Using a Canton GLE 430 vs 455 as center speaker

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Using a Canton GLE 430 vs 455 as center speaker

Postposted on Sun Mar 11, 2012 11:20 am

Hi there,

I have managed to score 2x Yamaha RX-V665 receivers and 2x Canton 490 GLE's, 6x Canton 430 GLE's and 2x Canton GLE 455 for an incredibly low price. One receiver takes care of my PC while the other is used for my living room.
The one in the office uses 4 Canton 430's and one 455 in combination with a Yamaha NS-SW500 10" subwoofer.
I set them up using an analog connection, bypassing the receivers internal processor altogether, because it was the only way to get it to work properly with my Creative X-Fi card in 5.1 surround mode. Bass is crossed over at 70Hz, which sounds pretty good on both the 430's and the 455.

My home theater is pretty much identical, except for the main speakers, which are the much larger 3.5 way Canton GLE 490's.
The receiver was calibrated using YPAO, which gave me a pretty accurate and even sound field, with the appropriate distances and levels set, bare for the low-pass crossover, where YPAO decided it was best to use all speakers as "LARGE" and use the sub-woofer as a dedicated 0.1 speaker.
Now I'm pretty sure that my own custom setting, mainly setting the speakers to "SMALL" and choosing an appropriate crossover sounded better. I experimented with different settings for a while and landed on "60Hz" as a good setting for music (The 490's sound much better at 60 then at 80Hz).
The only thing I'm now worried about is the fact that the center channel can't get quite so low, as it quickly rolls of at around 80hz, where the 430 satellites manage to extend their range to the low 70's before losing more than 5dB.
Ideally I would crossover my speakers quite differently, namely
490= 40Hz (officially rated down to 20Hz, they drop off at about 30Hz)
430= 70Hz (officially rated down to 38Hz, they drop off at about 70Hz...)
455= 80Hz (Officially rated down to 33Hz, they drop off at about 80Hz...)
But alas, my receiver seems unable to do so, as it can only apply a single crossover for all speakers, either 60 or 80Hz (and not 70Hz).

So I came up with a different idea.
I've been reading up on center-speakers (F.I.: http://theaudiocritic.com/plog/index.ph ... 8&blogId=1) and most sources seem to agree that the typical horizontal center 2.5 channel speaker, in my case the GLE 455, sounds slightly worse than a normal 2 way bookshelf with a slightly larger woofer.
What if I were to use two of my 430 bookshelves as the center speakers for both systems? They both have 7" drivers, which would land me a lower frequency response extension, allowing me to crossover at 60hz without worrying too much about lost audio ranges. I could then use the 455 center speakers as surrounds for either the PC or home theater system, where their absolute frequency range is less of an issue. (The center speaker for me is far more important than the surrounds on either system, as most dialogue and movie critical information is played back continuously on the center speaker, where the surrounds are mostly used for ambient effects and musical extension).

So there you go. I'm hoping someone here can shed some light on what would be the best option for my conundrum.
I7-3770@4ghz, Asus P8H77-M, NVIDIA 780 GTX, 16 gig DDR3-800 Kingston, 1x Samsung 840 EVO 512gb SSD, 2x 3000GB 7200rpm SATA WD Black, Lite-on Blu-ray 16x DVD+-RW, X-fi Titanium HD, Corsair 550D Obsidian.
Asus UX31E with i5 and 256gb SSD.
havanu
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Re: Using a Canton GLE 430 vs 455 as center speaker

Postposted on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:11 am

Your PC system will probably benefit from the largest center speaker you can throw at it because of the close seating position and confined soundfield. For the living room, try omitting the center-channel entirely and running the receiver in "phantom center" mode. If the room is large enough and the mains are aimed correctly, the center audio signal will be center-positioned while not having the limitations of a smaller center-channel speaker. As for the crossover, usually when you have full-range mains (as opposed to a satellite-subwoofer system) it's best to let the mains roll off naturally and then adjust the subwoofer to match its upper -3dB point at the mains' lower -3dB point.

