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"Matrixed" rear channel (1 Viewer)

Brendan D

Mar 2, 2004
Curious as to the majority preference when it comes to utilizing a reciever's ability to "matrix" a rear center channel from a 5.1 source. When I initially purchased my receiver, I always left it on the setting where it creates a rear center feed from 5.1 (DTS or DD), thinking that if I have a 6th speaker, it ought to be used. Recently I have been swapping back and forth between the "auto detect" and "matrixed" formats, and some of the surround fields actually sound more "full" while using just the 5.1 format.

My question is how most members feel about the "created" channel. Do you feel it is better to listen to the soundtrack in the manner in which it was recorded? Or is it better to have the 6th channel "matrixed" by the receiver?

Brian L

Senior HTF Member
Jul 8, 1998
At the end of the day, its what sounds better to you, right?

It would also vary greatly from film to film. If the majority of content in the rear channels is mono (typical of older films that were done in non-discrete Dolby Surround), then decoding to a back center will not work well, as it will all collapse to the center back...bye-bye ambience.

But if the rears are predominately discrete, it can work pretty well.

WSR used to mention in their reviews if they engaged their circle surround decoders to do a back surround channel, and if it worked well or not. For whatever reason, they don't seem to mention that anymore.


Aaron Gilbert

Second Unit
Sep 17, 2003
I think in addition to the film differences that Brian mentioned, it also can depend greatly on your physical setup for the surround back channel. I have a somewhat unusual arrangement, not in having two surround back speakers (both the same signal), but in that they are aimed at the wall about 10' behind me. That is, the wall is about 10' behind me, the speakers are right behind my couch. This makes them quite hard to localize in terms of left to right, but quite easy in terms of being behind me. They're spaced about 5' apart. I had 5.1 for about five years before moving to 6.1 with the 7.1 speaker setup. I haven't found a movie yet that I think sounds worse with 6.1 processing. :)

Aaron Gilbert

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