Surround Sound - How many speakers needed? - Page 7 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: How many speakers do you think are needed for home surround sound?
5.1 - L,C,R,LS,RS - SUB 0 0%
7.1 - L,C,R,LS,RS,LR,RR - SUB 0 0%
9.1 - L,C,R,LS1,RS1,LS2,RS2,LR,RR - SUB 0 0%
11.1 - L,C,R,LW,RW,LH,RH,LS,RS,LR,RR - SUB 0 0%
Voters: 0. You may not vote on this poll

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post #181 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by netroamer View Post


For the record...More, is many times, only More! Buy quality nor quantity.

INDEED. I have well into 5 figures invested in a 7.1 system. I would never do it again. 5.1 is more than adequate. In the past couple of years, I can recall only three or four movies available in 7.1, the last being "From Paris with Love".

My first love is classical music. I am of the firm opinion that the several artifical sound processes meant to engage the two rear channels on my DENON AVP-A1 processor really don't add anything worthwhile.

Really now; how dumb do the manufacturers think we are to buy into 9.1 or 11.1. These are the same guys that want to sell you 3 foot connecting cables for $2500.00 claiming you can hear an amazing improvement in sound.

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post #182 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalgaryCowboy View Post

What are most theaters using now? I believe it is 5ch with matrixing over how many speakers they have?

Soundtracks are typically 5.1 channels (a few are 6.1 channels). However, commercial theatres use long arrays of surround speakers along the side walls and back wall. No matrixing, just sending the same signal to multiple speakers.

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post #183 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 10:58 AM
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I voted 9.1, but I'd use the 8th full range speaker as a center rear and the 9th as an overhead. Would need to have, preferably, supporting software with a corresponding number of discrete track, or if faked, much better algorithms.

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post #184 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 11:13 AM
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I have yet to hear a 9.1 system, either with wide or height channels, but I would imagine the experience would beneficial. But, I agree, with the addition of all those extra speakers, it would be a home theater arrangement where those would be better integrated rather than the usual family room space.
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post #185 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalgaryCowboy View Post

What are most theaters using now? I believe it is 5ch with matrixing over how many speakers they have?

I suspect the issue with a movie theater's "sound appeal" is more the overall surround sound experience they provide as opposed to (just) the number of audio channels...?! To be honest, I've NEVER left a (major) movie theater saying to myself "I wish they had more discrete audio channels!" So I guess it wouldn't be a surprise to see the movie industry move up to 7.x discrete channels to stay 'competitive' with BD, but I don't expect it to happen in a rush (I know SDDS 7.x is already available for theaters, and Dolby has announced a 7.x product, but that's lots different from "every major movie theater offers 7.x sound").

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post #186 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TheGigaShadow View Post

http://www.blu-raystats.com/Stats/Stats.php

Choose the type of audio you are looking for and then click Filter.

Great Resource, thanks.
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post #187 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 12:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willdao View Post

Why? You can enjoy 11.X now, oblivious to whether there's (ever) 11.X discrete content; the speakers don't have to just sit there!

Listen to discrete 7.1--when you can get it--but with 11.X derived from that. Or 11.X from 5.X channel sources. Or even 2-channel sources expanded by Dolby PLIIx. They're not mutually exclusive!

And "waiting" for more 7.X content has zero linkage or effect on whether the "threshold" desirability of 11.X exists. The two simply can't be logically linked....

No offence but I can't disagree more.
Quality always beat quantity!
How can you consider creating extra channels being better than the original?
When has electronic circuit's added quality?


btw watching a movie using a high quality 2channel setup creates a better experience than spreading the same amount on a 5.1 setup imho.
Unless you have funds to add channels with SAME quality, a source&processor that handle multi channel in a good way and competence installing the multi channel system, you better stick with the ones you have. Again imho.
I'm afraid the "channel war" going to further decrease the overall quality in the "average Joe's" living room.
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post #188 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 12:12 PM
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There's never enough channels when you have too many speakers

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post #189 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 12:12 PM
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Depends on the location of the setup. Living room? 5.1/7.1. Dedicated theater room? 9.1/11.1.
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post #190 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 12:17 PM
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FE-
Given no choice but to watch a standard def DVD, I'd much rather watch it upconverted to 1080 than watch it in standard def. Perhaps you prefer the original, but we would definitely agree to disagree in both audio and video.

