7.2 or 5.2.2?

Posted by: TDIPablo

7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/06/17 11:13 AM

I have to admit, didn't think I'd want to upgrade this soon after my April jump to Axiom, but I'm enjoying my new speakers so much I'm thinking of expanding!

The question is 7.2 with rear surrounds (thinking M2's or M3's) or 5.2.2.

For 5.2.2 I have several options apparently. I could go with height speakers (front or back?) and would likely choose M2OW to match my current set-up. However, Dolby standard is to have ceiling speakers which I could accommodate but not sure what speaker to get (M3 ceiling?).

I still have my 6.1 speaker set from before Axiom (Yamaha AP5400's) so I'll likely play around with these first as they are easy to mount just about anywhere (even overhead) and I figure "ambiance" speakers are probably not critical to match.

Any thoughts or experience from owners who have tried both 7.2 and 5.2.2 and what brought most enjoyment?
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/06/17 08:58 PM

How big is your room?
Posted by: brwsaw

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/06/17 09:42 PM

I've read 5.2.2 is better but don't have personal experience with the overheads.
Posted by: AAAA

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/07/17 04:40 AM

Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/07/17 08:52 AM

Originally Posted By nickbuol
How big is your room?

Room is 14' x 26'. At the front I have a M22OW pair and VP150OW center.

At about 15', I have a pair of QS-4's located about 1' behind main listening row.

If I go 7.2, rear surrounds would be placed on a built-in bookshelf that runs the width of the room and will be placed at the same height as the QS-4's.

If I go 5.2.2, I have a decorative support beam that runs directly above the main row onto which I could mount almost any small speaker firing directly downward. I could also easily install actual in-ceiling speakers.

I'll be experimenting with different positions next rainy weekend (which seems like every weekend here in Ottawa this year). My spare Yamaha's are very easy to mount just about anywhere. Seems like the prevailing opinion is 5.2.2

Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/07/17 09:58 AM

I am a huge fan of Atmos (and even like DTS:X), but your space being really similar to mine from a size perspective, means that I can give some different insight into the experiences that I had.

The next question would be "how many rows of seats?"

I have 2 rows of seats in my room. I built it for 7."2" from the start, but did do tests with a 5.1 setup before putting the rear surrounds on the wall. I wanted to hear the difference that the money was giving me. I would say that it was noticeably better, especially for the 2nd row.

So I have heard a 5.1 and did a direct comparison to 7.1 back at the time.

Now, I next jumped from 7."2" (it is technically still called 7.1, but with 2 subwoofers) to 7.2.4. So I jumped all in on Atmos about a year and a half ago. I would never go back.

In my opinion, if you have 2 rows of seats, you will greatly enjoy a 7.1 configuration. You will "like" a 5.1.2 setup in your front row, but the 2nd row would suffer as it would effectively be "outside" of the sound *dome* created with the other speakers.

If you have 1 row of seats, then I would definitely go with 5.1.2. Putting them as front heights on the front wall is within the DTS:X guidelines, but well outside the Atmos spec. You would really want to put them on your ceiling.

You could go with in-ceiling M3s, or even some Axiom on-walls and then mount them to the ceiling if you don't want to cut holes, or find that you can't place in-ceiling speakers where you want to due to duct work, joists, etc.

You mention a decorative support beam overhead. I would caution you from putting speakers right overhead. What is happening is you have your speakers up front, and then basically nothing between that and your surrounds (and any overheads that you put in right there). Your system will be "fighting the gap" so to speak and you will still have some separation of audio between the front soundstage, and the surrounds/overheads. I would highly recommend putting the 2 ceiling speakers in front of the listening area (using a measurement that fits within Atmos guidelines). And if you want to be within DTS:X guidelines as well, that IS possible. There is overlap in them. It will push the ceiling speakers closer to your front speakers. This will not only allow for sound to be "pulled" up and above you, but will also help to fill the gap between the front speakers, and the surrounds.

