Originally Posted by bargugl
This is not a PSA or subwoofer question, but since I don't feel like posting a new thread and asking a larger audience (not to mention this is one of the most helpful and best threads on avs), I'll ask here anyway. For those that have gone atmos, is it worth it to go to just 5.1.2 over my current 5.1? I don't mean by cost, but is improvement of sound quality worth my time to set it up.
Background: I was planning on using some of the old speakers I have laying around to put together a basic 5.0 for my kids (for gaming and because my eldest is becoming a music snob and has put together a collection of jazz on vinyl which I also need to get a turntable for, darn half price books outlet and 50 cent vinyl). In my effort to just buy a cheap receiver (the only thing I would need to buy to do it), I managed to pick up a brand new Onkyo TX-NR676 for $150. Since it has hdcp 2.2 and doesn't really reflect any downgrade in quality from my old HK AVR2600, I thought I would just use it for my main system instead and use the HK for the kids system so I can utilize the switching and ARC capability and simplify my wiring.
There's no way my current space can do standard 7.1 or 5.2.4. It's a two floor space with a vaulted ceiling (and a lot of other layout challenges), however, the loft over part of the space creates a ledge where I could mount a couple speakers to downfire directly over the listening positions for atmos since the onkyo does support 5.2.2. I've got a couple old small JBL's with mounting brackets I can use. Not great speakers, but since my understanding is I only need them for effects, they should do the job. Do you think it's worth my trouble to do this? Will I notice much difference vs straight 5.1?
I believe I can speak to this. I’m in the process of downsizing, and one of the things I had to do was sell my 2 channel amp necessary to power all 11 channels. I’m now only powering the top rear Atmos channels (the front Atmos are unused), and of course, the fronts. Sides and rears. Do I notice a difference? Wish I could say I do, but I don’t at all. As has been mentioned, there are some films (such as the Harry Potter movies) that make good use of these channels and are well mixed, but they are in the minority, imho.
Recently, I noticed that my rear channels had become disconnected, I didn’t notice for months, and this has happened in the past with more important channels and I never detected it.
The lesson I think is that these channels are usually used sparingly, and while they do contribute, their effects aren’t normally easy to identify. This lesson has been reinforced recently with my experience using a Sennheiser Ambeo soundbar in the bedroom. It’s a great piece of kit, but the side and rear effects are rather subtle. Some on the Ambeo soundbar forum are disappointed, but to my ears, this is just as it should be.
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