5.1 or 7.1? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm just kicking of my home theater build. I have a room that is 15' wide by 16' long. I'm planning on putting in a 2.35:1 screen with a Pany 4000 projector. So far I'm considering the Pioneer Elite receiver (probably the 37 when it gets released next month) and Totem Tribe 2 inwall speakers.

Here is my question for the poll. For those that are starting now (or those that could start over today) would you go with 5.1 or 7.1 for the surround. (I'm not worried about the number of subs at this stage, just the number of speakers 5 or 7?

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post #2 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 07:58 AM
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That's a question? With people moving toward 9.2, 12.4, etc., that rather puts 5.1 in the model "A" category. Budget issues aside, I can't think of a single good reason for 5.1

BTW, the .1 indicates the number of Low Frequency Effects Channels (ie, 1). It has no bearing on the number of subs you can install.

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post #3 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 08:32 AM
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11.1 baby!!

Adam

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post #4 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 10:51 AM
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I wired for 7.1, and then installed my rears as overhead in-ceiling speakers. I am dissappointed that there is a lack of true 7.1 source material.

I assume everyone is utilizing 7.1 (9.1, and 11.1, etc..) via processing?

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post #5 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

I wired for 7.1, and then installed my rears as overhead in-ceiling speakers. I am dissappointed that there is a lack of true 7.1 source material.

I assume everyone is utilizing 7.1 (9.1, and 11.1, etc..) via processing?

Yes - the lack of source material was the biggest reason for me, and the room size (16x15) for my considering going with 5.1 (and possibly going up a level in my speaker selection)....

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post #6 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by adammb View Post

11.1 baby!!

+1, I am in wiring phase and I will be wiring for 11.1!


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post #7 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by theWalkinator View Post

+1, I am in wiring phase and I will be wiring for 11.1!

Really - 11? Wow. How big is your room?

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post #8 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 11:48 AM
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I think it depends on where your seats are placed.

Personally, I would definitely wire for 7.1, but I would possibly hold off on buying all 7 speakers. You can always add the two in back after a bit.

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post #9 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

I think it depends on where your seats are placed.

Personally, I would definitely wire for 7.1, but I would possibly hold off on buying all 7 speakers. You can always add the two in back after a bit.

-Suntan

Interesting - I was thinking of putting the ones in back right away, and holding off on the sides. Is that wrong?

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post #10 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 12:05 PM
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AVS has a similar poll running here. I think you need way more choices including multiple 7.1 and 9.1 layouts and perhaps even 6.1. I wired my theater for 11.1 in addition to two possible side surround positions simple because I want to audition these new processing options for myself. If you buy bulk wire it doesn't cost much more and gives you the chance to play around and find out what you prefer. My experiments to date suggest that I'll settle for 7.1 or possibly 9.1 (with wides, to counter a slightly closer than optimum LR separation caused by AT screen constraints).


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post #11 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damonbrodie View Post

Really - 11? Wow. How big is your room?

14x20, 3 LCR, 2 LR height, 2 front side, 2 back side, 2 rear.


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post #12 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by damonbrodie View Post

Interesting - I was thinking of putting the ones in back right away, and holding off on the sides. Is that wrong?

Well, technically the 4th and 5th speakers are the side left and right speakers that are supposed to go just beside or to the side and slightly behind the seating position.

The 6th and 7th speakers are the ones that go on the back wall in a 7.1 setup.

In all honesty, the 6 and 7 speakers are mostly beneficial for the second row of seats in my setup, as the side surrounds are positioned in front of the second row (the speakers are optimized for the front/center chair.) Having the 6 and 7 speakers on the back wall gives the back row attendants sound effects that generate from behind their seats, instead of getting all the surround coming from in front of them. (Even though the levels are too high when sitting so close to the back speakers in the second row, most people that get relegated to the back row don't even know what proper surround sound should sound like. They just like to hear the Boom Booms and Pew Pews coming from behind them...)

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post #13 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 01:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cuzed2 View Post

I assume everyone is utilizing 7.1 (9.1, and 11.1, etc..) via processing?

