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#71316 - 12/09/04 02:07 PM phantom center channel
jtmccoy Offline
old hand

Registered: 12/22/03
Posts: 96
Hey all,

Slowly moving up from 2.1 to 5.1 and just pulled the trigger on a pair of QS4's. I'll have to wait just a few more months before I get the spare change to buy a VP100, so I was wondering, will 4.1 still sound pretty decent in the meantime? Has anyone else used this configuration? What's the main thing that I'll be missing?

Thanks,
JT
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#71317 - 12/09/04 02:19 PM Re: phantom center channel
Capn_Pickard Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Arlington, VA (NOVA)
It will sound just fine in the meantime, so long as you are seated in the prime listening position. If you are seated in between the front left and rigth speakers, the stereo image of the front pari should yeild a phantom center, where the voices seem to come from in between the speakers. However, if you move to one side or the other, the effect will collapse. That said, its not the end of the world.

With a 5.1 system, the problem is obviously solved by rooting the center channel in the middle, meaning that there will be better off center imaging of the voices when not listening from the prime position.

I usually always have my center on when watching TV. But a few night ago, I was fooling around with the DSPs on my receiver. A couple of them utilize a phantom center channel. Admittedly, I was fooled by this, and actually had to walk up to the TV and put my ear against the speaker to see whether it was playing or not.

Like I said, you won't be missing any sound, per se, but the effect will collapse once you leave the prime position. I think that you made a good choice by getting the surroudns before the center, if you had to choose. The surroudn effects are harder to "fake" than a center effect. That said, many posters here will tell you (and I agree with them) that the center is ultinately the most important piece of the puzzle, as so much movie information is fed to that speaker. But as far as dazzle, wow and fun factors go, the surrounds will really get your heart pumping. Worry about the other stuff later.

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#71318 - 12/09/04 02:51 PM Re: phantom center channel
dmn23 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 02/01/03
Posts: 649
Loc: Nashville, TN
I think Kcarlile has been using this setup for quite a while, hasn't he?
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#71319 - 12/09/04 04:00 PM Re: phantom center channel
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
Not exactly. Through some sort of creative wiring scheme, he pipes the center channnel signal through his TV speakers.
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#71320 - 12/09/04 04:18 PM Re: phantom center channel
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
Here's what I do. I switch the TV speakers to mono, plug in the cable from the center out to the left TV analog in. Then I turn up the TV a whole lot and also boost the output on the reciever to around +6. It kind of works. I also have it crossed at 120 Hz to the sub (for the center channel alone). I do NOT listen to music this way!
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#71321 - 12/09/04 04:19 PM Re: phantom center channel
mwc Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 958
Loc: Texas(DFW)..that country to th...
Do an Axiom search for phantom going back at least two weeks. You'll find opinions on using no center.

You won't miss a thing as long as you are in/near the sweet spot. The only advantage I can see to a dedicated center is that it anchors dialog to the screen for those sitting off axis. The disadvantage is that, IMO, center speakers never sound exactly the same, particularly in timbre and soundstage scale, as the LR mains.
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#71322 - 12/09/04 04:40 PM Re: phantom center channel
mwc Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/21/02
Posts: 958
Loc: Texas(DFW)..that country to th...
In reply to:

That said, many posters here will tell you (and I agree with them) that the center is ultinately the most important piece of the puzzle, as so much movie information is fed to that speaker




Which is why it is so important to either get the best match for the LR mains (exact same speaker would be the ideal albeit not practical) or go phantom to ensure that the center material exactly matches the sound from the mains. If there is no concern about (far) off-axis listening (out of the sweet spot) a center is an added expense that most can do without.

Obviously, if one has a huge room with lots of folks sitting near the side walls then a dedicated center becomes essential.
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#71323 - 12/09/04 04:45 PM Re: phantom center channel
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
I have a fairly small room, but I was not at all satisfied with the phantom center. Maybe I just didn't have the speakers placed well, but it seemed very lacking to me. Hence, my solution from hell.
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#71324 - 12/09/04 05:13 PM Re: phantom center channel
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16437
Loc: Ben Lomond, California
temporary solution from hell, right Ken?
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#71325 - 12/09/04 05:31 PM Re: phantom center channel
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 18044
Loc: NoVA
Yes. I think Jen is willing, but the wallet is weak. We still need to settle on where it will go... (how's that behind TV stand going, Mark?)
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