My new Integra DHC 80.1 SSP has 9.2 capability with height or width channels added to 5.1 or 7.1 for a max of 9 speakers. At this point, only the new Denon AVR 4810ci supports 11 channel audio (7.1 plus heights and or widths). The Integra supports both Height channel formats, Dolby Height and Audyssey DSX.
I am finding much to like about the Height Channels. I am using the JTR Slanted 8's that were performing Surround Back duty in my system as the Height speakers. The 30⁰ degree front baffle makes them the perfect angle for my 9' ceiling mount and I have them aimed just outside of the main listening position. Also, the coaxial driver of the S8 seems to perfectly cover the frequency range for the extracted height channel data.
After installing the Heights last week, I immediately noticed a much taller and wider front sound stage. It literally creates a wall of sound reminiscent of the best theaters (including IMAX). I have had a chance to test this with both new and familiar movie audio as well as M/C music and it is working equally well with both formats. Some other early adopters (
) have indicated liking the Heights for HT but not so much for music. I have found the Height speakers improve the sound of both music and movies and am currently running one or the other height channel format for all my multi channel sources.
I have experimented with Dolby height and Audyssey DSX processing and found any difference between the formats is minor. I currently am using Dolby height for all Dolby M/C audio sources and Audyssey DSX for DTS source material. Again, I have not had a height format preference at this point and I am enjoying them equally.
Audyssey says that the wide speakers add more to the surround experience than the Heights but I do not have the space for width speakers in my room. Also, my Integra DHC 80.1 will not allow for both heights and width to be used at the same time so unfortunately for me, Heights are the only choice.
For me the Height Channel speakers are not a gimmick and have added as much to SQ as any upgrade I have done including room treatments. Now, my dilemma is should I buy another pair of S8's for surround back duty? One thing is certain, the Height speakers are staying.