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  1. #1
    MCF
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    Dolby Digital DVD's and Trouble with Dialogue - Help PLEASE?

    I am having trouble understanding dialogue while listening to dolby digital DVD's. My center channel is a Klipsch RC-25 (two 5.25" woofers and a horn) and my reciever is a Harman Kardon AVR-635. I have the center channel set at small and the crossover set at 80Hz and have adjusted the gain to it +/- 2-3dB above and below all other speakers (all set at small and 80Hz) and that does not seem to help much. It seems like the other sounds coming from the center channel are making it difficult to understand dialogue - the dialague seems muffled or not very crisp. I do not have trouble understanding dialogue while watching tv, etc., just dolby digital dvd's. The reciever is connected to a Sony DVD player via an optical cable. The center channel is located above the tv in a built in bookshelf, but there is air space above, behind and on either side of the center channel and the front extends out beyond the shelft about an 1" to make sure the sound field from the center channel is not cut off. I have also 'angled' the center channel to make it point right at the seating area and that does not seem to make any difference. Are there any adjustments other than crossover and gain that will help boost dialogue or make it more crisp and understandable? Would adjusting treble, bass or delay's help any? Any suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Just some quick thoughts: Do you have cinema EQ engaged? In situations when it is unnecessary (almost all of them), it might muddle the sound of dialogue. Is the delay to your center channel too long, based on its distance from you (it might be worth checking all the delays)? Is your room too lively, with reflections all over the place? Is the center channel located off-center relative to the sweet spot between the mains so that when you angle it, the sound has to compete directly with that of your left or right speaker? If so, you'd probably be better off, letting it fire directly to the center and making your adjustments from there. Normally, you shouldn't have to use any tone controls to compensate for a Dolby Digital feed, but sound that is incorrigibly indistinct, due to speaker design, might benefit from a treble boost and/or bass cut, though that's definitely not where I'd go first.

    Ed

  3. #3
    MCF
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    Hmmm...some answers and some more questions...

    The center channel off to the right, but I have it set to where it fires straight ahead, even though the tv is slightly angled in to the center of the room. Now, the right front speaker is located about 4 feet to the right of the center (and about 13 feet away from left front) and middle of the right front speaker is about 3 feet higher than the middle of the center speaker. The right front is angled in and down slightly to fire towards the center of the room per Klipsh's recommendation.

    How do I make sure the Cinema EQ is off? I believe it is, but want to make sure. The Harman Kardon has a 'night mode' which helps keep peeks down..is this the same thing?

    The room is pretty lively...about 18' wide by 18' deep with hard wood floors. The room is also on the second floor.

  4. #4
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Night mode off and it happens,hard to hear so just bumb up the center level. EQ an stuff in setup menu.
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  5. #5
    MCF
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    Changing gain to center does not help...

    Boosting the gain to the center is the first thing I tried...no help as it also boosts the other sounds the center produces..I believe it's the other sounds coming out of the center that are muddying up the dialogue.....turning night mode on medium helps if anything..but takes away from some of the movie affects...

  6. #6
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    Try switching to Largw Speaker setting!

    A few thoughts. Just for the hell of it, go back to your original settings but switch the speaker setup to Large instead of Small. This might eliminate the problem.

    What movie(s) do you have the problem with? Maybe its one specific not the whole lot. If it is everything, then try increasing the volume/DB level on the speakers that give give the majority of the dialogue. Also check your EQ's- bass & treble.

    On my Denon receiver for instance when I'm watching TV off the cable, I have to put all the speakers on 4 DB's instead of 0 as it sounds better which makes no sense. The same setting for DVD's/CD's, messes up the sound.

    Also check you DVD playter's settings as well as your receivers settings.


    Quote Originally Posted by MCF
    Boosting the gain to the center is the first thing I tried...no help as it also boosts the other sounds the center produces..I believe it's the other sounds coming out of the center that are muddying up the dialogue.....turning night mode on medium helps if anything..but takes away from some of the movie affects...