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post #191 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 12:18 PM
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Here's to listening and watching all forms of art as the artist/director originally intended: in its unmodified native format. Black and white movies in black and white, and 5.1 ch in 5.1 etc. Doing anything else is a bastardization, second guessing their intent, and compromising the artist's integrity.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #192 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

Black and white movies in black and white, and 5.1 ch in 5.1 etc.

Are you talking about 5.1 channels or 5.1 speakers? If it's the latter, then that was not "originally intended". No theatrical soundtrack was ever mixed with the intent of playing it back using only 2 surround speakers.

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post #193 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Film Enthusiast View Post

No offence but I can't disagree more.
Quality always beat quantity!
How can you consider creating extra channels being better than the original?
When has electronic circuit’s added quality?


btw watching a movie using a high quality 2channel setup creates a better experience than spreading the same amount on a 5.1 setup imho.
Unless you have funds to add channels with SAME quality, a source&processor that handle multi channel in a good way and competence installing the multi channel system, you better stick with the ones you have. Again imho.
I'm afraid the "channel war" going to further decrease the overall quality in the "average Joe's" living room.

1) Because it is. Not "better than the original," but better than 7.X. There is no new information added to the original sound data. This is not a DSP "fake/phasey" solution. Nothing is created that isn't already in the mix. There is just proper placement of existing sound data within a more complex and more natural soundfield, in an array of known and exact properties. In fact, a larger array. Created with more speakers in critical areas. As with trying to "plot" any data, the more data points you use, the more accurate the curve. Same with surround channels. The logic steering used--assuming exact placement of the array--provides a stellar experience. Don't argue against it, "theoretically" (I use that term loosely) without having heard it. Re: "adding quality": utterly silly question. Your 5.1 decoding circuits "add quality"--they decode the 5.1 mix. Your amplifier circuits make it possible actually to hear a given channel. Audyssey EQ circuits compensate for loudspeaker and room anomalies, drastically improving quality. And Audyssey's uber-sophisticated addition of four more sound channels, on top of the current seven, definitely add "quality." Proof's in the pudding. Go audition it. Also, quality and quantity are not inverses of each other. They are not mutually exclusive. This is not a zero-sum game. In this game, both quality and quantity are, in fact, givens. Simultaneously. More IS more! Go audition. And, look, before offering opinions, also go to Audyssey's site and just read about the technology and try to grasp it. OR: the (occasionally brilliant) Audyssey thread here. You'll know more about what's actually going on with this hyper-sophisticated processing. Or, perhaps not. It's challenging reading at times. But you may at least "know what you don't know," which always marks the start of the journey on the path to wisdom, and which is more than can be said at this point.

2) Um, the point about proper funding and quality processing and speakers of the same quality and the necessity for critical placement--all these are a given. Already mandated. Of COURSE these need to be addressed! See my lengthy post on page six of this thread.

3) How adding more channels of premium processing and amplification and speakers can ultimately serve actually to decrease overall sound quality in the "average" setup is a fallacious and nonresponsive argument. Makes no sense.

I think my job is done, here. I'm remembering now why I don't post very often...
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post #194 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

Here's to listening and watching all forms of art as the artist/director originally intended: in its unmodified native format. Black and white movies in black and white, and 5.1 ch in 5.1 etc. Doing anything else is a bastardization, second guessing their intent, and compromising the artist's integrity.

Which would seem to beg the question: What do you do when watching one of the many 'fine' movies by Alan Smithee?

