Why bother with a 7, 9 or 11 channel system? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Question Why bother with a 7, 9 or 11 channel system?

I have had a decent 5.1 system for years and am pleased with it. I am a bit puzzled to see a lot of receivers and systems with 7, 9 or even 11 channels while I can hardly get content for my 5.1 system. DVDs/Blue Rays sometimes have something in the surround but most often than not, there is not much in L/R surround. Broadcast on cable does not have much in the surround either (as it comes ultimately from the same source and am not sure if cable actually broadcast the surround). There is little music videos (or just music) that has surround tracks let alone good surround (Eagle's Hell freezes over being the exception).

Content (music or movies) with good surround tracks is quite enjoyable (I caught one the other day and it was nice, thus this post).

Are there sources out there that I don't know? We even have the fairly new ATMOS technology but little to no content yet.

Can we just get good 5.1 to enjoy the systems we already have?

(just realized I should've posted this in the Surround Music Formats forum; have copied this in the other one)

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post #2 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 02:33 PM
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Don't be silly; everyone knows more is better.
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post #3 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
I have had a decent 5.1 system for years and am pleased with it. I am a bit puzzled to see a lot of receivers and systems with 7, 9 or even 11 channels while I can hardly get content for my 5.1 system. DVDs/Blue Rays sometimes have something in the surround but most often than not, there is not much in L/R surround. Broadcast on cable does not have much in the surround either (as it comes ultimately from the same source and am not sure if cable actually broadcast the surround). There is little music videos (or just music) that has surround tracks let alone good surround (Eagle's Hell freezes over being the exception).

Are there sources out there that I don't know? We even have the fairly new ATMOS technology but little to no content yet.

Can we just get good 5.1 to enjoy the systems we already have?
Hey, 5.1 ain't bad! (I often do 3.1!) But the world has moved beyond this. There is quite a bit of this kind of content out there actually, but you'll need to make a few jumps to get it, the receiver being one of them, and consideration for UHD media, where you are finding Atmos tracks, some of them quite glorious really. And of course, you'll need more speakers.....

As an example, Game of Thrones in Atmos is just at another level. Just this weekend I added my rear surrounds to move from a 5.2.4 to a 7.2.4, and I am already enjoying the benefits of this relatively minor (?) move. Not necessarily a game changer, but it does fill in the sound bubble nicely.

One thing to keep in mind with these newer processors is they give you the ability to turn just stereo sound tracks (or anything really) into as many channels as your receiver can handle. Some content is better than others of course, but it can add an enjoyable dimension to what would otherwise be pretty basic.
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post #4 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Jonas, I believe you that Game of Thrones or almost anything else is much better in Atmos. The problem is there isn't much in Atmos or in 5.1 for that matter. My point was that I'd like to get much more out of my 5.1 system before they start coming up with something else. The good old 5.1 is still under exploited, why bother with more (under exploited) systems?

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post #5 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Jonas, I believe you that Game of Thrones or almost anything else is much better in Atmos. The problem is there isn't much in Atmos or in 5.1 for that matter. My point was that I'd like to get much more out of my 5.1 system before they start coming up with something else. The good old 5.1 is still under exploited, why bother with more (under exploited) systems?

m. zillch
I've had 7.1 and 9.1 systems.
After down sizing to a smaller home I reverted back to 5.1.
I don't miss the lost channels. It's just not an issue for me.



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post #6 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 06:36 PM
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Whats not in 5.1 ?


DVD`s Netflix etc etc etc is all 5.1.......


There are over 200 movies in Atmos, music in Atmos and tons of blurays in 7.1..........




I am 5.1.2, which requires a 7 channel receiver...... , .4 Atmos requires a 9 channel receiver, but is still 5.1 base layer.




