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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I think that 6.1 discrete is the best idea yet. I'm glad it has begun! Of course, this should be fairly straightforward because this new format offers a whole new level of performance with the addition of a discrete rear center channel.

I do NOT like the idea of using rear speakers as mono speakers, which is what the current way EX is supported for the home. For example, anyone with a Meridian or Lexicon that has invested in side speakers should probably think of EX as a downgrade. (I have not yet invested in side speakers).

The EX/ES format of 5.1 is utilizing the rear channels as a mono channels. While with Lexicon or a supposed Meridian upgrade, the side speakers actually become discrete (because they will be fed the discrete rear information,

but you end up with mono rears). I like when something eminating from the left front stays on the left side. We don't always want information coming from the front left speaker which next pans to the left side-- and then all of a sudden come from both rear speakers.

A true 6.1 discrete format is the best thing yet. Not only that, it eliminates the need for side speakers. I'd take a 6.1 discrete format any day of the week over Meridian 7.1 setup (or Lexicon synthesized side speakers). (I now own a Meridian 861).

However (as an example) Meridian will keep the side channels

and simply add a discrete rear center channel to support the new DTS discrete rear center channel. That is defintely

acceptable but very expensive. However, at least one has the option to on;ly use the 6.1 ...

I can certainly tell you that 6.1 disctere channels is

definitely more cost effective and does eliminate the need

for side speakers IMO. Place 6 speakers around the listening position in a circle--it works great! And everything is discrete!

Because bandwith and storage are always a concern, I don't

see getting more discrete channels in the near future anyway. I think 6 discrete channels makes a lot of sense. I'd like to see it be successful format from not only DTS, but perhaps Dolby Digital and even into DVD-Audio...


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1,942 Posts
Health Nut,

I suggest you try out the Smart devices CS-JR for you matrix derived rear center channel. It only cost $300 and if you are thinking about jumping for the discrete rear center ala 6.1 DTS, then you will already spring for the extra $ of the additional amp and speaker. The Circle Surround matrix is effective and doing it that way will keep the rear stereo surround set up for DD/DTS as well as other meridian DSP modes which feature rear stereo surrounds. I've implemented this as well as the 2 sides for my 568 set up and it works quite well! Actually I've done the set up as suggested by Brian Florian in his review of the Smart devices CS-JR in Secrets in Home Theater, and took an extra rear center speaker and hooked that up to the other rear center speaker so it's really an 8(+1).1 layout!!The back wall is 17 wide so I've arranged the two rear surrounds in their corners and placed the 2 rear centers eqidistant from the room's midline and the rear corners.

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5,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The reason a the new 6.1 discrete format is really nice is because we can actually fulfill the role of side speakers now with repositioning the front and rear speakers accordingly. Think about having a discrete rear 'center' speaker and the freedom it allows in positioning speakers. speakers. In other words, draw six speakers in a circle and it shows you how we can eliminate the need for side speakers. Additionally, EVERY channel is discrete.

I really hope that Dolby Digital follows suit and that perhaps, when DVD-A becomes available we will see some good 6.0 audio recordings. (As you know the LFE channel is undesireable (at least in it's current specification and implementation, especially in music recordings--another story).

From what I understand, Meridian has no plans to implement EX/ES in dual-mono fashion. Now with the 6.1 DTS available, it makes sense that Meridian will simply add a single rear center channel to satisfy ALL needs. That would allow Meridian owners to keep stereo rears in all cases. For me, I may want to just add a rear center channel with no sides. But the option will be there for both 6.1 and 8.1 ... I can see where 8.1 may be advantageous over 6.1, but I stand by my argument that 6.1 if properly implemented from the software on up ... shpould be superior to 7.1 (5.1 with synthesized side channels).

5.1 leaves us tring to have the two surround speakers act as side speakers and rear speakers. By adding a discrete rear center channel, this CAN open up a whole new ballgame, not some trivial difference, depending on the sucess of this new 6.1 channel format. By placing a discrete rear center channel directly behind the listening position we have much more flexibility. Just draw six speakers in a circle vs 5 speakers and you will see what I mean. Don't think of this just as some rear center channel gimmick, it is not. This is GREAT news. This is the ADDITION OF A NEW DISCRETE CHANNEL AND SHOULD BE APPLAUDED.

Meridian, Lexicon, and other manufacturers are providing 'synthesized' or a type of 'matrixed' non-discrete side channels. While I belive they have done a phenomenal job, they are only matrixed channels, nothing more. The advantage to 6.1 is twofold. Elimination of the need for side speakers for the vast majority of people. The jump from 5.1 discrete channels to 6.1 discrete channels with a better (and more economical) surround field than 7.1 which is higher cost and utilizes 2 non-discrete channels.

For those who are already using a 7.1 setup, the new channel is still welcome and advantagoeous. You do gain a discrete rear center channel regardless. The need for matrixed rear mono rear speakers is eliminated with 6.1.

I am using a Meridian 861, so with a future upodate I could have an 8.1 system: keeping the sides, and having 3 discrete surround speakers! However, as I stated before, those who have 5.1 should be very happy bcause they can now have something more economical and better, IMO than a 7.1 setup. I stand by the fact that in theory a 6.1 entirely discrete format should be better than a 7.1 setup which is actually uses 5.1 discrete channels.

