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Different Centre speaker to Towers


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Hi All,

 

Wondering what's everyone's thoughts about having a completely different centre speaker brand compared to the towers?

 

My setup:

Mains: ML Motion 40

Centre: ML Motion 30

S/W: Tannoy TS2.8

AVR: Denon X1400H

 

My main criticism of my current setup is dialogue during movies. Not the most clear.

(I'm not looking to replace the whole thing! I really like my MLs for classical music.)

 

I did notice that Monitor Audio's current Gold lineup is heavily discounted due to the new one being released.

I'm currently thinking if I should replace the centre with a Monitor Audio Gold C150 or C350 Centre. EW Hifi has them at about 1/2 price at the moment.

On that note: if anyone has any thoughts about the MA Gold, would love to know.

 

Cheers

 

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Guest Muon N'

I know little about HT but can't you increase the levels for the centre speaker?

 

With a ribbon tweeter I fail to understand why there is a clarity issue.

 

Others will help more no doubt.

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I've tried; but I find when I bring the level up too much, it becomes a bit too obviously different.

 

Using the Audyssey calibration tool on the Denon seems to make it too quiet as well.

 

Maybe it's my room or position then? I thought it wouldn't be so quiet given how expensive it was to begin with!

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Guest Muon N'

You might be onto something regarding the room, maybe you can get a mod to move this to 'General AV discussion' where it may get more attention from the HT crowd.

 

Just hit the report on your starting post and ask for it to be moved.

Edited by Muon N'
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3 hours ago, Muon N' said:

You might be onto something regarding the room, maybe you can get a mod to move this to 'General AV discussion' where it may get more attention from the HT crowd.

 

Just hit the report on your starting post and ask for it to be moved.

Cheers mate, I've sent the report in.

 

2 hours ago, Irek said:

Hi, 

I think the AV receiver is the week point of your setup. The quality AVR s start from $2500. 

Would that be a bit overkill for my speakers though? I'm not pushing that much through them

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2 hours ago, Irek said:

Hi, 

I think the AV receiver is the week point of your setup. The quality AVR s start from $2500. 

I think that's completely wrong, but I'll bite and ask you to clarify in exactly what way a >$2k5 AVR is going to be of benefit. Examples of units and the expected benefits would be appreciated.

 

19 hours ago, Lawagetas said:

Wondering what's everyone's thoughts about having a completely different centre speaker brand compared to the towers?

 

My setup:

Mains: ML Motion 40

Centre: ML Motion 30

My initial thoughts, not knowing the details of your set up (not gear, the implementation) is the typical horizontal MTM issue, and how well you have actually set it up.

 

Going to a completely different brand is probably not going to be successful.

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My thinking would be if Audyssey sets the centre level simply too quiet, then assuming your expectations of how loud it should be aren't totally out of whack.... then it's likely to be a settings issue.

 

Even if your speaker was setup bad .... Audyssey would try to "force" it to be the right level.... which might make it sound bad, but it would be the correct volume.

 

The other thing I would try, is play music through only the centre speaker .... turn up the volume so it is a good listening level.  How does it sound?    Not great?   Perhaps your speaker is faulty/damaged?

 

 

6 hours ago, Lawagetas said:

Using the Audyssey calibration tool on the Denon seems to make it too quiet as well.

Check what settings Audyssey has chosen

Check you don't have any manual EQ enabled, or channel levels adjusted

Check you don't have the dialog mode or centre width adjusted

 

In fact, if you are up for it.... I would just factory reset, and check the issue persists.

 

http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX1400H/EU/EN/GFNFSYvdfworfs.php

http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX1400H/EU/EN/SXQWSYksvwgfsr.php

http://manuals.denon.com/AVRX1400H/EU/EN/SEHFSYqmvyxgdd.php#SEHFMLtgdchfzx

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Could try checking the speaker cabling, both on speaker connection and at the AVR end.

Another check could be to swap the center speaker with say the right speaker to check its not a cabling issue.

Re-run Audyssey and make sure you have a minimum 5 locations.

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Guys, the OP said the sound from his centre speaker was 'Not the most clear'. I interpret this as being different to not loud enough, (although there can be a connection there).

 

I had a similar clarity problem with my Mission centre speaker. After fiddling around with levels, I googled a few sites on the net, and ended up pulling the speaker forward a bit more from the cabinet, and tilting the front of the speaker up a few degrees so that it was angled directly towards my face. Those changes made a profound improvement to the clarity of the sound.

 

Also, as a general observation of speaker manufacturers, don't assume that all centres made by a company are naturally synergistic across the entire model range. Sometimes a company will put together a centre speaker to add versatility to the sale of its stereo speakers. Knowing that many people don't want to spend anything as substantial on a centre as they do on fronts, they produce what is a mediocre and disappointing product. How many buyers would spend say $5k on a pair of stereo speakers and then be prepared to put up $2 - $2.5k on a centre, which is arguably more important for movies?

