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Surround Sound - How many speakers needed? - Page 2

post #31 of 494
I think it will ultimately settle at 12.2. Main Array (7.2 Low)=Left low, Center low, Right low, Side Wide Left low, Side Wide Right low, Back Left low, Back Right low, Sub 1 and Sub 2. Secondary Array=Center high, Wide left high, Wide right High, Back right high, Back left high.

I've had a similar setup in my 28'x38' Home theater room since 2005. Only my system is setup 14.2 by adding a Left high and Right high also. It is essentially a dual high/low 7.2 array that is microphone calibrated to the low speaker array. The height of the secondary array adds a natural delay based on positioning in the room. I control them all through a Harman Kardon 745 AVR that is also outputed to 7 channels of High end external amplifiers for the Low array speakers. The weaker HK avr amplifiers handle the smaller High speaker array.

As always, the proof is in the pudding. And to my ears and others who have been in my HT over the years, it is the most compelling and realistic listening environment I have ever experienced. Movie sound is simply stunning. And audio CD's, Music DVD's and Vinyl LPs are so realistic, it seems like you are sitting in the middle of their performances or front row center. I wrote about this a few years ago, when new on the AVS forum and was widely castigated by other commenters. But all I was suggesting was that more surround channels was where everything was headed so as to create a true 3D surround field. And my simple experiment proved it to my ears and many others. Well it is rewarding to see that things are actually heading this way. The high-low 9,12, or even 14 array system is simply unbelievable to experience. Once installed, you will never go back to 2, 3 or 5. They will seem lifeless and dull by comparison.
post #32 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

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.

Sure. As long as you sit on the sweet spot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

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.

Only when they are implemented poorly.
post #33 of 494
I'm using a 9.1 system now. The sound " fill " from 2 pair of side surrounds helped in our room .
post #34 of 494
I could easily use the extra channels to power other rooms if I felt overwhelmed...but damn, I wanna try anything and everything I can afford. Otherwise I would live like a dinosaur still with VHS!
post #35 of 494
I voted for 5.1, simply because most movies are still 5.1. When the majority of movies are encoded in 7.1, then that will be my choice. I do have a 7.1 setup, but that was due to a friend selling off some nice speakers that couldn't be passed on. For a newbie setting up a HT, I'd tell him/her that he/she would be fine with a 5.1 system (oh, in HD, of course).
post #36 of 494
For me, I went from a 6.1 to 7.1 system. Then I upgraded the speakers and AVR for better level of 7.1.

I don't have a dedicated HT room. My living room, although fairly long, isn't that high so I'm not really sure what height speakers would buy me over what I already have.

Plus, how many discs were actually mixed for more than 7.1? I don't see the point in trying to force a 5.1 track into 11.1, if the original track didn't have height/width sections anyway.

This can be said of 5.1 discs into a 7.1 system, but at least the rear channel is only doubled (or at least that's how I understand it).

So for me, 7.1 more than exceeds what I need and what I can foresee needing for a good long time. However, if I win the lottery....

Seggers
post #37 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by videobruce View Post

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.

If you can locate the bass frequencies, either they're too loud or the crossover is set too high.
post #38 of 494
I guess that the primary beneficiary of so many speakers would be the divorce lawyers. Wow, WAF is hard enough with 6 or 8 speakers at ear level. I forsee a lot of legal problems with spousal reaction to high flying speakers all over the room. THe ABA has something to do with this.....

Years ago I had some contact with a guy who had a system with self-powered subs at each of his 7 speakers. He explained that he liked music. I always thought he was compensating for some other shortcoming.
post #39 of 494
I've been stunned attending Jeff Beck live at Ronnie Scott's, dts-hd & DD, via my Pioneer SC-07 in DD PL IIx Movie (NOT discrete 7.1); over Polk RTiA9 X 4, CSi5, FXiA6 X 2; in a 20 x 11 room, sofa 3' from rear; a 15" Velodyne FSR-15 yet to be included.

Impressions? I seem to have a table not far from whom a 19-YO IDed yesterday as Robert Plant. In this club venue, I'm clueless as to what 4 additional "presence" speakers would add.

This setup is a runaway from the previous 5.1, with 5 Polk RT-7s & Velodyne CT-120.

However, my recollections of Santana's Abraxas in Quadraphonic, ~1972, are of sound fading from one corner of the room to another. This leads me to believe that an 11.1 mix MIGHT permit me to hear the ice in Plant's glass, IF the other channels were sufficiently subdued at that instant. I would imagine movie soundtracks will play up this aspect.

Where would I add 4 more speakers with WAF? Probably where the sun don't shine. IF you have in-walls, maybe. Will be curious to see how 11.1 HTIB will look on display in BB.

