Originally Posted by Tacoboy
Current 5.0 setup is Beta 40s (front, bi-wired) Beta 20s (back) and a Beta 360 center, receiver is an Onkyo TX-SR706B.
(not using Outlaw sub-woofer because I share wall/floor with neighbors)
If I bought a pair of Beta 10s for a 7.1 setup, would it be better to use the 10s as the surround speakers, and the 20s as back, or use the 10s as back speakers and use the 20s as surrounds?
(I would no longer bi-wire the 40s).
Don't disagree in principle with Looneybomber on power considerations, but I doubt it will be an issue in practice, and I suggest at least trying 7.1. It will be a subtle effect on most material. Controlled listening tests with good multichannel material reveal most people prefer 7.1 to 5.1. If you are hearing lots of localization from the back surrounds, you're not set up right. The benefit should be a greater sense of envelopment. I use Logic 7 for all music sources and sometimes upmix 5.1 movie soundtracks. Just wish there were more discrete 7.1 soundtracks. You may find that 7.1 is not worth the hassle at this time. Especially if you only listen to music in stereo. If you don't think it's worth it, then no harm done.
If you do it, a couple of suggestions. Try not to have the back surrounds directly across from the opposite side fronts. With back surrounds, you can move the side surrounds up slightly ahead of the seating area. You can find the layout diagrams on Dolby's site or in a Harman Kardon receiver manual (available online from their website). That layout is the international standard that was used in the controlled listening tests. It is also the layout recording engineers should but don't always follow
It really won't matter whether you use the Beta 10s or 20s as side or back surrounds. The added bass extension of the 20s will be not be used with your receiver's surround channel crossover. The only issue with both would be the rear ports. They need room away from walls to breathe.