Atmos flexibility

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by MagnumXL, Jul 16, 2017.

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  1. MagnumXL

    MagnumXL
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    I recall originally reading how flexible Dolby Atmos would be. It sounded like you could arrange any speaker configuration you wanted (within the limits of available channels), tell the controller/decoder where your speakers were in the room and if a sound was near that speaker it would utilize it. I thought this was the whole purpose of effect based encoding instead of channel based encoding.

    So why then does it seem like every thread I read about Atmos I see 5.1.2 or 5.1.4 or 7.1.2, etc. and lots of people complaining they can't afford the 7.1.4 config they would ideally like to have so they have to settle for either 5.1.4 for better 3D Atmos or do 7.1.2 for better compatibility with regular 7.1 soundtracks and/or their current setup (which might include already wall mounted or in wall speakers etc. that aren't so desirable to change just for a limited number of Atmos titles?

    What I'm getting at is why couldn't you set up a 7.1.2 configuration (or even a 6.1.2 one) where you have ONE of the height channels (mono) in the front of the room and the other one in the back instead of just two in the front??? Let the surrounds pan with the height channels to provide left/right height clues and you have something that I think would sound reasonably close to 7.1.4 and cost a lot less (6.1.2 would have rear surround in the center instead and rely on side surrounds for "some" basic directionality while planning.).

    How well it would work would depend on the room and types of speakers but it sounds better to me than 5.1.4 or the expected/lame 7.1.2 that would leave you with no height information at all in the back if the room.

    My question is are ANY of the receivers out there capable of creating such a setup or are they all tied to preconceived rigid setups that utterly defeat the point of Atmos??? I could have 6.1.2 in that configuration today with only a new receiver and one pair of PSB XA speakers (one front sitting on my center channel speaker and one on the rear channel speaker firing at the ceiling) without moving a single existing speaker) and maintaining full traditional 6.1 "ES" type compatibility with existing 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 soundtracks at minimal cost compared to trying to rig and pay way more for a 7.1.4 setup that won't fit well in the room at all?

    Is Atmos flexible or not? Or are poorly executed implementations to blame?
     
  2. brantuk

    brantuk
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    Atmos is quite specific in it's speaker arrangements - of which there are a few as you indicate above. I think you're confusing Atmos with DTS-X which is not so particular about speaker configuration and hence can take advantage of an atmos layout or any other layout. Auro is another 3d immersive sound format which I understand is even more specific still about speaker layout.
    What I can say is that DTS-X really does work with an Atmos layout - in fact I find it marginally better than Atmos (which itself is awesome). So slightly better than awesome lol. :)
     
  3. MagnumXL

    MagnumXL
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    As you say, there is a DTS:X article that talks about how it can make use of speakers placed anywhere in the room. Just tell it where they are and it will do its best to pan/match/make use of them as best it can (see: DTS:X - What You Need To Know About This Surround Sound Format). And I know Atmos articles also talk bout "object orientated" sound and how that frees you from rigid layouts (having a recommended layout for best sound is different from having a layout you MUST use). But show me ONE single receiver that allows you to map your speaker layout the way your room allows instead of these rigid inflexible 5.1/7.1 based layouts. Why can't I use a a 5.1.4 receiver to do 7.1.2 that has mono front/back height speakers instead and let the side surrounds and front left/right speakers do the left/right panning bits (i.e. mix left surround side with height and you have height left effect).

    Essentially, you have to pay more or less over $2000 more just to get 7.1.4 over 5.1.4 or 7.1.2 and yet 5.1.4 is severely compromised (no ear level surround information behind you what-so-ever) and 7.1.2 is also severely compromised (no height information in the back of the room what-so-ever). 7.1.4 is good, but it costs a fortune compared to 5.1.4 or 7.1.2. But if these receivers did what that DTS article talks about, you could just tell it you have ONE (centered) height channel in the front and one in the back and it would sound only slightly compromised compared to 7.1.4 compared to the alternatives. All you lose is a bit of precision in left/right placement when it's only at the ceiling (you'd still get some from the pans from the side and rear ear level surrounds). A bit of precision loss is better than total loss (5.1.2/7.1.2), IMO so I can't fathom why that's not an option. If they would map your speakers like the DTS:X article talks about, it wouldn't be an issue AT ALL.

    The problem is they talk about "object-orientated" sound, but they deliver RIGID 5.1/7.1 layouts that are compromised unless you can afford and have the room for a full 7.1.4 layout.
     
  4. dante01

    dante01
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    DTS have never said that speakers can be placed anywhere. What people have done is misenteirpret what DTS had to say about speaker placement when asked about it. DTS have always said that the speaker pattern would be up to the AV receiver manufacturers to determine. A manufacturer has to use a pattern that can be used with other formats and this means that you are left with what you have now, speaker layputs that meet the needs of most if not all of the formats current receivers have the ability to deal with.
     
  5. dante01

    dante01
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    This isn't correct because Dolby's suggested placement of the surrounds within a 5.1.2 or a 5.1.4 setup as being behind the listening position.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  6. dante01

    dante01
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    The formats are object orientated, but the receiver still has to interpret the information held within the associated metadata and deploy it to the speakers present via channels of audio. This is why you are restricted to the more rigid layputs common to both DTS:X and Atmos. AS already said, the other speakers still need to be placed in locations that correspond to where you'd need them to be in relation to non object based formats.