Oh, and the kid described the audio as best in-home he's heard (sure the 60" Kuro added something).
post #40 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by hd_newbie View Post

Sure. As long as you sit on the sweet spot.
Only when they are implemented poorly.

If you are seated too far to the left or right, you will have unbalanced levels.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spivonious View Post

If you can locate the bass frequencies, either they're too loud or the crossover is set too high.

Any of the systems I have heard (not ones in dedicated big buck media rooms either), I can locate the woofer which distracts the overall experience. AFAIC, anything past 5.1 only puts bucks in the pockets of the speaker manufactures.
post #41 of 494
Cool poll but I agree that there needs to be a "depends on the room" option. I have 7.1 now and really don't have enough "room" to use it adequately. That's not to say I know that I'll never *need* more than 7.1 channels...I just can't use more than that effectively.

This, to me at least, is also dependent on how the human ear works. Don't we hear from nearly every direction?
post #42 of 494
5.1 for now, going 5.2 very soon to even out the bass response in the room. I have no space for surround back. I would rather spend my money on better speakers than on more speaker anyway. Speakers located above the screen is a nice idea though.
post #43 of 494
Actually I think 7.2.

TWO Subs!
post #44 of 494
Simply another effort to get people to buy more stuff.
post #45 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by David James View Post

Simply another effort to get people to buy more stuff.

What he said.
post #46 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by DenisG View Post

There are a bunch of 7.X/9.X combos not listed.

Yes, there are....but I decided to vote 7.1 anyway.

My preference:
LR, LH, L, C, R, RH, RR - SUB
post #47 of 494
I think the law of diminishing effect would kick in with more than a 7.x ss system in MOST rooms. Sure, there will be many who can afford it, want it, and will make it happen but I think we'll find that it will come at a premium price point and never be 'mainstream'. I consider money more wisely spent on room acoustics then on trying to squeeze out more channels that could in effect, muddy the ss experience.
post #48 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by seggers View Post

For me, I went from a 6.1 to 7.1 system. Then I upgraded the speakers and AVR for better level of 7.1.

I don't have a dedicated HT room. My living room, although fairly long, isn't that high so I'm not really sure what height speakers would buy me over what I already have.

Plus, how many discs were actually mixed for more than 7.1? I don't see the point in trying to force a 5.1 track into 11.1, if the original track didn't have height/width sections anyway.

This can be said of 5.1 discs into a 7.1 system, but at least the rear channel is only doubled (or at least that's how I understand it).

So for me, 7.1 more than exceeds what I need and what I can foresee needing for a good long time. However, if I win the lottery....

Seggers

The height will add a sense of realism you probably have never experienced before, except at a live event. For example; in the movie TOPGUN, the jet takeoff will happen in real time & space. Takeoff will start at the bottom center of your tv screen and it will pan center low to right high, exactly like you're at the airport. The effect from center screen to the sky occurs in a seamless and unbelievably realistic manner. Scenes like that in movies are breathtaking. You will begin to hear whispers, effects and sounds in all of your movies you never heard before. And they will occur in their natural spatial locations for maximum effect. Videogaming will take on other worldly dimensions.

I believe one may be able to approximate the effect with a well placed 7.2 system. But you would have to vary the height of all of the speakers and really do some sophisticated mic measurements to create those natural delays that occur from up high on a dual 7.2 system.

One last point. You should have a pretty big room to do this. As stated earlier, my HT is about 1100 square feet with a 12 foot ceiling. I would let room size dictate the number of speakers in the array. For smaller rooms I'd go 7.2-9.1. For big rooms, I'd go all the way with 12.2-14.2. If WAF is an issue, I'd go 5.1 and vary the height.

To sum it up. The high speaker array fills in all of the spatial gaps from floor to ceiling, in a way that room boundaries, walls, ceilings etc actually disappear. You have to hear it to believe it.
post #49 of 494
I run a 5.1 system now (in a very small room) with no good place to hang any rear speakers so they are not in my future. I intend to play with wide and front high speakers using small NHT speakers that are a pretty good match to the other NHT's.
post #50 of 494
7.1 is fine enough for me. That's what I currently have in my Home Theater and in my Family Room setups. I've had 7.1 for many years thanks to Lexicon L7.

What would be nice is if ALL blu-rays came with a 7.1 DTS-MA option. I wish all studios followed Lionsgate example instead of an empty promise of 7.1, but very few actually released as such.

