Jump to content


7.1 versus 5.1

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
16 replies to this topic

#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Todd_RIC


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 50 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 2003

Posted March 21 2003 - 05:49 AM

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for opinions as to how much "better" a 7.1 system is compared to a 5.1 system. My theater room will be 18' X 14' and I'll be using amps with at least a 200wpc rating (currently leaning towards the Outlaw or Sherbourn amps). My speakers will be Paradigm Studio 100s for the fronts, Paradigm Studio CC (or possibly another Studio 100) for the center, Paradigm ADPs for surrounds, and a Paradigm Servo-15 for the sub. Given the cost of a 7 channel amp vs. a 5 channel amp plus the cost of an extra set of ADPs, the total additional cost for a 7.1 setup is about $1,400. In your opinions, is 7.1 worth the extra cost???

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Jerome Grate

Jerome Grate


  • 2,934 posts
  • Join Date: May 23 1999

Posted March 21 2003 - 07:13 AM

From a person that has 6.1 via a psuedo ex set up, I say definetly go for it. I find 6.1 (matrixed rear center channel) to be quite enveloping even with standard 5.1 material. Now if you use Logic 7 from Harman Kardon or Lexicon, my understanding is that your surround back left/right become distinct as to sound sent to them. I've read great reviews about Logic 7 and 7.1 set ups with 5.1 material. It's the future, might as well jump in to it now.
Listen Up People.., Rack Em and Pack Em.., We're Phantoms in 15.

#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Alex Prosak

Alex Prosak

    Supporting Actor

  • 765 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 2001

Posted March 21 2003 - 12:06 PM

I'm currently running a 7.0 system right now and I think the difference between 5 and 7 is significant. I would recommend saving yourself a little by going with direct radiating speakers such as the Studio 20s for the surround back instead of the ADPs.

#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Ken Chan

Ken Chan


  • 3,302 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 11 1999

Posted March 21 2003 - 12:09 PM

Given the cost of a 7 channel amp vs. a 5 channel amp
Why not just get an extra 2-channel amp in the same family?

If you can get good side and rear speaker placement, I definitely recommend 7.1, especially with true Logic 7. You get more "surroundy" performance in general, and occasionally some very good directional effects. Whether that's worth $1400 is a tougher question to answer.


#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Tina_H_V


    Supporting Actor

  • 526 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 25 2000
  • Real Name:Tina
  • LocationCalifornia

Posted March 21 2003 - 01:23 PM

Me, I am all in favor of a 7.1 configuration. Even with the limitations of my room, I have found a way to make it work, by just putting the surround speakers just right at the point where I would sit in my HT, with the back surround speakers right behind my listening area. And yes, I do indeed concurr with everyone with the difference it makes in enveloping, seemless sound. And also, with an external stereo amplifier driving my back surround speakers via the back surround pre-outs of my Onkyo 797 (surgically repaired from that DREADED ticking noise, by the way, and sounding better than ever! Posted Image ), with the amplifier level control turned up apart from the receiver itself, the sound is very much, IMHO, compelling. So, I echo Jerome and Ken's sentiments by using external amplification to power the back surround channels. It can--and does--work.
The Acid Queen Still Rocks and Souls!!!! ;D

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

Kevin C Brown


  • 5,713 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 03 2000

Posted March 22 2003 - 09:12 AM

I will echo some thoughts above:

I like a stereo amp plus a 5 channel amp combo. Then, if you play any proportion of 2 channel stereo music, you only need to turn on that 1 amp.

I also agree, that if you go 7.1, use monopoles (direct radiators) and not dipoles. As you increase the number of speakers in your system, each of them individually become less localizeable. Plus, dipoles depend on off-axis sound to get to the listening position, but off-axis freq response of any speaker is terrible. Major league rolled off high freqs, so you also get better imaging as well.

I've had 5.1, 6.1, and now 7.1. I'd say, much bigger difference between 5.1 and 6.1, but there is also benefit to have 2 speakers back there than just one.
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

KevinVision 7.1 ...

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   David Judah

David Judah


  • 1,479 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 11 1999

Posted March 22 2003 - 02:32 PM

What's the layout of your room and how are you going to place the rears?

I agree with the others that most often 6.1(with one or two speakers), provides the most seamless envelopment, but I will say that if you have a room that gives you complete freedom of placement for the rears, it is possible to get very nice phantom rear center imaging in a 5.1 set-up.

Of course, the advantage of 6.1 is you get the effect without having to depend as much on the source material being right for a phantom set-up, so it will be more consistent.

In my case because of the room, my rears are placed out far to the sides, so 6.1 is a necessity for seamless directional pans across the rear soundfield and good front/back effects.

Really in the end though, you should just do it because you can.Posted Image

Lecktor: Then how did you catch me?
Graham: You had disadvantages.
Lecktor: What disadvantages?
Graham: You're insane.

#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Mike Up

Mike Up

    Second Unit

  • 393 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 16 2002

Posted March 22 2003 - 06:31 PM

7.1 is a significant upgrade to 5.1 . I have a 15' X 16' room. I have my couch 1' from the back wall. I have small satellite speakers placed on 42" stands between the couch and the wall. I have bookshelf speakers on the sides of the couch aimed at the listeners on 42" stands(as of Tuesday per delivery).

The difference is huge to none depending on the soundtrack. Usually it's huge even on 5.1 recorded tracks because sound engineers still mixed significant mono signals into the rear channels(in an effort obviously to create a center image as does 2 front speakers). It's great! With 5.1 you have excellent left and right sounds but everything in between is fuzzy. The rear back surround channels pull the action behind you and truly create a more involving sound. Since many 5.1 soundtracks 'technically' are mixed for Matrixed 6.1 sound, I leave my Denon AVR-3803 in DD-EX and DTS-ES all the time.

