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5-channel Stereo?


Nighthawk
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Hi there...

I was wondering if someone could give me some information on what 5-channel stereo consists of... I have heard that it is available in the Denon receivers and some others now too and I was wondering exactly what it was as compared to how ProLogic works.

Thanks!!

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Tim "Nighthawk" Admire

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Hello, Tim.

5-channel stereo... now that's an oxymoron! I was reading a letter in one of the current HT magazines, where the author reminisced of the old days when "2-channel" music was called "stereo." Anyway, back to the question...

I've got a Denon with the 5-channel stereo mode. Lots of receivers have multi-channel playback modes, but some only play stereo sources through the surround speakers with a DSP (digital sound processing) mode. Those are those modes like "jazz hall", "auditorium", "stadium" or "commode" where the stereo music or source is played back through all 5 speakers, but there is an echo delay or reverberation built into the processing. It's supposed to simulate listening to your music in a grand hall or small club or whatever, but usually it just sounds fake.

Receivers with 5-channel or 7-channel stereo modes play the music through all five speakers, but without the echo or delay. The right and left front speakers usually play a normal stereo signal, while the center and rear speakers play a matrixed or derived signal. If you promise not to tell anyone else here, I'll admit that I often listen to jazz with my receiver's 5-channel mode. At least in my setup, it works pretty darn good. Remember, though, don't tell anyone... they'll pull my audiophile card.

The major drawback of a 5-channel music system is that the surround speakers that sound best for home theater use may not be the same ones that sound best for music. Most HT surrounds are dipole or wide dispersion speakers, while most music listeners seem to prefer rear speakers that match the fronts. Systems and tasts vary, of course, but this difference has led some of the receiver manufacturers to permit the use of both kinds of speakers in the same system. Mine lets me use my RS-3 surrounds for movies, but my Heresy surrounds for music.

I've not yet heard the ProLogic II, which is an improved ProLogic mode that is supposed to be optimized for creating multi-channel playback of stereo music. My receiver's supposed to be upgraded to DPL II later this summer (holding my breath... ), but I can't imagine being much happier than I am with the standard 5-channel stereo mode.

Hope this helped,

Ross

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"Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana."

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Thanks for the reply.

I'm still a bit confused though...

Does 5-channel stereo simply do ProLogic w/o the delay on the rears, or does it play a stereo signal to the rears without the delay?

Just need a bit of clarification Smile.gif

Thanks,

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Tim "Nighthawk" Admire

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Ross,I double checked and my receiver does not have the

"commode"playback mode.How does that mode sound?

And don't be embarrased.Where was it that I read the hard nosed 2-channel guy say that he "still listened to

music in 2-channel stereo,but not for long.I quickly switch back to multi-channel stereo".

Keith

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5 channel stereo is all 5 speakers getting the same signal at the sametime.

I have it on my Denon receiver and I never use it, my 2 channel stereo setup sounds much better then 5 channel does.

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Home Theater System:

Klipsch Quartets - mains for both systems

Klipsch KV3 - center

Klipsch KG.5's - rear surrounds

Klipsch KSW12 subwoofer

Denon AVR-1601

Music System:

Adcom GFA-555 Musical Concepts Modified

NAD 1600 Pre/Tuner

Sony C-67ES CD Player

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Keith,

"commode" mode sounds crappy, just like the others... Smile.gif

Myram,

I don't think that's entirely accurate. According to my Denon manual, the 5-ch/7-ch stereo mode is : "The front left channel signals are output to the surround and surround back signal left channels, the front right channel signals are output to the surround and surround back signal right channels, and the in-phase component of the left and right channels is output to the center channel." From what I've read, I believe that most of the other manufacturers also matrix out some different signals for either the center or rear channels.

Dolby ProLogic can be, and often is, subjected to DSP modes. So there may be a DPL Theater mode, and a DPL Sports mode. It's a different animal from 5-ch stereo and it doesn't work well for music, hence the new DPL II processing.

Ross

------------------

"Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana."

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some music i've heard sounds good w/ 5 good speakers, but day in, day out i prefer stereo for music, providing your speakers are placed to image well, and i think it's cool to be able to experiment w/ sound fields or dsp. my sony es777 has a music ss mode called live house that uses l,r, and surr. speaks, that is my personal fav. ss mode. avman.

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OK, thanks for the clarifications.

What about the modes that play the same stereo signal through the mains as is played through the surrounds. For example, the disco or rock concert modes on the Yamaha receivers. What is everyone's opinion on those?

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Tim "Nighthawk" Admire

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Also, you say "The front left channel signals are output to the surround and surround back signal left channels." In a 5-channel system, would that mean that the same signal that goes to the front left also goes to the left surround speaker? And is this with no delay as there is in DPL?

Thanks,

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Tim "Nighthawk" Admire

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Tim,

That's correct. On the Denon, the rear surrounds have the same signal as the front speakers. It's only the center that has the matrixed signal. I read of a different method that derives the rear channels, but I can't for the life of me remember who had it. In any case, unlike most DSP modes there is no delay built in here.

I can't comment on the Yamaha DSP modes - my old RSV-1070 had some, but I never used them. It was a ProLogic receiver and the rears only had, I think, 20 watt amps unlike the full-power rears of Dolby Digital receivers. My Denon's got some DSP modes too, but I don't care for the sound.

Ross

------------------

"Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana."

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Great, thanks for the reply! Someday when I've got the $$ I'll have to look into a new receiver and it will be a Denon I'm sure, probably the entry level or a step above... haven't heard anything bad about them.

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Tim "Nighthawk" Admire

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Denon Denon Denon. Here is Onkyo.

Yep, my onkyo has also the 5 ch stereo and I love it.

It is a DSP mode that uses the already present information in the source to distribute the sound to the 5 speakers. I don't know about the center but the rears produce the same as the fronts in stereo. It gives a good filled stereo all over the room.

I have to state that my rears are the same as my fronts as you can see at the bottom. With "real" surround speakers the effect would be much less.

As Onkyo stated: "DSP like it should be" Smile.gif

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Receiver: Onkyo 676

DVD: Pioneer DV-525

Screen: Thomson 46" RetroProjection

Front: RF-3's

Rear: RF-3's

Center: RC-3

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Okay, Sparky, I didn't mean to get on a Denon kick Smile.gif

I was just writing about what I knew for sure. Onkyo makes great stuff, and I just steered a friend to an Integra AV receiver. It sounds like the Onkyo does the same "processing" as the Denon. In fact, I'd assume most are similar in how they handle 5-channel stereo. Ya gotta do something with that pesky center channel.

Onkyo, Onkyo, Onkyo... Go Onkyo!!!

Ross

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"Time flies like an arrow.

Fruit flies like a banana."

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Not to throw another Denon card into the hat, but I'm a recent newcomer to the Denon fold and have to admit it sounds pretty great. I grew up on McIntosh stereo stuff and still have one in my system driving the front Cornwalls, but the 5/7 channel stereo is my default choice these days.

There is very little room impedence with the Cornwalls and Heresy's, and I just put on the music, crank it up and fiddle away in the adjoining kitchen. Best overall sound I've ever heard. Certainly not purist, just practical Smile.gif

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Denon AVR-3800

McIntosh MC-2105 (Fronts)

Toshiba SD-3109 DVD

Klipsch Cornwall I's (LF/RF)

Klipsch KT-LCR ©

Klipsch Heresy (RR/LR)

Klipsch KSW-12 sub

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