What % of content of 5.1 track is in front 3 channels?

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Ricky T, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    I've read that a typical movie DVD 5.1 track sends about 60% to the center channel. What percentage is replayed through the left and right mains?

    Of course, the center, mains, and rears should add up to 100%.
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    I just answered this at avs. Those numbers aren't fixed at all, and are just estimations for sake of explaining to people what's going on, why the surrounds aren't always loud, and are usually just ambient, and also for selling the importance of a good center channel. At any point in time, if you want to use your "all channels add up to 100%" idea (which is silly), it will ALWAYS be changing depending on what is being played at any one instant.

    But for most movies, most of the sounds, come from the front, and most of the dialogue comes from the center, along with a lot of the main sounds and effects.
     
  3. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    This differs so much. If you're watching a documentary, like Chris said, all the dialogue would come out of the centre channel...maybe some sound effects/music out of main l/r...in essence, the surrounds get very little use.

    Then take something on the opposite side of the spectrum...Star Wars or some similar action movie. Now in this case, surround use is much more active.

    You can't fit a mathematical equation to EVERYTHING that holds true in EVERY case.
     
  4. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Well, plus the LFE too. [​IMG]
     
  5. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    You guys can't accept an estimated average [​IMG]
    OK, for hollywood movies in 5.1, what do you think the breakdown is (without the LFE):

    Center = 60%?
    Mains = 30%?
    Rears = 10%?
     
  6. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    For the mains with movement from side to side in movies with dialog and the actor pacing back and forth right to left and left to right, 33%R 33%C 33%L. This would be assuming no action to the rear. Really, who cares?.
     
  7. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    Why do you ask this Ricky?


    Even though the rears and LFE don't put out much most of the time, those speaker really help create the "movie at home" feeling. It's really no problem to watch a movie with only two speakers. I did that for a long time and was perfectly happy. The rest just adds to your enjoyment, which is what this is all about. Who really needs a 7.1 set-up and a $1000 sub?
     
  8. Mike SJ

    Mike SJ Supporting Actor

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    if you want to use your "all channels add up to 100%" idea (which is silly), it will ALWAYS be changing depending on what is being played at any one instant.

    BUT IT WILL ALWAYS ADD UP TO %100
     
  9. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well duh. Anything you add together will always add up to 100%. So what? That doesn't mean anything.

    The total SPL is always changing, and the "percentages" of that 100% that is always changing are also always changing.
     
  10. Mike SJ

    Mike SJ Supporting Actor

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    just giving you a hard time. had to make sure you understood proportions and fractions... [​IMG]

    what hasnt been discussed is who prefers what. such as in Blade II I heard there was alot of surround infor as in star wars (new versions) as compared with bridges of madison county.
     
  11. ScottCHI

    ScottCHI Screenwriter

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    yeah, i'm wondering this, too.

    most ht receivers will redirect any of your "missing" speakers' material into those which you do have.
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    For most movies, the vast majority of the sound will be coming from your front three speakers and the sub. That being said, the movies that I tend to enjoy the most have more active surrounds.
     
  13. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    If, on average, only 10% of the content is going to the two rear channels, I am beginning to question the incremental benefit of 6.1/7.1 with DPL2x, etc, as these modes are only working with so little content. I have a 7 speaker setup, and have owned Logic7/THX-Ultra2 processors. I prefer music in 2 channel. To this end, I think I'd be fine with just two rears as long as I can place them properly.

    In my current room, I don't have total freedom to place two rear speakers anywhere I want....if I did, I probably would stick with 5.1 and two ideally placed, small tower rears; with DPL2 for 2.0 sources.
     
  14. Drew_W

    Drew_W Screenwriter

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    Why do we keep having these intensely mathematical discussions where they don't seem to fit? Last week it was on dollar per watt, this week on the ratio of the sound output of the various speakers in a 5.1/6.1/7.1 setup.

    THERE IS NO ONE ANSWER!

    The surrounds are effect channels, and they aren't made to be on ALL THE TIME. If you want that, you can always put your receiver into 5/7 channel Stereo mode and have the surrounds output the same as the fronts. The gains with 7.1 I believe are greater ambiance, where you want to be more enveloped in the sound (perhaps in a larger room?). 5.1 works just fine for me, and I have it calibrated in such a way that I make up for placement issues. Very few HTs can have the speakers arranged in perfect mathematical proportions.
     
  15. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Every once in a while I will catch myself looking around to see what the heck that sound was, and come to find it was something in the soundtrack in the surround. [​IMG] I did it just the other night while watching Revolutions. There was some crackling in the right rear during a quieter passage, and I thought something was scratching on the window.

    Though most of the sound comes from the fronts, I wouldn't be happy without the surrounds. I too am running only a 5.1 setup.
     
  16. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    I kind of believe that a well done 5.1 setup will beat a mediocre 7.1 setup. (But a well done 7.1 system does offer some tangible benefits over a well done 5.1 system though.)

    But like some others have mentioned, I tend to prefer movies that also have more active surrounds too. Ricky, maybe you could pick some movies (or discrete movie passages) and compare them, 5.1 vs 7.1? See if you can hear any differences? Better or worse or just different?
     
  17. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    5.1 seems to be such a natural. This is what I have and have never been convinced that 6/7.1 would be anything other than two more speakers. If I were buying a new pre or receiver, I'd probably insist on 7.1 just because that the now-a-days norm for this type of equipment and who knows, at some point I might change my mind. Anyway, I feel no urgency to upgrade to aquire these two extra speakers and a format that so far hasn't been exactly enthuisticaly embraced by the movie studios.
     
  18. Ricky T

    Ricky T Supporting Actor

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    Right now, my sides and rear centers are placed ok. Ideal "REARS" in a 5.1 setup would required each REAR to be placed in between the side and rear center....something I can't do in my room right now. Therefore, comparing 5.1 to 7.1 wouldn't really be far because my current 5.1 has two side speakers, instead of two ideally placed REAR speakers.

    And, as Kevin hinted to quality 5.1 over mediocre 7.1...yep, if we are talking highend separates, you get value out of a 5.1 prepro, 5 amp channels, and 5 speakers vs 7 of each (and whatever new processing mode that comes out to split the rear 10% without altering the 90% that has always been there).
     
  19. DanielKellmii

    DanielKellmii Supporting Actor

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    Without a doubt. I am sure there are people out there with $5000 worth of equipment who don't know what a calibration disk is or a SPL meter is.


    I have a 6.1 set-up. I have never compared it to anything but my set-up not using the rear center speaker. Other than making my uneducated friends jealous I don't think that it adds that much to movies. For music, I like it when I have the "all channel stereo" mode on. I am going to wait a few years and see whatever becomes the new standard.
     

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