First off I will admit I am an Audyssey fanboy. I think they are audio geniuses. Audyssey XT32 improved my whole experience with home theater, and in my opinion is the best thing to come around since digital surround sound. That being said I am an audio purist. I really like to keep things simple, and sound quality is the single most important thing in my home theater.
I have had the ability to add height speakers to my home theater for awhile now. Wide speakers are not doable in my current situation, but hopefully that will change in the future. After doing some research I decided to give height speakers a try, but I did not have high hopes.
I own a Denon 4311ci. It is is capable of Audyssey DSX or Dolby Prologic IIz (no DTS Neo:X) After doing some reading I decided to use PLiiz. I spent a month or two watching various movies, and trying to get a feel for what this new effect was doing. I could not hear the height speakers, and sometimes felt like they were not even working. I read some advice to disconnect the other channels, and just listen to the height speakers to get a sense of what they are doing. I did this, and it helped.
The way Dolby deals with the height speakers is to pull mostly decorrelated info from the surround speakers, and put it in the height channels. The effect adds a lot of ambiance to the soundtrack. It was a neat effect that got old quick, and introduced some listening fatigue...
bare with me, now it is time for a tangent...When I am in a theater it is like a huge wall of sound commensurate with that huge screen. Theaters are front centric... What I mean is the surround arrays add a lot of effects some discreet and some ambiance, but your attention is never pulled away from that gigantic screen.
With PLiiz the height speakers added too much ambiance, and at times pulled my attention away from the screen. The effect was awesome, but i felt it was not as theater like as I prefer.
Audyssey DSX works much differently. How Audyssey works exactly is their secret, and so I won't attempt to describe how DSX does what it does but I will pontificate about why I prefer their approach. Audyssey uses the height speakers to essentially lift the sound up so it is like your front speakers are 10 feet high. DSX does indeed sound more front centric and seems to blend the surrounds into the mix a bit better. To me DSX just sounds like I am sitting in front of an imax screen (instead of my 65 inch plasma
) I love this effect. Simply stated Audyssey DSX makes your front sound stage sound enormous.
I am happy with adding these height speakers and expanding my home theater to 9.1. I highly recommend Audyssey DSX, and if you have a capable receiver with some extra speakers give it a try.