2. Much later, after I experienced LfL's set up, we were chatting and I brought up dialogue intelligibility and how good it was in his room, he said addressing mid-bass was the solution.
More specifically, reducing decay times in the 300 Hz and below region. I have lamented previously
about dialogue intelligibility issues and possible cause for the same. Well, I finally did something about it with the (now-installed) 5 bass traps. Dialogue intelligibility is now the best it has ever been in my room, although I still find myself asking what was said in some cases. If you heard everything crystal clear, then I have hearing issues. If not, we have different expectations
No, seriously. One of the reasons my interest in the Catalysts was piqued was the seemingly seamless combination of apparently limitless ability to retrieve detail and stay clear in terms of dialogue while doing so. It doesn't take much for stuff to be clear when there's little else happening on screen. It's how clear things are when everything's going to hell that can be revealing in terms of speaker quality, room acoustics, calibration and one's hearing.
This is the decay plot for my center channel (t=0 and t=160 ms), with and without the bass traps. As per one guideline
, it is good to have the levels be attenuated by 20 dB at least within 160 ms. The test tone levels are not the same for the before and after and the frequency response is different as well (likely from moving the center channel up so the coaxes for LCR are aligned), but you can clearly see that the rate of decay (80 Hz and onwards) is much better with the bass traps installed and reasonably in-line (or better) with respect to the above guideline. And the difference is clearly audible.
Putting those two inputs together, am roughly putting a ball-park figure for HT users - addressing the 300 Hz-1K Hz range is far, far way more critical to a good experience than just focussing on how low the system goes.
It's a lot to do with the time domain, IME. Lower decay times in the mids and HF allow you to play your system louder so you can actually hear what's being said when the dialogue is quieter than normal. Lower decay times in the LF (hard to fix ringing here) and mid-bass (passive room treatments can clearly help here as shown above) allows for clarity.
Or, you can go straight to the comments of a well-regarded (now-retired from touring) calibrator in the US (Jeff Meier) and read his thoughts
on the topic of dialogue intelligibility. A well optimized HT setup is no gimme. The best an enthusiast can do is read, learn and apply stuff that makes an audible/visual improvement to one's setup.