Originally Posted by garymaurizi
Am I wrong in wanting a universal Auro-3D 7.1.4 setup with rear surrounds and rear heights?
No, but given the utter lack of Auro-3D native titles (with grim prospects of that changing at this point), I'm not sure how much it really matters.... Most of the Auro-3D native titles are also available with Atmos (Red Tails excepted and various music titles, possibly a few more).
I setup rear heights for Atmos and have a speaker selector switchbox that lets me redirect rear heights to side heights for Auro-3D titles. That way I have the option of the surround height playback option for Auro-3D without having to change the configuration at all (since it's channel based, it doesn't know the difference, the content is the same, only the speaker location is different).
(so that I can also use them for atmos front/rear heights at the same time?) I have also read that Auro-3D doesn't do that well with rear heights in-place of the side heights
I dunno; it sounds pretty OK to my ears, especially with top middle extracted from front/rear heights (extracted works with Auro and DTS X and gets around the DTS 11 channel limit). With movies, I don't know how much it really matters (positions might be a little different but they're both off-screen anyway). I like rear heights on if anyone is sitting in the 2nd/3rd rows, but if it's only front, I switch to side (I can have both play at the same time by driving them in parallel from the same switchbox).
and that atmos does better with top front/top rear in-ceiling speakers instead of heights all-together?
I have not found that to be the case. I imagine it might be more noticeable in some rooms for certain effects when they're closer to the listener than closer to the screen, but if you have the top middle speakers (again I use extracted), I think height is better since the effects go all the way to the top of the screen and pan anywhere in-between there and the back of the room.
am I just making both modes sound worse by trying to accommodate both options with minor sacrifices to each (at least until technology catches up and gets cheaper)? I'm starting to think that might be the case here?
I went even further with the speaker selector box. I could add a second box and put top middle ceiling speakers up too and use it to switch between side height and ceiling top without too much difficulty (beyond having to mount more speakers). You can't just switch them with a remote, though. I have to actually get up and push a button on the box (rough I know).
I have a 18x12 room with the couch right in the middle and all of the 7.1 speakers mounted on the walls. (fronts 6 ft apart on the front wall 8 feet from the MLP, sides to the left and right approx 3 ft from MLP, rears 6 ft apart and 8 feet from the MLP) so it's harder to imagine giving up my rear surrounds in my current setup.
I wouldn't. I think rear surrounds are great, especially with multiple rows (I have 3 rows of seating in a 12x24' room. The back row sounds the most interesting for surround effects, IMO if the rears are used well (a virtual near 24 foot long "vortex of sound" to the front with things flying everywhere on the Atmos demos (well they fly everywhere in the other seats two, but some are behind and in front, etc. All in front or right overhead or to the sides is kind of wild with 4 speakers in-between before it ever gets to the front quarter of the room where there are 7 more speakers and a subwoofer....My rear speakers are full range towers so I'm not even sure I need a second sub; the bass is already crazy earthshaking everywhere in the room)
I could always push the couch up against the back wall, opening up the whole floor plan (which is what I wanted to do initially regarding furniture layout but sacrificed in order to gain better speaker placement) and at that point with the couch against the wall it would make sense to ditch the rear surrounds and just move the side surrounds back approx. 4 feet... then I could use one of these cheaper units that does auro-3D with 5.1+4 height+VOG and do atmos with 5.1+rear/front heights+Unused VOG but even in this setup it seems like both would suffer a bit because the rear heights are supposed to be at a slight angle angled at the MLP and they would practically be angled straight downward...
Honestly, given the lack of Auro-3D titles, I wouldn't base a layout around Auro alone at this point. I know it's tempting because that whole Voice of God thing just sounds cool (I've got an extra channel ready to hook up the speaker if I can find a way to mount it where the rear gets a clear output given the ceiling beam across the middle of the room), but the existing heights simulate it pretty well.
For some reason I am just hesitant to sacrifice my rear surrounds? I feel like there's more atmos content (as much as I'd like the option to do auro-3D) and I feel like I would be losing more giving up the rear surrounds in a 7.1.4 atmos setup than I would be gaining from having a correct auro-3D speaker placement?
That's why I have a speaker selector box (Monoprice 2-in 2-out unit with volume control which means I don't even have to adjust the volume when I move the rear heights to the side since I did it once and then forget).
DTS X sounds pretty wicked with 9.1.6 as well.... (watched Jurassic Park Fallen Kingdom with 3D and DTS X sound this past week; pretty sweet sounding and looked/sounded great in all the seats other than sometimes the rear speakers didn't have much ambience in scenes where nothing big was coming up from behind. I don't think they figured most home setups would have rear speakers 10 feet behind the side speakers..... The Atmos demos where things fly around the room are wicked (a bird flys from the left side into the back around to the right side and halfway forward and then across right in front of my couch up over my left shoulder (changing height as it flies in places). I think that was the Atmos "Amaze" demo.... The "Conductor" one was pretty cool too when the cartoon guy swings around the back of the room and animals are all over the place.