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Playing 5.1 source material on a 7.1 setup

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
What do you old surround hands with 7.1 setups do to utilize the rears when listening to 5.1 source material?

Or do you not use the rears with music?

I'm generally not a big fan of matrixing, but if I want the rears to play I have to use the Dolby PLIIx Music mode, and that doesn't sound quite right to me.

But I'm in a listening environment where my very directional MTM side surrounds cannot be aimed with my ears directly on axis (They're permanently mounted too high), yet I can with the rears.
post #2 of 22
I use PLIIx-Movie mode for everything, music mode sounds odd to me too. Movie mode sounds very natural and engaging.
post #3 of 22
I never even thought to try Dolby PLIIx with any 5.1 material such as sacd's or dvd-a's.

I convert to Dolby PLIIx 7.1 with 2 channel material all the time. I will try 7.1 when I get home with some sacd's and dvd-a's when I get home tonight and report back.
post #4 of 22
So I tried out 7.1 with my sacd's and dvd-a's. I like it, so PL IIx cinema mode for me moving forward!

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears with my setup, the 5.1 stays intact and true. The PLIIx just adds the 2 rears into the mix. In short, the 5.1 channels are not changed at all.

The Doors Perception boxset upmixed from 5.1 to 7.1 sounded exceptionally good!
post #5 of 22
I absolutely love converting 5.1 to "7.1" on my Home Theater. I have rather large speakers all of the way around with 2 capable subs. A Denon AVR-4806/DVD-3910 combo. using DenonLink with only the AVRs matrixing function, and it works great....Sanjay explained that the surround information is mixed in either a mono or stereo format (or something similar) and gives an actual "6."1 effect with multichannel music!

Pretty much all of the Talking Heads Dual-disks are excellent source material for taking advantage of this effect with Burning Down the House being my absolute favorite to show off my Home Theater.

Unfortuantely, last week my DVD-3910 stopped playing SACDs so now I must get another player....Thinking about a refurbished DVD-2930...
post #6 of 22
I often use Lexicon Logic 7 as an overlay to 5.1 surround discs. I find that it greatly improves the sound field on 5.1 recordings that are not mixed all that well. However, I also find it detrimental at times to 5.1 recordings that are extremely well mixed such as those by Steven Wilson or that already have a lot of natural ambiance. In those instances I prefer straight 5.1 with the surrounds simply duplicated in the rears.

I also use PLIIx Music to enhance DD 5.1 recordings such as Steve Miller's "Fly Like an Eagle" with excellent results.
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post


Pretty much all of the Talking Heads Dual-disks are excellent source material for taking advantage of this effect with Burning Down the House being my absolute favorite to show off my Home Theater.

Totally agree--I've recommended this disc a few times here on AVS.
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroatl View Post

So I tried out 7.1 with my sacd's and dvd-a's. I like it, so PL IIx cinema mode for me moving forward!

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears with my setup, the 5.1 stays intact and true. The PLIIx just adds the 2 rears into the mix. In short, the 5.1 channels are not changed at all.

The Doors Perception boxset upmixed from 5.1 to 7.1 sounded exceptionally good!

With PLIIx Cinema, sounds that are in both the SR and SL get moved to the back surrounds. With PLIIx Music, the SBR plays the same content as SR and the SBL plays same content as SL. In general terms anyway.
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by quattroatl View Post

Correct me if I'm wrong but it appears with my setup, the 5.1 stays intact and true. The PLIIx just adds the 2 rears into the mix. In short, the 5.1 channels are not changed at all.

Only with PLIIx Music, not PLIIx Movie. See below.
Quote:
Originally Posted by primetimeguy View Post

With PLIIx Cinema, sounds that are in both the SR and SL get moved to the back surrounds. With PLIIx Music, the SBR plays the same content as SR and the SBL plays same content as SL. In general terms anyway.

