M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
Hey guys, I'm having a hard time getting any real advice on an issue I'm having. Likely this is because it's a setup not many people go with.

I'm using a single back surround, so I guess this would be 6.2.4. DTS:X content works perfectly as well as upmixed with Neural. Dolby surround seems to work fine as well although the back surround is not used (I knew this going in). However the issue is with Dolby Atmos, not only is the back surround not used to which the processor shows it is active... the processor screws up the rest of the speaker placement as well. Instead rendering it as 5.2.4, which isn't ideal, but would be acceptable, it treats my setup as a 7.2.4 and uses the side surrounds as the back surrounds and seems to simulate side surrounds with audio from the surrounds and the front LR speakers, mostly it sounds like side surround content comes from the front LR. This might be happening with Dolby Surround upmixed content as well, but harder for me to troubleshoot that to confirm. This might be why DTS Neural up-mixing sounded so much better to me. Changing the settings in the AVR isn't great option and is requires new calibration everytime I switch to an Atmos source and back.

Personally I really think the single back surround seriously helps the rear soundstage in my setup (properly placed SBL/SBR is not an option). Since the Denon would allow one back speaker officially, I spent a lot of time and money placing that speaker in-wall (and even had to have a contractor re-route a stud and vent pipe in the wall for it). I'm at a loss on how I could combine the LR signal to mono outside of the processor for this, and while that would be better than the broken situation I'm in, it would be better if the processor was handling this for more accurate soundstage processing like it does with DTS content, and this would in-reality make the DTS content worse as the processor does it correctly there. I feel kind of cheated as this means while Denon claims they support this config, it really isn't functioning at all, and I doubt they pay much attention to my issue since I'm sure I'm a rare case that actually uses it for this purpose.

I suppose I could go buy another $1,900 speaker, pay the contractor to open up the wall, re-work the stud and vent pipe further, add a speaker stacked on the existing one, angle them outwards, and kind of make my own bi-pole speaker with separate inputs, but I certainly wouldn't have gone down this road if the processor wasn't supposed to support it? Does anyone know of a different processor or AVR that will accept this speaker configuration? Does anyone know how to properly combine two pre-outs to a mono signal?
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
Hello and welcome! How many speakers are you using exactly and where are they placed? What is the model of the Denon?
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
Hello and welcome! How many speakers are you using exactly and where are they placed? What is the model of the Denon?
Thanks for the reply.

I'm running 6 floor channels, front center, L/R about 25 degrees at MLP. two side surrounds at about 110 degrees, single rear surround at 180. Center tweeter is right at ear level, all others are in line about a foot high or so. Then 4 in ceiling speakers in line with LR at about 45 degrees at MLP each way. The ceilings are 8 footers, so wish they could be higher overhead, but best I can do. The room is 15.5 x 20 feet. My seating is about 4 feet off of the back wall. If I could do it again, I likely would have pulled the Atmos in toward the middle about 6 inches each to give the impression of more separation from floor channels, but they certainly work well. Their position would be perfect with 9 or 10 foot ceilings.

The Denon is the AVR-X6500H.

edit: Also two SVS SB3000 Subs
 
Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
Thanks for the reply.

I'm running 6 floor channels, front center, L/R about 25 degrees at MLP. two side surrounds at about 110 degrees, single rear surround at 180. Center tweeter is right at ear level, all others are in line about a foot high or so. Then 4 in ceiling speakers in line with LR at about 45 degrees at MLP each way. The ceilings are 8 footers, so wish they could be higher overhead, but best I can do. The room is 15.5 x 20 feet. My seating is about 4 feet off of the back wall. If I could do it again, I likely would have pulled the Atmos in toward the middle about 6 inches each to give the impression of more separation from floor channels, but they certainly work well. Their position would be perfect with 9 or 10 foot ceilings.

The Denon is the AVR-X6500H.

edit: Also two SVS SB3000 Subs
Best place to start I think is to match your setup to what is in the owner's manual. From your description it sounds like you have the setup on page 59 for 11.1-channel speakers where the ceiling speakers are set as "top" as opposed to "height" speakers like on page 54 or 57 or 60, with the exception that you have a single Surround Back instead of two Surround Back speakers. Is that correct?

I don't see where that is supported in the manual. It allows for a single Top Surround speaker in an Auro-3D 10.1 setup like on page 62 but if your single speaker is in the surround back position it seems you have an 11.2 setup with one surround back missing. If that's the case, I would likely opt for the second surround back to yield the full 11.2 setup although the two surround back won't have the proper separation, and make sure that the ceiling speakers are set properly as top or height depending on placement.

