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Going From 5.1 to 7.1 is there a difference?

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17 replies to this topic

#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Don K

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Posted December 16 2006 - 09:10 AM

When I set up my 5.1 speaker system, when I was remodeling, I also placed additional speaker wires in case I ever wanted side speakers for a 7.1 system. I am in the process of replacing my 5.1 AV with a new 7.1 Pioneer Elite so the question is again is it really worth going to 7 speakers. Would like to know from people that have gone form 5 to 7 speakers and get their opinion. From the few that I could search out it was even, one saying it didn't make any difference to one saying he was quite happy with the results.

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   Alan Pummill

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Posted December 16 2006 - 10:58 AM

7.1 or 6.1 is better than 5.1 IMHO!!

#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Garrett Lundy

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Posted December 16 2006 - 01:06 PM

speakers 4 & 5 are the side speakers. 6 & 7 go behind you. Aside from that: You certain can't do any worse for using 7 speakers, whats the worst that could happen? They'll remain quiet during some of the movie?
"Did you know that more people are murdered at 92 degrees Fahrenheit than any other temperature? I read an article once. Lower temperatures, people are easy-going, over 92 and it's too hot to move, but just 92, people get irritable."

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   steveKlein



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Posted December 16 2006 - 02:35 PM

i would say that going from mono to stereo is kind of a big deal. going from stereo to 5.1 is a HUGE upgrade. going from 5.1 to 7.1 is a lot less of a big deal, but still could enhance your experience (but don't expect to be blown away like going from 2.0 --> 5.1) this analogy might work: vhs ---> dvd (2.0 ... -> 5.1) and then dvd ---> blu-ray (5.1 ---> 7.1)

#5 of 18 OFFLINE   Chris Quinn

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Posted December 16 2006 - 06:00 PM

If you have multiple rows of seating it is worth it.

#6 of 18 OFFLINE   gene c

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Posted December 16 2006 - 11:29 PM

From what I've read around here over the years, it seems to be "the bigger the room the bigger the improvement". I'd like to try 7.1 but don't feel my room is large enough (sigh).
"Everyday room": Panasonic 58" Plasma, Dish HD DVR, Pioneer Elite vsx-23, BDP-23 BR, dv58avi universal dvd player, Paradigm Studio 20 V1, CC-450, Dayton HSU-10 subwoofer.

"Movie/Music room": Toshiba 65" DLP, Dish HD receiver, Marantz 7005, CC-4003, BD-7006, Polk LSI25's-LSi7's-LSiC, 2 original Dayton 10" "Mighty-Mites" subwoofers. (subject to change without notice).
Also have  MB Quart Vera VS05 +.....too much to list. Help me.


#7 of 18 OFFLINE   mojomike



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Posted December 17 2006 - 12:55 AM

The difference is very content dependent. Some movies like the Star Wars releases of recent years are actually coded for it and certain stuff like flyovers seem to benefit, but the improvement is subtle.

#8 of 18 OFFLINE   frogpond


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Posted December 17 2006 - 01:29 AM

The bigger the room the better and the above post about multiple rows is right on. Here's the thing start looking at your movie collection, start looking at the specs on the back. What you will find is 5.1 is the norm, 6.1 is rare and 7.1 in non exisistent (yes even in Star Wars which is 6.1). With a 5.1 movie and a 7.1 set up the receiver is doing all the work and makes phantom channels. Mastering in 7.1 takes would take a lot of precious space on a 4.7gig DVD which is why its not done. Now with HDDVD and Bluray we might start seeing 7.1 but as of yet its still a ways off.

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   frogpond


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Posted December 17 2006 - 01:32 AM

Oops! Just checked my Star Wars collection and they are 5.1 not even 6.1!!

#10 of 18 OFFLINE   mojomike



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Posted December 17 2006 - 04:12 AM

"Revenge of the Sith" is EX.

#11 of 18 ONLINE   Lord Dalek

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Posted December 17 2006 - 05:18 AM

The sixth channel is matrixed (just like the center and mono surround are matrixed into a 2.0 LT/RT track) into the rear two so it is a 6.1 of sort.

#12 of 18 OFFLINE   frogpond


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Posted December 17 2006 - 05:21 AM

EX is just another Dolby technology that is 5.1 as explained here

#13 of 18 OFFLINE   Philip Hamm

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Posted December 18 2006 - 04:06 AM

I'm in the minority, but I went from 5.1 to 7.1 and I found the rear soundfield to be distracting / too much in 7.1 (Dolby ES / DTS EX). I went back to 5.1 and am happier with it.
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#14 of 18 OFFLINE   djsHTnut


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Posted December 19 2006 - 06:43 AM

I tried 6.1 and also found it to be bothersome. I went back to 5.1 and sounded much better. At least for now I feel 5.1 is better because that is what it is produced in.

#15 of 18 OFFLINE   MikeLi


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Posted December 23 2006 - 09:24 PM

Like a few of the above posters have mentioned, it really depends on several things. #1 being your room then equipment and so forth down the line. Again its not all that giddy like going from even straight old dolby to the newer dolby. (Even the EX). But you never know until you try. I have a long and narrow big room that does double duty for a family room but really is set up more like a HT. (I like being on the same floor as the family and others when they stop by so I prefer not to have a dedicated theater but mine is set up better than some dedicated ones people have done) I too wanted to try 7.1 when I made a processor change that had 7.1 just to try it. Had to buy a couple more amps but what the heck. I wound up getting some good speakers (Non dipole for the rears). My leather couch which is also around the sweet spot backs up within 15" from the back wall with a picture window above it. I have the window sealed and also a nice heavy duty drape over it. Can't put the speakers above unless you pointed them straight down, plus it would look weird. So here is what I did. I bought some speaker stands that are only 16 inches off the floor and put the speakers facing straight up jut past the ends of the couch. Actually 1/3 of the speaker is behind the couch. It traps the sound a bit making the other side of the couch to hear the opposite side speaker when needed and vice versa. Had to up the volume notch on these speakers 2 higher that what the calibration thing said to do and it works great. There is not a whole lot that goes through these speakers and I way overspent on what I put there but it does sound good. Also took the covers off and got some thin but strong plastic thats like a mesh and cut it to protect the speakers incase something fell on them and put the covers back over them. Won't stop any water from getting in there but I should not have that problem where they are at. Anyway works for me. Mike

#16 of 18 OFFLINE   ChrisWiggles



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Posted December 24 2006 - 07:08 AM

7.1 is not an insignificant improvement. 6.1 one should avoid. Always try to use a 7.1 array, even in a 6.1 processing environment.

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   MikeLi


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Posted December 28 2006 - 10:39 AM

Definantly not like going from bookshelves to floor standers up front but there is a slight noticable difference. I say if you have the money and can figure out a way to put the speakers. They can be small as they are not used that much but it is kind of neat. Still though I would rather have a great 5.1 than a crappy 7.1 anyday.

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Gary Seven

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Posted December 29 2006 - 08:19 AM

I have a 7.1 one set up and enjoy it immensely. There are so many variables involved from the size of the room to speakers to arrangement to amplifier/processor that your mileage will vary greatly. With my current setup, I will never go back to 5.1. The sound field is truly impressive. Will you have the same results? Possibly. But it will probably be either better or worse (again, due to the many variables involved). An expensive experiment perhaps, but you will have to try it yourself.

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