Of course my cost to go from my Yamaha RX-V2095 5.1 sound, to my Denon AVR-3803's 7.1 sound was less than what you considering.

I'd say go with direct, monopole speakers. Even THX has now stated that direct firing speakers for the back surround channels have advantages. Myself, I'm not for THX or dipole speakers because I don't want my home theater to sound fuzzy and diffused like a professional theater, I want it to sound distinct, discrete, and BETTER than a professional theater. Just my opinion.Posted Image Funny, every time I go to a DTS or DD show with friends, they always ask, " Is this surround sound? It doesn't sound nearly as good as your theater." Posted Image

Go 7.1.Posted Image

#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Mathew Shelby

Mathew Shelby

    Second Unit

  • 344 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 05 2002

Posted March 23 2003 - 03:22 AM

NIGHT and DAY....

#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Vincent_S


    Second Unit

  • 450 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 29 2002

Posted March 23 2003 - 04:14 PM

If you do you won't regret itPosted Image

#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Todd_RIC


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 50 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 2003

Posted March 24 2003 - 12:35 AM

Thanks for all the input guys... It looks like I'll take the plunge and go 7.1. My only question left is the processor. I need 200wpc to fuel the Paradigms I plan on getting... which means an amp. I'll probably go with the Outlaw 770 (200wpc X 7). For a processor, I could either use a Denon 2803 ($800), an HK 325 ($800), or a Outlaw 950 ($700 when purchased in a bundle with the amp) for processing. The Denon has 7.1 pre-outs and 100Mhz bandwidth for component video switching, but doesn't offer a 7.1 processing format (only offers DTS Neo 6). Same story with the Outlaw but I'm not sure of the bandwidth on this unit and I've read alot about some quality problems with this processor. The HK offers 7.1 pre-outs, Logic 7, and a 50Mhz bandwidth... I have to do more research to find out if that is enough bandwidth to handle HDTV. The bandwidth issue will probably be a moot point anyway as the projector I'm now leaning towards (NEC HT1000) has multiple component inputs so I would just bypass the processor anyway.

Another issue is the ADPs. I'm thinking right now that I'll just use Studio 20s as surrounds instead of the ADPs. $300 less per pair, that would save me $600. Here's the 7.1 system:

Display: NEC HT1000 $5,000
Processor: HK 325/Denon 2803 $800
Amp: Outlaw 770 $1,800
Speakers (front): Paradigm Studio 100s $1,900
Speakers (center): Paradigm Studio 100 $950
Speakers (surround): Paradigm Studio 20s (two pair) $1,200
Speakers (sub): Paradigm Servo-15 $1,500
DVD Player: Denon 1600 $500

Total: $13,650

I've also got to buy a screen and cables... plus the HT furniture that my wife is really high on (she says I don't have to include the furniture cost in the budget ;-), so I think I could squeeze a 7.1 system with everything else into a $15K budget. Looks like I'll go that direction. Thanks for all the inputs... if you have opinions regarding the processor, please let me know...

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Mike Up

Mike Up

    Second Unit

  • 393 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 16 2002

Posted March 24 2003 - 03:10 AM

Denon's Widescreen DSP is their 7.1 format, as Harman international's is Logic 7.

Have a good one.

#13 of 17 OFFLINE   Todd_RIC


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 50 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 2003

Posted March 24 2003 - 03:16 AM

Thanks... I didn't realize that. It looks like all three options offer some form of 7.1 processing. Thanks again...

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Alex Prosak

Alex Prosak

    Supporting Actor

  • 765 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 09 2001

Posted March 24 2003 - 07:24 AM

I'm not familiar with the new 2803, does it have the SHARC processors? If not, I'd seriously consider going with the 3803 instead, it would certainly be more in line with the rest of your proposed system.

The Outlaw 950 has a component video bandwidth of 45MHz which I believe is the minimum for component video. I recently got a 950 and thus far I'm very happy with it, I think it sounds great. I'm not passing any video through it. If I hadn't bought the Outlaw I'd have bought a 3803 and a Musical Fidelity integrated amp for 2CH listening.

Enjoy! Sounds like you'll be getting a very nice HT.Posted Image


#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Todd_RIC


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 50 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 2003

Posted March 24 2003 - 07:33 AM

Alex, thanks. Yes, the 2803 does have the SHARC processors.

Like I said earlier, I'll probably by-pass the video connections anyway. If I had to make a decision right now, I'd probably go with the Outlaw... tough to beat at this price point.

#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian Schucher

Brian Schucher

    Supporting Actor

  • 704 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 22 2000

Posted March 24 2003 - 07:44 AM

Ive got the 770 amp which i like VERy much. It is a beast though. IMHO, you cannot go wrong with the price of the 950 as a package. I had the 950 but sold it. I went with a used Lexicon DC2 for L7(which i just love) but i did pay twice the amount you would have to pay for the 950 as a package..

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Todd_RIC


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 50 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 2003

Posted March 26 2003 - 12:01 AM

Well, I think I've pretty well decided to go with the Outlaw 950/770 package. The only thing I've got left to decide now is the center channel speaker... a Paradigm Studio 100 on its side, a Studio 40 standing vertically, or a Studio CC. I'm gonna audition all three different set-ups and decide which way to go. Thanks to everyone for their comments.