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post #1 of 10 Old 04-18-08, 01:24 PM Thread Starter
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Eric
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
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Experiments

I read on an audio mag site that center speakers weren't all they're cracked up to be, so I decided to do some experiments. The article said that the two speakers interfere with each other and degrade the sound. So I swapped my center channel speaker with one of the surrounds. Four identical speakers and the center speaker. I can't use the words I exclaimed when I first heard it. Suffice it to say the swap is permanent.

With the center speaker in the position of one of the surrounds, I hear far less difference between it and the rest of them. But there is still a difference. The image from the other 4 2-way speakers is pinpoint accurate. The image from the dual woofer center channel speaker is a bit muddy.

What blows me away is the con game that so many manufactures are playing with their satellites. It sounds so much better to have identical speakers in the front, and people are paying extra money for speakers that just don't work properly. I should add that with my set up my front speakers are near field.

Well, with my new found fidelity I did some experiments with placement. Maybe being so close to them is what makes the difference, but moving them even an inch changes the sound. On top of that my set up is not symmetrical. But I did manage to find positions where the sound is nearly identical from each of the 3 front speakers. I love free upgrades. They happen so rarely.

I am still working with the BFD to tweak my sub but I've made some progress there too.

The difference between the old set up and the new one, after a good day of work, was so extreme even my mom who is 72 and not much into sound, could hear the difference. I am very pleased with my work. I hope someday to have a real room to use, but for now this bedroom set up is working really well.

My only complaint is because I'm so close to the front speakers my mids and highs are a little harsh. Nothing I can do about that, it will happen with any speakers. All in all it was well worth my time to play around with the placement. And I know for the future if I am using satellites not to waste money on center channel speakers. The sound is so far superior using the same speakers across the front it isn't even close.
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-18-08, 03:01 PM
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jakewash
 
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Re: Experiments

I take it you are using 3 vertically oriented speakers across the front? That is the best way to achieve a truly seamless soundstage, 3 identical speakers, unfortunately a number of people are not able to run a vertical center channel, this is where the horizontal idea comes in, and the WAF appears to be better with horizontal centers as well.

By all means if a person can run a vertical center I would highly recommend it, the horizontal dispersion is much better than the horizontal designs. Even better would be the ability to run exactly the same 3 speakers across the front(as you have done) and with floorstanders this is not easy to do, but the soundstage is much better this way, IMO. I have run 3 floorstanders, briefly across the front of my HT and the sound was incredible, much more dynamic and even. I have also run a bookshelf center which was better than my horizontal center off axis, but I didn't find it to be nearly as dynamic and full as the floorstander(obviously).

Just curious as to why you say just because you sit close the mids and highs are a little harsh, sitting near field, unless really close, should not add to the mids and highs. Do you have the mains toed in? If so try toeing them out a little at a time to see if that helps, if it does, keep toeing them out until the soundstage breaks down then toe them back in until you achieve a soundstage you like. I have known a few people that have done this with good results.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-19-08, 12:27 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Experiments

Actually I'm using 3 bookshelves horizontally, one above my monitor. I don't have room to put them vertically but the sound is pretty good horizontally. And yes it is so much better with matching speakers across the front. The one different speaker is ok for surround. It's farther away and vertical. It seems the sound really degrades up close and horizontal. Unfortunately these speakers aren't made anymore so there is no chance of getting another matching one. But I'll sure know for next time. My back surrounds don't match either but they are used so little that it's not much of a problem. They're close enough. Floor-standers are a dream for now but someday.

I'm about 2 feet from the center and 2'6" from the mains. Yea I know they're really close together but it's the best I can do with my present layout. Fortunately they're not so close that I don't get a good sound stage, but far closer than would be ideal. I do have them toed in just a little bit but not much. And the sound is very similar from the center one too so I doubt that the toe in has much to do with it. Also if I get up and stand a few feet back they do sound better so I assume the distance is the main factor.

Last edited by greatmane; 04-19-08 at 12:46 AM.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-19-08, 04:02 AM
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Re: Experiments

2' away does put you in the very close category and you are right, not much you can do except maybe try to turn the treble down if you are able and having them laying on their sides isn't helping things either.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-19-08, 07:27 AM
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Re: Experiments

What speakers are you using?
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post #6 of 10 Old 04-20-08, 09:06 AM Thread Starter
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Eric
 
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Re: Experiments

I have a set of the Velodyne CHT Front Row speakers which I got at clearance prices and I'm thrilled with them considering the amount of cash I paid. I also have an H-100 sub so I have a good starter system with plenty of room for upgrades in the future.

In case you're interested I'm driving them with an older Sony receiver (7.1 but no HDMI) which does the job for now. It is next on the list. I'd like to get a Dennon or something like that but that won't be happening any time soon. And an A3 rounds out my system.

My screen is tiny, a 23" 760p Sceptre but since I'm only sitting about 2 feet away from it it's doing the job. It also fits in the hutch on my desk. Looks like it was made for the space I have.
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post #7 of 10 Old 04-20-08, 10:30 AM
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Re: Experiments

Yeah, sound like a nice system, but the brightness is probably just because the speakers weren't designed for nearfield. Still, they shoul d sound passable. Make sure there aren't any EQs turned on, or other weird sound field setting from your AVR and your source. Feed it a clean signal, and if it still sound bright, then you may want to EQ, or as previously mentioned, play with the axis of the speakers.
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post #8 of 10 Old 04-21-08, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Experiments

Thank you for the advice. I run my system clean, no sound fields, no eq, and nothing else to mess up the sound. And given the variety of source quality at the present a Db or two in the treble is really a very minor problem. Especially when considering the 20 Db null in my room at 112 Hz. I have already done some basic room treatments and I'm not likely to do much else before I move. All in all it sounds pretty good, and considering the cash I put out, it sounds fantastic.
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post #9 of 10 Old 04-22-08, 02:02 PM
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Re: Experiments

I have 4 Klipsch RB81's and a RC62 center. I tried using one of the bookshelves as a center and it did sound good, but not really any better than the RC62. If I were to have an acoustically transparent projector screen I would have gone with RB81's all the way around. The way it's set up know though the WAF would be terrible having a single bookshelf in the center. It would encroach on the screen also.
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post #10 of 10 Old 04-24-08, 09:33 PM
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Re: Experiments

My experience does not coincide with your experience. In my room I first tried three identical speakers across the front. I did not notice any major differences between three identical vs using the matching center.
I also did not like the way it looked, so, I went with 5 identical speakers along with a matching center.
My speakers are 5 of the NHT Classic 3's and the matching center. It is pretty much what you put in is what you get out.
That is my experience in my room, of course, all rooms are different. Many people report that identical speakers are the way to go.
Great Hobby isn't it?
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