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***Official MERGED "Should I get 6.1 (or 7.1) - Is it worth it?" Thread***

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Andrew_P, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. Andrew_P

    Andrew_P Member

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    i ve been thinking about getting a 6.1 reciever with EX and ES or should i get a better 5.1 reciever. does 6.1 really sound that much better?
     
  2. David Judah

    David Judah Well-Known Member

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    I think it does add to the overall presentation.

    In my case it certainly helps because of surround placement issues. In other rooms I've had my equipment in I could get good rear center phantom imaging, but in the present room, I needed 6.1 to get that back fill.

    What price range are you considering? If it's over $400, chances are it will have 6.1 capability anyways.

    DJ
     
  3. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Well-Known Member

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    I guess u have to experience it to make a decision. Given ur current situation of getting a new receiver, it would be quite wise to invest in something that would not require another upgrade in the near future.
    Just my 2 cents.....
     
  4. Alf S

    Alf S Premium
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    I concur with the above posters. My Pioneer 811 6.1 really helps movies like SW-AOTC jump off the screen.

    Alfer
     
  5. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Well-Known Member

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  6. Alf S

    Alf S Premium
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    Angelo,

    I understand your thought pattern, but curious....have you audtioned BOTH receivers in your home for an extended period of time to determine the HK is more appealing than the Pioneer, or are you just going by hearsay about it's (Pioneer) sound compared to the HK?
     
  7. Lou Loomis

    Lou Loomis Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Angelo about the H/K over the 811 - too much distortion on the Pioneer.

    a salesman at a high end shop in NYC game me his thoughts on 5.1 vs. 6.1 - he said in some applications he prefers 5.1, particularly in smaller rooms. he pointed out that 6.1 doesn't give you any "new" information, just spreads it across another channel. often it can create a fuller image. however in some situations, such as smaller rooms where the center channel is quite close to the listener, as many seating arrangements would have, it can make the surround too directional. in other words, you know it's coming from a particular speaker. there is left/right information yes, but with surround sound you want it to be rather non-specific, to fill the rear with ambient sound. in some (not all) situations, 6.1 can work against that.

    I don't trust everything sales folk say just because it's in a high end shop (I've seen some actually hold their breath and push Bose- I guess b/c of the high profit margins or something) but his words made sense. but again, his thoughts, not mine. just thought I'd pass them on.
     
  8. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Well-Known Member

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    Deleted.
     
  9. Chris Purvis

    Chris Purvis Well-Known Member

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    another thing to consider is whether or not you have a room that will really let you take advantage of a 6.1 setup - think about where the speakers would go and where you'll be sitting and make sure it will integrate into that space. I know someone who was all excited about buying a 6.1 receiver because it was the latest whiz-bang thing, but he had nowhere to put a 6th speaker besides the ceiling or a free-standing pedestal midway between the back of his couch and his kitchen - once I pointed that out he decided to just stick with what he had.
     
  10. Wayne McRae

    Wayne McRae Well-Known Member

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    If you have a few feet behind you, then yes 6.1 is worth it. Almost all newer receivers come with DD-EX or DTS-ES included. Just look at the 2 hottest releases: Clones=EX and LOTR=ES discrete. Each month more and more DVD's are coming out with these formats. Why someone who has the room would not take advantage of it is beyond me. Lou, you may want to find a new salesman. DTS-ES discrete offers a fully discrete channel providing seperate information. LOTR,Glaiator,Blade2 sound incredible coming from 2 direct rad. speakers 4 feet behind my couch.
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Well-Known Member

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    I think we must remember that few of us have unlimited budgets, and we are constantly making trade-offs. So when someone asks whether he should go 6.1, remember that for most of us that will mean less money toward quality speakers and quality amplification, because now we must allocate funds toward two more speakers and two more channels of amplification. The question isn't necessarily whether 6.1 will sound better, but whether the same funds allocated differently might make an even greater improvement.

    The processing is the cheap part. The cost of two matching speakers for the surround back channel plus the cost of the extra amplifier channels, on the other hand, ain't. Whereas one might spend $600 for a pair of rear speakers for a 5.1 setup, now one must spend $1200 for a 6.1 ("7.1") setup. The cheapest multichannel amps are now made by Outlaw, but you'll have to pay $500 more for the 7-channel vs. the 5 channel amp (or give up on the idea of 200watts/channel altogether and get the cheaper 7-channel amp with only half as much power). Is this a good trade-off?

