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September 28, 2011

Center Speaker Placement: Crystal Clear Dialog At Last!

Filed under: AV Tip of the Month,How-To — Tags: , — Amie C @ 3:40 pm

Getting center speaker placement right is key.

You’ve finally got 5.1 surround sound in your house and you’re all settled in with a big bowl of popcorn and your favorite movie – you know the one – that will really show off your new system.

But . . . something’s lacking.  The dialog isn’t as clear as you were expecting.  What gives?

There are a few hard-and-fast rules to center speaker placement that can really make a difference in whether your system sounds like it was professionally set up.

First:  Check Your Receiver Settings

Are all the channels set to the same dB level?  If so, try boosting your center channel slightly to make the sound louder than the background music (coming through the other channels) and ambient noises.  Be careful, though – too loud is as hard to hear as not loud enough.

Also, ensure that the distance from your listening area to the screen is set accurately.

Second: Create an Even Plane

Sometimes our initial set up has the center channel recessed on a shelf  and it can sound boxy.  If so, pull it forward as close as possible to the front face of the left and right speakers.  Draw an imaginary line with your eyes and try to make it so all three speaker are touching that line.  Keeping them spaced in this manner will help create a seamless soundstage.

Third:  Experiment With Angles

Angling the speaker up or down (possible with all Axiom center channels because of their tapered shape) gives you the option to really direct the sound toward the listening area.  If you’re wall-mounting the speaker above or below your television set, you may want to try articulating the center slightly more toward the listener’s ear level to see if it makes a tonal difference.  The best thing to do is to experiment, and if you can have a friend moving the center for you while you sit in the listening area, so much the better!

There you have it: three quick tips on center speaker placement that can create a much better listening experience for you.

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