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Anyone Else Into 3 Channel L-C-R Config?


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Just wondering how many of you guys or if there is anyone else that is into Paul's 3 channel L-C-R setup?


I always kept stereo native 2CH in all the systems I've had over many years but when I got into Klipsch and horn speakers (and am I glad I did) I learned about 3CH after recently opening the manual of my KHorns again which described adding a center channel which sparked my curiosity and I did tons of research on it. Now mind you my KHorns are properly toed in, and my stereo image was excellent and phantom center effect was already good. But my curiosity took over.


So I had a friend build me Paul's "Alum. Mini Box" exact to the schematics using high quality parts. And was able to acquire a matching Heresy.


Since my system also doubles as my TV's speakers for Smart TV YouTube/Netflix etc., TV and movies, it really anchors the dialogue and makes it more believable sound like its coming right from the screen which I prefer. The stereo information on TV such as music and sound effects etc and sound stage is still very coherent and perfectly heard L and R. When listening to music adding a center channel really coupled with my KHorns bass beautifully and seamlessly, drums really filled out even more and it sounds so nice and filled in, same is true for when watching a movie or TV on it. Truthfully I wanted a La Scala but I couldn't make it work in my system due to the console, but the Heresy is just perfect, its tilt makes it hit right at my ears at the same height as my KHorns and It completely disappears and it doesn't stand out sonically at all... but when I turn it off I hear a big difference and prefer it on.


But perhaps the biggest benefit has been increase in size of the "sweetspot" so I'm no able to sit in the most comfortable section of my mini sofa/love seat and be in the sweetspot.


It's especially helpful on older rock and jazz music that has an exaggerated stereo mix where no phantom center stereo effect could fill the void like having a physical center does IMHO, it still flawlessly reproduces intentional hard left/right ambient effects in music. And on modern electronic genres where vocals and drums are often so dead center in the mix... without the center the drums and vocals are often awkwardly split down the L/R channels leaving a void. Even with the phantom center effect it's not enough for those genres as sometimes their mixes aren't the greatest as many of them (mainly the electronic) were mixed in nearfield with 2 monitors pretty close to each other so It's so much more enjoyable with a physical center and is just awesome. 


I know there are other ways to get the center too using various methods. Like with Meridians Trifiled DSP, Vintage Mac and Scott stuff I know had summed L/R center outs, SST Trinaural Processor, Dynaco QD-1/QD-2 Hafler Matrix Box, Older Receivers w/ Dolby "3 Stereo" Mode, older dedicated Prologic Processors and lastly some of the Carver Sonic Hologram stuff.


I think that's pretty much all the methods I've learned of over the last few months reading up on it little by little.


I'm also curious about experimenting with a center rear channel that is a L-R ambient "difference" channel on low volume, which I think would be pretty interesting. But I'm super happy with the L-C-R config.


Anyone else into 3ch, 4ch, Quad or similar?


I know it's not the most "purist" thing to do, so don't be too hard on me if you aren't into it lol! 🤬🤢



Edited by sixspeed
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I love true multichannel music SACDs on my 5.1 HT system (also my music listening system -- see my signature).


Sometimes I use the front three channels for two channel music sources.  To make it truly like Paul's system, I have to turn the center down a few dB, which I do, as needed.  With some recordings it's fine with the center at the full movie SPL setting, with others not.


Another option is Dolby PL II ... usually good, with synthesized center and surround.


I used to use the Dynaco simulated quad.  Not Bad.


My HT system does true quad well.  Some SACDs are done that way, including one transcription of Dark Side of the Moon.

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I listen to music using DTS Neo 6 Music, with the surround speakers turned down 3db. My understanding is that DTS derives the center channel and surrounds without changing the signal to the L/R speakers. It’s my way of getting the 3 channel stereo experience. I turn down the surrounds to minimize the chance of localizing them, but still retain a bit of added ambience. 



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Cool stuff guys! Very nice.


Yeah a while back I used to have a 5.1 B&W HT setup about 7-8 years ago, when I used to be into HT. I'm still into movies a lot but got more into stereo and now 3.1. I enjoy my Blurays that have 2CH DTS-MA tracks. Those are great. I forgot to mention modern AVRs, duh! lol


I also frequently used to use the PLII and Neo Modes for music as well when I had the full HT setup in my old house, although I always preferred the DTS Neo for music as I found PLII modes at least on the Onkyo I was using at the same to be too center biased. It was one step above the base model Onkyo at the time so nothing special. Maybe it was just that receiver I had but I've also read some people preferring the old Dolby Surround and original Pro Logic I decoders for music. I bet PLII is a lot better on the HQ AVRs like Yamahas, Marantzs, Arcams, Anthems etc. The DTS modes are great tho.