    How exactly are you going to tell an AV receiver where you've placed a speaker in a room if not following recognised layout conventions? THe receiver still needs to know where the speakers are even when dealing with object orientated formats in order for it to be able to map the transition of those pbjects arpund a room. How would the receiver know that you've placed a speaker at the back of the room with another midway up the room? How is a receiver supposed to map the obkects' movement around a room without it knowing the location of your speakers? The objects are mapped to the fixed locations where the receivers knows or assumes your speakers to be.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  7. MagnumXL

    MagnumXL
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    Dante01, you seem to be defending the manufacturers and I'm not sure why. I understand the manufacturers have to "implement" the output but the reason I posted on here and elsewhere is I'm trying to find someone who offers a product that "does it right" (i.e. drag your speaker in a layout config to where they actually are in your room and let it take care of it. No I'm not going to put 4 speakers around the right corner or something bizarre. I simply want a 7.1.2 (or 6.1.2) configuration with one center height speaker in the front/middle and one in the back of the room because my room layout in the back won't really support stereo speakers on the one wall due to a half bathroom door on the side wall and a glass door on the wall just behind it. That is why I have a 6.1 config instead of a 7.1 right now.

    What I suggested with two mono height speakers would be to 7.1.2 what 6.1 is to 7.1. It works around a room limitation and you get some but not all of the benefit without compromising entire height or ear level channels. It works with ALL Stereo, Pro Logic, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 formats (takes care of your "has to be compatible" argument) and offers height front/back (or middle/back or whatever). It's the same to 7.1 as 6.1 is to 7.1 (trade stereo back for single center back because some rooms have layout limitations). It SHOULD be offered and apparently it isn't.

    I posted on these forums hoping someone would know of a receiver that DOES implement that type of flexibility (from the manuals I've been reading so far, some are clearly at least a little more flexible than others, but none offer putting height channels as front/back instead of left/right.)

    As for what they say and don't say, I'm sorry but the DTS Article I pointed to says:

    "The key aspect of MDA technology is that sound objects are not tied to specific channels or speakers, but assigned to a position in 3 Dimensional space."

    "Using MDA for creation, and DTS:X as the output format, sound mixers/engineers have a tool in which each individual sound object (which can add up to hundreds in some films) can be individually (or grouped in small clusters) placed in a specific point in space, regardless of channel assignment or speaker layout."


    Yamaha's site actually says things like:

    "You get more flexibility to arrange your speakers inside the room, along with easy enjoyment of high quality surround sound."

    "Multiple placement patterns are available for presence speakers that support Dolby Atmos & DTS:X, creating a sound field that’s ideal for your setup. Any layout can be appropriately reproduced, including the three-dimensional space of CINEMA DSP as well as both sound formats."


    Of course, what they printed is a bald faced lie in practice. The receivers in question are pretty rigid and do not allow you to drag your speakers in a diagram where they are actually located and have the receiver pan to them as needed. Their options are not "ideal" for my setup and they don't even come close to offering "any layout".

    I also can't help but notice that the price jump from a 7.1 receiver to a 9.1 (let alone 11.1 one) over doubles in price (for a mere 2 extra channels). Ridiculous. They are soaking people because they know that 5.1.2 or 7.1.2 (the way they do it) sucks so charge a fortune for 4 height channels and pray your spouse won't mind speakers dangling from the ceiling (hence the desire to use reflection speakers and not in pairs because there's a doorway/door that won't accommodate it).

    It doesn't work for your room? Too bad. Flexible? Nope. Object-orientated as I've researched thus far appears to be a JOKE as implemented (far too restrictive on layouts). I'm not really interested in having people defend what's out there. It is what it is. But these days receivers usually can take firmware updates and there's no reason on Earth that the layout I want couldn't be implemented other than most people would probably save over $1000 (plus speakers) and go with a 7.1.2 config instead of springing for those pricey 7.1.4 setups since an extra stereo speaker on the ceiling isn't that big a deal compared to just having something up there period (do I care if the helicopter is slightly toe the left/right as it flies overhead compared to just being overhead instead of at ear level? The side surrounds would add some cues with panning anyway).

    I'm not really interested in reading replies that defend the status-quo because it is what it is. It's not helpful to me as things currently stand so I'm stuck with 6.1 for the indefinite future unless someone makes a better implemented setup. This object orientated stuff matters not one whit at home over channel based formats if the decoders don't take advantage of it.
     
  8. dante01

    dante01
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    I'm not defending anyone, I'm stating why they still have to use fixed speaker patterms. It isn't practical to not use them and causes major issues not to.

    It is Dolby themselves who publish the layouts required for Atmos anyway and has nothing to do with the manufacturers. The manufacturers are simply using Dolby's own guidelines.

    Atmos was not developed for home theatre use and was originally only available in a cinema. The cinemas fitted out for Atmos use the same layouts and even they cannot plonk speakers wherever they like.

    DTS are simply suggesting that any pattern can be used to portray DTS:X, but the receiver still has to map the objects to speakers it knows the locations of. This in turn means a receiver has to use a pattern that has speakers in known locations.

    Sorry that you don't like the facts of the matter, but your reasoning for not having set patterns doesn't have any foundation and the set patterns are used for very good reason. Again, please explain exactly how any recceiver would know where you've placed a speaker if not using set patterns for the layout of the speakers? All object base audio has to be converted into channel based audio by the processor or AV receiver dealing with it in order to map it to the speakers required to enable the transition of the associated objects around a room.

    Neither is cost anything to do with anything. I've a 7.1 receiver that costs more than several 9.1 receivers and you can get 9.1 receivers for less than £700. I don't think this to be too expensive and relatively cheap when compared to what 9 channel receivers used to sell for prior to the advent of Atmos. No, you are not being charged double for just 2 more additional channels. You can even get an 11 channel receiver for less than what some of the 9 channel options sell for.

    Denon AVR-X6300H
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  9. brantuk

    brantuk
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    If it's flexibility you want and you don't like the choices of "off the shelf" receivers, then I think you probably need to have a good chat with these guys:
    Trinnov Altitude 32 AV Cinema Processor
    I'm sure you'll get exactly what you're after with them - but you're gonna need deep pockets. :)
     
  10. dante01

    dante01
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    The placement of the speakers associated with either Atmos or DTS:X still has to conform with set recognised patterns and layouts. The Trinnov will not allow you to place speakers wherever you want and you'd still need to locate the speakers in locations where the processor knows where they are. The only thing the Trinnov gives you over and above most AV receivers is the ability to have more than just an 11 channel setup. AS I've altready said, even the cinemas have to layout their speakers using regained patterns. How else would a processor know where to send what audio to convey objects around a room?

