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NEW Center Channel Speaker?

Discussion in 'Receivers and amplifiers' started by ima49311, Jan 5, 2008.

  1. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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    So, ive noticed that when im watching my dvds on my home theater system, the dialog from the center channel seems lower than my 2 front speakers. When i turn my receiver up, past 8 on the volume, it seems to get better, but anything under that is hard to hear. BUT, when its over 8, the rest of the sound is REALLY loud as well. It doesnt bother me, i actually enjoy my movies loud, but my wife hates it. This in turn gets me yelled at for making it TOO loud. On the other hand, turning it down makes the talking in movies damn near impossible to hear. So here is my question...

    Would a bigger center channel speaker help this sound problem out??

    Without getting into specific models, here is my setup... I have a Sony receiver with 100W per channel. My 2 front speakers are about 1.25' tall JVCs from an older bookshelf system (they thump so i love them). The rest of my speakers is from a low end KLH small speaker package (small tweater over a little bit bigger mid range speaker) i picked up about 8 years ago for like $100. I very fine with the quality of sound coming from these but I have a feeling my 2 front speakers are over powering my center channel, but im no expert on this. My receiver's channel settings are set up to loudest for the center, and loudest for the rear surround as well. The front speakers are set to "large" as well. Ive tried multiple settings for each but none seem to make THAT much difference.

    Any ideas? thanks for the help in advance!
     
  2. JVC

    JVC Active member

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    No..........
    Your speakers need calibrating. Ideally, you need an SPL meter (Sound Pressure Level), and a calibration disc, such as the Avia, or Sound & Vision HT Tune Up disc. You can get a meter at Radio Shack for about $40 - $50. See here:
    http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=sound meter&origkw=sound meter&sr=1

    The discs can be bought from Amazon.com. See here:
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_g...earch-alias=aps&field-keywords=Avia&x=16&y=20

    Go into the receiver's setup menus, and find the "speaker levels" menus. Adjust the center channel up 3-4 notches, in the meantime. It will help, until you can do better.

    Each speaker's volume (level), should be set so they are all exactly the same volume, at the sweet spot (regular sitting position). Some set the center channel a little louder, as well as the subwoofer. Using the meter makes this much easier and more precise. If the right rear speaker is 4 ft. from you, and the left rear speaker is 10 ft. from you, the left rear speaker's volume will need to be higher, to be the same at the sweet spot. Understand?
    Good luck!


    EDIT:
    Oh yeah..........don't forget to set the speaker distances, for each speaker (distance from speaker to the sweet spot), as accurate as possible. This sets the "delay" of the speakers, so you don't hear sound from the back speaker, before you hear the front speaker. When a car goes from the front left speaker, to the rear left speaker, you don't want to hear the car behind you, before you hear it leave the front speaker!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  3. iluvendo

    iluvendo Active member

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    Maybe not bigger, but better. Have you ever tried to get a 3rd speaker identical to the other two front ones ( for use as the center channel )? Ebay?
     
  4. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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    well, as far as speaker level goes.. my center is ALL THE WAY UP already.. so i dont think tuning them is really gonna help. and id hate to spend $100 on a disc and meter if thats all it would tell me.

    as far as an identical speaker.. they are pretty old as well, and like i said, part of an old shelf system which is long gone by now. no way to know what the model was.. i guess i could look tho..

    to give you an idea of my center channel looks like, its pretty close to these surround speakers
    http://di1.shopping.com/images1/pi/ed/7a/8f/70318-177x150-0-0_KLH+HTA+809.jpg
    the 2 boxed ones, not the center channel.
    i was thinking of maybe buying this speaker to see if it helps.. as you can tell, im on a budget here...
    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage...Id=abcat0205002&type=product&id=1172277277875
    this would probably help right? thanks for the help
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  5. JVC

    JVC Active member

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    If you have all the answers, why did you ask us?
    I'm telling you the problem is with speaker calibration!
    If the center is turned all the way up, common sense should tell you to turn the levels of the other speakers down. Since voices come mainly from the center speaker, it's got to be the same volume, or higher than the others, so the background music doesn't drown out the voices. You want to hear the voices, when they are talking low or whispering too.

    I setup a guy's system for him. I do this on the side, to make extra money. He had a Sony receiver. When I tried to calibrate his speakers, there was no where to adjust the levels of the front speakers. They had a fixed level. So I had to turn the level down, on all the other speakers, to get them all to match. Once I did that, everything was great. He's had no complaints.

