Need advice on Center Channel / Film dialogue

Discussion in 'Beginners and Audiophytes' started by Trev, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. Trev Audioholic

    Trev
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    I just got my HK out of the shop and it's performing better than it did when I got it. I'm pretty stoked, but having a bit of trouble now that I've re-calibrated everything.

    With DTS I'm finding the dialogue volume is very low.

    My concern is if I raise the volume of my center channel higher I'm going to throw off the mix for the room. Everything else sounds excellent... for the cheapo system it is. Using a very old Technics 5.1 set with 3 way towers, bookshelf surrounds, and I believe it's also a three way center. I told myself I wasn't going to upgrade until I get my own house, but really... from hearing quality stereo setups, ... I'm salivating for that clarity now.

    I understand it's customary to replace your fronts before the center... but really would there be anything wrong with replacing the center before anything else?

    Would I potentially throw things off more by replacing the center with a quality speaker over increasing the volume of the center?

    Any advice would be much appreciated. My budget currently would be about $500 for the center, but if there're any great recommendations outside of that budget, I'd be happy to save toward them and bide my time.

    Best Regards,

    T
    Trev,
  2. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    For $500 - I would go ahead and change the fronts

    HTD Level Three bookshelf and center - will make a difference
    HTD Level THREE Center Channel Speaker

    HTD Level THREE Bookshelf Speakers
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  3. ARES24 Full Audioholic

    ARES24
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    I agree with zieg, with that budget I would go after a pair for fronts, but that is not what you asked....

    Sure you can get a good center with that budget. For HT applications a good center will make a huge difference. For music it won't help you that much.

    I would suggest that you audition some speakers, both center and fronts. Find a complete set that you like with a center in your budget. You will likely want to upgrade the others in due time and having a front three that are 'voiced' the same is important for overall sexiness!
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  4. Trev Audioholic

    Trev
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    Wow Zieg, that piece looks great, and the price is certainly right. Wondering how they might compare to Ascend's HTM-200's.

    HTM-200 SE Home Theater Monitor

    Really hurts my insides buying things twice. I feel that if I were to replace all 3 (center + fronts) I'd need to put in $1000 minimum.

    Right now I've got about $2400 coming in after taxes / month.

    After expenses I can set $400/month aside. ...So long as I steer myself away from whisky and Amazon. So 3 months... $1200 Center + Fronts.

    I'm envious of my buddy's bookshelf Genelec pair and always wanted a set of speakers that could deliver that shadow punch to ya; where you can listen to something at high volume, and still hear the person next to you perfectly without raising your voice.

    Thinking of that... it begs the question... when you're dealing with a $400 per speaker price range... is it better to buy bookshelf or tower fronts? How does that work? Are you paying mostly for the cabinet with towers at that range? Are bookshelf prices then more focused on the price of the drivers?

    Sorry for the level of ignorance. I consider myself a junkie for audio. It's as vital to me as water and air, but I've never had the money to experiment. It's always been blown on guitar gear and chasing tone in that area.
    Trev,
  5. zieglj01 Audioholic Spartan

    zieglj01
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    You do not need to spend much to get good sound - and as far as towers and bookshelves around the same price,
    I would go with bookshelves, and put money towards a good subwoofer. A lot of cheap towers have some weaker
    cabinets.

    As far as HTD or Ascend, that is up to you - if going with Ascend, then I would go with a bigger bookshelf speaker.
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  6. mpompey Senior Audioholic

    mpompey
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    Axiom Audio has a decent 30 day test drive trial period. I love the VP180 but for your setup it may be a bit overkill.

    I echo everyone's recommendation, if you can get 3 across the front at once. Deal with the sound for the next 12 weeks,
    then go ahead and splurge. You won't reget it.
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  7. Trev Audioholic

    Trev
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    Sorry for the late replies, been pretty busy lately. Thanks for all of the advice guys, I think you're right and I'm just going to have to do it. I dropped 2k on my PC and it's been my life. I haven't regretted that, I'm sure I won't regret the speaker purchase.... though I have a new dilemma. I thought my AVR was repaired and good to go. Seems she's frying again slowly. Video is starting to hiccup... sometimes I need to reboot it for it to recognize DTS. She's on her way out...

    I don't want to mess with sending it back to Harman again. They didn't sort it last time and I spent 2 weeks with HDMI audio from my Bravia speaker. When I originally bought the receiver, I paid about a grand. From what I understand now it's pretty damn cheap if you find someone getting rid of their stock. My next question would be... what is an affordable audio receiver that's truly reliable? I don't much need Pandora, Spotify, or all these bells and whistles... just 7.x, all HD audio formats, reliability (no overheating, quality parts, quality support/service), and good room calibration software. I appreciate you guys a lot for your help with this. It's always good to bounce purchasing thoughts off of people who know and have been there.

    Cheers,
    Trev,
  8. Jeff R. Audioholic Chief

    Jeff R.
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    Best place in my opinion for deals on receivers is www.accessories4less.com Great deals on refurbished receivers. Other options for deals include surfing your local craigslist for options.

    One piece of advice. I would determine which speakers you are going to get and then figure out what you need to adequately power them. Depending on how efficient your speakers are and what load they will present to an amplifier, this will impact how much money you will likely need to spend for a receiver.

    Good Luck

    Jeff
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