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I want to add center channel speaker, don't device to buy

Goldilock
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So my current speaker setup is Wharfedale Diamond 10.1 + diy stereo amp. Already sounding fantastic for music but for not so much for movies because it's really hard to discern speech and conversation. During one of linus' video I remember one good way adding clarity to speech is adding center speaker.

 

Problem is I don't know what device to buy to add center speaker output. Should I buy AV Receiver? or is there cheaper alternative than AV Receiver? What about the software setting because my movies are all in stereo file?.

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

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Unless your audio is failing to be downmixed / recognized as stereo (it shouldn't) there should be absolutely no problem regarding the clarity of speech on movies and TV. A center channel provides all of the exact information, only in mono. It's the sum of both left and right channels together. I'd point to the source.

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An AVR is going to complicate your life greatly. What is your source? (browser, dedicated apps with HDCP2.2 and modern CPU that streaming services allow you to do surround, set top box, etc.?)

 

 

2 hours ago, OfficialTechSpace said:

A center channel provides all of the exact information, only in mono.

Not in movies. Actually idk what you're saying? lol Surround sound formats use a dedicated channel for center.

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3 hours ago, johnt said:

An AVR is going to complicate your life greatly. What is your source? (browser, dedicated apps with HDCP2.2 and modern CPU that streaming services allow you to do surround, set top box, etc.?)

 

 

Not in movies. Actually idk what you're saying? lol Surround sound formats use a dedicated channel for center.

I think what he is implying is that a Surround Source (let's take 5.1 for example) should be downmixed to stereo (2.0) and the "center track" would be the same as if it were a dedicated speaker.

 

With that in mind, I know tons of rips often have weird downmixing or weird audio mastering where it uses a 5.1 or 7.1 track, and when it gets downmixed to stereo, the dialogue is super hard to listen to and is much quieter compared to everything out. No idea what the root cause of that is (bad audio mastering, bad transcoding, etc). So I've personally run across video files where listening with a true dedicated center channel does help. In those situations, I just switch on my AVR and utilize my 5.1 setup instead of the stereo TV speakers.

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6 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

and when it gets downmixed to stereo, the dialogue is super hard to listen to and is much quieter compared to everything out

I can see how the center channel could be down mixed to near 50% by accident to both channels. That makes total sense. Your reply is why I think it's important to understand the OP's source. If he is using a PC to watch movies, then in my humble experience and opinion, an AVR isn't worth it and just get a set top box to use with an AVR. There is true hatred for Windows when it comes to content quality. But if the OP is using this setup and having issues in a living room TV configuration, then yes an AVR is the way to go with a center channel. Even then, you still have issues with poor sound management in certain content. Sometimes it's just not worth chasing. After you have perfect sources and it's all working, you could still have issues with your room response causing issues. Treating a living room is not typically functional. Sometimes the subtitles are the only solution.

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On 7/4/2022 at 7:48 PM, OfficialTechSpace said:

Unless your audio is failing to be downmixed / recognized as stereo (it shouldn't) there should be absolutely no problem regarding the clarity of speech on movies and TV. A center channel provides all of the exact information, only in mono. It's the sum of both left and right channels together. I'd point to the source.

My main problem is during movies scenes I'll have quiet conversation then all of sudden super loud boom.

 

Having experienced few 3 speaker setup (stereo + center) it does virtually eliminate volume fluctuations.

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On 7/5/2022 at 2:02 AM, dalekphalm said:

I think what he is implying is that a Surround Source (let's take 5.1 for example) should be downmixed to stereo (2.0) and the "center track" would be the same as if it were a dedicated speaker.

 

With that in mind, I know tons of rips often have weird downmixing or weird audio mastering where it uses a 5.1 or 7.1 track, and when it gets downmixed to stereo, the dialogue is super hard to listen to and is much quieter compared to everything out. No idea what the root cause of that is (bad audio mastering, bad transcoding, etc). So I've personally run across video files where listening with a true dedicated center channel does help. In those situations, I just switch on my AVR and utilize my 5.1 setup instead of the stereo TV speakers.

