Tips for Proper Setup of your Center Channel Speaker to Enhance Performance

A

admin

Audioholics Robot
Staff member
Ratings
1,632
#1
You went out and bought a killer speaker system. But your wife wants you to put the speakers on the floor, or up high towards the ceiling. Don't do it. Don't throw in the towel. Properly positioning and setting up your speakers, especially the center channel, is imperative for achieving the full potential of the system. Follow our tips and make the enhancements ASAP and you will be on the road to a better sounding and better looking system.



Discuss "How to Properly Setup your Center Channel Speaker to Maximize Performance" here. Read the article.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
P

Pyrrho

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,006
#2
Your link does not work. I do, however, agree that it is important to properly place the center channel speaker.
 
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#3
One of my favorite tricks for angling center speakers is rubber door stoppers. A couple bucks at the hardware store, and they don't even look that bad.
 
Adam

Adam

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
12,205 49
#4
One of my favorite tricks for angling center speakers is rubber door stoppers. A couple bucks at the hardware store, and they don't even look that bad.
Agreed! I have rubber stoppers (not door stoppers, but same idea) underneath of mine. They work great. They are black and almost visually disappear between my black speaker and black cabinet.
 
psbfan9

psbfan9

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,837 7 24
#5
Great article, thanks!

One feature that my Def Tech c/l/r 2002 had that I really liked, and thought was a great idea, was adjustable front feet. I could adjust the height from flat to about one inch high, to add a nice tilt/angle. I used a laser pointer to help with the adjustment so I could accurately aim the tweeter to ear height at the listening position.

Source Technology, John Sollecito's company, has a couple of center speakers that have a frontal incline of 11 deg.
 
G

greatdavide

Audioholic Intern
Ratings
8
#8
Acoustic screen with just the center behind it?

You said:
"Perforated screens are ALWAYS a compromise for critical two-channel performance not just for the slight losses in high frequencies, but the diffraction they cause if NOT perfectly flush mounted near the speakers. The primary emphasis of the Audioholics Showcase system is audio before video."

I'm wondering about 2 things:
1) Do perforated and woven acoustic screens perform similarly in this situation?

2) This isn't specific to your setup, I'm more likely to have aperion or klipsch at my price point but If you just put the center behind the screen do you have the same issues and can the high frequency performance be compensated by something like audessy? How much does diffraction matter for the center?

That might be more than 2 things...:D
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#9
You said:
"Perforated screens are ALWAYS a compromise for critical two-channel performance not just for the slight losses in high frequencies, but the diffraction they cause if NOT perfectly flush mounted near the speakers. The primary emphasis of the Audioholics Showcase system is audio before video."

I'm wondering about 2 things:
1) Do perforated and woven acoustic screens perform similarly in this situation?

2) This isn't specific to your setup, I'm more likely to have aperion or klipsch at my price point but If you just put the center behind the screen do you have the same issues and can the high frequency performance be compensated by something like audessy? How much does diffraction matter for the center?

That might be more than 2 things...:D
1) According to the marketing lit, woven screens, like those from seymour av, tend to be less of an issue. Here's a pdf from 2007: http://www.seymourav.com/articles/CenterStageAudioTesting.pdf

2) If you're talking about a perforated screen, Audyssey can help the freq response, but not diffraction. If you're talking non-perf/non-woven, you'd be better off with a phantom channel (L/R only, no center).
 
Last edited by a moderator:
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,585 23 9
#10
One of my favorite tricks for angling center speakers is rubber door stoppers. A couple bucks at the hardware store, and they don't even look that bad.
Yea I tried those but they were a bit too hard (at least the ones I had) and tilted the speaker up too much. I do have a spare set of Auralex MoPads in storage I may eventually swap out with should I ever have the urge to move the center channel again.
 
Marshall_Guthrie

Marshall_Guthrie

Audioholics Videographer Extraordinaire
Ratings
172
#11
Yea I tried those but they were a bit too hard (at least the ones I had) and tilted the speaker up too much. I do have a spare set of Auralex MoPads in storage I may eventually swap out with should I ever have the urge to move the center channel again.
I currently use mopads (got them for a song on a combo deal, don't know if I'd pay full price),but the door stops will actually give you more flexibility in tilt angle. If the angle is too severe, just pull the stops forward a bit.
 
chriscmore

chriscmore

Junior Audioholic
Ratings
6
#12
You said:
"Perforated screens are ALWAYS a compromise for critical two-channel performance not just for the slight losses in high frequencies, but the diffraction they cause if NOT perfectly flush mounted near the speakers. The primary emphasis of the Audioholics Showcase system is audio before video."

I'm wondering about 2 things:
1) Do perforated and woven acoustic screens perform similarly in this situation?

2) This isn't specific to your setup, I'm more likely to have aperion or klipsch at my price point but If you just put the center behind the screen do you have the same issues and can the high frequency performance be compensated by something like audessy? How much does diffraction matter for the center?

