Single rear speaker vs two rear speakers - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 10:37 AM - Thread Starter
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Single rear speaker vs two rear speakers

Hi. When setting up my receiver, it prompts whether if I have one or two rear speakers. Is there an obvious quality difference between using two vs one rear speakers?

Thanks...Alan
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ahender View Post
Hi. When setting up my receiver, it prompts whether if I have one or two rear speakers. Is there an obvious quality difference between using two vs one rear speakers?

Thanks...Alan

Assuming both rear speakers are the same model, there would be no "obvious quality difference" between those two configurations. However, there would be a quantity (of output levels) difference, obvious or otherwise.

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dom Di Stroia View Post
Assuming both rear speakers are the same model, there would be no "obvious quality difference" between those two configurations. However, there would be a quantity difference, obvious or otherwise.
Thanks.
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post #4 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 12:47 PM
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I always thought two was twice better.


Anyway.
What receiver?
What speakers?
What is the anticipated surround effect? (Dolby Pro-Logic, Pro-Logic EX, 5.1, ATMoS.



Personally... I'd use two if you have them already. If you only have one, no problem. Just hook up and enjoy.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #5 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ahender View Post
Is there an obvious quality difference between using two vs one rear speakers?
Psychoacoustical difference. If you hear a sound louder in your left ear than right ear, you know that sound is towards your left. If you hear the sound louder in your right ear then left ear, you know that sound is towards your right. If you hear the sound equally in both ears, you know the sound is directly in front of you. But is it?

A single speaker place directly behind you can trigger a psychoacoustic phenomenon called imaging reversals, momentarily causing sounds coming from behind you to be reflexively heard in front of you. However, we humans tend to make small involuntary head movements to constantly recalibrate our surroundings. So the reversal effect would only last a few seconds and you'd eventually figure out that the sound is coming from behind you. Problem is, sound effects in movies are fleeting, so by the time your ear/brain mechanism got the direction correct, the sound effect could have come and gone, leaving an incorrect impression.

The solution to the reversal problem is as easy as it gets: just use 2 Rear speakers, spread at least 60 degrees apart. This is why Dolby and DTS and THX all recommended using 2 Rear speakers to play back the mono surround-back channel of their 6.1 soundtracks. Note that it was the only channel for which 2 speakers were recommended. Fortunately, 6.1 didn't last that long, either as mix format or speaker layout.

Sanjay
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 01:46 PM
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Suffice to say surround is designed for 2 rears, am surprised even anything let you have 1.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Suffice to say surround is designed for 2 rears, am surprised even anything let you have 1.
Thanks. The Denon X3500 during setup asks if I have one or two rear speakers. I have been using two but plan to re-arrange everything and was curious if one would suffice.
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post #8 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:09 PM
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Thanks. The Denon X3500 during setup asks if I have one or two rear speakers. I have been using two but plan to re-arrange everything and was curious if one would suffice.
In the early days of surround Prologic were FAKE surrounds, sounds "made up" via electronic trickery. Today we have DISCRETE surrounds, the people creating the contend actually placed microphones where your speakers are placed. So instead of listening to 5 (or 7 or 9 etc) channels, you purposely take one out. Will you be missing something? Yes.

But hey we know living rooms decor, limitations, WAF etc may entice you to go with less than what is prescribe and if that's the case, try it, see if you can hear you are missing anything.

Maybe this is a case of you are being given TOO MANY choices.

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post #9 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:22 PM
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If an individual only has ONE speaker for rear channel and the option is there in the receiver setup, use it.

You can always add stuff later.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post
Suffice to say surround is designed for 2 rears, am surprised even anything let you have 1.
The choice is between 6.1 and 7.1. The Side surrounds can only be a pair but you have a choice for the Rears. I'm sure a lot of people had 6.1 setups in the early 2000s but for reasons already explained it is not ideal to have a single Rear speaker directly behind you.

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post #11 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I'll be using two speakers but will get smaller ones and wall mount them.
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post #12 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:44 PM
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The OP's last comment makes me ask "for a given budget, is one worse than two?"
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post #13 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post
So instead of listening to 5 (or 7 or 9 etc) channels, you purposely take one out. Will you be missing something? Yes.
No. ALL modern soundtracks downmix the number of channels to conform to the number of speakers in your layout. Nothing is missing. If you do not configure a Centre speaker, the centre channel information will be sent to the Left/Right speakers. You still hear 100% of the soundtrack.

Sanjay
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post #14 of 14 Old 06-29-2020, 02:54 PM
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No different than using two speakers.


Yooz wut ya gotz.



If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough – Albert Einstein
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