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9.4 channel surround sound

This post is all about how sometimes smaller surround sound formats can be better. 9.4 channel surround and some variations are what will be discussed today. For the record none of these surround sound formats have been built and tested. Instead they are merely thoughts that popped into my head and I wanted to publish before I forget them. Perhaps someday I will in fact test them.

  1. Why not try a 5.1 channel receiver with the standard wiring setup and then add this? Add a pair of ceiling height speakers (front left and right) and a pair of ceiling height speakers (rear left and right). It’s not super exiting, but its simple enough – just add speaker switches to allow for the additional speakers. Use two ‘y’ cables for the 4 powered subs. Now this ends up being a 9.4 channel surround system. Use satellite speakers and only one receiver.
  2. Take a 7.1 channel receiver and wire it up this way instead! Front left and front right each will be done as two pair of speakers (one at ceiling height and one at ear level), connect the remaining speakers (front center, rear center) as the owners manual says to do. The left rear and right rear will require a speaker selector (switch) box so they can allow for a middle center sitting either at ceiling height or on the floor aimed up towards you (your choice). Use four powered subs. This ends up being another version of a 9.4 channel surround sound system.
  3. Skip the side speakers since not much comes out of them anyway and try this variation? Using a 7.1 channel receiver wire it up like the manual says to. When it comes to the side speakers place the speakers not in the back like they suggest and not on the sides like I always suggest. Instead place these speakers as middle centers. Now you are still using a 7.1 channel receiver but simply change where a pair of speakers go? This will perhaps improve the sound. Of course I recommend 4 powered subs instead of one making it into a 7.4 channel surround sound system. As a bonus why not add in a rear center by utilizing a single speaker selector switch off of the rear speakers on the back of the receiver. Connect it to either the rear left or rear right and connect two speakers to it. Place those two speakers side by side as if the two were one big rear center.

All of these suggestions will give you custom 9.4 channel surround sound system (except option number 3) that just might sound amazing or perhaps it wont – you can never really be sure until you test it! 

Let me know what you think.

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12.4.4 Channel Surround Sound

Another attempt to make a custom small surround sound system. This 12.4.4 Channel Surround Sound was based off of the 20.4.4 channel surround system only shrunken down further allowing us to experiment with what speakers are to be used and where they are to be placed. With this system you will have two elevations and run off of two 5.1 channel receivers.

Ear level:

(6.2.2 channel surround sound)

front center, left front, right front, left rear, right rear, and rear center

2 powered subs and 2 pseudo subs

 

Ceiling height:

(6.2.2 channel surround sound)

rear left (placed on the side), rear right (placed on the side), right front, left front, right rear and left rear

2 powered subs and 2 pseudo subs

How to wire this up:

You will need to connect speaker switch boxes (selectors) to each of the two 5.1 channel receivers needed for this system. You will also need to connect ‘y’ connectors to each receiver for the powered subs.

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20.4.4 Channel Surround Sound

Our latest surround sound is 20.4.4:

This 20.4.4 Channel Surround Sound was created with the intent to make a simple to wire up, yet large system with multiple elevations and work with 5.1 channel receivers which are much more common than 7.1 channel receivers are. By doing this more people will have the ability to grow their existing system without the need for a multiple replacement receivers.

This custom surround sound was designed by tweaking our existing 30.4.4 channel surround sound system.

We recommend satellite speakers for this system for several reasons:

1) They take up less space than larger speakers do

2) They can most likely be wall mounted so you can set them at the exact height you choose

3) They cost less to purchase

The subs will not need to be very powerful. 50 watt subs each turned up only a quarter of the way will sound really nice. This will let you know there is base present without it overpowering the rest of the sound effects. Also with one sub per corner of the room the sound will appear to fill the room and not distract you since it comes from just one or two locations.

The speakers when properly placed will allow you to properly hear sound from just about everywhere. These small speakers will rapidly move the sound around the room for added realism (especially with action films). Each receiver will power a different elevation of speakers. One elevation will have speakers at ear level and the other will be at the ceiling to help create depth in sound placement.

Elevation 1 (ear level):

  • 10 speakers total
  • One pair of powered subs
  • Two Center channel speakers (one for the rear)
  • Two pairs of front speakers
  • Two pairs of rear speakers
  • One pair of pseudo subs
  • A ‘y’ cable
  • Lot’s of speaker wire which will vary based on the room size

One 5.1 channel receiver with a ‘y’ cable to connect dual subs with. Place one sub in the front left corner of the room and the other in the front right corner. Run a speaker switch off the center, rear and front speaker ports on the receiver. If you have a “a/b” or an “a and b” option for front speakers then you will need not a speaker switch for the front speakers. Connect 2 pairs of front speakers to the switch box. Connect two center channels to a switch box. Connect two pairs of rear speakers to a switch box.

One pairs of pseudo subs. One speaker under the front center and the other one under the rear center. One will connect to the speaker switch for rear speakers and the other for the speaker switch for centers.

Elevation 2 (ceiling): 

  • 10 speakers total
  • One pair of powered subs
  • Two Center channel speakers (one for the rear)
  • Two pairs of front speakers
  • Two pairs of rear speakers
  • One pair of pseudo subs
  • A ‘y’ cable
  • Lot’s of speaker wire which will vary based on the room size

One 5.1 channel receiver with a ‘y’ cable to connect dual subs with. Place one sub in the rear left corner of the room and the other in the rear right corner. Run a speaker switch off the center, rear and front speaker ports on the receiver. If you have a “a/b” or an “a and b” option for front speakers then you will need not a speaker switch for the front speakers. Connect 2 pairs of front speakers to the switch box. Connect two center channels to a switch box. Connect two pairs of rear speakers to a switch box.

