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Vocal Clarity (1 Viewer)

Gunfighter

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Matthew
I am having issues with vocal clarity while watching movies/shows. Basically, the dialog isn't clear and crisp like you think it should be. This doesn't exist when watching sitcoms, sporting events and things like that. It's just movies and premium series and stuff like that. For instance, following House of the Dragons is a pain in the ass. I have done a bunch of reading and watching stuff on YouTube but nothing seems to work. I have moved my Crossovers everywhere between 40 and 200 hrtz, moved my Center Channel off of the wall, replaced the speaker wire and even tried hooking up a Definitive Technolgy center speaker to see if it's my Klipsch center.

My Equipment
Receiver - Denon AVR E300
Fronts - Klipsch RP500f
Center - Klipsch RP500c
Sub - Klipsch SPL100
Surround - Atlantic Technology

Settings
Speaker Levels
Left -1.5
Right +3
Center +5
Surround Left -1
Surround Right -1
Subwoofer -8

Crossovers
L&R - 60
Center - 80
Surround - 80

When I go into the Audio feature of the Denon receiver and toggle the Multi EQ to Audyssey, LFE or LFE+Main, it does sound a little better but then there is so much coming from the Surround Sound Speakers. With that said, I run a 5.1 because the layout of the room doesn't lend itself to Atmos because of the location of the Projector due to a ceiling fan and then there are a few doors to the room.

The Klipsch speakers are a year and a half old, and the receiver is 8 years old. The surround sound speakers came with the house, and I have no idea how old they are.

Is this a matter of the receiver not meshing well with the speakers? Marantz has a 5.1 receiver, but I'd like to exhaust all options before I start throwing good money after bad. Thanks in advance and I hope you have a great day.

TV stand.jpg
 

JohnRice

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I think you need to lower the levels of the surround speakers. Try 3-6 dB lower. Then if you still need more, try lowering them more and/or raising the center.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Besides what John just pointed out, what about speaker distance settings since you listed levels? IF you never checked/bothered w/ that, that could be (part of) the problem you're experiencing whenever something actually using/needing the full surround setup kicks in.

Beyond those, I'd consider moving those front LCRs at least a bit closer to the viewing/listening area... at least clearing out from all the other adjacent stuff/obstacles, including the center cabinet where the center speaker sits. The front LCRs should ideally not be recessed at all like that (for best audio performance). IF possible, I'd even just clear the entire (nearby) area of anything other than the speakers alone (plus any minimally needed stand for the center speaker... and of course the display itself).

Also, might be good to see how things look w/ your PJ screen in place (to make sure there are no issues w/ that). Is the screen retractable and recessed well behind the front plane of the front LCRs?

_Man_
 

Gunfighter

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Matthew
Besides what John just pointed out, what about speaker distance settings since you listed levels? IF you never checked/bothered w/ that, that could be (part of) the problem you're experiencing whenever something actually using/needing the full surround setup kicks in.

Beyond those, I'd consider moving those front LCRs at least a bit closer to the viewing/listening area... at least clearing out from all the other adjacent stuff/obstacles, including the center cabinet where the center speaker sits. The front LCRs should ideally not be recessed at all like that (for best audio performance). IF possible, I'd even just clear the entire (nearby) area of anything other than the speakers alone (plus any minimally needed stand for the center speaker... and of course the display itself).

Also, might be good to see how things look w/ your PJ screen in place (to make sure there are no issues w/ that). Is the screen retractable and recessed well behind the front plane of the front LCRs?

_Man_
Good take on the distances but the distances are pretty accurate (between 17 and 19 feet for the stuff in the front and 5 or 6 feet for the surround, as they relate to the sitting area). The projection screen is motorized and retracts into the crown molding. I did run the Audyssey calibration to get things started. There are no obstructions between the speakers and where we sit (no coffee table or anything like that). I'll mess around with the Surround levels and see what that does for me. Thanks to you and Mr John!
 

ManW_TheUncool

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17-19ft? And looks like no area rug on that (large) tile floor? Presumably, the side walls are pretty far away as well (for interfering sound reflections issue to be minimal wrt those walls)?

Makes me wonder if sound reflections along the floor could be problematic. And how high are the ceilings for that matter (as you could possibly get reflections that way too)?

How does the space acoustics sound to you in general? Is it quite resonant/reverberant? IF yes, maybe a good size area rug could help (and if possible, maybe some room treatment on the ceiling too).

The other thing is how loud do you actually push the system? Those Klipschs should be plenty efficient to help, but it's still a fairly large space (sounds like nearly 30ft front-to-back and no idea about side-to-side) w/ a budget AVR that's only rated at 75wpc... plus your speaker level settings seem to suggest as much...

... although I find the discrepancy for level settings between your front LR a bit odd and unexpected.

Also, w/ 17-19ft distance, I'd want those front LRs to be much farther apart than they look in the picture -- they're probably no more than ~6ft apart in that snap and should probably be at least 10ft apart, if not farther, for such great distance from the main viewing/listening area.

