Upgrading 10yo 7.1 to 7.1.4, Newbie here!

genoxy

Standard Member
Hello guys,

Been slowly researching and gathering knowledge then making purchases to upgrade our home cinema. We purchased the house in Jan 2021 and the previous owner left his set up with Yamaha Amp, 7.1 channel speakers, Epson PowerLite 8350 projector and screen. Everything is at least 10 years old so no Dolby vision, atmos, DTS X etc

It was a pretty good experience but the sound never felt directional and it felt muddy/wall of sound with most viewing experiences. So I've currently purchased the following items and have someone coming to install them on Wednesday so I'm getting pretty excited.

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Going for a 7.1.4 set up with the below orientation.

AMPLIFIER - Denon x6700h
PROJECTOR - Epson EH-TW7100
FRONT SPEAKERS - Wharfedale Diamond 11.2
CENTRE SPEAKER - Wharfedale Diamond 11.CS
CEILING/ATMOS SPEAKERS - 6 x Jensen EHT-9
REAR SPEAKERS - Wharfedale Diamond 11.1

BluRay Player - Panasonic DP-UB820EB
Games consoles - PS4 & Nintendo Switch
Streaming Device - Google TV
Turntable - not decided yet

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I'm going to use the existing 6 ceiling speaker cut out locations and replace the speakers with new 8" 15 degree slanted Jensen speakers. 1st and 3rd speakers will be Atmos speakers, 2nd will be the left surround channel.

Downside of the retractable projector set up was it limited the size of a new projector, really wanted the Epson EH-TW9400W but it wouldn't fit in that space. Maybe Native 4K projectors will get smaller in future so I'll get one that fits.

Question I had was HDMI cables, I got a 15m and 20m because not sure how long I'll need. There's already a HDMI cable set up so I'm gonna try that because installing new one but worried it won't handle 4k due to its age 10+ years old. Will a long amplified cable be ok running 4k @ 60hz, the projector isn't native 4k so it's sending 1080p signal then using pixel shift to show a 4k image that's why I think the original cable would be ok. Thoughts?

Heard Optical HDMI cables can run long distances without degradation and unamplified also. Anyone vouch for that? I'm not using a PS5 (yet) so won't need 4k @ 120hz yet but may want to in future so hopefully these cables will be ok...

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Reviewed this AV forum frequently for different reasons, Google pointed me this way many times so thought I'd contribute also and would love to hear what people think of our new set up!
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
It was a pretty good experience but the sound never felt directional and it felt muddy/wall of sound with most viewing experiences.
...

Reviewed this AV forum frequently for different reasons, Google pointed me this way many times so thought I'd contribute also and would love to hear what people think of our new set up!
It's been a long day and my brain has turned to mush, so I apologise if I've completely missed something, but my initial impression is that you'd benefit mostly from some acoustic treatment for the room. Firstly absorption, and then diffusion too if able, but that would probably have a bigger impact on the room decor.

And if you want to improve your video performance, you could do with having darker walls and ceiling. You could still make it look nice.


Question I had was HDMI cables, I got a 15m and 20m because not sure how long I'll need. There's already a HDMI cable set up so I'm gonna try that because installing new one but worried it won't handle 4k due to its age 10+ years old. Will a long amplified cable be ok running 4k @ 60hz, the projector isn't native 4k so it's sending 1080p signal then using pixel shift to show a 4k image that's why I think the original cable would be ok. Thoughts? Heard Optical HDMI cables can run long distances without degradation and unamplified also. Anyone vouch for that? I'm not using a PS5 (yet) so won't need 4k @ 120hz yet but may want to in future so hopefully these cables will be ok...


Yes, optical cables are useful for long runs. And although the projector isn't native 4k, it'll still benefit from a good 4k signal, so ideally you'd have a 4k source when possible.
 
