Center Speaker Problem [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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07-22-2004, 01:06 PM
alright, im brand new, and i figured someone here could help me with this. I just bought the new Onkyo HTS 770 and im using a Samsung HD841 DVD player. ive got the dvd player connected to a 51 inch projection sony with a monster DVI cable, and ive got the DVD player connected to the onkyo receiver with a monster Fiber Optic cable. the problem im having is that when i switch the receiver to dolby digital output, the center speaker volume is ridiculously low. even when i raise the DB ( anywhere from 1 to 12 ) it gets louder, but its sounds like youre listening in on a loud phone conversation. I have some options on the dvd player such as:

PCM / Bitstream
DTS on/off
dynamic compression on/off
PCM DownSampling on/off

when i have the dvd player on PCM, all the speakers sound fine, so i know the speaker isnt blown or anything, but with PCM i cant get a digital signal ( i think ). when i put it on Bitstream ( which is the proper setting for using a digital decoder ), the center volume is all dropped and weird. So my question is, what can i do to make the center volume sound normal. ive heard that the DVD can be the problem, ive tried 3 different movies including Lord Of The Rings 2 and i know that wasnt recorded in a poor fashion haha. So if anyone has any suggestions please let me know, i feel like ive tried everything, but im sure theres something im overlooking or forgetting. Let me know if you can, thanks guys.


07-26-2004, 01:44 PM
If the center speaker is that drastically different, then it sounds like you're getting the playback in two-channel and the Pro Logic decoder is rechanneling the sound into the center speaker. That means that either the DVD player is only outputing an analog signal, or the receiver is otherwise not receiving a discrete 5.1 digital signal. From the DVD player, the bitstream setting is typically what you want to go with because that will output the digital signal directly to the receiver through the digital output. You might need to also check your receiver's setup menu to make sure that it is setup to accept the digital signal.

I think you need to get a calibration DVD that has the channel ID test on it. The Sound & Vision Home Theater Setup DVD costs only $15, and is very simple to use. If the output is only two channel, then the surround speaker ID test will fail. That S&V disc will also help you correctly set the center channel level. It's best to do the level matching with a SPL meter. Radio Shack sells the analog models for $40, and they're worth every penny.

08-12-2004, 01:27 PM
Noob, did you ever figure out the problem? I am having the same problem. My center speaker sounds muffled and I don't know what is wrong with it. When I switch it to dolby digital, it appears as though I am getting surround sound but the center speaker is not as loud as the rest and it does sound like a loud phone conversation. If you could let me know, that would be great! my email is Thanks.

08-18-2004, 07:20 PM

The DVD player should be set to bitstream for the optical connection that you discribed. Do you have analog RCA cables connected from the player to the receiver too? If so, the receiver may be automatically selecting one of these two connection schemes as the default, overriding the one which gives you true 5.1 sound. Your solution might be to either disconnect the analog cables so that the receiver doesn't have to decide which to use, and/or to make sure that this function is properly set on the receiver. Unless you have some sound format on the DVD player which isn't found on the receiver, (DVD-A, SACD, DTS), you really don't need the analog connections.

Some other things to check are the speaker type/size settings for your center channel speaker on the receiver which can be "Small", "Large", or "None"; or sometimes "Normal", "Wideband", or "Phantom". These setting will drastically effect how the center speaker sounds with respect to the rest of the system. You should post again with information about your center speaker (and the rest of your speakers for that matter); but one thing is for certain... since you have a center channel speaker in your system, you should definitely not have "None" or "Phantom" chosen for this setting. We can help you determine which of the other two settings to use once we have some details about your speakers... which brings up another important point: If the speakers aren't a matched set as in at least from the same manufacturer and model, then if could be that the center speaker is just imcompatible with the other speakers you're using. We won't even get into the whole "timbre" discussion for now, but if the speaker are very dissimilar, they may not work well together no matter what settings you use.

One other important thing to note is the phase of the speakers. If the speakers are wired out of phase with respect to one another this can cause cancellations and other sonic anomalies. If you don't understand this stuff, that's alright, we'll help explain it to you. If you do understand it, then you can help us eliminate things and continue moving on in the troubleshooting process.

Wooch's advice about the test disc and the SPL meter is very good. In my opinion, Wooch's advice is always good, but the disc and the meter can help you determine and properly set speaker size, phase, calibration level... all of the things that we've been talking about. If you have any investment in your system at all you owe it to yourself to have these valuable tools. Few things that are so relatively affordable can improve the sound of your system as much.

Hope this helps to get you started. Best of luck.