PLIIz Height Speaker Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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So after spending a considerable amount of time working with the new sound format I can honestly say I am very surprised. I went in not expecting to be floored but after 5 minutes I was sold! The very first material I tried was the past Superbowl when Harrison gets the pick and runs it all the way back. Within seconds I was smiling. As the play starts the crowd seemed more in the regular Fronts (though lightly in the Heights) but as he picks it off and they go crazy they are in the Heights screaming. It really does add to the effect that you feel like you are there. I did it a few times and had a few come down and listen to. I even made my neighbor come over. Everyone's jaw hit the floor. I then decided to try some movie material. Keep in mind all of this so far has been just with DirecTV. First was Forrest Gump. The rain scenes were awesome. As were the helicopter pans. I think 3D sound does describe it pretty well. Whatever we end up calling it I don't care. I plan to use it whenever I am in the theater. I then watched a few other movies. Depending on the scene the Heights were either dead quiet or roaring. They do have the effect of drawing you in. Especially if you are falling asleep. I am using an Onkyo 607 but can't wait for Onkyo's higher end to get here! I will post my take on the 607 in the owner's thread. I just wanted to post my experiences with the PLIIz Height format.

So of course with Blu ray I was even more impressed with how well the Heights responded. Keep in mind again not every single scene will have Height sound. The ones that will are the ones that will "draw" you in. When it happens you will know. A lot of "action" movies are really going to benefit. I know there have been a couple online "reviews" saying they didn't hear a difference or heard nothing from the Height speakers. I can only say what I have experienced. If they put a movie in and didn't hear anything in 5 minutes then that is their loss. After spending a good 12 hours of "play" time I am more than convinced.

This new format is here to stay and truly is as impressive (or even more than) as Surround Backs. Studies have shown more people respond to Front Sound and now I am one of those people. Until you have had a chance to listen to them set up correctly in a good environment words will not explain the positive effect PLIIz Heights have. Listening is believing.

Pics show the new "height" speakers above the Front Left and Right.
LL
LL
LL

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post #2 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

So after spending a considerable amount of time working with the new sound format I can honestly say I am very surprised. I went in not expecting to be floored but after 5 minutes I was sold! The very first material I tried was the past Superbowl when Harrison gets the pick and runs it all the way back. Within seconds I was smiling. As the play starts the crowd seemed more in the regular Fronts (though lightly in the Heights) but as he picks it off and they go crazy they are in the Heights screaming. It really does add to the effect that you feel like you are there. I did it a few times and had a few come down and listen to. I even made my neighbor come over. Everyone's jaw hit the floor. I then decided to try some movie material. Keep in mind all of this so far has been just with DirecTV. First was Forrest Gump. The rain scenes were awesome. As were the helicopter pans. I think 3D sound does describe it pretty well. Whatever we end up calling it I don't care. I plan to use it whenever I am in the theater. I then watched a few other movies. Depending on the scene the Heights were either dead quiet or roaring. They do have the effect of drawing you in. Especially if you are falling asleep. I am using an Onkyo 607 but can't wait for Onkyo's higher end to get here! I will post my take on the 607 in the owner's thread. I just wanted to post my experiences with the PLIIz Height format.

So of course with Blu ray I was even more impressed with how well the Heights responded. Keep in mind again not every single scene will have Height sound. The ones that will are the ones that will "draw" you in. When it happens you will know. A lot of "action" movies are really going to benefit. I know there have been a couple online "reviews" saying they didn't hear a difference or heard nothing from the Height speakers. I can only say what I have experienced. If they put a movie in and didn't hear anything in 5 minutes then that is their loss. After spending a good 12 hours of "play" time I am more than convinced.

This new format is here to stay and truly is as impressive (or even more than) as Surround Backs. Studies have shown more people respond to Front Sound and now I am one of those people. Until you have had a chance to listen to them set up correctly in a good environment words will not explain the positive effect PLIIz Heights have. Listening is believing.

Pics show the new "height" speakers above the Front Left and Right.

Joerod,

Thanks for doing what a 607 owner should have done a month ago! I am very curious about this new channel mapping as I have effectivelly a high and low in one room now that I am currently bi-amping with my 906.

