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5.2 vs. 7.2 Best Speaker Configuration/Setup


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#1 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 18 2011 - 04:54 AM

I listen to alot of music, and watch some BD movies less than 10% of the time.  Running 5.2 all up front with Klipsch RF-82II towers, RC-62II center, RS-52II surrounds, and Klipsch RW-12d & a PA-150 subs.  Room size is 18 x 22 ft. with high (~12 ft.) ceilings. Running the new Denon AVR-3311CI amp at 125 Watts/Ch.  Am wondering if going to 7.2 would make any noticeable difference?

I have been told don't waste your money on any more speakers!  Wondering if anyone can add to this thread/discussion of what the real difference would be for the additional $ expenditure for a couple more speakers.



#2 of 19 Jason Charlton

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Posted January 18 2011 - 06:03 AM

If you listen to music 90% of the time (even if it's mostly multichannel SACD) unless you're listening in "All Channel Stereo" then you won't utilize the extra speakers of a 7.1 system except for Blu-Ray viewing.


How much of your music collection is multichannel?  For critical listening, most would agree it's best to listen in pure stereo (or 2.1 since you have the subwoofers).


(On a side note, the ".2" designation really is a misnomer, since both subwoofers are reproducing the same LFE channel.  There is always only one discrete LFE channel, never two.)


Based on your listening habits, I would say adding two back surround speakers would be way at the lower end of the priority spectrum.


Edit: You answered my question on the All Channel Stereo in another thread.  If your room is really large, then perhaps you would experience a minor benefit by adding the extra speakers to help "fill the room" a bit better, but IMO, you're talking about diminishing returns at this point.  I find All Channel Stereo best for entertaining when critical listening is not a priority and ambient sound is.  You tend to lose a lot of the nuances and stereo imaging when using that listening mode - in essence, "more speakers" are not better for critical listening, but that's more of a personal preference than anything.


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#3 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 18 2011 - 07:37 AM

Jason,

Thanks for all your input here.  I totally agree, although the Multi Ch. Stereo mode on the Denon seems to fill up all the speakers and henceforth the room more so, than the other Denon modes (Pure Direct On, Stereo, and Direct).  Eric at Sound Distributors totally agrees that adding two more speakers for a room size of 18 x 22 ft. would be a waste of money, and he sells speakers - but is Very Honest.  Also, he stated that adding two more front towers would be a bigger waste of money.  My music collection is streaming in via Napster or Pandora to my LG BD-590 player (which I wish I never bought -- another Thread required here on the BD player).  Help me on understanding the encoding on most music streaming in unless it was Digitally Remastered, and with a tune that is Digitally Remastered I would assume it to be laid down at 5.1, is that your understanding as well?

Originally Posted by Jason Charlton 

If you listen to music 90% of the time (even if it's mostly multichannel SACD) unless you're listening in "All Channel Stereo" then you won't utilize the extra speakers of a 7.1 system except for Blu-Ray viewing.


How much of your music collection is multichannel?  For critical listening, most would agree it's best to listen in pure stereo (or 2.1 since you have the subwoofers).


(On a side note, the ".2" designation really is a misnomer, since both subwoofers are reproducing the same LFE channel.  There is always only one discrete LFE channel, never two.)


Based on your listening habits, I would say adding two back surround speakers would be way at the lower end of the priority spectrum.


Edit: You answered my question on the All Channel Stereo in another thread.  If your room is really large, then perhaps you would experience a minor benefit by adding the extra speakers to help "fill the room" a bit better, but IMO, you're talking about diminishing returns at this point.  I find All Channel Stereo best for entertaining when critical listening is not a priority and ambient sound is.  You tend to lose a lot of the nuances and stereo imaging when using that listening mode - in essence, "more speakers" are not better for critical listening, but that's more of a personal preference than anything.





#4 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 18 2011 - 07:43 AM

Jason, are you running your Amp setup for LFE+Main or just LFE?  Your right on again, that the Low Frequency Effect (LFE) is only one pre-amp output, and is cascaded for dual subs SW1 and SW2 off of the back of the amp. and all amplification for the subs occurs within the subwoofers themselves.  So .2 is really .1, but with two subs seeing the same pre-amp out off of the amp.



