Rear Surround or Front Height? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 04:24 PM - Thread Starter
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I erroneously posted this in the speaker forum last night. I think this is a better suited forum, so I'll post it here.

I just purchased the last few speakers for my entry level set up. I've got the two sub placement down, but I'm struggling with what to do with the additional surrounds. After doing some reading and researching various 7.1+ configurations, I came across this tidbit from Mark Fleischmann:
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According to Audssey, the ear can hear in more directions than current technology allows. "Experiments have shown that human localization is better in front than to the sides or behind. This means that for front-weighted content such as movies and most music, good engineering dictates that we employ more horizontally than vertically and so good engineering also dictates that channels must first be added in the same plane as our ears before going to higher elevations." What Audyssey is saying is that, if you've got seven amp channels to work with, adding width will provide the greatest benefit, adding height is second best, and adding back-surrounds is third best.

Front width surrounds are an impossibility in my current apartment - no room on either side that is practical. So, that leaves it to front height or rear surround. Since I rent, hiding wire becomes a little tricky. I can't tear into the wall and run them through. If I mount them for height, the wires may be visible (I can paint them, or hide them as best I can behind my bookshelves). Rear surround would be very easy for me to hide the wiring, but that isn't creating an optimal environment based on Audyssey's findings.

So, do I gofront height - maximizing the use of the 7 channels, but giving up a little in the way of aesthetics - OR
Rear surround - keeping the set up aesthetically pleasing but not quite maximizing the 7 channels?

If you need additional information, let me know. I'm out of town on business right now, but may be able to post pics at a later time.

EDIT: Here's a picture of the wall in question for the front heights.



I'm leaning toward front heights because my listening position is on a sectional which is against the back wall. I'm not sure how much of a benefit I would receiver with rear surrounds. If I go that route, where is the optimal placement for the front heights? My thoughts are on the outside of the book cases near the top, mounted on the wall. I would probably place the front speakers on the inside of the shelves they're currently on. Of course, rerunning Audyssey after the configuration is complete.

I think what I'm looking for here is validation that my thought on front heights is correct.
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post #2 of 12 Old 08-14-2012, 05:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rliebherr View Post

I'm leaning toward front heights because my listening position is on a sectional which is against the back wall. I'm not sure how much of a benefit I would receiver with rear surrounds.
Benefit? With no space behind you, I don't even know where you'd place the rear speakers. Better to do heights instead.
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Originally Posted by rliebherr View Post

If I go that route, where is the optimal placement for the front heights?
I would put the height speakers at/near the ceiling, spread wider apart than your front L/R speakers. If you can split the angle between your fronts and surrounds, that would be a good location to provide overhead imaging (rather than placing them up front, where it will sound like a taller soundstage).

Sanjay
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post #3 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rliebherr View Post

I erroneously posted this in the speaker forum last night. I think this is a better suited forum, so I'll post it here.
I just purchased the last few speakers for my entry level set up. I've got the two sub placement down, but I'm struggling with what to do with the additional surrounds. After doing some reading and researching various 7.1+ configurations,

Pardon me, but posts like yours give me a splitting headache. I would parody your post as saying:

"I've got insufficient space for a good audio system so I want to install a 111.26 system" ;-)

Of course I'm biased as I have a 2.1 system in a 18 x 22 room.

I think that audiophile should buy speakers like you obtain spouses. With spouses you should get one, and then every 5 years or so add another one unless the one(s) you have is/are keeping you busy! ;-) You see where that is headed, no? Most people including all the smart sane ones will stop with 1 spouse.

With speakers, I say start out with 2 and then add a sub and then add pairs of speakers every few months based on where you are with the ones you got. In your case, I see you stopping at or before 5.1.
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post #4 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 05:04 AM
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Maybe, I missed something, but the OP's inquiry seems like a legit one.  I don't know why the snarky comments are needed.

 

The OP wants to know is using front heights, front wide, or rear surrounds would suit him best.  He has already stated the preference for front heights, and has obviously done his due diligence in researching the best avenue for him to follow.

 

If the rear surround wont' work, then yeah, go for the front ones.

 

If front wides won't work, then yeah, go for front heights.

 

I recommend that the OP try both front highs and wides.

 

Try the wides first, place the speakers on boxes and see how it sounds. 

 

If you decide on heights, then just place them on the top of the bookshelves.

 

Truth be told, you will need to experiment to find the best sound for your needs.

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post #5 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 05:39 AM
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If not wides, then heights, You have no room behind for the surround back to work.  See Audyssey for wide/height positioning and there is an allowable variance on the angles.  IMO compromised angle wides would still be more effective than heights.  I've tried both and heights do fill up the sound stage a bit, and help with global front to back pans, so they can work.  Here is some good reading if considering adding matrixed channels.  Don't let purists wave you off some extra speaks matrixed off the native content, every commercial theater you ever went to had matrixed surrounds, just look at those side walls.