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MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
I'm going to use the existing 6 ceiling speaker cut out locations and replace the speakers with new 8" 15 degree slanted Jensen speakers. 1st and 3rd speakers will be Atmos speakers, 2nd will be the left surround channel.

Are you saying that you’re planning to route the left surround to the ceiling? This sounds like a bad idea if you’re using atmos as you want to have the base speakers separated from the atmos layer. Can’t you squeeze the left surround in the corner/on the wall somewhere and fill 2 of the existing ceiling holes?

Worth checking the Dolby positioning guidelines but your installer should be familiar with this (sounds like 5.1.4 configuration would suit):

5.1.4 Dolby Atmos-enabled Speaker Setup

what’s the plan for subwoofer(s)?
 

genoxy

Standard Member
All done today guys, thanks for your replies.

Very happy with the outcome, 7.1.4 set up. Sounds sooo much better

The 4k projector image is crystal clear, good choice for the space

May paint dark and add sound cushioning in future but for now it's good.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
All done today guys, thanks for your replies.

Very happy with the outcome, 7.1.4 set up. Sounds sooo much better

The 4k projector image is crystal clear, good choice for the space

May paint dark and add sound cushioning in future but for now it's good.
Excellent. Got any photos to share?
 

genoxy

Standard Member
Thank you! Yeha here's a few pictures ;)

Very happy with the outcome, picture and sound dramatically improved

I'm sure it's not perfect but good enough for me

Reason it wasn't sounding good before was due to wiring issues according to the install guys

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Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
That looks sweet, congrats.

You said it was 7.1.4, but I can only see 2 surround speakers (so in the photos it looks like 5.1.4)?
 

genoxy

Standard Member
Thanks dude, so each side has 3 ceiling speakers, the first and third are atmos height speakers and the centre are left and right channel speakers so 7.1.4
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
Thanks dude, so each side has 3 ceiling speakers, the first and third are atmos height speakers and the centre are left and right channel speakers so 7.1.4
Er, ok. That sounds like a terrible idea. So audio that's supposed to pass on your left, leaves your left front speaker, goes above you, and then lands at your rear left speaker. And audio that's on your left and supposed to go above you, actually starts above you, and doesn't go anywhere. Who on earth are your installers?

No. Just no.

I'm happy if an audio god can explain to me how this could possibly be a good idea, but right now I've dug in and setup with my gatling gun and rocket launchers, to shoot the **** out of this idea.

But don't worry, you haven't lost anything. Your system should simply be changed to a 5.1.4. Your rear/side speakers will do a better job of side surrounds than the ceiling speakers.

Er, sorry :(
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
I questioned this concern in post #3 - it’s a bit bizarre if professional installers did this!

Might be an idea to disconnect the ceiling speakers that are connected to surround terminals and compare this to how it is now. Easy to do an A/B test using some content that has good atmos soundtrack as you can presumably unplug the offending speakers from back of receiver? Note you need to run the setup again using the microphone if you make changes to the speaker layout…
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
I questioned this concern in post #3 - it’s a bit bizarre if professional installers did this!
So you did. Sorry, I missed the plan from before. But nothing is lost, it can be fixed.

Might be an idea to disconnect the ceiling speakers that are connected to surround terminals and compare this to how it is now. Easy to do an A/B test using some content that has good atmos soundtrack as you can presumably unplug the offending speakers from back of receiver? Note you need to run the setup again using the microphone if you make changes to the speaker layout…
No need to compare, it'll be better with 5.1.4
And since the amp can handle 7.1.4 it'll be no bother to add some side speakers if desired.

5.1 was always a fine setup, and 5.1.4 is a great step up from that. A botched 7.1.4 is a downgrade from a good 5.1.4
 

genoxy

Standard Member
Thanks for the info guys, I may not have been explaining it properly but I cannot have left and right surrounds on the sides because one side has a door and not enough space on the other side.

