Is the extra rear channel with 6.1 worth it?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jason Spencer, Apr 5, 2002.

  1. Jason Spencer

    Jason Spencer Stunt Coordinator

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    I (like a lot of others here) am seriously leaning towards the new Onkyo 600 for my powerhouse. I have the JBL NSP1 set and am probably getting the sony 40 subwoofer.

    If I get this deck I'm not sure if I should get a single rear speaker or two. Will having 2 make it sound better or worse? And will this thing even power 2 speakers, like a second set of N24's, or do I have to get 2 4ohm ones and put them in series? If I should only get 1 rear, which one you recommend?

    Also, is it even worth it to get the 6.1 compared to 5.1. Is the difference that much better, or should I just get 5.1 (perhaps the new Onkyo 500 or the H/K 320) and upgrade to true 7.1 in a few years? I want to keep it at or below the $500 mark.

    Thanks for any help you can provide, you guys rock!
     
  2. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Jason- Welcome to the forum!
    OK, I can only comment on some of your questions. [​IMG]
    1) I personally think that if you're starting a system from scratch, it would be desirable to have 6.1 or 7.1 capability. I have *added* a center rear speaker to my 5.1 system (via an external Dolby Pro Logic processor extracting the center rear info from the L + R rear channels). I have had my system set up this way, wow, for maybe a year now. I could never go back to 5.1. I think a center rear speaker creates a more coherent sound field around the room. Helps with rear pans from left to right. Not many movies have them, but the ones that do...
    2) As for 6.1 vs 7.1: I have 6.1. But, if you have the space, and the $$, and the amplifier channels, I can imagine that 7.1 is an improvement over 6.1 Maybe not as much as 6.1 over 5.1 (because for 7.1, in most cases, the two extra center rear speakers are mono), but an improvement nonetheless. I'm not familar with Onkyo receivers, so I can't help you there...
     
  3. Selden Ball

    Selden Ball Second Unit

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    Apparently having just a single rear center speaker can often produce the audible illusion that its sound is coming from in front of you. Two speakers, each off to the side slightly, don't have this problem, even though they're producing the same sounds.
     
  4. Jason Spencer

    Jason Spencer Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks again for the replies. I went ahead and ordered the Onkyo 600, but it's on backorder until the end of the month. (argh, more waiting...) Got it from onecall.com for $449 shipped (and 0% credit for 8 months).

    Now for my question. What rear surround speakers do you recommend to match with my N24's? I can't find anyone selling them with just one, so I may have to get a pair. In that case I may just get the N26's for the front and put the extra ones in the rear. Only problem is that my rear wall is like 14' from the couch. Do you think the 40 watts per speaker I'd get if I ran the N24's on the rear channel would push them enough to make it worth it?
     
  5. John E F

    John E F Stunt Coordinator

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    You might want to experiment with the center surround speaker before making any purchases. I have the same problem, the couch is against the rear wall. When using one and even two center surrounds, it sounded horrible because they were inline with the side surrounds. This caused sort of a cancellation effect in the soundfield. I went back to 5.1 and its much better. Unless you have atleast a couple of feet behind you, 6.1 may not sound like it should. Now I have to upgrade the house for 6.1![​IMG]
     
  6. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I'm fortunate that my room configuration allows for a center-rear at the same distance from the listening position as the side-rears. I'm processing using Outlaw's proprietary circuitry (different than the THX-standard) and a single center-rear speaker. I often toggle back and forth between 5.1 and 6.1, and almost invariably prefer the 6.1 mode. The soundfield does seem more cohesive, and some effects are quite extraordinary and without being distracting (which I'd feared might be the case).

    Never experienced 7.1.
     
  7. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Jason

    You will need room behind you to get the 6.1 or 7.1 to sound right. But this can be accomplished in some make-do ways. I pulled my couch out about 18 inches from the wall and the effect is good. I am also using an old DPL receiver to get the effect. Also using an old center channel speaker on a box. Despite the very make-shift set-up the effect is good. Surround is moving towards 7.1 and there is no turning back.

    Artie
     
  8. Jason Spencer

    Jason Spencer Stunt Coordinator

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    It sounds like you may have misread my problem. My couch is 14 feet from the wall, which is very far (further than the TV, which is about 8 feet the other way). My regular surround speakers are about 8 feet high, a little behind the couch. I know they're a little high, but the sliding door kinda gets in the way :)

    I've got some extra speakers I can use in the front to see which will sound better, 1 or 2 rears. Just thought I'd see what everyone thought before I started messing around...
     