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post #195 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 01:57 PM
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I'm sure if I had a larger home theater area I'd go for 7.1, but for my space 5.1 is still just fine.
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post #196 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by MrTripps View Post

I'm sure if I had a larger home theater area I'd go for 7.1, but for my space 5.1 is still just fine.

Now this--THIS!--is a proper reason for deciding against the larger arrays of speakers that are possible (and desirable).
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post #197 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willdao View Post

Now this--THIS!--is a proper reason for deciding against the larger arrays of speakers that are possible (and desirable).

Willdao:
I love your thought process on this subject. And it is 100% correct, based on my 3-5 year dabbling experience with my current dual 7.2 High/Low system (14.2 speakers). The Steering logic in the 7.1/7.2 (my HK 745 AVR capability) is good enough for me right now. The addional 7.2 speaker array is routed through the HK 745's 7.1 Preamp-output circuits to 4 separate very High End stereo/mono center amplifiers, into very high end speakers to handle the "main & Mic calibrated" 7 low speaker array. The 7 high speaker array is handled by the AVR's internal 7 channel amplifiers into smaller yet very rugged High End speakers. The HK 745 outputs to 2 calibrated 12" Powered subs. The key, as you stated, is to setup the High speaker array in such a manner that natural room effects dictate imaging, ambience on the soundstage, derived from the original 7.1/5.1/7.2/etc, without adding any artificial steering effects. IMHO, adding too much "discrete" separation information into the addional array may create some unnatural/unwanted effects in terms of image placement and stability. But I am wide open to all possibilities. I said before. My 14.2 system sounds unbelievably realistic and have bested anything I have ever heard before. And I have seen and heard some doozers in my 30 plus years of audio/videophilia. I could never go back to just 7.1 or stereo in my Home Theater after experiencing this level of truth.

And to the writer who earlier suggested that we could never duplicate an actual theater/cinema experience equal to a "for pay" movie house in our homes, I suggest this. He is dead wrong! We can actually create a much better listening experience in our homes, whether the system is 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, 11.1 or 14.2. Those movie house systems are averaged to create a "reasonably" good experience for the "masses of asses". In our home theaters, we are creating a maximum experience for only our enjoyment. We have total control of listener satisfaction. We have much more leverage on the system optimization curve. Just MHO.
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post #198 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 03:44 PM
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7.1 works for us, room is rectangular and I could only mount the rear surround speakers 1 foot down from the ceiling. I didn't like the "wireless" system that was available with my HTiB. I'm not ready to spend more $ on speakers for a few years.
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post #199 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 03:52 PM
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I would like to hear 11.1 before i could commit on it.Even with 7.1 many movies are kind of a fake 7.1 where it doesn't add a whole lot.I have a 7.1 system and when there is movie that uses those rear channels the right way i do hear a difference.I have also found over the years the hype is always better then technology itself.Before they go 11.1 they should make the front center channel stereo.AT least you would hear something between the center and front left or right better.Sombody talking from the center to the right front or left front doesn't always sound right.,if you follow.
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post #200 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 03:52 PM
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willdao, first of all...why so offensive?
And why assuming that I haven't heard different set-ups and options?
It's easy to make a film more impressive using electronics, but after the film ends - do you say "wow, what great sound effects" OR "wow, what a great movie"?
For me the latter is more important and my goal.
But due to my experience it's too easy to think adding processing/amps/speakers going to make a movie experience better. More impressive yes, but better?


Quote:
Originally Posted by willdao View Post

3) How adding more channels of premium processing and amplification and speakers can ultimately serve actually to decrease overall sound quality in the "average" setup is a fallacious and nonresponsive argument. Makes no sense.

secondly, you argue about something I haven't said!
Please read again, it was about using SAME amount of money.
And this isn't the only item you misunderstood.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willdao View Post

I think my job is done, here. I'm remembering now why I don't post very often...