Pretty close. The main difference is after the surround-back information is extracted to the rear speakers, PLIIx Movie mode cancels that info from the side speakers (to emphasize rear-vs-side separation) while PLIIx Music mode doesn't (to emphasize rear-plus-side envelopment).
post #10 of 22
Don't most modern surround sound processors have a 5.1 to 7.1 upmix mode wherein the extra 2 channels are synthesized from the 5.1 mix? Seems to me you give it a listen versus native and decide for yourself.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post
Only with PLIIx Music, not PLIIx Movie. See below. Pretty close. The main difference is after the surround-back information is extracted to the rear speakers, PLIIx Movie mode cancels that info from the side speakers (to emphasize rear-vs-side separation) while PLIIx Music mode doesn't (to emphasize rear-plus-side envelopment).
I have to do more critical listening because on my Denon 3310, the display shows Multi-In + PLII c for cinema or m for music. When I choose m for music, the front soundstage sounds more spread out and different from the original 5.1. With multi-in and plii+c, the upconverted 7.1 sounds more similar to the original 5.1 mix.

With many sacd's and dvd-a's, I leave it on 5.1 as it sounds the best that way as mentioned by another user.
post #12 of 22
Listening with HT can't be compared to radio or other sources for a fair comparison. So, do we actually know what it sounded like when the artist mixed it? Most audiophiles strive for listening experience to be a close to the artist intentions as possible. But on a practical note, pick the format that you like, 5.1, 7.1 or two channel stereo. Sometimes we get caught up in all these format and miss the big picture. That is to enjoy your setup.
post #13 of 22
Sorry to resurrect such an old thread (yay for zombie threads!), but I've been experimenting a bit recently with my system and thought I'd chime in with some of my opinion-based observations on 5.1 into 7.1:

My system has been 5.1 since the start. I use towers in all positions (the four corners are essentially identical, three-ways with a 12" woofer, but the center is a smaller tower of a completely different brand, which no doubt causes timbre-matching issues). I use these speakers because they sound good, handle the power I push through them, and they are paid for (the four corners are all about 30 years old now - replaced the rubber surrounds once already). They aren't anything fancy, but everyone likes the sound when we watch movies, commenting on how smooth and natural it seems, not harsh or boomy, etc. I have dual Epik Empires up front, so I don't rely on the speakers for anything below 50 or 60Hz.

I recognize they won't last forever, and perhaps it is time to start researching upgrades. If I want 5.1 I could go with towers all around, but if I want to go 7.1 then bookshelf speakers might be a better choice - I can mount the rear surrounds up high behind the third row of seating. I would prefer to have identical speakers all around, including the center, which is very possible with bookshelves. So as an experiment, I hooked up a spare pair of Sony bookshelf speakers as rear surrounds. (I use these same speakers in a 5.1 set-up in the living room, and they are quite good value, IMHO). I did some basic level matching and EQing, but did not bother running Audyssey on my Onkyo 808. I may do that this weekend, but I have found I don't like the results Audyssey gives - the sound is too "muffled" for lack of a better word.

I had a chance to do some listening last night. Played the first couple of track from Opeth's Blackwater Park 5.1 disk (DTS track) and the first four or five songs from Neil Young's Harvest. I tried out PL IIx Music and Movie, and compared to straight multichannel audio. I have two possible Main Listening Positions in the room - center of front row or center of middle row. In both spots, the non-matrixed 5.1 multichannel presentation sounded as expected, but when I engaged either PL IIx mode it seemed to be a little more "enveloping" from the rear. While there were differences in Music vs Movie, I didn't feel either was bad - it might depend on the source material more than anything. I'll do some jazz or classical this weekend, and throw in a bunch of Steven Wilson / Porcupine Tree, of course.

