Originally Posted by sdrucker
Just my own $0.02 - some of the more serious experts on the thread like sdurani or maikeldepotter can discuss the details in depth - but my feeling is that the "huge gap" has to do with not wanting to compromise the integrity of the soundstage between L/C/R where the vast majority of the sound you'll hear is dedicated, even in a high channel count setup with a Trinnov processor. Our human hearing is far more sensitive to those locations than, say, object passthrough for left screen or right screen speakers in all but the largest home theaters.
Those speakers don't really address what I'm talking about. So-called "Wide" speakers (more like front side surrounds really) appear to be an invention to fill gaps between the front speakers and the side speakers. Of course, to really make it complete, you'd want wall rear side walls and rear back walls with a rear center (I think DTS: X offers all these as potential locations for speakers whereas Atmos doesn't seem to like a rear center at all even though it's probably necessary to lock the location for off-axis listeners, assuming films would actually use that location as most do very little with it in 6.1 soundtracks).
I'm talking about more along the lines of 70mm soundtracks that had 5 speakers behind the screen (far left, mid left, center, mid right, far right) all in a straight line. Most of the diagrams I'm seeing for front wide put it halfway between the side surrounds and the front of the room on the side walls or in a straight line back from the left front. In any case, any speakers not in a straight line from the center speaker aren't going to be useful for panned dialog.
Here's a good picture of what I'm referring to in a theater Atmos type environment that uses a full 5 speakers across the front screen ((http://i.imgur.com/X4vco9k.jpg
That type of setup can easily pan between positions along the screen with hard points at 5 distinct locations (making it lock in for more audience positions on a large screen than just 3 speakers where people sitting off the center axis are going to have position errors due to stereo phantom imaging being offset by them not sitting in the center). Obviously, the more speakers that can hard transition a pan, the less the seating location matters (this applies to any speaker panning). And that's what's great about Atmos and DTS:X. They can discretely pan to individual speakers between a lot of locations instead of having to rely on phantom imaging which only works best in the center. It also means something like a rocket flying into the back of the room doesn't just jump from the front to side to back, but moves along the wall at every point there's a speaker with phantom bits in-between. This sounds more smooth than relying on phantom stereo pans between simple arrays. The point is that having 5 speakers behind (or likely over or under in a home environment) means you could
have panned dialog that sounds accurate for more listening locations than near the center. But this is only going to matter for very large screens at home. I have a 93" screen at 9 feet and 5 speakers would probably be way too much. A 200" screen? Maybe.
It's probably only really important for large theaters which is why you're only seeing that typically deployed in that environment, although I can imagine a well designed "sound bar" that's only used for a center would probably work some serious magic for Atmos at home if a receiver offered that option. But without panned dialog, it's probably moot for most applications since most mixes (as you have already noticed with Audessey receivers that support "wide" and move more sound effects there) do very little with points along the actual screen for sound in general, let alone dialog. But try watching something like Cars or Gravity and you should find them used a LOT more (it might be helpful to have a definitive list of movies that support a lot of panned dialog; I know I've seen more, but with 700+ movies, my memory is pretty foggy which ones had it and which ones didn't offhand).
I don't think that T4 is as dismal as many make it out to be, but it's really more of a fanfic type re-imaging than a real connection to the classic first two films. They really should have stopped after Judgment Day.
By T4 I meant Transformers 4 (and it being the first blu-ray with an Atmos soundtrack), not Terminator 4.
As for the Terminator series, I actually liked the basic time travel plot to Gensys (that would be T5 I suppose if you wanted to call it that), but I think the actors playing John and Sarah Connor sucked as did that bad guy (magnetic dude terminator). That's what made it hokey. If they had a more believable terminator and better actors, the time travel aspects (not to mention watching Arnold kick his own younger butt were pretty novel). It'd be interesting to see what James Cameron does (if anything) once he gets the rights back to the Terminator series.
But Transformers? I'd be in favor of a reboot or a TV Spin-off that isn't so darn focused on tiny gears and blowing crap up constantly. As a kid, I actually liked the original cartoon series and still have (mint) all my old Transformer toys from the early '80s. But the movies really didn't work for me. It was hard to even recognize Soundwave or Megatron, particularly in robot form they looked little or nothing like the cartoon versions and don't get me started on Mr. Labouf as an actor (I could forgive the acting of Megan Fox because she was so hot then, but I digress....