    Object oriented audio simply means that the information relating to the conveyance of sound around a room isn't channel based prior to processing it. Once a receiver processes it it is channel based and the receiver creates channels of audio for each of the speakers connected to it using the object orientated metadata to map those objects to those channels and the speakers' known locations.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2017
  11. brantuk

    brantuk
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    Yep - I wasn't disputing anything you mentioned dante - it's pretty elementary that the receiver has to process channels via speakers - that's why I have loads of cables round my front room lol.
    I was addressing the OP's dissatisfaction with atmos layouts. If he has more channels, then he can simply use whichever one's he wants and let the object orientation do all the sound placement. That'll give him the layout flexibility he wants for a dts-x system, which doesn't seem to mind where speakers are physically located. Of course I agree that a uniform cinema layout would be much preferable - but my impression is that he doesn't have the room shape for that.
     
  12. stevos

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    My assumption is that we are still in the early days of object audio and the manufacturers effectively retrofitted it to their existing designs. Give it a few more years and assuming there is money in it, my guess the manufacturers will introduce drag and drop setups into their avrs, but this will first require some pretty significant additional processing power and so probably a significant price rise.

    keep in mind that whilst we see new avrs pretty much every year, the guts don't change a lot between generations.
     
  13. stevos

    stevos
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    p.s. I am guessing you would still need the 5.1 base layer to support none atoms content, but I guess a atoms upsampler could work around that.
     
  14. bjd

    bjd
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    I current have a 6.1 set up - never saw the need for stereo rear centres - and presumed I could buy a new receiver and four more speakers to get a 6.1.4 Atmos set up. Probably not allowed in that configuration and the new receiver I was hoping to buy (Yahama 3070) only has 9.2 channels. All this new tech is too hard for an oldie like me. Thought about buying a 4k projector then started reading the threads about the sheer effort involved getting it all working properly. Think I'll wait a while til it's all sorted out.
     
  15. MagnumXL

    MagnumXL
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    That's the whole point I've been trying to make. In no way should an object orientated system have to "conform" in any way except to have the speakers inside the "box" or "sphere" of influence. If you look at that DTS article I linked to, you'll see what I mean. The way it SHOULD work is that you tell the system (and I'm going to say COMPUTER because that's what it actually is these days) where in 3D space you have speakers. This is a set of spatial x,y,z coordinates in the room for each speaker (By contrast with 5.1/6.1/7.1 where you are limited to a set configuration the ONLY thing it needs to know is the delay time or distance it takes for the sound to arrive from a given speaker). From here it the objects are mapped in that three dimensional space in the meta data for Atmos or X. If a sound is going to be near a given speaker, the computer calculates a PAN between it and the nearest other speakers the sound is passing by (i.e. the volume for that "sound" begins to raise as it gets closer to that speaker) and this applies to ALL speakers.

    "Stereo" has always worked to create "phantom" images by applying more or less volume levels to either the left or right channel based on the encoded stereo signal. The combination of those two sounds creates a phantom image in your head. It is the essence of stereo sound and it depends on the human brain to work. Just as you can "pan" between left and right speakers in stereo when creating an album (I have a rock album on iTunes/Amazon/Spotify, etc. by the way and I mastered and mixed it myself), you can pan between any other channels as well and get more or less a similar effect. On a 5.1 system, if you play Alan Parsons' DTS CD "On Air" album for the track (11) Blue Blue Sky the vocalist starts in the rear left channel and walks around the back of the room to the right and forward and then to the center channel like he's tracing a box. This is accomplished by panning the vocalist and his guitar from channel to channel. He didn't actually walk around the room with microphones all around and the pan works from left to right rear and from rear right to front right, etc. I know it sounds like I'm telling most people what they already know, but it's at the heart of this Atmos/X system.

    The only difference with Atmos or X is that instead of hard coded sounds, the processor can separate these sounds based on the sound editor's position data in 3D space. It's mapped there whether you have a speaker there or not. You (or the manufacturer) tells the system where your speakers are located and if a sound is mapped there (it can move frame by frame, obviously in the meta data as the helicopter or missile or whatever moves on screen to somewhere behind you or whatever), it pans appropriately between the nearest channels (for a stereo or even quad or more effect) to map the sound to your room as close to the original matrix grid coordinates as it can. That's all there is to it! As far as the data and computer is concerned, you could have 5 speakers on the right of the room and only two on the left and none anywhere else and it would still make use of them as best it can. It's up to you to make the best of the channels.

    Ah, but it isn't, is it? Sony/Onkyo/Yamaha/etc. have decided FOR you where you're ALLOWED to have speakers. Why? There's probably two reasons. One is that it's a lot simpler on their end to hard code a few layout configurations and tell you to conform to it. The other is that most people probably wouldn't have a flipping clue how to accurately map their speaker locations. Most people seem to prefer "sound bars" to actual individual speaker layouts because that involves WORK setting it up and knowing how and what to use (or paying thorugh the nose for someone else to do it for you). Most people are happy with the garbage base-less sound that comes out of flat panel televisions or even watching movies on a tiny phone screen. Having to input 3D coordinates or create an accurate GUI to do it for you (still based on measurements which requires the user to at least know how to use a tape measure and let me tell you, from what I've seen on the news; I doubt the capability of some people to even be able to calculate a 10% tip at a restaurant without an app for it!

    But there is no technical reason it can't work the way I'm describing it. That is exactly the purpose of object orientated sound. It can use what you have available. Yes, you have another problem. Not all movies are encoded in Atmos or X. Thus, the consumer has the problem that if they want their other moves to sound right, they probably have to follow some conventions, at least for the basic 5-channel setup.