I never tried the DynaQuad setup, that must have been pretty neat too.


I had Paul's RCA box made but with a passive level control for the center, I mostly set it and forget it at 50% for music listening sessions which makes about 6dB less than the L/R KHorns and it's really nice. For movies I just crank it to full like you mentioned Gary and that works really well for that.


BTW that system sounds insane! An all heritage HT setup, amazing. Horns and movies how can you go wrong, the classic movie theater experience.


I wanna pick up a couple of the 3 Channel Stereo SACD releases from Acoustic Sounds, there's 2 or 3 really nice Jazz titles that I'd like to own for sure. I've noticed a lot of the the older Jazz stuff I have on digital DSD downloads that were originally 3 track have a very strong phantom center and now with the Heresy center the center really comes alive in the recording. Also in movies where there is something moving fast in a scene from L to R or R to L. Previously you'd sort of notice the gap as it went across the screen where there was no speaker but now with Paul's box feeding my center ch Heresy's amp transition is seamless and really cool.


DSP has gotten so good now a days, if you have a good AVR that's probably the way to go. I just don't own or use an AVR anymore, just a 2CH Mac Integrated and since I wanted to keep it, going for Paul's box and a separate small solid state mono amp was the way to go for me.

Edited by sixspeed
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53 minutes ago, Schu said:

I prefer imaging over the wall of sound so unless the recording is mastered in 5.1 or unless I am feeling in a mood for processed 5.1 via a pre pro, I just prefer 2.1


It's only a wall of sound if you want it to be. It images very well if the center is properly balanced. I get it's not for everyone, we all have our own taste.


The stuff that was in the phantom actually just has a physical speaker present and your brain doesn't have to do the work to perceive it. And it blends in perfectly when dialed in, if the speakers "match" then it's really good. I love stereo but it isn't a perfect format, it has its flaws too. Lots of great music isn't mixed all that well.


I found it fatiguing after awhile for the brain to process that center image all on its own for hours on end. A big reason why I stopped listening to headphones.

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Yeah it's from Paul's hope from Dope publication.


You can read about it in Paul's articles as far as I know from Hope From Dope, Vol. 14, No. 4 and Vol. 11, No. 3.






I agree with PWK's assessments on 3 front channels being ideal 100%.


I used the RCA "Alum Mini Box" schematic. See attached pic as well.


Before I got the box I used a temporary 2 box solution that gave me excellent results.


Consisting of some RCA Y adapters and a interconnect short loop back into my power amp, the copied parallel stereo signal into a Monacor SMC-1 high quality passive Stereo to Mono Summing box, output into a JDS Labs Passive Vol Control and then into the mono center ch amp. I happened to have both devices in my large bin of misc. stuff I had accumulated over the years and It worked really well also.


I think both of those devices are still available but the PWK box is better as I no longer have to use any y splitters or parralel signal stuff to get a derived center channel signal.


PWK Alum Mini Box - 3CH Stereo.JPG

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Recently experimenting with a K402 in the fireplace for dialogue in movies/TV, 2.0 and 2.1 using a summed setting in the Xilica 4080, DTS neo6 etc. from my older prepro (Nuforce AVP16) and true 5.1 SACD, DVD-A, and Blu-ray.  

Thanks for the links to PWKs writing sixspeed.  I note he recommends a relatively close match of efficiency between center speaker and the flanking L and R.  I have that with matching k402s in mids  and treble but not bass.  A couple small DR woofers are no match for the KHorn bass bins but I’ll measure and adjust with REW and Xconsole to see what I can hear.

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Watching this thread with great interest.  Having my 'Shed find' MC-2100 (L/R) restored soon and will be looking for something like an MC-50/100 (Center)  & C28 pre (w/ center out) or similar for this very goal of trying the 3 channel stereo with Klipsch speakers.  As stated it's not for everyone but is very intriguing to me personally.  Thought at one time there was someone on the Klipsch site that offered replicas of PK's  3 channel boxes for sale.

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