Opinions on omnidirectional speakers for center channel in Home Theater.

Grayson Dere

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I had an idea recently of trying out an omnidirectional speaker for use as a center channel in my HT setup. By doing so I was hoping I would get a more expansive sound compared to a conventional direct radiator.
Does anyone have experiences they would like to share on whether or not this is a good idea? Thanks a lot! : D
 

Todd Anderson

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I've never tried this, but I'd imagine it would backfire on you. Voices are meant to be centered... I think the omni-directional speaker would negatively impact the sense of centrality (or movement across the front soundstage as they pass from center to left or right).
 

Grayson Dere

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Vandersteen Model 2
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I've never tried this, but I'd imagine it would backfire on you. Voices are meant to be centered... I think the omni-directional speaker would negatively impact the sense of centrality (or movement across the front soundstage as they pass from center to left or right).
Thank you for your thoughts, Todd. I think you're right...if my mains are direct radiators but the center an omnidirectional, the soundstage might sound a bit strange...
 

Todd Anderson

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What kind of center are you using right now? Horizontal or tower?
 

Tony V.

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Im in agreement with Todd, the omnidirectional idea may have worked back in the day of Dolby Pro-logic but given that all channels are discrete mixes now the intention is that the sound comes from the location intended and by firing the sound and using a reflective surface to get that sound to you would likely wash it out too much and loose its imaging.
 

Grayson Dere

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Integra DTR 7.8
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Class D Audio: SDS-470CS
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Shellbrook Audio Hybrid Head headphone amp
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Sony UBP-X700
Front Speakers
Vandersteen Model 2
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SVS PB-2000
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Grado SR 325is headphones
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JVC DLA-X75
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Elite Screen 120"
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Origin Live Aurora MKIII turntable
What kind of center are you using right now? Horizontal or tower?
I'm using a horizontal type center channel....Atlantic Technology. Perhaps it's the room that's causing the sound to be a little 'small.' My ceiling is the 12 foot vaulted type. The ceiling is actually the largest dimension in the room. Would acoustic absorbers at the first reflection points make things a bit better in your opinion?
Im in agreement with Todd, the omnidirectional idea may have worked back in the day of Dolby Pro-logic but given that all channels are discrete mixes now the intention is that the sound comes from the location intended and by firing the sound and using a reflective surface to get that sound to you would likely wash it out too much and loose its imaging.
Ah! That makes sense...the intention of localized sound. Thanks, Tony.
 

Todd Anderson

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Denon X8500H
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-205, UDP-203, Panasonic UB820
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
I'd reach out to GIK for advice on treatments... not really a field of expertise for me. Although, some folks on here know quite a bit!

Sound issues could just be the speaker design itself...Depending on where you sit, some center channel designs can start to sound collapsed and thin.

As an experiment, try flipping it to a vertical orientation and see if you hear any difference.
 

Grayson Dere

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My AV System  
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Integra DTR 7.8
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Class D Audio: SDS-470CS
Additional Amp
Shellbrook Audio Hybrid Head headphone amp
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Sony UBP-X700
Front Speakers
Vandersteen Model 2
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SVS PB-2000
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Grado SR 325is headphones
Video Display Device
JVC DLA-X75
Screen
Elite Screen 120"
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Origin Live Aurora MKIII turntable
I'd reach out to GIK for advice on treatments... not really a field of expertise for me. Although, some folks on here know quite a bit!

Sound issues could just be the speaker design itself...Depending on where you sit, some center channel designs can start to sound collapsed and thin.

As an experiment, try flipping it to a vertical orientation and see if you hear any difference.
Thanks for the advice! : )
 

Todd Anderson

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Denon X8500H
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Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
VSX21-THX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
OPPO UDP-205, UDP-203, Panasonic UB820
Front Speakers
SVS Ultra Towers
Center Channel Speaker
SVS Ultra Center
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
Surround Back Speakers
SVS Ultra Bookshelf
Front Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Front, Top Mid-Front)
Rear Height Speakers
SVS Prime Elevation x4 (Top Middle, Top Rear)
Subwoofers
dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
Video Display Device
JVC RS520
Screen
Carada Cine-White 0 gain
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F
Let us know what happens!
 

Grayson Dere

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Class D Audio: SDS-470CS
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Shellbrook Audio Hybrid Head headphone amp
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Sony UBP-X700
Front Speakers
Vandersteen Model 2
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SVS PB-2000
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Grado SR 325is headphones
Video Display Device
JVC DLA-X75
Screen
Elite Screen 120"
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Origin Live Aurora MKIII turntable
So the other day I decided to re-install my 'Direct Acoustics Silent Speaker II' speakers for an experiment since they were readily available. I'm not so sure if they're considered a true omni-directional speaker but I thought they were close enough for my purposes. I unplugged my direct radiating center channel and in its place setup the Silent Speaker (just one out of the pair) and performed channel balancing via my receiver's test tones.

Okay, so I'm super excited now!...I fired up a couple of movies, starting with Blade Runner 2049 and then Casino Royale. At first I really liked the larger soundstage the silent speakers provided as a center channel but as soon as the dialog heavy scenes came in I noticed it was a bit tough to clearly discern what the actors were saying. There was also a strange side-effect of the main speakers now sounding too pronounced and calling a lot of attention to themselves even though the speakers were all previously calibrated to the same SPL level. I'm thinking the mixing of speaker types isn't really going to work out. It's a funny thing, though, because when I'm listening to 2-channel material I don't find singer's voices tough to hear at all with the silent speakers.
I wonder if they're meant to be used as a stereo pair and not singly?

After a little while I couldn't stand the diffuse sounding dialog and in the end I reverted back to the direct radiating center channel.
...now starts the fun of searching for a speaker upgrade : )
 

Tony V.

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Yup, this does not surprise me. In recent years each channel is mixed as a dedicated source meaning that the so called omni-directional speakers that try to throw sound around rather than directly at you, this will change the imaging. In music this may not be a bad thing but with discrete mixing of the movie soundtracks this dose not work.
 
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