E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > Everything Else > The Off-Topic > Home Improvement

Home Improvement
Home Improvement ideas, help, DIYs, and show room. Got a home improvement project you need help with or want to share. Post your project now!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 03-08-2006, 06:19 PM   #1
brew
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 346
My Ride: Sequoia X5 MR2 G20
What's the point of the center channel?

So I'm kind of an audio nut. Mostly 2 channel stuff - with a big vinyl collection and fancy homebuilt speakers and a dedicated 2 channel stereo room, etc.

I also have a 5.1 surround system in our tv room.

Our bedroom tv system is just 2 channel (but with pretty nice speakers).

One thing I've noticed is that the center channel in the 5.1 system is completely unnecessary. A centralized image can be created with the front left and right speakers alone. On my dedicated 2 channel system it reproduces a very believable 3 dimensional image of instruments located at any point between the speakers and beyond the speaker plane. On many recordings there are also sounds coming from outside the speakers and from behind me (accomplished using phasing tricks like on Dark Side of the Moon)

On my 2 channel video rig in the bedroom I don't miss the center channel at all - all of the voices are perfectly located on the screen . . in fact it's slightly better than a center channel because you don't have voices coming from above or below the screen.

So my question is this - what's the point of having a center channel of audio and a center channel speaker anyway? How is 5.1 any better than 4.1?
brew is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2006, 07:11 PM   #2
blownE30M3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Annapolis MD / San Diego CA
Posts: 192
My Ride: 2004 JB M3
Send a message via AIM to blownE30M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew
So I'm kind of an audio nut. Mostly 2 channel stuff - with a big vinyl collection and fancy homebuilt speakers and a dedicated 2 channel stereo room, etc.

I also have a 5.1 surround system in our tv room.

Our bedroom tv system is just 2 channel (but with pretty nice speakers).

One thing I've noticed is that the center channel in the 5.1 system is completely unnecessary. A centralized image can be created with the front left and right speakers alone. On my dedicated 2 channel system it reproduces a very believable 3 dimensional image of instruments located at any point between the speakers and beyond the speaker plane. On many recordings there are also sounds coming from outside the speakers and from behind me (accomplished using phasing tricks like on Dark Side of the Moon)

On my 2 channel video rig in the bedroom I don't miss the center channel at all - all of the voices are perfectly located on the screen . . in fact it's slightly better than a center channel because you don't have voices coming from above or below the screen.

So my question is this - what's the point of having a center channel of audio and a center channel speaker anyway? How is 5.1 any better than 4.1?
Area effect. Motion trailing. And voices mainly come from a the center channel in a properly setup surround 5.1 system. A center channel is not neccesary when listening to music audio, but is crucial for viewing movies.
__________________


Home Automation and A/V Programming
http://www.xsdesignstudios.com
blownE30M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2006, 07:14 PM   #3
JBimmer01
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Bay Area/Fresno
Posts: 277
My Ride: 335i
More is better?

I think for movies the center is mostly for voice, and the 2 front sides are for other frontal sound.
__________________
JBimmer01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2006, 07:22 PM   #4
brew
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 346
My Ride: Sequoia X5 MR2 G20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blownE30M3
Area effect. Motion trailing. And voices mainly come from a the center channel in a properly setup surround 5.1 system. A center channel is not neccesary when listening to music audio, but is crucial for viewing movies.
I'm not quite sure what you said. But after thinking about it I'm guessing that a well defined centralized image cannot be created (i) when the L and R front speakers are poorly positioned, or (ii) when the viewer is sitting outside the ideal viewing area. Someone sitting way to one side, for example, would not hear a centralized image - they would hear dialogue come from the closer speaker and think "WTF?".

In if this is the case then I think it's fair to say that the central channel is unnecessary if the viewers sit between the two speakers and the speakers are properly positioned. In that case, the viewer will hear a pinpoint image as good as, or better, than can be created by the center channel. For a 5.1 signal, the center channel info can just be fed through the L and R front speakers.
brew is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2006, 09:25 PM   #5
blownE30M3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Annapolis MD / San Diego CA
Posts: 192
My Ride: 2004 JB M3
Send a message via AIM to blownE30M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew
I'm not quite sure what you said. But after thinking about it I'm guessing that a well defined centralized image cannot be created (i) when the L and R front speakers are poorly positioned, or (ii) when the viewer is sitting outside the ideal viewing area. Someone sitting way to one side, for example, would not hear a centralized image - they would hear dialogue come from the closer speaker and think "WTF?".

