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tubetwister

Boxy sounding center channel?

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Just bought the Klipsch RC-64 II. It sounds great on music, such as broadcast concerts, etc. But movie dialog has a "boxy" sound. That is, the voice sounds like it is originating from a large cardboard box.

This is especially true with male voices.

Has anyone experienced this? What is the remedy...other than getting a new speaker?

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You can try suppressing nearby reflections in the top and bottom directions from the woofers, which is actually the source of the "boxiness" sound (lower midrange and upper midbass)--early reflections from around the loudspeaker adding to the direct arrival sound pressure level (SPL).  This means cleaning up your electronics rack, moving the center loudspeaker forward from its present location such that the front of the RC-64II woofer cones are out in front of everything else acoustically reflective, and adding as much acoustic absorption as you can around the loudspeaker--all four sides from the front face, as well as the floor in front of the center.

 

You may have to move the entire setup to another spot in the room that is more conducive to controlling early reflections.

 

A picture of your setup usually helps to diagnose better.

 

Chris

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Just a crazy thought, did you put your center channel in a tv stand/cabinet? If it's too enclosed, it could create a bad sound.

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4 hours ago, tubetwister said:

Just bought the Klipsch RC-64 II. It sounds great on music, such as broadcast concerts, etc. But movie dialog has a "boxy" sound. That is, the voice sounds like it is originating from a large cardboard box.

This is especially true with male voices.

Has anyone experienced this? What is the remedy...other than getting a new speaker?

Though I never considered the sound "boxy" from my RC-64, it originally did not perfectly timbre match my RF-63's.  I first attributed that to the fact that the 64 is horizontally oriented along the same plane while the 63's are vertically oriented with tweeter/horn on top, and I do believe that thought holds some water.  My NAD T175HD pre/pro has a section of the tone controls called "center dialog" which boosts or cuts the "presence" of the midrange region improving intelligibility of speech.  In my case it is boosted +6 and the "problem" has been eliminated.

 

Bill

 

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The center speaker is all alone, siting in the center of the stage, below the screen. It is angled up so the speaker is in the same plane as the listener's ears.

We built acoustic panels to stop the "slap echo", and the room is great for sound.

The main speakers are VMPS, with bass impact that will rearrange your intestines. The subs are kits I built, from Madisound. The side and rear surrounds are Klipsch RB 81's and 61's. The rear ambience speakers are Dynaco A25's.

The pre-pro is an NAD T163. I just bought a new Integra processor with built in EQ, so that may help. All amplification is B&K.

 

Here are some photos:

 

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Edited by tubetwister

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I personally recommend a smaller Danley Synergy in that spot...like a SHMicro, SM LPM, or even better...the SH69.  [A link to a Danley price list.]  If  you're trying to maintain a low/small profile and get good pattern control and true timbre neutrality, this is the way that I'd recommend.  One of the guys on the forum is a Danley dealer ( @kg4guy ?) I believe.

 

The one Klipsch Reference series center that I tried was an immediate "no way" between my Jubilees, and I had to stop myself laughing after a few minutes. I had the very same complaint (among others) that you mentioned.

 

Chris

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20 minutes ago, Chris A said:

I personally recommend a smaller Danley Synergy in that spot...like a SHMicro, SM LPM, or even better...the SH69.  [A link to a Danley price list.]  If  you're trying to maintain a low/small profile and get good pattern control and true timbre neutrality, this is the way that I'd recommend.  One of the guys on the forum is a Danley dealer ( @kg4guy ?) I believe.

 

The one Klipsch Reference series center that I tried was an immediate "no way" between my Jubilees, and I had to stop myself laughing after a few minutes. I had the very same complaint (among others) that you mentioned.

 

Chris

 

Chris - Thanks for the info. I have been switching out the center, going from the RC-64 to another single speaker (tower). The Klipsch is a winner in almost every area. It excels in music video (Brian Wilson & Friends), plus movie soundtrack effects (bomb explosions, thunder, etc.) will blow you away.

 

I have only had the RC-64 for a couple days. It was purchased thinking it may solve the issues we have. You may find this interesting...I took the two RB-81 II's and put them head to head, as a single center channel speaker. The sound was very good, and this is why the RC-64 was purchased.

 

At this point I don't think it is a speaker issue. Voices on broadcast TV programs are mostly fine. Plus music is awesome. It is just some center channel movie dialog that is crappy. Almost like an extra lower octave was added to male (and female) voices in the studio mix.

 

edit: The SH69 is a bit out of my price range. I'm sure it's an awesome speaker.

