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Thread: 5.1 or .....

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    Aspiring Know-It-All darkholme's Avatar
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    Default 5.1 or .....


    So I was down at a local HT store and started talking speakers with the owners. We were talking about speaker setups and they mentioned that they were only using 4.1 setups and that there wasn't much of a difference because the decoders just push the audio out the left and right speakers. They said the only reason you need a center channel is if there are some seriously off center viewing angles so that one speaker doesn't over power the other.

    This is completely counter-intuitive to everything I've heard. So I've been messing around going back and forth between 4.1 and 5.1 setups. I can definitely tell a difference but it's not a bad one. If I continue with the experiment and find the 4.1 just as good it'll save me a lot of money not having to upgrade a center channel.

    Does anyone have a 4.1 instead of 5.1? What are your thoughts?
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    FATHER TIMELESS ImRizzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkholme View Post
    So I was down at a local HT store and started talking speakers with the owners. We were talking about speaker setups and they mentioned that they were only using 4.1 setups and that there wasn't much of a difference because the decoders just push the audio out the left and right speakers. They said the only reason you need a center channel is if there are some seriously off center viewing angles so that one speaker doesn't over power the other.

    This is completely counter-intuitive to everything I've heard. So I've been messing around going back and forth between 4.1 and 5.1 setups. I can definitely tell a difference but it's not a bad one. If I continue with the experiment and find the 4.1 just as good it'll save me a lot of money not having to upgrade a center channel.

    Does anyone have a 4.1 instead of 5.1? What are your thoughts?

    My opinion, do go back to that HT store. The center channel is the most critical of your setup it carries almost all of the dialogue and, also it is one of the reasons the Center channel speaker must be a quality speaker preferably of the same brand as your Frt speakers so as to emulate the same timbre and help create a seamless soundfeild.
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    Super Moderator mytime's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImRizzo View Post
    My opinion, do go back to that HT store. The center channel is the most critical of your setup it carries almost all of the dialogue and, also it is one of the reasons the Center channel speaker must be a quality speaker preferably of the same brand as your Frt speakers so as to emulate the same timbre and help create a seamless soundfeild.
    +1. Could not have said it better.
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    Will Work For Whisky nobsplease's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImRizzo View Post
    My opinion, do go back to that HT store. The center channel is the most critical of your setup it carries almost all of the dialogue and, also it is one of the reasons the Center channel speaker must be a quality speaker preferably of the same brand as your Frt speakers so as to emulate the same timbre and help create a seamless soundfeild.
    Yah. They're fuggin' idjits. Isn't it great to be able to bounce ideas around here and cut through BS?
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    audio guy & Samsung liker JasonB's Avatar
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    get a center... period.
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    Aspiring Know-It-All darkholme's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImRizzo View Post
    My opinion, do go back to that HT store. The center channel is the most critical of your setup it carries almost all of the dialogue and, also it is one of the reasons the Center channel speaker must be a quality speaker preferably of the same brand as your Frt speakers so as to emulate the same timbre and help create a seamless soundfeild.
    This is what I've always thought as well. However, these guys have been in the business a long time, since '74 I think, and I'm giving a little weight to their argument. Granted the Center handles the majority of the dialogue but what they're saying is that if you turn the center off on your receiver (not unplugging it) it will output the center audio to your left and rights.

    I've been messing with it some this afternoon, mainly on the Dave Matthews and John Mayer blu-ray concert discs. I have to say what they are saying makes sense. I can't really tell a difference while sitting in the "sweet spot". I'll have to test it out on some movies to see if it still holds.

    They are not saying that centers are not important. They are saying if it's just you and maybe one other sitting directly in front of your tv on a couch you shouldn't be able to tell much of a difference if any at all.

    Give it a shot and tell me what you think.
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    Character0129 Niko's Avatar
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    Yeah, they are right. If you sit "dead center" between FL and FR, you wouldn't actually need a dedicated center speaker. Sort of like you never needed one for a stereo music setup, the singer's voice is still "physically" there in the middle.

    However i wouldn't set up my gear like this. After all, multichannel audio is mixed discreetly for all the channels. You'd need to use a matrix to downmix the center to the FL/FR speaker. Which depending on the capabilities of the mixer could possibly harm the quality of the soundmix.

    But if you don't mind that and all listening positions are in the sweet spot, it should work.

    Just my 2ct.
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    Will Work For Whisky nobsplease's Avatar
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    When Dolby Surround came out that approach was acceptable because there was no discrete centre channel and the stereo effect allowed decent dialogue reproduction if you were smack in the middle of you left and right speakers. I don't think anybody sits with their head in a vise while watching TV. We flop around or sit somewhere else if we have company. Without a dedicated centre channel dialogue will be compromised for sure. Get a centre channel. please.
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    FATHER TIMELESS ImRizzo's Avatar
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    If you are watching a movie where one of the characters crosses from the L/ spk across the center and then into the r/spk while talking or a car slowly crosses the soundfeild from L to R, if you cut out the center spk it does not transition as smoothly and seamless as it would with a center spk supporting the transition. IMHO anyway. Anyone else care to jump in here?
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    Aspiring Know-It-All darkholme's Avatar
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    Don't worry, I've already got a center channel and running a 5.1. I was just thinking about making my speaker upgrade a little cheaper if 4.1 was a viable option. I had some people over tonight and I sat off center and I ended up turning the center back on. So that settled it for me since when I have people over I'm not always going to be sitting dead center.
    Display - Den: Pioneer KRP-600M
    Display - Bedroom: Panasonic 50" S1
    AVR: Denon 4310
    Bluray: Oppo BDP-83
    Games: Xbox 360 Elite (Resident Evil Red version), PS3
    Dish Network - Den: ViP722
    Dish Network - Bedroom: ViP612
    Speakers: Klipsch Synergy III C-3,F-2 x2, S-2 x2, Athena 400w sub.
    Remote: Logitech Harmony 1100

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    SuperMod For eternity! Loves2Watch's Avatar
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    I'll jump in here at the request of The Rizz -

    The center channel speaker is imperative. Not having it in a surround sound system muddies the dialog and in some cases removes the voices almost entirely. Don't believe it, remove your center and use your system for a week. You will be turning the volume up attempting to hear what you are missing in both the dialog and music soundtracks.

    FYI Not only is the center needed for clear, intelligible dialog, it handles much of the music in the front soundstage...
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