Turning off center channel

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AaronBatiuk, Jan 20, 2003.

  1. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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    I'd like to know what people here think of turning off the center channel for DD and/or dts 5.1 (or '6.1') soundtracks. Decoders for either one will adapt to this speaker arrangement by mixing the center channel information into the left and right speakers (actually, my receiver does this in the analog domain to eliminate digital manipulation).

    My left and right speakers stradle a 110 inch diagonal front-projection screen. The current center speaker is below the screen (a little lower than the L/R speakers). Like many center channel speakers, it is decidely Lo-Fi, which is the main reason I want to ditch it. I would also like the new 'phantom' center channel (reproduced by the L/R speakers) to sound like it's coming from within the screen; impossible with a real center channel speaker below the screen.

    Aside from slightly lower localisation of the center channel sound, especially for off-center viewers, can anyone point out any obvious negative side effects of such an arrangement?
     
  2. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    the other side effects are that for newer movies mixed in 5.1, to get an accurate reproduction you should use 5.1. That's a little nit picky, but I believe it to be true. Although in your case with a much inferior center speaker, you may as well turn it off. I'm a big believer in having an IDENTICAL center speaker! This makes it hi-fi!! Center speakers are designed for consumer appeal and not for the best sound, despite what any of you may think. Speakers are made in the shape they are (vertical) for a reason...they sound the best when they're vertical. Since you live in Ottawa you can go to Dewar's Audio and hear the demo of this principle for yourself...it made me a believer!

    Ben
     
  3. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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  5. Andy_SB

    Andy_SB Agent

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    I used to run my Yamaha receiver in center-channel 'Phantom' mode quite a bit because my center was vastly inferior to my mains.
    I upgraded my center, and I'm very glad I did. The clarity of the dialogue has improved a great deal using the new center channel, especially in 5.1/6.1 formats.
    Personally, I think it's necessary to use a quality center for the improved separation in the front soundstage - if an airplane flies from the left of the screen to the right, I think the sound "moves" much more distinctly when using three speakers instead of two. Especially, as others have noted, if your HT room isn't set up "perfectly".

    Additionally, with the center directly above the TV, the sound does seem like it's coming straight out of the screen, in my opinion (although my set is MUCH smaller than yours).

    Overall I think using a good quality center has had a positive impact on virtually all of my HT applications.

    - Andy

    Edit: Oh, and I agree with the above posters that getting a center speaker in the "traditional" horizontal design is not necessary - it's just more practical for many people.
     
  6. Ben Hanrahan

    Ben Hanrahan Stunt Coordinator

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    I was a big believer in no center channel, until I tested it with dd and dts...in these cases dialog becomes much clearer and the overall sound is more natural when you use a center speaker. Back in the days of pro-logic, I think it was better to use phantom mode, as the center speakers used to be horrible, and receivers used to underpower the center channel....furthermore, the center channel was derived from the mains, not a discreet channel.

    I have 3 B&W 602's accross the front, and I love it! The sound is so smooth across the front! I wish everyone understood the need for a quality center speaker, but most are easily fooled by marketing. With dd and dts, the center speaker is everything, and to think that it would be inferior to the mains just doesn't make sense to me.
     
  7. AaronBatiuk

    AaronBatiuk Second Unit

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    Thanks for the advice.
    I'm keeping the center speaker in the system, though not necessarily this center speaker..
     
  8. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Anyway to introduce a perforated screen into the setup, and put the center channel speaker behind the screen?
     
  9. Zack_R

    Zack_R Stunt Coordinator

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