7.1 or 6.1 for me? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-05-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all,

When I built my home theater in 2006 I had a 5.1 channel AVR, so I only put in one pair of surround speakers. I have since upgraded the AVR to one capable of 7.1 output. The rear surround speakers will be in-wall, like my side surrounds. The room behind the theater is unfinished, so mounting the speakers will be easy.

The only problem is, according to Dolby and THX, the rear surround speakers should be at a 135-150° angle from the listening position. In my case, I have the equipment rack on the left and stairs on the right.



Best I can get is ~175° on the left and 155° on the right. Here are a couple of photos of the back of the room.





Is it better to have one properly-placed center rear channel speaker or two too-close-together rear speakers?

Thanks in advance

-Marc
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-05-2012, 04:02 PM
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Don't use the 6.1 option. You can get a clear improvement from 7.1 even though it will not "comply" with the Dolby guidelines (which I wrote when I worked there ).

With your setup I'd strongly suggest moving the surrounds forward, and placing the rears as shown. You'll get an improved sense of directionality as well as better envelopment.

If you simply cannot move the surrounds, then I'd go with the blue rear speaker locations.



LL
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post #3 of 32 Old 02-05-2012, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Roger. I can't move the side surrounds. My left rear will either have to go to the left of the equipment rack or to the right of the door.
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-05-2012, 09:45 PM
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I'd go straight to 12.1 lol.
6.1 is my choice. One center front and one center rear.
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post #5 of 32 Old 02-05-2012, 10:14 PM
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Avoid the single rear center. If necessary it would be much better to have two speakers on the rear wall just a couple of feet apart than just one centered. Make them as wide as the room layout allows, and be happy with whatever that turns out to be. They are rear afterall. A little less separation than ideal is in the grand scheme of things barely a blip.

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post #6 of 32 Old 02-06-2012, 06:19 AM
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^^^+1

Plus any room correction software your receiver has will compensate for your rear surrounds not being perfectly placed.

Shawn
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post #7 of 32 Old 02-06-2012, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. MY AVR is a Denon 3310. It has Audyssey DSX, so I should be good. I'll try to fit two speakers. (I have to look at the stud locations, too.)

7.1, hear I come!
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post #8 of 32 Old 02-06-2012, 08:42 AM
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Just so you know Audyssey DSX is a listening mode NOT an auto EQ. Audyssey: 2EQ, Mult EQ, Mult EQ XT, and Mult EQ XT 32 are the auto EQ that Audyssey offers.

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post #9 of 32 Old 02-06-2012, 10:18 AM
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Roger - How would you feel about him using the THX recommended setup of having 2 rears side-by-side on the rear wall?

"He who asks feels dumb for a few minutes, but he who does not ask remains dumb forever."

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post #10 of 32 Old 02-06-2012, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gertjan View Post

Roger - How would you feel about him using the THX recommended setup of having 2 rears side-by-side on the rear wall?

Only if his AVR has THX ASA processing, if it works, and if he likes using it for all surround listening. His Denon 3310 is not THX, so it would not be appropriate to use that speaker arrangement.
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post #11 of 32 Old 02-06-2012, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru View Post

Just so you know Audyssey DSX is a listening mode NOT an auto EQ. Audyssey: 2EQ, Mult EQ, Mult EQ XT, and Mult EQ XT 32 are the auto EQ that Audyssey offers.

Thanks. I always learn something here.

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Roger - How would you feel about him using the THX recommended setup of having 2 rears side-by-side on the rear wall?

I think I'll put one speaker in the corner by the bar, and the other next to the equipment rack.

Same height as the side surrounds. (Same speakers, too.)
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post #12 of 32 Old 02-08-2012, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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One final question. I can put my left rear surround in one of two places;



Option 1: Over the equipment rack.

The good: It's further away from the doorway.
The bad: It's about 6'-8" above the floor, as opposed to 6', like my side surrounds.

Option 2: Beside the equipment rack.

The good: It's at the same height as the others. (Aesthetically pleasing, and better sonically, I would think.)
The bad: Half the sound would end up in the adjacent room.
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post #13 of 32 Old 02-08-2012, 09:27 PM
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Hard to say. Measurements would ultimately tell the tale but I understand that may be difficult with inwall speakers. If you go with option one mount the right rear at the same height. I don't think the discrepancy between sides and rears would be a big deal. Getting too close to the ceiling might have a more audible negative effect though.