 

dsx-configuration-graphs.png


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post #6 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 05:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Benefit? With no space behind you, I don't even know where you'd place the rear speakers. Better to do heights instead.
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

I would put the height speakers at/near the ceiling, spread wider apart than your front L/R speakers. If you can split the angle between your fronts and surrounds, that would be a good location to provide overhead imaging (rather than placing them up front, where it will sound like a taller soundstage).
Hi Sanjay,

Is that recommendation based on using Audyssey DSX, Dolby PLIIz or Yamaha's Presence system? All those systems have different height speaker placement recommendations, and your recommendation doesn't seem to correspond to any of them.
  • Audyssey recommends placing them on the ceiling at a 45 degrees elevation and a 45 degree angle: http://www.audyssey.com/audio-technology/audyssey-dsx
  • Dolby PLIIz recommends placement directly above the L/R speakers.
  • Yamaha recommends placing them on the front wall, above and outside the front L/R speakers.

Your recommendation seems like a hybrid of all these. I'm not disagreeing with you... I just want to understand the logic you used to make this recommendation.

(I use DSX Wides and Rears, without Heights, but I may add Heights at some point in the future, so your thoughts on Height speaker placement are still interesting to me. Thanks.)

Craig

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post #7 of 12 Old 08-15-2012, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for your input, everyone. Even you, arnyk. I'm still going 7.2.

Speakers arrived today, but I'm out of town. So, I'll be mounting then this weekend!

Sub arrives on Monday.
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post #8 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Is that recommendation based on using Audyssey DSX, Dolby PLIIz or Yamaha's Presence system?
It's based on a couple of things: using extracted height info (Dolby PLIIz, DTS Neo:X) rather than generated height info (Audyssey DSX, Yamaha DSP), and trying to get a sense of overhead imaging rather than a tall front soundstage. To that end, Sean Olive has been doing some blind testing at Harman for height speaker placement. Preliminary results suggest on-ceiling/in-ceiling placement, splitting the angles between the fronts & sides and sides & rears (they're testing configurations of 4-5 height speakers). This came up in another thread and Roger Dressler was kind enough to diagram the idea:
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

In terms of adding value, these locations do well because they are furthest away from the other speakers. The closer they get to other speakers, the less unique their contributions.


Since the OP will be using only 2 height speakers AND will be seated against the back wall, I suggested a configuration resembling the 7 speakers in the front half of Roger's diagram. One of the folks in our local home theatre group expanded his 7.2 layout using a pair of height speakers at these locations, and the resulting bubble of sound really adds to the spaciousness AND gives a better sense of height than placement high up on the front wall was giving.

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post #9 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 03:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by craig john View Post

Is that recommendation based on using Audyssey DSX, Dolby PLIIz or Yamaha's Presence system?
It's based on a couple of things: using extracted height info (Dolby PLIIz, DTS Neo:X) rather than generated height info (Audyssey DSX, Yamaha DSP),

Hi Sid,

Whats the difference? I thought all wide and height info was matrixed off native 5-7channels?

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post #10 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post

Maybe, I missed something, but the OP's inquiry seems like a legit one.  I don't know why the snarky comments are needed.

I'm sure the OP is sincere. Sorry about the attempt at humor.
Quote:
The OP wants to know is using front heights, front wide, or rear surrounds would suit him best.  He has already stated the preference for front heights, and has obviously done his due diligence in researching the best avenue for him to follow.

My point is that due diligence on paper is not the most reliable solution. My other point is that speakers are generally sold either singly or in pairs, and buy as you try is often the best solution.
Quote:
If the rear surround wont' work, then yeah, go for the front ones.

If front wides won't work, then yeah, go for front heights.

I recommend that the OP try both front highs and wides.

I agree, with the most important word being "try"
Quote:

Try the wides first, place the speakers on boxes and see how it sounds. 

If you decide on heights, then just place them on the top of the bookshelves.

Truth be told, you will need to experiment to find the best sound for your needs.

Exactly.

There seems to be a tendency for people around here to want to over think and over analyze. Surrounds are usually not a big expense, and if the last pair you bought don't work out and can't be returned, there's always the bedroom and kitchen systems...
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post #11 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksHitachi View Post

Whats the difference? I thought all wide and height info was matrixed off native 5-7channels?

Actually, we might say that you are half right. biggrin.gif

The first BD with with (four) discrete height channels is scheduled for release this month: Norwegian music label 2L lists the BD version of "SOUVENIR" by TrondheimSolistene (link) as containing five 9.1 Auro-3D encoded tracks. As the BD appears to contain multiple [encode] versions of each track (and the 9.1 Auro-3D encoded tracks are playable as 5.1 LPCM even without a decoder), the current unavailability of any consumer Auro-3D decoder would not seem to be problematic. However, this does suggest that the first consumer Auro-3D decoders might actually appear later this year (perhaps to be announced next month at CEDIA?)




And yet another set of height speaker placement criteria to consider! eek.gif
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-16-2012, 12:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksHitachi View Post

Whats the difference? I thought all wide and height info was matrixed off native 5-7channels?
Surround processing can be divided into two basic approaches: generated and extracted. When it comes to height channels, Yamaha and Audyssey use concert hall acoustics to generate early reflections (that weren't in the recording) in order to simulate a larger space, while Dolby and DTS feed their height speakers by extracting decorrelated information from the recording itself. I mentioned the distinction earlier because Craig asked which processing system my placement recommendation was based on.

Sanjay
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