Does ANYONE have an opinion of 5.1 vs. 6.1?


I have a Yamaha RX-V3300 receiver, capable of 6.1 decoding, set up in a 5.1 configuration. The two rear speakers are mounted in the ceiling. I bought a wall mounted B&W CWM center channel speaker to mount in the ceiling for the rear center channel. I can still return it. Before taking the plunge I wanted to get feedback as to whether it is worth the extra $$ for the rear center, or whether I should return the speaker.

In my experience, I have never heard a ceiling speaker sound as good as a comparatively priced bookshelf speaker that has some quality.

Also, ceiling surrounds are broadcasting the sound downward--not in a proper surround direction.

Sounds like you (or the wife--or both) were more interested in not having visible speakers than in having good surround sound.

I would take out all the ceiling speakers and put them in a room where you just want ambient sound.

Now if you don't have room for bookshelf speakers on stands on the sides of where you sit and listen and you want the speakers hidden, in-wall speakers facing your lsitening position are far better. Even better than that are the new "ON WALL" speakers that have recently been marketted by some very good speaker companies and can sound and perform quite nicely. Although I still don't think they are as good as surround speakers on stands.

Thanks G-Man. You're partly right about my wife wanting them as unobtrusive as possible. But I also had some room layout issues. The wall to the left of the main (my) listening position has a door out to a porch. Of course the door lines up perfectly with the couch. That wall then continues back about 4-5 feet past the couch. That would have meant that any wall mounted surrounds would have wound up either in back or in front of the listeners. The wall on the right continues to the back of the couch and then ends as the room is open to the kitchen. This meant that I could place a wall mounted speaker on the right side even with the listener or in front of the listener. So as you can see my choice was limited. The only way the speakers could have been in line with each other is if they were in front of the listerner. I did consider attaching real small speakers from the ceiling using mounting brackets. The one on the left would have mounted in the corner. The one on the right would have mounted in the 'virtual' corner of where the walls would meet if they continued that far. So my solution may not be ideal, but it's better than no surround system.

I purchased a pair of B&W CCM80 in ceiling speakers and mounted them about 1 1/2 feet in from the side walls about 2 feet in back of the couch. I'm just trying to figure out whether to add the third speaker to the rear.


Isn't there anyone out there who has upgraded from 5.1 to 6.1, or auditioned both, and would like to share their experiences/opinions. I would like to decide by tomorrow so I can either install the speaker or return it.

I run a Harman Kardon AVR7200 that is 7.1 but I really only do 6.1. I think 6.1 makes a huge difference. When I went from 5.1 to 6.1 I was amazed at how much information there is in the rear center. I definitely would recommend the 6.1 over the 5.1 any day.

Thanks anonymous. Appreciate the input.

So is the rear speaker a normal bookshelf or a center channel-type speaker?

It's a center channel-type speaker. For details of why I'm mounting it in the ceiling see the third post of this thread.

I always thought that "idealy" that all speakers were the same and the front center channel was the same speaker turned on its side.

With the popularity of the center channel speakers that are designed horizontally, I didn't know if a rear center speaker should be a horizontal center channel-type or just a normal speaker (like a bookshelf)???

Brad C.
You should us the same speaker for the rear center channel as you use for your surrounds...

The downside is you can only buy most speakers in pairs...

So the next best thing is to buy a matching center channel like your currently use and then your back to only having to buy one speaker...

Of course if you did buy the pair , there is always 7.1 ... ;)


I did consider buying a second pair and preparing for 7.1. But how would I do that, connect them in parallel? How would that be on my receiver, since it would cut the impedance in half. My receiver is a Yamaha RX-V3300 which is rated to drive 4 ohm loads. (Please ELITEFAN, let's not make this a Yamaha bashing party. I already own it, like it and I'm not replacing it).

Brad C.
Yes place them in parallel, which will drop impediance to 4 ohms = your yammy should be able to handle it... If not then hook them up in series = 16 ohms load or just use one of them...

This is basically the same thing as 7.1 anyway because there is no discrete 7 channels of audio, even if your receiver was capable of doing 7.1 it would just matrix whatever is sent into the rear center channel into both speakers thus doing the same thing you can do with a 6.1 setup...

Right now I have the two CCM80 speakers in the ceiling. I'm actually thinking it might be best to just stick with the CWM. They're both in the same line within B&W so they probably will mate pretty well. And one CWM is a lot less money than two CCM80s. The room is 13.5 feet wide, with the two rear surrounds about 10 feet apart. Two speakers in between (and a couple of feet further back) might be overkill.
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