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puunda

Need crash course in current HT speaker setup

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puunda   

The last time I set up a HT system was in the mid 2000's and I just want to catch up with the current technology.

Back then the standard was a 5.1 system. There was no HD audio formats like DD HD or DTS MA, and no 6.1 or 7.1. Just 5.1 and the 5.1 was

2 x main speakers

1 x centre (80Hz for THX)

2 x surround (80Hz for THX), but also had to bipole or dipole for both DD and THX standards. Also the surrounds are meant to go on the sides above the listener.

 

The first thing I've noticed is that bipole and dipole surround speakers aren't as common as they used to be. Did Dolby or THX change their standards? Or are people just ignoring it?

The other trend I've noticed is the in wall speakers. Are these any good? I just can't see them working as well as big floor standing speakers. Is this a aesthetic thing to keep the spouse happy? Or has the technology progressed enough to make it work?

 

On my new AVR there is now a

  • surround back - which I assume is for the back speakers. The surrounds on on the side, and the surround back goes at the back behind the listener?
  • Height and Wide mains - Reading the manual it's for extra front speakers which gives it height or width. I don't really get what these are
  • Dolby ATMOS - From what I can tell it's extra speakers which gives you the 3D sound effect. Does this actually work? Does the movie need to have Dolby ATMOS encoded? If so does any movies actually have this? Doe the ATMOS speakers need to match the rest of the speakers?
  • DTS:X - Same as ATMOS?

 

I know that's a lot, but your comments would be appreciated.

 

Thanks

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Serpeant   

I'm in a similar boat and whilst I dont have real world experience, I have done a lot of reading.

 

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are the new formats which utilise ceiling mounter speakers (Atmos more so) to give you the immersive effect. Apparently, it's awesome.

 

My concern for these new formats is the lack of content at the moment  - as with any new format.

 

I'll be upgrading, but just not yet. Waiting for these formats to become more mainstream and for more content.

 

I doubt that FTA TV will ever (in the near future) support Atmos/DTS:X.

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mcb   

Whilst FTA TV may not support Atmos/DTS:X, you can run DSU (Dolby Surround Upmixer) or the DTS equiv (name escapes me at the moment).  We run DSU for all TV content (incl fox and Netflix). 

 

For non Atmos Dolby we also run DSU and the DTS equiv for non DTS:X DTS movies.  Not sure about other AVR's but for Denon/Marantz, once you set the required config for each input type, no further intervention is required.

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Snoopy8   
3 hours ago, puunda said:

The last time I set up a HT system was in the mid 2000's and I just want to catch up with the current technology.

Back then the standard was a 5.1 system. There was no HD audio formats like DD HD or DTS MA, and no 6.1 or 7.1. Just 5.1 and the 5.1 was

2 x main speakers

1 x centre (80Hz for THX)

2 x surround (80Hz for THX), but also had to bipole or dipole for both DD and THX standards. Also the surrounds are meant to go on the sides above the listener.

Yes, since your last foray, there has been additional channels, audio formats.  You do not have to go beyond 5.1 (I had 7.1 but went back to 5.1 and not regretting it). HD audio is definitely an improvement,  any new AVR will do them.   With Atmos  & other ceiling speakers, it will be notated 5.1.2 or 7.1.4 etc and you need to install ceiling speakers.  There are pseudo Atmos speakers which point upwards, with mixed results.

 

Another trend is addition of a second sub eg. 5.2.2.  The second sub improves low end response by attempting to cancel out some of the bass nulls in the room. But to get this right needs some effort on sub placement and doing additional measurements.

 

A major improvement is the use of room correction software.  Yamaha has YPAO, Denon uses Audyssey. etc..  This helps with improving the audio.  However, room treatment is recommended prior to running the software. (I use Anthem Room Correction on an Anthem AVR).

 

3 hours ago, puunda said:

The first thing I've noticed is that bipole and dipole surround speakers aren't as common as they used to be. Did Dolby or THX change their standards? Or are people just ignoring it?

The other trend I've noticed is the in wall speakers. Are these any good? I just can't see them working as well as big floor standing speakers. Is this a aesthetic thing to keep the spouse happy? Or has the technology progressed enough to make it work?

Bipoles, dipoles less popular because people are ignoring it and prefer adding additional speakers.  Also, not suitable for multi-channel music.  Wall speakers are getting better but cost more and very much WAF driven. Plus, you need to dig holes in wall, something a spouse may not like!

 

3 hours ago, puunda said:

On my new AVR there is now a

  • surround back - which I assume is for the back speakers. The surrounds on on the side, and the surround back goes at the back behind the listener?
  • Height and Wide mains - Reading the manual it's for extra front speakers which gives it height or width. I don't really get what these are
  • Dolby ATMOS - From what I can tell it's extra speakers which gives you the 3D sound effect. Does this actually work? Does the movie need to have Dolby ATMOS encoded? If so does any movies actually have this? Doe the ATMOS speakers need to match the rest of the speakers?
  • DTS:X - Same as ATMOS?