For the most part, my rear speakers sit silent when watching BD (using 8-channel bypass PCM). If I want 7.1, I have to lower quality DTS or DD and then apply L7 or some other 7.1 decoder. What a waste.
post #51 of 494
Wow, I voted 5.1 even though I am working on finishing a 5.3 system (or 5.5 if wife says yes). I couldn't imagine trying to fit 9 or 11 tower (or equally large 3 way horizontal) speakers in even a large sized living room. Dropping down to smallish 2-way bookshelfs just to accommodate an 11.x channel surround setup sounds like a downgrade to me.
Quality over quantity.
post #52 of 494
I voted 7.1 but I am going to setup a 7.2 system. I think that the point really has to be, can you actually accomodate an 11.1 system in your current theater room? If you can, and have the Ca$h to do it, then go for it!
post #53 of 494
The use of 7.1 for center back channels is silly; only for spaceships passing thru. If used for side or frontal height channels instead, with the new Dolby ProLogic IIz, it makes a great deal of sense for music. Telarc, DMP and Chesky experimented with original height channels early in SACD's development, but unfortunately gave up on it. Another way to use the two channels above 5.1 is for a 2+2+2 Aurophonie setup, as all the MD&G and some Divox SACDs offer. A bit of work to set up, but the front height speakers can be smaller/cheaper, and the results in widening the sweet spot and increasing depth and realism for music are quite astonishing. (You don't need to move your surrounds.)
post #54 of 494
My room limits me to 5.1 (I'm using direct radiators behind the listening position). Even so, this setup sounds great and completely immersive. It really doesn't seem like anything is missing and have no urge to add more channels even if I could (yes, I've heard 7.1 systems).

Needless to say I voted 5.1.
post #55 of 494
Currently run a 9.2 system and the 2nd set of side surrounds has really added to the immersive nature of the audio for my multi row dedicated room. I would certainly look at more speaker options but I am more excited in updating the lfe channel to a .5 than adding more surround speakers.
post #56 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenjw View Post

7.1 is fine enough for me. That's what I currently have in my Home Theater and in my Family Room setups. I've had 7.1 for many years thanks to Lexicon L7.

What would be nice is if ALL blu-rays came with a 7.1 DTS-MA option. I wish all studios followed Lionsgate example instead of an empty promise of 7.1, but very few actually released as such.

For the most part, my rear speakers sit silent when watching BD (using 8-channel bypass PCM). If I want 7.1, I have to lower quality DTS or DD and then apply L7 or some other 7.1 decoder. What a waste.

Steve: I totally agree with you on the 7.1 DTS MA Blu-Ray point. But I find that the HK Logic 7 settings (7.1) always sound better than the Dolby 5.1, ex, plus, equivalent for some reason. TrueHD is great, but not really better sounding than L7 to me. Lexicon is the same system (L7) as HK Logic 7. Both are Harman International companies. Even the Logic 7 (L7) music settings sound better to me than their Dolby equivalent. That is probably because the Lexicon/HK Logic 7 IP was derived from Jim Fosgate designs. His designs have always been sonically superior to Dolby Labs to me. I am not by any means trashing Dolby. Dolby sounds really good. But like you, I prefer fully optimizing my system. And L7 allows me to do it for 7.2, while letting the natural room environment do most of the heavy lifting sonics wise.
post #57 of 494
Current room is large enough to support rears and I've found them to add to envelopment and placement of sounds to the side and rear.

WRT subs, I assume that .1 means multiple subs a la Toole/Welti/Geddes.
post #58 of 494
If NHK Japanese TV thinks we'll need 22.2 channel audio with our SHV/HDTV4 (or SHV/HDTV2) televisions in 2020 or so, that should be good enough for me! Right?

Actually NHK claims the 'plus' for the 22.2 audio from SHV is that it is intended to support 'quality' in-home mixdowns to around 10.x or maybe 12.x speaker environments (or to anything else fewer than 22.2 channels). Effectively this means that the current 'upmix' to 9.x/11.x systems from DPLIIz/DSX(/DTS?) should suffice to play ("nearly complete experience", downmixed discrete) 22.2 audio, mostly requiring "just" a new decoder (plus one or two new amps/speakers). As the likelihood is that 22.2 will provide (at least!) 5.1 or 2.0 backward compatibility (like BD), it seem probable that the cost structure of systems capable of 10.x/12.x 'downmixed 22.2' will be very similar to that of current DPLIIz/DSX systems, i.e., "mass market" affordable...?!


[SMPTE graphics copied from NHK STRL ANNUAL REPORT 2008, page 8.]
post #59 of 494
Nice graphic SoundChex...

Even though I have a room set-up for 9.1Ch surround sound I voted for 7.1Ch.

I think we need to get some consistent 7.1Ch content released on Blu-ray before moving on-to anything higher!
post #60 of 494
Quote:
Originally Posted by barrelbelly View Post

Even the Logic 7 (L7) music settings sound better to me than their Dolby equivalent. That is probably because the Lexicon/HK Logic 7 IP was derived from Jim Fosgate designs. His designs have always been sonically superior to Dolby Labs to me.

Other way 'round. Dolby PLII was designed by Jim Fosgate. L7 was invented by Dr. David Griesinger.
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