Front height speakers.
Whats up everyone?
Anyone using Front Height speakers? I'll be honest , it's not something that is selling well at all as no one really seems to care about this technology.
Lets think about it for a minute , what is actually recorded with Front height speakers in mind? It's not even a really real format other then what gets extracted out.
Even so , I'm curious as I have only done 1 system with them and I thought they sounded very full and extended. It gave me a sense of a more 3 dimensional environment.
I'm thinking of taking advantage of my new receiver which has the ability for front height or wide speakers. I'm thinking of using a pair of wall mounted Gem XL's for this duty.
I believe that the bi polar design of this speaker will fill the room very well . I was going to get another pair of Mythos 10's but I felt that was over kill for the job.
I've actually been thinking of adding them to my current 5.1 system. My room is oddly shaped. I would prefer side surrounds but that isn't feasible. I don't know if front heights will meet W.A.F. standards though. I am interested in others experience also.
I think thats the ticket as to why they don't sell as well. The WAF factor. Unless you have a dedicated theatre room, wives usually hate a boat load of speakers in the living/family room.
Dan, when you were here we only played around with the 2 channel set up. We did play with the subs for a brief moment with the Polar Express BD but that was primarily on highlighting the bass. But let me tell you my 11.2 system simply rocks when playing a BD movie. I don't know exactly what Yamaha does technology wise but the front & rear presence speakers add another whole dimension to the listening experience. After hearing the 11.2 set up for awhile now there's absolutely no way I would ever go back to a 7.2 or a (gasp) 5.2 system. It's friggen awesome sounding. If you have the room...do it Dan, do it!!!!
I'm gonna get a pair and test this format more. If I had room , I'd also try out wides.
Here's the thing... Pretty much EVERY digital soundtrack works with front heights, at least as far as Dolby's Pro-Logic IIz implementation goes. The reason is this: Audio mixes for the theater use a trick to make sounds appear generalized above you wherein the audio from the side surrounds is phase-reversed. This is similar to how dipole speakers work - firing out of phase so the sound is generalized. This is how mixers have been handling ambient sounds/helicopter flyovers/etc. for some time now, and it's part of standard mixing practice. In a theatrical space, this generally resolves above you since the sound has the room to propegate.
Originally Posted by mantis
In a home space, you don't typically have the room height to let that sound resolve in a way that sounds like it's above you. DPL-IIz analyzes the side surrounds for out-of-phase sounds meant to be ambient and steers them to the heights (while leaving them in the surrounds) so that they phantom image near the center of the room above you. It also analyzes the front soundstage for comparison so it can lend directionality to the height channels.
Because DPL-IIz works this way, it works with pretty much every surround track out there, assuming the audio mix has data specifically encoded for ambient generalized sound. This is why heights are one of those things that may not be in-your-face when you first try it, but you certainly notice the difference when you take it away. It also works really well with surround steering in video games. I didn't think much of it at first, but then one day I fired a shot at the wall above me in Halo: Reach and looked down... and heard the shot hit the wall above me like it would in that 3-D space. It was pretty impressive. I don't play without it now.
Other forms of creating height channels differ from this standard, however. Yamaha's implementation of "presence" channels is a more synthesized approach based on what they think a large room should sound like. IMHO, this is the most fake-sounding version of heights, since it isn't based on any actual acoustic theory or mixing standard. Audyssey's DSX, on the other hand, seems to do some of the same steering that DPL-IIz does, but also compares arrival times of the same sound in the front and surround soundstages to recreate the ceiling reverb of large theaters that they have mic'd for comparison. In the same way, their width channel implementation is based on side-wall imaging. The effect is a very spacious soundstage, and in the case of heights, a very tall front soundstage that makes it sound like your mains extend to the ceiling - with the voice of God imaging of ambient sounds across the heights/surrounds that DPL-IIz does.
If you're using a TV, I recommend DPL-IIz, since it will keep dialogue focused near your TV/center channel but still give you the vertical placement of ambient sounds. If, however, you're using a projector screen, Audyssey DSX seems to elevate dialogue up slightly from your center so that it sounds like it's coming from your screen - the way it would in an actual movie theater... and I really like the effect that has in my room.
As far as using bipoles for the heights, both Dolby and Audyssey recommend direct radiators for the height channels. Not saying that bipoles won't work, but since the height channels work in conjunction with the surrounds to image the sound above you, you don't want to generalize the sound for those speakers the way dipole/bipole speakers tend to do. You're not trying to "fill the room" with those channels... You're trying to fill the room with those channels AND the surrounds, which is how they place the sound above you.
^^^^Thanks for the excellent laymens term explanation
I am sure you have HT enthusiasts mouths watering
Or bedroom for that matter, ohhh don't I know that scenario. Life was much grander (wife was much happier) once the dedicated rm was acquired.
Originally Posted by tonyb
Having room for wides is a HUGE plus. The heights did a "decent" job in my room, wides "added" way more sound to the front stage. Musical scores filled both mains and wides putting a symphony right in your lap. But the width of the sound stage the wides created was incredible.
Originally Posted by mantis
Having bookshelves didn't make near as much of an impact in sound as when I started using towers in the wide set up, night and day difference.