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To 5.1, or not to 5.1?

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So this is how things are, I currently have this home theater connected to my LG TV: https://www.lg.com/uk/home-cinema-systems/lg-HT554TH-home-cinema-system
When I bought it of a friend, just for the sake of audio quality for music, I ended up connecting LR with LF and RR with RF on the amp and making the system stereo. First issue was that the rear right speaker's wire would be right in front of the door, second was that my sofa is all the way to the back of the room (room is 20 square meters) and cannot be moved anywhere else, as it's made to be a corner sofa, so the position of the rear speakers would be in line with me, instead of behind me (as I'm sitting near the back of the wall). I connected the system as 5.1 from the beginning, but having all speakers in front of me as 5.1 is pointless, so I configured them as L and R only with the subwoofer for extra power output for 2 channels (which this amp can take).
Note: even though it's a corner sofa I don't use it when I watch movies (I fall asleep lol), I sit on a chair that's actually in the middle of the room, so I suppose surround here is possible.
Can someone confirm that it's definitely worth the hassle for movies, and is it plausible if my rear speaker positions are not being behind me? Thanks in advance.

Edit: I forgot to add that there is another door at the back, though not exactly in the middle of the room, which may cause sound to leak and lose the surround effect?
 
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Toothless

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Every time I've gone into a 5.1 area, it's been fantastic for movies and certain games. I have also seen wireless speakers for 5.1 and 7.1.

The one setup that was built into the walls DIY was oh man so good.
 
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A picture speaks a thousand words :)

But.. I have had single and multi amp setups running from my computers over the years even when it wasn't very practical.. I have all of my music from the last couple of decades stored on a couple of hdd's. My priorities have changed over the years but some things stay the same :D

You can play with timing and power levels to make the system work for your room.. it takes some effort and trial and error.
 
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I'm currently satisfied with the audio for movies, but I think it can be even better in 5.1 configuration. I just want to know if it's worth the hassle, and is it pointless if the rear speakers are almost in line with me.
 
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I love the way the avr steers the sound around in multichannel, its pretty cool..
 
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Basically what you want in 5.1 positioning is the exact same as a stereo sweet spot and/or quadrophonic sweet spot. The 1.1 on top is center speaker and sub being separate channels. That serves specifically to enrich speech and have full power for heavy bass without distorting mediums and highs.

I would suggest NOT using the system in 5.1 for music. Rather, Maintain a few profiles. Most amps built for 5.1 will split the channel in two and you get less power for the 5.1 speaker setting than you would by setting it up for 2.0 (2.1). Additionally, check if you get the correct frequency range (speaker size) so you only send mids and highs to the satellites and only sub to the sub.

On my HK amp I have considerably more punchy stereo when I configure the setup for 2.1.


How to position speakers?

The simple approach: draw a cross from the intended most center seating position towards the corners of the listening area.

This means: if you have a rectangular room, in width, not length when looking at the TV, you could easily end up with a more 'flat' listening area. But they're still separate channels. You can test this easily, just move those rear speakers a bit further behind you. Yes, the origin of the sound will of course change position, but as long as you maintain stereo image, you will unhear that and it will be just like 4 separate channels in the same way, each with different positioning.

If you set it up differently, listen to it, and if its not super horrible to your ears, leave it there and return to it a few hours later, listen again. That way you can judge it more objectively. Its easy to get lost in audio like that if you test several setups in sequence (a bit like smelling lots of different things... you get confused about what's what).

Front speaker can be slightly behind the sound origin (a TV) but not too much. Distance matters, sound travels and the longer it travels the more distortion it picks up from the room/objects. If the soundwave is crossing the edge of a TV, it will bounce and you lose a bit of clarity. The same thing applies to rear speaker. To your side, and slightly behind you is just fine for a surround effect, and best of worlds is an equal distance from your ear as your front left/right speakers.

Amps can also support a (Dolby) Stereo Wide setting which effectively makes your rear speakers into 'more stereo' speakers. They pick up the sound that pans to left and right and not the rest. With that setting you can use the speakers for literally a wider stereo image but you'd position them in front of you - all 4.

Last, as for sound leaking... I'd worry more about things that resonate on the sub bass than sound leaking out. Any regular household listening room is imperfect, but we're not aiming for perfection.

TL DR: YES, 5.1 is bonus points, but set it up right. Most amps have a delay setting as well, so if you can't center your listening area (ie closer to one wall than another) you can use delay increments to balance things out and have sound delivered in a somewhat tweaked stereo image.
 
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I ended up connecting the speakers properly, however I'm having trouble with the audio, maybe I'm doing something wrong. I would have to use Bypass mode on the home theater receiver in order to pass the 5.1 audio from the TV to the receiver. However, I'm not getting any audio from the rear speakers, when I use Dolby Pro Logic II mode, I get audio from rear, but I think that's because it's meant and optimized for stereo audio. So it sends dialogue to center, music and general audio for L and R, and some effects to the rear.
[BYPASS] mode : Software with multichannel surround audio signals is played according to the way it was recorded.
2Ch source [PL II MOVIE] mode: The Movie mode is for use with stereo television shows and all programs encoded in Dolby Surround. The result is enhanced sound field directionality that approaches the quality of discrete 5.1-channel sound.
Am I supposed to be able to get 5.1 audio from the source of the TV, or would I have to use the DVD player on the receiver in order to get it? TV and the receiver are connected using Optical.
 
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Toothless

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Only works if everything supports it.
 
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Only works if everything supports it.
Yes, everything is supported. I'll try this now:
I checked with MediaInfo, and the encodes have the following channel layout: L R C LFE Ls Rs
This receiver has rear speakers so I'll change the layout by removing the side speakers and adding rear ones (Lrs Rrs).

Edit: There's no need to do this, they're part of the same surround array. However, the issue remains.
 
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Ive had 4.0 and 5.1 surround sound since probably the late 90s. I wouldnt change it for the world. Especially since the world changed and i dont plan on going back to the cinema any time soon. Even if you DONT game, Its still worth getting a modest setup for movies.

With exception of my subwoofer and center speaker which was brand new. Everything is second hand.
 
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I managed to get it working. I didn't configure TV's audio output format correctly. It had PCM stream selected, and I changed it to 'Pass through', now the Bypass mode (meant for 5.1 audio) on the receiver is working properly!
I have to say it's a whole different thing now with the effects coming from the sides, makes the content more alive. I'm really glad I did configure the speakers the right way, thanks to all.
 
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