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Upgrading surround sound system from 5.1 to 7.1


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#1 of 16 salman

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Posted February 14 2006 - 10:54 PM

I have an existing 5.1 channel, "BOSE Acoustimass 15 Home Theatre System". It has 5 Direct/Reflecting cube speakers (UB-20) and a bass module (Sub woofer). All speaker wires go to the sub-woofer and then from sub-woofer, all wires go to the receiver.

I would like to upgrade this system to a 7.1 channel. To my understanding, there are two options that I can follow:

1) Just buy 2 new BOSE UB-20 Direct/Reflecting cube speakers or BOSE 161 speakers and hook them directly to the receiver (as my sub-woofer has only place for 5 speakers). What are the pros and cons for doing this?

2) Buy "BOSE Acoustimass 5 Series III Speaker System" which comes with a base module and 2 UB-20 Direct/Reflecting cube speakers which I can connect as Left back and right back speakers to make it 7.1 channel. This way, I will have two base modules. Is that recommended or not recommended?

I will highly appreciate any recommendations/suggestion.
Thank you,

#2 of 16 AlanZ

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Posted February 15 2006 - 07:13 AM

Salman, can I ask you what your marital status is?
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#3 of 16 John Garcia

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Posted February 15 2006 - 07:19 AM

Wow, talk about subtle...Posted Image

I think what Alan might be getting at is, is the "small" factor a primary consideration? Bose is often considered to be a poor choice on most forums.

If it were me, I'd sell the whole set on eBay and buy a new 7.1 set of speakers. Just adding 161s will do what you are after however.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
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#4 of 16 AlanZ

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Posted February 15 2006 - 08:29 AM

lmao.....yes yes, listen to John Garcia Posted Image Posted Image

Salman, for the record, I meant no offense....it's just that I have learned a LOT about audio and HT over the past few years, in large part due to this forum. Part of my education had to do with Bose....I've never owned a single thing from Bose, but I used to think they were something special.
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#5 of 16 DavidSGT

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Posted February 15 2006 - 06:49 PM

Salman,

Not many bose users here...

I don't think you can do that with the bose, I mean just add 2 more speaks to get 7.1. Bose systems are not very ahem 'upgradable'

Sorry didn't see the receiver bit but will the bose cubes able to take whats coming out from your receiver?

Regards
DavidSGT

#6 of 16 LanceJ

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Posted February 15 2006 - 07:49 PM

If you try to hook up a set of those Bose cubes directly to your receiver, the soundtracks of a lot of modern movies will burn them out almost immediately, so don't do it. The bass module contains a filter that removes the lower & upper bass (reportedly up to 200Hz) so the cubes won't fry themselves.

Using another cube/bass module system seems like overkill to me (but if you did, I think the single cube system would be enough).

I couldn't find any mention of power handling capacity on Bose's site (weird!!), but I think the 161s should work O.K. as back surrounds unless you are using a huge A/V receiver with 150watt/channel amps. Posted Image Just make sure to program your receiver for "small" backs.

#7 of 16 salman

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Posted February 16 2006 - 05:51 PM

First of all, thank you everybody for the great input. It became very apparent that folks don't like BOSE systems here. I purchased it about 5 years ago and yes, the main reason was the "size" and space they take. I'll admit that quality isn't bad either. And, Yes, I am married Alanz! It took me few minutes to get your sense of humor.

Now, selling on E-bay won't pay me much and I would like to save some money at the moment as I moved into a new house where I am doing the new wiring. So I thought to upgrade the system from 5.1 to 7.1. Not that I needed it but it's just one of those things that you wanted to do it.

It seems liek I am stuch with BOSE at the moment and I would to try some other brands. What are some other GOOD brands?

One more question: I am running wires and I heard that you should not run the wires close to electric/telephone/tv cables as they can interfere. Is that tru or a myth? I am using Monster 14 gauge cable.

Thanks a bunch,

#8 of 16 RichardH

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Posted February 16 2006 - 07:01 PM

Figure out what you want to upgrade to later on (what brand), then pick out a pair of surrounds. It won't match your Bose, but then later on, when you upgrade, you can fill in the rest of the 5.1 !!

#9 of 16 salman

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Posted February 16 2006 - 11:25 PM

Thanks Richard. How far away the speaker wires should run from the electtric wires. Does Security system Wires, Phone & Satellite wires also interfere?
Thank you,
Salman

#10 of 16 SamNavy

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Posted February 17 2006 - 04:50 AM

It's surprising to me that nobody has mentioned the fact that you can't just get 7.1 by adding two more speakers to a 5.1. A 7.1 system needs a 7.1 processor to send the correct signals to the back surrounds. Your Bose AM15 is not a 7.1 surround processor... I don't even think 6.1 existed 5 years ago... In short, you cannot turn your AM15 into a 7.1. And yes, for the record, Bose is all about marketing. Sound is average when compared against even a basic quality setup of regular name-brand equipment.

Salman, even a basic 7.1 system is going to be around a $1000 dollars to set up. I will use that amount as a goal to shoot for. Try the following setup... I'm sure others will chime in with their favorites... and for others, just take it easy on the guy and don't tell him he needs to spend $5k to get anything "worthy".