 

 

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Hi all, thanks for the suggestions.

 

I tinkered a bit with the settings some more. Audyssey had it set ti -9.0, whereas my towers were at -9.5.

Increasing the level of the centre to about -7.5 made a small improvement; and any further began to sound a bit odd and started to feel a bit too loud compared to my towers.

 

2 hours ago, gemini07 said:

Guys, the OP said the sound from his centre speaker was 'Not the most clear'. I interpret this as being different to not loud enough, (although there can be a connection there).

This is spot on. It wasn't a loudness issue, it was that dialogue didn't feel very clear. Watching a number of movies it felt that dialogue just didn't seem to hit my ears as well as everything coming from the towers.

 

2 hours ago, gemini07 said:

I had a similar clarity problem with my Mission centre speaker. After fiddling around with levels, I googled a few sites on the net, and ended up pulling the speaker forward a bit more from the cabinet, and tilting the front of the speaker up a few degrees so that it was angled directly towards my face. Those changes made a profound improvement to the clarity of the sound.

I could probably do a lot to make it better. It current sits in my cabinet at the very edge. It's only marginally below my TV but this might be making a bigger difference than I thought.

Will try it out!

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To isolate the issue and see what improves the clarity, here a couple of suggestions.

Take the speaker out of the cabinet temporarily and have it as high as you can (angling up towards the main listening position) and run the setup again.

Disable the centre speaker and only run a phantom centre.

Compare how you have it now, to having the speaker out and no centre and see if you hear a drastic improvement.

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4 hours ago, gemini07 said:

Guys, the OP said the sound from his centre speaker was 'Not the most clear'. I interpret this as being different to not loud enough, (although there can be a connection there).

 

I had a similar clarity problem with my Mission centre speaker. After fiddling around with levels, I googled a few sites on the net, and ended up pulling the speaker forward a bit more from the cabinet, and tilting the front of the speaker up a few degrees so that it was angled directly towards my face. Those changes made a profound improvement to the clarity of the sound.

 

Also, as a general observation of speaker manufacturers, don't assume that all centres made by a company are naturally synergistic across the entire model range. Sometimes a company will put together a centre speaker to add versatility to the sale of its stereo speakers. Knowing that many people don't want to spend anything as substantial on a centre as they do on fronts, they produce what is a mediocre and disappointing product. How many buyers would spend say $5k on a pair of stereo speakers and then be prepared to put up $2 - $2.5k on a centre, which is arguably more important for movies?

 

 

@gemini07 's suggestion of pulling the centre speaker forward and angling it up (if needed) to have it directly on axis when seated at the MLP is also my suggestion, it costs nothing to try and if that's the problem, it should be immediately apparent. Doing this made a significant difference in my setup.

 

From memory, the tweeters used in these speakers (ribbons??)  can have poor vertical dispersion, I've read that the highs can drop off significantly  just by standing up (hopefully more knowledgeable member can confirm/deny this) If  this IS the case, getting it directly on axis when seated may help here.

 

Do you have an SPL meter? or better yet,a Calibrated mic/REW/measurement rig? I would confirm that Audyssey is setting your levels/distances correctly, even a free SPL meter phone app should be able to tell you if the levels are the same (relative to each other). They should be all set to 75dB using the AVRs internal test tones in the "Manual speaker settings" area. With Audyssey (or any room correction) it's always a case of - "Trust..but verify"

 

As a matter of personal preference, I always set my centre channel 1-1.5dB above the Left and Right speakers (and surrounds) as I find it makes dialogue easier to hear when watching movies at lower MV's

 

 

 @Lawagetas  can you possibly post up some quick pictures showing the LCR setup?

Edited by jamiebosco
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On 26/02/2019 at 9:10 PM, Lawagetas said:

Hi All,

 

Wondering what's everyone's thoughts about having a completely different centre speaker brand compared to the towers?

 

My setup:

Mains: ML Motion 40

Centre: ML Motion 30

S/W: Tannoy TS2.8

AVR: Denon X1400H

 

My main criticism of my current setup is dialogue during movies. Not the most clear.

(I'm not looking to replace the whole thing! I really like my MLs for classical music.)

 

I did notice that Monitor Audio's current Gold lineup is heavily discounted due to the new one being released.

I'm currently thinking if I should replace the centre with a Monitor Audio Gold C150 or C350 Centre. EW Hifi has them at about 1/2 price at the moment.

On that note: if anyone has any thoughts about the MA Gold, would love to know.

 

Cheers

 

can you post a pic showing the installation ? often this can give some clues.... 

 

 

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Hi, 

There is quite a lot of difference between $900 AVR and $2500 one. Everything is better: amplification, preamp, processing, DAC. Generally speaking more expensive AVR has better sound quality including dialogues.

BTW there are no such thing like too powerful or overkill AVR. 

