Speaker position now driven by video, not audio, let's face it...

QuadraphonicQuad

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riskylogic

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How does that set up work when you are listening to 5.1 because the wides are not great for stereo image?

I think the whole idea of a stereo image comes from recording acoustic instruments in a concert hall. With two speakers you can reproduce the experience of sitting in dead center in front of an orchestra. But with studio recordings of electronic instruments it's a whole new ballgame. My favorite Atmos mixes are at least semi-electronic. It's a different artform.
 

barfle

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I suspect that everyone’s listening room is full of cmpromises. I know mine is. Maybe you (not a specific accusation) don’t have budget or spousal acceptance concerns, but most real-life people do.

Most of my equipment falls into the “pretty good” range: not cheap but not crazy expensive. I splurged most on my Oppo 105, but that was less than some people spend on power cables.

The layout in my room is first dictated by the room itself. I had to deal with dimensions that couldn’t be increased, and considering other factors, ended up decreasing.

I mostly listen to music in my room, and it’s “pretty good” for that purpose. Always room for improvement, but I enjoy it. I also watch movies and a bit of TV, and it’s “pretty good” for that as well. Sure, the chairs in the room should have lower backs, but they’re comfortable, I could afford them, and for some reason, furniture is really hard to buy in these parts. Still, I enjoy my room, whether or not the TV is on.
 

Audiowannabee

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, I could afford them, and for some reason, furniture is really hard to buy in these parts. Still, I enjoy my room, whether or not the TV is on.

I ordered a recliner end of October 2021...Im still waiting on it now here April 2022. Yep furniture n appliances seem to be truly hard to get in todays world. I read somewhere else that a guy had to wait a YEAR on his refrigerator. 😱
 

MTB Vince

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In our dedicated music & cinema room, loudspeaker and MLP positioning is prioritized for best stereo performance first, then 5.1 multi-channel music & movies second. By using a motorized acoustically transparent projection screen with our current set-up I was able to avoid any of the typical sonic compromises when it comes to the front LCR trio. More recently I added Atmos but setting the overhead loudspeakers up in a very near optimal fashion proved fairly straightforward. Extensive acoustic treatments and corrective delay to the rear loudspeakers (and subwoofers) successfully address the four foot loudspeaker-to-MLP distance difference between the front LCR and rear surrounds. Below you'll find a lengthy post detailing how I arrived there.

I had been a keen stereo music listener & high end audio gear-head for two+ decades prior to making the decision to add 5.1 cinema and music capabilities to what had initially been a purpose-built stereo listening room, built 5 years prior. With a large vinyl and CD collection great stereo playback was/is always going to be my priority. When I had initially built the room 25 years ago, if I wanted to watch a movie, I dragged the pictured CRT on a custom wheeled cart out of the adjacent gear closet and popped a laser disc into the hotrodded EAD player I used primarily as a CD transport back then. When I was done the TV & cart went back in the closet. No sonic compromise but a 36" CRT at a 10 foot viewing distance ain't exactly home cinema...

Screen Shot 2022-04-13 at 8.29.12 AM.png



When the new Mrs and I decided we'd like to get serious about HT 5 years later, that meant a projector and screen set-up. Flat panels were in their infancy back then and the largest plasma at 60" was much too small for our preferences. Our loft conversion sports gigantic windows running down the 70' length of the loft at front and rear. My dedicated stereo room was the only suitable space in the loft as it was the only room in our 2nd story loft (built in a 120 year old brick commercial/retail building) that offered the 100% light control. For best picture quality with projector setups you want tyour room to be a "bat cave". When I first adopted 5.1 my wall mounted projection screen choice compromised optimal LCR audio in the usual fashion, while my dueling prioritization of best stereo sonics limited the maximum screen size. The pics below were taken circa 2010 a few years after the initial multi-channel install.

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In 2010-11 I learned about a new sort of truly "acoustically transparent" projection screens. High-end woven AT screens made from reflective fabric were decidedly more "sonically permeable" than the perforated plastic sheet screens that were the prior consumer standard in this category. This led to the eventual acquisition of the best of the breed in 2012, a Seymour-Screen Excellence EN4k motorized screen, a new JVC projector with an anamorphic lens and motorized sled to optimally support Superscope 2.35-2.4:1 aspect films, an update to a matching vertically oriented center channel, and a major overhaul to the room acoustic treatments. This effort removed the obvious sonic compromises of our prior front LCR trio, allowed for front wall acoustic treatment, and removed the screen entirely when listening.

