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Discussion Starter #1
My room is currently setup as a 5.1 setup but my receiver can be setup for 7.1 surround. I'm wondering if I would get much benefit adding two more surrounds. I would think that room size would have a lot to do with it. My room is 13" X 15" but open on one side.
 

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Given the size of the room it would be more beneficial to make sure your acoustics are addressed properly. There are very few 7.1 dedicated movies out there and unless your room is large with two rows of seating 5.1 is good enough.
 

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I was thinking that the room size would be the answer. Thanks

I noticed that you run an external amp for your front mains, I been thinking about adding an amp also. Was it worth the investment? When I changed from my old receiver to my newer one, the sound change was a huge step up. Up stairs I run a two channel setup and use active crossovers, multiple amps sure made a big difference.
 

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For me it made a big difference however it depends on the speakers you are using and how loud you like to watch movies. I have my system near reference levels when watching movies and the added power on my mains really freed up the receivers power supply so it had more juice to run the rest of my speakers on the 7.1 system I am running particularly when watching action movies on BluRay with the new uncompressed audio.
 

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The added power reminds me of a show in NY last year. A company called Cinepro sells a speaker and amp package, there setup consists of 700 watts per channel. They claim that with high power amps you will produce less distortion. They played back a few movie clips at a very high volume level, higher than I have ever watch a movie. This was at concert levels and to prove the low distortion. They had two huge subs that could make your shirt move like if it was windy in the room but it wasn't the wind just sonics. The play back was very clear. Good stuff.
 

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I think alot of the decision for me was simply that my surround speakers are the same size as most peoples mains and my receiver was working just a bit to hard driving all 7 channels at those levels. My receiver is no slouch with 130watts per ch and a large power supply.
 

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As mentioned earlier, there are very few movies with true 7.1 channel sound available and many AV receivers do not process 5.1 into 7.1 sound (some do, but my Marantz AV8003 does not). Most receivers will use 5.1 or Dolby Pro-Logic encoded material and internally process the sound tracks to provide an enhanced/matrixed 7 channel output. I have owned receivers made by Yamaha, Pioneer, Sony, Onkyo and Denon that all do this with proprietary algorithms and processing - to me they all sounded very artificial. I prefer listening to 5.1 channel encoded material in 5.1 channels and the few 7.1 channel movies I own, in 7.1 channels - just as designed. My guess is that you will be perfectly happy with 5.1 channels in your home theater.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So far i'm very happy with my setup, I will be making more speaker changes soon and thats why I figure I would ask all of you your experience. I would think that room size dictates the amount of surround speakers. We have 5 different size theaters at the University that I work, the bigger the room the more the speakers on the side walls.

epereira - How do you like your Marantz compared to the rest of the receivers? I use a Marantz cd player and pre/pro for my two channel music. I wish I could afford more Marantz. I also use a lot of Harmon Kardon.

tonyvdb - I bet the surround music video's sound great with all large speakers. I will be moving my large two-way bookshelve speakers to the rear and building tower three-way for the fronts.
 

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I agree with most of the advice here because I have a small room and run a 7.1 set up and I can matrix the rear surrounds with my Pioneer but it sounds better to just run 5.1 if that is what the encode of the disc is and then have the ability to run 7.1 when the opportunity is there. Are you thinking about a 2 channel amp that is strictly made for home use or is a pro amp an option?
 

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I have heard alot of nice things about the Emotiva line so that should be a nice choice. When I decided to run outboard amps I went the pro amp route because the dollar to watt advantage. I run my whole system with pro amps and I saved a few bucks in the meantime. The hookup is different although some pro amps come with rca connections but the Crown amps I run do not. Good luck...:T
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What did you end up using as a pre amp? A receiver or a pre/pro?

I see a lot of people using multiple channels of amplification and use a receiver that has pre amp out of all channels. I like the idea that when the features change you don't have to pay for new amps just a mid line receiver.
 