Usually, surround back is rear speakers but sometimes some companies call it differently.  Height & width was a niche market, probably gone away with the introduction of Atmos/DTS:X (same!) ceiling speakers.  I am personally not going with it because happy with 5.2 and WAF is a major issue when system is in family room.  But I understand that it works well and other members can chip in their experience.  Yes, movies need to be encoded and an AVR must be able to decode.  Just about every new AVR can decode but low end ones are a sham because of lack of power (Hint: don't believe the brochures, use total power consumption, allow for 90% efficiency and divide by number of speakers to get realistic number).   Speakers do not need to be matched.

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powerav   
3 hours ago, Serpeant said:

I doubt that FTA TV will ever (in the near future) support Atmos/DTS:X.

When I had just a modest 5.1.2 atmos system installed in previous home I was watching the reality show Survivor in 2 channel but had it going thru the AVR in Dolby Surround. There was a clap of thunder in the show that came across as clearly as a real clap of thunder from the in ceiling atmos speakers above my head and that has sold me on Atmos ever since. Now building up a 5.2.4.

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:) al   
6 hours ago, puunda said:

bipole and dipole surround speakers aren't as common as they used to be. Did Dolby or THX change their standards? Or are people just ignoring it?

Dipoles are irrelevant. Bipoles are still very successfully used as side surrounds where don't want direct firing speaker right in your ear :) 

 

6 hours ago, puunda said:

The other trend I've noticed is the in wall speakers. Are these any good

Can be good but will just cost more to implement given work required for wall cavities :)

 

6 hours ago, puunda said:

surround back - which I assume is for the back speakers. The surrounds on on the side, and the surround back goes at the back behind the listener?

Yes :)

 

3 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Height and Wide mains - Reading the manual it's for extra front speakers which gives it height or width. I don't really get what these are

Largely irrelevant, future atmos but implementations might support

 

6 hours ago, puunda said:
  • Dolby ATMOS - From what I can tell it's extra speakers which gives you the 3D sound effect. Does this actually work? Does the movie need to have Dolby ATMOS encoded? If so does any movies actually have this? Doe the ATMOS speakers need to match the rest of the speakers?
  • DTS:X - Same as ATMOS?

Yes works very well, one of best things have done. Try go 7.1.4 if can abd yes works for dts-x as well and very well for even non native encoded. Amazingly well !

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:) al   
4 hours ago, Serpeant said:

My concern for these new formats is the lack of content at the moment  - as with any new format.

 

I'll be upgrading, but just not yet. Waiting for these formats to become more mainstream and for more content.

 

I doubt that FTA TV will ever (in the near future) support Atmos/DTS:X.

Truly don't not know what waiting for. The step forward is profound ! For even  non native material fta tv abd such. And infact the material already released and continually being released every week with native tracks is considerable :)

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puunda   
1 hour ago, :) al said:

Dipoles are irrelevant. Nipples are still very successfully used as side surrounds where don't want direct firing speaker right in your ear :) 

I'm guessing you mean Bipoles?

 

Thanks for your input.

From what everyone is saying ATMOS/DTS:X is well worth doing. But just want to clarify a few things.

  • Sounds like these days there is an extra number, so 5.1.4 ... and I take that to mean <SPEAKERS.SUB.ATMOS> - fine I get that
  • If 5.1.x then the 'surrounds' are still to your left and right and not behind you? There's no need for diplole, but can still use bipole? Or just regular speakers? This is really just out of interest, as I'll probably go for a 7.1.x system.
  • The ATMOS speakers can be normal speakers which point to the ceiling, but they are hit and miss? Or best to get in ceiling speakers? How many do you need? 4? Do they need to match the other speakers?
  • I've read that the HD audio formats have ATMOS/DTS:X infomation in there already, which is good cause I've already got content to play that. But from what everyone is saying, even things without, such as FTA tv etc will get good results if the AVR supports it? For the records I've got an Integra DRX-5 which from what I can tell does pretty much everything any AVR can do on the market currently.

Oh this will be interesting. Having to 1, convince the spouse to let me buying 'MORE' speakers, then cutting into the ceiling, and 2, actually setting it up and seeing how it works ... how exciting!

 

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:) al   
9 minutes ago, puunda said:

I'm guessing you mean Bipoles?

Haha yes, have edited :D

 

10 minutes ago, puunda said:

Sounds like these days there is an extra number, so 5.1.4 ... and I take that to mean <SPEAKERS.SUB.ATMOS> - fine I get that

Yes

 

10 minutes ago, puunda said:

If 5.1.x then the 'surrounds' are still to your left and right and not behind you? There's no need for diplole, but can still use bipole? Or just regular speakers? This is really just out of interest, as I'll probably go for a 7.1.x system

Yes 5.1.x is standard 5.1 plus atmos heights

 

bipoles can go as sides and can still be used. Dipoles are too diffused.