    Now what I'm looking to do isn't that complicated. It IS a conventional 6.1 layout (three identical channels in the front under my screen and two bipoles with the same drivers on the sides and just behind the couch and a rear speaker in the center back of the room. This is as close to perfection as you can get for Dolby Pro Logic compatibility (which prefer dipoles on the side walls 2/3 up) while maintaining reasonably pin-point stereo imaging for 5.1 and 6.1 soundtracks. Note that 6.1 has ALWAYS maintained a rear center position while early 7.1 spreads that EX/ES channel into two stereo speakers.

    Even new Atmos receivers show the rear surrounds in their description as a stereo pair or just use one for 6.1. But look at 9.1 or 11.1 receiver manuals. They describe the same thing for a 6.1 layout, but go to Atmos/X and you're told to use stereo pairs regardless of whether your room can reasonably support them. My point is that unlike 6.1, if you only connect ONE speaker you will lose either the left or right channel for height. It won't so much as compensate by summing the two channels (which would be child's play for a receiver to do, let alone the fact that Atmos/X should be able to map those channels ANY WAY YOU WANT THEM!) If you want 11 ear level channels instead of height channels, you should be able to tell you that's what's in your room and that's what you want it to use and it should do more accurate positioning around the room for sounds as they pass by the speakers one-by-one instead of using "banks" of "all left side", etc. The processor is just a computer. It could calculate what it needs to do to map the sounds out that internally are moving matrices numbers. It's the ENTIRE POINT OF OBJECT ORIENTATED SOUND!

    But what I see people saying is, "NO, IT'S NOT!" based on their usage of a consumer product that simply doesn't do what it could do if it were designed properly. Personally, I'm utterly disappointed by the lack of flexibility in these products. Not one company thought to themselves, hey, someone could use two mono height channels and get a FAR BETTER effect on a 5.1.2 system than using them as one stereo pair. One manual/receiver model I looked at gave you the "flexibility" to position them either in front of you, directly overhead or behind you on the ceiling or to use a atmos-enabled 'bounce' reflection. It was more flexible than some other models I looked at. But how did it even do that much? It changed the room Y-coordinate (delay +/-) for the height channel effect based on your location. Now why couldn't it sum the L/R to ONE mono height channel and then map the delay for a pan across the back of the room instead using two mono channels? There's no technical reason at all it could not. Sum the channels, set the delay between speakers and pan. That's something a CPU with C64 capability could handle with total aplomb (as object in object orientated Atmos/X system flies along the top Y-axis of the room, raise volume as it approaches the ceiling speaker and and lower as it exits and start to raise volume as it approaches next speaker in the back of the room in the object's coordinates; it's not rocket science).

    Everything else is just making excuses for an industry that didn't put much thought into this at all. How hard then would be to map those same channels to other locations in the room (e.g. what if you had to put one ceiling speaker further to the left than the other speaker due to an air conditioning vent in the vicinity or whatever? Change the delay on the X coordinate in panning Left to Right along that axis. Big deal. Even current 5.1 systems can accommodate that sort of thing whereby you tell it the delay time to the listening location from that location. The automated microphones systems attempt to set this automatically even! This is the 21st century and we can't have a receiver as intelligent as Commodore 64 level video game? It's just sad.

    As for the suggestion for that 32-channel device, I'm sensing a lack of understanding of what I'm describing (one of the complaints was that 11.2.4 costs a fortune compared to 5.2.2). The reason I want the layout I want is that the 11.2.4 channel receivers I'm looking at cost a fortune and STILL can't accommodate the back of my room that won't let me have a stereo rear surround very easily! And again, this is 100% the manufacturer's fault. They can accomodate a 6.1 setup, but they can't do a 11.2.3 or a 11.2.2 with front/back setup without losing L/R information (i.e. sum channel if not connected)??? That's terrible. It could possibly be fixed with a firmware update, even but that would require the industry coming to understand just how limited their system is and doing something about it rather than thinking it's OK to spend $3000 on a receiver and you cannot even set it up to work optimally in a given room (and my room is pretty normal save the sliding glass door and bathroom door in the back of the room; I've seen houses with "open" concepts and other oddities that would have to deal with far worse).
     
  16. dante01

    dante01
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    You obviously don't understand what object orientated audio is or the reasons why an AV receiver has to convert it to channel based audio prior to it reaching the speakers. Object orientated audio contains metadata that holds the information as to what the objects are and how they move through and around a 3 dimensional space. The receiver uses the metadata to map this information to the channels a receiver has available to it and the speakers associated with those channels. If you didn't use a speaker layout the receiver has a good idea of where the speakers are located then how is it suppose to map an object's movements around the room in which those speakers are located. Object orientated audio ceases being object orientated as soon as the receiver has finished mapping it to the speakers in the room and it has to be then channel based.

    As to the cost of an 11.2 receiver. What do you expect the cost to be? It is obviously going to cost more because it includes more amplification modules, a larger PSU, more terminals etc. That's just a fact of life and somethings simply cost more than others. You aren't being forced to buy them. Ferraris cost a lot more than a Nissan Micra, but this doesn't mean you've a right to demand Ferraris be reduced in price. A 30m2 carpet will cost you more than 20m2 of the same carpet, but does this mean you've a right to demand all carpet cost the same irrespective of the floor space yo need to cover?

    If you stick a single speaker in the middle of the room then audio transitions from say the left front to the left rear would then need to divert to the centre of the room during that transition. THat is why you have pairs of the Atmos speakers. That is just common sense.

    I'm pretty damn sure Dolby will have experimented with a multitude of different speaker layouts before settling upon the ones they've chosen for Atmos and it is Dolby who impose the speaker configurations relating to Atmos and not the AV receiver manufacturers.

