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9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound

After the creation of the 30.4.4 channel surround sound and more testing a much more affordable and easier to hookup surround sound was created. This post is about our brand new 9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound system. I mention specifically what I used for creating and testing this system to give you a much better understanding of this system and not as bragging rights for particular brands.

With better equipment and ideal acoustics less speakers can in fact be more. With one large great sounding center (in this case my Polk dual 5 1/4″ center with 1″ tweeter and dual rear bass ports) connected to my Onkyo 7.1 channel THX certified reciever, one front center is all you need if you are ok with only one elevation of speakers. Adding a pseudo sub as a front center in this case detracts from the sound of this amazing front center speaker. Depending on the speaker use for front center you may discover this to be true in your living room too! Instead of using a pseudo sub placed by the front center and rear center I use a pair of pseudo subs as FL and FR speakers. Because I run two recievers (both 7.1 channel) I had to connect a front center speaker to the other receiver otherwise the receiver will sense this speaker missing (if not actually there) and improperly decode the surround sound. The solution I found was to connect a front center channel that can handle the volume when turned up, is ported and is not too large to detract from the sound coming from my large great center that is playing at the same time from my other surround sound receiver.

To be certain the smaller front center doesn’t get in the way I covered over the mids and tweeter, placed it directly on the floor and aimed the bass port at the wall. It sits about a 1/2″ from the baseboard. The result is you do not hear anything from this speaker, but because its connected the receiver is steering the sound properly around the room to each appropriate speaker as it should. I used an Onkyo dual 4″ speaker with a 1/2″ tweeter and a rear bass port for my small center. This speaker is rated up to 100 watts (50 watts nominal) and the cabinet is made of wood instead of plastic so it doesn’t rattle.

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Legend: 

I tend to write using my own shorthand so this may come in handy.

FL = Front Left    FR = Front Right    FC = Front Center

RC = Rear Center   MC = Middle Center

RL = Rear Left   RR = Rear Right

SL = Side Left   SR = Side Right

Sub/Subs = Sub Woofer    PS = Pseudo Sub

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Here is how you connect everything for this 9.5.4 Channel Surround Sound:

Receiver A (I used an Onkyo 7.1 channel THX certified receiver). This is used for 7 speakers simply connected following the manufacturer suggestions outlined on the back of the receiver.

FL and FR: I used Polk 5 1/4″ ported woofers

FC:  I used Polk dual 5 1/4″ ported  woofers and a 1″ tweeter

RL and RR:   I used Polk 5 1/4″ ported woofers

SL and SR:  I used my rigged JBL speakers (JBL tweeters with Technics 5 1/4″ ported woofers).

Receiver B ( I used a Sony 7.1 channel receiver).

FL and FR:   I used a pair of Pioneer 12’s as pseudo subs

FC:  I used an Onkyo dual 4’s as a pseudo sub (as outlined at the beginning of this post)

RL and RR:  I used a KEF 5 1/4″ ported single speaker. It is not a center speaker, but I used it as one. This required twisting speaker wire together from the RL and RR out of the receiver and twisting another speaker wire to the twisted wire. The other end of this newly twisted single wire connects to the back of the rear center.

SL and SR and MC:  Connect a speaker switch off of the receiver connections for SL and SR and middle center. I used a pair of Technics 12’s as pseudo subs and this BIC 5 1/4″ center as a middle center placed on the floor. To connect the BIC speaker I took the speaker wire from L and R on one of the speakers outputs on the speaker switch. Then I twisted the wire together along with another single speaker wire. The other end of the speaker wire I connected to the BIC speaker. This sends the sound from the SL and SR to this speaker.

Subs: Use a “y” cable off the single sub output on the receiver and connect two powered subs to it. In my case only one receiver has a working sub output port on it so I did it this way instead: I connected a “y” cable to the one working sub port on the Sony receiver. Then I connected two more “y” cables to the “y” cable I already connected to the receiver (I did this by connecting one to the red side and the other to white side). This allowed me to connect 4 powered subs off of one single sub woofer port on the back of a receiver. I turned the sub volume on the receiver up all the way. I did not turn the main volume up anywhere near that high nor should you or will cause clipping to the speakers, receiver and damage your hearing (possibly even go deaf). I turned the volume on each powered sub up approximately 1/4 of the way (adjust as needed to make them play at the same volume).

