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What Sound goes to how many, which Channels, when, & do any processors let you change that config? Wait, What? (1 Viewer)

Htoad

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If this has been answered I apologize, and please direct me to that answer. I know it's a Newbie question, but I've been trying to figure it out for weeks. HDMI will carry 32 audio channels, right? How many audio channels are on a typical Blu-Ray? Atmos Blu-Ray? DVD? Just 5.1, and the processor figures out what to send where? How does it do that? I really want to install Front Wide speakers in my HT, but there doesn't seem to be many processors that call out "Front Wide", such as the Anthem MRX 1140, which is one I'm considering, but I read on here that you can do (I probably have this a little off...) 9.1.2 or 7.1.6? Does the configuration allow you to pick your setup, like say I have front wides, side surrounds, and rear surrounds, but only 2 atmos? Or 4 atmos and front wides but no side surrounds? And if you have 6 atmos speakers, does the processor algorithm different sounds to send to those 3 pairs of speakers to make the helicopter sounds like it's coming at you or whatever? If a processor is 15.1 channels, is that the same configuration regardless of brand? LCR, SL SR, RearSL RearSR, Front, Middle, & Rear Height, and Front Wide L & R? :confused:
 

Htoad

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This is a rough layout of what I have. Right now I only have the two height speakers above the couch, not the other two. And The front wide speakers aren't there either. The scale of the speakers is probably in the ballpark also, but that's about it. Basement is finished except the ceiling, which is open floor joists of main floor above, painted black.
 

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Pupp

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I don't think the MRX 1140 supports front wide.

There is really only 2 main types of setups for the MRX 1140: dts:x and dolby atmos.
I think DTS is pretty much dead, like BETA or an 8 track cassette player.

I think for front wide, you'd be looking at a system that that used multiple boxes: AV Processor, amplifiers, and maybe preamplifiers.

-I'm stretching my knowlege here, so hopefully someone with more knowlege will post to this thread.
 
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Htoad

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Thanks Pupp. I thought that question would have piqued some interest in people that REALLY know their stuff and love to write long posts really explaining all the nuts and bolts. The original post was in February, and I kind of got stuck on what my next purchase should be, not to mention I decided to wait until next year to spend the money anyway. But I still have basically all the same questions I had then, hoping someone will offer up some knowledge or point me in the right direction. If not I guess I'll have to get back to the research this Fall when I have more time.
 

Pupp

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What's your budget?

I'm currently saving up to have a 7.2.4 home theater installed with an MRX 1140, and with used speaker (and already owned 5 speakers and a subwoofer from years ago), I'm looking around $7500 total, not including the value of the speakers from my old home theater set up.
 

JohnRice

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Thanks Pupp. I thought that question would have piqued some interest in people that REALLY know their stuff and love to write long posts really explaining all the nuts and bolts. The original post was in February, and I kind of got stuck on what my next purchase should be, not to mention I decided to wait until next year to spend the money anyway. But I still have basically all the same questions I had then, hoping someone will offer up some knowledge or point me in the right direction. If not I guess I'll have to get back to the research this Fall when I have more time.
I remember seeing this but don't know why I didn't comment. I will a little later after work. One basic thing is that there are official and unofficial channels. Front-Wide channels have never been part of an official surround system. It's something (mostly marketing) that manufacturers have sometimes added to increase the appeal of their equipment. Personally, I've always stuck with official speaker configurations. These days that includes an extremely wide range of options, but still there are definitely guidelines as opposed to just throwing speakers into a room and expecting ideal results.
 

Htoad

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What's your budget?