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Over the course of 2019-2020 the biggest system overhaul since the switch to multi-channel was implemented. In the interest of no-compromise two channel listening I took steps both backwards and forwards. I sold off all the Meridian DSP based active loudspeakers and matching processor and disc players. Everything got pitched gear-wise except my Oracle turntable and quartet of Seaton subwoofers. While slickly integrated Meridian system's 100% digital listening environment was great for digital media, it did no sonic favors to analog sources like my high-end turntable and phono stage. This ended up bugging me to no end and any solution was clearly going to be binary in nature. Either I would abandon vinyl playback or come up with a more complex dual duty solution. The latter (much more expensive) solution won out...

So the new system moved to five identical ATC analog active loudspeakers for the bed speakers, an expansion of the speaker compliment with a ceiling mounted quartet of passive ATCs and outboard amplification, an Anthem pre-processor which supports Atmos & DTS-X immersive audio, a 4k universal disc player, an upgraded 4k projector, and finally but far from least- An entirely new parallel stereo source, preamp, & analog subwoofer crossover signal chain. The dedicated stereo front end shares only the front L & R ATC monitors and the subwoofer array with the multi-channel gear. The end result completely justified the effort. We currently enjoy essentially no-compromise sonics for both stereo and multi-channel music along with fantastically immersive movie viewing.

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**The unfinished wooden faces of several hybrid binary amplitude diffusor/absorber panels scattered about the room are to be either upholstered (fronts) or stained grey and varnished (sides and rears) to match the other treatments and room decor.
 

Sal1950

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The end result completely justified the effort. We currently enjoy essentially no-compromise sonics for both stereo and multi-channel music along with fantastically immersive movie viewing.
Thanks for the photo journey thru your Hi-Fi life!
A very nice listening room you've been able to achieve.
 
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MTB Vince

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Thanks for the photo journey thru your Hi-Fi life!
I very nice listening room you've been able to achieve.

Thanks for the kind words @Sal1950. In my own admittedly long-winded way, I wanted to share some practical workarounds for no/low-compromise multi-purpose systems. In the high-end two channel world there is an accepted doctrine that basically states: "Thou shalt not combine home theater and stereo in the same system, or the latter will sound like crap!" While it took some effort and expense, it would seem that I've largely proven this adage wrong. Though not theoretically perfect for multi-channel music due to the 4' nearer placement of the surrounds (an additional 4' of room width and 2' of length would have got me there.), the end result really does sound fantastic.

The trick was applying a high-end two channel best practice strategy to the loudspeaker placement. All bed loudspeakers and the MLP placed well away from the walls rather than the typical HT strategy of loudspeakers up against the walls. Once that was sorted, I then identified and treated every point of primary boundary reflection for every loudspeaker and acoustically treat it. The problematic early reflections with a travel path difference of 6ms or less are treated with pure absorption. The longer reflective path lengths are treated with either hybrid panels or pure diffusion.
 
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Sal1950

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wanted to share some practical workarounds for no/low-compromise multi-purpose systems. In the high-end two channel world there is an accepted doctrine that basically states: "Thou shalt not combine home theater and stereo in the same system, or the latter will sound like crap!" While it took some effort and expense, it would seem that I've largely proven this adage wrong.
Well of course it's wrong and always has been. It's simply a BS line from the 2ch elitists who have always looked down on any type of multich rig.
Why? Because deep down in their hearts they know multich playback is superior to stereo and they try to cover it up and avoid it's discussion thru any means.. LOL
Only reason many HT guys have their speakers against walls is either because the rooms completely too small to do otherwise, or the "boss" deemed he had to arrange it that way. :( My place is a terrible compromise do to it's small size and open floor plan, but what's firstly been compromised is any aesthetics. I put things where they should be if possible and don't give a hoot how it looks.
I've been in this thing for a couple years now and know you will get back as much as your willing to put into it.

The trick was applying a high-end two channel best practice loudspeaker placement strategy. All bed loudspeakers and the MLP placed well away from the walls rather than the typical HT strategy of loudspeakers up against the walls.
Yep, it's pretty much as simple as that. Take a properly well configured stereo setup and add the same magic to the surrounds and you'll have a vastly superior system than any obtainable with only 2 channels.
Here's a photo of my 1974 Marantz rig with a 2270 reciever and a 2440 Quad Adapter/Amp.
It really did take 2 hands to handle a Whopper in 1974. LOL


Marantz1974.jpg
 

MidiMagic

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The speaker placement is really directed by the desire to use "pure unadulterated discrete".

The real problem is that pure discrete worked in 2-channel stereo, but it does not work in (any number)-channel surround. The human hearing system can hear level panning in sounds moving between left and right, but it cannot do the same thing with sounds moving between front and back without the listener turning his head.

The discretists are "solving" their problem by adding more channels and speakers along the sides. Instead of one big cogging jump between front and back, they divided it up into two little cogs between front and mid and between mid and back.

