Originally Posted by gajCA
In my 5.1 system I have the rears at ear height when standing and I do like the added sensation of height it provides.
Not sure about not running a center in a surround system though; it always sounds better with it to my ears.
Running a phantom center in the pre-Atmos era meant that all the dialogue clarity would be stuffed into the left and right channels, which are already doing heavy duty for explosions and such, so naturally it would be muddier. Plus, the center has dedicated information so it makes sense to keep it separated, if only for the fact that 3 speakers and do a better job than two. In the Atmos Era, more speakers the better as well, but I think having precise pin-point accuracy on each channel via concentric or coaxial drivers, combined with angle aware processing, can deliver a much more precise sound field, better matching the director's intent. Especially for people who have, say, their left and right mains on the sides and the center underneath (or above) the TV. The center would be "off" if fed in a naive way considering it's at several degrees lower than the mains. I'd love to have two centers, personally.
Ideally, we need to move away from channels and have processors capable of an arbitrary number of speakers placed in arbitrary positions in any room (ideally equidistant from each other in a hemi-spherical pattern around the MLP). So I would actually go in the opposite direction from this thread: get more speakers in there. It's still a great idea to try these KEF axials. I was considering scrapping my active JBLs /w waveguides and switching to an all-Volt-10 DIY Atmos setup, but it's a lot of money (even despite the low cost of the speakers), unless I sell my current speakers. First I want an AVR which is flexible enough to let me place my Atmos speakers where I want, and so far only Yamaha has this capability. (3D angle measurements).
ps that pioneer for $479 with 5.1? NO. That's not a good deal. You can get full 7.2 for that price easily. Don't reward these companies offering less and charging more, that's screwing the entire AV market. We should be demanding MORE channels, not less, and cheaper too. It's such a scam how all affordable Atmos AVRs are still stuck on 7.2, and now they're lowering that even more and charging the same price for it? No, no, no. It means you have to pick between ever adding surround speakers or getting rid of heights for Atmos. This is awful, a step in completely the wrong direction. I've heard virtual surround stuff before, it's nowhere near as good as having rear speakers back there.