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13.2 Channel Surround Sound

13.2 Channel Surround Sound

First off I am sure you are wondering why I would just now write about 13.2 as a surround sound when almost two years ago I wrote about 15.2….

I originally started wiring up speakers and more speakers almost twenty years ago. It all started with the movie “Heat.” This is one of my favorite films. I found at that moment where there is a constant gun shootout that some sound should not have come from the rear speakers, but instead should have come from the rear center. Back in the days of the 6.1 channel surround sound this would not have been an issue, however with a 5.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound it bothered me and still does. From that surround sound flaw I developed my own surround sounds to help better fill the void of missing sound in movie soundtracks and effects.

Here is the idea which I thought of then, but was unsure how to make it possible. Now having watched an action movie with 6.1 I am once again compelled to try a different approach to fill the room with the proper sound. Most people will not ever use my surround sound setups other than the 8.1, until now.

Now you will have to choose between 6.1 (6.2 if using dual subs), 8.1 (8.2 if using dual subs) or 13.2 both for the best overall surround sound or go “Way Beyond Home Theatre” with my even larger surround sounds (all the way up to 22.4) that are also exclusive to Premium Audio.

13.2. This takes my idea of using both a 6.1 (if you can find one since they no longer make them) and a 7.1 channel receiver simultaneously for an action film.

Here is how it will work:

  1. From a DVD or Blu-Ray or streaming device you will need to run HDMI out of this device and into a 7.1 receiver. Then run another HDMI out of the receiver and into the TV. This accomplishes two things: 1) it gives you digital sound to the receiver 2) it gives you a high definition picture from the receiver to the TV.
  2. Using the same device that you connected in step one (DVD or Blu-Ray or streaming device) you will need to also run an RCA cable (red and white) and connect the other end into the input on your 6.1 channel receiver.
  3. Make sure you have selected the correct input on each receiver to match where you connected the device to.
  4. Power on the TV, both receivers both powered sub woofers and the device you connected (DVD or Blue_Ray or streaming device).

Now you have the best picture quality and one of the best surround sounds….6.1 + 7.1 = 13.2 

The best part of this surround sound is that you do not have to deal with any wire splicing or speaker selectors (switches). Instead just connect all the speakers like they were intended to be connected by matching them up to the appropriate spots on the back of each receiver.

Keep in mind you will run one sub woofer per receiver for a total of two subs (one to the left of the TV and the other to the right of the TV). You can adjust the tone and volume per receiver to optimize the sound of your speakers.

Tip:

If this seems like too much sound try using less powerful speakers when not absolutely necessary so they do not play as loud. In the receiver settings minimize how much sound come out of the smaller speakers to further help reduce their sound.

For the 6.1 channel system the speakers that matter the most are the sub woofer and the rear center. The other speakers in a 6.1 system can be small speakers (satellite speakers) if you want. For the 7.1 channel system every speaker is of equal importance including the sub. Because of this you will need to use better speakers here to pair up nicely with the rear center from the 6.1 system.

Advanced Tip:

Another option for you to consider is to use the same size speakers for all 13 speakers. This balances the sound and basically gives you two pairs of front speakers (left and right) and two pairs of rear speakers (left and right). Here are two different ways of setting up the 13.2 channel surround sound:

 option 1                   option 2

Based upon cost, space and what your personal preference is you could go one of three directions: 1) small speakers (satellites) to save space 2) medium size speakers for better sound and still not break the bank or take up too much space 3) large speakers (8″ or larger woofers) for the best sound (provided you have a powerful enough receivers). These take up more floor space and will be more costly then the other options.

Advanced Tip:

Make one variation to eliminate the echo effect of the 7.1 channel system having the faster, louder and clearer digital sound coming from an HDMI cable vs the RCA (red and white) cable to the other receiver playing the same movie sounds at the same time. Here is the slight variation:

  1. From a DVD or Blu-Ray or streaming device you will need to run HDMI out of this device and into the TV (not the 7.1 receiver). Then instead of running another HDMI out of the receiver and into the TV you will need to run an RCA cable (red and white) out of the TV and into the 7.1 channel receiver.
  2. (Note this part stays the same).
    1. From the DVD or Blu-Ray or streaming device you will need to also run an RCA cable (red and white) and connect the other end into the input on your 6.1 channel receiver.

Now the 6.1 and 7.1 channel receivers play at the same speed thereby eliminating the annoying echo.

Enjoy!

Copyright 2016 Premium Audio


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Which is better, 6.1 or 7.1 channel surround sound?

Recently, I came across an old 6.1 channel surround sound receiver and picked it up out of shear curiosity. I have always wondered why Dolby Laboratories would go to the trouble of creating a supposed newer, better surround sound (than 5.1) and then rapidly come out with another to replace it? Is it that it was that bad or that they just had poor timing of when to launch one and then the other? Being a home theater nut (as you will no doubt realize by reading my blog, my book and reviewing my surround sound diagrams) I felt compelled to find out.

Here are my findings based upon a Sony 100 watt per channel 6.1 channel surround receiver. I tested with Star Wars Episode III (Revenge of the Sith)….

First off as expected, since having already figured out about two years ago how to create a rear center for my own 8.1 channel surround sound, there is much more sound to be heard behind you. When I say behind you I do mean behind you and not sort of behind you but really off to the left or right of you just slightly. There is no doubt there is sound to be heard from the left and right rear speakers. Now I can officially confirm that yes, there is a reason for a rear center speaker.