Speaker placement tips:

Powered Subs: Place one in each corner of the room about a 1/2 or so from the baseboard. Elevate if needed. Angle against two walls in a corner if possible.

PS:  (Use 10’s if that is the best you can find, but 12’s are much better for this). Place them about a 1/2″ or so from the baseboard and make sure they sit directly on the floor. Elevate slightly only if necessary. Use these as speaker stands for the 5 1/4″ speakers (or whatever size you end up using. Personally I think 5 1/4″ are perfect in size for optimal sound movement and recreation of sound).

LR, RR and RC: Use speaker stands for these speakers. Remember you want these speakers to be as close as possible in height as the speakers sitting on the pseudo subs.

MC: Elevate only slightly off the ground and angle it up towards you, but not aimed at the ceiling.

 

 

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How to make your own custom surround sounds

Over the years I have created custom surround sounds of my own for Premium Audio. This time I am going to do something a little bit different. In this post I will explain how to make your own custom surround sounds.

  1. Plan your system before purchasing equipment. Always measure twice to be sure it will all fit and will allow for the proper distance between you and your TV and speakers. What size speakers will you use? How many speakers? Will you have multiple elevations? If so, how many. How many subs will you use? Will you be using any pseudo subs?
  2. Acoustics play a key role in both surround sound and music. What is the shape of the room? Is their a vaulted ceiling? Is the room an open room? If so, can it be closed off to retain the sound in the room? For more information on how this all plays a crucial role in setting it all up check out this book: “Customize Your Home Theater: 5.1 channel to 15.2 channel surround sound.” I promise you the tips on this subject alone make the book worth purchasing.
  3. After reading the book listed in step 2 and reviewing our blog postings on surround sounds and reviewing our diagrams too, its time to decide which format you want or if you want to customize.
  4. More thought will then be needed to make sure it will work like you want. How many receivers will you need?
  5. After all of this preparation it’s finally time for the fun to begin! It’s time to wire it all up. I recommend placing the speakers where they need to be before connecting them to further visualize how it will all come together. Here are some items you may discover that you need that we carry in our store: speaker stands, cables and of course lots of speaker wire.
If customization is your decision then please read on for tips on how to do this. If you want to use one of our existing surround sounds that will work out nicely too! My personal favorite surround sounds are: 6.1, 8.2, 10.5.4 (coming soon), 22.4, and 30.4.4.

Customization:

How to make your own custom surround sounds

If possible get all the speakers (not counting center channels and subs) to be the same size and brand for optimal tone. Or experiment some like I always have done. Remember the center channel (especially the front center channel) is the MOST IMPORTANT speaker for surround sound so don’t skimp on this. The same goes for the receiver(s). Your system is only as good as it’s weakest link. If you are going to have a weak link at all you can generally get away with it with the side left (SL) and side right (SR) speakers and possibly the middle center(s).

If you are going to go with different sized speakers I recommend using the larger ones at ear level and the smaller ones at ceiling height (if you choose to have multiple elevations). Depending on room size and how close you will be to the speakers you might even be able to use smaller speakers for surround sound speakers (which will allow you to save some money). Remember to place the speakers so that you sit in a circle of surround sound (or as close to a complete circle as possible based on the number of speakers used).

Here are the types of speakers to choose from: Front Speakers (left and right), Center Channel (front, middle at floor level, middle at ceiling height, and rear), Side Speakers, Rear Speakers (surround sound), Pseudo Subs and Powered Subs. It is up to you to choose which types to use and how many of them. After all of the speakers are appropriately placed it’s time to connect it all. If you run into any issues with audio or video not playing properly, check out this book for all the troubleshooting tips you will ever need. Remember Pseudo subs also can double as speaker stands, thus saving crucial floor space and the cost of buying speaker stands. Remember when figuring out how to make your own custom surround sounds that there is no bad one if the speakers are appropriately placed and everything has been connected the right way.

So now that I covered the basics lets get down to the most important part of all of this. What is your goal for your home theatre? Is it to be sitting in a room full of speakers to capture every sound from just about every corner of the room? If so, reconsider the 30.4.4 channel surround sound. Is it to simply tweak the industry standard 5.1 channel surround sound? If so, reconsider the 6.1 and 8.2 channel surround sounds. Maybe you just want another pair of front left and right speakers and or rear right and left speakers. If so, this can easily be accomplished with one (or possibly two) speaker selector boxes (switches) connected to your receiver(s). Maybe you think more sound should come from the middle of the room than I have previously covered with the two middle centers. If so, you could run additional speakers off the switch used for the side left and side right speakers. Personally I think that you will not find much sound there, however I have never tried it and until you test it you never really know.

