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- 7.1 vs 5.1
- Michelle Steiner
July 11, 2005, 3:58 am
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When my house was built four years ago, I had the room that I was going
to put my AV equipment in prewired for 5.1; I had a 5.1 system at the
I recently purchased a 7.1 receiver. Is it worth it to install two more
speakers and upgrade to 7.1?
I don't know of any 7.1 sources yet, so the two additional channels will
be playing the same signal as the existing surround channels, right?
Thanks for any input you may have.
Stop Mad Cowboy Disease: Impeach the son of a Bush.
Re: 7.1 vs 5.1
Hi Michelle. I think it is worth it to go to 7.1. Having a separate sound
field directly behind you is great -- more enveloping, it pulls you into the
movie that much more. There are some movies that have taken advantage of
this, i.e., Gladiator, Star Wars and Terminator 2.
There are no 7.1 DVDs nor 7.1 broadcast content anywhere. HD channels will
give you 5.1 at the most, and DVDs have gone as far as 6.1 so far. (When
the new HD-DVDs and Blu-Ray DVDs come out, that *may* change, however.)
The two additional speakers will and won't play the same signal as your
existing surrounds. They will kick in when you put in a movie that's
recorded in 6.1 -- either Dolby Digital EX or DTS ES. The two rear
surrounds will either play a matrixed sound of what's happening on your side
surrounds, or they will play a discrete signal. For example, Gladiator has
DTS ES discrete on the disc. It is a separate signal going to the rear
surrounds. Now both rear surrounds will play the same information,
obviously, since it's in 6.1, not 7.1.
7.1 can also be used on 2.0 sources (TV, TV on DVD, music) by using the
PLIIx or Neo:6 setting on your receiver. I still listen to mostly
two-channel music, but it is fun to play it in 7.1 surround. I remember
"Gas Panic!" by Oasis was particularly effective when played on PLIIx --
sounded like some mad, howling black hole was directly behind me, trying to
suck me in!
As a side, 7.1 is indeed superior to 6.1. There's some weird phenomenon
that takes place inside the brain: when a sound is directly behind us, our
brain interprets the sound as coming from directly in front of us. But when
you've got the same sound coming out of two speakers with a bit of distance
between them, our brain is more able to correctly place the sound as coming
Basically, you won't go wrong with 7.1. In fact, you'll love it!
Re: 7.1 vs 5.1
That is certainly a possibility, but I thought it was generally accepted
that while wireless works wonders for computers and computer-related
gadgets, they're not great for audio/video in a home theatre -- weak signals
and all that. Unless you're talking about a gadget like the Kenwood
RFU6100, which according to some folks on ecoustics.com, it works wonders.
I use it for my centre rear channel, and I don't like it very much. I need
to crank the signal to that speaker up to +10 dB (unlike my other speakers,
which are anywhere from 0 dB to +3 dB) just to hear anything from it. What
product(s) are you referring to, Robin? If it works better than the
Kenwood, I'd love to give it a try.
Re: 7.1 vs 5.1
I've tried it. I've been using the Kenwood RFU-6100 for my rear centre
speaker. I'm not crazy about it, cos the four frequency channels it
supplies are all susceptible to static from *something* in my house. And I
have to raise the volume in my receiver for that rear centre speaker,
otherwise it's hard to hear anything coming out of it. It's not a bad
little gadget, but it isn't *truly* wireless. As I've seen on
ecoustics.com, some people absolutely love it. Are there any other wireless
solutions people have found? If so, I'd love to hear about it.
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