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What do Movie theaters use for surround sound? 7.1? I know there is 10 speakers in the one I went too.
 

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What do Movie theaters use for surround sound? 7.1? I know there is 10 speakers in the one I went too.
It depends upon your location. Some metropolitan areas have proportionately more theaters with superior equipment (like L.A., of course). The last information I encountered on this question stated that most commercial cinemas use 5.1 surround systems. The source also said most movie sound tracks are still mastered with only 5.1 channels (sometimes even with only a mono surround track). This is to save on production costs. More channels means more time spent on the sound and mixing portion of the production. Many types of motion picture stories simply don't need extra surround effects beyond the music.

The typical side and back arrays of speakers seen in theaters are for more even sound coverage of the large audience. In a 5.1 surround setup, they are split in half to reproduce the left and right surround channels.

Best regards and beautiful pictures,
G. Alan Brown, President
CinemaQuest, Inc.
A Lion AV Consultants affiliate

"Advancing the art and science of electronic imaging"
 

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interesting. everyone keeps advising to wire for 7.1 or more, but i don't see the issue with 5.1 especially in rooms where additional speaker locations are slim to choose from
 

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Most if not all newer receivers have at least 9.1 channels. It makes cense if your starting from scratch to wire for 11.1 even if you don't use it. But in reality 5.1 and 7.1 is the only dedicated mix available on movie soundtracks.
7.1 is very advantages if you have two or more rows of seating. 5.1 is just fin if your only one row or limited mounting positions for the speakers
 

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good point, i guess its mainly few forum posters recommending 'future proofing' for 7,9, and 11.1 systems.
You will get good, bad, and irrelevant advice in any public forum. Sometimes misinformation becomes a popular meme in any community. How a good sound system is designed and installed for a room depends upon the room size, construction details, and planned seating layout. There are no "pat" answers, no one-size-fits-all formulas or methods. An 11.1 channel system in some rooms would be a waste of money. Some rooms don't really support a center back channel, either.
 

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I went last night and watched the latest Captain America movie, and it was the best audio I have ever heard in a theater! I had heard it was good but I was shocked as to how good it was. It reminded me of the first time I went to a THX theater years ago... So much better than anything else that was available at the time.

This theater had 6 speakers on each wall, 12 on the ceiling and 4 on the back wall. I went down to the screen to see how many speakers were behind the screen and I couldn't see any. I am assuming that they were above and below the screen (which struck me as odd), which might be the way they do it in an Atmos theater since they use height channels.

If you haven't went to a Atmos theater you deserve it, IMO. I went at 1030pm and there was only 4 others in the theater... Plus it only cost $10.
 

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With more and more Atmos films being released I am of the opinion that we will see more 7.1 releases on Blu-ray disks. I believe if you have the room and the budget you should consider wiring beyond 5.1. Lots of people feel this is not necessary and that is fine for them. I wired my theater back in 1999 with enough speaker wire to make the change I made this year for 11.2. Having the option of running high, wide, and back surround speakers makes movies much more compelling audio wise for me.

No everyone shares my view. They see the additional costs of the speakers or don't want to offend the spouse with more speakers, or questions about more speakers. My wife isn't opposed to what I do in my theater room which is out of view of the rest of the house. BIG benefit there. She does like the effect of the new channels. I am anxiously awaiting home Atmos and will wire for that kind of system when it becomes available.

My room is small. 17 by 13 by 8. I still have found ways to put high, wide and back surround speakers in my room. Being a dedicated theater room it was easy for me. I also use smaller speakers in the room. Full size towers are a no no in my room. I evicted them long ago. To much room taken up by their footprint. Small speakers work wonders for me and I am not missing my old tower speakers at all.
 

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I am currently building a 11.2 HT room and I am going to wire an additional 6 height channels in anticipation of Dolby Atmos or other Object oriented sound formats. All of our soffits will be 2x4 construction and stuffed with insulation, and have removable cloth panels covering them in case we ever need to get into them.
 
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