Yup. Consumer 7.1 pre-pros started selling 24 years ago. 7.1 material didn't show up until a couple years back. How were people listening to 7.1 for over 20 years? Surround processing.

Same could be said for surround in general. First became available to consumers 40 years ago (quad in 1970). By comparison, discrete multi-channel is a recent phenomenon (mid-1990s laserdisc). How were people listening to surround for 25 years before there was 5.1 material? Surround processing.

Even in this age of discrete multi-channel, many people still use surround processing to scale 2.0 and 5.1 material to their 7.1-speaker layouts. As you can see by its history, 7.1-speaker set-ups had nothing to do with 7.1-channel material (preceded it by over 2 decades).

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post #14 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 05:00 PM
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Though I have 7.1, I'm not in the "you have to have 7.1" camp. I think it really depends on how many rows of seating and how far from the front/back wall they are.

If you're doing one row at 12-13 feet back, 5.1 should be more than adequate, especially with good di/bipoles on the sides to create a nice sweep of sound behind you. With only a couple of feet behind the seating, the sbl/sbr may really "scream" at you or become too point defined.

On the other hand, if your main row is at 9-10 feet, that would still leave 6-7 feet behind you, and the extra two channels would likely make a difference in filling it out, without screaming out their position too badly.

I don't know the totems that well, but a lot depends on the seating position and the speaker type used. Where is your seating going, and what do you plan on using for surrounds?

In my situation, I think it was worth it to go to 7.1 in my room, which is 18'x22', with my primary seating 11.5' from the screen wall, 9 feet from the rear wall (18" deep screen wall). I'm using all monopoles, the 6th and 7th channels really help solidify the rear soundstage. That being said it may change, as I will be adding a second row of seating that will be about 4 feet from the back wall, and I'm still researching on how to approach this so that the rear row doesn't get just blasted by the 6th and 7th channels.

So my vote is..... I'm pleading the 5th until I get more information. :^)

Best,
C
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post #15 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerdic View Post

In my situation, I think it was worth it to go to 7.1 in my room, which is 18'x22', with my primary seating 11.5' from the screen wall, 9 feet from the rear wall (18" deep screen wall). I'm using all monopoles, the 6th and 7th channels really help solidify the rear soundstage. That being said it may change, as I will be adding a second row of seating that will be about 4 feet from the back wall, and I'm still researching on how to approach this so that the rear row doesn't get just blasted by the 6th and 7th channels.

So my vote is..... I'm pleading the 5th until I get more information. :^)

Best,
C


I'd be interested in that information. In my build, I have a similar situation, except with a smaller room and I'm looking at two seating rows. I decided to wire up the rear surrounds for 7.1, but I have elected to go with a 5.1 setup plus two DSX Wides. So it's not really a 7.1, it's more of an amped-up 5.1 instead.

What I expect is that I'll get a broader front soundstage and less overall immersion, but at least the back row of seats won't be getting blasted by the rear channels -- they'd be on the walls only about 1.5 feet away from the back seats.

If worse comes to worse and I don't like the lack of immersion, I'll move the DSX Wides to the rear surround positions and try out the more traditional 7.1 setup.

So I guess my response to the OP is to wire up for 7.1 or whatever you feel you might be able to fit into your room, but start out with 5.1 and see if anything is lacking. You can always add speakers later.

--Drew


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post #16 of 30 Old 06-15-2010, 05:40 PM
 
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11.1 baby!!

+1!!!!!
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post #17 of 30 Old 06-16-2010, 03:38 AM
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There should be no relationship between the number of rows and the installation of the rear channels. As the number of rows increases, so would the number of SIDE surrounds. The point of the rear channels (be it discrete or by means of ambiance extraction in the surround processor) is to fill the hole in the rear sound field which is particularily obvious in front to back side to side pans and in wider rooms.

If you have a second (or any row for that matter) within a 1.5' of the back wall, you have bigger problems than that of nearest speakers overwhelming the mains.

