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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)

SFS

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With the greatest respect to Anthony Grimani, he vastly overstates the importance of front wides, which, as John correctly noted above, are not really part of any home format at all (this reality is what partly drives the fact that many Atmos/DTS:X tracks use a 7.1 base layer).

Grimani bases his conclusion off of acoustics and acoustics only. He says that to have a more "immersive" audio experience front wides are needed (to be clear, in this video he says they are "equally important" to height speakers, not more"). That focuses on how audio leaves the speakers and bounces off surfaces (or go right to your ears) creating a large field of sound. Undoubtedly front wides serve to create a larger field.

However, what Grimani ignores--and what I think you are ignoring, Bob--is that the channels only deliver what the creatives choose to send. Front wide channels simply just aren't used to (90% of the time) deliver anything other than the same information already being sent to your LCR channels. In almost all cases, front wides are duplicative and only serve to widen the field of sound. I highly doubt this will ever change.

Height channels are used by creatives to place objects. This is happening more and more. In my view this use will continue to increase.

Frankly, based on your description of how you used the Audyssey DSX wide mode, I think you are placing greater weight on your speakers being "filled" with sound, rather than being filled with meaningful sound, which is what I prefer. DSX takes 5.1 and 7.1 and upmixes. It's very good, but the results aren't driven at all by creatives. When DSX mode is on, the audio you hear in your front wides or two height speakers weren't placed there by a human: they were placed there by math.

So, in my opinion, a listener is better served by four height channels than two height channels and two front wides. The former will present you with more detailed sound. The latter will just have more sound.
Thanks for comments. Just to clarify:

1) I’m not suggesting it’s worth giving up top speakers I’m favour of wides. Not at all. I’d gladly run 9.1.6 or 7.1.6 if soundtracks would let me, but most don’t. I want MORE top speakers, not less. The problem is I prefer the middle row alone (which is precise) v.s. the front row + rear row (which sounds vague and barely overhead at all… definitely not “precise”). So regardless if I use wides or not, I’m sticking with x.x.2. Again this might be my room, speaker dispersion, and speaker placement. It seems some of you misread Dolby’s placement guidelines, and it’s a good thing you did!

2) just to be clear I’m using IN CEILING speakers, not ceiling mounted “heights”. That’s a whole different ball game. If your not using in-ceiling then you are not really getting the same atmos experience anyway, and won’t understand what I’m talking about. Sadly most will never get to enjoy the sound of rain falling literally above your head… it’s awesome. It puts you IN the movie.

3) I appreciate that you are a soundtrack purist (you prefer precise sound over more sound). Strictly IMHO, you are giving the creatives too much credit. Hopefully things improve (and in some cases they have) but many soundtracks (and 2ch music) are just a hot mess. They don’t put nearly the precision into it as one might hope. I’ve gone down the audiophile rabbit hole before and came to the conclusion that most recordings suck, regardless of equipment, compression, high-res, etc, etc. Crap in… crap out. But I digress.

Btw, I didn’t mention before. I also daisy chain 2 atmos AVRs to connect all 3 atmos rows so I can do immediate comparisons of which row combination has the best result. Sadly running all 3 at the same time is difficult to pull off due to volume control and signal overlap… so I run either middle row alone, or front + rear.

To be fair there is 1 time I might have preferred x.x.4 over x.x.2. On Dolby’s atmos demo disc, the swirling helicopter demo. With 2 middle row atmos speakers, the helicopter is literally above you and goes side to side. With 4 atmos speakers, it is much further way and circles around you (but with massive gaps in sound when it’s in between speakers), but frankly it’s better described as an “elevated” surround-sound rather than truly “overhead”.
 
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Josh Dial

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2) just to be clear I’m using IN CEILING speakers, not ceiling mounted “heights”. That’s a whole different ball game. If your not using in-ceiling then you are not really getting proper atmos anyway, and won’t understand what I’m talking about.

This is wrong.

Most of the things you have posted in this thread are wrong.

Like John, I've reached the point of exhaustion with you. I'm done with this thread and will no longer be monitoring it or your posts.
 

SFS

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Some guys can’t read angles? Some think height speakers are equivalent to in-ceiling? Opinions presented as fact? No warning that most atmos tracks are locked at 7.1.4? What a forum!
 
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JohnRice

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Honestly, regarding Josh's last comment, location of Atmos speakers is what's critical. Not whether they are IN the ceiling or surface mounted to it. So, NO, Atmos speakers do NOT have to be IN the ceiling. They definitely can be surface mounted, in the correct location. It's their location that matters.

I came back merely to clarify my previous suggestion. What I didn't clarify is I was suggesting using the front and middle, or middle and back Atmos speakers, but in both cases to configure them as front and back, since configuring a middle along with front or back results in virtually nothing coming from the middle one. I just figured it was worth a try.

People tried to help you, but you need to be willing to be helped.
 

SFS

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For all the remaining readers who are here to learn and not trash other people’s challenging questions and opinions, here’s a recap:

FACT: many/most atmos tracks are locked at 7.1.4, so don’t be misled by people on this forum implying you can use additional speakers in atmos mode on locked tracks.

