Center channel speaker sounds boxy? - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #11 of 28 Old 04-08-18, 02:11 PM
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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Oleson, M.D. wrote: View Post
Another issue is when the speech gets quiet, it is neerly impossible to make out what is being said. Maybe this is a problem with most movie dialog in the center.
The problem there is probably that the boomy low end is determining your overall level. We have a similar problem here. My wife likes to play Pandora, but the channel she likes to listen to has a very pronounced low end. I adjust the bass level down then you can hardly hear anything, so I then have to turn the overall volume up.

So, try reducing the center channel bass, then turn up the level, and voice clarity should be fine then.


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Some movie soundtracks are nearly crystal clear without any of this boominess or unwanted coloration in the center channel. And some movie dialog tracks are very hard to understand.

We had some friends over for a screening of "Love & Mercy" recently. One person complained she could not hear the actors speaking, so I turned the center way up to compensate.

The Integra has Audyssey MultEQ XT32, which was the flagship version of the firms auto calibration, room correction compensation, using 8 mike locations for EQ.
As with my last post, system calibration won’t compensate for poorly equalized program material. You have to fix that locally.


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There is never an issue with TV broadcasts.
Tune in to MyGyver reboot on CBS. Some of the worst equalized voices I’ve ever heard.

Regards,
Wayne



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post #12 of 28 Old 04-08-18, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt wrote: View Post
The problem there is probably that the boomy low end is determining your overall level. We have a similar problem here. My wife likes to play Pandora, but the channel she likes to listen to has a very pronounced low end. I adjust the bass level down then you can hardly hear anything, so I then have to turn the overall volume up.

So, try reducing the center channel bass, then turn up the level, and voice clarity should be fine then.



As with my last post, system calibration won’t compensate for poorly equalized program material. You have to fix that locally.



Tune in to MyGyver reboot on CBS. Some of the worst equalized voices I’ve ever heard.

Regards,
Wayne
Wayne - Thanks. I have been experimenting today...standing the center channel speaker up on end, swapping it out for another speaker, etc., etc.
It is now situated about 12" up off the stage floor, angled up about 30 degrees.

This Klipsch RC-64 II is awesome on music videos, recorded concerts, etc. It is good on most broadcast TV. It is sucky on some FM broadcasts, with male voices sounding like they are in a well, with an extra lower octave or two added. This speaker also excels at special effects, bomb blasts, gunshots, thunder, etc.

As stated, it does not do well on some movie dialog. The "Titanic" is just fine with the center dialog. "Love & Mercy" is not so good, especially in the opening scene where Brian Wilson is sitting at the piano mumbling to himself.

In the movie "Sully", some times the dialog is perfectly fine, other times boomy (male & female), and other times quiet and very hard to understand.

It would appear that the problem originates with the source material, rather than my components. I will find out more after my new Integra processor arrives. Hopefully, it will be good news!

Last edited by Oleson, M.D.; 04-08-18 at 03:05 PM.
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post #13 of 28 Old 04-08-18, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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I find that often the program material itself is poorly equalized. No amount of treatment is going to fix that. Really, the audio engineers should high-pass voices at 200 Hz or so to prevent the male voice “boom” (unless we’re talking about James Earl Jones ). But that seems to be universally not done.

Regards,
Wayne
That seems to be the issue. As a music fan, I do not want to take anything away from the RC-64's performance. But...I'm not sure how to get around that, and have the dialog be decent.

The bass output, very smooth, with good musical impact, rivals that of my tower speakers.
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post #14 of 28 Old 04-08-18, 10:07 PM
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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Wayne A. Pflughaupt wrote: View Post
I find that often the program material itself is poorly equalized. No amount of treatment is going to fix that. Really, the audio engineers should high-pass voices at 200 Hz or so to prevent the male voice “boom” (unless we’re talking about James Earl Jones ). But that seems to be universally not done.

Regards,
Wayne
Agreed source material makes a HUGE difference - I now have several DSD tracks from HD Tracks and wow what clarity ! That being said - the Dirac mixed phase and alignment filters does an amazing job of bringing a coherent sound stage - especially in the vocal range.... its hard to describe until you hear it ...Im a believer
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post #15 of 28 Old 04-09-18, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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I have no idea what “boxy” sounds like, but if your complaint is with male voices, I’m going to hazard a guess that the problem actually is too much lows, causing them to sound boomy or muddy. A center-channel speaker with small woofers would be the solution. Alternately, if your receiver has dedicated center-channel EQ, a reduction of all bands below 200 Hz would make a huge difference.

Regards,
Wayne
My center has four 6.5" cast basket cerametallic woofers. And a compression horn driver (Klipsch RC-64 II). These are the smallest woofers in my theater setup, with most of them being 10", or 12" in size. Throw in several 8's in the surrounds.

You say a center with a smaller woofer would be a solution. How much smaller? At the other end of the spectrum, this center does have impact out the wazoo...something that I do not want to give up.

I'm beginning to think that there is no perfect solution. We can either have a center with great music rendition, huge impact with gunshots, bomb blasts, car crashes, but (sometimes) dialog is sucky, or maybe we can have good dialog without any male voice and female voice boominess, but sacrifice that other positives listed above?