Any anecdotal commentary on its impact on lossless codecs? better/worse than dd 5.1?
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post #3 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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Is the white panel an in-wall speaker? If so aren't they a little bit on the low side for your main speakers? With your mains being low you have a lot more separation between your mains and the height speakers. I wonder if other people with mains that are centered at listening height will notice as much of a difference, especially in an 8" room?
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post #4 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 02:56 PM
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An excellant source material for the Dolby Pro IIz is the new release Blu-ray of Woodstock (40th anniversary)..
Certain musical tracks greatly expand the sound stage prospective when Dolby Pro IIz is switched on especially for the ambience of the audience..

Just my $0.025...
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post #5 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mjg100 View Post

Is the white panel an in-wall speaker? If so aren't they a little bit on the low side for your main speakers? With your mains being low you have a lot more separation between your mains and the height speakers. I wonder if other people with mains that are centered at listening height will notice as much of a difference, especially in an 8" room?

They actually match my Center Speaker perfectly. Plus they are Dual 4 ways (Pinnacle Super K555s). I have always had excellent sound. Not sure about the differences in other rooms. I just know for my theater the Heights are having a very positive impact.

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post #6 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Code View Post

An excellant source material for the Dolby Pro IIz is the new release Blu-ray of Woodstock (40th anniversary)..
Certain musical tracks greatly expand the sound stage prospective when Dolby Pro IIz is switched on especially for the ambience of the audience..

Just my $0.025...

Thanks, I am on it.

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post #7 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by winston9332 View Post

Joerod,

Thanks for doing what a 607 owner should have done a month ago! I am very curious about this new channel mapping as I have effectivelly a high and low in one room now that I am currently bi-amping with my 906.

Any anecdotal commentary on its impact on lossless codecs? better/worse than dd 5.1?

I figured we should have a new thread now that it is officially here. I would say that this is better (your second question). I will post more on that later.

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post #8 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 03:38 PM
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Thanks for the review, joerod !
There's been a lot of interest in DPro IIz lately..
I trust your reviews, so much appreciated!

"you're just jealous 'cause the voices only talk to me"

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post #9 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 03:57 PM
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I just know for my theater the Heights are having a very positive impact.

You have to admit the difference is that obvious to you simply because your mains are so low. I find it hard to believe that an LCR array, 44" off the ground (typical floorstander), angled upwards a little, could benefit that much. I'll reserve judgement until proven otherwise.
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post #10 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CHP_VR View Post

Thanks for the review, joerod !
There's been a lot of interest in DPro IIz lately..
I trust your reviews, so much appreciated!

Thanks.

Once it gets more exposure I am sure it will get a lot more interest. Tonite we are watching the new Friday the 13th and I can't wait to see my guest's faces.

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post #11 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 04:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bing View Post

You have to admit the difference is that obvious to you simply because your mains are so low. I find it hard to believe that an LCR array, 44" off the ground (typical floorstander), angled upwards a little, could benefit that much. I'll reserve judgement until proven otherwise.

Again, I have always had excellent Main sound. The Fronts are not that far off from the "ideal" spot for front row. I did most of my testing of PLIIz in the front row. These are pretty high end Fronts (Super K 555s). Don't knock it until you try it.

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Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Thanks.

Once it gets more exposure I am sure it will get a lot more interest. Tonite we are watching the new Friday the 13th and I can't wait to see my guest's faces.

Find something with lot's of carnivorous flying bugs landing on helpless screaming victims

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post #13 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Find something with lot's of carnivorous flying bugs landing on helpless screaming victims

King Kong?

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I just want to add this since I have received a few PMs/emails already.

The good news here is the fact that I am hearing what you are supposed to in the designated Height Speakers. I will admit this may not be for every living room. It is the dedicated Media Room/Theaters that should benefit the most. Not saying you can't make it happen in a living room. Anyway, I just wanted to throw it out there that if you have the space then the PLIIz Height speakers work. And if you are able you really need to try it.

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So after spending a considerable amount of time working with the new sound format I can honestly say I am very surprised. I went in not expecting to be floored but after 5 minutes I was sold! . . .