In case anyone is curious or wants to comment: my two current faves for investigating further for possible speakers are the Klipsch line (which I have heard RF-82s in person and did not find them harsh) and the HSU bookshelves - both horn-based, but very different it seems. Ask me again in a week, and it might be two other brands. So I'll be trolling the speaker forum for a while, and whenever the day comes when I feel the need to replace my current hardware, I may actually be prepared to make a decision... eek.gif

Anyway, just a light ramble on some recent observations, with some context to help explain. More comments will likely follow.

shinksma
post #14 of 22
My Bryston SP3 automatically converts 5.1 DD material to 7.1 EX.biggrin.gif
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by shinksma View Post

In both spots, the non-matrixed 5.1 multichannel presentation sounded as expected, but when I engaged either PL IIx mode it seemed to be a little more "enveloping" from the rear.
Isn't that what would be expected: 4 speakers can literally surround you (provide greater wrap-around envelopment) than 2 speakers can.
post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Isn't that what would be expected: 4 speakers can literally surround you (provide greater wrap-around envelopment) than 2 speakers can.

Yes, that was the expected result. But sometimes the unexpected happens, and I wanted to verify.

Plus, there was the possibility that while more enveloping, it might have been less enjoyable, or seemed muddied.

I was/am most concerned with whether 7 speakers, when used with material originally mixed for 4.0, would Do Something Bad to the rear channels. My 5.1set-up has the the rears almost at 135 deg from the point of view of the front row MLP (fronts at about 45 or maybe 50 deg). Which seems to work very well for the original DSOTM quad mix, for example. When I listen to stuff mixed for the "recommended" 5.1 layout, the middle row MLP seems like a better spot, since the rears are at about 120 deg (and the fronts at 35 or 40 deg). Adding two speakers to the mix (pun intended) might help with 5.1 material but might be detrimental to 4.0 material (all IMHO of course - others may differ in their experiences). I intend to do more listening this weekend with a variety of 4.0 and 5.1 mixes, and a bunch of movies that are in "native" 7.1.

shinksma
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by shinksma View Post

Sorry to resurrect such an old thread (yay for zombie threads!), but I've been experimenting a bit recently with my system and thought I'd chime in with some of my opinion-based observations on 5.1 into 7.1...

shinksma

My original comments are above and I still LOVE converting 5.1 music into 7.1 using 2 subwoofers and large speakers all of the way around and I listen to almost exclusively multichannel music. smile.gif
post #18 of 22
I configured my processor to use PLIIx by default since most material is 5.1 and I have a 7.1 system. What happens if the movie is 7.1 (like DTS HD MA or Dolby TrueHD), and I use PLIIx? Does it still do any processing?
post #19 of 22
Nope.
post #20 of 22
Don't forget that Dolby ProLogic II and IIx have more features enabled when Music mode is selected. Most receivers allow you to control the mixing across the front three speakers (changing the width of the soundstage) as well as the front-to-back balance. You may have to dig through your receiver's menu to find the adjustments.
post #21 of 22
* I've recently upgraded to a new surround system, and find that Dolby Pro IIx music mode brings a much more immersive sound when converting 2 channel audio. I have the main surrounds placed beside the listener (as they are intended) and find that Dolby knows how to create that phsyco acoutsic signature similar to putting on a pair of headphones, music has better penetration dimensionally in the room, and the sound stage somewhat deepens horizontally and ambiantly. The rear surrounds also help deepen and expand the soundstage cues for music. 5.1 to 7.1 Movies also benefit from the extra surrounds at the rear, and bring a more lively home theatre experience.
post #22 of 22
I have Paradigm Studio 100's as the main and Studio 20s in the rear. On the sides, I have the ADP 590s. While the ADP 590s sound ok for music, I much prefer the Studio 20 to play so I have two configurations and calibrations done... one for movies using the Denon as the decoder of codecs for 7.1 and one with the Oppo (using external inputs on the Denon) for 5.1. Unfortunately, this requires me to swap out the speakers manually which is rather quick with banana clips but the minor effort is worth it as it sounds fantastic. Personal preference as I like to listen to music directly with no additional coding to color the music... 2 channel music as 2 channel, 5.1 as 5.1. I like to hear the mix as intended.
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