To try to create a circle of sound you will be taking one pair of rear speakers at each elevation and placing them so you have a speaker on the left of the room and another on the right of the room. This will help to simulate having a side left and side right speaker like I have suggested when placing the side speakers for a 7.1 channel receiver.

One pairs of pseudo subs. One speaker under the left side speaker and the other one under the right side speaker. Both pair will connect to the speaker switch for rear speakers.

Please note: 

Also connected to the speaker switch for the rear speakers will be the rear centers. You will have one at ear level and the other at ceiling height. Sadly with this system there is simply no way to have middle centers.

Additional speaker placement tips:

When placing the speakers the goal is to create a circle and you sit in the middle of it.

So there you have it, 20.4.4 Channel Surround Sound, a slightly smaller but super easy to connect and use surround sound that still goes “Way Beyond Home Theatre.”

 

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Final comments about my 13 speaker surround sound system

I have continued to tweak this system and ultimately have decided to run the sub woofer in a rather unique way. I am using a sub woofer cable on the sub woofer input on one of the two receivers (the one using the smaller speakers which run at ceiling height). What’s different is what I am doing after that; instead of connecting the other end to a sub woofer here is what I do. I connect it to an input on a different receiver (a third one). From their I connect my sub woofer via speaker wire. To do this I use an adapter. This adapter allows you to run the speaker wire into an RCA cable that you solder together.

Here is why I chose to do this:

  1. My “sub woofer” is actually an MTX dual 12″ woofer setup with a horn tweeter and a mid range speaker all in one very tall and very heavy cabinet. It is half of a pair of main speakers and so I decided to re-purpose it as a sub.
  2. My “sub woofer” is not an actual sub. There is no amp built into it. There is no sub woofer cable input port on it. Instead it runs off of speaker wire. So the way I connect my “sub woofer” is by using speaker wire that connects the sub to the left main speaker on the receiver. For the record you could instead connect to the right main speaker on the receiver if you prefer. Either one will result in the same outcome. This receiver being used is a stereo receiver, not another surround sound one.
  3. By connecting the sub cable to another receiver I am able to boost the volume and bass going to the speaker. This compensates for it not being a powered sub.

One final not about this surround sound and then I promise to stop writing about it….

….I recently learned after my last posting that Denon created a 13 speaker surround sound receiver that is available for sale this year (2018). This means it can do what I have been talking about using two receivers for. The difference being that their version uses only one receiver. For the record I invented this surround sound not them. My original post is from 2016 on this idea. I actually thought it up back in 2008 or 2009, but didn’t write about it until 2016. The posts I am referring to can be found here, here and here too.

So why use my surround sound instead of Denon’s?

Because mine is super affordable. If I highball it I would say you can get two 7.1 channel receivers for about $800 new. The Denon version costs $4,000 at Crutchfield. You go ahead and spend that money if you wish to save space, I prefer to save money. If Denon is able to make my 13 speaker surround sound a reality while using only one receiver, I cannot help but wonder what other ideas of mine they will decide to use as their own. I guess only time will tell.

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13.0.2 Channel Surround Sound

Today I will explain a variation to a surround sound that I originally wrote about some time ago. Back then I simply referred to it as 13.2 channel surround sound. Having finally tested this one in my own home theatre I made some adjustments and it evolved some.

13.0.2 Channel Surround Sound.

First off I’m sure your wondering why the “.0.2”. Allow me to explain ….

The “13” of course represents the number of speakers used. The “0” represents zero powered subs. The “.2” means two pseudo subs (a pair). Like my original posting for 13 channel surround sound I have split the sound from my new Blu-Ray player to allow it to connect to two 7.1 channel receivers. I run one in 6.0 channel mode and the other in 7.0 channel mode. Due to lack of space in my room I do not have any powered subs. For that same reason I am only running two pseudo subs instead of four.

One receiver runs all speakers at ear level when seated. I use much larger, better speakers here. They are 5 1/4″ Polk’s (except the rear center is a KEF). This receiver is an Onkyo and is setup with six speakers. The other receiver is a Sony and runs speakers at two different elevations (ceiling and ear level when seated). The side left and side right speakers run at ear level and are 5 1/4″ JBL’s. Five speakers are Onkyo wall mountable speakers. They are probably 4’s. I’m guessing because I cannot remove the grills and I did not find specs on them (other than the peak wattage and OHM rating they run at). I use a speaker switch on the Sony receiver since it is designed for only one pair of main speakers. My other pair I used are Technics 12’s and they are setup as pseudo subs. I placed one under the television and the other behind the sofa.

I had to, as expected, play around with both receivers (mostly the Sony) to adjust the size, distance and volume on each speaker. This was especially true to avoid an echo with the center channel. When I originally wrote about this I did not expect there to be an echo if splitting the sound from an RCA connection (as opposed to running one receiver with an RCA connection and the other with HDMI. After a few days of testing I have it right and it’s really impressive. My only gripe is that like most movies they still have failed to make the dialogue anywhere near as loud as the action. Perhaps I need to implement my EQ idea for a center channel that I discussed awhile back (in one of my books) to overcome this.

As always have fun with whatever surround sound you choose for your home theatre.