What I decided to do was use a 15 degree slanted ceiling speaker as the surrounds shown at figure 5 on the Dolby install JENSEN® EHT-9 In-Ceiling Speakers (pair)

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It sounds very good to me, tried with some Dolby atmos test sounds and it does give the immersion effects as described.

Just wondering what the issue with this set up is when I cannot have side facing surrounds so needed a ceiling set up? How about when people have all ceiling speakers and no floor speakers? They still get similar issues?
 

genoxy

Standard Member
I sprung for an 11 channel amp so would like to use all the amplified channels and 5.1.4 won't take advantage of that, maybe I can run a 5.1.6 set up and move the surround channel wires to additional height channels?
 

DrH

Active Member
Even with direct able speakers for the side surround they are in the wrong place.
There must be a difference in height from the Atmos ceiling and the base level.
If you cannot run side surrounds then just use the lower 5, you should be able to deselect the side ones on the AVR settings.

It may sound ok but it is not correct and most likely you will miss the subtleties of Atmos. A pan of sound that goes around and up will go go around up down around etc.

Did the installer explain this?
Or just fit it in?

Having all speakers in the ceiling as some do is a lifestyle choice not an AV choice

Your set up looks great by the way.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
Thanks for the info guys
You're welcome, and sorry it's not positive on this particular point. But I'm pleased to see you've taken the comments in the way we meant them - we just want to help you get the best results you can.


I may not have been explaining it properly but I cannot have left and right surrounds on the sides because one side has a door and not enough space on the other side.
Yeah, but it would sound better with no sides at all. Could you post a scale plan of the room?


What I decided to do was use a 15 degree slanted ceiling speaker as the surrounds shown at figure 5 on the Dolby install JENSEN® EHT-9 In-Ceiling Speakers (pair)
Understood, but, but it's not a good idea, because it'll sound worse than if you just hadn't used any.


It sounds very good to me, tried with some Dolby atmos test sounds and it does give the immersion effects as described.
I don't intend this to be patronising: systems can sound incredible, and perhaps you're not used to just how good they can sound, so although you've tested it and felt it sounds good, it should sound better.


Just wondering what the issue with this set up is when I cannot have side facing surrounds so needed a ceiling set up?
So imagine your character in a film is walking down the road, and a car playing music slowly drives by on your left. That car could be heard in the front channels, then more obviously on the front left channel and then as it approaches the sound should start coming from the left side channel, and finally on to the rear left channel before fading out. In your system it would be in the front channels correctly, and then it would go over your heads. That would be weird, it wouldn't sound right. And finally it would be behind you on your left.

But if instead you didn't use that channel at all:
Again it would be heard in the front channels and then more obviously from the front left channel. Then, as it approaches, the sound would slowly fade out of the front left channel while simultaneously starting to come from the rear left channel, and as the car is directly to your left, the sound would be equally coming out of your front left and rear left speakers. Coming out of those two speakers together would make it sound like it was on your left. That's better than sounding like it's coming out of the ceiling. And finally, the sound moves so it's all coming of of the rear left channel, or possibly with some rear right channel too to balance the position of the car.

That doesn't use a side channel, but it sounds right. It's like people listening to music with 2 speakers (left and right): the singer sounds like they're in the middle, right in front of you.


How about when people have all ceiling speakers and no floor speakers? They still get similar issues?
They get much worse than you have, because at least your front 3 speakers (which are the most important, because they're used much more than the others) are in the right place. My kitchen/living area has 4 ceiling speakers for music. That's not as good as 2 channel stereo, but it's a big area and neat and tidy to have the speakers up there and the sound just isn't so important for that room. A film with just ceiling speakers: well, it is what it is. Not good for immersive audio, but neat for room decor.

Home cinema audio progresses from sound straight from the TV, to a soundbard, a pair of front speakers, and on to a little 5.1 satellite system with a sub. Then up to a 7.1 system, before new immersive audio came out with height channels. A 5.1.4 setup is a big step up, and can be really very good.