    The only issue you have is that you've nowhere to put the speakers required. This isn't Dolby's or the AV receiver manufacturer's fault. Stop blaming them for your room's unsuitability and your inability to afford the equipment need to fascilitate what you want.

    And by the way, the delay has to do with the distance speakers are from your listening position and not their location relative to that position.
     
  17. dante01

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    You've now gone from your initial $2K to $3K. Increasing the amount each time you post doesn't justify what you are saying, especially when you can actually buy an 11 channel AV receiver for a lot less than you are stating. Anyway, you've not a room able to accommodate an 11 channel layout and no, they aren't going to change these layouts just to fit your room so get over it.
     
  18. brantuk

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    I think you're angry with Atmos and DTS-X whereas you should really be angry with your room. It might be an idea to get a new room - certainly would be cheaper what with AV gear going up in price at the rate you suggest. o_O
     
  19. MagnumXL

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    You seem to be unable to comprehend what I wrote since you spend most of your time talking down to me yet say most of the same things I already said as if I didn't say them. Yes, it has to convert to a channel layout eventually. That is why you would give it your layout in a settings menu!

    You're saying things I already said and then implying I said something different....

    So what??? Nothing you said contradicts a single thing I said. The fact they don't allow more flexible layouts or custom layouts has nothing to do with what you're saying. And Dolby didn't decide the individual choices manufacturers made in their equipment.

    I don't expect it to cost $2000-3000 more for 2-4 extra channels when 5 channels cost $300-500. 11.2 capable models cost less than 11.2 models that include all amps (to answer someone 's question why I used a different figure; you're paying to use those extra two channels one way or another). My point is I don't need 11.2 channels. I just need 7.2 or 9.2 to nor be so rigid. The fact some of your are rich and don't mind paying anything they ask...anything at all it seems is beside the point. This format will fail outright if the masses don't adopt it. Look at 3D. It' more or less dead in the US. TVs stopped supporting it. Many studios stopped making titles on BD. It's not in the 4K modes.

    Many titles already stopped including Atmos mixes on 2k BDs. They only bother for Ultra 4K. They might not bother at all if they feel hardly anyone uses it.

    You're seriously going to compare a receiver to a Ferrari?????? OMG........ I think I'll just stop here. You are clearly out of touch with reality and are desperate to change the subject to price rather than object oriented flexibility. You seem to want to gloat rather than discuss anything and your understanding if the subject matter and even the price of electronics is something I find utterly lacking. I'm an electronic engineer with two degrees. I don't need to be lectured on the value of electronic equipment.

    You just said the same thing again....
     
  20. dante01

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    I'm not going to argue the toss with you and I'll simply direct you to the same 11 channel receiver I mentioned earlier:
    Denon AVR-X6300H

    So that is a UK price of £1.200 which equates to about $1,560. This isn't even the $2K you suggested initially let alone the $3K you are now suggesting such a receiver costs. I can also buy a 9 channel receiver for just under £700 here and add 2 additional channels of amplification to this for less than the price quoted for the AVRX6300.

    I never compared an AV receiver to a Ferrari, I used it as an example of why products that include more cost more. No comparison between either cars or carpets were made in relation to AV receivers. And no, you are not being charged double for just 2 additional channels of amplification.

    Your issue is still your room and not Dolby's suggested layouts for Atmos. You simply haven't a room suitable. It is as much the architect fault for not designing it to accommodate Atmos as it is the receiver manufacturers' fault for not accommodating your specific requirements. Why aren't you mouthing off about the architect? You cannot lay blame for your room's unsuitability at the feet of the manufacturers!

    Atmos wont fail and is already a success in the theatres. It was never designed for home use and was already established within movie theatres before it was made available to home theatre enthusiasts. Atmos's success isn't dependant upon home users adopting it. Home theatre enthusiasts and those buying AV receivers are only a very small percentage of consumers anyway. Most manufacturers wouldn't be wanting to spend more than they already do on a market that is the size of that associated with home AV and surround sound.

    Neither are the manufacturers obligated to sell you goods at a price you deem affordable. They'll sell goods for as much as they can get away with selling them for. AV receivers are luxury items and not fundimental to your existence. If you cannot afford one then you'll just have to do without. You will not starve or suffer pain without one.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017
  21. brantuk

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    Then why aren't you defining and building your own object based receiver to your own spec instead of whining in a public forum about commercial receivers that most folks seem to enjoy? And being a tradesman I'm sure you can get the parts cheaper than most. If you have a complaint, take it to the right people (the manufacturers) rather than ranting here at folks who initially sought to help you till they realised you're really just after an argument.
     
  22. MagnumXL

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    I looked on Amazon USA and that receiver costs $2200! (Amazon.com: Denon AVRX6300H 11.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Receiver with Built-in HEOS wireless technology featuring Bluetooth and Wi-Fi: Electronics) So much for your quoted price assumptions. You guys call simply stating facts and reasons for doing things "whining". All I did was ask whether any receivers were more flexible than the ones I looked at so far. A simple yes or no would have sufficed, but talking down to me and stating falsehoods and then expecting me to just agree is absurd. Blaming the architect of my house (from 1973!) or comparing a $2k-ish receiver with a Ferrari is better than my "whining" ? Give me a break.

    Even the 11.2 models don't offer to sum the height channels so I can use one speaker in the front and one in the back (an outboard mixer might be able to do this for me). Sure, I can set a pair of those speakers a couple of feet apart and get very little sound separation (or butcher my ceiling with large speakers hanging from them for good separation but still have the rear side surround issue due to the back door, but why should I have to? All prior 5.1/6.1/7.1 receivers had layout OPTIONS even with their channel-based layouts (like being able to use a phantom center or a rear surround center instead of stereo rear surrounds). My whole point is how is it that the channel based surround formats had more flexibility than this object-based format? The answer is obvious. It's all in the implementation. It has nothing to do with Dolby Atmos itself being inflexible. It's the poor implementation of it. Early DTS decoders often didn't have bass management features or even phantom center options (like my 1990s Technics SH-AC500D outboard decoder) or even auto-detect modes. It wasn't a format limitation. It was an early/bad implementation rushed to market to get something out as fast as possible. Later models all had bass management and phantom center support and auto-detection.

