Front Height vs Rear Surround - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 85 Old 01-02-2010, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Which layout are you using and why??

I am getting a Denon AVR-790 and have the option to go either way. I had Rear surrounds setup before in the previous house and liked them. Have not really heared a front setup yet.
I know this a matter of personal taste as some will pick one layout vs the other. Just curious to see which layout is more widely used here.

Thanks,
JC
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post #2 of 85 Old 01-02-2010, 01:14 PM
 
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If you sit in a sofa you want your front speakers to be the same height when sitting.
I have mine set at 32" off the floot via stands and the tweeter is at ear level. as for surrounds got them set up a littler taller 36" off the floor.

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post #3 of 85 Old 01-02-2010, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by likeanimal28 View Post

Which layout are you using and why??


I have my surrounds set at ear level while standing (and angled down slightly) because I read somewhere that's where they are supposed to be. The Dolby site say just above ear level but I think they mean sitting ear level.
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post #4 of 85 Old 01-02-2010, 01:24 PM
 
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If i remember,one of the episode of dolby podcast show they say surrounds should be higher so you cant pin point the sound that's coming from.
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post #5 of 85 Old 01-02-2010, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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So far 2 votes for Fronts...Any Rear surround guys.
Pro's / Con's.

JC
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post #6 of 85 Old 01-02-2010, 03:11 PM
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I have rear surrounds. But I have no experience with front heights.

I would like to have both at some point in the future.

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post #7 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 12:03 PM
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I am not 100% sure I understand your question but I have my fronts set so that their tweeters are close to ear level. I am using dipole surrounds from Monitor Audio and are on my side wall, slightly behind me and I would say at about 6 feet from the floor (given that I have nine foot ceiling). I know these di-pole speakers are not ideal when listening to music concerts but for a room filling experience while watching movies, this is actually quite good. Ideally, if if I could, and I could but am a bit too lazy to do, I would have another set of surround speakers straight behind the listening area (a few feet away) and I would interchange my surround selection based on wether I was listening to music or movies. I have included a paragraph I have found on a web site:

For movie surround, the front speakers should be placed at the edges of the screen, toed in to face the central listening location, and the tweeters should be ear height. The center speaker should be placed behind the screen (when using projection) or over or under a tv, and as close to ear high as possible. Rear channel speakers should be placed high on side walls, slightly behind the listening position, and should have a di-pole construction.

Hope this helps..
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post #8 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by likeanimal28 View Post

So far 2 votes for Fronts...Any Rear surround guys.
Pro's / Con's.

JC

Two votes for what?

What is your question exactly? People are responding as if you are asking how high your front speakers should be.

I think that you are actually asking about using rear surrounds (as in discrete 7.1 channels or using DPL IIX) vs front height channels as in DPL IIZ or Audyssey DSX.

So which is it? And while you're at it, why don't you post an actual poll like others who ask such questions do?
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post #9 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluesky636 View Post

Two votes for what?

What is your question exactly? People are responding as if you are asking how high your front speakers should be.

I think that you are actually asking about using rear surrounds (as in discrete 7.1 channels or using DPL IIX) vs front height channels as in DPL IIZ or Audyssey DSX.

So which is it? And while you're at it, why don't you post an actual poll like others who ask such questions do?

That is how I take it as well.

I don't run that setup, but regular fronts set at tweeter ear level, and surrounds set at ~7' from the floor angled downward, with tweeters not directly at the head to avoid the sound being so easy to pinpoint. From how I understand it, the surrounds are to be more of a filler sound and you don't want them directional.
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post #10 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likeanimal28 View Post

Which layout are you using and why??

I am getting a Denon AVR-790 and have the option to go either way. I had Rear surrounds setup before in the previous house I liked them. Have not really heared a front setup yet.
I know this a matter of personal taste as some will pick one layout vs the other. Just curious to see which layout is more widely used here.

Thanks,
JC

Your room layout should dictate this decision. Do you have enough room behind your sitting position for rear speakers? It is ideal not to place rear speakers closer than 3 feet and that is the bare minimum. If I were you, I would go with rear speakers if I had 5-6 feet to spare behind my seating area since all 7.1 blu-ray are mixed for rear speakers and not for the front.

If you don't have enough space behind the seating area, then you know what to do.
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post #11 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likeanimal28 View Post

I know this a matter of personal taste as some will pick one layout vs the other. Just curious to see which layout is more widely used here.

Rear speakers are more widely used because consumer pre-pros with outputs for 4 surrounds were introduced over 23 years ago. By comparison, receivers with outputs for height speakers just came out in the last year.

Each layout has advantages. Height speakers should be more noticeable, since our human hearing is better up front. But rear speakers already have content designed for that layout, both in commercial theatres (Surround EX) and home video (EX/ES, discrete 6.1/7.1).