The correct solution is an undoing of discrete. Dolby Surround actually got rid of the cogging problem. There was a crossfeed in that matrix that provided the correct aural signals for front-back panning. But such a crossfeed undoes their "pure unadulterated discrete".
 

par4ken

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The speaker placement is really directed by the desire to use "pure unadulterated discrete".

The real problem is that pure discrete worked in 2-channel stereo, but it does not work in (any number)-channel surround. The human hearing system can hear level panning in sounds moving between left and right, but it cannot do the same thing with sounds moving between front and back without the listener turning his head.

The discretists are "solving" their problem by adding more channels and speakers along the sides. Instead of one big cogging jump between front and back, they divided it up into two little cogs between front and mid and between mid and back.

The correct solution is an undoing of discrete. Dolby Surround actually got rid of the cogging problem. There was a crossfeed in that matrix that provided the correct aural signals for front-back panning. But such a crossfeed undoes their "pure unadulterated discrete".
Not the dreaded cogging effect again! IMHO pair wise mixed discrete does in fact work if the speakers are close enough together. It can work well in an automobile (not the modern cars with rear door mounted speakers that you can't hear in the front). The cogging effect is similar to hole in the middle stereo. If you want to eliminate it you can simply move the rear speakers forward, as shown in the Audionics diagram. I personally have little/no problem with the lack of perfect front to rear panning. Adding more and more discrete channels or even derived channels to fill in the holes can also be done at the cost of complexity.

I have never ever listed to Dolby surround or Dolby PLII with music that sounded any good to me!

I'm sure that the effects that you complain about could be eliminated with Ambisonics. Bill Sommerwick used to rave about Ambisonics in the MCS review. He would often preach that Pair Wise Mixing doesn't work.
I recently purchased a Troy Ambisonic Processor, so will be giving it a listen as soon a I remember where I put my 8 pin DIN plugs. It was designed for automotive use so I may have to move my speakers to get the proper effect. I've heard mixed reviews of Ambisonics as well but currently have no opinion in the mater,
 

Sonik Wiz

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Not the dreaded cogging effect again! IMHO pair wise mixed discrete does in fact work if the speakers are close enough together. It can work well in an automobile (not the modern cars with rear door mounted speakers that you can't hear in the front). The cogging effect is similar to hole in the middle stereo. If you want to eliminate it you can simply move the rear speakers forward, as shown in the Audionics diagram. I personally have little/no problem with the lack of perfect front to rear panning. Adding more and more discrete channels or even derived channels to fill in the holes can also be done at the cost of complexity.

I don't hear any noticeable artifact in my set up I would describe as "cogging". There is something about that particular term and obsession with the effect that really irks me. It's like some peoples obsession with dynamic range that overshadows all other aspects of audio to them.

Having said that, side center imaging with two speakers still doesn't work very well. Yes with a PWM center left there is indeed a large sound mostly from the left but not precise at all. As you said with a bit more complexity adding a dedicated side speaker will fill that hole. It's not that humans can't detect & localize a sound directly to the sides, it's just that phantom imaging usin 2 speakers doesn't do the trick.

Long before 7 ch surround became a thing I did an article for MCS Review that was titled An Octophonic Decoder. It was my first experiment into more than four surround sound. It was pretty darn simple. Basically a Scheiber type 4 corner decoder with a Dynaquad front/back and left/right decoder hybrid. It worked very well considering no separation logic enhancement. It was my first lesson that something better can be achieved with more than just a quad set up.

I have never ever listed to Dolby surround or Dolby PLII with music that sounded any good to me!

I have a few Dolby matrix surround CD's (Mancini, ELP) that I think are quite good. However I admit I don't have stereo versions to see how regular 2 ch sound decodes as a comparison.

I consider Jim Fosgate to be a surround sound genius with so many patents really showing gifted insight into matrix surround sound. Why then, does it seem to me, with each new generation of his gear it seemed to drift away from the almost magic like performance of his earlier designs? Yes, DPL II can be adjusted for quite accurate QS decoding but over all it sounds dull & slow to react on transients. It also does not have a real stereo synth mode mode other units. That can be fixed with some judicious pre-synth enhancement as I've gone on about else where. But I've done that & I would always prefer the Surround Master for decoding rather than my Anthem DPL II.

I'm sure that the effects that you complain about could be eliminated with Ambisonics. Bill Sommerwick used to rave about Ambisonics in the MCS review. He would often preach that Pair Wise Mixing doesn't work.

There is something intellectually that seems so right to me about Ambisonics. It just makes good sense the way way a B format is created. But I have only heard UHJ material and except for AP Stereotomy I have only live recordings that fail to demonstrate any real benefits of UHJ over PWM matrix. Indeed Stereotomy sounds it's best in just stereo with an incredibly clear & precise 180 deg soundfield or played in the Involve QS mode.

