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The difference between 5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 systems
A 5.1 set already delivers an amazing listening experience; yet many Blu-ray discs are configured for even better sound immersion in the form of a 7.1 system. For this you'll need a 7.1 A/V receiver that is able to handle 8 separate channels.
The advantages of 7.1 systems:
- Improved spatial localization of sound
- The elimination of sound gaps in larger rooms
- An extension of the so-called “sweet spot” (optimal listening position)
- Higher overall levels
Dipoles or direct sound transducers?
Many of Teufel’s home cinema systems offer the choice between dipoles (the “cinema version”) and direct sound transducers (the “concert version”) for the rear channels. Unlike direct sound transducers, dipoles don’t just radiate forward, they disperse phase-shifted sound to the front and back. This mean that when someone sits in the axis between the dipoles, the sound radiating from the front and back of the dipoles disperse so that primarily room reflections are heard. In this way, a cinema sound field in which surround channels are reproduced by multiple loudspeakers is convincingly simulated.
The following factors should be considered when purchasing a surround system:
1. Setting up the loudspeakers
If the rear speakers (placed either along side of or behind the listening position) are to be wall mounted and the distance between the loudspeakers and the listening position is less than 1.5 meters, we recommend the cinema setup. If it’s not possible to wall mount the rear speakers and you instead plan to place them on a stand or shelf, and if the distance between the loudspeakers and the listening position is more than 1.5 meters, the concert setup with direct sound transducers could be a consideration.
2. The room where the surround system will be used
If you’re lucky to have a room large enough to accommodate any system, your choice will then depend on how you intend to use the system. If you intend to spend over 50% of your time using the system to play DVDs, Blu-ray, or watch TV and only ever listen to music in stereo, then we would recommend the cinema version of our surround systems with dipoles. However, if you spend over 50% of your time with the system listening to music and enjoy doing this with a multichannel system, we recommend our concert versions with direct sound transducers. Impressive movie effects such as the sound of an airplane moving from right to left across a screen can also be reproduced without limitations by a concert system.
General notice regarding setup
The front speakers should be placed at equidistance to the left and right of the display just like a pair of stereo speakers with the same distance to the listening position as between the two speakers. They can also be wall mounted on either side of the display.
Since the centre is primarily responsible for reproducing dialogue, this speaker should be placed under the display and angled towards the listener.
Placement of the subwoofer can be freely chosen. It will not influence the sound from the other loudspeakers. Placement somewhere along a straight line between the two front satellites is a good choice.
The front left and right speakers and centre are always direct sound transducers in a 5.1 system. Bother of the rear channels can be served by either dipoles or direct sound transducers connected to either an active subwoofer or A/ V receiver.
5.1 system with direct sound transducers in the rear
With concert sets using direct sound transduces in the rear channel, these speakers are placed directly across from the front speakers – ideally at the same height. For instance: if the front speakers are placed on a shelf, the rear speakers should be as well.
Direct sound transducers are recommended when the distance between the rear speakers and the listening position exceeds one meter. However, if you need to sit closer to the rear channels, please ensure that the front of the speakers do not radiate directly towards the listening position, but rather angle the loudspeakers into the room in the direction of the TV.
5.1 system with dipoles in the back
If the distance between the listening position and the rear speakers is less than 1 meter, for instance because the sofa is directly positioned against the back wall, we recommend using dipoles.
The ideal placement of this 5.1 system has the rear speakers placed along the side walls between 1.5 and 2.1 meters from the listening position.
The ideal of a 360 degree sound immersion can be closely approximated by a 7.1 system. This configuration can be chosen with A/V receivers and amplifiers that offer connectivity for two additional rear channels.
The easiest way to see if this is possible is by looking at the power rating (e.g. 7 x 100 watts).
7.1 system with direct sound transducers in the back
If the distance between the listening position and the rear channel speakers exceeds one meter and/or if the speakers cannot be mounted 1.5 to 2.1 meters above the ground, you can opt for direct sound transducers and place them at the same height as the front speakers.
The general rule for 7.1 arrangements is that the four back speakers should be arranged in a trapezoidal form. Each side of the trapezoid should measure over 1 meter. If the distance between the speakers differs or if they are placed at different heights, the asymmetry can be compensated for using the speaker management settings on the A/V receiver or amplifier.
7.1 system with dipoles in the back
If the distance between the two rear centre speakers is less than 1 meter, we recommend the use of dipoles.
The ideally positioned 7.1 system places the rear speakers against a side wall on either side of the listening position at a height of between 1.5 and 2.1 meters from the floor.
7.1 system with dipoles and direct sound transducers in the back
This combination is a good compromise between direct and immersive sound. The dipoles can be positioned – depending on the room – either against the back wall or the side walls. This mixed system offers great flexibility and can fill even very long and narrow rooms with a well-blended sound.
7.1 and 9.1 systems with front high loudspeakers
Front high speakers give movie sound more dimensionality and brilliance. Birds singing in trees will sound like they are actually perched above you and planes and missiles will zoom over head. Your A/V receiver will need to have a front high or ‘presence’ loudspeaker connection for this arrangement. The front high loudspeakers should be placed directly over the display and slightly inclined towards the listening position. They can be added to either a 5.1 to create a quasi 7.1 or a 7.1 to create a quasi 9.1 system.