surround sound question

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by mikeHende, Jun 2, 2005.

  1. mikeHende

    mikeHende Agent

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    I am thinking of getting rid of my exisitng pair of Stereo speakers [3-way 12"] and using a surround setup. I've been told that the "Rear" speakers in a surround sound system will never give the same volume as the front and center speakers in an "Audio" setup so my question is should I simply get just the front, center and sub speakers and leave out the Rear speakers? What I would like is to have 4 satelite speakers to cover all 4 corners of the room, any advice/ideas please?
     
  2. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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  3. mikeHende

    mikeHende Agent

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    Appreciate the link/help but unfortunately that link does not answer my question concerning the "rear" speakers issue, thanks.
     
  4. Jonathan T.

    Jonathan T. Stunt Coordinator

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    there is no good reason not to have rear speakers in a 5.1 setup. The days of pro-logic are gone, and the rear speakers are a full bandwidth signal like the front and center.

    BTW, they are actually not designed to be rear speakers, buit rather, surround speaker, to be places at the sides of the room just behind your listening position, not on the back wall.

    Depending on the quality of your current speakers, I might keep them and build a surround system from there...
     
  5. mikeHende

    mikeHende Agent

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    The point I am getting at here with regards to Rear speakers is, if they don't output anywhere near the full volume of the front and center speakers, then what use would they have in an Audio setup for music listening purposes?
     
  6. Alan Pummill

    Alan Pummill Screenwriter

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  7. Jonathan T.

    Jonathan T. Stunt Coordinator

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    Im not sure where you are getting that information from, but it is either WRONG, or very out of fate, depending on the context.
     
  8. mikeHende

    mikeHende Agent

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    My rear speakers don't match up anywhere close to the front or center speakers, when I asked a Sony Tech about this, she said that Rear speakers are only there to produce certain "background" sounds so that's why you won't get full volume as the front.
     
  9. DavidCooper

    DavidCooper Stunt Coordinator

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    Full volume? Not exactly sure what you are talking about here. If you have 5.1 system running off a 5.1 receiver all of your speakers can receive "full volume". If you listen to some music with the 5 channel option all of your speakers will be getting the same information and the same "volume".

    If you are watching movies and you are using either the dolby digital 5.1 or DTS you will be getting discretely channels mixed for all of the speakers in your system. This is the way the DVD/film engineers intended. Just like a full scale movie theater.

    Yes your surround or "rear" speakers will normally have the ambient and surround sound info coming from them but they will still be at the same volume. You will hear directional effect from those speakers as well. All of this completes the whole home theater "surround sound" experience.


    Now, if you are just wanting to listen to music on your system I would just stay with a 2-channel set up. Actually 2.1 I would get a nice pair of bookshelves or towers and a decent sub. That would make (depending on the speakers and receiver) a good system for music only listening.

    Hope that helps.
     
  10. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Mike: many movies do have quite audible effects emanating from the surround channels but are rather subtle & mostly present to create a feeling of that particular scene's acoustics but this can still really add to the realism. And with some movies, especially more modern action/adventure types, they are VERY audible and as loud as the fronts but usually don't contain much--if any--low bass (that's what the LFE channel is for). Adventure movies benefit the most from the surrounds because they create all those fun effects like jets flying overhead, jungle noises all around you, or the bad guy sneaking up behind the ever-present stupid person [​IMG] in a horror movie. But in contrast, I would guess 90% of older movies, say made before 1977, will have little if any surround effects.

    So if you don't watch those types of movies much, don't bother with the surrounds.

    But for music, it depends:

    If you are using something like DPLII with stereo sources to simulate a surround sound field, depending on the music there can be lots happening back there......or almost nothing at all.


    But with true surround music sources* like sacd, dvd-audio or DTS-CDs, the surrounds can many times contain signals that carry full-blown drums, string sections, back up singers, keyboards, etc, etc, and some newer titles also include full-range bass, the kind of bass that makes the woofer blurry at higher volumes if your surrounds are set to "large" (which mine are, since they use 8" woofers).

    ************************************************** *******

    BTW: personally speaking, having surround speakers at the side of my head or directly behind me causes an irritating "headphone" effect, and for me this definitely doesn't provide a proper s u r r o u n d effect. I tried out this configuration with my own system for a whole day last week because of some posts written here about this exact issue. And I've heard other systems set up this way with similar results.

