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#237138 - 12/28/08 11:58 PM Phantom Center Channel
BoB/335 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 505
I've seen this term a few times during my recent journey through internetland of speaker discussions. I can imagine what that is. What to you audioaholics think of this concept?

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#237142 - 12/29/08 12:21 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: BoB/335]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10400
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
A phantom center is not using a true center channel and letting the avr send the center channel to the respective L or R channel as needed. Most avr's seem to do this rather well but I still find it less than satisfying the few times I have tried it, especially when listening off-axis.
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#237145 - 12/29/08 12:30 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: jakewash]
BoB/335 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 505
That's what I figured. How does that differ from how I set my stuff up for a quick run. (I just got it) I have my receiver set to stereo to these Polk bookshelf speakers I hooked up while I research a good set of towers. Is there a different setting to get the center channel programming sent to the 2 speakers?

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#237149 - 12/29/08 12:36 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: BoB/335]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10400
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
What's your reciever? Do you have more than just the 2 front speakers hooked up as well? Usually just using stereo mode works well enough for most as the receiver has no other way to send out the signal.
_________________________
Jason
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#237151 - 12/29/08 12:42 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: BoB/335]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
As jakewash implies using a phantom center is not ideal. I used a phantom center with my M80s for quite some time and found it worked very well. Beside the drawbacks mentioned another is that you can’t separately control the center channel’s volume without a dedicated center speaker. This is a pain in some movies where the L/R channels overpower the dialogue.

Advantages I found using a phantom center are that it simulates having three identical speakers up front so the whole front soundstage has exactly the same sonic signature. Another is that forgoing a center channel for a little while lets you put that money toward getting better L/R mains and adding the center speaker later when funds are available. However, I wouldn’t generally recommend not ever getting a center speaker it’s just to integral to HT and multi-channel music.
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#237160 - 12/29/08 01:49 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: BoB/335]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10412
Bob, the previous replies have covered it pretty well. There's nothing complicated about the "phantom" effect; whenever two speakers play the same sound at the same loudness, it appears to come from midway between them(for someone sitting in the middle), as if a speaker was there. This can be heard whenever you listen to a stereo program on two speakers and something is playing that's supposed to be in the middle(e.g., often a singer, or an announcer on an FM radio program).

As mentioned, it has pluses and minuses besides saving money on a separate center speaker. The main speakers may be of higher quality than the separate center speaker would be. The center image will move to the left or right when the listener isn't in the middle, but not farther out than the speaker on that side. Also, as Dean pointed out, with a separate center speaker the level of sound that's supposed to come from the middle(e.g., most movie dialog)can be independently adjusted to make it a bit louder and easier to understand, which of course can't be done when the main speakers are handling everything.

Trying this is free, of course, and setting your HT receiver to show that the center speaker is "none" results in all center sound, even from multi-channel discs, being sent to the main speakers.
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#237163 - 12/29/08 04:41 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: JohnK]
BoB/335 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 12/26/08
Posts: 505
Thanks for the replys. Pretty much what I figured. Just wanted to hear that for sure.
I just bought a Denon 2309 and all I have is a set a Polk bookshelves that were in my kitchen. Would like to get the M80's (I think) and then probably surrounds, then a sub and finally a center as time goes on. Is that a good pecking order?

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#237164 - 12/29/08 06:07 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: BoB/335]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10965
Loc: Central NH
 Originally Posted By: BoB/335
Is that a good pecking order?


I think so. If you're really into action movies, it might be argued that you could switch around the sub/surrounds order, but I think since the 80s do OK with bass it would be better to get the surrounds first!
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::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#237167 - 12/29/08 10:04 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: MarkSJohnson]
StuntGibbon Offline
devotee

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 374
Depending how long you're drawing out this process, getting the M80s first is dangerous. You could end up hearing them powered up, then the next day ordering EVERYTHING else. :-P

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#237173 - 12/29/08 10:43 AM Re: Phantom Center Channel [Re: StuntGibbon]
jakewash Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 12/26/03
Posts: 10400
Loc: Calgary, Alberta
The M80s are good enough in the bass dept. to for go the sub and get surrounds next.
_________________________
Jason
-----------------
TTTHHHPPPPPTTTT!

My HT

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