FACT: most “experts” claim that in-ceiling speakers are superior to ceiling mounted height speakers. Assuming you trust those “experts”, don’t be misled by people implying they are equivalent, and implying that any height speakers (or front + rear in-ceiling speakers) can image a sound directly above your head. There is a reason Auro recommends the VOG channel.

OPINION: some people prefer atmos directly above their head versus vague sounds swirlimg around you in a fog of blurry sound. But it all depends on set up, speaker dispersion, and personal preference. A preference may be ignorant, but not false.

OPINION: Dolby’s recommended ceiling speakers placement is too far apart for a satisfying sound field above your head.
 
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SFS

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Honestly, regarding Josh's last comment, location of Atmos speakers is what's critical. Not whether they are IN the ceiling or surface mounted to it. So, NO, Atmos speakers do NOT have to be IN the ceiling. They definitely can be surface mounted, in the correct location. It's their location that matters.

I came back merely to clarify my previous suggestion. What I didn't clarify is I was suggesting using the front and middle, or middle and back Atmos speakers, but in both cases to configure them as front and back, since configuring a middle along with front or back results in virtually nothing coming from the middle one. I just figured it was worth a try.

People tried to help you, but you need to be willing to be helped.
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I did try that too, many many times.

I didn’t like the result. But thanks for the suggestion.

Like I said, I think my front and rear rows are just too far away. And once you get the sensation of a bullet, or plane, or spaceship, or thunderstorm DIRECTLY ABOVE YOUR HEAD, there is just no turning back. That’s why I have been pursing x.x.6 for a few years now… but it was a wild goose chase when I learned most atmos tracks are locked at x.x.4. That’s all. That’s what brought me to this forum.

Thanks again for you help. Yes, I’m willing to be helped, but you can’t keep assuming I’m the one being obstinate. I’m not sure why you think I’m resisting your help - you seem to admit you were unclear. The resistance has been exclusively one-way. I apologize for any frustration or insult I caused you.

As for where atmos speakers HAVE TO BE, I never said they HAVE TO BE in ceiling. Dolby contemplates height speakers, but most “experts” are of the OPINION that in-ceiling is the best way to experience true atmos (I didn’t mean to imply it was the ONLY way). And if you don’t have a middle row in-ceiling speakers then IMHO you don’t know the sensation of object sound directly above you. It is IMHO a different experience all together. And I do think many people exaggerate the ability of ANY atmos speaker (height, atmos-enabled, in-ceiling) to actually image sound in 3D. But again… maybe it’s my set up.

If you can feel a single rain drop fall on your forehead with your set-up, then you have a great setup! Congrats! For me, I only get that sensation with x.x.2.
 
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JohnRice

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I'm perfectly willing to admit I was unaware of any channel limit (I mean, beyond 34 channels) on Atmos soundtracks. So, I'm looking into it further. That's something I want to know more about in order to try and give constructive advice. It does appear that home DTS:X is just flat limited to 7.1.4. I'm glad to know that now. I have yet to find a single manufacturer of greater than 11 channel processors say anything about this limitation anywhere.
 

SFS

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I'm perfectly willing to admit I was unaware of any channel limit (I mean, beyond 34 channels) on Atmos soundtracks. So, I'm looking into it further. That's something I want to know more about in order to try and give constructive advice. It does appear that home DTS:X is just flat limited to 7.1.4. I'm glad to know that now. I have yet to find a single manufacturer of greater than 11 channel processors say anything about this limitation anywhere.
Me too! That’s why I’m here.

I read it in that one Audioholics article and was very surprised (check out their review of the Monolith HTP-1 and scroll to section on Front Wides).

I was hoping you guys had some more info. Even though I’m dying to get x.x.6, I don’t want to buy a new $4000 15ch AVR to discover that most atmos tracks are locked at 11ch anyway. It’s kinda a big deal if it’s true, right? I think it’s unhelpful to tell people they can indeed use all 15ch WITHOUT also telling them they have to disable Atmos to do so.

(I didn’t bring up the whole 7.1.4 vs 9.1.2 debate, and best we leave that aside.)

Let me know if you find out any info! I’d would really appreciate it. Welcome back! 👍
 
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SFS

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Just FYI - I’m finding lots of stuff online about Atmos being pinned to 7.1.4, like Josh said. Seems this is a hot issue in other forums and people are ticked off.
 
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YANG

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...I think DTS is pretty much dead, like BETA or an 8 track cassette player...
Nope. DTS live and death is very much depandant on STUDIOs' support thru licensing and perhaps the costs of mastering.
If you had noticed, almost ALL UNIVERSAL's UHD releases carries dtsX and regular DTS5.1 tracks while other studios are pumping out their titles in UHD with Dolby Atmos as well as Dolby HD tracks. CTHV titles carries Atmos with dts-HD.

So... it's back to the laserdisc/DVD game again when studios are playing sales tactics with low cost product first, then depending on demand and response, pushing out "HOT ITEM" for those little crowds.