Without being in your room I'm not sure which is more likely to be least compromised. Have any small bookshelf speakers you could rig up at those locations to listen and perhaps measure?

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post #14 of 32 Old 02-08-2012, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c-not-k View Post

One final question. I can put my left rear surround in one of two places;

The bad: It's about 6'-8" above the floor, as opposed to 6', like my side surrounds.

The actual height is not too important. I prefer to look at the angle of incidence to the listener. I have my rear speakers mounted higher so they hit me at the same 15 deg angle as the side surrounds.
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post #15 of 32 Old 02-09-2012, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Have any small bookshelf speakers you could rig up at those locations to listen and perhaps measure?

Actually I do - and they're even Polks, same brand as the others.

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If you go with option one mount the right rear at the same height.

Will do.

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The actual height is not too important. I prefer to look at the angle of incidence to the listener. I have my rear speakers mounted higher so they hit me at the same 15 deg angle as the side surrounds.

Thanks. I'll measure that, too.

I was eventually planning on installing a corner bass trap along the rear wall/ceiling interface. I'll have to make sure to leave room for that.
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post #16 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Avoid the single rear center. If necessary it would be much better to have two speakers on the rear wall just a couple of feet apart than just one centered. Make them as wide as the room layout allows, and be happy with whatever that turns out to be. They are rear afterall. A little less separation than ideal is in the grand scheme of things barely a blip.

One speaker versus two speakers a couple of feet apart.
Justify this ?
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post #17 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

One speaker versus two speakers a couple of feet apart.
Justify this ?

The human brain and ears don't correctly process sounds from directly behind our head..... So 2 speakers that are spread just a couple feet apart will sound better than I rear center speaker.

Actually when 7.1 first came out it was really just 6.1 but with 2 rear mono speakers. Because the surround tech guys figured out that it was perceived better by the human hears. Infact that's what THX ASA is all about.

Shawn
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post #18 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by flickhtguru View Post

The human brain and ears don't correctly process sounds from directly behind our head..... So 2 speakers that are spread just a couple feet apart will sound better than I rear center speaker.

Actually when 7.1 first came out it was really just 6.1 but with 2 rear mono speakers. Because the surround tech guys figured out that it was perceived better by the human hears. Infact that's what THX ASA is all about.

Would be interested where you got the human ear and brain theory. That kinda like saying we can't hear things behind us or how about something directly between our eyes ? Doesn't make sense does it ? Else we would have two center channel speakers also ???

As for 7.1 just being 6.1 with 2 rear speakers having the exact same thing coming from them I agree. There aren't that many true 7.1 SEPARATED signals for rear speakers and cable and sat are 5.1 and your av receiver may very well produce sounds through those speakers it isn't true 7.1.

Having speakers three feet apart is ridiculous. Like I originally said where to stop. 9.1, 11.1 ? A speaker every couple feet ?
I have a point whether you are willing to admit it or not ?

11.1 at AMC Theatres is one thing but in your average home...NO WAY. Most aren't large enough to accomodate or make use of so many speakers without them being right next to one another.

This is kinda LIKE those that can hear a difference with DOLBY TRUE HD. Most don't . But if you think you do then put in wall to wall speakers, its your place..................
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post #19 of 32 Old 02-10-2012, 09:22 PM
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Anything along the midline means the sounds arrive at the ears simultaneously and thus there is no interaural time difference to help us locate the source. The head related transfer function which involves how sounds bounce and diffract around our pinnae and external auditory canals can often still resolve the location without the additional clues, but not always. Our default when this fails is to image the source from directly ahead. We are worst at resolving a location directly behind us. When this happens it is called front rear reversal and is a thoroughly researched phenomenon. When the source is a bit off midline we do a better job and the location is more stable. When two mono sources are just off to either side of midline behind us, we resolve each location and hear the phantom image directly between the two sources. This is why 6.1 is all but gone and had a quite rapid demise, and why dolby and thx etc all recommend two rear speakers. So two narrowly spaced rear speakers isn't ridiculous, its just good science and good practice if you are faced with the choice between that and a rear center.

This may seem counterintuitive at first. That's understandable. You don't want a single rear speaker behind or overhead for that matter. But a single front center is fine, and actually preferred over dual mono front sources.

