I went from 5.1 to 7.2 and it really was what I was looking for. I played around with 9.2 and had to really figure out what was going on, but realized I wasn't really benefiting those extra channels. I found the biggest thing for me was to add side surrounds
. Front heights didn't add much to my experience, at least not as noticeable as the side surrounds. Going to two subs really helped with landing impact and filling every corner, and I'm just a sucker for symmetry a bit. I run my side surrounds hot
compared to the mains, and my center a little hot too. I run my rears hotter than the rest because I find that during playback of films, it's very different compared to doing channel settings with test tones and the setup on the AVR. I run them quite hotter than the rest (the rears). Running hot surrounds & rears, I felt it was the biggest addition to making films feel like you were really in them and that the dramatic shifting of effects over channels was a lot more noticeable and fun. Things that went off to the left or right really went
that way instead of just sort of hinting at it with a 5.1. I just watched Battleship on it and things flying around and explosions that moved were very dramatic in the sense that they were flying left and right and behind me, very noticeable, not just subtle, which made it a lot more fun. It was less dramatic in the 5.1 setup. I tried surrounds in the rear, but found that simply running my rears hotter did the same thing essentially since there's so little information that goes to the rear anyways in most films. Front heights didn't add much for me, at least that was really noticeable. Side surrounds though added a big immersion feeling and really made left and right a lot more dramatic which is a lot more fun. Going 7.2 was definitely a good thing. I don't regret any of it a bit. I don't however see myself needing more than that. I tried some extra channels and just felt like for my room size, and current media, just didn't have much benefit.
Hard enough as it is to fit things into a cramped condo as it is. Can't wait to build the house so I can get a projector and screen and some proper seats like some of you guys; I'm quite envious of the gorgeous setups posted so far!