7.1 vs 6.1

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Dave Moritz, Dec 23, 2002.

  1. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    California
    Real Name:
    Dave Moritz
    How many people here have a 7.1 system? I know that there are no 7.1 sources available. And due to the lack of backing of 6.1 to date. Not meaning that there are not a small sellection of 6.1 currently available in DD and DTS. But it does not seem that 6.1 is a major concern for studios at this time.
    Anyway to my question. I am doing alot of research on what will end up replacing my RX-V995 Yamaha and I am sure that I will want to upgrade to a 6.1 system min. It will not be just an upgrade to a better 5.1 system. Heck there are 6.1 titles out there so what the heck. But I would like to hear from people who have upgraded to 7.1 + systems. Was there a big enough difference in the audio performance and soundfeild to warrent the upgrade? Is there a benefit to going 7.1, 8.1, 9.1 vs 6.1 ??? I feel that people who actually have a 7.1 system would know better vs the salesperson that just wants to sale something and make a commision. Am looking forward to hearing from anyone who has gone the 7.1 or higher route.
    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year [​IMG]
     
  2. Nick A. G.

    Nick A. G. Auditioning

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Well, 6.1 is an actual FORMAT (DTS-ES, DD/THX EX), whereas 7.1 and up are actually just extended 5.1 formats with front effects channels (5.1 + 2 front effects = 7.1). Front effects speakers serve the purpose of separating certain frequencies from the main speakers in order to maintain better ambience in larger rooms. There are no films on DVD to my knowledge that are actually mixed for more than 6.1 discrete channels.

    6.1 on the other hand is completely different. The extra channel is the rear center speaker, which is becoming increasingly important in surround soundtracks.

    I don't know why manufacturers advertise "7.1" capability. It's a sort of misnomer because it incorrectly leads a lot of buyers to believe that it actually processes 7.1 discrete channels.
     
  3. Peter Patentcad

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2002
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I recently went from a 5 speaker +subwoofer to a 7 speaker + subwoofer setup using my new Denon AVR 4802 receiver. Regardless of the program source, 5.1 or 6.1, the 'surround' envelope is noticeably more effective, often with dramatic results. 'Saving Private Ryan' is a 5.1 channel soundtrack, but the sounds of battle really encircle you completely. The extra two speakers add a dimension that is much closer to what a real theater offers you: better, really. On the Denon the rear two speakers appear to be treated as a single channel (i.e. the sound coming out of them is identical, and on some soundtracks the 'side rear' surrounds offer a 'stereo' mix).

    Overall I'm thrilled. I'm trying to figure out whether this new dimensiality to the sound is the new Denon or the 2 additional speakers, but my guess is probably mostly the speakers with a lot of help from the Denon's excellent sound fields.
     
  4. Ken Chan

    Ken Chan Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 1999
    Messages:
    3,301
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  5. LuisDC

    LuisDC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    We'll make it simple for you...

    6.1 is an encoded format that is recorded specifically the way the studio wanted you to hear it... with all the sounds in the right places at the right times.

    7.1 is a synthesized format which creates two extra channels from the existing two side/rear channels. This is the equivalent of trying to make a surround envelope out of a 2-channel source using Dolby Pro Logic. Some people prefer the recorded soundfield smeared across a wider area but the actual sonic results are degraded detail and hugely increased comb filtering throughout the room.

    In a well designed system, 6.1 is FAR more accurate than 7.1
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110
     
  7. LuisDC

    LuisDC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I realize that many 7.1 adherents (including Lexicon owners) would argue this point. It is a very important factor when designing an audio/video room where detail, intelligibilty and sonic purity are the desired results. But if all you are interested in is a mass of sound enveloping you, then... :)
    This is a pretty simple/complete description of what audio comb filtering is and what it does. After reading this excerpt, you will probably understand why this is FAR more applicable to synthesized surround sound than to matrixed surround sound.
    COMB FILTERING. When two identical sound sources are spaced any distance apart the sound waves will either add, (in the case of the ear being exactly the same distance from each of the sources) or cancel if in the exact peak-valley location. This is how NOISE CANCELING technology works. (This is also the principle behind COLUMN speaker arrays.)
    The resulting pattern of high and low sound could be pictured as the teeth of a comb extending perpendicular to the speakers. Since there are many frequencies involved and the ear is moving there is a distinct possibility that parts of the voice spectrum will be canceled completely or at least decreased in one spot on the floor and boosted in another.
    If we were moving through a notch of this sound comb it might be impossible to determine if the word spoken was swing or sing, walk or lock.
    Music groups like a lot of comb filtering because it makes it seem like the sound is coming from everywhere and is larger. They sound good singing. Have you ever tried to figure out what they are saying when they try to announce something?
    KEEP EXPERIMENTING.
    Moving the speakers a few feet or a few degrees in tilt might make for a large improvement."
    Thus, multi-speaker arrays that are not operating in discrete mode (ala 7.1 systems) are not a desired configuration.
     