Most AV Receivers, Processors does dtsX and dtsHD as well as dts5.1, however, do you see that they sell more than soundbars which mostly from entry level to some mid range makes do not do dts processing of any formats? Ever scratch your head and wonder why? Once again... it's the licensing cost as well as hardware costs playing the culprit again...
 

SFS

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If your setup can process and amplify 15 channels and you are playing an Atmos or DTS:X track then you will 100% get sound through every speaker.
This is misleading.

Most of what you say is misleading or mere opinion.

Please stop misleading readers.
 
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SFS

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I apologize bringing up the xx4 vs xx2 disaster again, which another member started.

Upon further research in a more sophisticated forum, I must advise the likely reason I prefer xx2. Despite being told I was wrong and/or I didn’t follow Dolby’s guidelines (which I did), the reason is likely due to my ground level speakers interfering with my ceiling speakers. The other forum politely explained that, with my set up, I would naturally expect better atmos with xx2.
 

SFS

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FACT: most “experts” claim that in-ceiling speakers are superior to ceiling mounted height speakers. Assuming you trust those “experts”, don’t be misled by people implying they are equivalent, and implying that any height speakers (or front + rear in-ceiling speakers) can image a sound directly above your head. There is a reason Auro recommends the VOG channel.
Upon further research this comment is misleading.

While this may have been technically true at one point, there now appears to be a growing body of dissatisfied (and angry) users who installed down-firing in-ceiling speakers. The inability to reposition and aim speakers has resulted in an underwhelming atmos effect for some users (not all, some) even if they precisely followed Dolby guidelines.

Some have stated in other forums that the intent of the middle row ceiling speakers was to resolve this problem. I can’t confirm if this is correct, but it seems to make sense.

Which leads to the issue of of pinned/locked tracks that won’t use the middle row if atmos is engaged, and whether there are any AVRs or processors that can resolve this problem. To date I have only found the Monolith HTP-1. If any one knows of other products, please share. I’d prefer an AVR, rather than a processor.

Whether you agree with this solution (engaging the middle row) is besides the point. Some of us have already painted ourselves into this corner and are just looking for a way out, short of reinstalling atmos speakers.

And for those other unfortunate souls in the same predicament, I merely suggest I have better atmos with xx2 (middle row) vs xx4, but my hope is figure out how to use xx6.

Lastly, some people do report that their atmos speakers have pin point imaging and they can hear a pin drop on their lap in a xx4 set up. I cannot confirm this is true however.
 
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JohnRice

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I genuinely don't understand the need to constantly post insults, which you then need to return and edit out. Why not just be civil from the beginning?

Regarding some of these issues, I am genuinely trying to find out what actual, factual information there is regarding this supposed channel lock issue. What I'm being told is that it simply is not possible. That the home Atmos system does not have the facility to limit playback to, for example, 11 channels. That it's most likely a misinterpretation of how the various types of channels and objects in home Atmos function. I'm still trying to parse the details. I'm also tempted to contact Emotiva to learn why, for example, their 16 channel processors are limited to 11 with DTS:X, which they specifically state. To clarify, that limitation is not on Atmos.

I've been planning to do a full Atmos upgrade to my HT this year, and during discussions with ELAC earlier, it was strongly suggested to use their angled in-ceiling Debut v.2 models, as opposed to the straight downward firing models. I thought that the wide dispersion of those models would make that unnecessary, but I plan to follow the suggestion from ELAC. I also plan to space them at a shallower angle than the general Dolby suggestions. I do agree that the angles seem extreme, and is probably the cause of a lot of dissatisfaction. I came to this conclusion purely by sitting at the main viewing position and marking off the various angles while visualizing where the spacing should be. It seemed to me that 90 degrees was too much, and anything over that would be absolutely unsatisfactory. I think people tend to completely overlook the step of sitting in the viewing position and visualizing everything, before they commit to something they can't change.
 

SFS

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I genuinely don't understand the need to constantly post insults, which you then need to return and edit out. Why not just be civil from the beginning?
Thanks for your input. I appreciate it.

In my last post I was trying to acknowledge that I (not anyone else) over-stated what I previously thought was a “fact”.

I don’t think I said anything insulting in the last post (if I’m wrong, please let me know, it was not my intent). I was just trying to put the focus back on the relevant issue and avoid a debate on preferences.
 
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ManW_TheUncool

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At the risk of jumping into the crossfires, :P I would think the usual speaker/sound imaging/staging issues apply to Atmos ceiling/height channels/speakers as they would in non-Atmos setups... downto the basic stereo setup... although our ears have a harder time pick things out w/ any accuracy as the sound field expands and envelopes us (at whichever moment/interval)...

Best not to physically lock yourself into whatever speaker config as much as possible before you can try things out thoroughly for yourself (given all the variables involved)... although there will be tradeoffs between flexibility and (utmost) quality (w/ any given config combo), etc.

Also, I imagine it probably would've helped some if Dolby/DTS, speaker makers, et al actually provided some good simulation tools, but they don't, so...

_Man_
 

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