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  1. #1


    Debating going from 2 to 3 channel

    Hello, up to this point I have always had a 2-channel system. Recently, I've been considering making some changes and adding a center channel speaker because when watching movies I think that the perceived dialogue location probably does not line up well with the TV screen location from most viewing places in the room. We also often feel that dialogue is hard to hear compared to soundtrack music/other sounds and I wonder if having a dedicated speaker for dialogue would help this. Here are some pieces of information that I hope are useful:

    - My L/R speakers are between 6' and 7' apart
    - The TV is not centered between the speakers (I can't change this anytime very soon)
    - One of the sofas does not face the plane of the speakers/television (it makes an 'L' shape with the
    other sofa)
    - My speakers are pretty old (Polk SDA 2B's from around 1988) so finding a matching center speaker
    could be a challenge

    Ultimately I'm seeking opinions on whether or not this is something I should pursue. I'm aware that there are debates in many situations as to whether it's advisable to have a center channel speaker. Any advice, feedback, etc. would be appreciated. Of course, if I need to provide more information please ask and I'll do my best.

    Thanks!
    Greg

  2. #2


    Greg, I would add a center channel speaker. For movies and television viewing in general, I think you'll notice a big difference assuming you have a surround sound receiver. I'm running something similar, with a sub added, in my small family room where we watch network television.

    As for sonically matching those older Polks, good luck. Polk makes center channel speakers, but there's no way to know if they will be a sonic match, until you bring one home. It would be your best bet, unless you can search the Internet and find where someone has found a suitable match for your speakers.

    Whatever you get, please post back your impressions with a few photos. I've never seen the Polk SDA 2Bs. How are they holding up?

  3. #3
    Moderator jerrich's Avatar
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    I would email Polk and ask for their best recommendation; I bet they have a close match and even if you never get a perfect match, you can still get a pleasing blend. Add a couple wireless LR and RR speakers later and you will have a nice 5.0 system. Don't forget a sub later, you won't believe the improvement.
    JR

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lefisc's Avatar
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    I just wanted to agree with Tracy and JR. Having a center channel these days is a major improvement because TV shows especially today and engineered to have that middle speaker. For me, as important as having a matching Polk speaker is having a matching amp. That is, a very different amp in the middle will make the speaker sound very different, even if the speaker had matched your other two. I know because I, at one time, had that problem.
    Barry
    Surround Pre-Amp
    : Krell 707 3D; Amp: (center) Krell 400e; Amp Fronts Krell 600e; SACD: Krell Cipher; FM: Day Sequerra FM Reference; Blu-Ray: Oppo BDP 205; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2; Center: Revel Voice 2; Rear/Back: Thiel Powerplanes/Krell S1500 amp; Subs: 2 SVS SB-13 Ultra; Turntable: VPI 19 Mk 4 w/Tonearm SME 309 & Audioquest 401i; HDTV: Verizon; Projector: JVC DLA-RS66U; Screen: Vue Tech 108; Internet Radio: Sonos; Remote: MX850; Pioneer Elite LDS-2 Laser Disc

  5. #5
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    Gregg: First I would like to know if you are using a surround sound Receiver. I would also need the model number. You are not having issues when listening to music. That's normal. The issue rears it's ugly head when listening to movies, TV shows. With music there is no center channel (dialog channel). With movies & shows, you do. Depending on which A/V Receiver you have, it's possible that you could put it into the Phantom mode ( which sends the center channel info to your L & R front Speakers (If your Receiver does that).

    Adding a center channel speaker would be great. Adding a Powered Subwoofer could also be great. Many options available for you. Tracy's suggestion to contact Polk is a great idea. You could opt for new Speakers & Surround Speakers with Sub. Perhaps you could use your old Polks in another room or donate them to your kids or relatives. (remember, where there's a will, there's a relative)! I have learned this from my own experience. Lastly, you could purchase a SoundBar (2.1 or higher). They usually come with a Wireless Sub. SoundBars could be a great value for this. Also give us your room dimensions. That would also help. We here at the forum could give you advise on that. Best of luck. Keep us informed.



