Why is my center channel speaker's sound volume so low?


New member
Username: Sip

Post Number: 8
Registered: Dec-04
The sound coming from my center channel speaker is very low compared to my two front speakers. If I increase the volume of the receiver to enable me to properly hear the center channel speaker, the front speakers become too high. If I reduce the volume to bring front speakers to a tolerable level, I can barely here the center channel speakers. How can I fix this?

My set up is Harman Kardon AVR 130, Athena ASF2 floor standing front speakers. I use a Paradigm Atom bookshelf speaker as my center channel but plan to replace it with Athena ASC1 center channel in the future.

I have set up the front speakers as large speakers in the receiver set up, as they are actually large flooring speakers. If I change it to small speakers in the receiver set up (changing the programming not the physical set up), would the front speakers be compatible with the center speaker? Thanks.

Bronze Member
Username: Diablo

Fylde Coast, England

Post Number: 27
Registered: Dec-04
The Atom has good efficiency(89 db), whereas the AS-F2 is a very high efficiency speaker(93 db), so they are not ideally matched.
The change to the ASC1 may help, as I assume that the company have matched it to their floorstanders - though it is advertised as 90 db.

In the meantime, have you tried changing the set-up to have the centre speaker as 'off'? This will distribute the centre channel between the AS-F2s, and providing they aren't too far apart, should provide a good 'phantom' centre image with clear dialogue.

Silver Member
Username: Kano

Post Number: 335
Registered: Oct-04
diablo is right that those two speakers really don't timbre match well, I know I couldn't stand the bright Athenas next to my Polks when I had a lender Athena centre channel, I imagine the mix with Paradigm would be even worse.

The channel levels on the receiver can help the centre channel mix in better though. Best way is with an SPL meter. The EZset really doesn't work well at all IMO. Either through the OSD or with the test button, adjust all the speakers so that they read as the same decible level. If you can't use an SPL meter adjusting the channel level for the centre channel to be 5-6 dB more than the front left and right would be my best guesstimate. You access channel levels with the button up and left of the volume control, but the OSD is the best way.

You may find the system will sound better with the centre channel a little lower than the floorstanders. I really urge you to use an Athena Audtiton speaker as the centre channel, the difference will be night and day.

New member
Username: Sip

Post Number: 9
Registered: Dec-04
Thanks you very much for the advice.

I bought the Athena ASC-1 today but it is too big for my TV wall unit. I.e. I cannot keep it horizontally, either on a shelf or on top of the TV. At present, I have placed it vertically, beside the TV. So basically, my choice is to keep the Athena ASC-1 vertically, beside the TV or buy the smaller Athena C.5 center cannel speaker that comes with the Athena Point 5 speaker system. What shall I do? What's wrong with keeping a center cannel speaker vertically?


Silver Member
Username: Stone

West CoastUSA

Post Number: 157
Registered: Dec-03
You should be able adjust the volume of each individual speaker in your 5.1 set up. I have my center at +10dB (the max) and my two front channels around +8db. You get the sound difference more with Dolby Digital since each speaker has its own channel.

Silver Member
Username: Shantao

Post Number: 120
Registered: Apr-04

you asked:
"What's wrong with keeping a center cannel speaker vertically?"

nothing, really, if it sounds good to you, and it can sit all nice and stable. I have heard convincing arguements on why it shouldn't sound good, and I have also seen them placed this way before and they sounded fine.

So my suggestion is try it and if it sounds great, then you are fine. If it doesn't sound good, then take it back and try something else.

Silver Member
Username: Paul_ohstbucks

Post Number: 141
Registered: Jan-05
You might want to turn the volume up on your center channel speaker.

Heh.....just kidding.

I couldnt resist that.
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