  7. #7
    MCF
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    Master and Commander is giving me a lot of problems, also Collateral with Tom Cruise gives me some problems. I have the EQ set to +2 for treble and +4 for bass, but I going to set it to Tone Out to flatten out the treble and bass. The only settings the DVD player allows when you use an optical cable is whether or not dolby digital is enabled, which I have.


    Quote Originally Posted by hershon
    A few thoughts. Just for the hell of it, go back to your original settings but switch the speaker setup to Large instead of Small. This might eliminate the problem.

    What movie(s) do you have the problem with? Maybe its one specific not the whole lot. If it is everything, then try increasing the volume/DB level on the speakers that give give the majority of the dialogue. Also check your EQ's- bass & treble.

    On my Denon receiver for instance when I'm watching TV off the cable, I have to put all the speakers on 4 DB's instead of 0 as it sounds better which makes no sense. The same setting for DVD's/CD's, messes up the sound.

    Also check you DVD playter's settings as well as your receivers settings.

  8. #8
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Maybe reset everything. If you have a sub,all speakers set to small,master volume at 0 and set each speaker set between 75 and 80db. EQ and night mode and all that stuff off.
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    Interesting What You Said About Master & Commander May Be DVD player

    Again, whhoever suggested to rent Master & Commander (I DVD shrinked my copy) thanks a million. On my old system, I had similar problems to what you were describing. I then bought a new DVD player & on this one the speaker settings were set on large. This was my old JVC DVD/receiver combination. I connected the new DVD player (HK 31) by optic cable to my (old) JVC DVD/receiver. With the controls on the DVD set to large speaker, the dialogue was fine on the JVC receiver. As I said, when I used the built in DVD player, I had similar problems to what you're describing. How old is your DVD player?



    Quote Originally Posted by MCF
    Master and Commander is giving me a lot of problems, also Collateral with Tom Cruise gives me some problems. I have the EQ set to +2 for treble and +4 for bass, but I going to set it to Tone Out to flatten out the treble and bass. The only settings the DVD player allows when you use an optical cable is whether or not dolby digital is enabled, which I have.

  10. #10
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    The reciever is what you set up for the speaker size,the bass management as long as you use the dig out like you are from the player. You would use the bass management in the player for the multi-channel audio through the 6 analogs. I think thats right.
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  11. #11
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Before you go any further, have you verified that all of your connections and the receiver setup are correct? Also, what main speakers are you using? Lastly, have you set the levels for all of your speakers using a SPL meter?

    It may seem redundant, but incorrect setups are typically the most common culprit in these situations. If you're using a digital connection, is your receiver reading it as a 5.1 DD bitstream or as an analog two-channel input? If the center speaker is switched on in a 5.1 DD setup but not properly connected, then it will obviously not sound right. You should try running the channel-by-channel test tone from your receiver to make sure that all of the speakers are connected properly.

    Next, are your main speakers also part of the Klipsch reference series? Timbre mismatches between the mains and the center speaker can also make the front soundstage problematic.

    Lastly, have you verified the levels with a SPL meter and a test tone? You mentioned that you've already tried varying the level of the center speaker. But, the placement and differences in sensitivity levels between the center and mains might necessitate even larger adjustments than you've already tried. Klipsch's main speakers are designed with very high sensitivity, so that could mean large adjustments to match the center speaker.

    Once you've verified all of that and you still have issues, then you need to consider different placement, using the center channel EQ (if available), or switching off the rear center channel to check for comb filtering effects.

  12. #12
    MCF
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    Woochifer...

    I have not yet set levels using an SPL meter...I just got one last night and will do that this Sunday when I return home. I have verified using the Harman Kardon reciever test tones that all speakers are connected correctly. I am using Harman Kardon RB-25's in the front and RS-25's for surround and the center is an RC-25 (so all should match). I am using an optical cable from my Sony 5 disc DVD player (which is setup using the menus for dolby digital, DTS, etc.) and when playing DVD's, I am getting Dolby Digital (LCD on reciever shows Dolby Digital and all five speaker location are highlighted and letters are in each speaker). The DVD player is a little over a year old. Could it be the DVD player? Also, all speaker sizes and crossovers, etc. are done with the reciever (when connecting the DVD player to a reciever using an optical cable, those menus are disabled on the DVD player). Speakers are set to small and crossover is set at 80Hz.