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9 minutes ago, Irek said:

Hi, 

There is quite a lot of difference between $900 AVR and $2500 one. Everything is better: amplification, preamp, processing, DAC. Generally speaking more expensive AVR has better sound quality including dialogues.

BTW there are no such thing like too powerful or overkill AVR. 

My personal experience is that the differences are small. Having been inside quite a number (for repairs) as well as having a lot of service manuals, I simply don't agree. And I think your suggestion is a poor one for the OP. It will make a trivial difference.

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One other point - what is your source for movies? 

 

If you have, for example, an Oppo or a Cambridge BDP, you might try running the various analogue outs directly from the BDP into analogue pre outs of your Denon (if it has them). You might be surprised at the sound quality.

 

Sometimes running an output source with a built-in preamp into another preamp can result in a reduction in sound quality. It may be better running directly into a power amp and controlling the levels and settings via the source, if it has them.

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1 hour ago, Irek said:

Hi, 

There is quite a lot of difference between $900 AVR and $2500 one. Everything is better: amplification, preamp, processing, DAC. Generally speaking more expensive AVR has better sound quality including dialogues.

BTW there are no such thing like too powerful or overkill AVR. 

absolutely eg the denons and marantz ones they do indeed improve as go up n the range, quality of dacs, analog stage and even power supplies. I've seen it myself. there are certainly AVRs and AVRs. there are MUCH compromised with avrs and they do indeed get better and get what you pay for

 

but lets take one thing at a time, lets see how the OP has the centre setup for starters... likely be most important factor with any speaker.... position position position

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19 hours ago, jamiebosco said:

From memory, the tweeters used in these speakers (ribbons??)  can have poor vertical dispersion

Absolutely.

OP suggested "maybe it's my position" (of the speaker) .... just waiting for him to provide info/photo.

 

Quote

, I've read that the highs can drop off significantly  just by standing up (hopefully more knowledgeable member can confirm/deny this)

Correct.

It's because of the shape of the transducer (tall).

Quote

If  this IS the case, getting it directly on axis when seated may help here.

Yep.   Need to see a photo, or something....   Also check settings for sanity - as there are settings in his amp, which directly control the sort of symptoms being reported.

 

2 hours ago, Irek said:

Everything is better: amplification, preamp, processing, DAC.

Perhaps, but less expensive ones don't cause the issue being reported here, unless they are faulty or misconfigured.

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My experience - 

I could never get my centre sounding as good as my mains, which I power separately with the power amp. I tried a phantom centre, where you don't connect the centre and route the centre channel info to the mains. Never looked back. Amazing improvement and dialogues became clear and focused as I had hoped. 

 

The con in this method is that if you are sitting too far from the middle, you loose the centre image but if you sit fairly in the middle of you Left and Right speakers, definitely give it a try. 

 

 

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Thanks everyone for their suggestions!

 

I feel a bit like a fool, because angling the centre up has made quite a fair bit of difference!

I didn't realise the ribbon tweeters had such a small vertical dispersion.

 

I propped it up maybe 10-15 degrees and it feels there's a lot more detail in the dialogue now.

 

To clarify:

My towers are about 1.5m from the centre and toed in about 15 degrees. This might be as necessary but I like the look of them this way. hah

 

My centre speaker sits in the centre cavity of my tv console. There's lots of room on the sides and behind. So this might not be as helpful as I thought.

It's sits right at the front edge, but it points straight ahead, so it aims at about your knees when you're seated.

From my seated position, my ears are probably about 30 degrees from if the speaker is pointing straight ahead.

 

I've tested a few titles on it already and I think it's done the trick. I need to rack my memory on the worst offenders and try them again.

 

I've been thinking about mounting the TV higher on the wall and might do that, and then sit the centre speaker on top of the console. This should bring it to about neck height.

 

Cheers for the tips everyone! Saved me a fair bit of money ??

 

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2 hours ago, gemini07 said:

One other point - what is your source for movies? 

 

If you have, for example, an Oppo or a Cambridge BDP, you might try running the various analogue outs directly from the BDP into analogue pre outs of your Denon (if it has them). You might be surprised at the sound quality.

 

Sometimes running an output source with a built-in preamp into another preamp can result in a reduction in sound quality. It may be better running directly into a power amp and controlling the levels and settings via the source, if it has them.

Something I didn't consider!

Most of my source for movies are Netflix and Amazon prime. I can typically

stream 4K fairly smoothly, so I would imagine the audio would not be too compressed.

 

Typically when I play blurays I will plug a usb bluray player into my laptop and connect that via HDMI. To be honest, given the much higher price of those blueray players, I've been hesitant to drop the cash on it.

 

 

4 hours ago, A9X said:

My personal experience is that the differences are small.

My understanding on AVRs too! Hence I got the cheapest Denon with Audyssey multieq XT to start out with. I might go for something a bit nicer later down the track but I figured I would learn a bit more before dropping too much cash in it (but I already broke that rule with my speakers hah)

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