As to combining signals, I may get some thumbs down on this, but the line level signal is low voltage and high impedance and you can usually bridge RCA connections with a simple y-cable or splitter in reverse without damaging the equipment. (It goes without saying, but DO NOT bridge the speaker connections.) Audyssey will likely still run in this configuration, but I bet that it's going to screw up the surround effects. If you had to compromise because there was only one place to install a surround back, my recommendation is install a second one and maybe angle them left and right as you suggested. And wait and see if others agree with me or have another option I missed. ;)
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
At 11.1 and set for top/ceiling speakers, make sure it is set at 4 channels for tops and not 5 or it will grab that back surround speaker thinking you want it for AURO 3-D.
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
Best place to start I think is to match your setup to what is in the owner's manual. From your description it sounds like you have the setup on page 59 for 11.1-channel speakers where the ceiling speakers are set as "top" as opposed to "height" speakers like on page 54 or 57 or 60, with the exception that you have a single Surround Back instead of two Surround Back speakers. Is that correct?

I don't see where that is supported in the manual. It allows for a single Top Surround speaker in an Auro-3D 10.1 setup like on page 62 but if your single speaker is in the surround back position it seems you have an 11.2 setup with one surround back missing. If that's the case, I would likely opt for the second surround back to yield the full 11.2 setup although the two surround back won't have the proper separation, and make sure that the ceiling speakers are set properly as top or height depending on placement.

As to combining signals, I may get some thumbs down on this, but the line level signal is low voltage and high impedance and you can usually bridge RCA connections with a simple y-cable or splitter in reverse without damaging the equipment. (It goes without saying, but DO NOT bridge the speaker connections.) Audyssey will likely still run in this configuration, but I bet that it's going to screw up the surround effects. If you had to compromise because there was only one place to install a surround back, my recommendation is install a second one and maybe angle them left and right as you suggested. And wait and see if others agree with me or have another option I missed. ;)
Thanks for the advice... The single surround back speaker is an option under the speaker config menu. It asks if you are running 1 or 2 surround back speakers. I'm looking in the digital version of the owners manual, so I don't see the page numbers as you do. It's definitely set correctly, and I've tried both "tops" and "heights" configuration on the in ceiling speakers mostly because I've heard it makes very little if any difference to Atmos, but gives you the ability to use Auro3D when you have "heights" over "tops". However, if I try to use Auro3D on Atmos content, the heights don't work correctly if I remember right. I usually set it to "tops". I can confirm the visual speaker layout in the settings menus shows exactly what I have. I've never seen any Auro3D content.

I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to go forward with yet. Looking for all the information I can. I've been looking at other receivers as well... the Onkyo gives you options to set the surround back speakers to a relative distance to each other and "<1ft" is an option, but that would still require a second speaker and install which isn't ideal. I'm pretty sure a Trinnov would solve my issue, and any further issues I have... but I'm really hoping to dump money on a screen and projector and anamorphic lense rather than an overkill Processor and rush out the separate amps as well. I'm also wanting to order a star ceiling. A Trinnov isn't in the plans quite yet.

I need to see if I can get in contact with Denon about this as it's is an obvious bug for sure. They haven't responded to my request.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Senior Audioholic
The digital manual may be more up to date, especially if the receiver has had any firmware updates. Maybe search for some threads on ATMOS specifically.
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
At 11.1 and set for top/ceiling speakers, make sure it is set at 4 channels for tops and not 5 or it will grab that back surround speaker thinking you want it for AURO 3-D.
Yeah, it's definitely set as the single back surround speaker. Everytime you set 7 floor channels, you have to pick the option to run 1 or 2 back surrounds. I have 4 "tops" set for the height channels.
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
The digital manual may be more up to date, especially if the receiver has had any firmware updates. Maybe search for some threads on ATMOS specifically.
Yeah, I've been searching the entire web for days now. I've post in several forums... This one is pretty much the only one that has received any reply... and I definitely haven't seen anyone post about this particular issue in that the receiver is in NO WAY doing what it should... even if the back surround wasn't supported, it should simply not be used, not screw up the entire soundstage processing.
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
Have you checked for a firmware update?
Yeah. No update has been available for quite a while.

I've given it about 4 days to see if Denon would respond to their support enquiry. I'll have to try to call them when I have time during business hours.