In if this is the case then I think it's fair to say that the central channel is unnecessary if the viewers sit between the two speakers and the speakers are properly positioned. In that case, the viewer will hear a pinpoint image as good as, or better, than can be created by the center channel. For a 5.1 signal, the center channel info can just be fed through the L and R front speakers.
Indeed. Out of place and not tuned can be hazardous to sound imagind and reflection. But then that depends on the speaker type as well. The center channel is very neccesary as it is the focal point of all direct audio. Try this. Try hooking all your speakers up including the center, play a movie, listen for a bit and unplug the center. See what happens.
__________________


Home Automation and A/V Programming
http://www.xsdesignstudios.com
blownE30M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 12:38 AM   #6
sycE46
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,889
My Ride: 323ci
I see your point. Some of my friends had badly positioned center channels (due to the aesthetics of placing the center channel). In those cases.. .the surround system sounded much better when you turn it off. that way the 2 main speakers take care of the vocals. Also in systems where the center is too small, and the main speakers are bigger. It sounds better just using the main speakers instead of the center.

My guess the center is probably for imaging for viewers that aren't completely centered. If you're not in the sweet spot between the 2 fronts, your imaging isn't going to as good.
sycE46 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 02:26 PM   #7
James330I
Imported Redneck
 
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 881
My Ride: BMW baby 330i 5spd
Send a message via AIM to James330I
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew
I'm not quite sure what you said. But after thinking about it I'm guessing that a well defined centralized image cannot be created (i) when the L and R front speakers are poorly positioned, or (ii) when the viewer is sitting outside the ideal viewing area. Someone sitting way to one side, for example, would not hear a centralized image - they would hear dialogue come from the closer speaker and think "WTF?".

In if this is the case then I think it's fair to say that the central channel is unnecessary if the viewers sit between the two speakers and the speakers are properly positioned. In that case, the viewer will hear a pinpoint image as good as, or better, than can be created by the center channel. For a 5.1 signal, the center channel info can just be fed through the L and R front speakers.
but wouldn't a movie mixed for 5.1 lose some of its dynamics when you combine L/C/R and remove the Center. Sound editors put 80% of sound information on the center channel. Channel seperation would be awful if you took it away and tried to intergrate Ctr info on your L and R speakers

(i.e. when a plane passes by and you can hear and feel it coming from extreme left, across the screen and then out the right speaker...I would say channel seperation would be important for effects like that)
__________________
------------------------





2001 Dinan 330I 5spd (gone..what an awesome car)
2013 335i 6spd M-sport
2013 Infiniti M37S

James330I is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 02:54 PM   #8
brew
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 346
My Ride: Sequoia X5 MR2 G20
Quote:
Originally Posted by James330I
but wouldn't a movie mixed for 5.1 lose some of its dynamics when you combine L/C/R and remove the Center. Sound editors put 80% of sound information on the center channel. Channel seperation would be awful if you took it away and tried to intergrate Ctr info on your L and R speakers

(i.e. when a plane passes by and you can hear and feel it coming from extreme left, across the screen and then out the right speaker...I would say channel seperation would be important for effects like that)
I don't think so. 2 speakers can create that effect perfectly.
brew is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 03:08 PM   #9
blownE30M3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Annapolis MD / San Diego CA
Posts: 192
My Ride: 2004 JB M3
Send a message via AIM to blownE30M3
Maybe this requires an explanation of what Surround sound is.

I'll find ya'll a link in a minute here but heres a summary. Surround sound isnt a matter of levels on certain speakers. It is infact software which is hardwired into receivers. Hence the reason you have different modes with different receivers. It decodes the digital source feed and places it according to the software. So James you are correct. A film, filmed in Dolby Digital 7.1-9.1 (they never film in 5.1) would sound best in those appropriate settings.

When you change modes to a stereo output. Either your 7 channel, 2 channel, what have you, you negate the software installed for surround sound decoding and place the load on all the speakers. There is no decoding done by the receiver, it is purely spitting out the level.

Does this make sense? Like I said I will try to find a clearer explanation.
__________________


Home Automation and A/V Programming
http://www.xsdesignstudios.com
blownE30M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 06:57 PM   #10
djsway
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Irvine, Orange County CA
Posts: 422
My Ride: 2004white 325ci baby
Good question, but really if you could duplicate center imaging with two side speakers then alot of companies that are making 5.1 and up speakers/ receivers would be out of business huh?
__________________
2004 325ci
Spt pck,
Moonroof,
so far...
-edit- BMW front license plate!
-edit- E60 M5 engine transplant
djsway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2006, 11:19 PM   #11
trippinbillies4
Registered User
 
trippinbillies4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 836
My Ride: '02 Mini, '13 FR-S
Nope. Bose would be out of business if they didn't market well. Same thing with 5.1. Rear surrounds arguably provide something the fronts can't, but a center can be "phantom" if the 2 fronts are staged correctly.
__________________
__________________________________________________

'02 Mini Cooper #40HS, '13 Scion FR-S #40CS, '12 Ducati SF848
trippinbillies4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 10:20 AM   #12
E46M3Rod
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 95
My Ride: 2001 Jet Black M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by brew
So I'm kind of an audio nut. Mostly 2 channel stuff - with a big vinyl collection and fancy homebuilt speakers and a dedicated 2 channel stereo room, etc.

