Tech Tuesday – Is it time for the 7.1 upgrade?
For this weeks Tech post we look at is it really worth upgrading the sound system in FRC Towers?
I have to be honest here. I am blessed. I have a great sound system made up of a great separate system. The front sound stage is made up of Celestion speakers and a hefty Paradigm sub-woofer (boy can this baby move some air!) and the rears are little tannoy satellites, the reason I use these as oppose to the remaining Celestions is they actually have a higher frequency response and therefore they have more room to play with and not fighting for the same space in my ear drum. It sounds great.
But for a little while now I have been toying with the idea of upgrading the system to 7.1. What this means is I would add 2 extra speakers behind the viewing area to give a more consuming rear sound stage, so I thought. I have been looking into this seriously and I am almost ready to go the extra mile and lay the cable.
But will I notice a difference?
Most of what I watch is still mixed to 5.1. All DVDs have either 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS. Even the majority of Blu-Ray still only use 5.1 DTS HD sound tracks so it almost seems a pointless exercise. The amp would have to employ some smoke and mirrors and extend the rear signal to the surround back speakers from the sides. Is it not just better to have 5(.1) truly discrete channels than making the amp to more processing to extend the signal?
My other concern is that I am out balancing the entire sound stage. What I mean here is that we are all seated in the viewing area concentrating hard on the screen and trying to lose ourselves in the latest release, so surely we should have all the power coming from the front? When I add another pair of speakers at the rear the sound stage would feel un balanced to me… 3 at the front and 4 at the back. But I am probably splitting hairs here.
‘A Well installed 5.1 system is always better than a poorly installed 7.1 system’
This is a quote from a famous Audio Visual forum and it is some advice that maybe well ring true. Maybe I should just leave it well alone. Maybe I am just having a case of keeping up with the Joneses.
I totally understand why CINEMAs have more than the two rear speakers, but is it really needed in the home set-up? I guess I have managed to write a post here that answers a lot of my worries itself. I reckon I have talked myself out of this upgrade…. Or have I?
About The Author – Scott Lawlor
Chief Editor of FRC. A self confessed geek with an unhealthy thirst for all things Home Cinema. Whether it is the latest Action film or Subwoofer.
Have any of you guys a 7.1 system installed? Do you feel it is worth the effort? Comment below…