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Surround Sound - How many speakers needed?

post #1 of 494
Thread Starter 
POLL ON SURROUND SOUND FOR AVS FORUM MEMBERS....

In regards to surround sound, we have heard rumors that 11.1 seems to be the new number coming down the pipe by years end. As such we wanted to ask the AVS Forum members, how many speakers do you think really is needed in the home for surround sound?

As it is now, we have 7.1 that covers Left (L), Center (C), Right (R), Left Surround (LS), Right Surround (RS), Left Rear (LR) and Right Rear (RR), SUB. The 4 extra channels would add, from what we understand, Left Front Wide (LW), Right Front Wide (RW), Left Front Height (LH), and Right Front Height (RH).

Please be so kind to vote in the poll and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments on the topic of how many speakers you think are needed in home surround sound. (We know configurations can be differnt for differnt people. Thus is a general poll on set # of speakers/channels on how many YOU think are needed.)
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post #2 of 494
7.1 offeres me a bebefit over 5.1, as I have a rectangle room with enough space in the rear. I enjoy the spacial effect.

I could care less about front high and wide speakers.

I would, however, think that a ceiling/above speaker at the seating position would give some nice effects.
post #3 of 494
You forgot a style in the poll.

I voted 7.1, but I have a 6.1 system.


EDIT: Clarification on what I mean. You need a 6.1 - L,C,R,LS,RS,CR - SUB
post #4 of 494
No check box for "depends on the room" so I settled for 7.1
post #5 of 494
There will always be the group who hops on any new bandwagon. Therefore, a market is always available. But I am a firm believer to let the room dictate the speaker arrangement. For most I suspect that 7.1 will meet or exceed their needs and/or expectations.

For the record...More, is many times, only More! Buy quality nor quantity.
post #6 of 494
There are a bunch of 7.X/9.X combos not listed.
post #7 of 494
I'm not suprised by the move to 11.1, those are all the channels available now, but people are forced to chose between them. It was only a matter of time before someone said "I want them all".

I find it intesting that the question is phrased as "how many would you LIKE" rather than "how many do you think are nessisary".

If we're talking about bunches of channels or possible future formats, there are also 10.2 and 12.2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/10.2

For my home I would Like 9.1. I have no room behind my couch for rears, but I have a very wide very tall room so I think I could benefit from front wide and front heights. In an ideal shaped room 11.1 or 12.2 seem reasonable to me if you have the $
post #8 of 494
The question is asked both ways. How many would you "like" in the subject and how many are "needed" in the post.

So, I don't know how to vote

My answer to how many I like would always be as many as I can fit in the room and afford.

The answer to how many are needed depends on the room, so it would be great to see receivers and standards for 11.1+ for those with the budget and large theaters to fit them.
post #9 of 494
Wow. 3-D AND 11.1 sound. I am just whelmed by the choices.
post #10 of 494
Why settle for 11.1. Just man up and get the Goldmund Mimesis 32. That has the capability of outputting 32 channels. Yea, like that will ever be affordable
post #11 of 494
I voted 7.1 for lack of a 6.1 option which is what I have set up.

I don't have room to place the rears correctly but the way they are set up sounds pretty damn good. If I had the room for 11.1 I suppose I'd see if I could make a go of it.
post #12 of 494
Relatively few things are being mixed into even 7.1 vs. 5.1 Seems like overkill.
post #13 of 494
The 7.1 in HD Audio works great for us.

Out of 300 BD we have watched the last two years, I think only about 20-25 or so far have been 7.1 – the rest were 5.1 – and yes we can tell a major difference.

The upper and lower speakers for front stage (9.1 and above) seems like it would be neat – but I think it is getting to the point of overkill. I really cannot see too much benefit by going above a 9.1 system. Even with the newer 9.1 amps coming out (and there are some really good ones) – I still think I would have just a 7.1 system

I think it would much more beneficial if OTA and the tons of other media sources could “all” be HD Audio; just like the vast majority of our BD media. To us regular DD 5.1 is just dull and boring.


Our Grades would be:

100 7.1 HD Audio
85 5.1 HD Audio
65 5.1 regular DD
20 2.0 Does anybody have just two ears?
post #14 of 494
5.1 or 5.2 (more bass!!) is enough for good surround. All you need are good speakers with good sound imaging. (spelling?). If you have enough room, 7.1 can be cool but that's if you have the perfect space to really benefit from it. Otherwise, you won't see the difference between 5.1 and 7.1. However, I think that 11.1 is kinda overkill... Do we have specs of how big the room needs to be to really see the difference in sound? I know I don't have the space in my apartment right now for a 11.1 setup

I'm happy with my 5.1, for now....
post #15 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShannonT View Post

My answer to how many I like would always be as many as I can fit in the room and afford.