I also have a 5.1 surround system in our tv room.

Our bedroom tv system is just 2 channel (but with pretty nice speakers).

One thing I've noticed is that the center channel in the 5.1 system is completely unnecessary. A centralized image can be created with the front left and right speakers alone. On my dedicated 2 channel system it reproduces a very believable 3 dimensional image of instruments located at any point between the speakers and beyond the speaker plane. On many recordings there are also sounds coming from outside the speakers and from behind me (accomplished using phasing tricks like on Dark Side of the Moon)

On my 2 channel video rig in the bedroom I don't miss the center channel at all - all of the voices are perfectly located on the screen . . in fact it's slightly better than a center channel because you don't have voices coming from above or below the screen.

So my question is this - what's the point of having a center channel of audio and a center channel speaker anyway? How is 5.1 any better than 4.1?
You don't miss the center channel....because YOU are sitting in the "middle/center". If somebody is not....this is where you notice it is missing and doesn't quite sound right. Hope this helps.
__________________
E46M3Rod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 10:25 AM   #13
blownE30M3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Annapolis MD / San Diego CA
Posts: 192
My Ride: 2004 JB M3
Send a message via AIM to blownE30M3
Is anyone even fukin reading what I type?
__________________


Home Automation and A/V Programming
http://www.xsdesignstudios.com
blownE30M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 03:08 PM   #14
brew
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 346
My Ride: Sequoia X5 MR2 G20
Quote:
Originally Posted by blownE30M3
Indeed. Out of place and not tuned can be hazardous to sound imagind and reflection. But then that depends on the speaker type as well. The center channel is very neccesary as it is the focal point of all direct audio. Try this. Try hooking all your speakers up including the center, play a movie, listen for a bit and unplug the center. See what happens.

If you just unplug it then it would sound bad because you have all that center channel information going nowhere. If that center channel information is added to the L and R front speakers (attenuated by 3dB so the L+R combined level for this information is the same) and you sit in the sweet spot then it will sound the exact same.

I just realized why the center channel is important: With music you have no visual image that you need to sync the sound up to. If you're sitting off center, you'll hear the central image biased towards the closer speaker, but you'll still enjoy the music just fine. But if you have a visual image that the sound is supposed to sync to - and the audio image is off to the side of the screen, then it will cause a disconnect in your brain and it will sound just plain wrong. The center channel locks the center audio image to the screen no matter where you sit so you avoid this problem entirely. Makes sense now.
brew is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 04:25 PM   #15
baller99
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: LA
Posts: 92
My Ride: My whip
In my opinion the center channel is one of the most important additions to home theater other than the dvd, historically.
baller99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 04:30 PM   #16
djsway
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Irvine, Orange County CA
Posts: 422
My Ride: 2004white 325ci baby
Quote:
Originally Posted by blownE30M3
Is anyone even fukin reading what I type?

Cute sig!
__________________
2004 325ci
Spt pck,
Moonroof,
so far...
-edit- BMW front license plate!
-edit- E60 M5 engine transplant
djsway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 04:56 PM   #17
blownE30M3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Annapolis MD / San Diego CA
Posts: 192
My Ride: 2004 JB M3
Send a message via AIM to blownE30M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsway
Cute sig!
Yours is better.
__________________


Home Automation and A/V Programming
http://www.xsdesignstudios.com
blownE30M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 04:56 PM   #18
baller99
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: LA
Posts: 92
My Ride: My whip
Quote:
Originally Posted by blownE30M3
Maybe this requires an explanation of what Surround sound is.

I'll find ya'll a link in a minute here but heres a summary. Surround sound isnt a matter of levels on certain speakers. It is infact software which is hardwired into receivers. Hence the reason you have different modes with different receivers. It decodes the digital source feed and places it according to the software. So James you are correct. A film, filmed in Dolby Digital 7.1-9.1 (they never film in 5.1) would sound best in those appropriate settings.

When you change modes to a stereo output. Either your 7 channel, 2 channel, what have you, you negate the software installed for surround sound decoding and place the load on all the speakers. There is no decoding done by the receiver, it is purely spitting out the level.

Does this make sense? Like I said I will try to find a clearer explanation.
dd 7.1-9.1? never heard of it.
baller99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 05:07 PM   #19
blownE30M3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Annapolis MD / San Diego CA
Posts: 192
My Ride: 2004 JB M3
Send a message via AIM to blownE30M3
Quote:
Originally Posted by baller99
dd 7.1-9.1? never heard of it.
You will shortly.
__________________


Home Automation and A/V Programming
http://www.xsdesignstudios.com
blownE30M3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-10-2006, 05:08 PM   #20
baller99
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: LA
Posts: 92
My Ride: My whip
Quote:
Originally Posted by blownE30M3
You will shortly.
No go ahead now.. you say all films are filmed in 7.1-9.1?
baller99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use