Edited by tubetwister

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It might be a source problem. You have a lot of very good gear that's showing the problem. I'll bet some material sounds fantastic.

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I've found that the center has to be the best loudspeaker that you own--hands down.  That's why I immediately recommended "brand X" for your particular room after seeing your pictures. 

 

You might be able to work something out with the RC-64II.  In my case, I went through a RC-62, Heresy, Cornwall, Belle, and then a tri-amped JuBelle (a Belle bass bin with a K-510 horn and separate tweeter on top) over a few years time.  The only thing that was close was the tri-amped/time aligned JuBelle, but its apparent source width (ASW) was still too narrow., and its low end rolled off at too high a frequency.

 

When I created the K-402-MEH prototype, my center loudspeaker issues completely disappeared.  Now I want five of them in a 5.1 array with my existing two tapped horn subs in the front corners. 

 

I think that'll hold me for a while...:emotion-21:

 

:D

 

Chris

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I stood the speaker up on end. Not much, if any change.

 

The more we experiment, both with speaker position, and substituting other speakers, I do think this is a source problem, not an equipment problem.

 

The amplification is all B&K, with an NAD T163 Processor (soon being replaced with a new Integra). I have two separate systems, side by side. This one is for Home Theater.

 

My "music only" stereo system is a Dynaco Pas 3 Series Vacuum Tube Preamp, driving a Sound Valves Mosfet: 32 power amp. Awesome sound, for sure. But the NAD and B&K will match the vacuum tube stereo system for quality of sound. That is, you hear what was recorded, the way the engineers put it together in the studio.

 

The system is revealing. Like they say, garbage in, garbage out.

 

I do not (yet) use any EQ in the system. That will change when my Integra gets here.

 

The center speaker has been raised up, off the floor of the front stage, sitting on upholstered blocks (thanks to my wife!). Plus angled up a bit. Experimentation still in progress.

 

The worst thing about this setup is it does not distort. You can crank the volume up to damage levels, and it still sounds great.

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4 hours ago, tubetwister said:

The pre-pro is an NAD T163.

Have you found the T163 to have a high noise floor?  They were known for that as well as my T773 AVR but in mine I could only detect that noise(hum/hiss) when listening at low volumes.

 

4 hours ago, tubetwister said:

I just bought a new Integra processor with built in EQ, so that may help.

Yes, some tweaking might help.

 

4 hours ago, tubetwister said:

All amplification is B&K.

 

I failed to mention in my earlier post that when I switched from the "warmer" sounding B&K Reference 4430 to all Acurus amplification with it's neutral tone, the 64 sounded more detailed and natural.

 

Bill

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On 4/7/2018 at 4:33 PM, tubetwister said:

Just bought the Klipsch RC-64 II. It sounds great on music, such as broadcast concerts, etc.

 

But movie dialog has a "boxy" sound. That is, the voice sounds like it is originating from a large cardboard box.

I have the RC-64 version 1, but we'll just refer to both as RC-64.  My RC-64 sits between RF-83's powered by a Marantz SR6011 and it is bi-wired in 3.0.  I listen to mostly TV, some Blu-ray, some music.

 

My RC-64 has zero issues with  boxy sound, and I think I know what you mean.  It used to be referred to as a "shouty" sound if you cup your hands together like a megaphone and talk.  That shouty sound is not characteristic of this speaker.

 

Dialog is by far the strength of the RC-64.  Mine is very natural sounding and has excellent dynamics like a live! voice would have.  I have my Marantz AVR setup with Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume (med compression) and Dialog Level Adjust is ON.  I used Audyssey to initially setup the speakers.  The center speaker sounds about the same (good) while using All Speakers Stereo and Dolby Surround.

 

I only mention the specifics of my setup because the RC-64 (and all my Klipsch speakers) are very responsive to electronic tweaking in the AVR.

 

My suggestion is you might want to tweak your settings for the center and see if that helps the boxy sound you hear.  I tweaked my system because it sounded good to me and not to get rid of any perceived problem with the sound so what worked to make my center sound good might not work for you.  I think you have the electronic gear to make your RC-64 sound not just good, but outstanding.

+++

 

Are these the VMPS mains you are using?

https://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/588vmps/index.html

 

 

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1 hour ago, wvu80 said:

I have the RC-64 version 1, but we'll just refer to both as RC-64.  My RC-64 sits between RF-83's powered by a Marantz SR6011 and it is bi-wired in 3.0.  I listen to mostly TV, some Blu-ray, some music.