Sorry if I'm being redundant here, but I was hoping you could address the performance of the 607's front height speaker performance in the context of DTS-HDMA 7.1 BD playback. Specifically: Did you have the opportunity to test the 607's DTS-HDMA decoder with a bitstreamed 7.1 BD, and the 607 set up for a 7.1 Front Height speaker configuration? Did the decoder actually perform a full 7.1 channel decompression, followed by a remap into 7.1 Front Height speaker configuration, or was the BD's (included) 5.1 Standard 'downmix' used instead? [Note: The latter case should permit DPLIIz upmix to 7.1, the former should not (assuming I understood the manual correctly!)]

[I realize that such testing may not have been feasible if you were using in-player DTS-HDMA decoding...]

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post #16 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Again, I have always had excellent Main sound. The Fronts are not that far off from the "ideal" spot for front row. I did most of my testing of PLIIz in the front row. These are pretty high end Fronts (Super K 555s). Don't knock it until you try it.

I'd say your fronts are WAY off from the ideal spot.. in fact probably the worst place they could be practically on the floor.

Raise fronts to ear level (where they are supposed to be) then report back on IIz
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post #17 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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I'd say your fronts are WAY off from the ideal spot.. in fact probably the worst place they could be practically on the floor.

Raise fronts to ear level (where they are supposed to be) then report back on IIz

If they were waaaaay off then I can live with it. The sound is that good. Again, I have always had excellent sound. They are perfectly even with the center and they are not cheap speakers. And again, the Height Speakers are putting out exactly what they need to. That is all that matters.

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Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

Sorry if I'm being redundant here, but I was hoping you could address the performance of the 607's front height speaker performance in the context of DTS-HDMA 7.1 BD playback. Specifically: Did you have the opportunity to test the 607's DTS-HDMA decoder with a bitstreamed 7.1 BD, and the 607 set up for a 7.1 Front Height speaker configuration? Did the decoder actually perform a full 7.1 channel decompression, followed by a remap into 7.1 Front Height speaker configuration, or was the BD's (included) 5.1 Standard 'downmix' used instead? [Note: The latter case should permit DPLIIz upmix to 7.1, the former should not (assuming I understood the manual correctly!)]

[I realize that such testing may not have been feasible if you were using in-player DTS-HDMA decoding...]

So far I still can't get the 7.1 soundtracks to turn into 9.1. I would say that is only a limitation on the 607 at this point. I am willing to bet that the next level receivers from Onkyo will be able to that. I don't suggest using the Height for 7.1 soundtracks at this time or at least with the 607. I do with any 5.1 movies though. I really like it with DirecTV so far.

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I think it is pretty funny how so many can be negative without ever hearing PLIIz Height. Let's wait until a few others here get a chance to try it out. People hate change. Reminds me of when we started to Bitstream a couple years ago. Give this sound format a chance and you will be surprised. Seriously...

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post #20 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Just finished Friday The 13th 2009 Killer Cut! The sound was pretty much normal most of the movie. Then the last scene had a huge rainfall and the Heights went into full effect. It was really dramatic and that put you right into the action. For the most part they (Heights) were on the quiet side. Just a few times they were "alive" but when they were needed the most (the final chase) they shined. Overall I am sill very happy with this new sound format and really can't wait to try it out with a highend receiver/pre-pro.

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post #21 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 07:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

So far I still can't get the 7.1 soundtracks to turn into 9.1. I would say that is only a limitation on the 607 at this point. I am willing to bet that the next level receivers from Onkyo will be able to that. I don't suggest using the Height for 7.1 soundtracks at this time or at least with the 607. I do with any 5.1 movies though. I really like it with DirecTV so far.

No. If the DTS-HDMA decoder works correctly, the 7.1 BD soundtrack should [decompress plus] remap from 7.1_Standard speaker config to 7.1_Front-Height speaker config [NO DPLIIz involvement required]. However, (1) its not clear from the 607 User Manual whether or not the 607's [on-board] DTS-HDMA decoder can work that way [otherwise the best you can get is a DTS-HDMA 5.1 decode + DPLIIz upmix to 7.1 (front height)], and (2) it's also not clear from the 607 User Manual whether or not the 607 can include the Lvh/Rvh speaker pair in the EDID for an external decoder [otherwise the best you can get from the external decoder is a DTS-HDMA 5.1 decode, and the receiver should be able to use DPLIIz to upmax to 7.1 (front height)].