    To further prove my point that I did not make up any numbers, here are other 11.2 models (keeping in mind Amazon is usually far less than any local retailers, assuming any exist since Amazon decimated the local electronics and Hi-Fi stores here over the past 5-10 years:

    Pioneer SC-LX901 $3000: (Amazon.com: Pioneer Elite 11.2 Channel Class D3 Network AV Receiver, Black (SC-LX901): Electronics)

    Marantz AV7703 $2199: (Amazon.com: Marantz AV7703 Home Theater Preamp/Processor with 11.2 Channel Processing and Dolby Atmos: Electronics

    Onkyo TX-RZ3100 $2498.92 (Amazon.com: Onkyo TX-RZ3100 11.2 Channel Network A/V Receiver: Electronics)

    Here's a 9.2 model that's going for $3000: (https://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-TX-RZ3...&qid=1500521100&sr=1-4&keywords=11.2+receiver)

    Sorry, but I don't see a single 11.2 model under $2000 on Amazon and there are more than a few 9.2 models for over $2000 (one at $3000 as quoted). I have seen some 9.2 models for around $1200-1600, but they have no ability to upgrade to 11.2 even with external amps. I'd rather see a 7.1 channel receiver with pre-outs for 11.2 for less than $2000 that you could at least upgrade as you go, but it largely appears to be all or nothing. And yet if you bought a receiver even two years ago, you're probably missing HDR support. Too bad. Go buy a new one.

    I guess AV gear must be cheaper in Britain. I see some 9.2 models here for around $1100-1300, but they are last year's models and lack certain features (nothing like starting out behind). For example, the Yamaha RX-A2050 is going for $1300 online, but it's already been replaced by two newer models since then (current is RX-A2070 which is $1600 and has no facility for 11.2 sound upgrading even with external amps). For that you need the RX-A3070, which is $1999.99 and still needs an extra external 2-channel amp to do 11.2 sound.

    I see a lot of 7.2 channel receivers for sale here for $349-500. The cheapest 9.2 channel receiver I've found is $1100!!! That's more than double for 2 extra channels. If you're going make a false statement, at least check a few prices first. This whole thread is littered with nonsensical arguments and excuses when all anyone had to say was, no models support that configuration. That would have been helpful and classy, but no, I get attitude instead.

    No, my problem is the lack of a summed speaker option like 7.1 channel based systems had for the rear surround channels. I can easily accommodate front to back height speakers and they would fix the existing 6.1 layout perfectly. If I wanted to spend for an 11.2 system, I could still do stereo pairs for the ceiling (or at least use reflecting speakers if I didn't want to hang speakers from the ceiling). It's not really the height speakers that are the issue. It's the rear left/right surround speakers that are hard to place in the room. Mono height would simply match the existing rear surround, but then there is no mono rear surround in Atmos (there is in DTS:X, but all the receivers I've looked at so far added DTS:X as a last minute feature or firmware update and don't offer separate DTS speaker setups just like my early Technics DTS/DD decoder didn't).

    I look at it that having a 6.1.2 (front/back or even front stereo) or 6.1.4 system would be far better than nothing added with Atmos in my book, but while the receivers will configure or EX/ES with a rear center, they will not allow a single rear center instead of rear side surrounds for Atmos (and so far DTS:X despite it supporting that very layout "on the books" from what I've seen online). I could do a 5.1.4 configuration easily enough, but I would prefer it use the 6.1 configuration with such material. They could have provided switched outputs for dual-configurations with different source material, but I haven't seen that option yet either.

    A better question is why are YOU mouthing off? You've done nothing but talk down to me from your first post. If you don't give a toss, then why bother replying? No, I think you enjoy talking down to people and come on, blaming things on the architect of my house?!?!? From 1973!?!? :facepalm:

    I'm blaming them for a lack of flexibility with the layout configurations. Why was 7.1 more flexible (phantom center and mono rear surround options) than Atmos after them lecturing us about the benefits of object-based surround that isn't tied to a given speaker configuration??? THAT is my point. It's LESS flexible in current implementations than a channel-based 7.1!

    I could get PSB Image S surrounds and use the 7.1 mode to get around the problem, but I doubt there would be significant front/rear side surround separation using that scheme and I'd still have to find somewhere to mount the ceiling speakers without looking like hell or use some smaller speakers, which would mean mixing/matching or ditching PSB altogether. None of these are 'great' solutions when a simple rear height sum would solve the problem. I suppose I could buy an outboard mixer and sum the channels on a 11.2 system myself to achieve the same effect or just put the stereo speakers fairly close together and get very limited separation. The point is to not lose entire channels just because they poorly implemented the decoder.

    So was/is 3D a success in theatres. That doesn't mean they will continue to support it at home! This forum is about home theatre is not? :facepalm:

    3D is alive and well in the US at the theatres. It seems like almost every other release is available in 3D at the theatre. But they've mostly discontinued support on the new lines of TVs here and local retailers are carrying very few 3D titles anymore. Beauty and the Beast is a good example. No 3D here, but there is a 3D one in the UK. I have to import it if I want the 3D version.

    I guess you could say the same things about DTS and Dolby Digital and even Pro Logic, all of which came out in theaters before they were adapted for home use. In other words, WTF does that have to do with it? The funny thing is the theatre units are programmable for specific layouts. Again, the problem is the implementation of the home receiver units, not the format. The format is perfectly flexible. The receivers I've seen thus far are not. You can't seem to differentiate the two.