 

My RC-64 has zero issues with  boxy sound, and I think I know what you mean.  It used to be referred to as a "shouty" sound if you cup your hands together like a megaphone and talk.  That shouty sound is not characteristic of this speaker.

 

Dialog is by far the strength of the RC-64.  Mine is very natural sounding and has excellent dynamics like a live! voice would have.  I have my Marantz AVR setup with Dynamic EQ, Dynamic Volume (med compression) and Dialog Level Adjust is ON.  I used Audyssey to initially setup the speakers.  The center speaker sounds about the same (good) while using All Speakers Stereo and Dolby Surround.

 

I only mention the specifics of my setup because the RC-64 (and all my Klipsch speakers) are very responsive to electronic tweaking in the AVR.

 

My suggestion is you might want to tweak your settings for the center and see if that helps the boxy sound you hear.  I tweaked my system because it sounded good to me and not to get rid of any perceived problem with the sound so what worked to make my center sound good might not work for you.  I think you have the electronic gear to make your RC-64 sound not just good, but outstanding.

+++

 

Are these the VMPS mains you are using?

https://www.stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/588vmps/index.html

 

 

My towers are the VMPS Tower RM2's, with the ribbon midrange upgrades. Factory built by Brian Cheney with the gloss piano black finish. He passed away a few years ago, and the company died with him. Awesome sounding, very fluid and neutral midrange, and full, smooth bass well into the 30 hz region, not boomy at all. This is true audiophile bass, in my opinion. Being a musician in another life, the entire range is important from the upper octaves down to the basement bottom!

I hope you are correct, and that my system with the Integra installed will bring the full potential out of all of my speakers. Center channel included!

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6 minutes ago, tubetwister said:

My towers are the VMPS Tower RM2's, with the ribbon midrange upgrades.

 

Awesome sounding, very fluid and neutral midrange, and full, smooth bass well into the 30 hz region, not boomy at all. This is true audiophile bass, in my opinion.

My experience with Audyssey is it makes different speakers play nice together.  When I read the other review it emphasized the substantial bass response and got me wondering if your mains and RC-64 where somehow doubling up on midbass response creating that boxy sound.  I didn't find any reviews on the RM2 that would suggest that.

 

The Integra has a great sound with Klipsch.  Run Audyssey first and see what that does for your system sound.  After that there should be a lot of audio settings you can tweak that might deal with that boxy sound from the center if Audyssey doesn't correct it right out out of the box.

 

In the meantime I'll do the opposite and turn off all my electronic enhancement and see if I can reproduce that boxy sound.  It seems to me with everything turned off the sound was more thin, especially at lower volume but I don't remember the boxy sound.  That may help you to pinpoint where the sound is coming from in your system.

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Audyssey makes a huge difference with mixed brands.

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1 hour ago, wvu80 said:

The Integra has a great sound with Klipsch.  Run Audyssey first and see what that does for your system sound.  After that there should be a lot of audio settings you can tweak that might deal with that boxy sound from the center if Audyssey doesn't correct it right out out of the box.

 

 That may help you to pinpoint where the sound is coming from in your system.

I have run the center all by itself, listening to FM. Crappy sounding male voices! Almost like the speaker was vibrating (it is not) creating lower octave overtones.

Hopefully, it can be dealt with with a bit of EQ and other tweaking.

 

Again, it appears that it is more of a source issue than a component or speaker issue.

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On 4/7/2018 at 3:33 PM, tubetwister said:

Just bought the Klipsch RC-64 II. It sounds great on music, such as broadcast concerts, etc. But movie dialog has a "boxy" sound. That is, the voice sounds like it is originating from a large cardboard box.

This is especially true with male voices.

Has anyone experienced this? What is the remedy...other than getting a new speaker?

Do you have it set as "Full" in the setting? Set is as Small and set the cross point at 60. My RC-62 sounded "boxy" at Full" as well. Also, if you have any dialog EQ on, set it to a minimum and instead of using voice EQ, boost the center channel level.

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54 minutes ago, dimanata2007 said:

Do you have it set as "Full" in the setting? Set is as Small and set the cross point at 60. My RC-62 sounded "boxy" at Full" as well. Also, if you have any dialog EQ on, set it to a minimum and instead of using voice EQ, boost the center channel level.

Thanks for the info. It is set to "small" in the speaker settings. But my new processor (Integra) has not arrived yet, so will have to wait to do any more adjustments.

My current Pre Amp (NAD) no longer responds to the remote control.

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