Again, when the Integra arrives we will do what we can with the EQ. My room was designed from the get go for sound, including custom built acoustic panels (home made), plus dimensions to avoid standing waves.

Thanks to you (and everyone) for your input!

edit: I am not the Lone Ranger on this issue, as when you do a search on center channel issues, boomy male voices, dialog difficult to understand, you will find many complaints similar to mine.

Last edited by Oleson, M.D.; 04-09-18 at 07:06 AM.
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post #16 of 28 Old 04-10-18, 12:14 PM
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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Oleson, M.D. wrote: View Post
It would appear that the problem originates with the source material, rather than my components. I will find out more after my new Integra processor arrives. Hopefully, it will be good news!
Quality of source material definitely varies so you can probably chalk up some of your situation to that. Perhaps of bigger concern though is the fact you don't have room EQ enabled. There could be a time alignment problem, phase issue at the crossover range, SPL variation, etc. Trying to find a solution manually - without test gear or room correction - is like finding a needle in a haystack. It's more luck than anything else really. It may be better to hold off doing further analysis until the new receiver arrives. A solution at this point is likely more by accident than consequence.


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My center has four 6.5" cast basket cerametallic woofers. And a compression horn driver (Klipsch RC-64 II). These are the smallest woofers in my theater setup, with most of them being 10", or 12" in size. Throw in several 8's in the surrounds.

You say a center with a smaller woofer would be a solution. How much smaller? At the other end of the spectrum, this center does have impact out the wazoo...something that I do not want to give up.
Typically centers with smaller woofers exacerbate 'boomy' or muddled voices. Why? Because they have a higher crossover point, which means the sub(s) have to play higher in the frequency range in order to compensate. Above 80Hz is where a lot of the male voice resides, something that's tricky for most subwoofers to produce cleanly. It's generally best to let your speakers handle that range.

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post #17 of 28 Old 04-10-18, 04:24 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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Quality of source material definitely varies so you can probably chalk up some of your situation to that. Perhaps of bigger concern though is the fact you don't have room EQ enabled. There could be a time alignment problem, phase issue at the crossover range, SPL variation, etc. Trying to find a solution manually - without test gear or room correction - is like finding a needle in a haystack. It's more luck than anything else really. It may be better to hold off doing further analysis until the new receiver arrives. A solution at this point is likely more by accident than consequence.

Typically centers with smaller woofers exacerbate 'boomy' or muddled voices. Why? Because they have a higher crossover point, which means the sub(s) have to play higher in the frequency range in order to compensate. Above 80Hz is where a lot of the male voice resides, something that's tricky for most subwoofers to produce cleanly. It's generally best to let your speakers handle that range.
I turned on the "Dynamic Compression" setting on the Panny BD player. It seemed to help. But, I would still like to get the region below 100 hz cleaned up. Maybe some EQ will handle that.

Along with the new Integra, I just ordered the Panny DMP-UB900. Maybe that will help a bit also.

Overall, the system sounds great. Eleven speakers total. Made up of VMPS RM2 towers, dual Madisound kit built subs, Klipsch RC-64II center, with RB-81 II's for the side surround, RB-61 II's for the rear surround, plus a pair of Dynaco A25's for the rear left and right ambience (Dyna-Quad) speakers.

The place really rocks when listening to a concert at reference levels.

The center is absolute killer on music.

What would be the correct freq. range for the center channel? What x-over point do we want, to eliminate any potential boominess?

Last edited by Oleson, M.D.; 04-10-18 at 05:05 PM.
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post #18 of 28 Old 04-10-18, 06:42 PM
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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What would be the correct freq. range for the center channel? What x-over point do we want, to eliminate any potential boominess?
I don't necessarily know if there is a 'correct' crossover point for the center, but you might want to try 60Hz. The RC-64 has a -3dB point of 57Hz so it should be fine with that, provided you don't listen too loud of course. At 60Hz most of the dialog will move to the center, limiting the contribution of the sub. I still think you should hold off until the new receiver arrives though. Without measurement equipment, or room EQ scans, it's still a shot in the dark.

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post #19 of 28 Old 04-10-18, 07:29 PM
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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What would be the correct freq. range for the center channel? What x-over point do we want, to eliminate any potential boominess?
To eliminate (or at least minimize) the boomy male voices, I’d say crossover as high as you can. 200Hz would be ideal, or as close to that as you can get it.

Regards,
Wayne
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post #20 of 28 Old 04-11-18, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Center channel speaker sounds boxy?

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To eliminate (or at least minimize) the boomy male voices, I’d say crossover as high as you can. 200Hz would be ideal, or as close to that as you can get it.

Regards,
Wayne
My processor has multiple x-over options, and 120 hz is now selected. But what speaker (s) is effected? I have no idea, and the menu does not state, only showing the frequency options. Is this for the center speaker? Is it for the subs? Mains?
The remote on my NAD T163 started working again, and this is referencing the x-over settings on the NAD.
The Integra will arrive today, and certainly will offer more x-over options.

Last edited by Oleson, M.D.; 04-11-18 at 10:49 AM.
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