I'm currently saving up to have a 7.2.4 home theater installed with an MRX 1140, and with used speaker (and already owned 5 speakers and a subwoofer from years ago), I'm looking around $7500 total, not including the value of the speakers from my old home theater set up.
My budget is probably whatever my Profit Sharing Check will be at the end of the year, at least to start. I currently have an SVS PB-2000 subwoofer, and the only reason I would ever want another would be to make the room "Look" more symmetrical, the base sounds great to me. I have pretty new Klipsch Tower Speakers and Center for Left/Center/Right, and I don't plan on changing them any time soon. I also have 4 Definitive speakers for the Surround Left/Right and Surround Back Left/Right. Once I get a processor/preamp/amps/whatever to handle more channels I'll make them my 4 Atmos speakers, leaving me to buy 4 more speakers for surrounds, and possibly an additional 2 for Front Wide, although if I'm being honest with myself I think the Front Wide speakers would be as much for looks as anything going by what John Rice and others who have posted enough to gain my trust have mentioned. So my budget: I'd like to stay under around $4,000 for the processor, which probably limits me to getting one like the MRX that has built-in pre-amps that I can expand on later. Sorry so long-winded, my wife has been out of town for a couple weeks and I haven't had anyone to talk to!
 

JohnRice

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Once I get a processor/preamp/amps/whatever to handle more channels I'll make them my 4 Atmos speakers, leaving me to buy 4 more speakers for surrounds
Incidentally, this is one of the most common mistakes with Atmos. Atmos speakers are intended to be overhead. Not just high and to the sides. So, they should be in/on-ceiling models, not bookshelf ones. Once again, there's lots of marketing claiming that high and to the sides is just fine, but it's a world away from what Atmos is designed to do. If you're going to go to the trouble of Atmos, I highly recommend taking it the extra step with overhead speakers.
 

Htoad

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Duly noted John, thanks. I did plan the placement to be directly overhead, as seen in the image of my setup in the original post, but I may very well have the wrong speakers to place in those spots. My "ceiling" though is open floor joists, not finished drywall, so I'm not sure how that will factor into what speakers I need.
 

JohnRice

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I guess I ended up more or less saying what I intended to already. but, to clarify, officially there are basically three main, official surrounds formats. 5.1 which has three speakers across the front and two on the sides. I emphasize sides, because people often mistakenly think these are rear surrounds. a 5.1 system is really supposed to have the surrounds on the sides, at about the main viewing position. Then there's 7.1 which is the same as 5.1 but with a pair of speakers added to the back wall, at the same spacing as the front speakers.

I'm not going into multiple subwoofers, which is a variation and can have many benefits, because there is only one dedicated subwoofer (.1) channel in the soundtrack.

Then you get into immersive formats like Atmos and DTS:X. In home use, those are based on a "core" 7.1 soundtrack, which is embedded with additional steering data to give the processor more info about how to direct individual sounds in various systems.

Something I've noticed but haven't found any hard data to back up is that it seems to me that even in a 5.1 system using an Atmos capable receiver and source, that the whole surround effect is better with an Atmos soundtrack. What I mean is, my living room system is just 5.1 but has Atmos capable electronics, from sources to the receiver. I swear that when I play an Atmos soundtrack (which is not technically being played back in Atmos, since it's just a regular 5.1 speaker configuration) the surround effect is more immersive than with a 5.1 soundtrack. It seems like it shouldn't make a difference, until you factor in the additional steering data in an Atmos (or DTS:X) soundtrack.

Now, to take a step back. Your question was basically "How are sounds steered" as I understand it. If the soundtrack and speaker configuration are the same, then sounds are just steered to their matching speaker. But, what if you have a 5.1 soundtrack and a 7.1 setup. Or, what if it's just a two channel soundtrack and you have a full 7.2.6 Atmos setup. Well, then you have multiple choices. You can play them back straight, such as taking a 5.1 soundtrack and playing it back on only the 5.1 portion of your system. Most people choose to have the receiver/processor analyze the existing channels and expand them to the entire setup. There will be multiple options, since each company has their own way of expanding channels. Dolby has Dolby Surround, DTS has Neural, and there are other algorithms from other companies to choose from. Since I doubt it makes a big difference, I just default to the algorithm from the format the soundtrack is in. IOW, I use Dolby Surround for Dolby soundtracks and Neural for DTS.

