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Stupid question about 5.1 and 6.1 sound

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by Donald_S, Oct 23, 2003.

  1. Donald_S

    Donald_S Well-Known Member

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    OK, NOW A FOLLOW UP DUMB QUESTION ABOUT RECEIVERS, SEE DOWN THREE MESSAGES.

    Dumb question, but I just don't know. Can a 6.1 receiver be used for a 5.1 setup (center and 4 surrounds), or are you going to lose the sound that would be coming from that 6th speaker? Or another way to ask the question, will a 5.1 receiver do a better job than a 6.1 receiver with 5 speakers. Or a third way, a monoral system with one speaker sounds better than a stereo with one speaker because at least you get all of the sound. Is 6.1 with 5 speakers a similar problem.

    Help appreciated.

    Donald
     
  2. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Well-Known Member

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    A 6.1-capable receiver will work just fine in 5.1 mode. No sound will be "lost." Most DVD releases of current films are 5.1 mixes anyway.
     
  3. TomHansen

    TomHansen Active Member

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    the way most of the 6.1 (or 7.1 for that matter) recievers work is they take the two surround inputs, and run those two signals through Dolby ProLogic to split it up into the rears versus the sides, unless of course you actually get a movie encoded in 6.1

    Hope that helps!
     
  4. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Well-Known Member

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    Only DTS-ES discrete discs have discretely encoded 6.1 information, and these discs are totally backward compatible(plus there are only a few of them). All other discs are only 5.1.

    There should be no differences between a 5.1/6.1 receiver running a 5.1 setup, given that the receivers are equal in performance. This, however, assumes that you leave the rear back speaker set to OFF in the 6.1 receiver, since you won't have a speaker back there. If you turn that ON, without a speakers, then you will be losing information, because it's sending it to a speaker that doesn't actually exist...
     
  5. Donald_S

    Donald_S Well-Known Member

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    Thanks guys, that's really helpful. Chris, the fact that I can turn the back center 'off' means the receiver is smart enough to understand that there isn't one there, which was my concern. If it was hardwired to output that signal, then sound could indeed be lost.

    Now, next question. If I'm going to get a 5.1 (or 6.1 now of course) receiver for a small system. Given the following parameters, what would you guys recommend?

    1. It will be used exclusively for films (no music).

    2. The total speaker package will probably be in the $1,000 range.

    3. Speakers will be in a 5.1 configuration.

    3. I share a wall with a neighbor so that I can't have 'window rattling bass'.

    4. Input will be either digital cable or DVD only.

    5. My ear isn't good enough to tell the difference between DOLBY PRO LOGIC XXXVVIII ETS THX MEGA INCREDA COLOSSAL SOUND and a monoral turntable playing old '78s. I can however identify a rear versus a front speaker 3 times out of 5 on a good day.

    6. Price under $20 (joke). Sort of. Obviously I'm keeping the price down so a top of the line Denon isn't in my sights.

    Thanks guys.

    Donald
     

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