Should center channel level be increased?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Ryan*Pr*, Jul 16, 2003.

  1. Ryan*Pr*

    Ryan*Pr* Agent

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    I have calibrated my system with several different speaker placements and all had the same problem. BTW, I am running Onkyo TX-SR700, Paradigm CC170 center, Titans F/R, and a PDR10 sub. I have the levels matched, but it is hard to hear spoken dialogue compared to all the sound effects. I feel like I have to turn the volume up more when there is dialogue and then put it back down when there is an action scene because otherwise it will half kill my ears.

    I currently have the center on the top of an entertainment unit, pointed down to ear level (currently 1-2 feet above ear level). My fronts are not toed in, with the tweeters about 6 inches below ear level. The rears about 6 inches above ear level.

    I have to raise my center level about +3 from actual calibration and even then it doesn't seem like dialogue is as clear as it should be. I don't want the center level to be too high on action scenes and have it louder than the other speakers. Do you have any suggestions?


    EDIT: In case you wondered, my settings are: FL:0 FR:0 C:-1 RL:-4 RR:-4
     
  2. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    There may be a couple of factors that are affecting your experience.

    1) What test tones are you using? The ones built in to the receiver or a test disc like AVIA or VE? Sometimes the receiver tones aren't as accurate.

    2) Onkyo normally has a good rep and so this may not apply. But my old Sony STR-DA555ES had this very phenomenon you describe and my new NAD T762 does not. I talked with some professionals about this, and they had a theory. Since the NAD has a superior power supply (toroidal) and have accurate (even understated) power ratings, they surmised that when all five/six channels are being driven, the weaker Sony would power the mains but the center would lag behind. I know that I have *no* dynamic range compression on my NAD (soft passages are soft, loud are loud, and the value for that setting is "zero" or "off") but for some reason I've never had to play the Volume Adjusting Game with the T762.
     
  3. Ryan*Pr*

    Ryan*Pr* Agent

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    I am using the internal test tones, but I don't think they should be too far off. I haven't gotten a good calibration disc because the main use for it would be to setup speaker levels. The TV is a regular 27" and I won't upgrade to a good one for a year or so.

    Anyway, I might try and call Onkyo. The nearest service center is 2 hours away, but with my speakers popping when I turn it off and this - I am not too happy at the moment. Do you think the service people can do anything if the power supply is the problem?

    If anyone else has any other ideas, let me know as I am rather frustrated.
     
  4. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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  5. Garrett Adams

    Garrett Adams Supporting Actor

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    Ryan, I have the same problem on DVDs and Dolby digital on broadcasts. My system is calibrated using the Avia tones at 85db. I've tried to solve the problem by posting a similar question here and other forums, but have not found many users having the same problem of excess mains bleed-though into the center channel. On cable and OTA digital I will often switch from digital to PLII-M which gives the cleanest center channel dialog. On true Dolby 5.1 broadcasts like some ABC programs, which are locked in to Dolby, I switch to the source analog stereo cables set to PLII-M.

    Recently I have also trimmed my left and right mains -1db and boosted my center channel +2db. This was done primarily for DVDs since I prefer if possible to keep Dolby and DTS. Sometimes I'll experiment by adding Cirrus Extra Surround to the mix. If the dialog is too difficult to understand I can bail out to either analog stereo cables or 5.1 multichannel.

    Outlaw 950
    Outlaw 7100
    Denon DVD-1600
    Paradigm Mini-monitor mains, CC-370 center, and four Atom surrounds.
    SVS PC+ sub
     

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