Two other options for 7.1 if you have a capable receiver is to not use rear surrounds but either front high speakers or front wide speakers. You would need a receiver capable of Dolby PLIIz and/or Audyssey DSX or DTS NeoX.
If you use a 7.1 setup with front wides your front soundstage will be more enveloping. Rear sounds will not be heard from the speakers, the avr will do algorithms to provide sounds that are up front but very wide.
If you use a 7.1 setup with front highs your front soundstage will now have a 3 dimensional sound to it. For instance if there is rain in a movie it will start in the highs and move down to your front L&R making it seem like its actually falling rain. Again your avr will do its thing. Like I said earlier you have to have an avr that is capable of these formats.
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