All 5.1 gets upmixed 9 channels with a .4 system......
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post #7 of 33 Old 01-21-2018, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Jonas, I believe you that Game of Thrones or almost anything else is much better in Atmos. The problem is there isn't much in Atmos or in 5.1 for that matter. My point was that I'd like to get much more out of my 5.1 system before they start coming up with something else. The good old 5.1 is still under exploited, why bother with more (under exploited) systems?
How do you feel that 5.1 is under exploited? There really is a lot for 5.1 on bluray as well as streaming content. But that is the beauty of the Dolby Surround upmixing algorithm - even if it isn't 5.1 or Atmos, or whatever you might expect it to be, it can be! Just this afternoon I was listening to 2-channel content in 11 channels. Some of it was simply breathtaking. One singer I was listening to - her voice literally had me captured in a sphere of sound. It's hard to describe! Doesn't work for everything, but when it does, it can be surreal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetGod View Post
I've had 7.1 and 9.1 systems.
After down sizing to a smaller home I reverted back to 5.1.
I don't miss the lost channels. It's just not an issue for me.
Like I said above, I often listen in 3.1! (Wouldn't want to go below that if I didn't have to, but.....) 5.1 is really great, though I would encourage nearly anybody to upgrade to at least 5.2 - I think dual subs is a real upgrade. That might be harder for you to part with.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by unretarded View Post
Whats not in 5.1 ?

DVD`s Netflix etc etc etc is all 5.1.......

There are over 200 movies in Atmos, music in Atmos and tons of blurays in 7.1..........

I am 5.1.2, which requires a 7 channel receiver...... , .4 Atmos requires a 9 channel receiver, but is still 5.1 base layer.

All 5.1 gets upmixed 9 channels with a .4 system......
All of the above!
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post #8 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 05:06 AM
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If you aren?t getting much content in your surrounds with DVDs and Blu-ray?s, then I would imagine something is configured wrong in your set up.

I went from 5.1 to 7.1 to 9.2, then temporarily had to go back to 5.1, and the difference was definitely noticeable, not in a good way. The wides make the soundstage so much bigger, I think they don?t get enough credit. Now I?m at 9.2.4 and I get plenty of use out of each channel with DTS X, even with just a stereo source. Obviously results are better with a 5.1 or 7.1 source, but either way it somehow figures out exactly what sounds right to put in the additional channels without anything hokey.
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post #9 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Are there sources out there that I don't know? We even have the fairly new ATMOS technology but little to no content yet.
This is an official U.S. Dolby Atmos Blu-ray/4K UHD Blu-ray PDF that is updated every two months or more, but ironically it's only partially accurate as there is much more Atmos content out there (for example, Mother! is listed as 4K UHD only when it's also on the regular Blu-ray)...

https://www.dolby.com/us/en/experien...reaming/us.pdf

This Dolby Atmos Movie List on Blu-ray.com is more accurate with releases from other regions as well, but keep in mind it's only for regular Blu-rays, not 4K UHDs...

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=248132

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post #10 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 08:07 AM
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9.1.6 is brilliant, I wish everyone could enjoy it. Even stereo tracks (Youtube) are upmixed nicely using DTS:X.
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post #11 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
The problem is there isn't much in Atmos or in 5.1 for that matter. My point was that I'd like to get much more out of my 5.1 system before they start coming up with something else. The good old 5.1 is still under exploited, why bother with more (under exploited) systems?
m. zillch
You cannot be serious with the first sentence in the quote above, right?

I own 360 blu rays (combination of standard 2D, 3D discs, and 4K UHD/HDR discs) dating back to the 1950s and only 15 of those discs have 2 channel or mono audio tracks. So for my collection that's only 4% that are not at least 5.1.

Packing a lot of sound into a small room.
268 square feet/2144 cubic feet
7.2 surround sound.
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post #12 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:22 PM
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I have only had 7.1 and 5.1...dont miss 7.1 at all...but that doesnt mean if I could put 50.1 in my space I wouldnt...just not feasible with my layout...so 5.1 it is...sounds really good still.
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post #13 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all contributors. I realize that there are lots of 5.1 titles out there, they just don't have much in the surround (thus my comment about underexploited 5.1).

I don't think my system is not configured properly as I do get stuff in the surround every now and then.

As far as Dolby Surround upmixing algorithms are concerned, maybe my receiver is not as good as some others but it is not that old (Pioneer SC-55).

I'm not sure what to think, most of you guys seem to be happy with your 7, 9 or 11 channels systems and I'm not even satisfied with my 5.1 system (5.2 actually but that doesn't make a difference in this case).
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post #14 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by They_call_me_Roto View Post
You cannot be serious with the first sentence in the quote above, right?

I own 360 blu rays (combination of standard 2D, 3D discs, and 4K UHD/HDR discs) dating back to the 1950s and only 15 of those discs have 2 channel or mono audio tracks. So for my collection that's only 4% that are not at least 5.1.
Yes, I was. Almost everything is (at least) 5.1 and my receiver will indicate that when playing.