Anyway you cut it, 6.1 discrete channels is a great improvement over 5.1:

1) A properly implemented 6.1 discrete setup should

sound better and is technically superior to either

5.1 or 7.1 (5.1 with synthesized side channels)

2) All channels are discrete

3) 6.1 discrete channels is more economical than 7.1

(5.1 with synthesized side channels), and further

it should sound better (one of the reasons listed


4) This should not be thought of as a debate of

rear center channel that is matrixed like in

EX/ES vs. the difference a discrete rear center

channel will make. This is a the addition of

a new discrete channel *period*. Do not

underestimate the freedom and improvement an

additional discrete channel allows in positioning

speakers with 6 discrete channels vs the current

5 discrete channels. Anyone doubting that can

draw a circle and place 5 speakers vs 6 speakers

in that circle.


If I had the $$$ for the 3 more Nautilus 802 speakers and a couple

of Bryston 7BST monos, I'd follow your plan for the time being http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


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1,942 Posts
Hi Chris,

I wonder if you would really need to move you rear stereo surrounds away from the back corners in order to achieve a circle orientation with the 6.1 discrete set up only. If it has advantages, it would be useful in the 5.1 set up as well. But I think rear stereo corner surrounds should be placed behind and lateral to the listening position. It's too bad the meridian logic in the speaker layout menu doesn't give one the ability to designate the speaker location in the x and y axii(?), instead of just putting in the distance of the speaker from the listener. Orientating the rear 3 channels in an arc vs. a straight line along the back wall of the home theater in most typically sized rooms, I would guess, isn't really going to make a difference at the listening position. We are talking short distances while using point source speakers, which are usually pointed at the best seat anyways!

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5,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Draw 6 speakers in a circle and the folllowing should happen

(If 6.1 software utilizes all 6 channels correctly):

(Admittedly the a wider room yield better results,

at least in my opinion-- I like to have speakers

at least a couple feet away from any wall for better

'imaging' and soundfield.)

With 6.1 We can increase the distance between the front left speaker and front right speaker, while at the same time moving the front left and front right slightly forward. Next, the rear speakers (agreeing with you on placement) should be moved more toward the side position (for example: approximately a 1-3 feet 'behind' the direct side position, instead of 4-6 feet or more behind the listening position). The discrete rear center speaker is directly behind the center channel and further 'back' than the 'rear' channels. Both the front speakers and the rear speakers easily fill the acoustical area that a side speakers would fill. Yet now we also have ENTIRELY discrete channels. Drawing 6 on a circle and drawing 5 on a circle easily shows this on a piece of paper.

We both have Merdian 861 processors, so I would say that 8.1 based on a 6.1 discrete format should be amazing in a sufficiently large room. I am stating that the NEW 6.1 discrete channel format is be better (in theory) than the current 7.1 Meridian (5.1 with synthesized' sides). Imagine Meridian with a new software update for the 861 to support another discrete channel. (Imagine, right now, going into the speaker setup software and clicking "rears and rear center" --although for you, imagine selecting: "rears, rear center, and sides" http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

Anyway, imagine optimizing a speaker layout for 6.1 discrete channels and the Meridian running the show... great stuff! Belive me, I understand how great Meridian side speakers are in the current 7.1 setup.. I finally heard it and I am seriously impressed at the difference. I MAY actually go for an 8.1 channel setup or such... I'm not even trying to compare a future Meridian setup with 8.1 (with a discrete rear center) againt the NEW 6.1 format. I am still going to say that a properly implemented 6.1 discrete format is superior to the current 7.1 setup that Lexicon and Meridian and others offer, AND it is more economical as well! Win win situation!!!

[This message has been edited by Health Nut (edited June 15, 2000).]

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5,149 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hehe! No, I do not have the $$$ currently to go to 8.1.

Perhaps someday soon! Otherwise, I hope the 6.1 format does very well

since it will be a welcome improvement to ANY setup. Not only is a 6.1 setup less expensive, a 6.1 setup will offer, for all but the largest rooms a better soundfield than 7.1 or 8.1 due to the entirely discrete channels (with optimal speaker placement).

Further, I cannot afford a huge 2.35:1 screen along with the projector that would make a suitable image! Perhaps in the near future a digital method will make large 2.35:1 screens suitable for HT.

Audio speaking: my future 'dream' room would be a 20' wide x 30' long x 12' high with (8) Nautilus 802 speakers and (8 Bryston 7BST monoblocks) with (4) HGS-18 subwoofers, two stacked in each front corner.

The point is that even with a 20 by 30 by 12 room, I would still make an optimal circle of speakers within that space. I would not be going for optimal 'aesthetics'. For my own room, I prefer not to use perforated screens, but to place the full range spekers directly beneath the screen. I have debated the psychoacoustic issue many times, but for my setup (the screen is lowered to the top of the Nautilus 802 tweeters across the front)--it is wonderful!

Anyway, 6.1 is good for ALL of us!

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