I also highly recommend putting the side surrounds close to a height that is just above head height (so that nobody's head blocks the sound), but leaving them slightly behind the row is fine with Axiom QS speakers. You don't want them directly to the left or right as you would have no part of the speaker actually emitting sound at the listening area.

I've already voiced my comments elsewhere about monopole for Atmos instead of bi/di/quad-pole speakers, but we are trying to work with what you have.

Lastly, for the ceiling speakers, you want something more than "any small speaker firing directly downward." You want some speaker with a bit of "umph" capability to it. While ceiling speakers aren't 100% utilized in movies (yet), when they are needed, the speakers really need to be a decent match for the other speakers in the room or they will fail to be effective. I went from QS8 surrounds in my 7.1 setup to M3 surrounds and M3 overheads and I do notice their capability to provide some deeper frequencies and it is really nice in a movie that actively utilizes the Atmos or DTS:X format.

So my vote(s)... 7.2 if you have 2 rows of seats with plans to add more later OR 5.1.2 if you have 1 row of seats, but put the "overheads" a little less "overhead" to fill the gap between the front and surround speakers.
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/07/17 10:16 AM

Wow, thanks for the detailed response, this is exactly what I was hoping to get!

I will definitely be experimenting at first. I have a primary row of HT couch seating. I pull out a second row if I have company over and need more than 6 spots. The second row is essentially a 4 seat couch I put on a 6" platform.

Seeing as the 2nd row is not in use often, my primary focus is on the experience in the 1st row. I'll probably set up a 5.2.2 system first.

That said, I hear you about creating a sound dome to better incorporate the 2nd row when in use. A solution to this could be an A/B switch between the back surrounds and ceiling speakers. Switching from 7.2 to 5.2.2 would then be easy through the AVR speaker setup... just need more speakers :-)
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/07/17 02:28 PM

One benefit of QS speakers for surrounds is that if you bumped your side surrounds back to be more in the middle of the 1st and (occasional) 2nd row of seats and let the one tweeter point towards the 1st row and the other tweeter point to the 2nd row.
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/08/17 09:35 AM

Yep, my QS-4's are already positioned to be between first and second row.

I've been reviewing Dolby's website on ATMOS speaker placement and noticed that in one configuration, front speakers with the ATMOS integrated angled up-firing configurations are meant to reflect sound off the ceiling and down at an angle to the listening position.

With that in mind, one of the options I'll be exploring is mounting 2 of my Yamaha AP5400's at about 6' (I have decorative 6"x6" reclaimed barn pine beams every 6 feet) and angling them towards the listening position. I'll be mounting a second set of the Yamaha's on the beam at 12' (slightly forward of the main row) and use the last pair as rear surrounds. Luckily I have a 4 pair speaker switch making comparison easier smile

Of course, I can already see my next upgrade requirement for a pre-pro capable of doing X.X.4 or 6 ;p
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/27/17 09:46 AM

Finally had a rainy weekend to play around with speaker placement. I expected to hear very little difference between 5.2.2 and 7.2. However, on movies with an ATMOS track, the difference is actually quite noticeable. For references I used Fantastic Beasts and Batman v Spiderman. Without a doubt, 5.2.2 was the way to go with these movies.

I then tried older DVD movies and the results were more in line with what I expected. As much as my receiver tried to replicate ATMOS and use the overhead speakers, results were sometimes comical (example: helicopter crash in Black Hawk Down happened overhead, with 7.2, it happened at ear level).

Anyways, with the way I'm configured, switching from 5.2.2 to 7.2 is fairly easy. I'll likely keep the Yamaha's for overhead but I think I'll get a pair of M2's or M3's for the rear surrounds.
Posted by: AAAA

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/27/17 04:37 PM

The difference is pretty big. Sounds like you are covered both ways. Not a bad problem to have. smile
Posted by: TDIPablo

Re: 7.2 or 5.2.2? - 06/28/17 10:35 AM

Yep, not a bad problem to have. Once I get M2/M3 back surrounds, I'll actually have enough Yamaha speakers to add a front and back ATMOS ceiling setup in the future. All I'll need is a new receiver that can process the x.x.6 wink