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post #20 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Anything along the midline means the sounds arrive at the ears simultaneously and thus there is no interaural time difference to help us locate the source. The head related transfer function which involves how sounds bounce and diffract around our pinnae and external auditory canals can often still resolve the location without the additional clues, but not always. Our default when this fails is to image the source from directly ahead. We are worst at resolving a location directly behind us. When this happens it is called front rear reversal and is a thoroughly researched phenomenon. When the source is a bit off midline we do a better job and the location is more stable. When two mono sources are just off to either side of midline behind us, we resolve each location and hear the phantom image directly between the two sources. This is why 6.1 is all but gone and had a quite rapid demise, and why dolby and thx etc all recommend two rear speakers. So two narrowly spaced rear speakers isn't ridiculous, its just good science and good practice if you are faced with the choice between that and a rear center.

This may seem counterintuitive at first. That's understandable. You don't want a single rear speaker behind or overhead for that matter. But a single front center is fine, and actually preferred over dual mono front sources.

Good detailed explanation/ Don't agree with it. You have some sort of study to reference cause I know when a sound eminates from behind me. ?? Even directly behind me.

Science and good practice to gain about 2-3 feet between two rear speakers eminating EXACTLY the same sound from each speaker because of the lack of pure 7.1 audio tracks ?

I have had both and the real world tests say otherwise. Do you hear
a noticable and clear difference with DOLBY TRUE HD also ?

Theory is one thing. Real world results and common sense usually are another thing.
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post #21 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post


Good detailed explanation/ Don't agree with it. You have some sort of study to reference cause I know when a sound eminates from behind me. ?? Even directly behind me.

Science and good practice to gain about 2-3 feet between two rear speakers eminating EXACTLY the same sound from each speaker because of the lack of pure 7.1 audio tracks ?

I have had both and the real world tests say otherwise. Do you hear
a noticable and clear difference with DOLBY TRUE HD also ?

Theory is one thing. Real world results and common sense usually are another thing.



I myself use 6.1 and what bigus is describing is something I hear once in awhile. Tried doing 7.1 in my room to see how it was (moved the chairs around and surrounds) and wow what a difference. Test source was tron legacy. Either way though I still enjoy 6.1 over 5.1

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post #22 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 03:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flickhtguru View Post

The human brain and ears don't correctly process sounds from directly behind our head.....

Yes, it results in rear/front reversal. Rear sounds appear to come from the front.

Quote:


So 2 speakers that are spread just a couple feet apart will sound better than I rear center speaker.

Too marginal to bother with IMHO, even if they carry different signals.

Quote:


Actually when 7.1 first came out it was really just 6.1 but with 2 rear mono speakers. Because the surround tech guys figured out that it was perceived better by the human hears.

Yes, it was realized that no Surround EX movie theater played the rear channel thru a single point source speaker, but thru a line array across the rear wall. Using two at home was a better way to go for EX, such as it was.

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In fact that's what THX ASA is all about.

ASA is a means to adjust the perceived width of the rear image depending on the genre: game, movie, music. It needs the rear channels to have different signals so the widening algorithm can work. ASA cannot help mono signals image better.

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As for 7.1 just being 6.1 with 2 rear speakers having the exact same thing coming from them I agree. There aren't that many true 7.1 SEPARATED signals for rear speakers and cable and sat are 5.1 and your av receiver may very well produce sounds through those speakers it isn't true 7.1.

"True" 7.1 sources are not required in order to achieve useful differentiation in the rear speakers. PLIIx solved that for almost a decade now. The benefit is instantly noticeable compared to mono surrounds, which I find to not only suffer the rear/front reversals even with well-spaced speakers, but it degrades the sense of space by layering a mono blanket on top of otherwise spacious surrounds. Easy enough to prove at home, compare EX with PLIIx.

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Having speakers three feet apart is ridiculous.

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post #23 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

Good detailed explanation/ Don't agree with it. You have some sort of study to reference cause I know when a sound eminates from behind me. ?? Even directly behind me.


http://books.google.com/books?id=wBi...versal&f=false

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post #24 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
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Good detailed explanation/ Don't agree with it. You have some sort of study to reference cause I know when a sound eminates from behind me. ?? Even directly behind me.

Science and good practice to gain about 2-3 feet between two rear speakers eminating EXACTLY the same sound from each speaker because of the lack of pure 7.1 audio tracks ?

I have had both and the real world tests say otherwise. Do you hear
a noticable and clear difference with DOLBY TRUE HD also ?

Theory is one thing. Real world results and common sense usually are another thing.

