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PhilDent

My New Bass Ackwards setup

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Here is a picture of the current setup in my home theater room

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These are the Elac Uni-fi series designed by Andrew Jones.  I wanted to upgrade my speakers, but didn't want to spend a lot of money, so I thought this might be an "upgrade" after I heard a couple of interviews with Andrew Jones.  In one interview, he said that his bookshelf speakers would be fine laying on their side.  In another interview, he said that he thought that using two center channels as front speakers would sound very good.  So, instead of buying floorstanders (or KEF LS-50's for $1,000) I did this.

 

 

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I bought a second center channel on a Black Friday deal (which wifey has informed me is my Christmas present).  I moved the bookshelf speakers to the center channel and used two center channels (uni-fi UC5) as my fronts.  As you can see, this configuration gave me two more woofers on the fronts and an extra tweeter on the center channel.  I'm powering the fronts with an m500t mkII (daddyjt) and I'm powering the bookshelf center channel with an A-400x.  I ran the YPAO with my Yamaha receiver to dial in the levels.  My first impression, is that the two bookshelf speakers (uni-fi UB5) in the center channel role sound better than the one single center channel speaker.  I am undecided if there is any improvement in having the fronts be the typical center channel speakers (uni-fi UC5).  I'm planning to run each front speaker with its own m500t, but I'm using my other m500t to run the electrostatic speakers in my temporary bedroom setup.

 

Just another attempt to achieve great sound on a budget.  Thoughts?

 

PhilDent

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4 hours ago, Magnaryder said:

How does it sound? 

 

ray

 

I am underwhelmed by the center channel speakers used as my fronts.  I haven't been listening to this system much recently.  I have been listening to the electrostatics with different amplification so maybe I'm comparing apples to oranges.

 

However, I am pleased at how well the bookshelf speakers sound as a center channel.

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I've always thought, and read more than one place..., that center channel speakers were generally designed to carry the most common center-channel content from multi-channel recordings.  

 

More typically, that is "dialog" from the voice/speaking in movies - if one believes that most 5.1, 7.1 and 9.1 recording is for Video/Media such as movies that have a primary dialog-emphasized channel.

 

It may be that since center channel speakers are generally designed for the frequencies common to this content, that using them for the more full-frequency requirements for left and right, is not a good application, and aligns with your observation.

 

Then again, while this seems logical, I probably read it on the Internet.  So it may or may not be true...  Take it as input to ponder, not necessarily fact.

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@AndrewJohn you are right for what is essentially sent through the centre speaker, but for music it's still centre stage, and I know that any of the centre's I've seen will still handle full range.  My surround system (way below Phil's nice setup, with Paradigm speakers) uses 5 identical speakers for the front back and centre, with the ubiquitous sub, to handle anything below a squeak.

 

Does that mean all centres are going to be full, even range?  I'm sure they are not, but I would expect anything from Elac to be pretty darn good, and the specs they show seem to concur.

 

@PhilDent is there any chance something went amiss when you did the YPAO setup?  Even using it, don't feel bound to what it gives you - as a rule, most surround setups I've seen focus on level far more than anything in the frequency range.  I'm curious how you have the centres driven - are you sending the same signal to both channels of the A-400X for the centres?  

 

Looking at the specs on the Elacs, the UC5 is using the same drivers as the UB5, and it's almost identical in its specs, so what you are doing makes complete sense.  The only oddity I can see (and caveat - these are just numbers, not sounds!) the UC5 (centre) frequency respons is 48 to 25,000 Hz, while the UB5 (bookshelf) is listed as 46 to 25,000 Hz.  Now for all I know that could easily have been just a typo on the website - I know how many times I mix up 8's and 6's.

 

In the end, if it's not sounding right, it strikes me that something is not set right.  Any chance one is out of phase, or perhaps just in a bad mood?

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17 hours ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

is there any chance something went amiss when you did the YPAO setup?

It absolutely could be the case.  My configuration is a little different than the last time, I ran the YPAO.  This time the result definitely put more information through the center channel.  This might be a good thing, since a lot of dialogue in movies seems to get lost in the mix.  However, I rarely watch movies, so I'd have to ask wifey it it's an improvement, but I'd doubt if she would notice.

 

17 hours ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

I'm curious how you have the centres driven - are you sending the same signal to both channels of the A-400X for the centres?  

I used the pre-out on my Yamaha receiver and I'm sending the mono center channel signal to the A-400x where I use a Y cable to put it into both channels.  So, yes, it is the same signal to both channels.

 

17 hours ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

Any chance one is out of phase, or perhaps just in a bad mood?

The YPAO will detect if a speaker is out of phase (but often erroneously).  I've double checked and everything is in phase.  As far as mood, that's an absolute possibility.  Interestingly, I'm liking this new configuration for mulit-channel listening, but liking it less for stereo listening.

 

Thanks for your input.

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I'm putting together a much more modest system than yours for my office/bench. (2.0 system, maybe 2.1 if I ever get around to hooking up the sub)

I have a pair of center channel speakers and a pair of bookshelfs, made by the same company (PSB). The driver configs are similar to yours, 2 woofers, one tweeter in the center speakers, single woofer and tweeter in the bookshelfs.  Specs are comparable FR=62-21KHz for the centers, 65-21KHz for the bookshelfs. Centers are a bit more efficient.

The center channel documentation indicates they are for center channel use, or  mains, or surrounds.

Driving these with a m1.5t.

I swear the bookshelfs sound better than the centers, even though it makes no sense......  Do they actually sound the same but my eyes are fooling my ears???? I see a larger speaker and expect a bump in performance??? No idea.

 

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I have found that most manufacturers of multichannel main/surround/center speakers VOICE the center channels to match their offerings.

The specs may be the same for the center and mains but the center channel may have a different dispersion design.

 

In the case of M&K (S-150) - I found their center channel speakers to be too directional. People seated anywhere but the sweet spot were missing the dialogue.

 

 

I decided to use a Sunfire CRM-3C. This has been a great addition.

 

No, it does not have the same VOICING as the remaining speakers but it solved my issue.

 

 

Edited by itchitch
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10 hours ago, PhilDent said:

It absolutely could be the case.  My configuration is a little different than the last time, I ran the YPAO.  This time the result definitely put more information through the center channel.  This might be a good thing, since a lot of dialogue in movies seems to get lost in the mix.  However, I rarely watch movies, so I'd have to ask wifey it it's an improvement, but I'd doubt if she would notice.

I used the pre-out on my Yamaha receiver and I'm sending the mono center channel signal to the A-400x where I use a Y cable to put it into both channels.  So, yes, it is the same signal to both channels.

The YPAO will detect if a speaker is out of phase (but often erroneously).  I've double checked and everything is in phase.  As far as mood, that's an absolute possibility.  Interestingly, I'm liking this new configuration for mulit-channel listening, but liking it less for stereo listening.

 

Sorry Phil, I was hoping it might just be something so close that you missed it looking for something more - that's usually where I get tripped up.  I can relate on asking the CIC's opinion, and whether she would notice.  :$

 

Thanks for the info on how you are driving the amp  - clean and simple. 

 

Good luck on it.  Don't give up - That setup makes total sense, so the gremlin hiding in there can't be too big, and cant hide forever.

Hopefully someone else has some useful input for you.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Brian_at_HHH said:

I can relate on asking the CIC's opinion, and whether she would notice.

 

My preferred (and accurate) moniker for wifey is:  The Minister of Sex and Finance.

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