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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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The difference between monotone and stereo

This post is for all of those people who don’t seem to care about what something really sounds like. Perhaps you know them or know someone who does. This post is not about surround sound it’s about The difference between monotone and stereo.

Please pass this article on to them to help them. I have spoken with many people who just don’t get it – why sound quality matters. They all tell you that they are not into having speakers. Maybe it’s the size, maybe it’s the expense or in most cases I have found it to be that they really don’t care about what sound they hear (or could be hearing). 

These people are not just against having an over the top custom surround sound, they do not have a surround sound system at all – not even a soundbar, nor do they want to! These people are somehow satisfied with the sound (what little there is) that is emitted from that tiny hidden speaker in their tv’s, cell phones, laptops and tablets. To them I say “Don’t settle for poor quality sound when you don’t have to.”

This post is not about surround sound it’s about The difference between monotone and stereo.

Monotone is just that mono. Mono means one. That’s it – just one speaker for all sound.

Stereo is two speakers instead of one. But that’s not where it ends – it’s not just louder because you have doubled your number of speakers, it’s much more than that! Stereo gives you different sound effects out of each speaker simultaneously. With stereo you will hear things that you did not hear before because it just wasn’t there before. 

Weather you choose to watch a tv show or a movie (which is what most Americans do all to often) or just listen to music why not take pleasure in hearing it in stereo? Your car stereo comes in stereo not mono, and computer speakers are not sold as a single speaker so why settle for monotone when you can have stereo instead?



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The problems that you create when using a powered subwoofer

I guess I am old school when it comes to audio. Growing up everyone wanted to have a pair of 12’s or at least 10’s for their speakers. Back then we did not have surround sound, just stereo. Our Televisions had built in speakers and most people never even thought of trying to connect a stereo receiver of any kind to the tv so that the sound could come out of their 10 or 12 inch speakers (or smaller if they even had any).  Today tvs have speakers, but good luck locating them since they are so small. Nowadays we do add a receiver to the tv for surround sound, but typically with small speakers. Usually we run satellite speakers or perhaps bookshelf speakers. Because we use these small speakers they are incapable of producing any really deep bass so we then have to run a powered subwoofer.

Two problems with powered subwoofers:

1) Too much bass with music. I can’t stand booming bass that overpowers the music itself. I want it to all be somewhat balanced.

 2) Too much bass for movies. This can at times overpower the rest of the sound effects found in whatever film you are watching especially if it’s an action, adventure, or sci-fi film where the sub is needed more.

So what then is the solution?

I believe it is all about balance. Balance in the size of speakers you choose to use, balance in the volume you turn up the sub, balance in how much gain you use on the sub. I choose to use 5 1/4″ book shelf speakers for my surround sound because they can recreate almost the full range of sound with the exception of the deep bass. I use a powered sub in one of my surround sound rooms, but with the volume and gain adjusted to give it just a little boom without overpowering everything else. Of course, acoustics matter too so trial and error is needed to get it just right. For music I do not use a sub at all! I use a pair of 12’s or dual 12’s or 8’s depending on what I am listening to and how I want it to sound. Keep in mind that if your goal is just lots of bass a powered sub makes sense. For instance, rap and some hip hop are usually loaded with lots of deep bass if that is what you are looking for.

How do you like to listen to your music? Do you use a powered sub? A passive sub? No sub at all?

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The Importance of Surge Suppression

Today I will discuss the Importance of Surge Suppression.

Most people never think about the importance of surge suppression, instead they simply plug their electronics into a wall outlet. It’s protected right? The answer is yes and no. If it is a modern plug (in the last couple of decades or so) then it is a three prong outlet meaning that it has a ground connection. But is it really grounded for additional protection? Most electricians did not actually connect the ground wire when installing electrical outlets on new homes in the 1990’s. Behind that wall outlet their probably is a ground wire, but it is not connected to anything to actually do anything.

What can be done to fix this problem?

  1. Have a licensed electrician check out the outlets with a polarity checker device. It plugs into the outlet and uses a color code to check if the wiring is not only connected properly for polarity, but also confirms if the outlet is grounded properly.
  2. Do NOT take it upon yourself to rewire this outlet if it is not installed or working correctly. Premium Audio does not take responsibility for you doing this project yourself. Instead we advise you to hire a licensed electrician to handle this for you.
  3. Once the outlet is properly wired you can move onto the next step.

The next step:

To further protect yourself and your electronics from potential harm we recommend a surge suppressor and not a surge protector. The two look vary similar at a glance, however the surge protector is basically just a way to use one outlet to connect multiple electrical cables to at once. Most have a power switch to turn off or on the devices plugged into it.

A surge suppressor on the other hand does so much more! It will most likely have an indicator light to alert you if the outlets are not properly grounded. Any really good surge suppressor will also come with a warranty if it fails to protect whats plugged into it. Typically they offer anywhere from a $20,000 to $300,000 replacement guarantee. Also some include a line filter to minimize any hum on the line (which is also a safety feature).

Surge suppressors are designed to handle a much higher joule rating than a surge protector. In fact surge protectors most likely will not even mention the joule rating. The higher the rating the better it is for protection. 900 joules is ok for say a laptop when traveling, but not enough for much else. 1500 joules or higher is ideal for a desktop computer with monitor (or dual monitors), computer speaker package, and a printer. This can also be used to protect your home theatre (using a separate one from the computer setup).

Since a decent surge suppressor can be had for $50 or less you owe it to yourself to purchase one to protect your electronics. Click here to see what is available. Remember to replace the surge suppressor if you suspect it to no longer we working properly or if it has been in use for quite some time.