Please, can we discuss as grownups?
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post #201 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 04:44 PM
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I think that a lot of people have the following logic:

1. 5.1 is pretty good and much better than 2.1
2. I've listened to 7.1 and there is hardly any improvement over 5.1.
3. Therefore, with regard to the number of speakers, there is a law of diminishing returns. 9.1 or 11.1 would exhibit an even tinier improvement over 7.1 than 7.1 had over 5.1

I think this logic is not right. I agree that the rear speakers in a 7.1 system have little contribution. However, the Wide and Height speakers in an Audyssey DSX system do have a substantial contribution. In fact, if I were limited to a 7.1 system, I'd certainly opt for DSX Wide speakers rather than the rear speakers.

In a nutshell, the DSX speakers have a huge effect on the width of the soundstage, on panning from side to side and front to back and on imaging.

I suggest people try to actually audition a system with Audyssey DSX speakers before they judge that anything above 7.1 (or even 5.1) is useless.

Mark
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post #202 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 05:02 PM
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In fact, if I were limited to a 7.1 system, I'd certainly opt for DSX Wide speakers rather than the rear speakers.

Amen!

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post #203 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 07:18 PM
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7.1 with bipolar/tripolar speakers

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post #204 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 07:53 PM
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After reading so many comments about Audyssey on this topic, I finally bit the bullet a read up on it. To my great surprise, the setup was exactly the one I blundered into a few years ago. Their recommended Front, height and width setup along with side and backs are the same as mine but with a few important differences. I also use back highs and (most importantly) a second center channel behind the TV at the low/bottom screen level. The distance from the main center (High) channel from a depth standpoint is about 3 feet.

The reason I say this is important, is because the second center speaker, totally locks in and focuses the center channel image relative to the rest of the soundfield. I think Audyssey needs to seriously look into this important option. All of the reviews I read, such as the Sound & Vision one, were amazed at the imaging in the Audyssey setup compared to 5.1 and 7.1. But they also reported a "slightly" unfocused center as an acceptable tradeoff. My experience suggests that no tradeoff is necessary at all. A rock solid, stable, focused center image can be achieved with dual centers in a High-Center/behind, or low to high center/behind setup. When I say high center, I am literally talking about placement right on top of a 73" DLP HDTV. And when I say low Center behind, I'm talking about a wall mounted speaker, right behind the TV in the lower middle of the screen. The dual center setup also seems to widen the total sounstage with a precision that is spellbinding because center imaging is so incredibly focused. If Audyssey is monitoring this thread, I bet you they will experiment with this option. And their next version will be 12.2 or 12.1 with dual centers.
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post #205 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 07:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Are you talking about 5.1 channels or 5.1 speakers? If it's the latter, then that was not "originally intended". No theatrical soundtrack was ever mixed with the intent of playing it back using only 2 surround speakers.

My post stated "5.1 ch" which is short for channels, not speakers.
---

Many state of the art mixing rooms like this Lucas Films Skywalker Ranch recording room use only 2 speakers for surround (in total five B&W Nautilus 802s to be exact, c. 2006) BTW:


Anyways, if I wanted to replicate the experience of going to a movie theater when I watch my movies at home I'd put gum under my seats, turn on a radio for background noise, sit way off axis, and pour Coca Cola on the floor to make it sticky. No thanks. I'd rather replicate the mixing room experience, actually.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there is no concept of "accounting for taste". We don't "pick" the level of bass any more than we get to pick the ending of a play. High fidelity is an unbiased, neutral, exact copy (or "reproduction") of the original source's tonal balance, timing, dynamics, etc..

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post #206 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 09:14 PM
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I would have voted for 6.1 if that was an option. The rear center speaker does provide an added feel to the audio but anything more than that would just be overkill.
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post #207 of 494 Old 06-17-2010, 10:13 PM
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I'm pretty much with that. I built a 6.1 Genelec system and room a few years ago, and it's still doing great (except for the zipper noise and general finickyness of the Sony STR-DA5200 I'm using as a pre/pro -- wish I'd had another year or two to wait so I could have gotten an Integra or Denon pure pre/pro or something...)

