Originally Posted by legierk
I'm old school and have never heard the Hieghts nor Wides, but leaving behind my trusty (dipole) SBs is gonna be a tough call to make.
I mean, you are "old school" but you are lamenting Surround Backs??
7.1 isn't exactly "old school"!! A lot of people still think 7.1 (versus regular 5.1) is just a gimmick!
The idea is pretty simple and it makes total common sense to me -- your ears point forward. Why would you want more speakers BEHIND your head than in front?
So what I'm getting out of all this is that Dolby/Audyssey/THX or whomever is saying that Surround back speakers are now obsolete.
not obsolete, just not as important as having extra speakers up front FIRST. I think, ideally, you would want ALL eleven speakers -- 7 speakers up front, four surrounds.
6.1/7.1 made a lot of sense at first -- close that gap behind your head with more speakers, so you get a seamless surround wraparound. But Audyssey (which BTW is co-founded by Tom Holman, the "TH" in THX) has done years of research on his topic, and the problem with standard 7.1 is there is still a hole between the Front L/R and the side surrounds. The soundstage doesn't wrap around you -- it starts in front of you, and then disconnects and wraps around behind you.
What they found in their research is that adding the WIDES is the most important thing you can do. I think the affect of the "height" speakers is more arguable vs standard 7.1 -- Joe really likes it but if you read various reviews of PLIIz you find that it's sort of mixed, some people think it adds something and others are like, "I can't even tell it's on". ... which, BTW is the same thing a lot of people say about 7.1 vs 5.1!!
Compare that to the few reviews of "Wide" setups, which are all overwhelmingly positive. Again, this makes total common sense -- why not have a "wider" front soundstage, which wraps around you and takes you more seamlessly to those surrounds?