  8. Eric Samonte

    Eric Samonte Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 1999
    Messages:
    1,318
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I had the 995 and replaced it with a Denon 3802, 5.1 to 7.1. All movies are now watched with 6.1 processing. It genuinely (splelling?) makes everything more cohesive, more enveloping. Sometimes it might be distracting but most of the time really thrilling. Imagine watching "The Others" at night and u suddenly hear something from behind u....
     
  9. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    California
    Real Name:
    Dave Moritz
    I was already aware that 5.1 and 6.1 was the only surround in the digital arena. I was just wondering if the 7.1 would create a more complete soundfeild and would be worth the investment. I would like to thank you for your input on this subject [​IMG] . I will be checking out 7.1 systems that are set up at the CES show in Vegas next month. Even though the Yamaha has impressed me for what I spent on it. And it has never let me down to this day. I know there is plenty of room for improvement in the audio department and I also want to upgrade for the upcoming HD projector or big screen I will be buying in the next coming year. Would love to hear anyone elses imput on this subject [​IMG]
    Merry Christmas everyone.
     
  10. LuisDC

    LuisDC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Happy Holidays! [​IMG]
    Enjoy the CES...
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 1998
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    5,110
    Thanks for the explanation, Luis. It doesn't apply to Lexicon's Logic7, because none of the speakers are playing "identical" sounds. Anyone who's ever used a Lexicon processor can confirm this.

     
  12. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2001
    Messages:
    683
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Dave,

    I live near you so if you ever want to come over and listen to a 7.1 (ok, 6.1 with two rear speakers) system you are more than welcome.
     
  13. Philip Brandes

    Philip Brandes Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Luis wrote:
    There is nothing "smeared" about the soundfield created by Logic 7 or Trifield; on the contrary, as I explained in the thread I cited above, a 7.1 speaker set up is the only way to plug soundfield gaps for convincing surround, and the addition of stereo rears puts these processes ahead of the mono rears produced by EX and ES. If I'm listening to a car pan across the front right to left and continue into the side left, which is more natural: hearing it continue into the left rear or suddenly jump into both rears?
    Holiday cheers,
    Philip Brandes
     
  14. LuisDC

    LuisDC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  15. Philip Brandes

    Philip Brandes Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 1999
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    10
    Luis,

    While I'm duly impressed by the very extravagant systems of the videophiles you associate with, and truly hope that one day you will find yourself with such a system of your own, I nevertheless must point out that sound is sound, and the well-documented auditory confusions resulting from sounds that originate along the centerline axis can occur with music or movie special effects--it makes absolutely no difference. Moreover, there is considerable research conducted since the "matrix encoding" era that supports this (and none to my knowledge discounting it)--my point in citing earlier studies was to show that this problem has been known for a very long time in audio engineering circles. I would be happy to point you to more recent studies, but for them to be of any use to you it would be necessary to read more than their dates of publication. As in our previous discussion, these are not matters of opinion, but simply long-established scientific fact.

    I note, moreover, that you have cited no research or empirical evidence whatsoever to back up your claims in either of the threads in which we've had discussion. Forgive me for doubting the accuracy of what you thought you may have heard while you "sat in on several discussions at DD and DTS seminars," but the obvious problem is that if these issues had really been discounted as you claim, why are both of these companies still using two rear speakers rather than one for their respective EX and ES formats? A single rear speaker is a much easier sell to the general public who are not aware of psychoacoustic problems such as back-front reversal, and would rather save the space and expense; furthermore, neither Dolby nor DTS manufacture or sell speakers, so they have nothing to gain and a lot to lose by burdening their formats with an extra speaker if it were truly unnecessary. The answer, of course, is that two rear speakers are in fact necessary to prevent perceived back-front reversal.