Atmos supports the setup. Page 51 of the manual, "center surround speaker". It also points out that the Dolby Surround Upmixer won't upmix to that speaker and it is the only speaker outside of the front center that doesn't have to be added in a pair.

atmos-installation-guidelines-121318_r3.1.pdf (dolby.com)

Denon supports it. Don't see why I shouldn't have ground to stand on regardless if it's a "normal" setup or not. Hopefully a tech could tell me what's going on and fix it. I don't see how Denon officially supports the speaker, took the time to implement it into their setup graphics and everything, and it completely screws up Atmos soundstage... I would think it's something I have done wrong rather than Denon.

There are certainly a lot of people that could take advantage of this setup with placement issues. Probably why there is a "6.1.4" advice thread posted in many locations over the last decade.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
If it is up to date on firmware, check the dolby height virtualization update. Yeah, I know, you already have height speakers. But, Dolby and DTS will virtualize speakers for missing channels and reroute sounds. DTS is fine with your one back surround speaker but dolby does not like it and as far as it is concerned, you do not have any back there. So, if virtualizer is on, it is going to send info from a 7.1 track to the surround channels because it doesn’t accept the one back surround channel speaker and sees none. I believe the dolby height virtualization update turned virtual speakers on by default. If it is on, it may be the reason you are getting strange signals in atmos but not DTS. Just a theory, but stranger things have happened with receivers. Something to ask Denon if you reach them. Hope you work it out.
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
If it is up to date on firmware, check the dolby height virtualization update. Yeah, I know, you already have height speakers. But, Dolby and DTS will virtualize speakers for missing channels and reroute sounds. DTS is fine with your one back surround speaker but dolby does not like it and as far as it is concerned, you do not have any back there. So, if virtualizer is on, it is going to send info from a 7.1 track to the surround channels because it doesn’t accept the one back surround channel speaker and sees none. I believe the dolby height virtualization update turned virtual speakers on by default. If it is on, it may be the reason you are getting strange signals in atmos but not DTS. Just a theory, but stranger things have happened with receivers. Something to ask Denon if you reach them. Hope you work it out.
There is some good information there. I hadn't heard about that update. It would make sense that whatever functionality that is, is what is causing it to virtualize my side surrounds... what still doesn't make sense as why it is doing that. So even in the speaker call out for a 5.1.4 system on the Dolby Atmos disc... the side surround white noise aren't played in the side surround speakers exclusively.

So I know Dolby Surround upmixer won't use the center back surround, it's stated in the manual, however Dolby Atmos definitely supports it. It's all over their manual, even states it is the only speaker outside of the front center that you don't have to add as a pair.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
Not sure if you are referencing Dolby or Denon manual. What I thought was going on is that it was sending the surround back info to the surrounds since dolby doesn’t like the one back speaker and sees none because of it. So, if it sees none, I thought the virtualizer was sending info from an atmos 7.1 track to your surrounds since it sees a 5.1.4 setup. The metadata would go to the height speakers but maybe the surround back info is being virtualized in the surrounds.
B5EE9BE0-CBD7-469C-A9D7-8CD2E595F11D.jpeg
 
G

Gmoney

Audioholic Ninja
If it is up to date on firmware, check the dolby height virtualization update. Yeah, I know, you already have height speakers. But, Dolby and DTS will virtualize speakers for missing channels and reroute sounds. DTS is fine with your one back surround speaker but dolby does not like it and as far as it is concerned, you do not have any back there. So, if virtualizer is on, it is going to send info from a 7.1 track to the surround channels because it doesn’t accept the one back surround channel speaker and sees none. I believe the dolby height virtualization update turned virtual speakers on by default. If it is on, it may be the reason you are getting strange signals in atmos but not DTS. Just a theory, but stranger things have happened with receivers. Something to ask Denon if you reach them. Hope you work it out.
Was gonna say just buy Yamaha ;) but you seem to have OP covered.
 
M

Macropoxy

Audiophyte
So, I was referring to a Atmos manual. Just verifying there is no reason from Dolby that the speaker would be omitted from the processing.

But yes, you have the problem down, however the processor isn't behaving how you describe. In fact, if it did behave that way, I probably would have looked past it even though the processor should be using all the speakers it supports with Object-based metadata. (not Dolby Surround Upmixer). The problem is made much worse in that it ignores the rear speaker, and treats the side surrounds as rears, then pushes most of the side surround audio to the front channels. So 5.1 content is mostly all on the front soundstage. The height channels seem un-affected.