Yes, exactly what I have in mind.

 

Lots of issue in big bucks hollywood movies, though not so much in my anime collection.

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On 7/5/2022 at 8:19 AM, johnt said:

I can see how the center channel could be down mixed to near 50% by accident to both channels. That makes total sense. Your reply is why I think it's important to understand the OP's source. If he is using a PC to watch movies, then in my humble experience and opinion, an AVR isn't worth it and just get a set top box to use with an AVR. There is true hatred for Windows when it comes to content quality. But if the OP is using this setup and having issues in a living room TV configuration, then yes an AVR is the way to go with a center channel. Even then, you still have issues with poor sound management in certain content. Sometimes it's just not worth chasing. After you have perfect sources and it's all working, you could still have issues with your room response causing issues. Treating a living room is not typically functional. Sometimes the subtitles are the only solution.

I'll be using PC because there all my movies are in PC.

 

All my movie files are in stereo but for some reason lots of them have weird volume fluctuation issue (quiet speech followed by loud sound effect).

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1 hour ago, Goldilock said:

I'll be using PC because there all my movies are in PC.

 

All my movie files are in stereo but for some reason lots of them have weird volume fluctuation issue (quiet speech followed by loud sound effect).

I hope we don’t get banned for this… if they are mkv files or similar, sometimes they have multiple tracks and your system doesn’t necessarily default to stereo, or even down mix to stereo. You could go through the settings and see what you find to either play the stereo track or down mix to stereo through the program. Software like VLC is usually capable of such things. 

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43 minutes ago, johnt said:

I hope we don’t get banned for this… if they are mkv files or similar, sometimes they have multiple tracks and your system doesn’t necessarily default to stereo, or even down mix to stereo. You could go through the settings and see what you find to either play the stereo track or down mix to stereo through the program. Software like VLC is usually capable of such things. 

You're not going to "get banned for this". The rules about discussion of piracy (since that's what I assume you're talking about) are pretty clear.

 

You can talk about piracy in the general sense. But you cannot directly encourage piracy nor can you link to any sources providing pirated materials (eg: you can't link to a torrent on TPB).

 

For the context of this discussion, we have no idea where he got his video files from, and therefore have no reason to assume it's piracy (he could have ripped them from his own Blu-Ray collection).

 

Anyway, TL;DR, don't worry about "saying something to get banned" unless you go way off topic.

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4 hours ago, Goldilock said:

My main problem is during movies scenes I'll have quiet conversation then all of sudden super loud boom.

 

Having experienced few 3 speaker setup (stereo + center) it does virtually eliminate volume fluctuations.

This will depend on the AVR but dynamic range compression CAN be good for movies. Sometimes this is called night mode.

Imagine the loudest of louds being 10dB softer and the whispers being 3-6dB louder.

Not good for sound quality overall but generally good for speech intelligibility.

 

In some cases TVs/streaming devices might have this as an option. Many AVRs also have it as an option.

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5 hours ago, johnt said:

I hope we don’t get banned for this… if they are mkv files or similar, sometimes they have multiple tracks and your system doesn’t necessarily default to stereo, or even down mix to stereo. You could go through the settings and see what you find to either play the stereo track or down mix to stereo through the program. Software like VLC is usually capable of such things. 

Thanks mate, I'll see if this helps.

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I've been involved with HT since the days of Dolby pro logic. Don't laugh....ive set up some scary good systems. 

 

While the OP is likely dealing with down mix woes the lack of flexibility with two channel reproduction is frankly ridiculous. There is no reason center channel information can't be mixed at 10-15db higher than front surrounds and played back in basic 2 channel mode. Classic Dolby pro logic had a phantom mode that did this, albeit without the db boost. Add a dsp mode where you can increase the level of the center channel mix along with dynamic compression inside of two channels and every apt dweller in North America with good two channel speakers would buy it.

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