And since you obviously have plenty of space, I'd try moving all the speakers further into the room and away from the walls and any other sizable objects, including cabinets, bookshelves, etc, for best results. Of course, I understand there are aesthetics and other practicality considerations, but for best audio results, rearrange your HT so the speakers, except maybe the subwoofer, have more space to "breathe" (around them). You might find a need to also move your primary listening/viewing location somewhat closer to the center of the room (to allow the surrounds more space away from rear/side walls, if possible).

The other thing to consider is setting crossovers to be higher, not lower, so powerful surround tracks are less taxing on the AVR and lean more on the subwoofer even for the upper bass. And in your case (especially w/ such a large space), you might consider upgrading the subwoofer (so you can lean more on it than the AVR and other speakers for the heavy-lifting bass) before the AVR.

_Man_
 

Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Settings
Speaker Levels
Left -1.5
Right +3
Center +5
Surround Left -1
Surround Right -1
Subwoofer -8


The speaker levels as assigned in the AVR’s menu are only relevant if all five speakers match. With mis-matched speakers all bets are off. I assume you let Audyssey set the levels, but you might double-check them with a SPL meter.

Lacking that, just run the rotating speaker test tone through the speakers. Do some speakers sound louder than others? If so, then adjust the levels by ear until they sound the same. Again, a meter would be better / more precise, but “ear-balling” is better than nothing.

Aside from that - if the surround speakers seem consistently loud to you from one program to the next, then by all means turn them down.

Also, if the center channel crossover settings go up to 200 Hz, then do it. Often what people perceive to be a lack of vocal clarity is simply that voices, especially male voices, have too much low-end present, making them sound “boomy.” This alone might skew Audyssey to set the center speaker lower than it should be, because low end in a speaker will generate a higher SPL figure than one that’s “thinner” (assuming the same baseline signal to both).

Really, very few male voices generate fundamentals below ~300 anyway, so running the speaker lower will only unnaturally boost the voice low frequencies, especially if they were not equalized properly during production (which is actually more common than it should be).

Also, you might try reducing the center channel EQ a few dB in the 100-200 Hz range, if that adjustment is available.

Even if everything is technically set correctly, there is the situation that some movies just aren’t mixed as well as they should be.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt
 

JohnRice

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The thing is, the description of the problem is rather vague, so it’s difficult to do more than guess at a solution.
 

Bartman

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As my hearing has declined over the years whereby I'm now totally deaf in my left ear & my right is compromised, these are the DRASTIC measures I've taken to maintain vocal clarity:
1. Turn down or disconnect surrounds but keep the system in 5.1 etc mode. Make sure any AVR surround sound processing (hall, stadium etc) is turned off. Surround sound and processing just adds confusion to vocals.
2. If your large left/right front speakers have good vocal clarity remove the center channel and set the AVR to phantom mode.
3. Turn down or disconnect the subwoofer but keep the system in 5.1 etc mode. Adjust the crossover frequency to taste. Huge quantities of bass just adds confusion to vocals.
4. If your still having trouble try 1-3 dB of treble boost at your AVR. If that doesn't work consider replacing your front left/right speakers with ones with better midrange/vocal clarity.
Good luck.
 

daddyora

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Coy J. Ramsey
I am having issues with vocal clarity while watching movies/shows. Basically, the dialog isn't clear and crisp like you think it should be. This doesn't exist when watching sitcoms, sporting events and things like that. It's just movies and premium series and stuff like that. For instance, following House of the Dragons is a pain in the ass. I have done a bunch of reading and watching stuff on YouTube but nothing seems to work. I have moved my Crossovers everywhere between 40 and 200 hrtz, moved my Center Channel off of the wall, replaced the speaker wire and even tried hooking up a Definitive Technolgy center speaker to see if it's my Klipsch center.

My Equipment
Receiver - Denon AVR E300
Fronts - Klipsch RP500f
Center - Klipsch RP500c
Sub - Klipsch SPL100
Surround - Atlantic Technology

Settings
Speaker Levels
Left -1.5
Right +3
Center +5
Surround Left -1
Surround Right -1
Subwoofer -8

Crossovers
L&R - 60
Center - 80
Surround - 80

When I go into the Audio feature of the Denon receiver and toggle the Multi EQ to Audyssey, LFE or LFE+Main, it does sound a little better but then there is so much coming from the Surround Sound Speakers. With that said, I run a 5.1 because the layout of the room doesn't lend itself to Atmos because of the location of the Projector due to a ceiling fan and then there are a few doors to the room.

The Klipsch speakers are a year and a half old, and the receiver is 8 years old. The surround sound speakers came with the house, and I have no idea how old they are.

Is this a matter of the receiver not meshing well with the speakers? Marantz has a 5.1 receiver, but I'd like to exhaust all options before I start throwing good money after bad. Thanks in advance and I hope you have a great day.

View attachment 157620
I feel your pain. Due to declining hearing (age-related) and noise-related hearing problems (tinnitis) I have been chasing the same dialogue related issue(s) for years. The experts here have given you some good tips to try and they may make some difference. In addition, I experimented with EQ around the dialogue region (1000 hz or so) and eventually even changed to a 3-way center channel (improved the off-axis clarity quite a bit) but the biggest improvement came from getting a decent pair of hearing aids that have been jacked up in the region > 8000hz. But in spite of all of these steps still use CC on many movies.
 

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