Jestered - - sorry I'm late to the party. Big day at the Ricodome - - my construction buddy just finished up tearing out a "faux" window, running electricity to the wall, drywall patching and texturing so I can paint tonight. Tommorrow, we will mount my 65" Sammy to the back wall of the man cave to allow enough room for the behemoth Studio CC690 center channel that I purchased from a local Paradigm dealer. (Good bye tax return! Already filed and accepted by the IRS and the State of Colorado - - thanks Turbo Tax!)
Back to your question - - my Pioneer SC65 - 9.2 channel AVR is capablle of 9.1 and I originally had that setup as my original configuration. Guess what? There isn't that much material in 7.1 let alone 9.1 or 11.1 (DTS Neo - The Expendables II). (Especially from Blockbuster Rental or even streaming. VUDU has some selections (thanks Anthony!) but there is not a lot.
So, I decided to "Bi-Amp" (not bi-wire) - which is a specific configuration using the FH/FW terminals on the Pioneer SC65 - my front Paradigm Studio 60's - V.2. You have to go into the Pioneer main menu to invoke this change. Lots of opinion on bi-amping but for me, it's made for a much clearer and cleaner sound - - especially at lower listening levels. My current setup is 7.1 - - which I'm very happy with - - especially the new center speaker I'll soon have. The rest (my satellites) are Mod 2's (eight total) which comprise the LS, RS, LSB, RSB.
You can setup your system for FH or FW but not both - - it cannot pass a signal simultaneously to each speaker. Now a lot of people like FH - - it's probably better received than FW - - and it does lift the dialogue and give more of a "presence" - - so to speak. (That's what Yamaha calls their FH - not the same as Dolby IIz or DTS Neo's use of FH in the sound mix.
By the way - - if anyone is looking for some great satellites at a low cost, I have 6 Mirage Nanosat's available - - very cheap.
So - to end this lengthy discourse - - you can certainly setup FH or FW with a 9.1 system and maybe even 7.1 system if it has that flexibility. I liked the sound but due to my high hearing loss and love of movies - - I decided to invest in the absolute best "matching" center I could find so I don't have to ask my girlfriend "what the hell did he say?" And I'm looking forward to viewing movies again like the The Dark Knight Rises - - to see if I can make out some of the dialogue that even my superb hearing girlfriend (and her girlfriend) couldn't hear the first time we played it.
I blame the sound mixers of the world - - like Garnoch - - for the necessity of having to spend so much $$$ on a quality center speaker. I'm sure he gets a "kickback."
Best - Rico
Home Theater Setup
Samsung UN65ES8000 LCD/LED
BenQ W1080ST Projector
Pioneer SC65 (Pre-Amp)
Wyred4Sound MMC-7 Channel Amplifier, 221wpc
OPPO 103, Directv GENIE
ALL Paradigm - 7.1 - Studio 60's, V.2 (FL/FR)
CC-690, V.5 (C)
ADP 590 V.5 (SS)
MilleniaOne 2.0 (BS) - Velodyne 810 Sub