive been using my new set up for a few weeks now and overall Im thrilled with it. While it may not be as high end as some would want-it is leaps and bounds above a rather old rca htib I replaced. Anywya-the one thing I seem to be having some trouble with is dialogue sometimes seeming a little lost in the mix when there is a lot of surround use. Is this common? IS it normal to need to raise the volume of the center channel?

    By he way, I have a Pioneer vsxd811s receiver and a klh center and front sides that came in a three back bundle and three of the KLh "twisites" as mr surround and rear center...
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Hi Marc.

    Have you used a SPL meter and test-tones to level-adjust all your speakers? Check the FAQ/Primer for "Calibration". Your local video store may also rent the Avia DVD which contains a tutorial.

    Even with a leveled system, there ARE some movies where the center seems to need a boost. But it should be the occasional disk.

    I note the center volume numbers, bump the center volume 1-2, then put it back after the movie.
     
  3. Jason Co

    Jason Co Second Unit

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    Marc,
    You may also want to tilt your center channel down towards your seating position. If you have your center on top of your tv just put a couple of rubber door stops under the center channel. Some people have even used a laser pointer to align the center with the listening position.

    J
     
  4. MarcWi

    MarcWi Agent

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    thanks for the advice--i never thought about the obvious directional issue--you see my seating arrangement doesn't really allow for me to sit directly centered to the tv-it may be a simple matter of angling the center channel to be more directly in line with my seating position...
     
  5. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    MarcWi,

    The most obvious issue is the calibration. If you have not calibrated your system, there is no way you can begin to use other methods to tweak the system to get an accurate sound mix between speakers. If you start from a calibrated baseline, then you can do things like angle speakers, reposition subs, etc. to eke out better performance (recalibrating after each change, of course). It cannot be stated too strongly how much calibration matters to achieving a proper sounding home theater. If you have already calibrated, I apologize, but if you have not, this is the first thing you should do to try to solve your center channel problem. You will be amazed at the results.
     
  6. MarcWi

    MarcWi Agent

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    Jeff,

    Im lloking into that now. I think my brother in law may have a meter so i want to look into borrowing his before I look into buying one. Anyone know a good source for these calibration discs?
     
  7. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    You can get Avia or Sound and Vision online at almost any DVD vendor. Best Buy sometimes has them for sale and I have seen Video Essentials for rent at Blockbuster. At the very least, you can calibrate your audio using the receiver's test tones if you lack a test disk.
     
  8. MarcWi

    MarcWi Agent

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    good point thanks-i sort of did that now by ear-but ill be checking in for that meter over the weekend.
     
  9. MarcWi

    MarcWi Agent

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    I just remebered another question I meant to ask: I know calibration should come first-but one thing I was trying was setting the center channel to L instead of S. However, am I mistaken in that on the Pioneer receiver you cannot set the center as L with the fronts as small?
     
  10. Bill_Wil

    Bill_Wil Stunt Coordinator

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    Marc,
    You probably cant set the center to large with the fronts set to small as you stated. It really wouldnt be a good idea anyway.
     
  11. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Marc,

    The other issue to consider is the room. If you have a "bright" room that has many reflective surfaces dialogue will become very difficult to discern. You'd also notice that sound effects like gunshots and glass breaking make you cringe and want to run from the room because of the brightness of the sound. What materials and furniture do you have in the room?
     
  12. MarcWi

    MarcWi Agent

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    WEll-it is a living room. There re coffee tagles a couch and a loveseat. Unfortunately thers not much I can do about those--are there ways to deal with all those surfaces?
     

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