I sprung for an 11 channel amp so would like to use all the amplified channels and 5.1.4 won't take advantage of that
But is the important thing to use all channels, or to have it sounding the best it can? Don't worry about the numbers, let's get the best sound in your room you possibly can.


maybe I can run a 5.1.6 set up and move the surround channel wires to additional height channels?
Well your speakers are already there, so yeah, if your amp can do it that would be good.

If I get time I'll look up the manual of your amp and see what it can do. What would be ideal is if it can store different setups, so you can test between the two at the touch of a button, but I'm not sure that's possible.
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
That’s a great explanation @Triggaaar !

I’m not familiar with the Denon 6700 but looks like you could have a 5.1.6 layout. The relevant part of the manual is here:

Speaker installation AVR-X6700H

Towards the bottom of the page are example layouts including 5.1.6.
One further thing to confirm is which channels are directed towards the wharfedale 11.1s at the back of the room.

In a 5.1 or 5.1.6 these should be Surround Left/Right (not Surround Back Left/Right).

I can’t make out from this photo what channels you have active at the moment!
 

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Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
If I get time I'll look up the manual of your amp and see what it can do. What would be ideal is if it can store different setups, so you can test between the two at the touch of a button, but I'm not sure that's possible.

I’m not familiar with the Denon 6700 but looks like you could have a 5.1.6 layout.

Wait, he's got a Denon 6700 :laugh: I don't need to look that up, it's the amp I wanted. I have the 6500 and am now on the hunt for 8500.

Although for my personal needs I'd be using it for 9.1.4, so I haven't actually checked if the 6700 can do 6 atmos, but I assume so.

But it can do front wides.

Post a scale plan of the room - it's possible something can be done with front wides etc to give a better side channel effect.
 

genoxy

Standard Member
Thanks for taking the time to respond guys, I've read through your comments and agree that having the sound come from the side would be ideal but since my room won't allow for side speakers I'll change to a 5.1.6 set up of possible.

@Triggaaar I can't blame the installers they were just following my directions but had they explained it like you did I probably would have set up as 5.1.6 straight away

Just wondering also with a 7.1 vs 5.1 set up, the sound on the surround left and right channels is the same just being taken across 3 speakers instead of 2 yeah? To give more of a sense of the sound travelling?

Big part of the reason for upgrading the cinema set up was for Atmos effects so if I'm not gonna get the right outcome with the current set up then I'll need to rethink it.

I decided to make the centre ceiling speaker a surround channel because the cut out was already there and wanted to put something there, good thing anyway for a 6 ceiling speaker atmos set up will probably sound awesome

Just need to figure out how to wire it up to the back

So I'm guessing I need to remove the SBR and SBL, change them to SR and SL and maybe reposition the speakers a bit closer to my seating position

Then change the current middle ceiling speakers from SR and SL to TMR and TML as per this diagram from the manual

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@MonkeyCasino I currently have front height and rear heights for atmos then a standard 7.1 set up
 
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genoxy

Standard Member
Decided to have a go at rewiring the speakers and I think I've worked it out

Gone with a 5.1.6 set up so front left, centre and front right, then surround left and surround right behind me.

The 6 ceiling speakers and all atmos now. If I change them to height speakers then I can keep Auro 3D and since they are 15 degree slanted I'd probably get away with that but gonna try them as normal for now.

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Will let you know how it sounds after watching a few things, it'll be strange having nothing coming from the ceiling except atmos but that's why I did this upgrade and 6 atmos speakers should sound good 👍
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
Thanks for taking the time to respond guys
You're welcome :thumbsup:


@Triggaaar I can't blame the installers they were just following my directions but had they explained it like you did I probably would have set up as 5.1.6 straight away
Well I'm not here to have a fight with them, I have no idea who they are or what they claim to do. But IMO professional home cinema installers shouldn't have done that. I went into some detail because it's in writing, but had I been in the room with you I could have just pointed at where the sound would be. And if you didn't believe me, I'd have set it up both ways to show you the difference. And if after all that you said you didn't care and wanted it in the ceiling, fine, I'd have done what I was told.