    I am pretty much stuck with placement of the speaker. The left and right speakers are about 14 apart with the center channel off center to the right about 4 feet from the front right speaker...this is where my tv sits because of a fireplace in the middle of the front wall. I am not sure if my HK AVR-635 has a center channel EQ...I don't beieve so.

  13. #13
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Woochifer gives sound advice...make sure you check off everything in that list first, then re-confirm the appropriate distance/delay settings.

    My first thought was maybe your DVD settings (or receiver) settings might not be set properly...ie: the bitstream out, PCM etc but before we start aimlessly troubleshooting, I recommend you start over with everything and report back to us.
    Just curious, do you have to tell your DVD player how many speakers your system has? Some models are goofy like that even for passing Dolby Digital/DTS bitrstream info.
    What model is your DVD player? How long have you had the player/receiver? Has it been like this since day 1?

    Edit: obviously I typed this just as you were posting a response to Wooch...sorry for the redundance...

  14. #14
    MCF
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    Kexodusc

    I am not sure about the model # of the Sony DVD player. I have gone thru the manual and all the settings for it. You can't select number of speakers or size of speakers using the DVD when it is connected via optical cable. You can only make sure Dolby Digital is on. I have it set to 48Khz (I think that is right). I just got the system set up about two weeks ago and was mainly focusing on getting the surround speakers right so I wasn't really focusing on dialogue (I would play scenes from movies that I knew would have surround affects and make adjustments). Now that I am happy with the fronts and surrounds I decided to actually start watching movies in their entirety. Now I have discovered this problem with hearing dialogue. One other thing, I bi-wired the Klipsh center channel and that seemed to help some...if that means anything.

  15. #15
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The bi-wiring confuses me even more...I think at this stage you are best off to snarf up an SPL meter and go back to square one.

    However, now that I think about it, doesn't your receiver have HK's EzSet/Auto calibration/eq feature? These I've traditionally found to every bit as accurate as a Radio Shack SPL meter (though I've never used HK's). I would think running that should at least get you close to a proper volume setting, close to the right delay settings...enough that dialogue wouldn't be an issue as you describe.
    Unfortunately, you won't know until you find out...but it might be worth your while to give the EzSet one last go before dropping cash on an SPL meter (which, by the way I feel every one should have even with auto-setup features)

  16. #16
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    Its Your DVD Player or "Small Settings"

    To reiterate I had the same problem which immediately went away when, pick 1, I changed the speaker size from small to large & 2. I got a new DVD player.


    Quote Originally Posted by MCF
    I am not sure about the model # of the Sony DVD player. I have gone thru the manual and all the settings for it. You can't select number of speakers or size of speakers using the DVD when it is connected via optical cable. You can only make sure Dolby Digital is on. I have it set to 48Khz (I think that is right). I just got the system set up about two weeks ago and was mainly focusing on getting the surround speakers right so I wasn't really focusing on dialogue (I would play scenes from movies that I knew would have surround affects and make adjustments). Now that I am happy with the fronts and surrounds I decided to actually start watching movies in their entirety. Now I have discovered this problem with hearing dialogue. One other thing, I bi-wired the Klipsh center channel and that seemed to help some...if that means anything.

  17. #17
    MCF
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    Large or small...doesn't it only affect crossover..

    What't the difference if the speaker is set to small or large if you manually adjust the crossover to 80Hz?? I thought that setting it to large or small affected the crossover point to send low frequencies to the sub, but if I set the crossover for a speaker to 80Hz, then aren't all frequencies below 80Hz going to the sub regardless if the speaker is set to large or small?

    Also, I ran the Harman Kardon Ezset/Eq and it for one reason or another really messes up my delays - sets the distances farther away than my room size is even...maybe because of some acoustic things going on in the room.

