Center Channel Sound

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  • 08-12-2004, 07:23 AM
    Eric Z
    Center Channel Sound
    I recently bought a Mirage FRX center to match my Mirage FRX 5 front speakers. After I hooked everything up, I can definitely notice a difference when watching movies- much better (obviously since a lot of the dialogue comes out of the center).

    Then I started messing around with the YPAO feature on my 5760 and it provided me with the recommendations of my speaker settings. When I was watching some other movies, I could definitely notice where the sound was coming from. I'm not sure if I was just used to hearing it from the front speakers (a few feet on either side of the TV) and nothing from the middle (above my TV), or is it set up incorrectly.

    I've heard that the center channel shouldn't draw attention to itself because it should blend well with the fronts.

    Should I just experiment with my receiver and adjust the settings on my center channel until it sounds good? The challenge is I've rarely heard 5.1 systems so I'm not sure how it should sound. I know a lot of people say it's preference, and it's your ears, and you're the one that has to listen to it, but I want to make sure it sounds as it should. Know what I mean?

    As always, thanks!
    Eric
  • 08-12-2004, 07:57 AM
    This Guy
    The dialog is supposed to sound like it's coming from the screen. Even in 2 channel mode, when I'm in the sweet spot it sounds like the dialog is coming from the screen leading me to believe the center channel is on, but it really isn't. A lot of times in movies the center channel is the only thing making a sound, therefore you're going to know where it's coming from. It's the subwoofer that can't draw attention to itself.

    -Joey
  • 08-12-2004, 09:32 AM
    Eric Z
    I see! Thanks, This Guy! It makes sense and I think I was just getting used to all the sound coming from my 2 fronts.
  • 08-13-2004, 05:10 AM
    jrflanne
    Of course, that's what all of those settings are for. Fiddle with them until you get a sound that you like.
    jack
  • 08-13-2004, 10:20 AM
    Eric Z
    jrflanne- i definitely have been fiddling with the settings, but since i am somewhat inexperienced with listening to 5.1 set ups, they all sound decent- different, but still decent. just wondering if there's a specific sound i should be looking for.
  • 08-14-2004, 12:59 PM
    Mr Peabody
    It may also be worth while to check your delay settings. You can compensate for your speakers being different distances in order to make the sound arrive at your ears around the same time. Centers and sides are rarely at the same distance, so it's important to set the delay to even the sound out.
  • 08-19-2004, 05:31 PM
    nusiclover
    a good 5.1 HT system, when sete up properly should sound much like a modern movie theater. of course a much smaller one.
    when there is dialogue in a movie you should be listening to them speak as though they were really in your room, in front of you, speaking. when the soundtrack, or score, kicks in, this is where seamless integration stands out (or doenst as the case may be). what you should make sure is that your delay settings, as Peabody mentioned, are all good. then, as long as your center and mains dont sound like totally different speakers, things will be fine.
    keep in mind that 5.1, surround, dts, dolby, whatever, will and should sound much different to the 2-channel we are accustomed to. once you get used to it you will always be bothered by 2-channel when you are at a friends house watching a good movie. 5.1 is supposed to envelop you, much as a movie theater, in the movie watching experience.
    another way to look at is is like this: the center should be the main volume source in movies. about 60-70% of movie sound is going to come out of your center. this makes the center speaker the most important when watching movies in surround. your mains should be a backdrop to pick up the exterior environmental sounds as well as the movies soundtrack. the rears, or "surround", speakers are meant to pick up the sound 3-dimensional sound effects or sound that literally is supposed to be coming from behind you. say when an airplane flies as if over you, you should be able to hear its engine mostly coming from the center, then gradually expand to the mains, and receed into the back far behind you through the rears as it passes over your head. (of course it doenst visually pass over you as it is still restricted to the tv screen, but auraully the feeling should be such that when you close your eyes it would appear as if a plane were actually flying over your head.)
    what i have written applies to movies only. 5.1 encoded music is a whole nother story.

    hope this helps. learning about how things are supposed to sound better (the way they are meant to in the recording/mastering studio) is what being an audiophile is all about. whether you are just a begginger or a seasoned pro.
  • 08-19-2004, 05:41 PM
    nusiclover
    eric, one other thing:
    A FEW MORE THINGS
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    I recently bought a Mirage FRX center to match my Mirage FRX 5 front speakers. After I hooked everything up, I can definitely notice a difference when watching movies- much better (obviously since a lot of the dialogue comes out of the center).

