Originally Posted by garymaurizi
When you mentioned using a speaker selector box for the sides/rears, do you mean that you have a 7.1 bed layer, front height, side height, rear height speakers mounted and the side and rear heights run into a selector box then when you play auro3d content you just switch the box so that the signal the receiver thinks is going to rear height speakers actually gets sent to a pair of speakers mounted in the side heights position and the pair of speakers mounted in the rear height position sit there doing nothing?
The Monoprice 2-in, 2-out box has 2 sets of inputs and 2 sets of outputs and on the front three sets of controls (volume knob and source A/B selector button and on/off button). I have the Onkyo Dolby Pro Logic extraction output (Top Middle) going into Input 1 and the Rear Height going into Input 2. I have Output 1 going to the Side Height speaker and Output 2 going to the Rear Height speaker. I have the volume knobs set so that when I switch rear height to side height they are at the same level (with output volumes adjusted accordingly to make that happen). Thus, I never have to adjust volume again. I can turn either set of speakers On/Off (that one should be obvious). Otherwise, I can set the output speakers (side and rear) to Input 1 or Input 2. I would never need to set the Rear height speakers to Input 1 as what would be the point in playing Top Middle in the back of the room?
For Atmos & DTS X, I have the side heights set to Input 1 (Top Middle) and the Rear set to Input 2 (Rear Height) (i.e. the AVR is set to output Rear Height and Front Height as the 4 overhead channels).
Now I have THREE (well technically more) choices with Auro-3D material.
1> Leave it the Same as Atmos/X (Front Height + Top Middle + Rear Height). This actually sounds pretty good, at least with movie material (The Auro-3D demo sounded pretty good to me too with the flyovers being more realistic into the back of the room). In fact, I'm starting to wonder if this isn't the best setting with three rows, at least for movies. I get nothing out of the rear bed speakers, but the rear heights are active, which helps make up for it.
2> Set Output 1 to Input 2 (i.e. Send Rear Height to Surround Height, which is the side heights). Turn off Output 2. This gives "Pure" Auro-3D 9.1 (or 10.1 if I added the VOG). This is how it's meant to sound. It works fine for the front (main) row of seats. Sitting behind it leaves the back sounding pretty empty. You get some behind sounds in the front row because I have the side surround and height speakers behind the front row somewhat, maybe 110-115 degrees or so (I didn't measure exactly, just move the couch forward a bit).
3> Set Output 1 to Input 2 as in 2, but leave Output 2 ALSO set to Input 2. This drives the speakers in parallel and so I get identical information out of both the side heights and the rear heights (similar to an actual Auro 10.1 theater). This gives pretty close to normal Auro for the main row, but gives row 2 & 3 material behind it. This sounds good for all three rows. I'm still not sure if I prefer this or option 1 for multiple row playback. I'd need to compare more material. Both sound pretty good in their own way. I think option 1 sounds more like Atmos.
Another possible option is to turn off the side heights entirely (Output 1 to OFF) and play Front Height + Rear Height only. I can do this for any input. This just negates the output from the Onkyo units. To make sure all material gets there (or with Auro), the Onkyo units should be set to BYPASS mode (so they're not removing the in-phase material any longer).
if so, are the auro3d signals sent to speakers configured in the avr as rear heights identical to the signal sent to speakers configured in the avr as side heights? or do you just end up with the auro3d signal meant for rear heights coming out of the side height speakers?
Auro-3D is a channel based system, not an object based system for the home so there is literally zero difference between setting an AVR to "Side Surround" or "Rear Surround" in terms of the output going to those channels (the only thing affected is whether it will allow Atmos to play to that channel as the AVR allows Atmos to Rear Height but not Side Surround as Atmos is object based and rear is rear. I think it should allow top middle to there as Atmos sounds good through an Auro-3D layout; I don't know why this isn't an option really). So I leave it set to "Rear Height" in the settings and the speaker box just sends the signal to either the side height speakers or the rear height speakers or both at the same time. You could set up a box to duplicate the side surround bed channels to play through the rear bed channels when playing Auro-3D if you wanted to. The Denon 8500H (and I assume also the Marantz pre/pro equivalent) does send the upmixer output to the rear channels on Auro 9.1/10.1 movies and with the couple of 13.1 movies available, it sends true rear surround information the lower rear channels. It does NOT have a separate rear "height" channel, however. Setting Auro to use Rear Height just moves the side height channel to the rear location.
This is the main reason I think Auro-3D is inferior to Atmos and even X (despite its 11-channel limit that can be overcome using multiple AVRs or external extraction) as there is no way to make up for material that doesn't exist. You can extract speakers in-between channels, but you can't make a rear channel. You could move the side channel to the rear and extract a channel between the side and front or between side and wide, though, but it's not really where it's meant to be physically speaking.
Also, do the side heights really sound THAT much better than rear heights with auro3d content? why go through the trouble?