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post #12 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 09:31 PM
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How about one rear surround ala 6.1 and one front height speaker?

(I'm sort of serious. I suspect that there aren't any AVRs that allow this configuration.)

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post #13 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 09:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likeanimal28 View Post

Which layout are you using and why??

I am getting a Denon AVR-790 and have the option to go either way. I had Rear surrounds setup before in the previous house I liked them. Have not really heared a front setup yet.
I know this a matter of personal taste as some will pick one layout vs the other. Just curious to see which layout is more widely used here.

Thanks,
JC

To answer your question. I made the move to Front Height and front Wide channels. I now have an 11.2 system. Since listening to the Height and Wide channel sound, I can say with 100% certainty that I would give up my Rear surrounds (*) for either the Front High or Wides any day.

* - Rear Surrounds or Back Surrounds, not the Standard Surrounds.

I have the Onkyo 5007 and can run the rear surrounds and either the front wide or High. I can not run the front wides and heights at the same time. I would be surprised if the Dennon can do that. If you can, then give up the Rear Surrounds for the new Wide/High channels. If you can't then your real decision is to go for the Wide or Height channels, or both. If you can only do one set now, go with the Heights. I think they add more movie theater sound than the wides.

Regards,
Adamg
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post #14 of 85 Old 01-03-2010, 10:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sivadselim View Post

How about one rear surround ala 6.1 and one front height speaker?

(I'm sort of serious. I suspect that there aren't any AVRs that allow this configuration.)

[If you can trust the marketing hype from the DTS web site:] At least in theory, the DTS-HDMA 'system' allows both authoring and playback of BDs using the 7.1 Center Height speaker/channel layout -- with "transparent" remapping to/from all the other DTS-HDMA 7.1 speaker layouts. But I have not heard of any AVRs that support such a playback layout (which annoys me, 'cos I upgraded one AVR to 7.1, but kept the existing 6.1 speaker layout, and I have a fourth speaker that matches the L-C-R trio and which I would have liked to use as a Center Height!)

Aside: Perhaps it's worth noting that SMPTE 429M - which 'codified' both the Left/Right Vertical Height speaker pair and the Center Height speaker - seems to have contemplated use of either the Left/Right Vertical Height speaker pair or the Center Height speaker, but maybe not both simultaneously. However, the 'newer' speaker configuration codified in SMPTE 2036 includes Top Front Left, Right, and Center speakers, and all three are intended to be used together. [We'll have to wait for a few more years to see if there is a valid mixdown configuration that includes the Top Front Center speaker, but omits the Top Front Left/Right speaker pair. ]

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post #15 of 85 Old 01-08-2010, 08:43 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great replys. Sorry to those who did not understand my original question.

If I go with Rears they would probably be mounted on the vaulted ceiling part of the roof which is slanted and this would probably put the speakers about 6 feet from my head when seated. My regular surrounds will go on eitherside of my seats...The surrounds and rear surrounds would probably be around 10 from each other....

Once again thanks for all the feedback.
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post #16 of 85 Old 01-08-2010, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adamg (Ret-Navy) View Post

To answer your question. I made the move to Front Height and front Wide channels. I now have an 11.2 system. Since listening to the Height and Wide channel sound, I can say with 100% certainty that I would give up my Rear surrounds (*) for either the Front High or Wides any day.

* - Rear Surrounds or Back Surrounds, not the Standard Surrounds.

I have the Onkyo 5007 and can run the rear surrounds and either the front wide or High. I can not run the front wides and heights at the same time. I would be surprised if the Dennon can do that. If you can, then give up the Rear Surrounds for the new Wide/High channels. If you can't then your real decision is to go for the Wide or Height channels, or both. If you can only do one set now, go with the Heights. I think they add more movie theater sound than the wides.

How big is your room? Are you running Audyssey DSX?

Is there a noticable difference in the envelopment?
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post #17 of 85 Old 01-09-2010, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by hd_newbie View Post

How big is your room? Are you running Audyssey DSX?

Is there a noticeable difference in the envelopment?

My viewing area is pretty big (18ft wide by 26ft long)

Yes, I run Audyssey MultiEQ setup and I have a SubEQ-1 unit from SVS that manages the Subwoffer EQing. I use DSX processing for the Height channels.

The difference in envelopment is quite substantial. It took everything to a new level. The Audyssey site says that the Wide channels add the most improvement, but I tend to disagree with that. After hundreds and hundreds of hours testing all the different speaker configurations and Sound processing options. I personally feel the Height Channels offer the greater feeling of sound envelopment. I now rarely engage my wides channels at the cost of the heights. Of course it could be the acoustic properties of my room and speaker positions that cause this result.

Here is a picture of my room set up. Photos are also attached for larger view.

This photo shows how I have the front Wide and High speakers placed.