    Quote Originally Posted by rhythm View Post
    Hello, up to this point I have always had a 2-channel system. Recently, I've been considering making some changes and adding a center channel speaker because when watching movies I think that the perceived dialogue location probably does not line up well with the TV screen location from most viewing places in the room. We also often feel that dialogue is hard to hear compared to soundtrack music/other sounds and I wonder if having a dedicated speaker for dialogue would help this. Here are some pieces of information that I hope are useful:

    - My L/R speakers are between 6' and 7' apart
    - The TV is not centered between the speakers (I can't change this anytime very soon)
    - One of the sofas does not face the plane of the speakers/television (it makes an 'L' shape with the
    other sofa)
    - My speakers are pretty old (Polk SDA 2B's from around 1988) so finding a matching center speaker
    could be a challenge

    Ultimately I'm seeking opinions on whether or not this is something I should pursue. I'm aware that there are debates in many situations as to whether it's advisable to have a center channel speaker. Any advice, feedback, etc. would be appreciated. Of course, if I need to provide more information please ask and I'll do my best.

    Thanks!
    Greg

  6. #6


    Thanks for the replies so far...much appreciated! Here is some more information:

    Currently I have a stereo receiver, not an AVR. It's an NAD 7400, which I bought back in 1988 with the Polks. It's got a good amount of power available, which the Polks seem to like. I'm thinking that whatever I end up doing with new equipment, I may want keep using the 7400 to power the Polks, since it's got a good amp in it.

    The room is 13' - 14' wide (it's kind of 'open' on one side) and 14' feet deep. The wall opposite the TV and speakers has a sliding glass door, partially blocked by a sofa. We currently don't have any window treatment at all, and a while back we got hardwood flooring put in. So I'm now looking to do some room treatment because I'm not too happy with the way the room sounds now. An area rug and some kind of blinds/drapes for the window should help a lot. The room still sounded pretty good after removing the blinds on the sliding glass door, but once the carpet was removed, I wasn't happy with the sound.

    Tracy, the Polks seem to be holding out just fine. In the next couple of days I'll take a couple of pictures and post them to this thread. I'll also get a picture of the whole setup in the room, to give a better perspective than what I can put in words.

    I will also definitely try to contact someone at Polk about a center channel speaker recommendation.


    Thanks again,
    Greg

  7. #7


    '80's NAD gear was pretty nice. Of course you will need some type on surround receiver to do 3+ channels.

    In addition, if you want to use the NAD's amps, you'll need a receiver that has preamp outputs so it will pass the preamp level signal for the left and right channels, to the NAD. It's not complected, but you will need those preamp outputs.

  8. #8
    Owner-Publisher Jerry Del Colliano's Avatar
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    I loved Meridian's "Tri Field" mode when I had an 861 preamp.

    It made good use of my Wilson center speaker for music playback without sounding "fake" or over processed.

  9. #9


    Yes, I'm currently wading my way through a bunch of options right now to get into the multi-channel world. I haven't decided yet if it'll be an AVR or a separate preamp/processor. And it appears that there might even be another option: buying a high-end blu ray player that can do its own processing and using that to do the job (such as an Oppo or the Cambridge 752BD). The Cambridge unit is at $799 these days and I was pretty tempted the other day when I noticed that. I must admit it's a bit mind-boggling to sort through everything, given that there are often multiple types of devices which can handle the same task (audio processing, video processing, etc.). It seems you first have to pick a 'strategy' to go with before choosing the particular components you're going to buy.

    And Jerry, I had no idea that listening to stereo music that way (using a center channel in addition to L/R) was an option out there.


    Greg
    Last edited by rhythm; 10-06-2015 at 10:49 AM.

  10. #10


    I know that the Oppo players have an adjustable audio output, and I would be surprised if the Cambridge Audio player didn't.

    The players could certainly decode and output all the available audio codecs. The downside would be the ability to EQ easily.

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