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Will a different center speaker help?

Lutyn87

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Hi everyone,

right now I run a 3.1 system (KEF R3+KEF R2C+REL HT 1508) on Denon X3500H and a 4K player (Panasonic UB820) in a small room with basic acoustic treatment.
The last thing I've added to my system was the KEF R2C.
I've done the audyssey calibration and tried to watch some movies from a 4K disc.
To my disapointment the overall sound I was getting was not good. It was like the movie was behind some curtain.
When I switched to stereo (2.1) on the denon the sound was much more cinematic and room filling.
But what I like about the center is that the sound comes from the right place even when I'm not sitting in the middle.
So the question ist am I doing something wrong or should I go for another center type/brand? Maybe a ported one like my R3's?

I'm glad for any help and feedback.

Thank you.
Lukas
 

HarmonicTHD

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Almost impossible to tell without further info. Kef center speaker are not bad and I think Erin Audiocorner measured some.

The room, the immediate surroundings, the positioning as well as the Audyssey results will have a significant impact. I would look along these lines first.

Either way, I would recommend to get something like REW and a UMIK1 so you can independently confirm the effects of whatever changes you will make. Listening won’t help much (unless it is unsighted, which is a lot of work).

You can also post a picture of your setup here. Maybe something can be said about it from the distance.
 

nerdstrike

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Can audyssey correct for phase issues? If not, maybe check you got your cables in the right holes. An anti-phase speaker can create very weird sound.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Can audyssey correct for phase issues? If not, maybe check you got your cables in the right holes. An anti-phase speaker can create very weird sound.
Audyssey detects wrongly plugged in speakers and ask you to check and correct it. Ask me how I know ;-) It however does not correct it afik.
 
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Lutyn87

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Thank you for your quick feedback. Dont know if it helps but attached you see the results from Audyssey. When I'm home I will send pictures of my room and setup.
 

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Lutyn87

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Fotos…
 

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restorer-john

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a) Get rid of the centre speaker and go back to 2.1.

b) If you must have the centre, square up the L/R speakers so they aren't 'aimed' at you and let the centre do what it is supposed to do.

c) Good mains will image perfectly well whether you are off centre or not when it comes to movies. The centre is not needed and 99% of them are a horrible compromise. If you have identical L/C/R speakers, different story.
 

Count Arthur

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Is the centre speaker on anything?

1665483327697.png


If not, I imagine that it might "exite" the cabinet below it to some extent such that it resonates and maybe muddies the sound.

Try placing it on something like a towel, folded roughly to size, that will decouple it from the cabinet.

If that works, you could try something more suitable, and nicer looking; this sort of thing:


 
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Lutyn87

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a) Get rid of the centre speaker and go back to 2.1.

b) If you must have the centre, square up the L/R speakers so they aren't 'aimed' at you and let the centre do what it is supposed to do.

c) Good mains will image perfectly well whether you are off centre or not when it comes to movies. The centre is not needed and 99% of them are a horrible compromise. If you have identical L/C/R speakers, different story.
So the best solution (with center) would be an R3 center speaker am I understanding it right?
 
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Lutyn87

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Is the centre speaker on anything?

View attachment 236586

If not, I imagine that it might "exite" the cabinet below it to some extent such that it resonates and maybe muddies the sound.

Try placing it on something like a towel, folded roughly to size, that will decouple it from the cabinet.

If that works, you could try something more suitable, and nicer looking; this sort of thing:


There are 4 pcs. of small and thin foam pads that came with the R2C.
 

HarmonicTHD

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Seeing the pics. I am also inclined to recommend what restorer-John said: go back to 2.1.

Or get rid of the cabinet as along with the monitor provides all kinds of reflections, resonances and the like.

The above would be the least elaborate solutions.

Alternatively, You might improve the situation by positioning the center above the cabinet, add some acoustic treatments etc. But it might not succeed and will involve a lot of work. And you definitely need REW / UMIK1.

Personally I gave up in my living room setup (KEF Reference 3, two KF92 subs …) and retired the center (also KEF) as I didn’t want to get rid of the cabinet and not plaster it with in my eyes ugly acoustic treatments.
 

HarmonicTHD

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So the best solution (with center) would be an R3 center speaker am I understanding it right?
No. It won’t help. No center speaker at all. At least very very unlikely as you still have the cabinet etc.
 

