Center channel for music? [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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11-07-2006, 05:55 PM
Okay, so I am beginnging to get a pretty good picture of how a 5.1 system works. But what about listening to music, as opposed to viewing a DVD? What if I hook up a computer to the receiver and play MP3's? Will I be using more than 2.1? Will the processor feed out sound to the center and rear speakers? I tried the "decompressor" on my Pioneer receiver. This is supposed to restore the loss from compressing the original wave format to MP3. Anyway, I am not too impressed. I think it might be your basic dynamic range expander. It was a little overkill IMO. I am not looking for "enhanced" sound, but just like as close to what I would hear at a concert within the range of my budget. I have the receiver and a pair of front speakers. I thought I would get a center and sub next, and then worry with the rears last.

11-07-2006, 08:02 PM
Assuming you have a DD Pioneer, it will have all sorts of music modes. There seems to be a constant debate regarding the preference of listening to 2 channel CDs in multi-channel modes, but most people seem to agree that you simply listen to whatever mode you like. I like 2 channel for most music, but will rock all 7 channels if I feel so inclined.

As for upgrades, it sounds like your on the right path. I would get a sub next. However, center vs. surrouds depends on how you listen/watch. If you listen alone, I would get the surrounds first. If you listen/watch with other people, I would get the center. That's because most recievers have a "phantom" center mode that will send the center channel signal to your right and left speakers. If your listening from the sweet spot, you won't miss the center as much as you miss surrounds.

Back in the olden days, before DD 5.1, I unhooked my surrounds because I didn't think it was worth it for how intrusive they were. A single matrixed rear channel limited to 100-8000hz was just noise. DD 5.1 however is night and day. Those surrounds are worth it.

11-07-2006, 08:02 PM
I do not own any mp3 gear. I have heard an mp3 cd which sounded good. I do not know how good mp3 recorded music sounds from an ipod and how much information it contains or has been eliminated by compression.

I do have DPL-2 music on my receiver. How well you adjust this medium on a 5.1 system with its paramaters will determine how well it works. One would think that on a two channel recording, all that exists is frontal two channel stereo music. That is not the case for many recordings How a recording was mixed may determine placement of different instruments when played through DPL-2,Dynaquad or Quad. processing(SQ-QS-RM). In a SQ recording, those instruments were deliberately placed or matrixed to create a 4 channel sound. I have heard recordings that gave a "false" SQ-quad rendition in 4 channel mode. Both the false SQ and real SQ recordings would place instruments or voice into a center speaker channel if they belonged there. When you use surround speakers, you will hear sounds out of those surrounds if those sounds were mixed "out-of phase". With DPL-2 music, you might hear sounds all over your room depending on the recording's mix. The listening experience of surround two channel music is exhilirating to some and not to others. Sometimes a musical piece is mixed in such a way that while it played up front in two channel when set to stereo, played out of the rears only in surround. That could sound annoying. The recording was improperly mixed and phased.

11-08-2006, 02:37 PM
Okay, thanks, I think I might get the sub next. The front speakers I have a Boston CR67's. I don't know if I will keep them as fronts or not. There is a little lacking in the way of upper mids that affects vocals a little. At least that's what my ears are telling me. Anyway, will deal with that in time.

Next issue of confusion: Which sub to buy. I have look at comparable Velodyne, Boston, and SVS online. Now to hear them, is a different story. It's a little drive to a Circuit City. The local specialty store mostly stocks 100 watt type 10" subs. I was thinking more along the lines of 12" and 200-300 watts, with decent output in the below audio range for HT. If I remember correctly, the low E string on a 5-string bass is centered at 32hz. But it would be nice to have some "foot room" down in the 20's for FX. I don't think a kick drum is lower than a 5 string. Anyway, this is my thinking. I spent some time listening to a 15" Klipsh sub that I thought was quite nice. I just want to be able to hear all the music.

11-09-2006, 09:43 AM
Subs are tough to audition because they need to be placed properly in the room, which a lot a dealers won't take the time to do. One of my local dealer has them spread all the way across the room from left to right, a situation hardly fair to either the listener or the sub!

Anyway, I agree that you should get a sub that plays into the low 20's, minium. Some of the most respected are Paradigm and Velodyne Servo controlled subs. Servo's are nice because they exert control over both the push and pull of the driver, thereby offering more accurate bass. Music first types prefer sealed enclosure subs for their speed, but I've also heard plenty of ported subs that were plenty fast. It's simply a matter of what sounds good to you. Stay away from boomy, flabby bass. That may sound great on Star Wars, but it'll sound awful with music.

Brands I'd consider outside of those mentioned are: Definitive Technology, HSU, ACI, and Dayton. The last is a DIY proposition you can undertake from If you can wield a screwdriver and a soldering iron, you can build the kit. IIRC, Kexodusc (a member here) built a couple and preferred them to his Paradigm sub, but you may want to PM him directly to be sure.

Hope this helps.

11-10-2006, 05:10 AM
Get the five best speakers you can afford, a good multi-format player(sacd/dvd-a/dvd)
and you will understand why multi-channel sound has passed by stereo. Also an
external amp in the 150-250wpc range will make a BIG difference, down the line.
But first things first, get your core system up and running. Let us know what you
come up with. Later

11-10-2006, 12:58 PM
and you will understand why multi-channel sound has passed by stereo.

IMHO: multi channel surround, or surround at itselves will never pass stereo, for music, ok, for movies it did, but for music, nah, the only way it has passed it is in the amount of speakers, it will never have the same imaging and soundstage as stereo, never the same warmth, and it just feels unnatural.