The problem is that there is actually not much to hear in the surround.
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post #15 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:31 PM
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my 5.1 was great with all klipsch setup back in 90's and now that I have focal front is even better. maybe its room or placement?

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or maybe my uber subs
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I have a 7.1 system in a relatively small room and I am blown away at how much I love the system. 3D audio and 3D video, a killer combination.
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post #18 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Are there sources out there that I don't know?
Worth bookmarking:

Atmos on BD:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=248132

DTS:X on BD:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=257742

Atmos & DTS:X on UHD:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=276065
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post #19 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Thanks to all contributors. I realize that there are lots of 5.1 titles out there, they just don't have much in the surround (thus my comment about underexploited 5.1).
I think this might have been some of the misunderstanding - 5.1 (or better) content vs. what the heck you actually GET out of the content! Tons of stuff with 5.1+ audio tracks, but yes, I see what you're saying - a lot of titles are pretty "dead" in the surround channels. My preferred genres I think are more geared towards using surrounds and heights, but even then, it's not always a constant barrage. Maybe if you let the crowd here know what genres you like, they can make some good recommendations on some more aggressive tracks for you!
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post #20 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 04:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
I don't think my system is not configured properly as I do get stuff in the surround every now and then.


I'm not sure what to think, most of you guys seem to be happy with your 7, 9 or 11 channels systems and I'm not even satisfied with my 5.1 system (5.2 actually but that doesn't make a difference in this case).








Have you level matched or calibrated for reference ?




There is also nothing wrong with bumping up the surrounds a few DB..........some times less than par speakers, combined with sub optimal positions results in poor performance.




Level match....calibrate for reference and then if that does not do it, bump the surrounds up 3 DB and see what happens.


There are hundreds of things that can result in poor performance, you need to start some where.


Are the speakers in the proper place per specs at the right heights etc etc etc.


While some people just do not like surround, most problems are sub optimal configurations, by choice of simply not knowing or by no other choice......both can be compensated for.

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post #21 of 33 Old 01-22-2018, 09:33 PM
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How are you connected to the receiver - what type of cable? Is your disc player set to output DD and DTS correctly (bitstream) or is it converting everything to stereo (pcm)? Is your receiver displaying Dolby Digital or Dolby Pro Logic?
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post #22 of 33 Old 01-23-2018, 11:29 AM
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I'd have to agree with the people who are questioning the setup and calibration. For a long time I didn't have my setup positioned and calibrated correctly and didn't think there was much to hear. But recently I upgraded my receiver, re-positioned my 7.1 system, and re-calibrated the system and I have to say I'm amazed by how much I hear the surrounds. No doubt the content is important but if you're not hearing the surrounds except for every now and then I would really have another go at the configuration. You might be surprised to find you're missing something.
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post #23 of 33 Old 01-24-2018, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all contributors.

As far as my system setup/calibration is concerned, I am sure it is not optimal. I don't have anything fancy, I just use the Pioneer mic and receiver process. Are the speakers exactly where they were when I did the last calibration? Probably not. (and yes my player is in bitstream mode and the receiver shows proper 5.1 decoding)

You know, my system is very nice with a good 5.1 source/content (such as the Eagles DVD I alluded to previously and some movies). I didn't mean that there was nothing in the surround channels of movies and music videos, it's just that there is not much to notice (or enjoy) except every now and then. Thus my suspicion about the quality of the source/content. (And the question about going for more channels when we don't even get good 5.1 channels.)

Most of you seem to be happy with your 5, 7 or more channel setups. Maybe I need to borrow some of your DVDs and Blurays...
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post #24 of 33 Old 01-24-2018, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonas2 View Post
I think this might have been some of the misunderstanding - 5.1 (or better) content vs. what the heck you actually GET out of the content! Tons of stuff with 5.1+ audio tracks, but yes, I see what you're saying - a lot of titles are pretty "dead" in the surround channels. My preferred genres I think are more geared towards using surrounds and heights, but even then, it's not always a constant barrage. Maybe if you let the crowd here know what genres you like, they can make some good recommendations on some more aggressive tracks for you!
Yes, yes, yes.
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post #25 of 33 Old 01-24-2018, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Thanks to all contributors.