  18. #18
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCF
    What't the difference if the speaker is set to small or large if you manually adjust the crossover to 80Hz?? I thought that setting it to large or small affected the crossover point to send low frequencies to the sub, but if I set the crossover for a speaker to 80Hz, then aren't all frequencies below 80Hz going to the sub regardless if the speaker is set to large or small?

    Also, I ran the Harman Kardon Ezset/Eq and it for one reason or another really messes up my delays - sets the distances farther away than my room size is even...maybe because of some acoustic things going on in the room.
    I think that the off-center center speaker placement is the culprit here. That makes the delay settings and the level matching all the more important to get right. Not sure if the auto calibration will get it right with the speakers arranged like that.

    If your L/R main speakers are symmetrically placed, then you should try the system without the center speaker. You might find the overall system performance better that way. In general, optimal performance from a center channel requires decent timbre matching and correct placement. Without the proper match with the mains, then you're actually better off without the center speaker.

  19. #19
    MCF
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    How do I go without a center channel...

    When I disconnect my center channel I loose all the dialague, etc. I have tried to turn the speakers on for the tv, but for some reason, when I have the AVR on, the tv won't let me turn the speakers on...

  20. #20
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCF
    When I disconnect my center channel I loose all the dialague, etc. I have tried to turn the speakers on for the tv, but for some reason, when I have the AVR on, the tv won't let me turn the speakers on...
    Simple, you go into the setup menu and turn off the center channel. It's not just about disconnecting the center speaker, you have to disable the entire channel so that your DD/DTS processor can reallocate the center channel content to the L/R speakers.

    Forget about the TV speakers, you don't ever want to blend those in while the other channels are active.

  21. #21
    MCF
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    Thanks...one last thing..

    I will try everything suggested here and hopefully one or a combination of things will solve my problem. In addition, I am going to replace the cheap 'house built with' speaker wire with a better quality speaker wire' and make sure all speaker wires to the center channel are connected correctly. I am also going to try a differenct DVD player...is it possible the DVD player is causing this problem? I have watched HD Discovery in DD and did not experience this problem.....

  22. #22
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCF
    I will try everything suggested here and hopefully one or a combination of things will solve my problem. In addition, I am going to replace the cheap 'house built with' speaker wire with a better quality speaker wire' and make sure all speaker wires to the center channel are connected correctly. I am also going to try a differenct DVD player...is it possible the DVD player is causing this problem? I have watched HD Discovery in DD and did not experience this problem.....
    If you're connecting your DVD player to the receiver using a digital audio link, it won't matter which DVD player you use. The receiver does the format decoding, and the audio won't vary just because you switch out the DVD player. If you connect using a six-channel analog connection, then there might be some differences in the audio because the settings might differ.

  23. #23
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    MCF Read Quagmore's Post on DVD & Optic Cable

    I strongly advice you dude to read Quagmires Postings in the DVD Settings Control Receiver Even By Optic Cable thread. If your DVD player is set on the control that it overides the receiver, you may need to put the receiver's speaker setting on large, you also may need to adjust the PCM and Dynamic range settings on your DVD settings.


    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    If you're connecting your DVD player to the receiver using a digital audio link, it won't matter which DVD player you use. The receiver does the format decoding, and the audio won't vary just because you switch out the DVD player. If you connect using a six-channel analog connection, then there might be some differences in the audio because the settings might differ.

  24. #24
    MCF
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    Hershon...

    Thanks. I read it. Currently I have both analog and optic cable going from my DVD player to my reciever. I will remove the analog cable; however, everything else is per the write-up....funny, no one has suggested that possibly my speaker cable or center channel is bad. I can't check until Sunday as I am travelling, but I seem to recall covering the tweeter of my center channel with my hand and it not making much of a difference. Klipsh says the tweeter may be bad which would explain the muddyness of voices....

  25. #25
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    If your center is bad,its bad for everything. Didnt you say it was fine for the DC or something.
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