is 6.1,7.1 8.2 ,9.3.10.4 etc dead

Discussion in 'AV Receivers & Amplifiers' started by pat clancy, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. pat clancy

    pat clancy
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    hi all,i,m a great fan of 5.1,from the beginning ,i had panny 350 with yam 592,well i,ve just noticed that all recent dvd,s are all good ole 5.1,no 6.1,7.1,dts es 6.1,why,i have listened to 6.1 with denon 3802,since sold,thank god,i do think 5.1 is the standard and all these 10.5 are toooooo much,any thoughts,rgrds pat 20.6
     
  2. tom_nieto

    tom_nieto
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    At the end of the day, a good 5.1 system is going to beat a not so good 7.1 setup. The fact that you have to split the budget in half again to get an extra set of rear speakers is a bit silly. I would understand if people had huge rooms, or strange viewing positions, but more often than not it's the fact that the amps support the formats that they're used.

    Clearly everyone here with a 7.1 setup is going to jump up and down on me and flame that last comment, but I fail to see how it can make that much difference in a good room with good kit.

    They can't get much more extreme, otherwise they'll be selling large ring speakers to go round your entire room.
     
  3. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    Interesting thoughts, Pat. To each his own, I suppose. 5.1 may be the standard at present but if there's any certainty in life, it's that the standard will definitely be improved upon. We're already moving towards discrete 6.1 channels and discrete 7.1 shouldn't be too far away now. Sony through their SDDS format in cinemas could have led the way in the development of true 7.1 channel sound for home use (i.e. five channels across the front, encompassing centre, centre right, centre left, front left and front right; two surrounds and an LFE) but due to various reasons (too costly to market for home cinema, an almost total domination of the home cinema market by DTS and DD, etc.) Sony never took it seriously to incorporate the technology for home use.

    Most experts and researchers in the industry agree that we're still a long way off surround sound 'nirvana'. There are three major variables in digital audio encoding which can be improved upon : frequency range (i.e. sampling rate), dynamic range, and number and position of audio channels. All of these are subject to saturation - i.e. a value above which no improvement can be heard by the listener. Saturation of frequency range occurs by a sampling rate of 60 Kbits/sec., while saturation of dynamic range occurs between 20 and 24 bits/sample. However, experiments have not yet shown a saturation point for number/position of sound channels. This latter factor is thus where the greatest future improvement may rest upon.

    I believe that the next generation of improvements in home cinema surround sound may incorporate up to 10 discrete channels of audio : 5 across the front (as in Sony SDDS), 2 at either sides and 3 at the back. There may also be two separate LFE channels, perhaps at the front and back (as low frequencies have relatively poor directional characteristics). Another area which can be improved upon (indeed research is ongoing in this area) is the positioning of the sound channels, particularly in the vertical dimensions. Presently (whether 5.1 or 6.1) all channels are placed in the same horizontal plane ie. at ear level. I believe in the near future, we will see channels emanating from speakers placed in different spatial planes so that the viewer is surrounded by a a spherical acoustic wavefront - in order to simulate a true 3-dimensional acoustic experience.

    reservoir51
     
  4. pat clancy

    pat clancy
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    thanks for the replies chaps,well i,m staying with 5.1 ,very happy with it,but as i said there are not a lot of 6.1 discs out there,all the new releases are all 5.1,I ROBOT etc,pat
     
  5. tom_nieto

    tom_nieto
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    I like the idea of having a stereo centre speaker, although an important factor to consider is that many are reluctant to have even 6 speakers in their living rooms. Home entertainment is becoming a more and more important part of out lives, but if 10 speakers are required, especially those adding a vertical dimension, the newest and gretest sound formats will be left to the real enthusiasts. Unless of course major advances in flat speaker technology can be made.

    Sony's cinema standard sounds interesting, and I've never heard of it before. The thing that I've noticed with new speakers is the imaging that can be achieved with a properly set up pair of stereo speakers. The only read advantage of a centre is so that people outside the small zone of perfect stereo can have the dialogue attached to the screen. The number of channels is where major advances will be made, as the companies can sell more of their products. However, more could be done to assist channel integration. The auto setups that we are seeing in many new amplifiers is a step in the right direction, but it is by no means perfect. With a well set up system, 5 speakers is plenty to encompass the listener and smooth out gaps in the sound field in a small or medium sized room.

    Pat, a big reason that we're not seeing 7.1 etc on our DVDs is that there physically isn't the space on them. To be honest, by today's standards even the picture quality on DVDs isn't hugely impressive considering some of the TVs that are available on the market.
     
  6. Mandel

    Mandel
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    We're going to have to wait till a successor to DVD takes off. Something with more space to house both an old Dolby/DTS 5.1 track and a new format. Hopefully this new format will have both a higher resolution (DTS already have a 96kbit/24bit encoded format) and a greater number of channels.

    Personally the arrangement I want is similar to Yamahas 9.1 amps which is 7 speakers arranged as normal at ear level then two smaller presence speakers at the front (these could double as both height and presence channels with a suitable format). Then add two more small height channels above the side surrounds and you're done. 11.1ness

    I don't think there is a lot of point in adding additional subs as multiple subs are very difficult to place and its far better to have full range speakers that can handle bass well themselves than use extra subs to compensate.

    I've recently upgraded from 5.1 to a 6.1 setup and the centre rear does make a big difference to the surround field in films that use it. (Attack of the Clones/LoTR are good examples).
     
  7. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    But then again, the point of having a sub in any system is to accentuate low frequency signals (eg. below 80Hz). If you are dependant on your speakers to present those signals, then what's the point of having a sub in the first place? If you accept that there's a place for a sub in any system, then the next logical step is to improve on the directional characteristics of such low frequency signals, because at present, they are very poorly localised by our ears. Note that one of the most significant areas of improvement in home cinema acoustics in recent years has been in image steering and sound positioning and localisation (ie. the ability to add real sonic depth to soundtracks). It is only logical that such depth should be extended to encompass low frequency signals (eg. an explosion happening behind a protagonist, flying towards an explosion and away from it, etc.)

    Don't just take my word for it. Dr. Tomlinson Holman, who developed the THX Sound System (in fact, the 'TH' in THX stands for his initials) leads a research group which is presently working towards the 10.2 standard (http://www.tmhlabs.com/research/research.html).

    reservoir51
     
  8. Mandel

    Mandel
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    I'm in favour of using the sub as little as possible. Out of my 6 Gale standmounts I have the sub crossover on for the front and rear centre speakers only. There again I'm more of a multichannel music fan than an cinema fan. On the other hand, just because the option is there, doesn't mean I have to use it I suppose :)
     
  9. reservoir51

    reservoir51
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    Yes, you're quite right, Mandel. I don't normally switch on my sub when listening to music - my Mission M53s are more than adequate in dealing with low frequency sounds. But when it comes to AV, my sub is absolutely essential. At the end of the day, it all boils down to personal choice. But isn't that what hi-fi is all about? :cool:

    reservoir51
     

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