As far as my system setup/calibration is concerned, I am sure it is not optimal. I don't have anything fancy, I just use the Pioneer mic and receiver process. Are the speakers exactly where they were when I did the last calibration? Probably not. (and yes my player is in bitstream mode and the receiver shows proper 5.1 decoding)



Keep bumping up the rear surround channel levels until you are happy. I would add 3Db to start.




In my room I can stand next to my surrounds and have been next to them a lot.......it is in a walkway area for one side on the way to the bathroom, so it gets passed by all the time. It has content and is active all the time.






The idea is to create a soundfield all around you, like creating a stereo soundfield, so placement and calibration is the key.


Even if you just use the channel level tone and a phone DB meter app to calibrate all the channels for reference you should see a improvement in the soundfield.


Also , everyones ears are shaped and hear differently, calibrated is only a starting point...........just bump up the rear channels a few db at a time to get a idea.




What exactly is happeni9ng I can not say, but I can say if you stand next to a surround you will see it is active all the time, even if it is just ambient sounds, which if set up right should give the soundfield effect of being wherever the scene is.


When the movie shows a huge empty hall or large auditorium , that's what it sounds like in my room.....plus whatever explosions or bullets that come from a surround location.




https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/su...5-1-setup.html




http://www.audioholics.com/frequent-...match-speakers










Most issues are a set up issue..........if you simply do not like surround, that's fine too, but it sounds like you want to like it, but are not impressed with the performance right now of your system.


The above links and video will get the basics out of the way........
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post #26 of 33 Old 01-26-2018, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by unretarded View Post
Keep bumping up the rear surround channel levels until you are happy. I would add 3Db to start.
(...)
Even if you just use the channel level tone and a phone DB meter app to calibrate all the channels for reference you should see a improvement in the soundfield.
Also , everyones ears are shaped and hear differently, calibrated is only a starting point...........just bump up the rear channels a few db at a time to get a idea.
(...)
Most issues are a set up issue..........if you simply do not like surround, that's fine too, but it sounds like you want to like it, but are not impressed with the performance right now of your system.
The above links and video will get the basics out of the way........
Thanks for the advice and the links. I do like surround, I'd like to have it all the time. That's why I have invested the money in my system.
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post #27 of 33 Old 01-27-2018, 08:34 PM
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Remember here, that immersive audio codecs like Atmos, DTSX and Auro3D can utilize as many as 30 channels to create their 3d audio effects. The more speakers in your configuration, the more "accurate" the 3d presentation will be.


Now granted, there are no commercial receivers capable of doing that many channels yet, but some new receivers can do as many as 13 channels. Imagine a 7.2.6 config. The receiver does the mixing in real-time and decides what sound comes out of which speaker for the effect as needed by the content being played. This is as intended by the sound designer. No longer does content need to be anchored in 5 or 7 channels. They can now be dynamically mixed in real-time and played back on as many speakers as your receiver or processor is capable of processing.
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post #28 of 33 Old 01-27-2018, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dSly View Post
Jonas, I believe you that Game of Thrones or almost anything else is much better in Atmos. The problem is there isn't much in Atmos or in 5.1 for that matter. My point was that I'd like to get much more out of my 5.1 system before they start coming up with something else. The good old 5.1 is still under exploited, why bother with more (under exploited) systems?

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The gaming industry utilizes object based surround content in amazing ways.
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post #29 of 33 Old 01-27-2018, 10:55 PM
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^I'm not a gamer [unless you count Angry Birds on my phone]. They have Dolby Atmos now? Do things (sounds) spin around when your directional view rotates?
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post #30 of 33 Old 01-28-2018, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
^I'm not a gamer [unless you count Angry Birds on my phone]. They have Dolby Atmos now? Do things (sounds) spin around when your directional view rotates?
Oh yes sir. Gears of War 4 is Atmos on Xbox One and is some of the best Atmos usage I've heard to date. Everything pans when you turn and there are huge bombers that fly overhead and drop bombs on you every 30 seconds or so. The height effects are full range and very near full bandwidth. The bass is crazy well done with texture, power and extends down into the single digits at times. All this and Rise of Tomb Raider in Atmos is supposed to blow Gears out of the water for height effects and sound in general. I own Rise but my oldest son borrowed it and I've yet to get it back to try.
Atmos for games changes the game and I hope it becomes the new standard like DD did. Truly next level.

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