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center channel or phantom ?

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  • center channel or phantom ?

    are center channels needed anymore ? under normal circumstances maybe not but with a dedicated HT / mancave maybe so !?
    donc

  • #2
    I've never felt the need for a dedicated center. We are only a family of three so we all get a seat at or near the sweet spot. I could see how this might change if you had a large family or liked to entertain larger audiences where people are seated far off center.
    http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...khanspires-but
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    • #3
      I designed a high-performance 3.2 HT system for my brother, in his medium-sized basement. Sounds amazing, and the CC really shines. But, in my small-ish apartment living room, I run completely 2.0 for TV and movies, and hardly ever feel the need for a CC. Dialogue is almost always clear. (Also, I'm running a completely analog 2.0, without any 'phantom' or DSP processing from an AVR.)

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      • #4
        Center channels are not really needed IMO...but they do have there benefits depending on your situation and application.

        I do use a center channel but I don't use it specifically to increase vocals when playing music or watching movies. I also do not use any Dolby surround modes. The way I use my center channel is to enhance the performance of my main front L/R speakers....Most people tend to increase the center speaker SPL but I prefer to lower it....Increasing CC spl (IMO) ruins the fronts stereo separation, while lowering spl keeps that stereo sound coherent. What it does in my application is that it makes the front main speakers sound FULLER....My DML panels already throw a huge soundstage with great imaging even in 2 channel mode with a super realistic phantom center imaging..in fact its so realistic I had to check many of times to see if its in 2 channel mode because it sounds like the center speaker is playing....I could live without a center channel speaker but its also good to have that option.

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        • #5
          I prefer having a CC. On my receiver, it has a "Late Night" mode that allows dialog to be clear while limiting explosions and other sound effects. I can only use that setting with a CC. Music doesn't seem to make a difference. it's not required for movies, but again, that's my preference.

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          • #6
            The phantom center channel would be cool for horror movies.....

            Spooky!

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            • #7
              I feel like this is only a debate on this forum. I personally think there is a big dig difference in having a center versus phantom. I use phantom in the bedroom. I prefer by a large margin having the center in the living room.
              -Kerry

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              • #8
                I keep changing my mains. Mostly changing the x-over, but sometimes drivers, etc. I don't have a center right now, but in the past, I had several. Couldn't stop changing them either. When I make mains, I am critical about how they handle HT dialog, and concerts. Some have been better than others at that. One of my favorite centers was an 8" 2-way, with a DIY wave-guide. Woofer was discontinued, and someone who needed the woofer badly asked if I would sell it, so I did. I had a bigger 10" 3-way center for a while. It was really fun with the rock concerts, like "The Dance". There were several occasions when I could not tell if the center was in use. So, I don't feel like I need a center, but I will likely have one eventually anyway. I have parts collecting dust. If I had to pay for a center, I'd probably do without. One of my movies has dts sound. My pre-pro will not allow me to play dts without the center.

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                • #9
                  I can't imagine NOT having a center channel. TV and movies are now mixed with a center channel and trying to reproduce this with just two stereo speakers is hopeless in my opinion. I tried for a long time to use just two stereo speakers but could not understand dialog. Adding a center completely fixed this. For music, it's a different story. Most of my music is mixed in stereo, so that's what I use for music. Fortunately, I have the luxury of having a simple 5 channel setup for video and a more elaborate stereo system in another room.
                  -Bob

                  The PEDS 2.1 mini system
                  My A7 Project - another small desktop speaker
                  The B3 Hybrid Dipole - thread incomplete and outdated

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BOBinGA View Post
                    I can't imagine NOT having a center channel. TV and movies are now mixed with a center channel and trying to reproduce this with just two stereo speakers is hopeless in my opinion. I tried for a long time to use just two stereo speakers but could not understand dialog. Adding a center completely fixed this. For music, it's a different story. Most of my music is mixed in stereo, so that's what I use for music. Fortunately, I have the luxury of having a simple 5 channel setup for video and a more elaborate stereo system in another room.
                    If you cant understand dialog from just using two stereo speakers then maybe the problem lies within your speakers? When I watch movies using 2 channel stereo mode voice intelligibility(dialogue) is very coherent.....IMO if one has to use a center to increase voice intelligibility then something is wrong with your pair of stereo front/main speakers if there voice intelligibility is not adequate to begin with and or the width of your speakers is to far apart. Movie theaters use a center channel because the theater is way bigger then the average sized room....Most 10X12ft. rooms do not need a center channel as the soundstage of the speakers should be able to cover your whole room...If you have a 30X20ft. room then a center channel could fill in the gap if the speakers are to far apart leaving a gap in the middle....Distance between the front L/R speakers depends on how far back the listener is seated/positioned.

                    Only when using Dolby surround mode is a center channel required because its mixed to focus around 90% of all dialogue to the center channel speaker.

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                    • #11
                      It never really sounds quite the same coming from 2 speakers, and different points in the room.
                      Sure you can sit exactly in the middle and it "appears" to come from the middle just fine with my set up, but the Center is just so much more responsive to being adjusted level wise and even frequency wise by a dedicated speaker.

                      The illusion dies when you lean certain ways or move more than a few inches.
                      And I feel I am ripped off, when forcing voices to the left and right speaker, as if the extra sounds are competing with the proper Just left and right signals.

                      I used to firmly believe in a phantom center, but I guess a dedicated wins out every time...

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Unbiasedsound View Post

                        If you cant understand dialog from just using two stereo speakers then maybe the problem lies within your speakers? When I watch movies using 2 channel stereo mode voice intelligibility(dialogue) is very coherent.....IMO if one has to use a center to increase voice intelligibility then something is wrong with your pair of stereo front/main speakers if there voice intelligibility is not adequate to begin with and or the width of your speakers is to far apart. Movie theaters use a center channel because the theater is way bigger then the average sized room....Most 10X12ft. rooms do not need a center channel as the soundstage of the speakers should be able to cover your whole room...If you have a 30X20ft. room then a center channel could fill in the gap if the speakers are to far apart leaving a gap in the middle....Distance between the front L/R speakers depends on how far back the listener is seated/positioned.

                        Only when using Dolby surround mode is a center channel required because its mixed to focus around 90% of all dialogue to the center channel speaker.
                        With true 5 or 7 channel sources though, it is mixed to come from the center and changing this mix to blend into a left and right speaker does something to the balance or level, that was not intended originally.

                        Dolby surround or one of the faux surround modes maybe, but the true multi channel modes, it just does not gel exactly right in my opinion.

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                        • #13
                          For Movies, center channel, definitely.

                          hardest part is having the exact same speaker in the center as the left / right, especially if they are not small.

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                          • #14
                            Agreed- for HT, center yes, definitely. Easily enabled/disabled when desired for other listening modes, can't imagine why this is still being debated... run what you like.

                            .
                            Ed Henderson

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