I recently purchased a Troy Ambisonic Processor, so will be giving it a listen as soon a I remember where I put my 8 pin DIN plugs. It was designed for automotive use so I may have to move my speakers to get the proper effect. I've heard mixed reviews of Ambisonics as well but currently have no opinion in the mater,

My overall impression of Ambisonics over the years, either UHJ or decoding stereo, is a large & diffused soundfield with the occasional precise sound location poking through. Not that you asked. But I will certainly ask & be interested to hear about your experiences with your new Ambisonic toy! I have never hears of this Troy unit so for those that might also be interested in it:

Troy Ambisonic Brochure - Ambisonia.com (yumpu.com)
 

jimfisheye

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I find that masking in the mix is the main issue with panned elements. If you try to pan a mix element in a 360 deg circle, for example, and it has to pass through some mix elements that mask it, it sounds like a dropout at that point. (Or "coggs" between the pre and post masked spot, if you will.)

Getting the reflections correct (and in correct motion with the primary as applies) can often cure it. ie The reflection off the opposite wall unmasks the mix element. And sometimes you just have to get your eq balancing act on point.

All this assuming you have a reasonable setup in a room and some room reflections aren't swamping out parts of the room and causing masking issues with standing waves.

I don't mean to suggest that mixing is constantly thinking about a physics lesson and such a thing is required before you even get started! Sometimes a big 360 deg pan is as simple as it sounds and just works. Some recordings arrange themselves and almost mix themselves - usually stuff where every instrument has it's own frequency band. Dense stuff can get tricky. To me anyway! YMMV
 

Sal1950

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I don't hear any noticeable artifact in my set up I would describe as "cogging"
Me either,
The use of identical speakers in all 4, 5, or 7 base positions, properly arranged, with identical amplification, will remove any problems that some folks find causing issues. Not sure why so many seem to miss the need for this simple requirement?
What 2ch audiophile would ever agree that using different speakers in the L & R channels, or different amps, or improper positioning is acceptable and OK?

And who puts their coggs along the side walls anyway?
m_5d770c4dde696abf721803c3.jpg
 

Sonik Wiz

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Me either,
The use of identical speakers in all 4, 5, or 7 base positions, properly arranged, with identical amplification, will remove any problems that some folks find causing issues. Not sure why so many seem to miss the need for this simple requirement?
What 2ch audiophile would ever agree that using different speakers in the L & R channels, or different amps, or improper positioning is acceptable and OK?

And who puts their coggs along the side walls anyway?
m_5d770c4dde696abf721803c3.jpg
Eh, wot now? Are those cogging or clogging shoes? Michael Flatley wants to know.
 

LB-V

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Exhibit A, 50 years ago:


IMG_7268.JPG
After reading some of these posts, I almost feel a need to try something different than the nearly identical Exhibit A set-up I listen with! But I currently only use a 4.0 or 4.1 decoder / surround synthesizer. I am ready with a center, and the old trusty 5.1 AVR, but use it only for discrete that is designed for it.

So much seems to me, depends on how things were mixed and how that translates through. I listen to some stuff, and I am truly stunned at the ability of the system (all components, and of particular the 40 year old QSD-1 and Tate) to create such a fine listening experience. Other stuff simply comes across so chopped up, I wonder if I shouldn't just listen in stereo to get the best of it. But I'm usually too lazy to get up and walk the 7 feet to make that happen, and I have a hard time while in my listening room just hearing stereo, regardless. I feel kind of like my room is partially void and my backside is naked.

But to the OP, definitely an Exhibit A listener in the current phase of my quad-surround journey.
 

MidiMagic

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Long before 7 ch surround became a thing I did an article for MCS Review that was titled An Octophonic Decoder. It was my first experiment into more than four surround sound. It was pretty darn simple. Basically a Scheiber type 4 corner decoder with a Dynaquad front/back and left/right decoder hybrid. It worked very well considering no separation logic enhancement. It was my first lesson that something better can be achieved with more than just a quad set up.

I have done this with Dynaco diamond and QS and it works! No cogging! I could also hear the directions of the sound sources better than I could with either of the systems alone. No separation enhancement used.

I have a few Dolby matrix surround CD's (Mancini, ELP) that I think are quite good. However I admit I don't have stereo versions to see how regular 2 ch sound decodes as a comparison.

I have some of these too. But no stereo versions were ever made of these.

I first heard the cogging effect with QS. I found I had to turn my head to hear a smooth pan. My ears find the speakers instead of the panned sounds when the panning is to one side. They locate the one with the loudest sound.

When I listened to Q8 and CD-4, it was even worse (and these were the few times that I heard CD-4 without the usual extraneous sound effects).

I don't know if other people can train their ears to hear the pan without the cogging. It might be that you have to get used to a particular system. In the discrete cases above, I did not have time to learn the sound systems because they were showroom demos.
 
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