This photo shows the seating positions, the Surround Speaker placements (to the left and right of the two recliners) and where the Rear Surrounds are (far back wall on top left and right of Credenza Stands) I use the rocket fish wireless unit for the Rears.


LL
LL

Regards,
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post #18 of 85 Old 01-11-2010, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Adamg (Ret-Navy) View Post

My viewing area is pretty big (18ft wide by 26ft long)

Yes, I run Audyssey MultiEQ setup and I have a SubEQ-1 unit from SVS that manages the Subwoffer EQing. I use DSX processing for the Height channels.

The difference in envelopment is quite substantial. It took everything to a new level. The Audyssey site says that the Wide channels add the most improvement, but I tend to disagree with that. After hundreds and hundreds of hours testing all the different speaker configurations and Sound processing options. I personally feel the Height Channels offer the greater feeling of sound envelopment. I now rarely engage my wides channels at the cost of the heights. Of course it could be the acoustic properties of my room and speaker positions that cause this result.

Here is a picture of my room set up. Photos are also attached for larger view.

This photo shows how I have the front Wide and High speakers placed.



This photo shows the seating positions, the Surround Speaker placements (to the left and right of the two recliners) and where the Rear Surrounds are (far back wall on top left and right of Credenza Stands) I use the rocket fish wireless unit for the Rears.


What is the angle of your height speakers? Are they angled so they point directly at the listener, above them, or is it straight up and down? I'm also debating about the rear surrounds vs the front heights and was planning on wall mounting my new speakers tonight. I might try both setups and see what I like better. You make a strong case for front heights though.
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post #19 of 85 Old 01-19-2010, 09:42 PM
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They are slightly angled down and inward toward the center of the room. Same technique as toeing in your mains.

Regards,
Adamg
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post #20 of 85 Old 01-21-2010, 03:06 PM
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Even if your current receiver supports height channels there isn't anything yet that is specifically encoded to channel sound to those speakers. In the future if there is support for them they might be worthwhile though. I recently read an article where they were using the Onkyo RC160 and they found no notable difference when the speakers were used. They even said at certain points they were putting their ears up to the speakers to test if there was sound coming out of them and later disabled all other speakers connected just to see what was coming out. Again all and all its preference so you make the call.
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post #21 of 85 Old 01-21-2010, 03:53 PM
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. . . I recently read an article where they were using the Onkyo RC160 and they found no notable difference when the speakers were used. They even said at certain points they were putting their ears up to the speakers to test if there was sound coming out of them and later disabled all other speakers connected just to see what was coming out. . .

This is no different a situation than you encounter with any other post processor - the results are always source content sensitive. Treat DPLIIz the same way you treat DPLIIx: If engaging a particular post processor yields no results, or sometimes adverse results, then disengage that post processor, and try another one - or just play the 'native' decode!

Eventually, if they are smart, soundtrack mixers will realize they should start doing test playbacks using DPLIIz (we hope!) and then maybe they will mix soundtracks 'with an ear' (sic) to taking advantage of the new technology...

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post #22 of 85 Old 01-21-2010, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Rear speakers are more widely used because consumer pre-pros with outputs for 4 surrounds were introduced over 23 years ago. By comparison, receivers with outputs for height speakers just came out in the last year.

Each layout has advantages. Height speakers should be more noticeable, since our human hearing is better up front. But rear speakers already have content designed for that layout, both in commercial theatres (Surround EX) and home video (EX/ES, discrete 6.1/7.1).

Actually, Yamaha was using front height channels in the early 90's and they worked really well. I had an early Yamaha outboard surround processor and I really liked the height information. Can't remember the model number. Too long ago. I was really reluctant to move on to newer technology because I didn't want to give up the front height channels. If I remember correctly, they were only powered by a 15W amp and Yamaha spec'd a small restricted range speaker so the output and information required to make an impact wasn't much.
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post #23 of 85 Old 01-23-2010, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Magnefied View Post

Actually, Yamaha was using front height channels in the early 90's and they worked really well. I had an early Yamaha outboard surround processor and I really liked the height information.

I think that was more for room simulation than specifically for height. Yamaha generated reverb and early reflections that weren't in the original recording in order to give the impression of a larger space whereas Dolby extracts decorrelated info from the recording itself in order to give subtle sense of height.

Sanjay
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post #24 of 85 Old 01-27-2010, 08:32 PM
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Hi,

Trying to finish up my 7.2. I wanted to see if I could get some feedback from somebody. I have the Onkyo 607...I have my center Polk CS10, left/right towers Polk Tsi300, 2 subs PSW110 and a Sony 10. I am going to do in ceiling speakers Polk rci60's. I got four of them and am planning on using two for rears and I am not sure what to do with the other pair..Not sure whether I should do side surrounds or front highs. Front highs would work better for the layout of my room. If I did front highs I am not sure about the placement of them. Was wondering if anybody that have them hooked up could tell me. I would like to put them out front of my TV a couple feet. My main question is...is i a bad idea to do in ceilings for front highs...they do have an aimable tweeter???? Thanks for any help!
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post #25 of 85 Old 01-27-2010, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnefied View Post

Actually, Yamaha was using front height channels in the early 90's and they worked really well. I had an early Yamaha outboard surround processor and I really liked the height information.