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post #18 of 30 Old 06-16-2010, 09:35 AM
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Interesting, Dennis. In the case of multiple rows of seating (assuming you're rear row is not too close to the rear wall), how do you structure the rears to provide adequate fill for the front row, but not overwhelm the rear row? Do you advocate adjusting the level to be appropriate for the front or rear row, and do you feel di/bi pole rears work better to diffuse the sound and/or get the rear seating into more of a null so that the rears are less distracting?

I hope this isn't drifting off thread.

Best,
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post #19 of 30 Old 06-16-2010, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

There should be no relationship between the number of rows and the installation of the rear channels. As the number of rows increases, so would the number of SIDE surrounds. The point of the rear channels (be it discrete or by means of ambiance extraction in the surround processor) is to fill the hole in the rear sound field which is particularily obvious in front to back side to side pans and in wider rooms.

If you have a second (or any row for that matter) within a 1.5' of the back wall, you have bigger problems than that of nearest speakers overwhelming the mains.

Thanks Dennis! In my case I'm providing a second row for the extra seating but since it is at the back of the room and unfortunately they will not have decent sound. Normally it won't get used though.

I'm learning lots here though!

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post #20 of 30 Old 06-16-2010, 07:12 PM
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I prewired for 9.1 (adding two presence speakers in the top front right and left around the crown area). I'm not going to use them right now, but I went ahead and ran the wire up there.

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post #21 of 30 Old 06-17-2010, 01:18 AM
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I've had a 5.1 setup for many years and just upgraded to a 6.2 setup but other that the overall quality of the sound I really almost never notice anything from the surrounds. The rear center seems to add to a fuller sound and I was worried that I'd be missing out if I did not get a second one for a 7.2 set up. I've used a decibel meter to balance all the speakers but it's only once in a great while that I hear anything singular from any of the surrounds. It's like 80% of the time everything's coming from the center channel with maybe some background music from the left/right and surrounds. Then maybe 18% of the time all the speakers loud during some action seen and then maybe 2% of the time I can hear a sound coming from behind or the sides. Did I set it up incorrectly somehow? Is my room too small? I'm about 9-12ft from all the speakers. For me the 6th speaker did not seem to add much and I can't see what 7 or 9 or 11 would really get you. ???
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post #22 of 30 Old 06-17-2010, 01:36 AM
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Personally I think the more important thing is whats after the "." not before so 7.5 is the way to go.

Depending on size of room of course - if you're having multiple side surrounds they you need special calibration to get it all sounding correct (way beyond my scope of ability and most "consumer" equipment)

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post #23 of 30 Old 06-18-2010, 08:09 PM
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I'm in the beginning phase right now. Room is 16longx14wide with 7foot ceilings. I'll be sitting 14feet from the screen. I have another 7-8feet behind the listening position but that space is another room since i'm not closing in the back of the room. I'm doing in wall speakers for the front center and surrounds, and for the rear surrounds i can only do in ceilings. Would it work or am i pi$$ing in the wind?

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post #24 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 03:20 AM
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Elill -- x.y indicates the number of discrete channels, and need not reflect the number of speakers deployed in a room. I would question the need for multiple LFE channels but do not question the need for multiple subs in a room.

Quote:
Interesting, Dennis. In the case of multiple rows of seating (assuming you're rear row is not too close to the rear wall), how do you structure the rears to provide adequate fill for the front row, but not overwhelm the rear row? Do you advocate adjusting the level to be appropriate for the front or rear row, and do you feel di/bi pole rears work better to diffuse the sound and/or get the rear seating into more of a null so that the rears are less distracting?

Small rooms are problematic with such issues. Even multiple rows of seating and the LCR's. You can easily find a 6dB difference between the first and second rows (LCR) of many smaller rooms. Once you increase the distance between the speakers and the first/second row, this delta decreases; but, once you increase the distance high frequency roll off (in air) can be very significant...then to solve that issue you have to use either compression drivers or horns (which can be very bright if you're too close to them). Not easy. The key to the surrounds (poster's question) is to NOT use direct radiators when seats are close to the speakers (localization and "hot spot" issues) and, to raise the surrounds higher on the walls. Placing them higher on the walls (and aiming into the seating location) decreases the distance delta between the speakers and each row and hence SPL differences.

