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Center Channel Speaker and Dialog Quality

 

New member
Username: Jimpaum

Raleigh, NC

Post Number: 1
Registered: Jan-05
I have recently replaced our aging stereo with a 7.1 receiver and DVD player. We are still looking for speakers. We have about a 90/10 split of music/movies right now - could well increase the movie part to get away from 20 minutes of theater commercials and mostly violent, 'blow it up' previews.

One of the primary reasons for the upgrade was to get the center channel. My wife wears hearing aids. We use closed captioning for TV shows and movies - she has trouble with quiet dialog and heavily-accented English. I usually read the captioning, too, even though I do not need to read it. Our hope is that we can turn off the CC when we finally decide on speakers that includes a center speaker.

Does a center channel speaker offer much of a gain in dialog quality? We have auditioned some speakers at the audio stores, and it's been a 'no decision' thus far. And maybe we will have to keep the CC on even with a center speaker. I know this is very subjective and individual, but would like to see what others have to say.

Jim

PS Our room is about 12 ft. by 18 ft. and an 8 ft. ceiling, with the TV and seating oriented along the shorter distance.
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dloweman

Post Number: 38
Registered: Nov-04
The one good thing that I can think of is that with a center channel, you can turn up the volume on it, so that the dialogue is louder while still keeping the ambience noise quieter. It may be a little over powering with dialogue, but better than having to read the text. Give it a try at an audio store and see if it meets your needs.
Derek
 

New member
Username: Jimpaum

Raleigh, NC

Post Number: 2
Registered: Jan-05
Derek,

Thanks for the reminder. Someone did indicate that the volume can be adjusted for each speaker and I had forgotten about that capability.

Jim
 

Stealth C
Unregistered guest
Another point of note is that receivers typically offer a "night time" option for DVDs that increases dialogue only.
 

New member
Username: Jimpaum

Raleigh, NC

Post Number: 3
Registered: Jan-05
Stealth,

Thanks. There is a 'night' mode on the Marantz SR5500 (the receiver we purchased), but the manual says it softens loud passages so as to not disturb others late at night and operates only in Dolby Digital. Not sure if this is the same thing you refer to or not, but it does not seem like it is. We'll have to give it a try, though.
 

Gold Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 1074
Registered: Dec-03
Jim,
How much do you have to spend on speakers?
 

New member
Username: Jimpaum

Raleigh, NC

Post Number: 4
Registered: Jan-05
I am looking at around $1000 for front left and right. Have not really set a budget for center, but I am thinking $300 - $400, but that could change depending on what I end up for L/R. Our listening habits are about 90/10, music/movies. But that is changing at the moment - maybe we are at 80/20 now. So I am not pushing for surrounds (there are space issues for the surrounds and we may go to in-ceiling)

Jim
 

Gold Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 1083
Registered: Dec-03
Since you have a Marantz receiver I would recommend Monitor Audio Silver series speakers. For $1000 mains look at the Silver6 and for the center look at the Silver center. It lists for $599 but is a tremendous center speaker and worth every penny. Marantz and MA are a very good combination. If you would consider buying mail order check out the MA's at dependableaudiovideo.com. They have very good prices but I have never bought from them so I only mention them as a price reference and a possible alternative.
 

New member
Username: Jimpaum

Raleigh, NC

Post Number: 5
Registered: Jan-05
Thanks, Elitefan. I am just getting into 'mid-fi' HT receivers and speakers. I had been lurking on the board for quite some time, reading about receivers and speakers. Decided to purchase the Marantz SR5500 based on auditions and comments here, but to wait on speakers. The dealer I purchased the receiver from sells NHT and Mordaunt Short (among other higher priced offerings).

I had noted that Marantz combined with the MA Silver series is highly regarded here, but we do not have a MA dealer locally. I stumbled on one a couple hours away who said he would be willing to bring the MA Silver 6's to our house for an audition (when he comes this way on other business). I think I will take him up on that offer! I really want to hear more than NHT and Mordaunt Shorts.
 

Gold Member
Username: Elitefan1

Post Number: 1084
Registered: Dec-03
My MA/Marantz dealer also sells Morduants and I have never been impressed with them at all. After hearing the MA's the Mordaunts just don't come close. NHT has always made excellent speakers and they might be a good choice for you also. It has been a few years since I have heard them but maybe someone here can give us some insight on how they sound with Marantz. Have you heard the Marantz and NHT combo? How did you like it if so? If you can get a home audition of the Silver 6 that's great. I wish we could all get that experience before we buy. I think you will be very impressed at what you hear. For a small floorstander they are incredibly dynamic and like I said a perfect match with Marantz.
 

New member
Username: Jimpaum

Raleigh, NC

Post Number: 7
Registered: Jan-05
I have heard the NHTs with the Marantz at the store where I purchased the receiver - several times. I have been there when he has let others take speakers home for an audition, so I suspect he would be willing to let me audition the NHTs at home. They have gotten very good reviews, but they did not make me go WOW! when I heard them. Hence my hesitation until I can hear more speakers.

I have recently started getting interested in better audio. I don't have prior experience to call on other than what we had before (10-15 yr old Yamaha and Large Advents). Terms like 'bright' or 'warm' or 'musical' have little meaning for me until I have more listening experience. As everyone here says, you gotta' listen and let your ears tell you what sounds best.

By the way, our living room (13' by 18' and 8' ceiling) is 'bright' (I think I understand it from that point of view) - hardwood floors with a small area rug, real wood paneling on walls, lots of windows behind sitting areas (no curtains). Would bookshelf speakers be better suited for this kind of space or would the floorstanders be OK? Seems like I've seen recommendations for bookshelf speakers in this type of situation.
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