    And for playback of true surround music this type of placement is definitely a no-no. I have begun to wonder if this is why certain people have found 5.1 music to be unrealistic or gimmicky.

    Also, why is it every time I see a photo of a surround mixing studio, the rear channels are ALWAYS at least several feet behind the mixer's seated position?

    * i.e. not DPLII, Logic7, or other similar DSP-based stereo enhancement systems.
     
  11. Jonathan T.

    Jonathan T. Stunt Coordinator

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    Well the sony tech is wrong. Back in the days of Dolby Pro Logic, before we had 5 discrete full bandwidth audio channels available, the surroud speakers were limited bandwidth, and really just a gimmick. But that hasn't been the case for years and years now.

    Modern Dolby Digital surround sound features 5 FULL bandwidth, FULL volume channels. These not only provide surround effects, but often support the musical score. IN action movies and even many dramas, the surrounds are constantly pumping out sound that macthes the volume of the main and center speakers.
     
  12. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Not to sound petty or anything, but during the "olden days" [​IMG] of home theater i.e. Dolby Pro Logic surround I sold HT from '92 to '95. And when we played back Terminator 2 or The Abyss on our Hi-Fi VHS deck [​IMG] through our surround system* (which used an almost ideal surround configuration--speaker theaters were much larger back then [​IMG] ) anyone who heard these movies never thought their surround tracks were anything gimmicky. We would flick back and forth between stereo and Dolby and the difference was very apparent.

    There are many movies available where DPL surround is very audible and entertaining. In fact, most stereo tracks on dvds are still encoded with it, which is why many discs refer to it as the "Dolby Surround" or "2.0 surround" track.**

    There are even Dolby Surround encoded CDs you can buy. Kind of rare but they're out there. Edit: found this page which has some detialed reviews of quite a few classical Dolby CDs (classical can sound much "grander" with that extra added ambience). And make sure to read the section labled "ORDINARY STEREO CDs".

    But Dolby Digital is most definitely an improvement, NO doubt about that. But old skool Dolby still has some redeeming qualities--just ask any person who saw Star Wars for the first time in a properly equipped theater back in 1977.

    * all JBL, all the time! [​IMG] Receiver changed every few months but usually was a Pioneer. The one we used before I left was a VSX-D2, a big honkin' receiver priced at $1,400 (remember, this is 1995). No one knew why we carried this 55lb receiver bulging with power, and a set of features that most receivers now still don't have. And it looked sooooo slick.

    ** not a big deal or anything, but if someone is using a stereo-only system to watch movies, try to use the disc's 2.0 track if available. That's because when a 5.1 track is downmixed to two channels by a dvd player [when using its right/left analog outputs] this can cause some problems with the levels and physical placement of certain sounds in the resulting mix when played through only two speakers.
     
  13. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    Where'd everybody go?
     
  14. John S

    John S Producer

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    I'll add my 2 cents...

    Any speaker in a 5.1 system, with a 5.1 source, being decoded in 5.1, sure does get full volume/range when ever the recording engineer decides it should.
     
  15. Niti

    Niti Extra

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    let's put this in a nutshell...rear surrounds are sometimes lower in volume than the fronts since it is sometimes just background noise. then again, dts or dd make them discreet, but it sometimes is still lower. what i did as many people will tell you is to caliberate the sound. use the avia dvd if you have to and adj the volume to match each other. knock the front down a bit and increase the back if they aer too low for your liking. most noise come from the front since the screen is up in the front since you are trained to hear the way you look. all you have to do is adjust each individual speaker to the noise volume of your liking. then, you will enjoy the experience more. i agree that you should have the rears. w/o rears you wouldn't hear a boomerang go around the room in 360 degree motion. it makes it more enjoyable. play around with your system and enjoy...[​IMG]
     
  16. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    [​IMG]

    Speaking of spinning: the 5.1 version of Dire Straits Brothers In Arms debuted on sacd recently and it's surround mix has been reported by many to be very, very good & "Money For Nothing" is one track that features a spinning version of the synthesizer that plays while Sting sings I want my MTV (this is when MTV actually played music [​IMG] ).

    Here are reviews of it at stevehoffman.tv.
     

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