Some say they do. The only way I would know is if I tried them for myself. I haven't listened to enough material to make up my mind yet. Either way, I already had side heights in position from my previous 6.1 setup. I simply added lower/bed speakers there. I would have had to patch the wall to move them so I figured why not reuse them and have the option of "true" Auro-3D as it's meant to be setup for 9.1/10.1? I would like the side heights another 12-14 inches higher on the wall, but the steel beam box makes that impossible and I need all rows to get the information so the S50 bipolars are perfect for that. There is some concern about parallel driving might be hard on the AVR, however. It's best to have 8 Ohm speakers for this.
I have thought about putting dual ceiling speakers with a switchbox to use ceiling Atmos and dual-mono VOG choices (as you ask lower down), but because of the steel beam, it would be difficult to find a really good location for all seats to hear them (at least not without having wires across the ceiling to put them further forward so it reaches there). I haven't really decided. I can't be sure if Atmos would sound better in that position in my room without actually hearing it. I do know the side heights sound good and just seem to move the image over slightly (barely noticeable since it's only a 2 foot difference).
also, assuming I'm correct about all of this, have you thought about a second selector box to duplicate the signal sent to side heights over to the inactive back heights
As stated above, the box already does that. I can have side height by itself, rear height by itself or both at the same time (or neither if you really want to get technical about options).
and signal sent to side surrounds over to the rear surrounds, so they aren't sitting there doing nothing during auro3d content? or would this just make things sound worse and muddy up positioning?
It just moves the positioning back slightly from the front and adds it behind for the other rows. It doesn't "blur" (it's the way human hearing works for near time delays; it just changes the phantom imaging. Now if the speakers were really different from each other, it might sound bad, I suppose.
I'd need either a second box (parallel option) or another amp to duplicate the side surrounds. The wiring will get messier and messier the crazier you go with this stuff. I've been thinking about adding speakers between side surround and rear surround on the bed level next, probably matrixed to start, but maybe eventually extracted for them and the front wides. I keep thinking about it. 11.1.6 would be pretty sweet for precise imaging for all rows....
Does this limitation with Auro-3D never using the rear surround speakers exist on the X8500H? how about the Marantz av7704?
As indicated above, those send the Auro upmixer output to the rear bed surrounds on those models (assuming the 7704 is the 13 channel Marantz; I didn't look it up). The Auro upmixer isn't real noticeable, but would probably help with multiple rows (something is coming out of them at least). True 13.1 material would play full on back there on those models, but I'm only aware of TWO such native releases so far (Johnny Mnemonic and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, neither of which have particularly great mixes anyway, from what I've been told (I have Johnny, but haven't watched it yet).
This is really a serious bummer...
No, the real bummer is the lack of Auro-3D Native titles. But then, I'm convinced Atmos is better for movies at this point as it offers the most flexibility for adding more channels (although Neural X is the best upmixer, IMO). Auro's upmixer sounds good for music, though (although I kind of like multi-channel stereo once I adjust the levels so the surrounds aren't overwhelming; I then saved a copy on a smart button for music).
Even with your speaker selector box solution you still end up with rear surround and rear height speakers doing nothing during auro3d playback, is this correct?
See above. I get rear height if I want it.
Lastly, I don't like the idea of having a central singular VOG speaker that doesnt work for atmos playback positions, has anyone ever thought of doing something like two VOG speakers (in the atmos top middle L+R positions) connected to a 2 way selector box with one source matrixed from the front/rear heights and the second source from the VOG subwoofer 2 pre-amp output? that way you don't just have a VOG speaker up there doing nothing during all of your atmos playback? or am I wrong and atmos/dts is able to use the single top-center position VOG speaker already?
That's what I was thinking of doing above. Yes, DTS can use the VOG speaker, at least on the 8500 (if there are any channel allocations available left to it, but given its 11-channel limitation that is highly unlikely even on the 8500 unless you're willing to give up top middle AND rear surround as options since you'd need 5.1.6 to do 6 overheads; this has been verified as possible, however). One advantage to that 5.1.6 configuration, however is that with the 8500 you can have top center (speaker above the center channel speaker) and thus you'd get TWO channels in the middle of the room for something like a plane to take direct path down the middle of the room through real speakers. In my experience, IN PHASE (centered) overhead material is rare. Movies just don't seem to put much in that path. I've got a Disney Pirates of the Caribbean Movie (On Stranger Tides) where at the opening with the castle flag waving it IS in phase in the side surrounds and you hear the flag whip right over your head (pretty sweet sounding) so it IS possible. I can't understand why more material doesn't do this. They seem to keep it spread out phase wise (e.g. Star Wars Battlefront demo has tie fighters flying overhead, etc. but at least here they're not real pin-point, kind of "way up there" vague sounding instead "right over you head" in the middle (i.e. spread across multiple speakers at varying amounts). Things like rain etc. are right overhead, but they're also right overhead "everywhere" too. That's where I imagine ceiling speakers might help a bit as it IS overhead at the sides of the room on either side and if those were closer to the MLP they'd still sound up there more, but again, we're talking two feet so it wouldn't be the same as in-phase straight over your head effects. Keep in mind I've only watched a handful of movies so far what with the 7010 dying and having other things to do in life as well.