Anyway, movie mixes are likely no more than 6.1 (and even so, they are 5.1 with a matrixed sixth channel). Movies that include the rearmost channel do add something to the experience, and game consoles regularly support it for interactive audio.

The next step up, for "pro" applications, has been a variety of 10.2 demonstrations. IIRC, they use 8 channels around you (pretty much in 8 cardinal directions), two overheads (left and right), and two LFE channels/subs (left and right). While impressive and all, the fidelity above that of a 6.1 isn't all that much, so it's unlikely to be worth it. I think we'll see various matrix and array approaches, perhaps even with a whiff of ambisonics, instead.

So, manufacturers right now: They'll offer 7.1, because that's what people "know" (even though the two rears are just the same signal). The snake oil people will probably offer 9.1 just for the heck of it. And don't Integra have an 11.2? I wonder what material they feed into that? Probably a 2-channel CD :-)
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post #208 of 494 Old 06-18-2010, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

Many state of the art mixing rooms like this Lucas Films Skywalker Ranch recording room use only 2 speakers for surround (in total five B&W Nautilus 802s to be exact, c. 2006)

Nice try, but that's the control room of their scoring stage (music only), NOT where they mix movies. The reference you're claiming (movie mixing stage with only 2 surround speakers) doesn't exist, because it wouldn't allow the filmmakers to preview what their movie would sound like in any commercial theatre. No theatrical soundtrack was ever mixed with the "intent" of playing it back using only 2 surround speakers, because no commercial theatre has only 2 surround speakers. If you want to limit your set-up to only 2 surrounds, that's fine, but don't claim that it was "originally intended" to be heard that way.

Sanjay
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post #209 of 494 Old 06-18-2010, 07:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Film Enthusiast View Post

willdao, first of all...why so offensive?
And why assuming that I haven’t heard different set-ups and options?
It's easy to make a film more impressive using electronics, but after the film ends - do you say "wow, what great sound effects" OR "wow, what a great movie"?
For me the latter is more important and my goal.
But due to my experience it’s too easy to think adding processing/amps/speakers going to make a movie experience better. More impressive yes, but better?



secondly, you argue about something I haven’t said!
Please read again, it was about using SAME amount of money.
And this isn't the only item you misunderstood.


Please, can we discuss as grownups?


Hi, Film Enthusiast,

My apology for injecting a hint of my frustration in that post. It was a reflection of my acute understanding that few who are bashing the Audyssey 11.X processing on this thread have either heard it, or understand how it works. Also, I would add that, regarding your post in particular, that I and other readers have no way of knowing what you MEAN, other than what you SAY. E.g. you did not say or indicate at all that it was "about using SAME amount of money [sic]" in the earlier post. And, in fact, even if you had, I might argue that an Audyssey-processed array could actually improve the immersion factor for the same money, thereby improving the whole experience. But, that's for another day and another debate.

Regarding whether I ASSUME you haven't heard--not other surround setups setups--but, in particular an Auddyssey setup? Well, one apparently is forced to infer what you mean from what you say, and this assumption seems obvious. But, I'll just ask: Have you heard an Audyssey-processed 11.X array, properly set up and with quality speakers and electronics? I think not.

Your comment about whether one desires to say "what great sound effects" or "what a great movie" is disengenuous, as well. This is not an "either/or" option. This is a false choice. And a choice no one has to make! Again, it's not a zero-sum game! If the former is a reaction, so, decidedly, might the latter be. They are in no way necessarily linked inversely. Quite the opposite!