    As for your assertion that you never claimed the superiority of 5.1 systems, and "specifically worded my response to the original core question which was ' Is there a benefit to going 7.1, 8.1, 9.1 vs 6.1 ???''...well, if we take a little stroll down memory lane to that other thread I cited above, we find that this was not the core question at all. The title of that thread was: "Are owners of a 5.1 system being cheated??" In fact, 6.1 wasn't the reference point--the entire discussion revolved around 5.1 vs. additional speakers--and while you hedged your bets at different times in that discussion, the position you took most often was reflected in the following statements:
    - To the original poster's question:" Are there any folks that feel that 5.1 is a better format than 7.1?" you replied: " Absolutely there are. I emphatically recommend people to NOT bother with 6.1 or 7.1 systems unless their room dimensions dictate a need for additional speakers to create a proper soundfield.
    - "I have found that it [a 7.1 system] is not any more "real" or substantive than a well set up and adjusted 5.1 system. Properly set up (and I have heard several hundred multi-thousand dollar setups by the best nstallers in the country), the best theatre rooms have been hands down 5.1 rooms and that includes several rooms with built-in seating for 12 or more people."
    - "even the most "elite" reviewers generally have 5.1 systems even though they can have almost any setup.
    - "It's [5.1] not "just as good" [as 6.1/7.1]. In most cases it is better."
    - " in rooms specifically designed as a HT and with the proper equipment, 7.1 systems are very nice; but not better than 5.1. But in the average, typical room environment and with reasonably priced equipment, no way. A well designed 5.1 system will be better. Hands down..."
    - "Suffice it to say that with the particulars of my system, going to 6.1 would not be an improvement in any way (as a matter of fact, the staging/positional smearing would be horrid as I have found)"

    Sure sounds like you're partial to 5.1, Luis. And of course these are not exactly the ringing endorsements of 6.1 you're now trying to spin them as, now are they?

    Cheers,
    Philip Brandes
     
  16. LuisDC

    LuisDC Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2002
    Messages:
    93
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Thanks Philip but I'm pretty certain I don't need any "pointing" to any research. [​IMG]
    LOL - Have a Merry Christmas! [​IMG]
     
  17. alan_dana

    alan_dana Agent

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2001
    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As a reader of this thread, I find Philip's points to be far more persuasive than Luis'. Philip is precise and backs up his statements with what appears to be valid research. Luis' comments look like little more than personal opinion, and a wavering opinion at that.

    Thank you Philip for taking the time to provide references for your positions.

    Alan
     
  18. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    California
    Real Name:
    Dave Moritz
    Hello Juan_R
    I just may take you up on your offer sometime in January after the holidays [​IMG] .
    I would like to extend the same offer to you as well to listen to my 5.1 system as it is now. Maybe you would have some ideas. Something that I have not thought of?
    Happy New Year [​IMG]
     
  19. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2001
    Messages:
    6,015
    Likes Received:
    635
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    California
    Real Name:
    Dave Moritz
    Hello Michael Reuben
    There is no aruging that most of us here would most likely agree that the Lexicon is top notch. I wish my budget would allow me to get a lexicon processor along with a farudja digital scaler for the video I would be in a/v heaven.
    My dream system
    McIntosh MX-134 Pre/Pro Tuner
    Lexicon MC-12 Music / Cinima Processor
    Audio Control Diva 24bit/8 channel EQ
    Faroudja DVP5000 Digital Video Processor
    Meridian 598 DVD Player
    Sony SCD-1 ES SACD Player
    (1) Mark Levinson no336 amplifier
    (2) Mark Levinson no335 amplifiers
    (1) McIntosh MC1000 monoral amplifier
    Runco DLC-2000HD projector
    Speakers unknown ????
    But back to earth [​IMG]
    My plan is to build the best HT system and cut as little corners as possible. To get the best deals even if it means buying a demo peice at a big discount. I currently have a 5.1 system that I need to improve here and there and add a HD big screen or projection if I can possible afford it. This is my dream to own the best that I can afford and enjoy it. With the help and knowedge of others how truely love HT I know I will be able to make the right choices to obtain my goals. Keep the opinions coming on this subject.
    My thanks to everyone here at Home Theater Forum
    Happy New Year [​IMG]
     
  20. Juan_R

    Juan_R Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2001
    Messages:
    683
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Dave,

    You left out your dream cables.
     

Share This Page