    Then I started messing around with the YPAO feature on my 5760 and it provided me with the recommendations of my speaker settings. When I was watching some other movies, I could definitely notice where the sound was coming from. I'm not sure if I was just used to hearing it from the front speakers (a few feet on either side of the TV) and nothing from the middle (above my TV), or is it set up incorrect

    I've heard that the center channel shouldn't draw attention to itself because it should blend well with the fronts.
    IT IS ACTUALLY THE REVERSE HERE, THE FRONTS (MAINS) SHOULD ACTUALLY BLEND IN WITH THE CENTER. IN MOVIES, THE CENTER IS THE FIRST SPEAKER. THE MAINS BACK IT UP. THE REARS BACK THE MAINS UP. SORT OF ANYWAY.

    Should I just experiment with my receiver and adjust the settings on my center channel until it sounds good? The challenge is I've rarely heard 5.1 systems so I'm not sure how it should sound.
    YES YOU DO KNOW WHAT IT SHOULD SOUND LIKE, LIKE GOING TO THE MOVIES BUT STAYING AT HOME
    I know a lot of people say it's preference, and it's your ears, and you're the one that has to listen to it, but I want to make sure it sounds as it should. Know what I mean?
    OF COURSE I DO, THIS PHENOMENA IS CALLED AUDIO NIRVANA. WE ARE ALL ON THE QUEST AS YOU ARE.

    As always, thanks!
    Eric

  • 08-19-2004, 05:45 PM
    Geoffcin
    The problem with the HT center speakers;
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Eric Z
    I recently bought a Mirage FRX center to match my Mirage FRX 5 front speakers. After I hooked everything up, I can definitely notice a difference when watching movies- much better (obviously since a lot of the dialogue comes out of the center).

    As always, thanks!
    Eric

    Is that with most home setups, the center is set above, or below the screen. In a theater the sound is coming from directly behind the screen, a position that is impossible for most of us. The only thing to do is to is, as the info-mertial guy says; "set it, and forget it"

    The good news is that you'll get very accustomed to how it sounds, and will not think twice about it after a few weeks.

    I also agree with you, a good center makes a great difference in HT.

    Enjoy!
  • 08-20-2004, 07:05 AM
    Eric Z
    Thanks for your input, everyone!

    After about a week or so of going through my DVD collection again with my new center channel (i think it's funny every time i get some new equipment, i watch the same scenes from certain DVDs over and over again), I am getting used to the sound. I truly believe I was just too accustomed to all of the sound coming from my 2 front speakers.

    Good point and the movie theater sound, Geoffcin- I think that guy who has the audience say, "Set it, and forget it" is quite entertaining. Don't ask me why I enjoy those cheesy infomercials.

    Well, enjoy the weekend, everyone!

    One additional question- when listening to CDs, does anyone have sound coming from their center channel? Just wondering. I know you can make adjustments, but just wondering what others do.
  • 08-20-2004, 09:27 AM
    nusiclover
    although it is fun to entertain the idea of using all 5 speakers when playing back redbook cds, the truth is that these cds are meant to be listened to in stereo, or 2-channel. some newer receivers have dolby pro logic II, is supposed to emulate surround sound from a stereo source (such as your redbook cds) read this for more info: http://www.dolby.com/ht/co.br.0107.P...nersGuide.html
    although the pro logic II idea is well suited for the masses of people who now have 5.1 sytems, i think that stereo music should still be played back my just 2 speakers or 2.1 (includes the sub). it matters what mastering the material has. if it is a 5.1 mastered track, then play it back using a 5.1 system, but if the album is mastered in 2 channel, then play it back in your front 2 mains. but of course experiment - thats the fun of getting new gear.

    for the record, when i got new cables i listened to every single cd again.
    new stands? you bet, every single album again.
    new cd player? oh man, when that happens i will listen to every album twice.
    this is what makes us audiophiles :)
  • 08-20-2004, 09:31 AM
    nusiclover
    one last thought, much of the older movies are mastered in 2-channel. however, since it is a movie and i do like the "enveloping experience", i would consider using ProLogic II. again, experiment and find what suits you best. playing with sound fields, eq, decoders, etc. is fun.