#5 of 19 Jason Charlton

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Posted January 18 2011 - 08:13 AM

My system is set up as LFE only.  I used to have it set up so my mains "shared the load" with the subwoofer, but on the advice I heard here, I changed to subwoofer only and really didn't notice any difference.


As for music formats, most music out there is simple 2.0 stereo.  Keep in mind that "Digitally Mastered" does not automatically mean "Multichannel".  Virtually all modern music CDs are Digitally Mastered, but all CDs are 2.0 stereo.  CDs are "uncompressed" audio (referred to as PCM - Pulse Code Modulation) at a sampling rate of 44kHz.


SACD and HD Audio formats support multichannel, but if I remember correctly, not all recordings make use of multichannel encodes - many are still stereo.


I'm virtually certain that all streaming audio formats (including Napster and Pandora) are compressed stereo formats.  For comparison, Netflix only recently started offering a streaming 5.1 format for SOME of their online movies - most of them are still stereo.


Streaming formats employ a form of lossy compression - not unlike MP3.  There can be quite a quality variation depending on the techniques used during compression as well as settings like sampling rate and bit depth/bit rate.  Some high quality MP3 encoding can sound quite good, actually, though it results in larger filesizes which negate the portability that many folks find important (I want 64 million songs on my iPod!!!).


On this next part, I'm not entirely sure I've got it right - if I'm way off base, hopefully someone will correct me...


Since most music is simple stereo, it lends itself reasonably well for use with an all-channel-stereo mode - where the signal can more easily be "split" into the extra channels.  Taking a 5.1 recording and playing it in all-channel-stereo would be a bit more complicated, as the 5.1 would first be "collapsed" into 2.0 stereo, then that signal would be split across the multiple channels.


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#6 of 19 DaveF

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Posted January 18 2011 - 08:53 AM

At a glance (and based on my shopping and demo experience) the best purchase you could make next might be separate amps, like three monoblocks (or 3-channel amp) for the front channels.



#7 of 19 Robert_J

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Posted January 18 2011 - 09:08 AM

I agree with the last paragraph.  2.0 does lend itself to all-channel-stereo better than 5.1.  If it is 5.1, why not play it back that way?


Compressed music - the better your system, the better chance you have of hearing compression artifacts.  I have different versions of music depending on playback.  Lossless for my home theater.  WMA 320kbps for my car stereo.  MP3 256kbps for my wife's car stereo.  MP3 128kbps for ear bud headphones.



#8 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 19 2011 - 04:57 AM

I have tried both LFE, and LFE+Main, and like you stated Jason I really can't see alot of difference when the crossover is set at 80 Hz. for the amp and subs.


BTW -- I spoke with Klipsch yesterday and one of their customer support guys (who are excellent) sent me a file named "Loudspeaker Placement Guide", which was written Aug. 26, 2004.

This writeup goes over the different philosophies and theories for the Main Speaker Placement, Center Channel Placement and When to Use Two Center Channels, Rear Speaker Placement - Dipole vs. Direct Radiating, Subwoofer Placement and Number of Subwoofers.


For those of you that are interested in this technical writeup, get a hold of Klipsch at 1-800-554-7724, and ask for Ryan in their Product Support Group, or email them at TechnicalSupport@Klipsch.com


This is an excellent read.



#9 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 19 2011 - 05:12 AM

After talking to Ryan at Klipsch yesterday, and referencing the placement of all my speakers, and in particular my Surround Speakers (RS-52II), which I have on the up front plane aligned with towers and dual subs, Ryan suggested to move these two surrounds to the Rear, and put them up 6-8 ft. above the floor, and point them down a little towards the listening main seating position.  And then add two more RS-52II's or RS-62II's to the left and right side of the main seating position.