Just wondering also with a 7.1 vs 5.1 set up, the sound on the surround left and right channels is the same just being taken across 3 speakers instead of 2 yeah? To give more of a sense of the sound travelling?
So audio isn't coded to just come from one position. Although there are different methods to achieve the result the directors/sound engineers want, the effect is the same, in the audio comes from a mix of speakers to sound how it should. So in a 5.1, something which is supposed to sound like it's traveling down your left side would start in the front left speaker, and slowly decrease in output there while simultaneously increasing in output at your rear left speaker, until all of the sound was in the rear. That would just be 2 speakers. I mentioned your front centre channel earlier, in case the sound (car) was supposed to start more in front of you, rather than to your front left.


Big part of the reason for upgrading the cinema set up was for Atmos effects so if I'm not gonna get the right outcome with the current set up then I'll need to rethink it.
One of the issues most of us in the UK (ie, not usually enormous rooms) is keeping our side (and other surround) speakers well apart from our atmos speakers. It's often handy to raise surround speakers a little (eg, I'd recommend raising your rear speakers just slightly, so the sound goes to your ears, because at the moment it looks like it hits the sofa instead) so that it clears seats and the heads of those next to you - but raising them puts them closer to the Atmos speakers, which can blur the difference between the two. So that's a balance we have to strike. If you had your side speaker up there with the Atmos speakers, well there's zero separation at all. When your Atmos front left and Atmos rear left are working in tandom, it would sound just the same as when your side surround was going.



So I'm guessing I need to remove the SBR and SBL, change them to SR and SL
Er, I don't know what the amp wants to call them in a 5.1 setup, check that.


and maybe reposition the speakers a bit closer to my seating position
Yes that would be good. Maybe so they're more like 120 degrees from your seat, or close to that.

Then change the current middle ceiling speakers from SR and SL to TMR and TML as per this diagram from the manual
Yep.
 

Triggaaar

Distinguished Member
If I change them to height speakers then I can keep Auro 3D and since they are 15 degree slanted I'd probably get away with that but gonna try them as normal for now.
The fact that they're 15 degrees slanted just means they're aimed at you a bit better (assuming they have been aimed at you, which they should be). It doesn't make them sound like they're coming from somewhere else, they're just working a bit closer to on axis.

If you're not sure what on axis is:
Speakers produce sound in all directions, but they produce most of it directly in front of the direction they're facing, and the frequency response in that direction is also better (more even), so from bass up to treble you get what you're supposed to get. Off axis, you still hear that the speaker is in the same place, but you need to turn it up more to get the same SPL (volume - and turning it up when far off axis just throws most of the sound all around your room instead of at you) and you also don't get an even frequency response (so while lower notes may sound right, the highs will be a too low).
 

genoxy

Standard Member
Ok so I've watched a few things now including some atmos content. Im pretty happy with the new set up, mainly I've noticed there's less surround sounds coming from the ceiling but when sounds come from above then I know they are atmos effects and actually sounds good like a bird or atmosphere sounds. The 5.1 is enough for immersion and the 6 atmos speakers creates that distinction with the sounds. Happy with it thanks again guys!
 

MonkeyCasino

Standard Member
Sounds like you’re getting there now! Good job - hopefully you’ve got plenty of content lined up to watch over the long weekend.

Just want to double check you’re rerun audyssey calibration since making all the layout changes? This will help with any small layout deviations you’ve had to make relative progress to the ideal.
 

genoxy

Standard Member
Oh yeah I've definitely run the audessy calibration again since it's quite a large change to the sound scape of the set up, no long weekend over here in Australia but ordered a few 4K UHD to enjoy this weekend!
 

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