  9. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    OK

    6.1 is better than 5.1

    You have a great room for 6.1-7.1. Put the rear surrounds about 3-5 feet behind your side surrounds. 2 rear surrounds should sound better but since you already have the extra speakers take your choice. Stay away from low impedance speakers. No 2 ohm anything. In fact with lower end multi channel receivers they will often state you must use 8 to 16 ohm speakers. These receivers don't have the current handling capability to deal with low impedance speakers.

    Artie
     
  10. Steven Simon

    Steven Simon Producer

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    The More speakers the better!!! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  11. Steve K.H.

    Steve K.H. Supporting Actor

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    Another vote re: rear set-up. A rear center will overpower and create illusion. Taking two twins, mounting them a little higher is fine. Just run them in series for your 6.1 config for now.

    Run two separate lines of speaker wire and run series off the A/V (not spliced from one rear to the other.) Especially if you have any inkling of a thought to go 7.1. This way, 7.1 is attainable without having to worry about ditching the rear center for two rears, re-wiring, and only having to pick up your new A/V or additional amp to bump to 7.1

    Best of all worlds.
     
  12. Jason Spencer

    Jason Spencer Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm actually prewired for 2 rears. That's why I was trying to use 2 speakers (plus it's hard to buy just one speaker). I'll have to do something fun if I only go with one...
     
  13. Daniel Whelan

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    Steve:

    Regarding running two rear speakers off one amp, wouldn't this change the impedence? I'm pondering exactly this (planning on getting a Onkyo 600 once I find someplace to buy it, a set of JBL NSP1s, and probably a set of N26s for the mains, leaving me with two spare N24s and only one rear channel amp in the Onkyo), but wasn't sure if I could run both speakers or only one. Any ideas?

    Daniel
     
  14. MoG

    MoG Stunt Coordinator

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    FWIW, I have the same questions about the Onkyo 600. Since it has no preouts, I can't just add a 2-channel amp for 7.1... so is there any way to connect 2 rears speakers to the rear channel output? Would it need two 4ohm speakers instead of 1 8ohm speaker?
     
  15. Jason Spencer

    Jason Spencer Stunt Coordinator

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    That's one of my quandries. You could run the 2 N24's on it in series (+ out of the deck to the + in of 1 speaker, - out of that speaker to the + in of the 2nd speaker, and the - out of that speaker back to the amp), but it would be 16 ohm load, which would mean that each speaker gets 20 or so watts... And with the low sensitivity of these babies, it could be a problem...
     
  16. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    Jason - Have you actually checked the impedance of your speakers? You may be surprised to find they test lower than they are rated. I am in a similar situation to yours; making custom bi-polar surrounds out of bookshelf speakers for my Denon 3802's 4 side and rear channels.

    I initially tested with a pair in parallel for a supposed 4 ohm load; which I knew may present the Denon with problems. Well, it got much hotter and shut down sooner than I expected, so I checked the impedance with my tester. Surprise: each speaker tested at 5.9 ohms; 2.9 combined in parallel! I then wired the pair in series which worked out to be 10.9 ohms. This seems to sound fine and should make things much easier for the Denon till I can get a real 4 ohm rated amp to drive everything the way it was meant to be.

    Aaron
     
  17. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Remember: speaker impedance values are "nominal". A speaker's impedance changes over the freq spectrum. In fact, I've seen "8 ohm" speakers tested in the stereo/HT mags that go as low as 4.9 ohms (and even sometimes lower).
    I've personally never found the single rear speaker that I have "distracting".
    But, if you have the room for 7.1, why not do it? I think all of us would agree that 7.1 may be better than 6.1, but the converse isn't likely to be true.
    (And, for kicks, I just looked at my set up again. Dang, there's just not an easy way I could 7.1! [​IMG] )
     
  18. MoG

    MoG Stunt Coordinator

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    edit
     
  19. Bob J.

    Bob J. Extra

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    These comments bring up my quandry. My room is 19 wide by 14 ft. deep. The fronts are 10 ft. apart and the rear bi-polars high up near the rear corners. With the couch along the back wall(approx. 12 ft. from the TV), I don't believe one or two rear centers would work well. HEnce, no chance up going to 6.1 or 7.1 Do any of you agree? Maybe I need a new house?

    PS, the long wall has the built-in to house the TV, so rotating positions really isn't an option.
     
  20. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Bob- Only thing I could think of, is to put that 6th (or the 6th and 7th) speakers up high like the rears you already have in the corners, and point them down towards the center of the room. (Not towards the couch, would probably draw too much attention to themselves that way.)
    You'd have to try it though to see how it would sound! [​IMG]
     

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