With 6.1 I found the entire surround sound to be impressive. As cool as it is to have a 7.1 channel surround sound system, the fact is there really is seldom anything even if faint to come out of those extra speakers…7.1 never caught on like 4.0 and 5.1 did. Had it been that significant, receiver manufacturers would have stopped production of 5.1 receivers, but they haven’t. Why is this you may ask? One reason is the additional cost (although it is not that much more now that it is no longer a new technology). Most movies are still encoded in only 5.1 surround sound, not 7.1 so that means your receiver is attempting to simulate some sound here to the side speakers causing very little sound to come out of them. Another reason is because not everyone wants another pair of speakers in their living room, especially a pair that requires one on the left side and one on the right side (this gets in the way of furniture and a walkway). Lastly there is the additional speaker wire to deal with. How do you plan to hide all this extra wire?

6.1 creates a much more realistic sounding “you are there” environment because most of the time there should be sound effects behind you. Connecting a rear center channel speaker to a 6.1 channel receiver really does make things much better. Since you cannot purchase a new 6.1 channel receiver you either take your chances buying one used or get a new receiver that is either 5.1 or 7.1 (unless you can afford the Dolby Atmos surround in either a 9.1 or 11.1 channel format).

There is a better way…..why not hook up with my instructions your own 8.1 channel surround sound? My 8.1 is my personal favorite for best overall surround sound without going overboard with say for instance my 22.4 channel surround sound (although it is really awesome). I plan to test out a whole new surround sound setup (13.2) in the coming months and if it works like I expect it to I will write about it soon.

 

 

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The Optimal Surround Sound

Having tested so many speakers over the years, one would think that I would have heard all that I need to hear. This is not the case, in fact it is just the opposite for me since I enjoy the testing so much. Just when I think I have heard the best sound quality from a speaker and settle on it for my own main home theater setup I find something even better than before. I have played with different brands, different sizes, different elevations and different locations and never seem to grow tired of testing. My goal is to have the best sound without having to crank it up too much to appreciate it. I do not want just the best speaker, but actually seek out the best overall mix of speakers that blend together with similar tone quality. Balance is key here. If one speaker is better than the rest it will stand out and distract from the overall sound.

Most recently I switched to a mid size speaker setup consisting of 5.25″ two way speakers with bass ports and love it even more than going old school with an 8″ center, a pair of 12’s up front, a pair of 8’s on the sides and a pair of 10’s in the back. My mid size speaker setup consists of all pairs being 5.25″ two way speakers with bass ports. The sound is just awesome….crystal clear highs, fantastic sound movement that fills the room rather nicely and good quality mid bass. For the deep bass I continue to run two pairs of powered subs. The testing has been conducted in an open rectangular shaped great room. Prior to this I had tested out satellite speakers and was impressed (not so much as to want them in the main movie room). This test is with a 7.2 channel surround sound. For those whom have read my prior blogs you know that I recommend a minimum of an 8.2 channel surround sound. The reason I did not test with an 8.2 channel surround sound is because my living room is too small. If it were hooked up it would cause people to sit too close to the rear center and possibly damage their hearing.

All three setups have their pro’s and con’s, yet despite this I show the mid size setup to be the best for movies. Perhaps 6.50″ speakers would be even better since they should be able to dish out even more tight mid bass sound without sacrificing the crystal clear highs. Technology has advanced speaker designs so much now that bigger is no longer the best when it comes to home theatre.

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21.2 Channel Surround Sound

21.2 Channel Surround Sound

Yes, we have done it – we have created a 21.2 channel surround sound. I say again, we have created a 21.2 channel surround sound. Just think about that a moment…..the industry standard is still only a 5.1 channel surround sound. The next most used format is 7.1 channel (sometimes 7.2) and yet Premium Audio has done it again and created something way beyond home theatre!

Mathmatically, Premium Audio’s 15.2 channel surround sound is 3 times the size of the standard 5.1 channel surround sound (not counting the subwoofer which is simply doubled)!

Now Premium Audio has tripled the 7.1 channel surround sound format (not counting the subwoofer which is simply doubled)! In order to triple the subwoofer part that would be .3 (meaning three separate subwoofers used) and would be unnecessary even by our standards.

21.2, so where do all the speakers go and why? Recently we mentioned 19.2 channel surround sound. 21.2 builds on this by adding an additional pair of side speakers, only this time they are at or almost at ceiling height and aim downward. This is our final take on Dolby Atmos. The reason this is our final take on Dolby Atmos is because this surpasses what even they have to offer.

We offer two slight variations to 21.2 channel surround sound:

  1. add a second pair of side speakers aiming down from the ceiling.
  2. add a second pair of side speakers at the same height as the regular side speakers are. Place these near them too. With this variation a super large room would not loose the sound that is to play out of the sides of the film no matter where you choose to sit.

To learn how to wire this up, if you do not how how already, check out this book: Customize Your Home Theater 5.1 channel to 15.2 and everything in between. Then apply the same concepts to grow this to a 19.2 channel surround sound. From there add a speaker selector to where the side speakers attach to the surround sound receiver. Plug two pairs of speakers into the speaker selector and make sure both speaker inputs are on to get sound out of both pairs of speakers at the same time. If you do all of this you will have a 21.2 channel surround sound system.