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Height Speakers, Worth it or just a ploy to buy more speakers?

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Hello all,

I am wondering how many of you have a 9.1 or 7.1 system using the Height speakers channel. What are your opinions? On the Dolby site they make it out to sound like the best thing ever, but what do you expect. I have found the advice and reviews by the forum members to be very helpful and have been building my system accordingly. My room size is not very big 15.5' by 12.5' with 8' ceilings, I know I already have way more speaker than needed for this size room with the RF-7II's but I am future proofing. [;)] I am planning on using RB-81II's for the height channels. I can not use them for rear surrounds due to lack of room in current house. Can anyone tell me if height channels are worth it or are they just a gimick? I know that I could use a smaller speaker but I am going for top of the Reference Line setup. Thanks in advance.

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I have the same situation and I'm adding some RB75s as heights this weekend. I know Audyssey DSX recommends wides before heights but the location works out better for me as heights. I will however experiment and try both ways. The Onkyo (mine anyways) limits you to pick one or the other so both can't be applied at the same time.........stay tuned!

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Can anyone tell me if height channels are worth it or are they just a gimick?

I would not say that height speakers are a gimmick, but I(me) would spend my $$$ on more "subwooferage". I don't know what sub you are using or the size of your room but quality subs have had the most impact on my HT viewing as well as music listening.

Bill

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I personally am sticking with 5.1. No desire to add height or wides to my setup. Just my personal preference.

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To Tasdom, I will be interested to hear what you think, for me I do not have the room for wides so heights is all I can do. Willand it is a JBL do not have the number handy, 12" woofer 300 Watt amp, about 12 years old. I agree about "subwooferage" :) I am saving for that right now. Just curious about thoughts or experiences. To Youthman I know you have a very well set up 5.1 system I read through your build thread and that is why I have the smaller JBL Northridge 24's as my two rear channels, only way I could get them to the right level and behind my listening position. I saw what your issue with the RB-35's was. I would have made the same mistake. I am just curious if mounting RB-81's as heights will add anything or not. I think you of all people know about that "ITCH."

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I'd never given it much thought until I got a good deal on the RB75's. After reading up on DSX I got curious and then the Dolby Pro Logic IIz info (link) really made me wonder. I guess worst case scenario is I hate it and move them somewhere else or work on a 2 channel set up.

http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/technology/home-theater/dolby-pro-logic-iiz.html'>

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We hooked up Wides, Heights and Surround Back to my Denon 3312 and found we like Heights (kg3) much better than either of the other; but, my den has tall vaulted ceilings.

Heights also allow you to use either Audyssey-DSX (A-DSX) or Dolby Pro Logic IIz (PLIIz). Which of those 2 sounds better varies by material.

I use an old AVR, digital, but not HDMI for Surround Back, Simulated Wides (Surround Feed) and 2 more Centers (Phantom).

Next week, we're going to hook up the Denon 3311 in the Parlor with 11.1, but, we think, because of small room size and 8 foot ceilings, Surround Back will probably sound best.

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I have used Front Height speakers for 1 1/2 year and recently swithed to front wide due to changing the room around. The height speakers add a vertical dimension to the sound if they are 3+ feet directly above the mains. There are no movies with dedicated height info like the other channels. Basicly it is a glorified 5.1. In some movies rain, wind, planes, ect may come from the height channels. I liked using them for regular TV and some music. They are not a major theater changer. A lot depends on the room. They can spread out the sound so that it is not as congested for a more open feel. More subwooferage will go a lot further. Large height speakers are overkill for what they do. To small of height speakers will not be heard at all.

Front Wide speakers I am finding add to L to R pannning and can add a vertical dimension to the sound field if they are located high. I have mine near the ceiling which is not recommended but, for me they work well there. I also have the wide speakers around 6 ft lateral to the mains. I also like them for regular tv, music and DVD/BD. But, once agin it depends on the room. Front Heigt and Front Wide speakers work best in larger rooms. 98+ % of the material will be in a 5.1 setup so, if you don't have height or wide speakers you will not feel like you are missing anything. 97% of all movies are in the two main channels. The more speakers we add, the return valuse goes way down.

Surround Back speakers are the most bang for the buck when it come to 7.1 and up systems. For me, the RS 35 work as good as bookself speakers for height or wide speakers and I don't have them tilted down. The avr will adjust the spl so the tilt is not needed in my case.

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If there is not enough distance between the mains and height/wide speakers, the spatial cues from those speakers will be lost in the congestion of the sound field if that makes any sense.

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Remember, too, A-DSX and PLIIz have differ recommendations for types of Height speakers: A-DSX recommends Monopoles & PLIIz Surround type speakers. Audyssey sends Full Spectrum & NEAR Discrete material, while DolbyZ only Discrete.

Dolby does redirect Surround Back material from 7.1 Soundtracks, like Transformers Dark of the Moon (TrueHD 7.1) to the Height Speakers in PLIIz mode. Helps to have 7 year old boys; gives excuse to listen to these great soundtracks, like it & Cars2.

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read for yourself, it's implied by Dolby, but stated by Audyssey...monopoles work for both...

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I have a 5.1 Klipsch setup that works well IMHO and I just got a brand new AVR, and everything sounds fine to me. My brother-in-law has a 7.1 setup, also a brand new AVR (not as nice as mine, and not as nice a speaker set either) and every time I go over his house it hits me immediately at how much better his system sounds than mine. I set his whole system up too. The 7.1 just sounds a lot better to me.

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I enjoy 5.1 and 7.1 movies equally on my system. System - room synergy is the key. System setup/tweaking can make lesser components sound better than than their pirce point reflects. In some rooms to many or to few speakers degrade the sound and the room size and speakers size also must be a good match.

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To Tasdom, I will be interested to hear what you think, for me I do not have the room for wides so heights is all I can do. Willand it is a JBL do not have the number handy, 12" woofer 300 Watt amp, about 12 years old. I agree about "subwooferage" :) I am saving for that right now.

I got everything set up yesterday afternoon and I'm still smiling[:D] Even without re running Audyssey, this is one of the most noticeable improvements I have ever made to my system. I ran Audyssey this morning and made a few trim level adjustments with my SPL meter. All I can say is WOW!

I played Transformers DOTM and was blown away with the front sound stage. Everything pans across seemlessly and the effects had me looking up to my right and left. I tried both Audyssey DSX and PLIIz settings and I'd give a slight edge to DSX. These settings are only enabled (with audyssey) when heights (or wides) are added.

I know upgraded subs would have the biggest impact but until then, this is money well spent and I highly recommend.

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I'm running wides in a 14 x14 room. Haven't hooked up my height channel yet, but what I can tell you is although the room isn't really wide enough for the full experience it does add nicely to movies when there is background music. I still have to purchase some height channels but do not plan in doing that until I get a receiver that will run all 11 channels at once. My marantz only has 7 amplified channels and it switches between them depending on content to power the correct speaker. Unfortunately it will not allow you to use the preamps on the addition channels to another amp to pick up missing channels. Looks like the av8801 is in my future

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if you hook up all the speakers, with your size room, I think you'll find you like Height or Wide for some material and Surround back for others...ALL is better

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