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post #22 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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tell your ps3 to output everything as 5.1, then the receiver will matrix the height in.

p.s. my new denon 1910 has IIz once i get all of my new equipment in (1-2 weeks) ill post my impressions. Also the fronts are at ear level thus the height speakers will be only about 4 feet above.
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post #23 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 08:23 PM
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I think it is pretty funny how so many can be negative without ever hearing PLIIz Height.

How is asking intelligent questions funny? Your use of PLIIz seems to be a bandaid solution to non-ideal placement.

What's next? A ceiling speaker to totally complete an overhead fly-by? Then after that we'll do an in-floor speaker so snakes are creepier.

I'd rather have fewer nice speakers than more mediocre ones on a fixed budget.
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post #24 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

No. If the DTS-HDMA decoder works correctly, the 7.1 BD soundtrack should [decompress plus] remap from 7.1_Standard speaker config to 7.1_Front-Height speaker config [NO DPLIIz involvement required]. However, (1) its not clear from the 607 User Manual whether or not the 607's [on-board] DTS-HDMA decoder can work that way [otherwise the best you can get is a DTS-HDMA 5.1 decode + DPLIIz upmix to 7.1 (front height)], and (2) it's also not clear from the 607 User Manual whether or not the 607 can include the Lvh/Rvh speaker pair in the EDID for an external decoder [otherwise the best you can get from the external decoder is a DTS-HDMA 5.1 decode, and the receiver should be able to use DPLIIz to upmax to 7.1 (front height)].

In theory Yes but I think with the 607 it is a No.

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post #25 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 09:35 PM - Thread Starter
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tell your ps3 to output everything as 5.1, then the receiver will matrix the height in.

p.s. my new denon 1910 has IIz once i get all of my new equipment in (1-2 weeks) ill post my impressions. Also the fronts are at ear level thus the height speakers will be only about 4 feet above.

Can't wait.

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Originally Posted by Bing View Post

How is asking intelligent questions funny? Your use of PLIIz seems to be a bandaid solution to non-ideal placement.

What's next? A ceiling speaker to totally complete an overhead fly-by? Then after that we'll do an in-floor speaker so snakes are creepier.

I'd rather have fewer nice speakers than more mediocre ones on a fixed budget.

That's your choice. After tonite's awesome rain scene moments I am convinced and in the end I am all that matters.

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post #27 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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[quote=Bing;16673291

I'd rather have fewer nice speakers than more mediocre ones on a fixed budget.[/QUOTE]

Fixed budget? My theater room is worth 80K to 100K. My Super K 555s are $700 each (using 4) msrp, Center is 900, Surround backs are 1100 a pair. The BD500s (the ones I am using for Heights) are 525.00 a pair. I would say my theater is anything but a fixed budget. Especially since my Sony VW200 projector has a msrp of 15K, my 09FD Pioneer Blu ray unit is 2200, Panamax Power Center is 2000, using six subwoofers including the Ultra Sonic with a msrp of 2000 and I am using a Carada Masquerade Masking System with a 120.5" SilverStar screen. Fixed budget?

Oh and next week I am adding the new Denon Blu ray unit...

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post #28 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by joerod View Post

In theory Yes but I think with the 607 it is a No.

Thanks for taking the time to do the analysis and insights...

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post #29 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 10:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SoundChex View Post

Thanks for taking the time to do the analysis and insights...

Thanks, I appreciate your nice post instead of the "witch hunt" types.

For my latest Reviews and Stuff google -> Joe Rod Home Theater .Com
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post #30 of 172 Old 06-17-2009, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Fixed budget? My theater room is worth 80K to 100K.

You should have spent a few grand of that sum on construction/renovation for better left channel & right channel speaker placement. The screen & center channel speaker in the alcove, quite frankly, sucks.

AJ
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