To the extent to which a properly set-up Audyssey array is experienced and enjoyed, let me say this absolutely enhances the holistic movie experience--and therefore whether one thinks the movie is a great one, at least in terms of the immersion factor--the immersive placing of the viewer into the soundfield and therefore the scene. Audyssey inproves this immersion, therefore enhancing the "suspension of disbelief," and therefore the immersion into the story itself.

And, again, this is NOT accomplished via some electronic "trickery" or gimmick. I've said it before and apparently I must say it again: No new sounds are created beyond what exist on the soundtrack. The same inforrmation presented in 5.X or 7.X is presented by the 11.X array--no more, no less. No sounds are created, none are destroyed, none are changed in any way. The only manipulation of the digital data that occurs is to steer the various sounds to more point-sources in the SPATIAL reproduction array--sources that the processing of existing phase, frequency, time-domain, and other data indicate are correct. For a more immersive, more natural--and more PROPER and MORE ACCURATE--reproduction of the EXISTING 3D sound mix than 5.X or 7.X SPEAKERS (not channels) can offer. Again, read about Audyssey and hear it, before passing non-informed judgement.

Regarding whether Audyssey makes a film more "impressive?" Yes, it decidedly does. This is the point. But it is impressive NOT because it is a gimmick, or forces one to focus on the effect, rather than the film. In fact, the reverse is true. The soundfield presented is more natural, more involving, and more spatially resolved and re-created in the three dimensional reproductive space of one's home theater, according to the natural way we hear things in the real world. To make this somehow a negative is ridiculous. It serves to make the experience more real. And this IS impressive. You WILL notice the difference from your existing surround system, because it is an order of magnitude better, more realsitic, which is supposedly what one is after when one buys a surround sound system in the first place. Rather than having an indistinct phantom image appear between the front left and side left surrounds, for example, there is actually a Wide Left Surround speaker there to physically place it. For example. The 3D imaging of the system is better resolved. FAR better, From the existing soundtrack. Nothing is "added."

Again, Film Enthusiast, I urge you to experience the Audyssey-processing system in a properly set up sapce, with good speakers and amplification. With various sources of media, from 2.0 to 5.1 to 7.X. And please read about how the Audyssey system works, rather than make assumptions. That way, I and others won't have to keep correcting these ill-formed, ignorance-based assumptions. This is not a theoretical argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, or how many channels of surround sound are needed or desired. This is how best to recreate a 3D soundscape with media that have EXISTING X.X channels of information. It is better accomplished using additional SPEAKERS that have properly steered information extracted from X.X number of channels that do exist, a number in this case that is always smaller than the number of transducers used to more accurately display the sounds than a 1:1 match of transducers to channels permits. The improvement in the physical reproduction of the soundspace, using EXISTING X.X channels of information, and then properly steering EXISTING cued information to properly placed, additional speakers WHERE 5.X and 7.X TRY TO PLACE IT ALREADY, BUT "PHANTOMLY," UNCONVINCINGLY, is provable. But not by arguing about it, one way or the other, unheard. The proof's in the pudding. Go taste it. And read about it--how it works. It'll knock your socks off. Now, whether you can afford to--given budget or space or spousal constraints--or simply desire to replace your existing SS system is another matter--unrelated to unconvincing and ill-formed "opinions" about the benefits of a proper Audyssey-processed array, the indisputable current state-of-the-art (SOTA) in surround reproduction. Audyssey offers "Surround Sound Best Practices," and is the benchmark among consumer-available surround sound options.

Your AVS compadre ,

Will
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post #210 of 494 Old 06-18-2010, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jwatte View Post

The next step up, for "pro" applications, has been a variety of 10.2 demonstrations. IIRC, they use 8 channels around you (pretty much in 8 cardinal directions)

The only 10.2 system demonstrated has been Tom Holman's, but that doesn't place the speakers in 8 cardinal directions. He uses 7 speakers up front and three surrounds behind the listener (nothing directly to the sides). The front speaker placement ended up the basis for Audyssey DSX (heights & wides).

Sanjay
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