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
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post #25 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 03:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Elill -- x.y indicates the number of discrete channels, and need not reflect the number of speakers deployed in a room. I would question the need for multiple LFE channels but do not question the need for multiple subs in a room.

Thanks for clarrifying that, its a rather important distiction

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Raise the surrounds higher on the walls. Placing them higher on the walls (and aiming into the seating location) decreases the distance delta between the speakers and each row and hence SPL differences.

So ordinarily you'd have the surrounds at a similar height to the tweeters on your l/c/r?

But in a small room, heigher is better as it creates more distance?

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(and aiming into the seating location)

If you had say 7-8' ceilings, and you could place your rears straddeling the wall - ceiling join, like you would a bass trap - 45 degrees (aimed right at the listener), that'd be better than placed heigh up on the wall, flat?

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post #26 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 03:48 AM
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But in a small room, heigher is better as it creates more distance?

No, it creates less of a difference in distance between the back and front rows.

Quote:


If you had say 7-8' ceilings, and you could place your rears straddeling the wall - ceiling join, like you would a bass trap - 45 degrees (aimed right at the listener), that'd be better than placed heigh up on the wall, flat?

That, or, I'd suggest dipoles mounted in the soffit aimed face down to the floor (flame suit is on). Understand, with movies (music has NO standards for what they are doing with the "effects" channels) your enemy is localization with respect to the "effects" channels. Note, I used the term "effects channels" three times now while stamping my foot on the floor ... an indication that question will be on the test.

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post #27 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

No, it creates less of a difference in distance between the back and front rows.


That, or, I'd suggest dipoles mounted in the soffit aimed face down to the floor (flame suit is on). Understand, with movies (music has NO standards for what they are doing with the "effects" channels) your enemy is localization with respect to the "effects" channels. Note, I used the term "effects channels" three times now while stamping my foot on the floor ... an indication that question will be on the test.

Agreed - I am normally a direct radiating kinda guy (as opposed to dipole/bipole) but when space is limited, dipoles/bipoles can give you that immersion effect (no localization) in fairly cramped quarters.

As far as testing material, Dennis, can you bold it, italacize it, and put a little star next to it? That way, you make sure we are paying attention!

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post #28 of 30 Old 06-19-2010, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post


Small rooms are problematic with such issues. Even multiple rows of seating and the LCR's. You can easily find a 6dB difference between the first and second rows (LCR) of many smaller rooms. Once you increase the distance between the speakers and the first/second row, this delta decreases; but, once you increase the distance high frequency roll off (in air) can be very significant...then to solve that issue you have to use either compression drivers or horns (which can be very bright if you're too close to them). Not easy. The key to the surrounds (poster's question) is to NOT use direct radiators when seats are close to the speakers (localization and "hot spot" issues) and, to raise the surrounds higher on the walls. Placing them higher on the walls (and aiming into the seating location) decreases the distance delta between the speakers and each row and hence SPL differences.

That makes a lot of sense Dennis. Thank you for explaining that so clearly.

Best,
C.
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post #29 of 30 Old 06-21-2010, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

That, or, I'd suggest dipoles mounted in the soffit aimed face down to the floor (flame suit is on). Understand, with movies (music has NO standards for what they are doing with the "effects" channels) your enemy is localization with respect to the "effects" channels. Note, I used the term "effects channels" three times now while stamping my foot on the floor ... an indication that question will be on the test.

Thanks Dennis......I think I'll just build our room to a "pre-finished" state and experiment where I like everything (then make it look pretty)....this is doing my head in.

P.S. I thought you hated dipoles

Peter the Greek


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post #30 of 30 Old 06-21-2010, 05:11 AM
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P.S. I thought you hated dipoles

I don't like clutches either; but, they certainly are great to have in, say, a Ferrari 330GTS. (Or the 330GT pictured).
LL

Dennis Erskine CFI, CFII, MEI
Architectural Acoustics
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Certified Home Theater Designer
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