Muddy vocals from center channel

Posted by: DavidH

Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:12 AM

Last night I was watching Avatar and was having a hard time hearing the vocals properly from the center channel. A quick run down of the equipment is 2 M60's v2, 1 vp150 v2, 2 20 year energy speakers used for SL and SR. The reciever I have is a Denon 1508.
At first I had the reciever set on Neo DTS 6.1 in Cinema mode and noticed too much mid range causing the vocals to be too muddy. I then changed to Dolby Pro Logic II also in cinema mode. This time the vocals seemed to echo. After a while of messing around with these 2 I tried these in music mode and noticed and increase in clarity from the center channel. Has anyone else experienced this? It was pretty frustrating last night thinking something was wrong with the speakers.
Listening to music, I have been fairly pleased with these speakers, but when it comes to movies, I'm having a heck of a time getting things set.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:14 AM

I'm wondering why you were using Neo or DPL at all. Why not regular DTS or Dolby Digital, or whatever the new Blu-ray formats are? (TruDTSHDMAGICSTUFF or whatever it is)
Posted by: MarkSJohnson

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:14 AM

Is it possible a speaker is wired out of phase?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:24 AM

 Originally Posted By: kcarlile
(TruDTSHDMAGICSTUFF or whatever it is)


That is funny! \:D
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:25 AM

Hey, I'm tired of keeping track of formats.
Posted by: BobKay

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:42 AM

And I wouldn't come to any conclusions based on a single program.
Everything (and I mean everything) can differ significantly from one disc to another. I felt the same way about Avatar's dialogue mix, but I'm done w/ changes. I let the unit(s) decide for themselves all the time now. Even then, I've watched the LED readout change it's mind more than once before the downloads were complete.

It was also a drag to have all this new gear and be so disappointed at the recording quality of some of my favorite cd's. The differences within a single artist's catalog can be wild. Everything that we're so eager to have float our boats doesn't always hoist anchor.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:51 AM

I agree with Ken, get that receiver out of NEO/PLII mode and run it as it should be run with the proper multichannel soundtrack playing.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 12:12 PM

I'm a little confused on which audio to use also. But so far, with a 3.0 system, I get the best sound for movies out of Neo 6 Cinema. For music I use stereo. One other thing I did once was bump up the center channel 1db and that helped. With my current setup, I didn't need that.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 12:13 PM

I run my receiver in PLIIx all the time. With true 7.1 content it does nothing, with 5.1 it just steers the surround channels around the rears as needed. With 2.0 content it dematrixes the out of phase material to the surrounds and rears, while moving the mono content to the center.

There should be no problem with running PLII all the time, when fed 5.1 content it'll do nothing.

Now, if for some reason you're limited to 2.0 content from your player (how are things connected?) then there will be a difference in the surround processing modes.

So the question becomes, what player do you have, and how is it connected to the receiver?
Posted by: Potatohead

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 02:15 PM

I found the dialogue in Avatar to be quite good, unfortunately it sounds like a setup issue. I agree with the others about just letting the receiver do its thing with normal Dolby Digital, but Neon has a good point about possible hookup issues.

If we're talking just a DVD player hooked up with optical to the receiver, that will flow DD just fine, in which case you want the receiver in "standard" mode I believe it is called (std button on remote) which will play what is coming from the DVD player without adding any fancy stuff to it.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 02:47 PM

The dialog mix of Avatar is quite good, the dialog itself is rather lacking. ;\)
Posted by: JohnK

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 09:53 PM

David, as previous replies have indicated, when playing a 5.1 disc which has discrete center and surround channel content, modes such as DPLII, Neo:6 and Neural Surround have no function. They operate on 2-channel material to extract content from the front channels and direct it to the center or surrounds, as appropriate. With the multi-channel disc you were viewing, using Standard mode will play the DD or DTS content, whichever is present.

As to why the vocals were muddy, the location of the center speaker is important. It should be placed so that the tweeters are close to ear level, or are tilted so as to point toward the ears. It shouldn't be recessed, but rather should extend a fraction of an inch forward, so as to minimize reflection and diffraction effects. Then, there's the fact that dialog on many movie discs isn't mixed especially well.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/27/10 11:01 PM

Here's the instructions, according to my Pioneer AVR.

While listening to a source, press [RECEIVER], then press [STANDARD] (Standard Surround). If necessary press repeatedly to select a listening mode.

If the source is Dolby Digital, DTS, or Dolby Surround encoded, the proper decoding format will automatically be selected and shows in the display.

With two channel sources, you can select from (see note 5):
Pro Logic IIx Movie - Up to 7.1
Pro Logic IIx Music - Up to 7.1
Pro Logic IIx Game - Up to 7.1
Pro Logic - 4.1 (Mono sound from the surround)
Neo:6 Cinema - 7.1
Neo:6 Music - 7.1
Neural THX - Up to 7.1

With Multi-Channel sources, if you have connected surround back speakers(s) and have selected "SBch ON" you can select:
Pro Logic IIx Movie - Up to 7.1
Pro Logic IIx Music - Up to 7.1
Dolby Digitel EX - Creates surround back channel for 5.1.
DTS-ES - Allows you to hear 6.1 with DTS-ES encoded sources.
DTS Neo:6 - Allows you to hear 6.1 with DTS encoded sources.

Note 5: If surround back channel processing is switched OFF or the surround back speakers are set to NO, Pro Logic IIx becomes Pro Logic II (5.1 channel sound)

---------
I'm a little confused, because I always have it set on standard Neo:6 Cinema (which is still standard), but no matter what I play, it never does any automatic switching, it seems, because the display always says Neo:6 Cinema. Possibly because I don't have any surround speakers.
Posted by: ClubNeon

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/28/10 12:58 AM

It doesn't do automatic switching when you specify a surround mode, you have to put it in Auto mode. There should be a button on the remote labeled "Auto/Direct", that will toggle between auto surround mode, and the minimal processing mode, "Direct".
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/28/10 09:30 AM

Looks like it's time to set up two more buttons on my Harmony 1100 that will allow me to toggle between auto and Neo:6 Cinema.
Posted by: DavidH

Re: Muddy vocals from center channel - 04/28/10 10:22 PM

I'll have to look at the setup for standard Dolby and DTS. This receiver hasn't been the easiest unit to operate.