You'd think as you said, that 5.1.4 is how it would behave, and the back surround data is being sent to either heights or the side surrounds to get it close to the back as possible since it doesn't think I have any back surrounds. Instead it treats my system like I have 2 back surrounds, and the LCR, but no side surrounds, and the side surrounds are playing the back surround signals. I know the Denon is supposed to support the speaker placement, but my guess is they have a serious (to me) bug in their Atmos implementation that is throwing ALL Atmos content way way off with that setting enabled. So it's worse than just not supporting the speaker with Atmos content, it breaks Atmos soundstage completely. To get it better, I either have to delete the speaker from the settings and set a 5.2.4 manually, or use it as a Left surround back and have a dead spot in the soundstage since I don't have a right. Then I have to re-calibrate if I want to re-add that speaker for DTS:X or DTS:Nerual content.

The point with the Atmos manual, is it is a supported Atmos speaker position, as well as a supported Denon speaker position. I don't need it to be a "back Dolby", just need it to be a 1 speaker back surround. If I'm not mistaken, "back Dolby" would be a pair of back up-firing "Dolby enabled" speakers, correct?

What receiver page is that by the way? Didn't look like my manual, but the options are just like that. So I have Surround Back set to 1 spkr, and it is plugged into the left side correctly.

@Gmoney
I didn't think Yamaha receivers supported a center back channel, at least not at the 11.1 level.
 
G

Gmoney

Audioholic Ninja
So, I was referring to a Atmos manual. Just verifying there is no reason from Dolby that the speaker would be omitted from the processing.

But yes, you have the problem down, however the processor isn't behaving how you describe. In fact, if it did behave that way, I probably would have looked past it even though the processor should be using all the speakers it supports with Object-based metadata. (not Dolby Surround Upmixer). The problem is made much worse in that it ignores the rear speaker, and treats the side surrounds as rears, then pushes most of the side surround audio to the front channels. So 5.1 content is mostly all on the front soundstage. The height channels seem un-affected.

You'd think as you said, that 5.1.4 is how it would behave, and the back surround data is being sent to either heights or the side surrounds to get it close to the back as possible since it doesn't think I have any back surrounds. Instead it treats my system like I have 2 back surrounds, and the LCR, but no side surrounds, and the side surrounds are playing the back surround signals. I know the Denon is supposed to support the speaker placement, but my guess is they have a serious (to me) bug in their Atmos implementation that is throwing ALL Atmos content way way off with that setting enabled. So it's worse than just not supporting the speaker with Atmos content, it breaks Atmos soundstage completely. To get it better, I either have to delete the speaker from the settings and set a 5.2.4 manually, or use it as a Left surround back and have a dead spot in the soundstage since I don't have a right. Then I have to re-calibrate if I want to re-add that speaker for DTS:X or DTS:Nerual content.

The point with the Atmos manual, is it is a supported Atmos speaker position, as well as a supported Denon speaker position. I don't need it to be a "back Dolby", just need it to be a 1 speaker back surround. If I'm not mistaken, "back Dolby" would be a pair of back up-firing "Dolby enabled" speakers, correct?

What receiver page is that by the way? Didn't look like my manual, but the options are just like that. So I have Surround Back set to 1 spkr, and it is plugged into the left side correctly.

@Gmoney
I didn't think Yamaha receivers supported a center back channel, at least not at the 11.1 level.
Mine doesn't I'm not even sure on their flagship a3080. Was mostly messing with @Trebdp83 He seems to have helped you somewhat. He and I have a little droid thing going ons. inside joke that is between he and I.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Field Marshall
I'm going to back off of my theory for X6500H. While the dolby height virtualization update was made available to the X8500H, I do not think it was available for the X6500H and the behavior described just doesn't seem like the kind that would occur with it anyway. Some things that are interesting about the Denon X6500H. You'd think that, since it allows a single surround back speaker using the left surround back speaker terminal, that you could also assign the right terminal to the top center speaker if you wanted the AURO setup. But, no, you have to sacrifice the single back speaker or you can use the #2 sub pre out and externally power the top center speaker. No, atmos and AURO placement don't exactly match up, but so what? Many folks make concessions with most placement anyway. If a guy has 6 channels at the floor/ear level, why not let him have 5 channels up top? But no, it's 6, when using single surround back speaker, and 4 up high with dolby or 5 and 5 with AURO.

As for atmos and sound modes, it's just kinda' strange. I swear I saw something about an update for use of the dolby surround mode with one surround back speaker but again, don't think it applied to the X6500H. Manual says dolby surround mode will not output signal to single surround back channel but atmos mode is ok. Dolby surround mode can be applied to DD/DD+/HD signals. DD+/HD modes can be applied to atmos signals. There just seems to be some confusion in the dolby modes when using a single surround back speaker. Forgot to ask about atmos material and modes being used when the sound issues occur. Hope it gets sorted out. It's a weird one.
 

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