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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I wish there was a dumb question section to ask this..


What's the point of the center channel? How crucial is it for movies or music? What's the advantage compared to a 2 speaker system if I seat right in front of TV with speakers the same distance away from TV? Who should have it? For example, I watch TV a lot (news, racing, concerts, food shows and random stuff), but hardly any movies.

Next.. what's the best practice for this speaker? Can it be placed above TV, below TV, on the ground, etc?


Why do I ask this? There are many worked out DIY speaker projects, but extremely few come with a worked out matching center channel speaker option. This got me thinking, that perhaps I should just build a great 2.1 speaker system, place the TV and speakers carefully and leave it as is.
 

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so basically, the center channel speaker will only work correctly when you are playing movies or concerts or any audio ENCODED IN DOLBY. movies, have seperate audio tracks all running together, and normally the voices from people, or anything happening right in front of you, will sound through the center channel speaker. the center channel speaker (when watching anything coded in dolby or any surround sound) won't play music, or effect sounds, or bass of any sort, mainly just voice. if you just choose to use 2.1 when watching movies, and if you just watch tv, i would definately just spend time, money, and effort on two awesome left and right speakers and a sub. the best practice for the center channel, is to get that speaker as close to the tv as possible, and it for sure has to be centered. as far as the height of it, usually above the tv, unless your tv is up high. so, when you are watching a movie for example and you are watching it in 2.1 channels, the voices from people will just play equally out of each side speaker, and kinda imitate a center channel. the biggest thing about having a separate center channel, is that it really makes your sound stage wide. when the side speakers' sound comes from so far from where you hear voices, it makes it really sound far off to the right/left, where as vocals already coming from the right/left gives the impression that you just have a regular "headphone type" soundstage
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, the more I think of this, the more the center channel makes sense. I can see one problem without a center channel speaker. Imagine you have a large sofa in front of TV with three seating positions. If you seat in the center, the left and right speaker will be equidistant placing the mono content (most of dialogues, etc) in front of you. Should you seat in the corner of the sofa, the phantom center image will steer towards the speaker that's closest to you. With the center channel speaker, the side speakers do not have to create a phantom center imagine, and there should be no problem no matter where you seat on the sofa.
 

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In almost all movies or other films presented in multi channel format 98% of the spoken content, dialog if you will... comes from the center channel. The only spoken bits you will hear in other speakers are things that are meant to be ambient noise, or shouts from behind etc.

The center channel should be placed as close to the display as possible, either immediately below or above it. I do not recommend placing it on the floor as it makes for poor acoustics. If you have an 8ft ceiling then place it under the TV. If you have 12+ then above the TV.
 

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In almost all movies or other films presented in multi channel format 98% of the spoken content, dialog if you will... comes from the center channel. The only spoken bits you will hear in other speakers are things that are meant to be ambient noise, or shouts from behind etc.

The center channel should be placed as close to the display as possible, either immediately below or above it. I do not recommend placing it on the floor as it makes for poor acoustics. If you have an 8ft ceiling then place it under the TV. If you have 12+ then above the TV.
literally EXACTLY what I said above.
 

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way back when audiophiles began to experiment with multi channel sound they realized that a center channel was very important to localise common signals to the center. But in the end, technology of the time only permited 2 channel sound so Stereo was born. Only when Home theatre and Dolby prologic came to market did we get real center channel.
 
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