Same here. My situation (room, budget) will dictate the number of speakers I can set up successfully. Then I can scale the number of channels in the source material to the number of speakers in my layout.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorO View Post

Relatively few things are being mixed into even 7.1 vs. 5.1

What does that have to do with anything. 7.1 pre-pros were being sold over 20 years ago. 7.1 material just showed up 2 years ago. One has nothing to do with the other.
post #16 of 494
I currently have 5.1 but will soon be trying out 9.1. Hopefully, the improved performance will justify the additional expenditure and aesthetic compromise with the additional speakers in a living room environment.
post #17 of 494
I think 9.1 with front height speakers would be pretty much the most that will be needed (although I'd have to try height speaker before issuing a final verdict on them) assuming taller than standard 8 foot ceilings.

That said, I don’t think I’ve watched any movies that were even mixed with 7.1 discreet channels.

-Suntan
post #18 of 494
A newbie here as far as digital A/V.
Our house built in nineteen twenty five is only 690 sq ft and our ranch style house built in nineteen fifty one is 1690 sq feet.
Usable rooms in either home is 9 x 14 which places the sofa back against the wall.
I would say that I've really been enjoying the DTS-HD Master Audio from the Panny Blu Ray player though I'm only playing it through 5.1 speaker set up.
post #19 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dashboard View Post

Do we have specs of how big the room needs to be to really see the difference in sound?

This is a question I am very curious about. The ideal size and shape to get the benefits of 11 speakers.
post #20 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by texastengu View Post

A newbie here as far as digital A/V.
Our house built in nineteen twenty five is only 690 sq ft and our ranch style house built in nineteen fifty one is 1690 sq feet.
Usable rooms in either home is 9 x 14 which places the sofa back against the wall.
I would say that I've really been enjoying the DTS-HD Master Audio from the Panny Blu Ray player though I'm only playing it through 5.1 speaker set up.

Yes, many of us dont really have the room for a million speakers. Plus the wifey might not like the way they look, we dont all have a separate room only for home theater.

To me, no need for them anyway. I too use 5.1 and love it, i have no need to try to jam a bunch more speakers in my room.
post #21 of 494
PLIIx will use the rears using that matrix system...yes I know it isn't discrete, but it is still 7.1, or the like. Also, you have more for music too. I don't hear a huge advantage of 7.1 over 5.1 however. Couldnt imagine even more speakers... 11.1 etc... Yamaha makes 7.2 AVRs and up.
post #22 of 494
7.1 is the sweet spot. Even with matrixing 5.1 to 7.1 via Pro Logic is really fantastic, and with Toy Story 3 (!!!) coming out in 7.1 theatrically, hopefully it will be a push towards more true discrete 7.1 mixed tracks right from the start.
post #23 of 494
I actually only have 5.0. All of my speakers are full-range. I do not use subwoofers since I find the sound disjointed when the bass is separated from the rest of the range. [Yes, I know the psychoacoustic theory, it is wrong or at least mis-quoted.]

My speakers are well set up. However, I have been in many houses where all 5.1 speakers are basically sitting together without any effort to spread them out. Unless you put a lot of effort in, your system will either be acoustically ineffective, ugly, or both.

Bottom line: I am sticking with 5.0 for home use.
post #24 of 494
The more, the merrier! I now have 9.2 speakers in my system and wish I could add more! Cost is a big factor, though.
post #25 of 494
5.1 is all that's needed. Maybe 6.1 to get a concrete rear center instead of an implied one.

I agree with the poster above that an "above" speaker would add the most value. How many times do things fly over the viewer in movies?
post #26 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suntan View Post

I think 9.1 with front height speakers would be pretty much the most that will be needed (although I'd have to try height speaker before issuing a final verdict on them) assuming taller than standard 8 foot ceilings.

That said, I don’t think I’ve watched any movies that were even mixed with 7.1 discreet channels.

-Suntan

Um, wish there was a faster way to find (search) 7.1 sound movies. LOL Anyway here is one with 7.1 HD Audio that in my opinion is reference quality. The movie itself was just so-so. LOL

http://www.netflix.com/Movie/Crank_2...0?trkid=204764



This 7.1 HD Audio will make you scream; also reference quality sound IMO:

http://www.netflix.com/Movie/The_Hau...8?trkid=204764
post #27 of 494
I doubt most rooms could see any benefit by using a 9.1 or an 11.1 system. Maybe the largest of the Home Theaters with multiple rows of chairs. When would the content catch up to make a system like that worthwhile.
post #28 of 494
With Toy Story 3 coming out in 7.1 theatrically, it might be a push from Dolby+Pixar to get discrete 7.1 more popular theatrically, and so in Blu-ray. I see that as a good thing.
post #29 of 494
I personally have felt for a while now that 9.1 would be the best for most home environments. However I would arrange them differently. I would do

Front Left, Front Center, Front Right
Side Left, Overhead, Side Right
Rear Left, Rear Center, Rear Right
Subwoofer

I feel that an overhead channel would be more useful than the front left and right height channels.
post #30 of 494
AFAIC, 4.0 would be fine. I have never seen a need for a center channel speaker when the main L & R are positioned correctly. I'm also not a fan of subwoofers since I can always detect where that speaker is placed if it is not center to the L & R. Bass frequencies might be less directional, but they still can be located.
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