Maybe the number of speakers is not what you want to experiment with. Instead perhaps you want to test out different angles and heights of the speakers. This could be beneficial to the accuracy of sound heard from the ceiling height speakers and possibly even from a middle elevation. Keep in mind that as you add more speakers you will most likely need more power to the speakers to allow you to hear them. Remember to never turn up any receivers volume beyond half way or it will damage the speakers and receiver (not to mention your hearing at high volumes). To further improve upon the sound heard from speakers I recommend the upcoming book on speaker stands that will be coming out soon from Premium Audio.

Whatever you decide to do, best of luck to you with your surround sound (custom or not). Have fun experimenting, building and testing it – I always do!

 

 

 

 

 

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30.4.4 Channel Surround Sound

30.4.4 Channel Surround Sound:

“The Complete surround sound for a true theatre experience in your home.”

   30.4.4: Months back, if you recall, I talked about not knowing what the latest and greatest surround sound would be or who would create it. News flash! – It’s me again coming up with yet another over the top surround sound setup for only the most avid of home movie watchers to enjoy. So here it is;  30.4.4 channel surround sound. I have said this before and perhaps I will have to eat my words again, but this will be our largest surround sound ever and I seriously doubt anyone will ever top this one, including me! This surround sound is more than twice the size of our largest surround sound at the time – 15.2 channel surround sound that was introduced back in 2014!

First off let me go over the uniqueness of this setup:

  • Almost no crazy wire splicing. I know that does not seem possible, but it’s true.
  • Only two receivers will be needed for this. Both will need to be 7.1 channel surround sound receivers. One of them will power all ceiling height speakers.
  • 4 speaker selector boxes (switches) will be needed and of course lots of speaker wire.
  • 30 speakers.
  • 4 powered sub woofers. Two ‘y’ cables will be needed (unless you are using 7.2 channel receivers).
  • 4 Pseudo Subs. (Psuedo Subs are a Premium Audio exclusive idea that was first discussed in 2014 and later evolved in late 2016).
  • 3 different heights of speakers to best capture all angles of sound.
  • An entirely new placement of two speakers. These speakers have never been used anywhere (even with us) and will finally bring sound into the middle of the room. I refer to them as “middle center” speakers.

Please note: to be able to get all of these speakers appropriately placed will require either wall mounting, shelving or custom speaker stands. Premium Audio will have a new e-book out early 2018 covering just how to make custom speaker stands of varying function and style. No one has ever come up with anything like these before. Please check back on our site early 2018 to be able to purchase this affordable e-book.

Elevation 1 (Ear Level/Floor Level):

13 total speakers plus 4 psuedo subs and 4 powered sub woofers.

2 pair of left and right front speakers

1 front center

1 pair of side left and right speakers

2 pair of left and right rear speakers

1 rear center

1 middle center

4 pseudo subs. One placed by the front center, one by the rear center, one by the side left speaker and one by the side right speaker.

4 powered sub woofers. One placed in each corner of the room.

Elevation 2 (Half way up the wall):

4 total speakers.

1 pair of left and right front speakers

1 pair of left and right rear speakers

Elevation 3 (Ceiling Height):

13 total speakers.

2 pair of left and right front speakers

1 front center speaker

1 pair of side left and right speakers (placed in the middle of the room between the front and back).

2 pair of left and right rear speakers

1 rear center

1 Middle Center

Middle Center speakers:

I just created this type of speaker so allow me to explain what it does and where to place it. Everyone always talks about a circle of surround sound. The idea being that you sit in the middle of a room full of strategically located speakers. Good idea except that only my surround sounds really create a circle and theirs create at best a half circle in the front and half circle in the back. What about the sound coming from the middle of the circle? Are we to believe that the movies we watch have all this sound going on around us but dead silence in the middle of the action? That seems strange to me so I decided to fix this glitch in the movie soundtracks.

