Originally Posted by MIkeDuke
I know it's like the first day of school and I am sure I can find diagrams, but let me see if I understand.
Let's start with the basic setup.
a) 5.1 setup: We all know what that is
b) Then we have the 7.1 setup. That's a 5.1 setup with front heights.
Sorry, but no, not if you mean the 7.1 speaker configuration used by movie soundtracks.
The two channels added when going from a 5.1 channel soundtrack to a 7.1 channel soundtrack on Blu-ray are called Rear Surrounds. When you add those two speakers to a 5.1 speaker configuration, the Surround speakers are moved somewhat forward (and as a result often are called Side Surrounds) and two Rear Surround speakers are added behind you. (See the attached image.)
Before the advent of Atmos, all uses of Front and Rear Height speakers were artificial. The sounds going to them were generated by various "upmixers" in the receivers (or pre/pros). They were not designed into the movie soundtracks.. Sounds located in Rear Surround channels, however, were provided in the 7.1 channel soundtracks on the discs. (DTS and Dolby encodings also provided 6.1 soundtracks on a small number of DVDs, with the 6th channel corresponding to a center Rear Surround speaker.) With the advent of Atmos, Front and Rear Heights are formally supported as overhead speakers.
c) Then we can have a 9.1 setup, like Craig has that has the front heights and wides, I think.
Some people use 7.1 or 9.1 simply to indicate that they have 7 or 9 speakers. Unfortunately, if they don't say which speakers they actually have, there's no way to know for sure.
d) Then we start with the Atmos setups.
So the minimum Atmos would be 5.1.2.
Actually, the minimum for Atmos is 2.0.2.
That would equal a 5 channel system with 2 speakers above. But there is also 5.1.4. That is a 5 channel system with 4 speakers above. Are you saying you can't have a 7.1.2 setup or 7.1.4 setup as well?
Yes, you can have 7.1.2 or 7.1.4 if your equipment supports it. For example, I have a 7.1.4 speaker system: 7 speakers are at ear level and 4 are overhead (see my sig below).
My 7 ear-level speakers are in the "traditional" layout (Front LCR + Side Surrounds + Rear Surrounds). Some people have Front Wides instead of Rear Surrounds.
Annoyingly, support for Front Wide speakers was eliminated in all of the major 2016 equipment models. (i.e. support was dropped by Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Integra and Pioneer. Yamaha has never supported them. I don't think Sony has, either.)
I mean you can obviously have more if you add an external DSP. Matt (Brolic Beast) I think has 17 speakers (including Atmos), not counting subs. Atmos has to be more than just 5.1.4 right?
The Atmos standard supports from 2.0.2 to as many as 24.1.10 (The .1. is a quirk of Dolby's definition of that digit: only 1 LFE track is provided on a disc. You can connect as many subs as you want.)
In contrast, DTS requires at least 5 speakers at ear level.
The "affordable" preamps may be limited to just that but I have seen Atmos and Auro3D systems greater
The Atmos specifications allow for up to 24 speakers at ear level and 10 speakers overhead for a total of 34 active channels.
Affordable equipment models are limited to a maximum of 11 active channels, of which a maximum of 4 can be overhead. Companies like Trinnov sell pre/pros which currently are limited to a maximum of 32 active channels, although I believe that they're coming out with a 48 channel version later this year. They start at about $15K for 8 channels, I think.
My preamp has enough for 11 speakers but I think only 9 can be played at once.
You're misremembering: like my SR7009, your AV7702MkII can calibrate up to 13 channels of which 11 can be simultaneously active.
Could that equal a 7.1 system, with front heights, or wides and 4 Atmos speakers?
Not exactly, sorry: Front Heights are included as one of the two pairs of overhead speakers supported by D&M equipment.
Front Wides, however, are ear-level, so they are in addition to the 4 overheads.
This is all theory for me right now but it's good to learn what is possible. Man I wish I had a bigger room
. Even the up firing speakers would be a pain because I would need to power them and I really don't have a spot for another amp. The only way to do it would be to get new amps and I don't see that happening. But thanks for the explanation. It will come in handy at some point
Having overheads can make a big difference in the sound. If you can't squeeze in the necessary amps, though, that's obviously a limitation.