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  1. #1
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Preceived Issue with Center Channel speaker output

    I have an on-going "issue" with the output of the of the center channel speaker in our surround system when viewing a movie.

    Setup:
    A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-7000
    Center Channel: Paradiagm CC-350. This is an upgrade from a the bit smaller front that we previously owned.
    Fronts: Paradiagm Esprit Monitors, will be "upgraded" PSB T-45s later this month
    Rear speaker: Prophile wall-mounted rears
    Subwoofer: none
    DVD Player: Pioneer 525

    I often have trouble hearing the dialogue when viewing a movie using our surround system. Maybe it is just my aging hearing ability, but I don't think so.
    For example we just watched "I Robot". I had difficultly hearing Will Smith's exchange with the other actors, particularly his boss. The problem is obviously more acute when watching "action" films that have rather raucous sound track.

    The CC-350 is pumping out the actor's voices, but it often seems to be overwhelmed by the rest of the sound track. I have used the Marantz's OSD to set up the surround/speaker configuration as follows:
    Front Speakers: Large; 0 db output modification; Distance 10/10'
    Rear Speakers: Small; 0 db output modification; Distance 6/7'
    Center channel : Large; +5 db output modification; Distance 10'

    Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Audio Junkie
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    I'm not sure of the setup procedures of your DVD player, but mine (older JVC model) has a menu option also for the speaker output (small, large, custom/expert mode) as well as the type system (2.0, 5.1, etc). You may want to look into your manual for any settings there.

  3. #3
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Set them all to small and add a db or 2 to the center.
    Look & Listen

  4. #4
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaguars_fan
    I'm not sure of the setup procedures of your DVD player, but mine (older JVC model) has a menu option also for the speaker output (small, large, custom/expert mode) as well as the type system (2.0, 5.1, etc). You may want to look into your manual for any settings there.
    Thanks for the suggestion. It had been a while since I setup the DVD player. Gave it a try. Regrettably the Pioneer 525 has no setting for speakers. DTS is turned on. Everything else seems to be in order.

  5. #5
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Didn't quite work....

    Quote Originally Posted by shokhead
    Set them all to small and add a db or 2 to the center.
    If I set the front speakers to SMALL the Marantz SR-7000 automatically Enables the subwoofer setting. Apparently it expects small fronts to be paired with a sub, but I don't have one.

    Not clear on your suggestion to bump the center channel only 1-2 db. I have already tried a 4-5 db setting and I still find voices to be overwhelmed by many movie sound tracks.

    My new front speakers will be a bit smaller than the Paradiagms. It will be interesting to see if they make any difference.
    Thanks.

  6. #6
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvcrider
    I have an on-going "issue" with the output of the of the center channel speaker in our surround system when viewing a movie.

    Setup:
    A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-7000
    Center Channel: Paradiagm CC-350. This is an upgrade from a the bit smaller front that we previously owned.
    Fronts: Paradiagm Esprit Monitors, will be "upgraded" PSB T-45s later this month
    Rear speaker: Prophile wall-mounted rears
    Subwoofer: none
    DVD Player: Pioneer 525

    I often have trouble hearing the dialogue when viewing a movie using our surround system. Maybe it is just my aging hearing ability, but I don't think so.
    For example we just watched "I Robot". I had difficultly hearing Will Smith's exchange with the other actors, particularly his boss. The problem is obviously more acute when watching "action" films that have rather raucous sound track.

    The CC-350 is pumping out the actor's voices, but it often seems to be overwhelmed by the rest of the sound track. I have used the Marantz's OSD to set up the surround/speaker configuration as follows:
    Front Speakers: Large; 0 db output modification; Distance 10/10'
    Rear Speakers: Small; 0 db output modification; Distance 6/7'
    Center channel : Large; +5 db output modification; Distance 10'

    Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.
    The only way to know for sure if the levels are correct is to get a SPL meter and do some measurements using a test tone. A 5 db adjustment is not at all unusual because the center speaker might have a different efficiency level, and the sound level might be different depending on the height and angle. A test tone is the best way to balance the levels because it's consistent. Using movies as a measure is not the way to go because the way that the soundtracks get mixed will vary a lot between movies.

    Once you've established a reference level, and you still feel that the dialog get drowned out, then it's more an issue with how the soundtrack for the movie got mixed rather than anything wrong with your system.

    In looking over your setup, if your receiver does not have an indicator for the speaker distances, then you will need to increase the delay timing for your surrounds by about 4 ms. Without increasing the delay, the surrounds will sound more abrupt since the sound from the surrounds arrives at your ears before the sounds up front arrive.

  7. #7
    AR regular
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    Quote Originally Posted by tvcrider
    I have an on-going "issue" with the output of the of the center channel speaker in our surround system when viewing a movie.

    Setup:
    A/V Receiver: Marantz SR-7000
    Center Channel: Paradiagm CC-350. This is an upgrade from a the bit smaller front that we previously owned.
    Fronts: Paradiagm Esprit Monitors, will be "upgraded" PSB T-45s later this month
    Rear speaker: Prophile wall-mounted rears
    Subwoofer: none
    DVD Player: Pioneer 525

    I often have trouble hearing the dialogue when viewing a movie using our surround system. Maybe it is just my aging hearing ability, but I don't think so.
    For example we just watched "I Robot". I had difficultly hearing Will Smith's exchange with the other actors, particularly his boss. The problem is obviously more acute when watching "action" films that have rather raucous sound track.

    The CC-350 is pumping out the actor's voices, but it often seems to be overwhelmed by the rest of the sound track. I have used the Marantz's OSD to set up the surround/speaker configuration as follows:
    Front Speakers: Large; 0 db output modification; Distance 10/10'
    Rear Speakers: Small; 0 db output modification; Distance 6/7'
    Center channel : Large; +5 db output modification; Distance 10'

    Any suggestions or recommendations would be appreciated.

    You need to get an SPL meter (RadioShack is fine) and an HT alignment DVD (you can also use test signals from your HT receiver if they are available). The speaker levels should be matched within 1db. Without instruments and appropriate test signals, you're wasting your time.
    Stu-r

  8. #8
    AR Newbie Registered Member
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    Thank you both for the meter suggestion. My local dealer says I can borrow his when I pick-up my new front/stereo speakers later this week.
    Also thanks for pointing out the variances between movie sound tracks. That is one issue I had not taken into account.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular
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    As the others have already said, setting levels per SPL meter is the way to go. I would only add that when you do this, you should definitely use a test disk such as AVIA because the tones that they provide for setting levels is typically more accurate than the built in tones found on many receivers. I know that was my experience and the experience of several others who frequent this board. It made a difference of 2-3 db on the center channel speaker, in a system that I thought was already set up pretty well.

    One other thing that you should be aware of is that using center and front speakers which are mismatched in terms of timbre, impedance, and/or efficiency can cause problems too. I don't know much about the front speakers you're using or the ones you plan to upgrade them with, but you should check to see that they're not a poor match with the center speaker. If they are, you may be wasting your time trying to correct something that is simply an inherent property of the speakers you've chosen.

    Q

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