6.1 vs 7.1 - Need advice on new HT

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by BrianCli, Feb 3, 2003.

  1. BrianCli

    BrianCli Agent

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    I am currently in the process of building a new house. I want to add a new HT in my main family room 17'X 16' (hardwood floors, and 11' ceiling). I will be replacing all the speakers and the receiver as well (I'm keeping my new Velodyne SPL 1000). I plan on using the system for 80% Movies, 20% music.

    My question is whether or not to build a 6.1 or 7.1 system. I have been eyeing the H/K 525 which I believe is a 7.1 receiver. However, I met with a "Custom Home Theater" company last night and the "rep" recommended going with a 6.1 system. He said that a 7.1 system would sound too muddy in the room that I have. He recommened using in-wall B&W 5 1/4" all the way around (fronts and rears) and a B&W center powered by a Yamaha reciever (not sure what model, but it costs around $1000). I realize that the "Home Theater" guy is an authorized dealer of Yamaha and B&W, so I take his advice with a grain of salt.

    My questions to you experts are:
    -7.1 or 6.1?
    -Yamaha or H/K?
    -Should I use the same speaker throughout the entire system or have larger set for Front Left and Front Right?

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. Philip Brandes

    Philip Brandes Stunt Coordinator

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  3. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    The rep recommended a single rear center because that's all the Yamaha is capable of. Also, I don't think two rear centers would muddy up the sound as he said. In that size room, I'm sure either setup would work fine.

    In-walls are convenient in that they don't take up space in the room, but they sure limit flexibility of placement which can be tricky for the front stereo pair. The same is true of the rears but if a compromise for space is needed then the rears would be the better choice for in-walls. Personally, I wouldn't want to limit my placement options, but everyone has different needs in the performance and aesthetics equation.

    Both Yamaha and H/K make fine receivers, but Yamahas do lean towards the bright side, so while I wouldn't neccessarily rule them out, it's something to consider especially since your room, with the hardwood floor, will be more open and reflective. Have you considered other receiver options also? Both Denon(3803)and Pioneer(45TX)make excellent receivers in the $1000 range.

    You mentioned that your system will be mostly for movies, so having large fronts will be less of an issue than if you were going to be playing alot of stereo music, but if you have the room and you want to get into DVD-A, SACD, and stereo without the sub, I think you could justify having larger front speakers.

    B&W does make some nice towers from the affordable 600 series, the higher performance CDM NT series, and the more expensive but highest performance Nautilus series.

    Good luck,

    DJ
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Even if the receiver only has power for 6 channels, you could still connect 2 rear center speakers in series (not parallel). Have to make sure the receiver can handle it power-wise though.

    BTW, I think now some of the Yammies have power for 7.1??
     
  5. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    The RXV3300 & RXZ1 have 6 main channels of equal power and two effects channels(25W & 45W respectively).

    The RXV2300, which is the one I assume Brian is referring to, is 110W x 6.

    DJ
     
  6. Modena

    Modena Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm no expert on 6.1 vs. 7.1, so take my opinions as just that, not sound advice. I have been dealing with a similar issue (although I'm pretty far away from doing anything) and what I've learned is that this is extremely subjective. I had the opportunity to listen to both setups (Klipsch speakers all around, Marantz receiver) and I liked 6.1 better. From what I was told (and this may be incorrect) 7.1 is basically 5.1 with the two rear channels synthesized while 6.1 actually has it's own discrete 6th channel encoded to the audio. And to my ears, that's just what it sounds like, the two rear channels don't have the ooomph that the one, distinct channel has. I guess the best way to describe it is if somone was talking directly in the microphone it has impact (6.1) while the 7.1 sounds like they are talking to the side and it just catches sound, but not with the impact. However, I also felt that there was more "movement" behind me with 7.1, but it wasn't what I liked.

    So my advice to you is see if you can listen to them both and then judge. Your ears are correct, not what theoretically sounds best. But again, I'm no expert by any means and the info I may have been given could be incorrect. I actually would like someone to post and let me know if I am wrong (technically) on the setups. But in the end, I like 6.1 best so that's what I will probably do. Good luck.
     
  7. MichaelMOS

    MichaelMOS Agent

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    I heard that 7.1 takes the 6th channel from the 6.1 source and then creates an extra channel from that so you have 7.1 now. Can anyone shed some light on the confusion?

    ----
    edit- i will be in this situation at the end of the summer so i would really like to know also which is the better choise. I thought 7.1 might be because i thought it would be better to be ahead of the game since 6.1 stuff isn't even out yet except for a couple dvds. But then i thought why wouldn't they just skip to 8.1 or 9.1?
     