BTW, DTS is far from dead. DTS:X is nowhere near as popular as Atmos, but traditional DTS soundtracks are still extremely common and always will be.

I find that Atmos processors are extremely good at expanding soundtracks to more channels. Of course, the more channels you start with, the better a job it will do. When you expand a 5.1 soundtrack to a 7.1 system, the processor tries to extract more surround channels, but probably leaves the front three alone.

The thing is, none of this is magic. The system needs to be arranged in a rational way, within the parameters of the intended layout. Sometimes people just throw speakers into a room, expecting unrealistic results. For example, Atmos speakers should be overhead, in or on the ceiling, not just high and to the sides.
 

Josh Dial

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I don't think the MRX 1140 supports front wide.

For what it's worth, I own the MRX 1140 and can confirm that it supports front wide, but that without external amplification you have to "give up" a pair of heights. Basically the two pairs of channels nominally assigned to height 1 and height 2 are "assignable". You can use them in the default height 1 and 2 mode (allowing 7.1.4), or you can assign a pair to front wide (giving you, for example, 9.1.2). You can also use them to bi-amp your fronts instead (7[bi-amped L and R].1.2).

You can also re-assign the two channels nominally assigned to the back channels. In other words, you can remove your two back channels and add two front wides.

Page 29 of the manual lists all of the options.

The MRX 1140 can process 15 channels, and has native support for front wides and six height speakers if you external amplification. It can power 11 channels on its own.

So, out of the box, you can have 7.1.4, or 9.1.2, or 7.1.2 bi-amping your fronts.

With external amplification you can have up to 9.1.6.

Personally, I have the MRX 1140 supported with an MCA 325 Gen 2 amp powering my left, right, and centre speakers. I have 7.1.4 right now. This means that I have two built-in channels going "unused" because my left and right speakers aren't being powered by the 1140. I'm adding one more set of Atmos speakers and when I do I'll assign the unused front channels to "height 3".

The MRX 1140 has a very easy to use web-based interface for channel assignment. All you do is click a drop down menu and select your desired re-assignment.

Edit: I should add that my Atmos speakers are all SVS Prime Elevation speakers. I think they are fantastic. The included ceiling mounts work great.
 

JohnRice

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For what it's worth, I own the MRX 1140 and can confirm that it supports front wide, but that without external amplification you have to "give up" a pair of heights. Basically the two pairs of channels nominally assigned to height 1 and height 2 are "assignable". You can use them in the default height 1 and 2 mode (allowing 7.1.4), or you can assign a pair to front wide (giving you, for example, 9.1.2). You can also use them to bi-amp your fronts instead (7[bi-amped L and R].1.2).

You can also re-assign the two channels nominally assigned to the back channels. In other words, you can remove your two back channels and add two front wides.

Page 29 of the manual lists all of the options.

The MRX 1140 can process 15 channels, and has native support for front wides and six height speakers if you external amplification. It can power 11 channels on its own.

So, out of the box, you can have 7.1.4, or 9.1.2, or 7.1.2 bi-amping your fronts.

With external amplification you can have up to 9.1.6.

Personally, I have the MRX 1140 supported with an MCA 325 Gen 2 amp powering my left, right, and centre speakers. I have 7.1.4 right now. This means that I have two built-in channels going "unused" because my left and right speakers aren't being powered by the 1140. I'm adding one more set of Atmos speakers and when I do I'll assign the unused front channels to "height 3".

The MRX 1140 has a very easy to use web-based interface for channel assignment. All you do is click a drop down menu and select your desired re-assignment.

Edit: I should add that my Atmos speakers are all SVS Prime Elevation speakers. I think they are fantastic. The included ceiling mounts work great.
These days it's common to get confused by the capabilities of different receivers. The MRX 1140 is a good example. You look at the back and see 11 speaker connections, so that might lead you to believe it can power 11 channels (because it can), when it can't. You can connect 11 speakers, but only internally power 9 at a time. (Oops. Corrected in the next post.)

It can process 15 channels, which is more than virtually anyone would ever need, but you need to add external amplification to actually power all 15 channels.

