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Tiber Matching Center Channel?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Curt Badry, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. Curt Badry

    Curt Badry Stunt Coordinator

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    Why is it so important to match your center channel with your mains? The reason i ask is because i have a complete set of "Acoustic Profiles" (mains and center) which i bought up here in Canada about 8 years ago. For all three i think they set me back around $1200.00. They are in excellent shape, but i sometimes loose alittle of the vocals in high action scenes. I love my main speakers, and i was thinking of spending $600-$800 on a more powerful center. Acoustic Proflies have gone out of business so i am stuck purchasing a different brand. My center channel has 2 4.5 inch woofers and a .75 inch tweeter rated at 75 watts x 3. Responce is 55-20,000hz. I need for someone to explain to me what "timber matching" refers to. What do i have to look for when choosing a relacement center. I don't want to end up buying a center that will not blend/sound good with my mains. Or is it a crap shoot?.


    Any insight/opinions would be greatly appreciated.!
     
  2. Dan Halchak

    Dan Halchak Stunt Coordinator

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    The reason they say to match them is so that when you have say...for example, a voice, and it moves from Left, to Center, to Right. It SHOULD sound exactly the same all the way across. You should not notice the change in a specific sound when it goes from one speaker to another. This leads to really smooth and good panning. It's also good for stuff like Explosions and Crashes where all three speakers are producing part of the sound.

    I think it's something that, if you don't have it, you probably won't really notice, once you do have timbre matching, you will definitely notice a difference without it.

    Most times timbre can only be matched by picking up a speaker that is from the same manufacturer and typically series as what you currently have. So if you have an old out of date set, it will most likely be a lot tougher to find a speaker that is timbre matched.

    Note, it is more important to timbre match the fronts than it is the front to backs...but having them all match is a bonus!
     
  3. Gary Wolfe

    Gary Wolfe Auditioning

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    Curt, when you say you lose vocals, is it just that the center is not loud enough? You can turn up just the center channel on most receivers. For most movies, we find that when we turn it up to hear vocals, we're blown away when they start some action scenes. In my case at least, I don't think a new center would fix that.

    Now, my center channel doesn't handle bass that well. I set it to "small". But bass is a separate issue from vocals.

    Gary
     
  4. Dan Halchak

    Dan Halchak Stunt Coordinator

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    Have you calibrated your speakers? Grab a Ratshak SL meter and see how far off your speakers are. When I ran the YPAO on the RX-v1400 it got my speakers almost perfectly correct, it just set my center channel a slight bit too hot. It was only -1db when it should've been around -5db according to the meter. I sort of compromised and set the center to -4db because like you I was loosing some of the dialog in the quiet scenes...this basically fixed my problem...not too pronounced (blends into the front sound stage seemlessly), but at the same time, dialog isn't lost either.

    Granted I will admit some movies just aren't recorded the best either, and you will have to adjust to the movie (or TV station for that matter).
     
  5. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I have no idea if this speaker would be a match for your R/L front ones, but I would highly recommend Rocket’s RSC 200 as a center speaker.

    You should be aware that this is what I use for a center speaker, so you can put the usual amount of bias into what follows.

    I selected the Rocket speaker line for several reasons, one of which was the quality of this center speaker, which I find is well able to produce intelligible speech during action scenes. After calibrating your speakers (I don’t run my center ‘hot’, but keep at the same dB level as all of my other speakers), you should be able to hear both whispers, normal speech and dialogue during action without adjusting the volume (naturally you may need to adjust the volume for any particular movie or TV show).

    Now this is a very big speaker, weighing around 45 lbs. and is probably a foot high by two feet wide. This is a four driver, three-way configuration, crossed-over so that the mid-range driver (4”) gets most normal speech. There are also two 6”woofers and a Vifa tweeter. All in a beautiful rosewood cabinet (or ebony). The workmanship is really stunning.
     
  6. Gary Wolfe

    Gary Wolfe Auditioning

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    Actually, I did run some tests, but my RS sound level meter broke, so I've been just comparing vs. my mains, just to confirm a relative difference. I could verify that there was some difference in the frequencies, but then, what to conclude? That the tweeter was too bright?

    I couldn't decide if the center was "broken" or just too different (but normal), so I got a (digital) EQ with an RTA (Behringer 8024). It made an adjustment of the midrange of up to +5 db! Pretty significant, if you ask me! Maybe the speaker is flawed in some way, but it sounds fine to my ears (not distorting, buzzing, or other sign of being broken), and now it's more balanced after the EQ. Having an additional peice of electronics probably adversely affects the sound, though, so I'm not sure if this is going to be a permanent solution, but I just feel weird sending in a speaker for repair that (otherwise) sounds good. However, if it's really 5db off, that's a bad sign.

    But back to other people's concerns, if someone has a center which doesn't match the mains because it's a different brand altogether, this would be a good way to get it close.

    While you can raise the center, raising just the midrange a tad does help with the dialog, and may not disturb the overall soundstage enough to matter. Worth a shot, if you have the ability to make that fine of an adjustment.
     
  7. Johnny_M

    Johnny_M Second Unit

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    on my system after calibrating with an spl meter my vocals were still getting over powered by everything else, so i turned the left and right mains down 3db and that worked great in my case. when something like a car drives by and goes through all 3 speakers you cant tell the difference in volume. and since it was the mains being turned down it didnt affect the surround volume at all. so i think calibrating is a usefull guide, but with my personal taste you have to alter things slightly, as i want the vocals to be very loud and clear, as that is 90% of the film. perhaps a better center would help, but you gotta work with what ya got.

    johnny
     

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