Note that sound is highly subjective. If you want flat response from the hardware, let your level meter tell you where that should look like, and be sure to move around the room looking for any lobes or holes that might coincide with viewer positions. You can tweak EQ and crossover settings all day long -- it is, after all, your system and you should be happy with whatever the end result is -- but if you want a practical demonstration on subjectivity, here's an easy experiment. Using your computer, phone or PMP as an audio source, open an equalizer app, cut one of the mid-range sliders (say, 300Hz) by 6dB in both channels, and then play some background music for a couple hours. At first, the "hole" is obvious, but your brain gradually accepts that this frequency spectrum is "normal". Then, put it back to flat, and suddenly all you can hear is a loud spot until your brain re-adapts again.
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Re: Using a Canton GLE 430 vs 455 as center speaker

Postposted on Mon Mar 12, 2012 11:51 am

Point well made.
That's the tricky part about sound.
Depending on the day and hour, you experience it quite differently.
That's why I bought the same speakers and receiver for both rooms.
Tonally they're quite similar, so moving from one set to another wouldn't distract me too much.
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Your advice on roll-off is duly noted, but unfortunately it's all or nothing on my receiver. That means either a fixed crossover for all speakers or setting them to "large".
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I did some more testing, switching the 455's with the 430's and changing the crossover from 60 to 80Hz and back on the Fish Tank Blu-ray, a mono movie (Centre channel only) and the difference was barely noticeable.
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As for your advice on the biggest speaker, well, that's where physical limitations come into play.
A GLE 490 (or even 470) just won't fit behind my monitor (or below my Plasma.)
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That Phantom center setting is something I tried before. I found it to be different, but not necessarily better.
Greater dynamics, yes. But the positioning was less precise, somehow. As if the characters voices were no longer coming from the screen, but left and right of it.
Could be that I would stop noticing that after a couple of hours though.
-
But thanks for the advice!
I7-3770@4ghz, Asus P8H77-M, NVIDIA 780 GTX, 16 gig DDR3-800 Kingston, 1x Samsung 840 EVO 512gb SSD, 2x 3000GB 7200rpm SATA WD Black, Lite-on Blu-ray 16x DVD+-RW, X-fi Titanium HD, Corsair 550D Obsidian.
Asus UX31E with i5 and 256gb SSD.
havanu
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Re: Using a Canton GLE 430 vs 455 as center speaker

Postposted on Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:06 pm

havanu wrote:Greater dynamics, yes. But the positioning was less precise, somehow. As if the characters voices were no longer coming from the screen, but left and right of it.
Could be that I would stop noticing that after a couple of hours though.

Also depends on your room layout. The ideal layout has the mains splitting the front wall into even thirds and usually angled to point at the primary listening position. Do the same thing again on the back wall and place the listening position in the exact middle of the room, and four speakers would generate excellent positional audio.

Most real-world layouts don't allow for that, hence 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 etc. which basically compensates for lousy room dynamics by placing actual speakers at extra positions. But at the very least, if you can get your front mains on one wall and split it by thirds, that's a good start.
He who laughs last, laughs first next time.
ludi
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Re: Using a Canton GLE 430 vs 455 as center speaker

Postposted on Mon Mar 12, 2012 7:00 pm

The front speakers are pretty much aligned as you prescribed.
Canton does recommend not to toe-in their speakers, as the drivers and cabinets are made to sound best when listened to from a slight angle.
The rear speakers are actually not rear-mounted at all, more like side speakers. They are placed just behind my couch on either side of the wall of my livingroom.
The left speakers is positioned one meter further from my couch than the right, but YPAO changed the distance and level accordingly.
All in all the system sound quite good. Nevertheless I'm always itching to improve things just a bit more, hence my question about center channels.
I7-3770@4ghz, Asus P8H77-M, NVIDIA 780 GTX, 16 gig DDR3-800 Kingston, 1x Samsung 840 EVO 512gb SSD, 2x 3000GB 7200rpm SATA WD Black, Lite-on Blu-ray 16x DVD+-RW, X-fi Titanium HD, Corsair 550D Obsidian.
Asus UX31E with i5 and 256gb SSD.
havanu
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Posts: 90
Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 5:45 pm


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