If you have not already heard, I designed a 15.2 channel surround sound setup and successfully tested it. This article will discuss a reason why you just might want to set it up in your living room too. Please read on to learn more….
First off let me say this, creating this setup was fun! For most people this will seem truly uneccessary and for most people I would agree that they do not need this setup. Let me say that again…for most people I would agree that they do not need this setup. So why, you may ask, would I write about something that I don’t think you will need? Shouldn’t I be trying to sell you something? I am writing this article to open your minds to the almost limitless possibilities out there, not only for home theater, but for anything you choose to do even if it has never been done or seems impossible.
Most living rooms do not have room for this setup. Being the home theater nut that I am I chose not to let reason get in my way of creating this! I put this in an area that is really only about 15′ x 12′ at best (the rest of the room is divided off with furniture for a home office and dining area). To make matters worse I didn’t use satellite speakers, I used large old school speakers that take up lots of floor space. I took some speakers I had laying around and just starting wiring it up and then spending my time sound testing over and over and over again with both music and movies trying to get that perfect sound for my living room.
My speakers ranged in size from a pair of 5 1/4″ speakers all the way up to dual 12’s. Other speakers included 10’s, 12’s, 8’s, and 6 1/2’s. This is without a doubt not the traditional surround sound setup. For one thing everyone always says to “use matching speakers.” I discuss many points in my book, “Customize Your Home Theater 5.1 channel to 15.2 and everything in between”, including this subject on matching speakers and what I think of this concept.
My setup, unfortunately, or fortunately, (depending on your take on the 15.2 channel surround sound setup I came up with), calls for additional speakers strategically placed in the room to make sure you still hear the sound effects by basically creating walls of sound. The room I worked with was a “L” shaped great room with a partially vaulted ceiling, carpet and lots of open space leading to the adjacent kitchen. This is definitely not the environment you would want to choose for your surround sound.
In the end it actually ended up being rather cool, especially with action movies where sound truly surrounds you like never before. For example during one recent film a helicopter was to go from right rear to left rear then back to right rear and finally back to the left rear again (if using a 5.1 channel setup or two additional speakers if using a 7.1 channel setup). In my setup it didn’t play thru just two speakers, or even four. Instead it played thru eight (8) speakers which really made the helicopter circle around you instead of just along both sides of you and back.
The standard 5.1 channel setup is supposed to “surround” you with sound. 7.1 is in my opinion a significant improvement. However, if you setup a 7.1 channel setup like they advise you when you scour the internet for proper speaker placement and set it up I do not think you will be overly impressed. I tested this too while writing my book and found a better placement of the speakers. With my setup it is much better. Even still, a 7.1 or 7.2 (if you use two subwoofers) does not truly “surround you” like they want you to believe. If you really want to have “surround sound” you should setup a 15.2 channel setup, maybe not with the giant speakers I used that take up too much floor space, but you should set it up. In 15.2 you sit in the middle of a circle of speakers. Now that’s what I call “surround sound.” Another reason for this setup is just so you can say and prove to your friends that you really have such a setup. Seeing and most importantly, hearing this setup will turn them into believers. Be prepared for your nearby friends, family and neighbors to suddenly start inviting themselves over just to watch a movie.
Let us know your take on 15.2. Do you like it? Do you plan to set it up in your home?