    Again, you confuse Atmos at the theater and whether they will bother with Atmos on Blu-Ray in the future if 4K fails and discs go the way of the DoDo bird. I care about my home theater, not the local cinemaplex (unless I enjoy getting my seat kicked or people texting during the movie).

    Wow. You REALLY did a GREAT job in answering the question about the flexibility of Atmos by telling me what I apparently can and cannot afford. :clap:

    Just because one has money, that doesn't mean they should spend it willy-nilly, particularly if it's not really what they're looking for. In my case, I could use a new receiver for the input switching alone, but I see no point in spending $2000 if I'm only going to use $600 worth of features. $1600 buys a lot of BD movies.
     
  23. MagnumXL

    MagnumXL
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    I haven't ranted at anyone. I've been ranted at, talked down to and told I made up prices, none of which have been helpful in the slightest. All I wanted to know was whether there were any more flexible receiver models out there and immediately I get a talking to about how I don't understand how Atmos works. You call that helpful, do you?
     
  24. Rambles

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    Hi @MagnumXL I feel your pain, and agree that it would be really nice if AVR manufacturers gave the consumer more choice of products to buy for the home cinema market, and more flexibility in speaker placement would be really good too!

    Prices for hi-fi and home cinema do not make sense when compared to the pro audio market. I won't go as far to say that it is a scam. I think it is more to do with how capitalism works, and all companies need to make a profit, so they will make products that they know will sell a lot of.

    Niche products might only serve the need of a few consumers, so perhaps will not sell in enough quantities to make it financially viable for the manufacturers. But, having said that, if they are good, and make a home cinema set-up better and more flexible perhaps they would become more mainstream.
     
  25. dante01

    dante01
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    I can't afford an awful lot of things I'd like to own and cannot actually substantiate the purchase of such a receiver, but I don't moan about it. If it had been the price of food you'd been moaning about and you were starving then fair enough, I'd have had some degree of sympathy for your situation, but what you are moaning about is a luxury item that you can quite happily live without and cannot afford. A manufacturer has a perfect right to charge as much as they like for it. If you were a tradesman carrying out work for me, would I have the right to only pay you what I can afford or would you have a right to charge what that work was worth?

    I'd love for all receivers to be cheaper but they aren't and I'm not engaging upon a campaign to try reduce the price just because you feel hard done by. The rest of your kit looks pretty high end to me so I'm not sure why you rate comparable receivers as being over priced?

    If you cannot afford something then you cannot afford it and you have to do without it irrespective of how much you want it.

    Anyway, the inflexibility of Atmos isn't really anything to do with the receiver manufacturers and Dolby themselves impose the speaker placement restrictions. THe manufacturers are simply complying with what Dolby publish in their own guidelines. Lobby Dolby if you want something different or if you've issue with this.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017
  26. logiclee

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    Not all equipment will suit all people.

    But I've been buying Home Cinema gear since the early 90's and since then have spent double what I originally paid for my house on equipment alone never mind media.

    What I can say is AV gear has never been cheaper and has never offered the amount of flexibility and options that we currently enjoy.

    I still remember the days of £8000 for a 50" flatscreen, £1300 for a laser disc player, £2000 for a 5.1 Receiver and £50 to buy a laserdisc to have something to watch.
    A few decades later and a we buy a 65" HDR 4k panel, UHD bluray player, and 9 channel amps all for under £3k and pay £20-£25 for 4k Media with HDR and Atmos.

    We've never had it so good.

    So sure the current technology may not suit everyones environment but what we get now for the money we pay great in my opinion.

    Lee
     
  27. MagnumXL

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    Exactly who was it that said I couldn't afford it? There's a very real difference between frugality and poverty. Just because I can afford a Porsche Boxster instead of a Subaru WRX doesn't mean I think the Boxster is worth twice the price (cachet is meaningless to me and the WRX is great fun in the winter). The question for me is whether the equipment suits my needs and whether it's worth the asking price for the smallish amount of titles available with Atmos (somewhere in the 105-120 range according to the Dolby site? Not to mention I own far more 1930-1950s movie titles than I do 2000-2017 titles and most of them are only mono) If even the 11.2 model can't work a functioning layout, why in the world would I want to spend $2k+ on it when a $500-800 model might do just as well? I question why 2-4 extra channels cost another $600-1600. They're clearly taking advantage of low demand with high prices. They could offer more processing and let you add your own amps later for a more reasonable sum, but the days of reasonably priced separates appears to have disappeared with brick and mortar audio stores.


    What situation? You seem to have inferred from a question about whether there are any flexible receiver models out there that I'm poor and can't afford an 11.2 model when even the most expensive model doesn't really solve making the layout fit my floor plan (although I believe I've thought up a way to make it work using ear-level speakers in a wall bounce configuration (pointed to the rear sides from behind the listening couch) in combination with ceiling bounce ones in the back and front of the room. It's not perfect, but at least it can be done without hanging speakers from the ceiling or blocking the back or bathroom doors.

    But instead of any helpful replies, you chose instead to tell me I don't know what I'm talking about, that I should blame my architect for not designing me a proper home theater room in 1973 (before I was born no less) and that I should not complain that manufacturers are too short sighted to include more layouts to choose from for less than ideal home theater rooms (of which there are many out there leading to the popularity of questionable items like "sound bars"). It's not hard to sum stereo channels to mono (for height) so the idea they couldn't possibly include that configuration is PURE NONSENSE. Hey, whatever you choose to believe, but leave me out of it from now on as I have no interest in reading any more technical nonsense. Thanks so much.

    It's not Dolby's job to implement Atmos in the home. They made the format extremely flexible for speaker placement as the object-orientated placements can match up to nearly any configuration for a given room since the sounds are placed in space with 3D coordinates. It's up to manufacturer's to meet their minimum standards. That's it.

