Advice on 5.1 vs. 7.1

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by MasterAudio, Feb 9, 2014.

  1. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    My room is about about 10wx16l. I have a 7.1 system installed. I understand that it's a little excessive, but am I really taking a lot away? It's just my rear surrounds that aren't set up like how they should be. I have my surround on either side in the eves. My bed hits the back wall. That means that my rear surrounds are in my ceiling, a foot from the back wall. Would you recommend just using a 5.1 setup and ignoring my rear surrounds because they're in my ceiling rather than behind me?
     
  2. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    As you already know, that configuration is not ideal and we wouldn't recommend installing it that way; but if it's already set up and you like it, then stick with it, it's not doing any harm.

    My suggestion is to try it both ways, get a DVD with prominent audio and that you know well. Play it as-is, then reconfigure to 5.1 and see if you like the sound better or worse.
     
  3. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    Awesome. Thank you. I'll try and it, and see what fits best. I mean...My 7.1 definitely doesn't bother me, but I could be missing out on what just a 5.1 setup could give me.
     
  4. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    Another question. With my rear surrounds being located in my ceiling above my listening position, does that hinder any type of effect from a certain movie? Also, if I go 5.1 and I'm watching a movie. When a plane is coming in from behind how do the side surround decode it if it's coming from the rear? Would it just be better for me to keep my 7.1 even if my rears aren't located in the optimal position? Just so I can get that effect from certain films.
     
  5. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Cinematographer

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    The answer to the 2nd question is easy, the receiver will just route the information to the side surrounds. Be aware though that many movies aren't released in 7.1, they are really 5.1, so the receiver is doing the opposite - duplicating the side channels in the rear. Just a few years ago I would have said that there were only a small percentage of movies in 7.1, but I believe the percentage is higher now. (However, most of the DVDs in your collection are probably 5.1.)

    The first question is harder to answer, having the speakers above you doesn't hinder anything, it just means the sound at the listeners position will not be what the movie intended. First, it will have the wrong direction, someone sneaking up behind you is not the same as sneaking up over your head. Second, it will probably not be as diffused. The sound will be closer and directly overhead, so it will have more a "placement" or location feel. Neither of these is that big of a deal to me*; to a purist who wants the exact movie experience the director intended they are a bigger deal.

    * Full disclosure, in my house I only have 5.1 because I don't care that much about the rear channels. I only have heard 7.1 in other people's homes.
     
  6. Jason Charlton

    Jason Charlton Ambassador

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    Just to expand a bit on this. True 7.1 audio is only available on Blu-ray disc. DVDs don't support anything more than 6.1 (and that's in a lossy format, to boot). For all intents and purposes, DVD is lossy 5.1.

    7.1 has become much more of a standard now - most action-oriented blockbusters are true 7.1, and many animated movies are now mixed in 7.1. That being said, I have always believed, that a "good" 5.1 setup is preferred to a "compromised" 7.1 setup.

    I will also add that I don't watch everything in 7.1 - I (and many of the members of this forum) prefer to listen to the soundtrack in the format it was intended - be that 5.1, 7.1, or even 2.0. My receiver is left in "direct" mode so that whatever format the audio is decoded is what is played back.

    As to the question about proper "placement" of rear surround effects - that plays to the imaging capabilities of your speakers, which is largely dependent on their placement and proper calibration. Just as two front speakers can very effectively create a "phantom" center speaker effect, properly placed and calibrated surround speakers can be very effective at creating localized effects anywhere across the rear soundstage.
     
  7. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    I stayed away a bit for I keep answers...well short. I would chuck the 7.1 and do 5.1/2.Does your AVR support DPL IIz?
     
  8. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    My AVR does support DPL llz. Just go with one rear channel as opposed to two? My speaker are in ceiling and a good 4 feet apart. Will the receiver morph those speakers into one channel? Thanks everyone. I appreciate the replies. This issues has been bothering me.
     
  9. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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  10. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    I wish that I could do that. My rear surround are about 7-8 feet from the front of my tv. They sit about 2 inches behind my side surrounds. It would be a pain for me to remove them from my ceiling and reposition them. I mean...would it still make sense if I used IIz with where my "rear surrounds" are placed now?
     
  11. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Try it and see which you like better.

    It is the same amp channel regardless(and depending on AVR, probably the same speaker terminals).
     
  12. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    It is the same exact speaker terminals. I'd rather have ambient noise that is truly in the soundtrack than have a false sound field. I'll try it out. For some reason, different HDMI ports have different Dolby formats. Not all have IIz. Any way to have that format be a constant? Very strange to me.
     
  13. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Have no idea where you get that, unless you haven't read your owner's manual.

    Every input and every sound format "in"* and every sound mode "used"* has a setting called...

    "Last Valid".

    *What I mean is...you can auto set how the AVR decodes 2.0 PCM, DD 5.1, DTS 5.1, D.T.-HD and DTS-HD.

    That way the AVR automatically goes to the sound mode you want...no matter what the content provides for sound.
     
  14. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    I have the option to pick my formate through my remote. "Mode Movie" & "Mode Music." That enables me to pick whether I want ll, llx, llz or any other formats. Not all of my "ins" have all of those option. Are you saying there is a way to get each of this options on all of my HDMI "Ins?"
     
  15. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    HDMI is an input. HDMI is not what I am referring to as "in".

    I'm referring to what the content provides as sound. PCM 2.0, DD...or whatever.

    In your menu there is a setting for how you want the AVR to decode every known format(well...there will be more in the future...but every known one when this AVR was first thrown in the box).

    When listening to 2.0 PCM (from a CD, Spotify, Ipod, LastFM...the AVR couldn't give a crap less where the content comes from)...do you want the default to be...

    Last Valid (whatever you used "last")
    Direct/Pure Direct? (if your AVR has Direct/Pure Direct)
    DPL:Music?
    DPL:Game?
    All-Channel stereo?

    on and on...till all the permutations are there.
     
  16. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    It would be the last 2 options that you mention. DPL Music DPL Game. My settings never change. They're always on my last valid format. It's just that some of my HDMI ins don't have the option to be decoded using llz. Are you saying that when I go to my menu bar I can choose how id like all the Dolby formats to be decoded? In that case, I will have the llz option present on all of my HDMI ins. I may be using incorrect terminology and that maybe why I'm not completely understanding.everythinf. I'm sorry if that's the case.
     
  17. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    All of your HDMI inputs have access to every single soundmode. Period.

    IF they don't have access to "every single sound mode" it is because the sending devices are different.

    If you connected...

    Cable/Sat STB
    BD player
    Roku

    The Cable/Sat STB doesn't provide DTS nor anything lossless. So no DTS nor DTS HD or DolbyTrue HD.
    The BD player has access to "everything" except for...(what comes next)
    Roku has DD+. Your BD player won't have that one...unless it is "new", like this year new, and has apps for Netflix/CinemaNow/Hulu.

    So...your AVR can only provide the sound modes your content allows via the chosen device.

    To that point.

    DPL IIz is an "add-on":

    It is "added on" so all of your current sound modes(again dependent on source connected to the input you are using)...

    DPL:Game...also has
    DPL:Game IIz
    DPL: Jazz...also has (orchestra, concert hall...whatever you got...all of them are now duplicated...with and w/o IIz)
    DPL:Jazz IIz
    DD...also has
    DD IIz
    DTS...also has
    DTS IIz
    Dolby True HD...also has
    Dolby True HD IIz
    And so on.
     
  18. MasterAudio

    MasterAudio Stunt Coordinator

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    Perfect. Thank you. I get what you're saying now. Depending on what devices are connected, those formats will show up.
     

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