I think that was more for room simulation than specifically for height. Yamaha generated reverb and early reflections that weren't in the original recording in order to give the impression of a larger space whereas Dolby [DPLIIz] extracts decorrelated info from the recording itself in order to give subtle sense of height.

Even money that the next generation Yamaha premium AVRs include some advanced DSP that combines both Yamaha's existing environment simulation with DPLIIz-like functionality...

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post #26 of 85 Old 01-28-2010, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mglaid View Post

Hi,

Trying to finish up my 7.2. I wanted to see if I could get some feedback from somebody. I have the Onkyo 607...I have my center Polk CS10, left/right towers Polk Tsi300, 2 subs PSW110 and a Sony 10. I am going to do in ceiling speakers Polk rci60's. I got four of them and am planning on using two for rears and I am not sure what to do with the other pair..Not sure whether I should do side surrounds or front highs. Front highs would work better for the layout of my room. If I did front highs I am not sure about the placement of them. Was wondering if anybody that have them hooked up could tell me. I would like to put them out front of my TV a couple feet. My main question is...is i a bad idea to do in ceilings for front highs...they do have an aimable tweeter???? Thanks for any help!

I think you will need to have side surrounds before you have rear surrounds. That is a requirement of the reciever, not a preferance issue. Not to say you place your side surrounds behind you, but your reciever will not output rear surrounds unless the side surrounds are connected.

Also your reciever will only do heights or rear surrounds at one time.

I personally have a 707 model and have ceiling speakers for both the height and surrounds channels. I don't have rear surrounds. My heights are a couple of feet in front of the TV with an aimable tweeter pointing at the listenning area. It's a small room.

As for weather heights are worth it, I enjoy the height effects. I don't think a lot of sound comes out of them, but they do add ambiance for overhead effects.
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post #27 of 85 Old 02-13-2010, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by likeanimal28 View Post

Which layout are you using and why??

I am getting a Denon AVR-790 and have the option to go either way. I had Rear surrounds setup before in the previous house and liked them. Have not really heared a front setup yet.
I know this a matter of personal taste as some will pick one layout vs the other. Just curious to see which layout is more widely used here.

Thanks,
JC

So, did you go with the rear surrounds or the front heights? I'm facing the same decision with the identical AVR-1910. And, regarding the responses in this thread mentioning a lack of Front Height encoded content, the Dolby site says "the height extensions don’t require new kinds of program content to drive the height channel outputs. Instead, the extensions are designed to effectively add depth and dimension to existing program material"
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post #28 of 85 Old 01-14-2011, 10:17 AM
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I have the very same question. I have a 5.1 setup now and plan on adding two more speakers. The room is quite large so if I go with back speakers they will be roughly 10 feet behind me, about 6 feet off the ground. If I go with front high, they will be about 8 feet in front of me, 8 feet off the ground and just above the front side speakers.

I really can't decide which way to go. Most of my use is Playstation 3 Gaming with some blu-ray action mixed in.

I am confused though. I always thought uncompressed signals (bitstream) was the best way to go? And using the Dolby True HD and DTSMaster were the ideal setups? Isn't switching to Dolby IIz or Audessy DSX sort of crumby? Makes me think adding a front height speaker just means downgraded sound.

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post #29 of 85 Old 01-14-2011, 10:25 AM
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Isn't switching to Dolby IIz or Audessy DSX sort of crumby? Makes me think adding a front height speaker just means downgraded sound.
Why would it be downgraded? It's just rerouting some information based on an algorithm. I actually find it sounds good, but I realize some don't share that opinion. But most who don't agree try to say things like "compressed" or "downgraded sound" or other such rubbish that has no basis in fact.

I'd recommend trying it out rather than just listening to misinformation.

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post #30 of 85 Old 01-14-2011, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post
Why would it be downgraded? It's just rerouting some information based on an algorithm. I actually find it sounds good, but I realize some don't share that opinion. But most who don't agree try to say things like "compressed" or "downgraded sound" or other such rubbish that has no basis in fact.

I'd recommend trying it out rather than just listening to misinformation.
I thought it was downgraded because DolbyTrue HD and DTSMaster MA are the best? Switching to Audessy DSX is like changing Dolby True HD back to Dolby Pro Logic II?

I admit, I'm not an audiophile so I'm doing my best to discern.

Please don't be offended, I didn't mean to imply you've made a bad decision in your setup.

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