That might be more than 2 things...:D
1) No they do not. Perforated screens feature 70 to 200 holes per square inch and have audible comb filtering and refraction in to the upper midrange. No one would make a speaker grill out of perforated vinyl. While EQ can compensate for global tonal changes, it cannot compensate for perforated screen's lobing, comb filtering and refraction as the effects change with respect to frequency and angles. Woven screens feature 1700 to multiple times that many holes per square inch and shift any such effect up beyond the audio band, which changes the effect into a flatter pressure/SPL change. Pressure is easier to compensate because it does not vary with location, doesn't change the tonality of the speaker, and is commonly corrected for in everyone's channel calibration.

sound-through-perforated-sc150[1].jpg sound-through-woven-sc150[1].jpg

2) If you can detect a tonality change in a woven screen, Audyssey or simple measures like a tweeter switch or 2dB treble lift can help. In my experiences most users including the mastering studios simply use the channels as-is since the audio is far less affected by the screen than the acoustical and matching benefits they achieve through using best practice.

Cheers,
Chris
 
Last edited by a moderator:
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,585 23 9
#13
1) No they do not. Perforated screens feature 70 to 200 holes per square inch and have audible comb filtering and refraction in to the upper midrange. No one would make a speaker grill out of perforated vinyl. While EQ can compensate for global tonal changes, it cannot compensate for perforated screen's lobing, comb filtering and refraction as the effects change with respect to frequency and angles. Woven screens feature 1700 to multiple times that many holes per square inch and shift any such effect up beyond the audio band, which changes the effect into a flatter pressure/SPL change. Pressure is easier to compensate because it does not vary with location, doesn't change the tonality of the speaker, and is commonly corrected for in everyone's channel calibration.

View attachment 11646 View attachment 11647

2) If you can detect a tonality change in a woven screen, Audyssey or simple measures like a tweeter switch or 2dB treble lift can help. In my experiences most users including the mastering studios simply use the channels as-is since the audio is far less affected by the screen than the acoustical and matching benefits they achieve through using best practice.

Cheers,
Chris
Unless the speaker is right up against the screen, there will be diffraction issues most notably for the L/R speakers. I've seen this happen with regular tightly stretched grille cloth. It's ok for HT environment but IMO not for critical two-channel listening. A better solution for 2CH and HT would be a woven screen (like yours) covering the center but not the main channels.

Kinda like what you show here:
ScreenSpeakerAngles700.jpg

This something I would have entertained if I didn't have my speakers 4 feet from the back wall. Having a screen draping down that far into the room just doesn't look right.
 
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
7,335 8 26
#14
The article is great, but it doesn't entirely address one of the most common center channel placement issues: placement on a rack/table/shelf. Some of the things mentioned in the article also apply to rack placement but the solutions are a bit different. The single most common error I see is that the typical person puts the speaker 6-8" back from the edge, sitting directly on whatever it is placed on, creating an instant reflection.
 
Last edited:
gene

gene

Audioholics Master Chief
Administrator
Ratings
4,585 23 9
#15
The article is great, but it doesn't entirely address one of the most common center channel placement issues: placement on a rack/table/shelf. Some of the things mentioned in the article also apply to rack placement but the solutions are a bit different. The single most common error I see is that the typical person puts the speaker 6-8" back from the edge, sitting directly on whatever it is sitting on creating an instant reflection.
Read it again, we do have a sentence in there about that. I agree that is a big issue often overlooked.

Along the same vein, if your center speaker is sitting on a TV stand, pull it to the front of the stand. Again, you may not notice a huge difference (or you may),but each of these tweaks makes a little difference leading to a large difference cumulatively.
I changed it to this:

Along the same vein, if your center speaker is sitting on a TV stand or shelf, pull it to the front of the stand/shelf to eliminate the unwanted reflections caused by the close proximity of the surface it resides on.
Hope that helps clarify your very valid point that needed more attention.
 
Last edited:
j_garcia

j_garcia

Audioholic Jedi
Ratings
7,335 8 26
#16
I missed that then. I blame it on distraction due to the pictures of your disgustingly nice reference system :D

Raising the center off the surface and/or slightly angling it up can also minimize the effects if pulling it to the very edge of the rack isn't acceptable to the "other half".
 
Last edited:
J

Jover360

Audiophyte
#17
Something I want to know is the distant between the Tv and the center speaker. How critical it's?
 
P

Pyrrho

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,006
#18
Something I want to know is the distant between the Tv and the center speaker. How critical it's?
A major idea of the center speaker is to create the illusion that the sound is coming from the center of the TV screen. You should strive to have the tweeter of the center speaker as close as reasonably possible to the screen.

As to the question of how important that is, it depends on what one values, how far one is from the TV, etc.
 
DD66000

DD66000

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
118 9 20
#19
Nice room Gene. I have the opposite problem as you in that my center channel is located above the screen but I've angled down slightly towards the listening area as shown. View attachment 11643

The view from the couch
Even angled down, I would call that center way too high. If it were my system, I would place the center on the TV stand, raising up the TV if needed, so the screen clears the top of the speaker
 
P

Pyrrho

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,006
#20
Even angled down, I would call that center way too high. If it were my system, I would place the center on the TV stand, raising up the TV if needed, so the screen clears the top of the speaker
I agree. If we look at the picture of the front:


11644d1363963377-tips-proper-setup-your-center-channel-speaker-enhance-performance-img-20120918-.jpg

If the center speaker were placed directly under the TV, but on top of the TV stand, then its tweeter would be closer to being in line with the right and left speaker. That way, when a sound pans across the front channels, it would not go up and down much. As things are, a sound panning across the front starts at a normal height, goes way up, and then comes back down again, which is not a good thing at all.
 

Latest posts


newsletter
  • RBHsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis