center speaker

Chris, Is a Center Channel speaker "REALLY" a major improvement if I can sit in IDEAL middle position of my new home theater room.(for movies and music). I have new OHM ACOUSTIC 2000 speakers for front mains(large and impressive speakers) and OHM speakers for front sides and OHM omni directional surround speakers. Problem is (Beside MONEY)is that my front projection screen only allows me 23" from floor to bottom of screen. OHM 2000s are 36" high and large cabinet.Can't put same as center speaker obviously. Dolby Labs always said center speaker should be the BEST speaker since it does most of the work.(onscreen dialog and onscreen action). As you know, home theater audio is usually other way around, center speaker is smaller and less expensive than main front speakers.

Chris, What is THE TRUTH? How much is marketing? I really like your company and trust you for an honest answer. Again, I can sit in IDEAL position unlike a movie theater whereas you may be off center.

Thank You!!

Richard

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3 Comments

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    I don't consider the center speaker as an optional improvement. If your goal is to listen to the content the way it was created then it is an absolute necessity. Stereo was invented at Bell Labs in the 1930s with three channels! Left, Center, Right. It was because there was no medium to deliver proper stereo to consumers that it was limited to two channels on LPs. There is nothing perceptually correct about two-channel stereo because there is really no correspondence between the two speakers and our two ears. In fact, there are frequency response problems that are caused by phantom images. Sound from the left speaker reaching the right ear interferes with sound from the right speaker reaching the right ear because they arrive at different times. The same happens on the other side. This interference causes response problems in the midrange that are solved by a real center speaker. For movies, the majority of the content is in the center channel. It requires the most dynamic range and proper directivity. It is unfortunate that the industry in the early days tried to diminish the importance of the center speaker. 

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    Carl J. Weber

    Chris - you are primarily more of a movie sound guy and I am primarily a multichannel music listening guy.  Nontheless, your comments are absolutely spot on for either music or movies.  With music, any of the remastered 3-channel RCA or Mercury SACD's demonstrate in an overwhelming way what a difference the center channel makes.  An RCA SACD called Stokowski Rhapsodies (it's inexpensive), has the 3-channel mix and the 2-channel mix, both in high rez..  It's quite obvious from this what a compromise 2-channel stereo has been from the get go. It's yet another reason why quad was a big mistake.   I have also become quite aware of differences between recording/mastering teams on 5-channel classical SACD's.  Those who use discrete center channel miking provide much more realistic music reproduction than those who derive a center from the side channels.  A phantom center channel just does not cut it for best sound.

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    Chris Kyriakakis

    "A phantom center channel just does not cut it for best sound."

    Well said Carl!

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