Upgrade advice for home theatre...... [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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05-25-2006, 10:22 AM
my settup:

Sony 50" grand wega proj. lcd hdtv
sony str da-1es
xbox 360
panasonic prog. scan dvd player
paradigm monitor 70p -fronts
paradigm cc-70 -center
paradigm titans -surround
svs 20-39 cs-plus sub
mackie m-1400i amp (2x500 watts @ 4 ohms powering sub)

Some questions:

1. what would be the next best upgrade for ym HT system, I was thinkin an upgrade to a Paradigm CC-370 center channel, or even the C-5 Signature center.

2. If i did upgrade to a center channel, would it be feasible to run the center channel off the extra channel on ym mackie amp instead of my receiver?

3. Any other suggestions for my growing HT greatly appreciated.


05-25-2006, 12:31 PM
How about tools for optimizing your gear. Do you own an SPL meter, DVE or similar calibration disc? Room treatment maybe. Is your sub in the perfect spot?

Just some small suggestions.

05-25-2006, 02:13 PM
Forget about upgrading the center speaker by itself. The continuity of the front soundstage relies on a timbral match between the center speaker and main speakers. If the tonal characteristics for the new center speaker significantly deviate from the mains, then it will detract from the more seamless front soundstage that you would ideally want. If you upgrade the center speaker, then you will also want to look into upgrading the main speakers in order to maintain the timbre matching (provided that you currently use a center speaker that properly timbre matches with the mains).

As L.J. said, the best upgrade you can make is to simply make sure that you've optimized the equipment that you already own. This would include level matching the speakers with a SPL meter and test DVD (the posters on this board generally recommend setting the subwoofer 4 to 8 db higher than the mains), and making sure that the distances and/or delay timing on your receiver setup is correct

Another important step entails aligning the speakers to make the surround imaging more seamless. The diagram below shows the ITU reference alignment, and this is a good place to start. You should also experiment with raising the surround speakers (Dolby recommends 2' above ear level, I've found that about 1' works well), and position them so that they are pointed directly at one another (this is another one of Dolby's recommendations).


You should also look at your room acoustics. Do you have a lot of exposed hard surfaces? When you clap your hands, do you hear a lot of reverberation? If you answered yes, then you should take steps to deaden the echoes in your room and/or break up the first reflections. Simple things like using a thick rug on the floor, relocating cushy furniture into your room, putting cloth coverings on the wall, will help to reduce the slap echo in your room and make the sound more coherent. Putting bookshelves (with books of varying heights and widths) along the sidewalls or on the backwall can break up the reflected sounds and smooth out the overall sound. More advanced approaches would include a RTA analysis of your room acoustics, and installing acoustic panels and/or corner bass traps.

Lastly (and perhaps most important), you want to smooth out the bass response as much as possible. The room will create boundary effects that cause the bass to sound anemic at some frequencies, and unbearably boomy at others. Fixing these problems involves repositioning the subwoofer, and using a parametric equalizer to dial down any boomy peaks that your room is causing. A parametric equalizer will set you back as little as $100, and likely do more to improve your sound quality than any center speaker swapouts will.