I realize this is basically what you just said. I just thought I'd boil it down a bit.
 
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Josh Dial

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These days it's common to get confused by the capabilities of different receivers. The MRX 1140 is a good example. You look at the back and see 11 speaker connections, so that might lead you to believe it can power 11 channels, when it can't. You can connect 11 speakers, but only internally power 9 at a time.

It can process 15 channels, which is more than virtually anyone would ever need, but you need to add external amplification to actually power all 15 channels.

I realize this is basically what you just said. I just thought I'd boil it down a bit.

For clarity, the 1140 can power 11 channels (not 9). It can process 15 and power 11.

It can power 11 channels and is "defaulted" to do your LCR, two surround, two rears, and four heights (called height 1 and 2). I myself had this 7.1.4 set-up without external amplification for a month or so while I was waiting for my MCA 325 to arrive.
 

Pupp

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There are times, like in this thread, I wish I was more of an expert. I can answer alot of questions, but this was a bit esoteric for me.
 

JohnRice

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For clarity, the 1140 can power 11 channels (not 9). It can process 15 and power 11.

It can power 11 channels and is "defaulted" to do your LCR, two surround, two rears, and four heights (called height 1 and 2). I myself had this 7.1.4 set-up without external amplification for a month or so while I was waiting for my MCA 325 to arrive.
I swear it said it drives 9 channels, but I must have looked too quickly.
 

Htoad

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I can't thank you all enough for all this information, which btw is answering my questions perfectly, and then some. All these years I never knew 5.1 didn't include Rears.?. @JohnRice what processor(s) are you running? I'm sure I've read it here before, but I forget.
 

JohnRice

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I can't thank you all enough for all this information, which btw is answering my questions perfectly, and then some. All these years I never knew 5.1 didn't include Rears.?. @JohnRice what processor(s) are you running? I'm sure I've read it here before, but I forget.
My HT uses separates, as in a preamp and external amps instead of a receiver. I have a Marantz AV7703 preamp and Emotiva amps, ranging from 150-1,000 WPC. The 1K amps are for the front three channels. My main speakers are difficult to drive, so they need a lot of power. I still haven't gone full Atmos, with a 7.2.2 setup just using reflecting speakers on top of the mains to get a little Atmos ambience. I plan to replace the surrounds with ELAC UniFi 2.0 (possibly the Reference models if I can swing it) and ELAC Debut 2.0 in-ceiling models, unless ELAC comes out with a UniFi in-ceiling speaker.
 
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SFS

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Hi everyone,
Forgive me but I think all of you are missing the real issue. Whether your AVR can accommodate wides is only part of the question.

The REAL QUESTION is does the AVR have a mode that actually uses wides???

I’ve been researching this for some time and here is what I found:
- DTS and ATMOS rarely (if ever) use wides!
- incidentally it’s worth noting Atmos rarely (if ever) uses the top middle speakers if you are using 6 atmos speakers. And IMHO the top middle speakers are FAR MORE effective than top front + top back atmos configuration (and the expert Mr Grimani agrees with me)… that’s why I run 9.2.2 instead of 9.2.4 or even 9.2.6 (even though I’m set up for a full 15.2ch set up)

The only AVR or processor I’ve found that has its OWN processor mode that adds wides (and top center) speakers to a native mix is the Monolith HTP-1… they have a “wide synth” mode that adds the wides and top center.

So basically, even if your AVR has wide capability, it will NOT engage them (although perhaps slightly with DTS).

My solution has been to find an older Denon/Marantz AVR that has Audyssey DSX which can add wides to a native mix. In my experience, Audyssey DSX’s wide mode makes the most use of wides.

But sadly there are only a couple models that have both Atmos and Audyessy DSX, and even the ones that do, cannot engage Atmos and Audyssey DSX at the same time.

But, if I’m wrong, PLEASE TELL ME because I’d LOVE TO KNOW… I haven’t found another solution (other than the Monolith HTP-1).
 
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