AVS Forum banner

How Many Speakers Are Too Many?

  • 9

    Votes: 122 20.8%
  • 11

    Votes: 103 17.5%
  • 22

    Votes: 168 28.6%
  • 45

    Votes: 47 8.0%
  • You can never have too many speakers

    Votes: 147 25.0%
1 - 20 of 287 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,258 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

The big buzz in audio these days is so-called "immersive audio," which goes beyond conventional 5.1 or 7.1 to surround the listener in a more-or-less hemispherical soundfield. Examples include Dolby Atmos and Auro 3D in commercial cinemas, both of which include speakers on the ceiling, and Audyssey DSX and DTS Neo:X in home systems, which support up to 11 main speakers with extra front-wide and height channels.

 



The Advanced Rendering Lab at SRS (now owned by DTS) included 20 main speakers when I visited a few years ago.

 

Of course, one could even go beyond 11.1—NHK has demonstrated a 22.2 system at the NAB show, and I've heard systems with as many as 45 speakers in the walls and ceiling. But at what point does this game go too far? How many speakers are too many for a home-theater system?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
230 Posts
I really am a fanatic about sound and picture and quality. But even though I understand that to get the immerse effect one needs to have LS's all around, I think a 7.2/7.4 setup is all that one needs. Are we grown ups really watching all the time Transformers and similar, where it is oh so important where the crashed cars are flying to? And how many fighters are flying around and around from right to left and front to rear? I enjoy more and more the movies with a lot of dialogue and less with kawoom. The HD music also comes mainly in 5.1 so we are happy with our setup and I voted that 11 are too many already.


cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,531 Posts
As far as discrete channels I think 5.1- 7.1 is sufficient. 11.1 might take awhile yet and I doubt will catch on as it will only be appealing to those with large dedicated theater rooms. If you don't have the room and your setup is fine then don't add more just to keep up. More isn't always better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
121 Posts

I think one of the reasons immersive audio would take off if wireless speakers would be more common (and with better quality). I can see less hassle if you want to place a system bigger then a 7.1 in a room without the need of working all those cables.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
752 Posts
The only downside to this is once you hear a full 11.4 system that is great you only want more. I'm hoping Neo X will merge with something like Auro or Atmos for home use so sound can come down from above. I'll still need to figure out what to do regarding the star ceiling but I always look forward to the next incremental improvement.


A great movie soundtrack on my 11.4 system makes two channel audio seem barren and dull. Just my .02
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,722 Posts
If "immerisive" audio is the goal, then I think 7.1+4 would be the point at which diminishing returns kick in for me.


7.1 does a good job creating a 2D ring of sound around me. Maybe a pair of wides (between the fronts and sides) to make the ring a little more seamless, but not something I would consider critical.


To turn the ring into a 3D bubble of sound, 4 speakers spread out above would be a good start. More height speakers, while welcome, would yield smaller & more incremental improvements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,677 Posts
More and more consumers are going for sound bars and cute little 2.1 systems. Shouldn't we be circling the wagon of true 5.1/7.1 instead of trying to convince everyone they need speakers on the ceiling?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
380 Posts
I've been running a 7.2 system at my home for several years now and I don't think I've ever found it to be lacking. If there was one area I'd like to explore a bit more into it would be front-height channels but my motivation to do so is tempered a bit by all of the current consumer 9.x options being a "derived' format since the source material maxes out at 7.1 discrete channels. Movement towards object-oriented audio could change all of that though - but it will be a few years before that can be commercially viable in the average home.


I do find that 7 traditional speakers does push the bounds of what is aesthetically acceptable in a non-dedicated room. Moving all of my source components into a dedicated equipment closet was supposed to get rid of the "Death Star" effect for the entertainment area, but having 7 "black boxes" in prominent locations throughout the room does undermine that goal a bit; "sounds great, but looks like a showroom". If I had a dedicated space that was purpose built then I'd have no reservations about going overboard with the loudspeaker count.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
780 Posts
I don't think you can have too many, if your space can support it. Mine doesn't support more than 7.xx (I've even got them suspended on wire...), so I've oped for the "immersion" of bipole speakers in the surround positions, at a bit of an accuracy hit and am quite happy with the results.


What its like to see is better use if the channels we do mostly all have such as the 3d stereo that has been in works and floating around youtube for some time. Heck most of us don't even have good room correction yet....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,387 Posts
Years ago, I started with a 1.0 system. Then moved to a 2.0, Then a stereo in a box. I moved finally to a 5.0, then upgraded to a 5.1 system. Oh, what a sound. Then I upgraded the speakers and sub a couple times. I then moved to a 6.1, then a 8.1. And now a 8.3 which I love until I get the bug to add more.


Never enough!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,031 Posts
I have never heard more than a 7 speaker system so I may be speaking from ignorance, but in theory, I would think that for a reasonable budget 7 solid speakers would be a better use of money than a higher number of lesser speakers. This statement applies more to the home than a commercial theater, where they have to do something special to make it worth it for us to leave our home theaters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,525 Posts

I agree with some of the previous posts here.

 

1) 7.1 seems plenty capable in a properly treated room

2) And it depends on the room size to some extent

 

I have a 5.1 system and I can see where a 7.1 may in some rare cases may be more immerse except that my room is really too small for a proper 7.1 setup.  I may play with 7.1 when I upgrade my main LR fronts.  Perhaps if my room were properly engineered I'd find my 5.1 setup plenty sufficient.

 

In my room I can play a wonderfully engineered stereo track and get 175 degrees of immersion, that's just with stereo.  I get wonderful 360 degree sound from my 5.1 setup.  I just think that more than 7.1 and the sound will just be too cluttered with too many reflection points and simply smear any immersion/imaging out of existence.

 

More speakers is not better.  A properly engineered room is better than more speakers. 

 

You shouldn't hear your speakers you should simply hear sound all around.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
123 Posts
I think Jedirun hits a critical point here. While commercial theaters, as money-making entities, have an incentive to add more speakers if it will help revenue, most of us have to work within relatively fixed budgets, albeit at different levels for each of us. Even if an 11.x or 22.x system becomes an option, is it a better use of constrained funds to spend more money on fewer speakers of higher quality? Maybe at higher budgets, the gains in speaker quality diminish, and more (speakers) is a better use of your next $10,000 than evermore audiophile quality speakers, but I don't think that would be the case for more constrained budgets (say,
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,003 Posts
i think there is a limit. but we're not there yet.


and I'm talking about channels, not speakers. you can add speakers based on room size, but I think more channels that include height is a welcome upgrade. I'd love to see a system that 'requires' in-ceiling speakers as part of its design to really give you the fly over experience.


all this being said though, I can't imagine ever being in a position to be able to afford a room and equipment to support more than 15 or so speakers. even at the current 11, it's at the point I'm doubting the investment is the best place I could spend my money
 
1 - 20 of 287 Posts
Top