-Matt-

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Thank you for your quick feedback. Dont know if it helps but attached you see the results from Audyssey. When I'm home I will send pictures of my room and setup.
From the graphs that you plot it looks as though you are correcting only below 200ish Hz. Is that right? I know lots of people recommend this but if you look at your after graphs you can see that there are some quite big bumps at higher frequencies. I'd try letting it correct up to about 800Hz, which should get you smoother graphs, to see if that improves the sound for you at all. (It might help the centre to match the LR a bit better). Center may even need correction to 1kHz due to the big and steep peak. Try to adjust it so that the uncorrected higher frequencies end up close to the same average level.

If you give it a go, please post back the new graphs from the app.

After that, I'd also give the dialogue enhancement option a go to see if that helps you.
 
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Lutyn87

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From the graphs that you plot it looks as though you are correcting only below 200ish Hz. Is that right? I know lots of people recommend this but if you look at your after graphs you can see that there are some quite big bumps at higher frequencies. I'd try letting it correct up to about 800Hz, which should get you smoother graphs, to see if that improves the sound for you at all. (It might help the centre to match the LR a bit better). Center may even need correction to 1kHz due to the big and steep peak.
At the moment I let audyssey correct my fronts and center "only" to 300Hz (over MultEQ app). I will try how it sounds when I set it to 800Hz and 1kHz. Thank you for the tip.
 

josefK666

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I have R3’s and an R2c but have not had the same issues as you – the R2c is a decent 3 way design for a Centre. I notice that you have it set 2-3 inches back on the cabinet and that it is set lower than your mains. I’d bring it forward so that the edge overhangs slightly and perhaps try aiming the speaker up towards your ear height. Clearly you need to work on the sub too as there are some issues there….

One thing I would say is that I was running my R3’s for about two months without a Centre and when it was introduced I did need a few days to get used to it – suddenly an entirely new speaker was handling most of the work and it did feel very different. At first I only really appreciated it once I put on more ‘challenging’ material (e.g. movie clips that had special effects, music, and dialogue happening at once) and then the frontstage all seemed to work together very well. After that though it all settled down quite quickly for me.....

I know Erin has some odd results with his R2c with the grille on – I haven’t had those same issues in my REW tests but might be worth trying with it off as well…..

Setting Dynamic Volume to 'Light' can make the Centre sound more forward if all else fails.........
 

DoctorRobert

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I have a, in a way, similar setup with KEF R3 fronts, a KEF Q200C (3-way!) center, an SVS SB-1000 subwoofer, DALI surrounds and a Denon AVR-X2600 receiver. And I do not have anything to complain about. What worked for me, is that I use the Audyssey room correction only for video/home cinema. The Denon preset 1, that I use for stereo listening, only activates the fronts + subwoofer without any room correction. I only use the graphic equalizer with a little touch of high frequency taming, to not trigger my tinnitus too easily.

This all is in a concrete room with book shelves, carpet and curtains of about 16 square meters.

I must admit that it took some playing around before I found the setting that worked for me.

In general, I expect the KEFs to be a very good starting point, as they are relatively neutral and can be well adjusted to preference. I also noticed that I prefer them not to be pointing directly to my ears.

I would start with what you have without any, electronic or other, corrections and then start by adjusting direction of the speakers, add or remove speaker fronts, and so try to correct what annoys you or add what you feel is missing.
 
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Lutyn87

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At the moment I let audyssey correct my fronts and center "only" to 300Hz (over MultEQ app). I will try how it sounds when I set it to 800Hz and 1kHz. Thank you for the tip.
Hello I tried the 800Hz (Fronts) and 1kHz(center) setting and the sound was better/clearer and not so muffled as before. But still the stereo mode gives me much more cinema feeling. The sound in stereo mode has more headroom is crispier and is more room filling. I've also tried the dynamic volume on "light" but didn't liked how it sounds.
 

-Matt-

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Thanks for feeding back. (Any chance of posting the new graphs so that others can see what it did)?

What is your source material? Is it stereo 2.0/2.1 or is it 5.1?

If you have the on screen display active then you can check the input signal via the info button on the remote. (Otherwise it is shown on the front panel).

If the source is only stereo then you will be using a surround upmixer to drive the centre channel (Dolby Surround, DTS-X, Auro 3D, etc) the one that you pick can have a big effect on the sound. You could try experimenting with these. (As well as the dialogue enhancer mentioned before, on the options menu). The dialogue enhanced adjusts the weighting between the centre and LR channels of vocal frequencies.

(Even when the source is DD 5.1, I actually prefer to use DD + Dolby Surround to upmix to all speakers. Not sure if this will have any effect in a 3.1 setup though).

Note, if you've moved the centre speaker (as suggested by others) then you may need to re-do the setup to get the timing delay exactly right.
 
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