    If you have a subwoofer, set your speakers to "small", so the LFE (bass) signal goes to your sub. The sub should do much better with the bass, than a small bookshelf speaker. If you don't have a sub, leave the speakers set to large, because you don't have much choice.

    Go ahead and buy the new speaker. It's a good thing that BB has a good return policy, because I think you will take it back, when it doesn't fix your problem. If I were you, I'd buy a new receiver, instead of a new center speaker. A new, bigger center speaker, like the one at BB, will sound better, than that tiny thing you are using, but I don't believe the volume problem will change at all. The lower volume will just sound a little better, but still too low.
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  6. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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    settle down dude.. didnt mean to offend you.. i was just trying to say it didnt make sense to me.. but i'll give it a shot.. you seem to know what you are talking about.. i do have a sub and my fronts are set to small already.. but i'll see what i can fix with your ideas.. thanks again
     
  7. JVC

    JVC Active member

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    Sorry to get ill with you, but I get aggravated when I suggest something, and am told it's not gonna work, before they even try it. Somehow, I didn't see in the first post, that the level of the center is set to the max. But as I said, the center MUST be of equal volume or louder, than the other speakers. So, if it takes reducing the volume of the others, to make the center a little louder than them, then you need to do that. Afterall, the stuff coming out of the other speakers, is drowning out the center, right?

    One other thing to check........... double check the phase of the speaker wires, especially on the center. In case you don't know what I'm saying: some speaker wires have silver colored wire on one half, and copper colored on other half. It doesn't matter which goes to + or -, as long as it's the same on both ends. In other words, if the speaker wire for the center, has the copper colored wire going to the + side, on back of receiver, the copper colored wire needs to go into the + side, on back of the speaker.

    I said that about the sub, because in your first post you said:
    Then in your last post, you said:
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2008
  8. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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    no problem.. anyway, i'll bring the levels of the surround down too i guess... i never felt like my rear speakers really overpowered anything, but i'll bring em down just to check. and like you said with your friends sony receiver tho, there is no level setting for my fronts... so those are now set to small as well.. so, now all my speakers are set to small, with my sub level bumped up a little.. i checked the wires again, and those are correct..

    on a side note, im trying to figure out a good movie scene to test all these new settings (before i get my hands on the calibration discs) any suggestions?

    btw, which calibration video would you suggest.. i just realized i can get Digital Video Essentials, Avia , & the Ultimate DVD discs from netflix, so one of those is gonna be on my cue quick... which do you think is the best and easiest to follow?

    thanks again for the help!
     
  9. JVC

    JVC Active member

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    Avia will be the best one, in your case.

    Saving Private Ryan is a good movie for surround sound. At the beginning of the movie, when they land on Normandy Beach, the bullets start flying by your head...........
    Band of Brothers is outstanding also.
    Cars, Superman Returns, Batman Begins, and Flyboys, are some more.
     
  10. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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    cool.. i'll check out avia.. and rock out to saving pvt ryan.. good flick! thanks again
     
  11. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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  12. JVC

    JVC Active member

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    The only one I've used personally (of those), is the first Avia. I know it's good. I'm sure the others are too, but haven't tried them. I have read that DVE is very good, but not as user friendly as Avia. If you're new to this stuff, it may be a bit intimidating to you.

    If you feel comfortable enough to use DVE, go for it. In fact, get both and try them out. See which you like the best. I use BlockBuster.com, and will see if they have DVE. If they do, I'm gonna try that one too.

    Have you done any adjusting yet? I'd do it by ear first, just to get an idea of if it's gonna be what you want. If it is, then you can get the SPL meter and fine tune, with the disc. The meter is more than a one time use, piece of equipment. Anytime you move your speakers around (re-arranging the room, etc.), you need to recalibrate. Get good with the meter, and you can make money on the side, calibrating other people's speakers. That's what I do, plus setup their systems for them. You know if people can't set the clock on a VCR, they can't setup a home theater right. I don't make a lot, but every bit helps.
     
  13. ima49311

    ima49311 Regular member

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    cool... i guess i'll stick with the avia then... probably the first one.. i'll let you know how it goes, when i get it.. thanks again for the help!
     

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