Surround Sound For Dummies


Hello, i have purchased a Kenwood VR-6070. I believe it does 6.1 and maybe 7.1. I have also purchased Infinity Entra Point Five speakers too.

To do 6.1, would i just need to purchase another center channel an place it in the rear?


If your receiver does true discrete 6.1 processing it means it does a different and discrete extra surround channel--not a second center channel. There is no Dolby or DTS extra center channel processing yet being done.

DTS-ES can optionally support a fully discrete surround back channel. That is, the surround back channel has it own data stream and is truly independent from those of the surround left and surround right channels. This true 6.1-channel format is appropriately called DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 (in contrast to its matrix counterpart, DTS-ES Matrix). As with DTS-ES Matrix, this discrete format is better realized with two surround back speakers. So implementing "7.1-channel" receivers and preamplifiers for this purpose still holds true.

The Extended Surround formats are completely backwards-compatible with their 5.1-channel counterparts. That is, THX Surround EX is backwards compatible with Dolby Digital 5.1, and DTS-ES Matrix and DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 are backwards compatible with DTS 5.1. Additionally, DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 is backwards compatible with DTS-ES Matrix. In order to hear the matrix Extended Surround formats, you will need a THX Surround EX, DTS-ES Matrix, or a generic "6.1-channel" decoder in your receiver or preamplifier and use the digital audio output of your DVD player. To hear DTS-ES Discrete 6.1, you will need a DTS-ES Discrete 6.1 decoder in your receiver or preamplifier. In any case, you will also need six or seven channels of amplification, and one or two extra speakers for the surround back channel. You can still use your existing (or a soon-to-be-purchased) DVD-Video player, as long as it features Dolby Digital and DTS digital output.

The VR-6070 is 6.1

You need another surround speaker placed in the rear, between the R & L surrounds.

Simple question, simple answer... I dunno what required a three paragraph answer that didn't really even answer the question *shrugs*

John A.
G-Man's post is interesting and informative and I thank him. The terminology used by manufacturers seems confusing and evasive. In this case, to answer, it is useful to know whether there is a real centre rear channel in the source. The simple answer to Blade's question is "it depends". On what you want, what you expect to get out, and what you put in.

A front center does not add anything to stereo. It comes in when there is a real center channel in the recording, and becomes essential when this carries most of the dialogue. It must be the same for the back.

I see no point in just adding a sixth speaker--you might as well add a seventh, because I imagine there will be very little in the way of 6 channel discrete recordings. But I imagine there will eventually be a bunch of 7 channel recordings. That said--I still think 5 are more than adequate for most people and even 7-channel recordings will be backward compatible with 5-channel.

John A.
G-Man. Exactly. I agree.

Thanks for the info. I am a surround ROOKIE. So the knowledge you all pass on is GREATLY appreciated.

As far as optic cables (optical). Is that type connection only for sound (dolby digital)?

John A.
Blade, a pleasure. Yes, the optical cable (also called a TOS-link I don't know what it stands for) is for digital audio. There is nothing to choose between that and a co-axial digital audio cable as far as I can see. The terminology is half the problem with surround sound in my opinion. Digital sound is not just Dolby, it can be stereo. For surround do not forget DTS if you have that option.

Yes, "John A", I agree with the terminology problem. I havent really got to play with my system yet. I am building a house now and expect to be moving in sometime around december or january. That receiver is very complicated in what it can do (in my opinion).

I received my Infinity Entra Point Five the other day and couldnt resist not trying them out. So i did. However, i was unable to use the "optical" out on that particular dvd player. I used the regular audio out jacks on the player. Wich is probobly why it didnt sound like i though it should.

I tried blackhawk down first. It sounded ok. I then tried Phantom menace. I sounded ok. I feel like it should have sounded alot better. I do think it is because i really dont know what i am doing.

SHEESH!! Surround Sound crap is COMPLICATED!

Anyway, thanks for your help "John A". And to everyone else aswell. You all make this "Not so" complicated!!


John A.
Blade, sounds good! Another small thing that people forget to tell you, you get real surround sound ONLY with a digital audio connection from the source (DVD player) to the processor (in the receiver). The conventional analogue connectors with RCA plugs will not give the receiver a digital signal the processor can work on to give true 5.1. Though the receiver can create a surround-sound effect from stereo and ordinary analogue connections from anything (FM radio; LP whatever) with things like Dolby Progic.

Stick with it. Good sorround sound is great when you get it. The receiver user manual may take a day to read, but all the stuff should be there. I keep going back to mine and find new things. You can only try it out and see when you have all the things to connect.
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