Originally Posted by Swoosh830
Is there any advantage to having the .6 configured as TF, TM, and TR instead of FH, TM, RH as you seem to have? It's my understanding that FH/RH is best when playing DTS:X material, but if having a FH/TM/RH configuration would be kind of a "one size fits all" for both Atmos and DTS:X material, I may consider that for my upcoming 7.2.6 setup. This would prevent me from switching between separate FH/RH and TF, TM, and TR profiles.
Good question! I actually had this thought myself, and I repeated some of my Endgame tests with a TF+TM+TR layout rather than FH+TM+RH.
The results appeared to be identical. All of the musical score + ambient effects remained locked to the TM speakers, and the TF/TR speakers just got occasional sounds from discrete effects zinging through those spots.
I would speculate that Atmos is less "sensitive" to this label change than is DTS:X, because the overhead effects are true objects and not fixed channel outputs. When DTS:X overheads are labeled "top" instead of "height", it engages its remapping algorithm to try and virtually relocate the overhead sound effects, using ear-level speakers to try and pull the sound downward and outward. So for example, if there's a sound in the RHL speaker, but you have it assigned as TRL, that sound will be spread between the TRL, SL, and SBL speakers so the phantom image is pulled outward.
Atmos, while it does try to position sounds based on speaker locations, doesn't have the sounds fixed to a specific channel. So for example, if a missile zooms overhead, and you have 6 height speakers, it will pass through the front pair, then the middle pair, then the rear pair as the sound travels overhead. Whether the front/rear pair is labeled "height" or "top", that sound is panning through the three pairs of speakers in sequence. So I think it will preserve the directionality of overhead pans either way.
Now, from a practical perspective.... having that extra pair of middle overheads means that overhead sounds should be anchored directly overhead, so you have more flexibility to spread the front/rear overheads farther forward/rearward to create more separation and have more seamless transitions (e.g. if a sound travels up off the screen into the overheads). With only 4 overheads, if you spread them out farther then you create a "gap" in the sound directly overhead. With 6 that's not an issue, so I would lean towards pushing them further apart and labeling them as "FH/RH", which has the side benefit of providing better cross-format support for DTS:X and Auro3D without "penalizing" Atmos so much.