  8. David Judah

    David Judah Screenwriter

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    The thing to remember is to seperate the number of speakers and the number of actual channels.

    On DVD there is no 7.1 encoding, even though 7 speakers can be reproducing the soundtrack after decoding. There is 6.1 with DD EX and DTS ES matrix, where the 6th channel is derived from information in the surround channels and is decoded and reproduced by either 1 or 2 rear center speakers(much like how the front center is derived in Pro-Logic).

    There is also DTS ES Discrete where there is an actual 6th channel of seperate information that is again reproduced by 1 or 2 rear center speakers(that's an oversimplified explanation on both counts but it works for our purposes here).

    There is also Logic 7 that is on some Harman equipment, which sounds like what you are referring to, Modena, but that is seperate from the EX & ES formats.

    DJ
     
  9. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    In all 6.1 systems, the rear channel is either synthesized from the 2 surrounds (DD EX, DTS-ES matrix), or discrete (DTS-ES discrete).

    In a 7.1 system, the 2 rear channels are typically just 2 of what would be the 1 in a 6.1 system.

    Except for THX Ultra2 and Logic 7, in which the 2 rear channels are slightly different *and* unique.

    The thing to be careful in a 6.1 system, is "reversal". It's a psycho-acoustic phenomena whereby the huiman brain *can* misconstrue sounds coming from directly behind you, as not from behind you, but from in front of you. How your room is laid out matters, yours ears, and where and the type of speakers you have.

    2 rears instead of just the 1 does help to minimize this. Plus, most people feel that having 2 rears instead of 1 improves the cohesiveness of the sound field in the back of the room, as well as lower the chance of sound localization to any one speaker.

    I had 5.1 for many years (back to DPL), 6.1 for 15 months, and now 7.1 for about the last 3 months. I find that each is a small improvement over the other, but with 7.1 (and changing how my speakers were laid out and the height of them all) really does make the speakers themselves disappear, and just leaves behind the soundtrack itself.

    I somewhat put forth, that if you have the space and $$ and desire to do it right, then there's not a lot of reason not to do 7.1. (I personally believe that Logic 7 is the pinnacle of "surround sound", even thought I don't even have it yet! [​IMG] ) I've never heard of anyone trying 7.1, and going back to either 6.1 or 5.1. But as Modena suggest, you have to trust your own ears.
     
  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Yes, there is a LOT of confusion and misinformation about 5.1, 6.1, 7.1. And rightly so, it's VERY confusing. Put it this way, there is NO SUCH THING as true 7.1. Logic 7 is the closest it comes, and I'm not too familiar with it, but it's still matrixed (all the way around? I've forgotten). 5.1 is just that, DD or DTS in 5.1 discrete channels. "6.1" comes in Dolby Digital EX, and DTS ES matrix formats, and I say "6.1" for a reason because it's not real 6.1. The rear center channel is derived from the two surrounds, just as, say the front center is created in Pro Logic. This is, as DD EX aptly calls it, Extended 5.1. TRUE 6.1 is ONLY available in the home, and it comes on DTS ES Discrete discs only. This is backward compatible, meaning you don't lose the rear center information if you only have 5.1, or even DTS ES matrix. This has 6.1 discrete channels on the disc.

    Anyway, when people talk about "7.1" they are almost ALWAYS talking about 6.1. All that they are doing is hooking up two speakers to the rear center to alleviate any "reversal" problems. OR they are talking about Logic 7, which I'm not too familiar with, but only comes on Lexicon gear, and H/K (within the same company as Lexicon)
     
  11. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Yeah, it gets confusing. When I refer to "7.1", I am always referring to the speaker setup that will be used. I always assume [​IMG] that people know that *only* DTS-ES (discrete) is 6 + 1 = 7 channels of discrete info, while DD EX and DTS-ES (matrix) are still just 5 + 1 = 6 channels of discrete info, with 1 more channel matrix derived from the 2 surround channels. Even on a "7.1" system, the rears are mono for DD EX & DTS-ES. Both Logic 7 and THX Ultra2, however, do output non-mono or "unique" rear channels somehow derived from the discrete 5.1 channel soundtrack.
     
  12. GregLee

    GregLee Stunt Coordinator

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's my impression that receivers are characterized as 6.1 or 7.1 depending on whether they provide amplification for 6 or 7 main speakers. There is no necessary implication about any differences in number of channels, discrete or matrixed, or differences in the signals sent to the speakers, though there may be such differences. In choosing a 6.1 system, you are not necessarily committing yourself to having only 6 main speakers -- you might have 7. You might hook up a 7th speaker in series, for instance, as was mentioned, or you might use another amp or two, if your 6.1 receiver has one or two pre-outs for back surrounds.
     

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