This way only my dual left and right subs, and front left and right towers would be up front aligned with TV monitor, and of course the center channel just below the TV.  This then would add two more speakers and push it to a 7.2 channel full surround system.  I am still deciding how much more I would get out of this for mostly music listening, vs. the dollar expenditure of having to add two more surrounds.


Klipsch suggested taking a hard look at http://www.omnimount.com  for the speaker mounts.  Just curious if anyone is using mounts from this company, and what experience they have had with them.



#10 of 19 DaveF

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Posted January 19 2011 - 08:02 AM

Omnimount is well regarded. They make solid speaker mounts. I had a pair for wall-mounting of some surround speakers, but I decided to go with floor-stands instead (for ease of installation and aesthetic reasons).



#11 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 20 2011 - 06:14 AM

Thanks Dave F --  Now if they only had a wireless setup for the speakers, as I am getting to darn old to crawl under the house and run wires for surrounds, plus having to run wire up the wall for the rear backs.  How else can this be accomplished with carpeting in place?


Dolby has a nice writeup for Home Theater Speaker guide at http://www.dolby.com...uide/index.html


It covers 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1 hookups and placements of all speakers.



#12 of 19 Stephen_J_H

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Posted January 20 2011 - 07:04 AM



Originally Posted by DennisSoundEngr 

Thanks Dave F --  Now if they only had a wireless setup for the speakers, as I am getting to darn old to crawl under the house and run wires for surrounds, plus having to run wire up the wall for the rear backs.  How else can this be accomplished with carpeting in place?


Dolby has a nice writeup for Home Theater Speaker guide at http://www.dolby.com...uide/index.html


It covers 2.1, 5.1, and 7.1 hookups and placements of all speakers.


Is carpet glued/stapled down? If so, you might consider flat, adhesive-backed, paintable speaker wire. Here's one place that sells it, though you can find more by googling flat speaker wire.


"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#13 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 21 2011 - 04:35 AM

Stephen,

Carpet is to the best of my knowledge stapled down.  Thanks for the flat wire web site.  Looks like nice stuff, but certainly not inexpensive.  But as though old saying goes, in most cases, you pay for what you get.



#14 of 19 DaveF

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Posted January 21 2011 - 05:35 AM

Generally, I don't think you get what you pay for in cables and connectors :)


If you need to buy speaker wire, be sure to check out Monoprice

http://www.monoprice...102&cp_id=10239


Unfortunately, they don't carry flat wiring. But for almost everything else, they're great.



#15 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 22 2011 - 08:15 AM

Dave F ~~ thanks for the URL for speaker wire.  Wow, they have some very excellent prices, and alot of selections.  This will be my future source for cabling.



#16 of 19 Robert_J

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Posted January 22 2011 - 08:56 AM



Originally Posted by DennisSoundEngr 

Dave F ~~ thanks for the URL for speaker wire.  Wow, they have some very excellent prices, and alot of selections.  This will be my future source for cabling.


The only thing better than their prices and quality is their customer service.  I asked an e-mail question about an older version of an HDMI switch that had some quirks when switching sources.  10 minutes later the VP of customer service had looked up my order, found my address and had a replacement on the way.  All without me even asking.  I boxed up the old one and stuck a pre-paid shipping label on the box and UPS picked it up.  Normally you pay a premium for that service.



#17 of 19 DaveF

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Posted January 22 2011 - 10:32 AM

I like HDMI cables from BlueJeans, but I've otherwise bought all my cables the past three years from Monoprice. I also bought a TV wallmount from them. That saved me about $200!



#18 of 19 DennisSoundEngr

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Posted January 23 2011 - 05:36 AM

Howdy All -- now I am thinking about the Emotiva XPA-3 for the Center, and Two Up Front Towers.

Is anyone running the Emotiva XPA-3, and what experience have you had with it?



#19 of 19 rikpepe

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Posted June 29 2012 - 04:15 AM

How much of your music collection is multichannel? For critical listening, most would agree it's best to listen in pure stereo (or 2.1 since you have the subwoofers). Ughhh Stone Age. Most of the music I listen to is 5.1 . Stereo in 2012 is so 1950.