Since I did a 6.1 setup, my wife has complained that she has trouble understanding the dialog of certain cable movies that are in 5.1 or 7.1. I have a handsome KEF Reference 204/2C center speaker sitting just outside the media room, the metal frames that used to support in the garage, and a spare pair of Clear Day Shotgun speaker cables. So I think I’ll reinstall the 204/2C center channel, using an Ayre A7e integrated to drive it. The Bryston SP3 processor has a balanced center output. The 204/2C was designed to match the big Reference 207/2s, but seemed to blend seamlessly with my 107/2s. I’ll see how it does with high-passed KEF Reference 1s augmented with HGS-15 subs. The 204/2C is rear ported with a 6.5” center Uni-Q driver and two 6.5” drivers to either side, so it could run full range but more likely I’ll declare it small in the SP3 menu. It’s about 3.5’ long and weighs nearly 80 pounds! I hope for an attractive setup that sounds as good as it looks and satisfies my wife’s complaints.
If you wheel down just a bit. That 3 piece Elixir set was on a SST analog processor. What the heck is that? Summation without cancelation like a mono signal. BUT it's a modified MONO signal. Mac has a version, Krell had a version. There is more than one kind of 3 piece setup..
I herd the same set up with a 5.4 Krell HT, his rear speakers were RM40s. The subs were big 3 driver VMPS subs
The general consensus at the time was the CENTER channel should be the largest speaker width wise of the entire front speaker set up in HT.
An option was to at least match the size of your mains. I use (2) 8 (each) 8" planars in a lattice LS speaker side by side for an analog center. 65" of planars 12" wide
You can hear that VERY clearly. I always go back to stereo though.. An hour of that, I flip the switch back to stereo..
I tried for almost 20 years and about $100k in various electronics and speaker arrangements, finally gave up last year and sold all my surround sound stuff. The sound coming from different locations was cool during movies, but the clarity and detail was aways missing. Exactly what your wife is describing, hard to understand all of the words. In my opinion, nothing beats a good 2 channel system for EVERY type of listening. Good luck.
The answer to your question, miller carbon, is that she did not. Only the input of the Ayre KX-5 preamp that is set to by-pass invokes surround. The DX-5 DSD can go directly to the preamp via balanced analog or through the Bryston SP3 processor via HDMI that returns balanced analog to the preamp. The QX-5 Roon endpoint goes directly to the preamp via balanced analog. Cox cable goes to the SP3 via HDMI and is always in surround mode. IIRC, she has never complained about dialog when a disc is played in 6.1 using the DX-5.
The 204/2C is now inplace and looks very handsome, but it is not yet connected.
If your center channel has good enough woofers, I would recommend setting it to LARGE. I have found that male voices have a deep bass/texture that actually comes out better through the center channel. It's more cohesive. The subwoofer has timing issues and those types of sounds are generally not crisp enough when coming from the subs.
Also, try bumping up the calibrated level on the center channel 1 or 2 clicks in the Bryston SP3 speaker setup. This can have a significant effect on how well you hear center channel dialogue! I have needed to do that even after a individual speaker calibration using a db meter.
Well what about a BIGGER speaker like every HT (Guru) say to use, but VERY few seem to use it? I'm asking a serious question here. WHY do people insist on doing exactly what the "Guru" say to NOT to do and then wonder why there is a problem with a HT center channel?
The center channel on HT is the largest speaker. It's not a mater of weather it matches the decor. It's probably why most folks have never enjoyed a 3 speaker set up. It was set up WRONG...
Speaker manufactures are the problem and consumers (Wanting to match decor) are the not saying "Look stupid the book says BIGGER". WTF. Why are you, mister salesman, trying to sell me that little thing.. IT WON'T WORK... It has to be BIGGER according to Mr. Dolby. Who is the maker of the silly 5.1 system anyway? The speaker guy or the gear guy? If your bound and determined to do it wrong, don't use a center speaker at ALL, It will sound better, all in all..
Just FYI, one weird thing that has happened in Netflix recently is that a lot of movies coming over as 5.1 are actually missing the center channel. They split it to L and R and the C signal itself is muted. If you have a receiver capable of DD 5.1 AND can apply a matrix, like Neo6:Cinema then that problem is fixed.
My processor however will not allow me to apply any sort of matrix processing once the input is detected as 5.1.
Yeah, I have seen that in Netflix as well. It is sent down in DD 5.1 format, but only contains left/right channels. You have to forcably apply something like "Dolby Pro Logic II" or similar "analog surround" decoding process. Erik like Neo6:Cinema. I like the original Dolby Pro Logic II for movies.
The Bryston SP3 manual has a number of appendices, one of which informs me it does both Neo6:Cinema and Dolby Pro Logic. I’ve tried Neo6:Music, and it generates plausible surround from stereo. I think I’m going to try balanced from the SP3 to a Schiit Vidar in monaural mode to drive the 204/2C. Reviews seem to suggest it would be a good match. The last time I used the 204/2C it was bi-wired to a Parasound JC-1.
I have three JC-1s, a JC-2, and a JC-3 I want to sell.
The KEF Reference 204/2C is now driven by a Schiit Vidar in balanced monaural. My usual practice is to set all speakers at 75 dB SPL C, but to achieve that I had to trim all speakers except the center to 0 and trim the center to -10 -- I need to study the SP3 manual more to understand why the center seems so hot. As auxinput suggested the center is set to large and surround to Dolby Pro Logic for movies. I played Legends of Jazz in Dolby Digital and Chailly's Mahler 2nd in dts Digital. Switching Legends between stereo and surround did not change the sound, but the Mahler sounded a bit flat when switched from surround to stereo. The piano black 204/2C appears imposing sitting between the pair of rosewood Reference 1s.
My wife and I agree that we prefer the sound when the center channel is off. I’m going to try replacing the Schiit Vidar with a JC-1, the amp I previously used with the 204/2 when it blended seamlessly with the pair of 107/2s, all driven by JC-1s. I don’t recall how to biwire the 204/2C, but looking at it there’s a solid wire jumper between LF and MF and a cable jumper between MF and HF that I may have added. So it might be biwire goes to MF and HF with jumper to LF. I know I biwired the 107/2s, so I probably biwired the 204/2C.
Based on what I heard at a show, the Schitt electronics came across somewhat bright/harsh/sterile. I think the JC1 amps will do significantly better, especially since those KEF metal dome tweeters are already bright!
The problem was the amp. With the JC 1 amp driving the KEF 204/2C integration with the KEF Reference 1s is seamless whether playing Blu-rays, e.g., Mahler’s 2nd with Chailly conducting, Legends of Jazz, or cable. Superb 7.1 sound, with wide and deep soundstage, and fine detail. Speech is natural, like real people talking.