HSU Ventriloquist (6speaker) system with STF-1 sub $199+$299
one additional surround speaker (can't be more than a $50 special order)
Basic 7.1 receiver: Onkyo TXSR-503 at eCost: $299

That's less than $900 including shipping that will absolutely crush your bose system as far as sound and performance. The surround speakers aren't all that much bigger than the Bose cubes and are just as easily wall mountable. Hopefully others will chime in with additional options to give you a good base to make decisions from.

-Sam

#11 of 16 John Garcia

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Posted February 17 2006 - 05:24 AM

The Acoustimass 15 is a speaker pacakge, not a "system". It does not include a receiver. Technically, it IS a 5.1 package because the sub has the crossover built in and is only capable of passing 5 channels of audio output. I know because my dad has the same set in one room (oh the shame...).

I'm guessing that upgrading to 7.1 includes a 7.1 receiver somewhere in there, though it wasn't mentioned. By adding a 7.1 receiver, he CAN just connect the two extra speakers to the receiver and get 7.1, though we would all hope to see him get something better.
HT: Emotiva UMC-200, Emotiva XPA-3, Carnegie Acoustics CSB-1s + CSC-1, GR Research A/V-1s, Epik Empire, Oppo BDP-105, PS4, PS3,URC R-50, APC-H10, Panamax 5100 Bluejeans Cable
System Two: Marantz PM7200, Pioneer FS52s, Panasonic BD79
(stolen) : Marantz SR-8300, GR Research A/V-2s, Sony SCD-222ES SACD, Panasonic BD-65, PS3 60G (250G)

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#12 of 16 salman

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Posted February 17 2006 - 08:23 AM

Thanks Sam & john, I am very grateful for all of you for your great input. I will visit this site regularly to learn new thing. One thing I would like to tell you that you guys have convinced me to look into new systems and check on e-bay about selling my existing bose system.
Thank you,

#13 of 16 salman

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Posted February 17 2006 - 03:34 PM

Now, does it matter if I buy just cheap radio shack RCA adapters or they should be high end adapters. I checked at monster.com and they are between $10-$15 a piece, yikes!! Any suggestions on that. Which ones should I buy and where can I buy them?

Also, do both cables have to be equal length like

Front Left cable length = Front Right cable length

Surround Left & Surround Right = equal length cable

Back Left & Back Right = equal length cable

The acble I am uisng says that maximum of 60 feet length for surround speakers.

or it does not matter. If it does, how much of a difference in length is not noticeable in hearing music/movies?

Thank you,

#14 of 16 SamNavy

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Posted February 18 2006 - 02:23 PM

John, thanks for straightening me out. I must have been thinking about a "Lifestyle" system when I typed.

Salman, in short, Monster Cable has a marketing campaign even greater than bose to convince the average consumer he absolutely "NEEDS" Monster or his audio/video system will look and sound like crap. If you have a huge budget and think it will impress your friends that all your cables are "Monster", by all means. But there are a dozen other companies out there that sell the same quality that Monster advertises and cost a lot less. If you haven't been to the Parts Express website, go there and search their cables section... here is a link:
http://www.partsexpr....&WebPage_ID=59
Here is the link to their connectors index:
http://www.partsexpr....&WebPage_ID=59
As you can see, there are a lot of options other than Monster that cost a lot less and provide at least the same quality for 99.9% of consumers. I am not by any means anti-Monster. If I had the money, I would totally buy all Monster stuff because it looks cool and I could sleep more comfortably at night knowing I was Monsterized.

Back to the point...
Based on your posts though, I can't figure out what you are talking about connecting. When you say RCA, are you talking about attaching RCA tips to your speaker wire? Is this a new subject or are we still on bose?
I prefer banana plugs over anything else for attaching my speakers... they make setting up your system or moving pieces (even demo-ing new speakers a snap). If your speakers accept banana plugs, this is what I recommend:
http://www.partsexpr....number=091-350
Don't forget that one wire will take 4 total plugs, so you need 20 total plugs for 5 speakers.

Your speaker cables DO NOT have to be the same length. A couple feet difference will not matter one bit. Do you need to run a cable longer than 60'... that's a big room!

#15 of 16 salman

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Posted February 19 2006 - 05:03 PM

Thanks Sam for the suggestions. To be honest with you, I am not very knowledgeable about good companies that sell tyhese parts, so that's why I was going towards monster. No doubt it's a rip off.

See all my speaker wires go into the bass Module which accepts only Male RCA plugs. Then all the wires go from my base module to the pioneer receiver. I had a hec of a time soldering the wires to the RCA plugs (Radio shack). Part of the reason was 14 gauge wires were too big for those rca connectors. Is there any alternate to soldering. I am just not good with that.

I will definitely check this "Parts Express" website and order some parts. They seem very reasonable.

Thanks again,
Salman

#16 of 16 Edwin_D

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Posted February 20 2006 - 03:06 PM

There is another route that might be considered: You could buy two new GOOD speakers to use as front channels, and migrate the two UB-20's currently being used as front channels to the surround channels. This would allow you to improve your overall sound quality, and also start moving you away from Bose. The downside is that there will be some difference in the sound of the new speakers vs. old, so as sounds move from the l/r to the center, for example, you may notice some change.