Mixing and matching brands for 6.1/7.1?

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Phaelon, Feb 3, 2004.

  1. Phaelon

    Phaelon Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi to all. I'm finally ready to upgrade! Have been lurking around here for a week or so and researching but can now use some of your expert advice on a specific issue. I'm hoping to get feedback based on real life experiences rather than theory!

    My original setup years ago was a Panasonic VHS Hi-Fi deck, a 32" Sony KVR monitor and an Atlantic Technology System 250. I think it was the very first "home theater in a box" system that incorporated Dolby Pro Logic. I lived in a variety of apartments over the years, over time adding a Panasonic LX900 Laserdisc player, a Panasonic RP56 DVD player and finally a Panasonic 47" rear projection monitor. I've never had ISF calibration but get some killer video with progressive scan and good source material.

    I have finally acquired a house with an extra room that will serve as a dedicated home theater and an audio upgrade is long overdue. The new house has sucked up some major budget dollars so what I'm doing now may be an interim solution of sorts but needs to be good for a few years. I've targeted Yamaha or Onkyo as the likely candidate for an AV receiver (maybe NAD if I can swing the $$).

    It's the speakers where I'm faced with a challenge. I already owned a small pair of Boston Acoustics white metal case non=powered mini monitors that I was using with an old integrated amp for PC sound. This past weekend I grabbed a deal on some Boston Acoustics VRS dipole surrounds - the white THX model that was discontinued in 1999. I also grabbed (not thinking of possible conflicts) a pair of NHT Super Zero XU's for front L/R speakers and have bids out for a cheap, older NHT center channel and and NHT 10" powered subwooofer.

    A few questions:

    If I set up a 6.1 system is it realistic to use the monopole surround as the rear center and the dipoles as the surrounds? If I implement 7.1 do I use both of the monopoles and put them equidistant from the center of the back wall? In that latter scenario, what happesn if In on 5.1 or 6.1 source material?

    Is this a reasonable setup if I get the right prices? My current center channel/subwoofer bids are by proxy and I can cancel them with no problem. A colleague who's into HT and AV insists that I'll never be happy with dissimilar speakers, claimign that I need five absolutely identical speakers for good results. I'm not opposed to putting the Super Zero's back on Ebay and looking for some Boston Acoustics products for L/R/center. Have also considered a JBL 10" 150 watt sub instead of getting an Ebay NHT - the price wo0uld be about the same.

    Advice, comments, suggestions.... all are welcome!
     
  2. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    While I am in the camp of identical speakers all the way around. I had heard some great systems, and do I dare say even better systems with un-matched speakers.

    The sub has no match, just get the meanest one you can possibly afford.

    7.1 and 6.1 are currently really the same exact thing.
    5.1 plays very nicely on both. You can try anything you want with different speakers doing different duties on your system.

    Dedicated HT room, that does seem like it would be really great.
     
  3. Phaelon

    Phaelon Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    But does 7.1 in theory use two speakers in the center of the rear? (even though it is currently "quasi" and uses synthesized data rather than a separate discrete seventh signal).

    If so.... what happens when 6.1 is played? Does the same signal get replicated to both rear center speakers rather than the matrixed or sythesized seventh channel info being split off to the two rear centers?

    I already have two of these small BA surrounds and thought it might make sense to use both rather than having one left over.
     
  4. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    7.1 when 6.1 is played the rears are mono...

    They now call it "Rear Sides" and "Rear Backs" in 7.1, still rear center in 6.1

    I do believe DD EX does just a tad more than mono on the two rear back channels.

    I use a Denon Widescreen 7.1 mode that seems to do great on Pro-Logic sources.


    Even 6.1 with two rears attached to the same channel has some advantages over just one rear center. For a ghood quasi 7.1 system.
     
  5. Phaelon

    Phaelon Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0


    Would I attach the two speakers in this scenario with some sort of "Y" style speaker cable or splitter or just squeeze two cable ends instead of one into each red and black terminal for that sixth channel?

    That seems like the best bet for me as the best value in receivers that I'm seeing in my price range is all 6.1 stuff.
     
  6. John S

    John S Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2003
    Messages:
    5,460
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Just jump em in parallel if you choose to do so.

    6.1 in and of itself is cool, you can by 3 pair of the same decent bookshelf and be done with it.

    I suggest 6.1 mostly these days, 7.1 does not have significant advantages over 6.1. But they are there if scrutinized.
     
  7. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2000
    Messages:
    5,712
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A few things about 7.1 vs 6.1:

    a) If you do some google searching for "reversal" and/or "front to back reversal", you will find that 6.1 suffers from it, but 7.1 doesn't. Basically, a psychoacoustic effect whereby sounds directly behind you can be misconstrued by the brain to actually be coming from in front of you.

    b) Logic 7, DPL IIx, THX Ultra2, and Rotel's xS modes among a very few others, *do* give you unique signals to both rear channels. The former two do it by pretty sophisticated steering in terms of what's going on in the front and surround channel on each side of the room, whereas the latter two use simple decorrelation (phase tricks).

    c) In fact, due to the problem in (a) above, Lexicon doesn't even support the 6.1 speaker configuration in their pre/pros. 5.1 or 7.1.

    And, a personal note. [​IMG] I did an 18 month odyssey to go from 5.1 to 6.1 to 7.1. I would put forth that the *only* reason to do 6.1 is simply as a stepping stone to 7.1. But, if you think you're going to do 7.1 anyway, just save time and go directly to 7.1. For a lot of people, it's easier to set up in their rooms anyway. The biggest advantage I found for 7.1 over 6.1, is better spatialization in terms of what's going on across the back of the room. Better separation between left and right.

    Do some searching here on HTF. Some other threads talk about 6.1 and 7.1 too.
     
  8. DonnyD

    DonnyD Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 1999
    Messages:
    1,145
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    A word on mixing speaker brand etc...

    I've always had a mix of speakers brand simply because I refuse to part with some JBL L100 that has been with me since 1978 and are still my mains....mixed with some JBL S series and Energy RVSS in a 9.1 speaker setup....(2 mains, 2 front effects, 2 rear surrounds, 2 rear centers, 1 front center, 1 sub)....
    Over the years, I've purchased a few "full" sets of same brand speakers, Energy, Monitor Audio, and found myself still with my old set of L100 and a mix of others....

    While, same brand speakers are idealistic, I believe that properly setup different brands will be just as good or even better. It's really all up to your ears.....

    As for the sub, as one poster put it, get the best you can afford..... I do believe that two rear centers are a little easier to setup than one rear center due to placement issues.....
     

Share This Page