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tonyvdb - I bet the surround music video's sound great with all large speakers. I will be moving my large two-way bookshelve speakers to the rear and building tower three-way for the fronts.
Yes they do, My Onkyo does a great job of matrixing the 6th and 7th channels as its THX certified and you get several modes that work very well expanding to 7.1 even if its only a 5.1 mix.
The BluRay version of Prince Caspian has the full 7.1 uncompressed audio mix and is still one of my favorite movies for use of the surround channels.
 

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I use my Pioneer Elite as a pre amp for all the processing and run the pre outs from the reciever to line level units like the Samson s-convert or Art cleanbox and then to the amps. It works great and I will never run out of headroom in my HT room.
 

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epereira - How do you like your Marantz compared to the rest of the receivers? I use a Marantz cd player and pre/pro for my two channel music. I wish I could afford more Marantz. I also use a lot of Harmon Kardon. QUOTE]

ktaillon: I love the Marantz units I have and I just bought a Maratz BD8002 Bluray player (waiting for it to be delivered). The Marantz sound is a lot "clearer" and less muddied/processed than the other AV receivers I have owned (Sony, Pioneer, Yamaha, Onkyo and Denon). The Onkyo and Denon higher-end models are very good but I still think the Marantz beats them hands down! The other receivers tend to focus a lot on offering more and more surround sound modes (digitally processed) while the Marantz minimizes the number of modes and concentrates on the standard Dolby, DTS and THX modes without over-processing them to obtain different effects.
 

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I read a few things mentioned in here that I have to disagree with. If your receiver does Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which just about every receiver made after 2005 does, it will take the discrete surround channels and intelligently matrix them into the rear channels. The bitstream is still DD 5.1 or DTS 5.1, the Pro Logic IIx just layers on top of it and only affects the rear surrounds, all of the 5.1 stays untouched.

So any movie, video game, or other media that has a 5.1 track can be played as 7.1, and yes, this does make a noticable difference - to me at least.

I would say that rather than room SIZE determining if you should go 7.1, room LAYOUT is the primary factor. If your seat is against the back wall, don't do it. If your surrounds are already on the back wall, don't do it. If your seat is away from the back wall and your surrounds are to your sides as they are supposed to be, then yes, I would recommend you go for rears. They should make a noticable difference (improvement) in the surround aspect of your experience.
 

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I read a few things mentioned in here that I have to disagree with. If your receiver does Dolby Pro Logic IIx, which just about every receiver made after 2005 does, it will take the discrete surround channels and intelligently matrix them into the rear channels. The bitstream is still DD 5.1 or DTS 5.1, the Pro Logic IIx just layers on top of it and only affects the rear surrounds, all of the 5.1 stays untouched.

So any movie, video game, or other media that has a 5.1 track can be played as 7.1, and yes, this does make a noticable difference - to me at least.

I would say that rather than room SIZE determining if you should go 7.1, room LAYOUT is the primary factor. If your seat is against the back wall, don't do it. If your surrounds are already on the back wall, don't do it. If your seat is away from the back wall and your surrounds are to your sides as they are supposed to be, then yes, I would recommend you go for rears. They should make a noticeable difference (improvement) in the surround aspect of your experience.
Steve,
I have to agree 100% with what you have said...it actually is more about seating placement then room size...this being said.. a good friend of mine has a 7.1 surround system in a room that is 16ft long by 9ft wide...and the thing sound amazing.
I am a long time fan (10 years+) of 7 channel surround as it gives you a far more surround enveloped feeling then 5 channel.

Just my $.02

Later
RayJr
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the great info. My current setup is running side ways in the room, so my couch is against the back wall. My surround speakers are on the sides of the couch on the wall. The other half of the room has a bar built into it and there is also a lolly column that separates the two areas. My dream is to install a new beam and remove the column. Then I would be able to run the theater the long way in the room. I would also have to rebuild the bar.

 
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