    If you're in a room where 6.1 is largely unnecessary because you can achieve satisfactory rear imaging, and you don't happen to possess an unlimited budget, then I don't think it is a good trade-off. Better speakers and more amplification will improve most people's systems far more. If going 6.1 means you'll have to skrimp on quality speakers and amplification, then I think you're well on your way to crappy sound... just more channels of it.
     
  12. Angelo.M

    Angelo.M Well-Known Member

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  13. Joe Szott

    Joe Szott Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Rich and Angelo 100%: if it is a budget-limited choice between a better 5 speaker/amp 5.1 setup and a lower quality 6 speaker/amp 6.1 setup, I'd go for the 5.1 setup every time. As a matter of fact I did with my JBL S series setup and HK 520. Could have gone for less of an amp and N series all around for 6.1, but I don't miss it a bit.

    It's all opinion...
     
  14. Jeff.bart

    Jeff.bart Well-Known Member

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    Any ideas on how far the surround center has to be. In my room, I'd have a foot and a half tops at ear level. Up to 2 1/2 feet if I placed it 6 feet high. Seems to me like it would be too close and I should do without.
     
  15. David Judah

    David Judah Well-Known Member

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    I guess it would help to know what Andrew's price range is.

    After all, unless he is looking in the $400 range and under, chances are he's going to get a 6.1 channel receiver anyways, so the point about a better 5.1 receiver is moot.

    Andrew?

    Jeff,

    I entered the 6.1 arena with a bit of trepidation because my listening position is right against the back wall. I came across some Infinity OWS-1 speakers(wall hangers that are only 4.5" deep)that I got for free, so I thought I would give it a go.

    Long story short, they worked wonderfully, even though convention says they shouldn't work effectively so close. So, I would say give it a shot, for I have found on more than this occasion that theory doesn't always translate well into real world performance.

    DJ
     
  16. Scott Adam

    Scott Adam Well-Known Member

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    As owner of an Onkyo TX SR600 six channel receiver but only running a 5.1 Polk speaker setup, I am wondering...truthfully, how valuable is a 6.1 surround setup with that back surround channel? Am I missing much by not having this speaker? Right now, only a handful of my DVDs have an extended soundtrack to use this channel---Gladiator in DTS ES, Exorcist: The Version You've Never Seen Before in Dolby Digital EX and Star Wars Episode II in Dolby Digital EX---am I missing something so earth shattering without this rear surround speaker? Is 5.1 still "good enough" for home theater, pretty much?

    Also, I asked this in a previous post, but, without the back surround speaker, can I watch DTS ES and Dolby Digital EX soundtracks? Are the effects from the sixth channel "matrixed" into the rear surrounds when there is no back surround channel present? How does this work?
     
  17. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Well-Known Member

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    Necessary? Not even remotely. Nice? A little bit... but in my experience, only for content encoded for the rear channel. And no, you don't need the back channel to enjoy movies encoded ES or EX. Your other questions I'll leave to the experts.

    Martin.
     
  18. Nir

    Nir Member

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    using a good all round system with an onkyo dd receiver im preety pleased. its a fine system. but im looking to replace it soon with a 7.1 receiver. but how much of real differnce is there between 5.1 and a 7.1? does it add that much of sourround feeling or is it just a side show to the original 5.1 dolby digital.

    thankX

    Nir..
     
  19. Jason.Soko

    Jason.Soko Well-Known Member

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    There isn't going to be any difference. Can anyone even name something recorded in 7.1? Does anyone even use their theaters in 6.1? Nope and Nope. 5.1 is fine for 99% of us.
     
  20. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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    ??

    Lots of people use 6.1. It can be quite the improvement for quite a lot of soudtracks. Is it worth the significant $$ to upgrade just for 6.1/"7.1"? Eh, not really, although upgrading receivers for a better/more powerful/better sounding/more feature-full receiver very well might be. Obviously you'll need to have the extra speakers, if not, then yes, upgrading to a 7.1 receiver if you're not gonna take advantage of it is pointless. I don't know what kind of speakers you have, etc, because I am usually always biased towards upgrading to better sounding stuff, rather than adding more of the same, often mediocre sounding equipment for 6/7.1. If you have a great setup already, sure why not go 7.1? If your speakers are just decent, then that would net you a far bigger improvement in sound for movies, and especially for music, IMO.
     

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