    Some receivers are more flexible than others (I've been reading many manuals online). Some allow you to put a pair of ceiling speakers nearly anywhere in the room. But they don't sum mono for a front/back configuration with a 7.2 model receiver for 5.2.2 front/back ceiling configuration. There's no technical reason they couldn't do this. Sum the stereo channels and offer processing for the rear speakers shifted to the other output. It's child's play. You say it's impossible and that is laughable. I'd wager someone simply never considered that layout at home before or perhaps they want to encourage those that want full front/back height to spend more money on an 11.2 model rather than a 7.2 or 9.2 model. I imagine it could be implemented with a simple firmware update on many models, even. With an 11.2 model (or even a 5.2.4 model if I don't mind losing rear surrounds) and an outboard mixer I could easily implement it myself (albeit not using 2 of the amplifier channels). It's not rocket science, after all. Sum the channels and you have mono with the content of both channels. Use a wide dispersion speaker and that helicopter overhead isn't going to sound that much different than the stereo version in a small width room particularly with stereo rear surrounds available to pan some of the directional information.

    If I'm whining about anything it's that a $2000 or even $3000 receiver still doesn't offer any real layout flexibility what-so-ever on a format that is designed to remove the limits of channel-based audio (DTS:X is even more flexible with pre-defined speaker locations more or less in a CIRCLE all around the room including a rear center that Atmos layouts don't directly support). Current receivers make NO use of these layouts what-so-ever from what I've seen. Half of them don't even have DTS:X on board already. They need a firmware update first. I'm guessing better DTS:X layouts and options will appear on models starting next year or perhaps the year after at most, assuming DTS:X isn't more or less dead by then (or even possibly the 4K BD format itself if it's not adopted by enough people as streaming becomes an ever-more appealing format due to sheer convenience of services like Netflix and Vudu).
     
  28. dante01

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    You clearly want to argue the toss regardless of whatever anyone else says.

    Good luck with your endeavours to change the entire AV industry to facilitate your room's unsuitability. Maybe concentrate on a realistic endeavour such as looking at modifying the room rather than blaming the equipment associated with home cinema? It is your room that isn't suitable and AV receivers deliver what they are advertised to deliver.

    Some of the statements you are making are now not actually factual. All Atmos receiver follow Dolby's own guidelines for the placement of the speakers. Dolby themselves publish guidelines for home installations. The whole point being that these layouts are standardised. Why would you want to install speakers in a location that may only ever be correct if using one particular make and or model of AV receiver? Wouldn't you then need to relocate them if you ever buy a new receiver from a different manufacturer? As it stands now, people simply replace the receiver and the pre existing speaker layouts will be compliant with those supported by that AV receiver. Besides which, you cannot make a speaker sound as though it is located somewhere it isn't, not without having to bouce the associated audio off a wall or ceiling. What non existent technology are you proposing be used by the manufacturers to ensure what you hear via your propose placement of speakers sounds anything like it was supposed to be heard as determned by the person mixing it it a studio that also uses the same aformentioned speaker placement standards?

    There's also the question of if what you are proposing is so easilly doable then why haven't the manufacturers done it? Have you actually considered that manufacturers may have looked into it and come to a very different conclusion to that of your own? They don't just post their ideas on a public forum without any sense of reality, they research the real world practicalities and associated costs. You obviously possesses more intelligence than any of them? If Atmos could be enacted using just a single row of ceiling speakers then don't you think Dolby would have done so in the theatres fitted out for Dolby and isn't the whole idea behind home theatre to try imitate what happens in a cinema within your home?

    Maybe there will be something that will meet your needs sometime in the future, but I don't see it arriving any time soon. Most of what you want is nothing more than an ideology. ideologies sound like great ideas until you actually try to realise them.

    By the way, here are Dolby's own guidlines for home installations:
    https://www.dolby.com/us/en/technol...tmos-home-theater-installation-guidelines.pdf

    There's none of the flexibility you stated in your last post mentioned anywhere within these guidelines so not at all sure where you are getting the impression that Dolby actually support your ideologies?

    Even if DTS:X is more flexible, who is going to fit a space out for use with DTS:X that will then not comply with what is required for Atmos? Great if you never want to access Atmos and only ever intend on listening to DTS:X, but you are going to be very limited as to what is available for you to listen to. DTS:X isn't realistically going to match Atmos when it comes to the number of titles encoded with it. What you are proposing is a bespoke system for use with DTS:X. Which manufacturing is going to want to make anything as niche as this? Besides which, the manufacturer will still need to use set patterns for the placement of these layouts so it wouldn't fascilitate an ability to plonk speakers wherever you want and would simply allow you to use a different layout as determined by that manufacturer other than the standardised ones.common to all receivers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2017
  29. brantuk

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    I think I see your problem here. I don't believe the immersive formats were designed so much to remove the limits of channel based audio, but rather to exploit the existing channel layouts in order to bring cinema quality sound immersion into the home. It's not there to provide a degree of flexibility that facilitates placement of any number of speakers in any physical position. It's there to simulate cinema sound immersion on existing HT layouts with a few tweaks like adding overhead speakers and a few extra channels to support them.
    This has all been based on the "stereo" concept of widening the sound stage and providing a virtual center channel between two L/R speakers. The physical front center speaker was added to emphasize cinema like dialogue (which just isn't needed in the rear). Side L/R surrounds were added to smooth movement down the sides of the cinema to and across the rear L/R pair. And then the whole lot was extended to add height information using stereo pairs in the ceiling.
    Apart from front center there just ain't a requirement for mono in such a system - and object based immersive sound can easily be implemented with all the currently available speaker channels.
    Honestly- if I was designing an immersive sound system - I'd be considering a sound space and how best to place sound objects in that space utilising currently existing speaker layouts. Last thing I'd be thinking about is where doors in a room are, nor if the place for a speaker is currently occupied by a budgerigar cage. :)
     
  30. tony nevitt

    tony nevitt
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    Any cinemas up for sale? every seat in the house would be the best seat lol
     

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