 

 And yes if can fit in 7.1.x please do but do not use bipoles for rears use conventional direct firing 

 

14 minutes ago, puunda said:

The ATMOS speakers can be normal speakers which point to the ceiling, but they are hit and miss? Or best to get in ceiling speakers? How many do you need? 4? Do they need to match the other speakers?

No atmos enabled have models on top firing to ceiling, but all my demoing of this style showed very hit miss. Mostly miss vs actually having ceiling speakers.. so do get in ceiling. Just about all brands make in ceiling so no reason to not stick to same brand :) avrs today support 4 for atmos/dts-x future might support upto 6+ but you would have to have a VERY big room to support that sort of thing

 

 

 

 

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powerav   

I think you can only have 2 height speakers with the Integra's

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:) al   
4 hours ago, Snoopy8 said:

Just about every new AVR can decode but low end ones are a sham because of lack of power (Hint: don't believe the brochures, use total power consumption, allow for 90% efficiency and divide by number of speakers to get realistic number).   Speakers do not need to be matched.

hi snoopy, just as a note for class AB amps efficiency can be upto 65% depending on class A bias.  its only for class D that can get upto 90%. however power consumption is power consumption and cant be claiming more per channel than what the amp can consume even if assuming 100% efficiency which is where they are easily caught out in the claims. 

 

with many brands unfortunately even higher end ones have the same sham ratings, its only cambridge audio, rotel, nad, arcam that seem to these days be humble in their claims with more conservative ratings :)

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puunda   

Al, I just looked at your lounge room ... Amazing!

 

As for my HT setup, I've got the 5.1 speakers, so I'll set that up first. They are a Jamo setup, so I will buy some Jamo ceiling speakers. I'll have to do some reading to see where exactly they fit and how many I'll need.

 

Thanks for your help everyone. This should be a fun project

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DonGreen   

Don't want to derail this topic, but can someone(Al?) confirm an Atmos 7.1.4 setup (Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup 7-1-4) is possible in my open plan lounge room / living room with the following speakers:

 

2 Krix Euphonix mains (yes, older version of the Neuphonix)

1 Krix Vortex center

4 or 2 Krix Atmospherix (A20 or AS)

 

I have 2 pair of speakers wired into the ceiling in my new house. I was going to use the second pair for the verandah, but may have to rethink that approach.

 

I see that 5.1.2 is possible, and now wondering if changing tack to 7.1.4 would be worthwhile. Going in-ceiling, WAF isn't an issue, hopefully.

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:) al   
10 minutes ago, DonGreen said:

Don't want to derail this topic, but can someone(Al?) confirm an Atmos 7.1.4 setup (Dolby Atmos Speaker Setup 7-1-4) is possible in my open plan lounge room / living room with the following speakers:

 

2 Krix Euphonix mains (yes, older version of the Neuphonix)

1 Krix Vortex center

4 or 2 Krix Atmospherix (A20 or AS)

 

I have 2 pair of speakers wired into the ceiling in my new house. I was going to use the second pair for the verandah, but may have to rethink that approach.

 

I see that 5.1.2 is possible, and now wondering if changing tack to 7.1.4 would be worthwhile. Going in-ceiling, WAF isn't an issue, hopefully.

 

hey don. 7.1.4 will only be possible if you can have the 4 surrounds either at ear level or on wall suitably located and then 4 height speakers krix atmospherix using the as in ceiling height surrounds. 

 

otherwise if you are putting all 2 or 4 in the ceiling. and with no lower on wall or on floor stands surrounds then you are looking i would suggest to just a conventional 5.1 or 7.1 setup with your surround speakers in ceiling. which some people have no choice but to do in full open plan and where dont want surround on the floor(on stands) or cant have on the wall :) 

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DonGreen   

Thanks Al

 

My apologies, I hadn't done my due diligence re Atmos.

 

Assuming then I go for the Atmospherix A20's to hopefully focus the surround channels a little lower than ceiling height, are the extra 2 channels worthwhile? It's so long since I packed up my Marantz Pre/Pro and put it in storage, I can't even recall the model, and what support it has for 5.1 / 7.1 :blush:

 

Decisions will be made later next week once I can unpack all my gear, and see what's there. I know I have plenty of amplification, even if I have add one of my older 2ch Rotels into the mix.

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:) al   
4 minutes ago, DonGreen said:

Thanks Al

 

My apologies, I hadn't done my due diligence re Atmos.

 

Assuming then I go for the Atmospherix A20's to hopefully focus the surround channels a little lower than ceiling height, are the extra 2 channels worthwhile? It's so long since I packed up my Marantz Pre/Pro and put it in storage, I can't even recall the model, and what support it has for 5.1 / 7.1 :blush:

 

Decisions will be made later next week once I can unpack all my gear, and see what's there. I know I have plenty of amplification, even if I have add one of my older 2ch Rotels into the mix.

don atmos really only works if there is enough of a differential between your regular surrounds and the height in ceiling speakers. am talking in the order of a couple of feet at the least. if cant achieve that better to have just in ceilings as surrounds i.e. regular surrounds :)

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