Originally Posted by sdurani
Most of the time, using Neo:X as surround processing
will sound fine. In fact, going from a ring of sound around you to more of a 3D bubble of sound (using height speakers) will likely be preferable to most listeners. But once in a while, you might get something up there that could distract you. No surround processing is perfect.
By comparison, using Neo:X as a decoder
means that the only sounds being sent to the height speakers are ones intended by the mixer. The downside is that you need Neo:X encoded material for that. As of now, there are only 3 Blu-ray titles with Neo:X encoded heights and wides.
If you currently use PLIIx to scale 5.1-channel soundtracks to your 7.1-speaker layout, then you're already using surround processing to "convert" 2 surround channels to 4 outputs. Does it sound objectionable? Does it feel like the surround information is coming from the wrong direction? If not, then you won't hear problems when using PLIIz or Neo:X to extract height outputs.
Sanjay, thanks for pointing out the (underlined) distinctions between processing and decoding encoded materials; very interesting.
As for encoded 3D material, are the different technologies compatible; in other words, could an Atmos encoded movies be converted to a DTS encoded disc?
Yes, I believe base on your rec, I converted from 5.1 to 7.1 and have not looked back. Even as this conversion forces me to use a different brand of speaker, B&W in-ceiling as opposed to my Thiel, I like the improvement (much more enveloping obviously, and in some scenes, front soundstage are "pulled" off the front towards middle of room, expanding in depth).
For anyone interested in converting to 7.1: I've listened to the rear and side channels by themselves with main channels off to hear what "type" of sound come out of these speakers, and found that there is really not much distinct sound, just a lot of echoey jibberish stuff :-). While timbre matched is better, I do think you could cheat a little on the surrounds and even if you have to use a different in-ceiling speaker like B&W, I think it's worth it.