Front height speakers?

Minkey1

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Hi all, after Need to update AVR? I went ahead and did exactly that, with a good deal on a Denon AVR X1800H from Peter Dyson. On a roll, I also replaced the Samsung 49KS8000 with an LG55C3, via another Spring deal from John Lewis, and the front LCR Boston Acoustics sats with Cambridge Audio Minx Min 22’s.

All good. But that “upgradeitis” though. Thinking about those unused extra channels now🤦🏼‍♂️

The Denon runs to 7.2 or 5.2.2. Currently I’ve still got the original BA sub and rears so on 5.1. In our house the money, aesthetics, and practicalities all have to work.

I can’t access the ceiling void and can’t mount dedicated, upfiring, Atmos speakers. Nor could I justify the cost anyway, even if the other kit warranted it. But I have got agreement to front height speakers, and to replace the rears.

The BA sub is still OK for now so I’d be running 7.1, with new CA Minx Min 12’s on front height and rears.

It won’t be Atmos, but it’s as much as I’m ever going to get an OK to. Realistically, will 7.1 add something noticeable to my existing 5.1?

Any and all comments/thoughts appreciated.

TIA.

Rgds, Mike
 
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Messiah

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7.1 is typically used in a front 3, 2 sides and 2 rears (and sub) configuration.

Soundtracks are also mixed for this configuration.

From what you are saying you are planning on keeping 5.1 but adding the other 2 speakers as front height. Is that right? Are you planning to try and use them for Atmos or just as extra effects on the front?

 
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Minkey1

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Thanks M. The Dolby guidance is useful. I’m not expecting to be able to achieve Atmos. I’m committed to Minx Min 22’s by the TV and 12’s elsewhere, but cannot see how they could be angled upwards without looking weird.

The amp offers various options for the extra 2 channels, including front height. In doing so I’d assumed Denon thought there’d be some support, to some degree or other, from sound directors on discs or streams, for each of the options they’d set out. I may have been mistaken in that assumption. It’s not the first time I’ve had a manual which sets out exactly how to do a thing, but not why you’d want to do it, or what you can expect to achieve in the doing of it.

Given the choice, I would indeed prefer side mounts, but domestic harmony rules it out, and anything larger than the Minx Mins is a no. Unless I can work out a way to tick every box, extra effects channels is perhaps the best I can hope to achieve. It’s whether it’d be worth it.

Thinking cap back on for now.

Thanks for responding.
 

Messiah

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I would say try it amd see.

Back in the days before Dolby Atmos (and even before Dolby True HD) I had a Yamaha receiver which offered front height speakers. The signal for these speakers was created via DSP from the front 3 speakers (IIRC). It was simply to try and enhance the overall effect.

Looking at my own Denon manual, from what I can see, it will utilise the front height speakers for Atmos and they should be angled down towards the listening position. Therefore, they would receive a dedicated signal rather than a pseudo signal created by DSP (like the old Yamaha).

So really I come back to my first line. Try it and see. 😁
 
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Minkey1

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Thanks again Messiah. I think suck it and see may well be the best plan.

I’m 74. I used to be OK with this stuff, but with today’s complexities and options it’s taken a while to master both a new amp and new TV together. I’ve just removed a Chromecast Audio connected to Optical 2 as I just couldn’t get it to work. The amp gives me Airplay and HEOS options so maybe it’s redundant anyway. More new stuff to learn.

30+ yrs ago my Kenwood pro logic amp was a lot simpler. No centre/dialogue - you just added 1 speaker at the back (surround was mono) and away you went with your existing fronts. Happy days.

Back on topic, my manual certainly lists front heights as an option different to Atmos. But I've realised these days basic 5.1 surround has 3 front and 2 “sides”. I have the 2 above and behind me, as that’s how I’ve always done it. But they’re connected to the side outputs on the amp🤷🏼

I need to work further on the brownie points with the boss. If I’m finally grasping it, my options are:

1. Adding left and right surrounds just in front of our listening position, giving 7.1, swapping them with the rears at the amp end, and updating the config in the amp settings. Effects only, no Atmos.

2. Leave the rears where they are, and try front heights for effects.

3. As 2, but config them as Atmos.

Thanks again for the steer👍
 
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Minkey1

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As we’ll be decorating the living room anyway, the chancellor has OK’d a pair of CA Minx Min 12’s, to be tried at the side, then tried as front heights (with and without Atmos config), to see which gives best bang for the buck before prepping the fixings before painting.

Then I’ll just swap out the last 2 Boston Acoustic rears for a pair of Min 12’s so I’ll have consistency across the 7, if not the .1. I’ll eBay the 5 BA sats.

To my ears and using the audio crossover test in the THX Optimizer tool the handover to the original BA sub sounds seamless so I’m happy sticking with it. The Denon will run a 2nd sub but in our little room there’s no need and I think I've pushed things as far as I can 👍

I’m like a dog with 2 thingies 😂
 
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Messiah

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30+ yrs ago my Kenwood pro logic amp was a lot simpler. No centre/dialogue - you just added 1 speaker at the back (surround was mono) and away you went with your existing fronts. Happy days.
It was around then I first got into Home Cinema myself.

I was just running my TV through my Kenwood (5050r) amp and Mission (734) speakers and then I bought a Yamaha E492 (I think) processor.

This did utilise a centre (JBL MR Centre) and whilst the rears were mono, I did use 2 (Mission 731).

Had to make sure you had a 'Hi-Fi Stereo' VCR to get the extra channel(s).

Those were the days eh!

Anyhow, keep us updated.
 
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Minkey1

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Quick update. Settled on 7.1 and very happy with the results. Huge thanks to Messiah for the guidance 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻.

Just to recap, since I first posed the question “Need to update AVR?” I went on a bit of a roll and swapped:

*The ageing Yamaha 1080p 5.1 for a Denon AVR X1800 4k 7.1
*An almost as aged Samsung 49KS8000 for an LG55C3
* A vintage Boston Acoustics 5.1 system for Cambridge Audio Minx 22’s on Fronts and Centre, Minx 12’s on Surrounds and Back Surrounds, and a Minx X301 Sub.

All tick the wifely box on aesthetics, and all were scored on Spring Deals, Open Box unused etc, from Peter Tyson, John Lewis, and Cambridge Audio - so the money worked too.

Remaining kit is a Sony UBP X700 and an EE/BT TV Pro box, which continue to satisfy.

Couldn’t be happier 👍
 
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