Keep in mind I cannot change how a film is encoded with where to place the sound or even what sounds to send to a specific speaker, but I can still alter it and I believe make it more believable. I do this by running a speaker switch off of the side back speakers on the receiver. I refer to this as the side left and side right because I have never agreed with Dolby’s idea of placing these speakers in the back. Sound needs to come from the sides too! Notice my surround sounds place their side back speakers on the sides of the room (thus creating a circle of surround sound). So as I was saying you will run a speaker selector box (switch) off of the side back speakers on the receiver. Then you need to connect one pair of speakers to this switch and one individual speaker. One speaker will go on the left side of the room and the other on the right side of the room. What is different is what we do with the individual speaker. This speaker is extra special and will be placed on the floor in the middle of the room and angled upward slightly towards your feet. You will repeat this process for the other receiver. On the receiver controlling the ceiling height speakers you will place your middle center speaker aiming down from the middle of the ceiling.

What does this do? Dolby says that the surround back speakers can be placed either behind the seating area (to create a half circle behind you) or wall mounted up front. They state it doesn’t matter which setup you use. I figured out that this is because not much sound comes out here (regardless of volume, speaker size, movie or how good the speaker is). Rather disappointing in my opinion that they do not really utilize this speaker much but how can they when they do not really know where you will place these speakers? Not knowing where they will be placed makes it difficult to determine what sounds should come out of them and when the sound should be heard. Keeping that in mind with my idea of having side speakers and middle centers whatever that sound will be, will most likely be better than having no sound come out of those locations. Some films will sound better than others with the side and middle center speakers.

  • The additional speaker selector boxes (switches) mentioned for this surround sound will be placed as follows:

Elevation 1:

  The front left and right speakers will require a switch running off of the front left and right speakers on the back of the receiver. This will allow the additional speakers to be used.

  The left and right rear speakers will require a switch running off of the front left and right speakers on the back of the receiver. This will allow the additional speakers to be used.

Elevation 2:

  The front left and right speakers will require a switch running off of the front left and right speakers on the back of the receiver. This will allow the additional speakers to be used.

  The left and right rear speakers will require a switch running off of the front left and right speakers on the back of the receiver. This will allow the additional speakers to be used.

Have fun experimenting with this like I do!

Click here for the diagram of where to place your speakers for this setup.

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Coming Soon – 30.4.4 Channel Surround Sound

Please be patient. In just two days we will post our latest surround sound here at Premium Audio. Like most of the ones before it it will be a free posting for everyone to enjoy. This will be “The Next Great Surround Sound.” Most importantly it will be yet another Premium Audio exclusive. 30.4.4 channel surround sound is more than twice the surround sound we offered in 2014 with the release of our 15.2 channel surround! Not only is it more speakers, it involves multiple elevations and properly positioned bass along with two new revolutionary speakers introduced into the mix. Best of all, no one else has these additional speakers.

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16.4 and 20.4 channel surround sounds

This month I introduce to you to more surround sound formats that are Premium Audio Exclusives. Both of these were created as easy to setup solutions for those who want a lot of speakers to capture sound from virtually every angle. Not quite as impressive as the surround sounds created late last year/early this year, but so much easier to wire up since no wire splicing is needed.

16.4 channel surround sound:

 You will be using two 6.1 channel receivers for this configuration. Follow the manufacturer instructions to connect 6 speakers per receiver with a slight variation. For the rear left and right speakers you will not connect the speakers. Instead you will connect the speaker wire going from the left and right speaker inputs on the receiver and then connect the other end of the wire to a switch. Now connect two pairs of left and right rear speakers to the switch. Now you have a total of 16 speakers connected.

Using a ‘y’ cable connected to each sub woofer input on your 6.1 channel receivers you can now connect two subs to each receiver. Place one sub in each corner of the room. Test them at low volumes and adjust as needed to have the four subs play at the same volume for balanced sound.

Speaker placement: Use one receiver at ear level for all speakers and the other for ceiling height speakers. Try to place the rear speakers in a half circle fashion for optimal surround sound effect.

20.4 channel surround sound:

This surround sound merely adds onto the 16.4 channel surround sound listed above. Do everything as listed above and add this slight variation to get 4 more speakers involved: Connect one switch to the front left and right speakers input on each receiver. Connect two pairs of front left and right speakers to each switch. Turn the volume up some on each receiver.

Speaker placement: Setup your left and right front speakers so that they form a half circle for best sound placement. Keep in mind half of them will be at ceiling height and the other half will be at ear level.