You're so sure but know nothing about the subject? Believe whatever you want.

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post #25 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 10:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

Having speakers three feet apart is ridiculous. Like I originally said where to stop. 9.1, 11.1 ? A speaker every couple feet ?

Why does it have to stop? Why do you care? If you don't want more speakers, don't buy them. 11.1 AVRs will do 2.1, 3.1, 5.1 and so on.


Quote:


I have a point whether you are willing to admit it or not ?

I don't know, do you? Or do you just like question marks?


Quote:


11.1 at AMC Theatres is one thing but in your average home...NO WAY. Most aren't large enough to accomodate or make use of so many speakers without them being right next to one another.

Most homes don't have surround sound, period.


Jetmeck always makes this same defense of 6.1 over all other speaker arrangements as if it's the only way to listen to surround sound. I've never seen him give a compelling explanation, just a lot of "It won't work any other way!" with no explanation.

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post #26 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jetmeck View Post

Else we would have two center channel speakers also ???

No, because our hearing behind us is very different than our hearing in front of us. This is why imaging reversals happen typically happen from back to front (sounds directly behind us can momentarily image in front of us), rarely the other way around.

When our ear/brain mechanism hears something equally in both ears, the immediate reflex is to think the source is directly in front of us. This is why a you hear a phantom centre image when listening to music on a stereo set-up, because the vocalist is heard equally in both ears. Same thing can happen when with a single speaker directly behind you, because we hear the same sound equally in both ears. These are called imaging reversals.

Luckily, we humans are always making tiny head movements to recalibrate direction. So despite hearing a momentary reversal, we'll eventually realize that the sound is indeed coming from directly behind us. Problems is, movie sound effects are usually too brief to give us enough time to recalibrate. What to do?

Turns out the solution couldn't be simpler. Use 2 rear speakers, spread well away (at least 30 degrees) from the centre line. This is why Dolby, DTS and THX all recommend playing the mono surround-back channel of their EX and ES soundtracks through 2 rear speakers. It is the only channel for which 2 speakers are recommended for playback.

But if you are going to spread the rear speakers apart anyway, why not take advantage of the separation by feeding them a stereo signal? Hence 7.1 soundtracks and 7.1 surround processing (PLIIx, Logic7, Neo:X).

Sanjay
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post #27 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Tulpa View Post

Why does it have to stop? Why do you care?

Human nature. It's not enough to stop at 5.1 or 6.1 speakers in your own set-up, they have to try to stop everyone else from adding more speakers as well. Same reason when folks get angry about something, you often hear "there out to be a law..." (so that everyone else has to do it too). Like I said, human nature.

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post #28 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

No, because our hearing behind us is very different than our hearing in front of us. This is why imaging reversals happen typically happen from back to front (sounds directly behind us can momentarily image in front of us), rarely the other way around.

When our ear/brain mechanism hears something equally in both ears, the immediate reflex is to think the source is directly in front of us. This is why a you hear a phantom centre image when listening to music on a stereo set-up, because the vocalist is heard equally in both ears. Same thing can happen when with a single speaker directly behind you, because we hear the same sound equally in both ears. These are called imaging reversals.

Luckily, we humans are always making tiny head movements to recalibrate direction. So despite hearing a momentary reversal, we'll eventually realize that the sound is indeed coming from directly behind us. Problems is, movie sound effects are usually too brief to give us enough time to recalibrate. What to do?

Turns out the solution couldn't be simpler. Use 2 rear speakers, spread well away (at least 30 degrees) from the centre line. This is why Dolby, DTS and THX all recommend playing the mono surround-back channel of their EX and ES soundtracks through 2 rear speakers. It is the only channel for which 2 speakers are recommended for playback.

But if you are going to spread the rear speakers apart anyway, why not take advantage of the separation by feeding them a stereo signal? Hence 7.1 soundtracks and 7.1 surround processing (PLIIx, Logic7, Neo:X).

This blew me away when you first explained it to me lol

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post #29 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Well I decided to go wide. I'm going with option 2. I'll get the speakers soon and post pics (and impressions.)

Don't let me stop the debate, though!
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post #30 of 32 Old 02-11-2012, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
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Human nature. It's not enough to stop at 5.1 or 6.1 speakers in your own set-up, they have to try to stop everyone else from adding more speakers as well.

Well, he can come pry my extra speakers from my cold dead hands.

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