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  1. #1

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    Feb 2013
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    Default Surround Speaker question: Front height VS Surround back in 7.1

    I started with the RM6750s speaker system in 5.1 (it was free with rewards points) still love it though... They were powered by a Pioneer VSX-921. My first upgrade 2 months later was a Pioneer VSX-1021, I then purchased a set of Monitor 50s to upgrade the fronts. Now I have 2 of the 6750 speakers that are not in use. I was thinking of adding them as the front height channel.

    My rear surround speakers are mounted on the wall next to the listening position at ear level. So I have no surround back channel, and am still in 5.1. I have no way to move the sofa away from the wall so I can't technically get the surround back channel to be behind the listening position.

    Would it be better to move the entire rear sound stage forward and put the surround back channel next to the listeners ears? Or leave it the way it is and hook the other channel to the height or wide channel?


    Current setup

    Reciever: Pioneer VSX-1021
    Front speakers: Polk Monitor 50
    Center: Polk RM6750 center channel
    Surround channel: RM6750 satellite speakers
    Sub woofer: RM6750 Sub woofer

  2. #2

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    Mobile, AL
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    Default

    You don't want the back surrounds that close to the listener if you can help it... but a good cheat to make it kinda' work is to actually put the speakers BEHIND your couch, not at ear level. Some would say put them on the floor behind the couch, aiming straight up. Sounds crazy, I know... but most of the time, the rear surrounds are working in conjunction with the side surrounds to steer a sound behind you. Better to have the rears more generalized, which putting them below ear level so they're obstructed by the couch some can achieve.

    I always recommend going with rear surrounds over height/width channels, simply because there are native 7.1 theatrical mixes done now and that's the only way to properly reproduce them at home. That said, it's better to have a good 5.1 speaker placement than a bad 7.1 speaker placement, so if you're just itching to throw extra speakers in there, height/width may be preferable.

    My biggest recommendation is this: Buy some speaker wire and place your speakers in each of the three positions to see which you feel has the biggest effect on the sound in your room. Doesn't have to be neat - you can do that once you lock down which position you want to leave them in.

    Secondary recommendation: Your next upgrade should be a better center channel. About 60% of a movie soundtrack comes from the center channel, making it arguably the most important speaker in your rig for movies. You can step up on the cheap, and it would make a bigger improvement in the sound of your system than adding spare speakers just because you have them.
    Equipment list:
    Onkyo TX-NR3010 9.2 AVR
    Emotiva XPA-3 amp
    Polk RTi70 mains, CSi40 center, RTi38 surrounds, RTi28 rears and heights
    SVS 20-39CS+ subwoofer powered by Crown XLS1500
    Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray player
    DarbeeVision DVP5000 video processor
    Epson 8500UB 1080p projector
    Elite Screens Sable 120" CineWhite screen

  3. #3

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    Thanks for the insight. I never thought about putting the rears on the floor, that may work out pretty good actually. I will be upgrading my center ASAP. I could hardly believe the difference that the M50s in the front made. Sound so much warmer and precise. I've seem some pretty good sales on center channels lately, so I may just pop on one.

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