Do I need 7.1?


Well...after some tough negotiations with the wife the good news is I get to go ahead with my new A/V receiver purchase...the bad news is I have to finish the basement first :( . I just couldn't get her to budge on putting surrounds on the living room back wall. I'm currently running an older H/K pro-logic receiver with three front speakers, the matching surrounds (recent purchase) are in a box.

On to my question...I have an open basement and will be setting up my A/V area in a corner area. The TV will be on one wall and there is a wall to the right, the "listening area" is approx. 10' wide by 14' long. There is about 15' of space to the left and about 10' to the back (I know this is not an optimal setup, but it's what I have to work with). The surrounds will be to the sides about 10' apart, should I put rear surrounds in the open area behind this approx. another 4-6 ft. back from the surrounds an towards the center a couple of feet? Or should I bother with rear surrounds? Is it acceptable for the side surrounds to be in front of the seateing area at all (say a couple of feet)?

I'm leaning towards the H/K AVR325 if I do go for a 7.1 setup. If I stick with 5.1 I'll have to decide between the AVR325 or one of the newer H/K AVR230 or NAD T743 receivers. My speakers are quite sensitive (95db) so I *think* a real 50w/ch receiver would be plenty even for this space.


Preferably the first surrounds should be either even with your sitting area, or a foot or two behind. The second set of surrounds (for a 7.1 set-up) should put on the rear wall behind your seating. In your 7.1 configuration you should put the second surrounds at roughly 6 feet apart. They can be a little closer or further apart (depending on which you prefer sonically). In other words, play around with where you want the speakers before you anchor them permanently on a wall. Obviously, if they are on speaker stands this point is moot---as you can change them whenever you want.

There are very few DVDs encoded for 6.1 much less 7.1. I don't see that as a reason to buy unless you have extra speakers and want to look good to your friends.

I would imagine using the two surround back speakers (of the AVR325) in the multi-zone mode more useful.

Thanks for the input.

G-Man, I can't actually put the rear speakers on the back wall, about the only location they can go is off the ceiling approx. 6' behind listening area, is there any point in doing this?

Anon, I was basically wondering if it would be desirable to fill in the space behind the listening area (since there's no wall there) with surround back speakers or if this would be a waste of time and money. I'm more concerned about having a 'full' surround sound area as opposed to getting the most out of the limited number of 6.1 DVDs.

Mind you...impressing my friends is worth something too.

I don't really have any use for the multi-zone capability and frankly I'm suprised that the multi-zone remote isn't a UHF one so that it would work through walls etc.
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