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Dolby Prologic IIz surround mode using front heights in 7.0 setup-Hands on Expereince

Wharfedale Evo 4.2

elangoas

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Hi All,

Back again to share my experience with Dolby Prologic IIz in a 7.0 set-up...This is one of the most common surround expansion mode found in many 7.x AVR's.. So time to experiment the surround modes and see how it enhance the regular (5.1) movie watching experience...

Here is a pic of my room - please exclude the front wide speakers in the picture (Corner of the room)...







Components used :

AVR : Onkyo TX NR 818 7.2

TV : Sony 46CX520 (LCD-CCFL Back-lit)

Source for movies : HTPC (All of them Digital Files)..

Connectivity : HTPC -> AVR -> TV (All Via HDMI, HDMI ARC between AVR and TV)

Media Player : XBMC (WASAPI Mode)

Audyssey : Dynamic EQ & volume - Enabled, Movie - mode

Surround expansion mode used : Dolby Prologic IIz

Front Left & Right - Sonodyne Sonus 2605 FS - Approx 6 feet wide
Center Channel - Sonodyne Sonus C2401 (Old model)
Surrounds - Sonodyne Sonus Rears Dipole's
Front heights - Onida Satellite speakers (Full Range speakers like bose) - On the front wall, near the roof, directed towards listening position, Approx 10 feet high from ground level and 5 feet above the floor standers....

Room Layout : 14 feet wide x 11 feet depth

Listening postion : Approx 9 ~ 10 feet from the TV

Since i don't have a sub-woofer, i refer to my set-up as 7.0

My Prior experience with Surround modes :

5.1 (Traditional Layout) - DTS & Dolby surround formats
7.1 (Traditioanl Layout + Surround back) - DTS/Dolby + Dolby EX
7.0 (Traditional Layout + Front wides) - DTS/Dolby + Audyssey DSX
9.0 (Traditional Layout + Front wides + Front Heights) - DTS/Dolby + Audyssey DSX/DTS Neo X Cinema.

Listening experience - 7.0 (Traditional 5.0 Layout + Front Heights) - DTS/Dolby + Dolby Prologic IIz.

It is very difficult to translate the feeling into words.. But i will try translating to the best of my abilities... :lol:

Hollywood action movies will have good action sequence & special effects which could be more evident when playing in these modes....Instead,i tried to play Bollywood movies and check how it improves over the standard 5.1 listening..

Barfi - File size around 8GB - Sound track DTS Audio (5.1) @ approx 1536 Kbps..

* In the introduction song of the movie, the men singing in chorus is extended to front height speakers.
* When police chases barfi in market for the first time, you can hear the background voices in the market juz like how we would feel when we are in the market.:clapping:
* The initial romantic scenes between ranbir kapoor & Illena has a good amount of background music which is played on the front height speakers...Even a cycle bell sound feels extended...
* When ranbir kapoor approaches Illena's family to tell abt his love, before he enters the house, there is a quite a bit of birds chirping that are heard in the front height speakers... (This sound is faintly heard in normal playback) :eek:hyeah:.
* When police is investigating Ranbir kapoor in the police station, then rain feel in the background is good....Enhances the whole scene.... :licklips:


Aashique 2 - File size around 4.5GB - Sound track DTS Audio (5.1) @ approx 1536 Kbps...

* When Aditya Roy Kappor getz on to the stage for live performance of "Sunn raha hai" song, the crowd cheer and echo is extended to height channels...
* In romantic scenes, a bit of information is extracted from the front channels and played on front height speakers...
* Juz before the song "Tu he ha mujko" starts, guitar strings are picked nicely....

In some scenes, the height made the presence felt... In most scenes, there was lil information...The front heights were subtle in presentation... They play sounds which are evident only when they have information, but otherwise they remain calm with information with their sound level lower than the front channels (All this at reasonable listening volume)..

The above observations are when i reused Onida satellite speakers (below average) as front height speakers... Results would have been even better if i had used timbre matched speakers....

Better way of explaining - When you enter a restaurant and order for food, you can clearly converse with waiter and at the same time hear the melow background music playing.... :eek:hyeah:

Constantly toggling between Pure audio mode - Audyssey disabled (5.0) Vs Dolby Prologic IIz mode (7.0) with Audyssey EQ & Vol engaged, the impact was evident....But when Audyssey EQ & Vol engaged and toggling between plain DTS (5.0) Vs DTS + Dolby Prologic IIz (7.0), the impact was more subtle....

So far, i have experienced 7.1 speaker set-up in three different speaker layout : -

1) 7.1 (Traditional + Surround back) - DTS/Dolby + Dolby EX - Very less information in surround back channels, hardly can feel the impact...

2) 7.0 (Traditional + Front wides) - DTS/Dolby + Audyssey DSX - Very good information in wide speakers, makes a good impact..Even DTS Neo X uses the same layout, so should be equally good.....

3) 7.0 (Traditional + Front Heights) - DTS/Dolby + Dolby Prologic IIz - The front height speakers are active, enhances the sound stage, but doesn't create much impact......

If i were to choose a surround mode to expand the existing 5.1 sound-stage, my first choice would be Audyssey DSX with front wides, second choice would be Dolby Prologic IIz with front heights and last choice would be with surround back channels...

The front channels create more impact than rear surrounds....

Dolby Prologic IIz in Front height does enhances the movie watching experience, but not to the extent of Audyssey DSX using front wides did.
 

Murlidher

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Re: Dolby Prologic IIz surround mode using front heights in 7.0 setup-Hands on Expere

very nice. Thanks. I also think a lot about experimenting from 5. 1 to 7.1. Because of the room size, I wouldn't be able to go for surround back as I need to stretch the wire way too long.

I can however can go for front height but not with front wides as I do not see any option available in SR5009.
 

elangoas

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Re: Dolby Prologic IIz surround mode using front heights in 7.0 setup-Hands on Expere

very nice. Thanks. I also think a lot about experimenting from 5. 1 to 7.1. Because of the room size, I wouldn't be able to go for surround back as I need to stretch the wire way too long.

I can however can go for front height but not with front wides as I do not see any option available in SR5009.

Thanks buddy... understand the limitation....i would suggest try Dolby Prologic IIz using front heights & Dolby Prologic IIx using surround backs.. But Front heights are pretty easy to hookup and less hassles with wires :eek:hyeah:..

SR 5009 being a 7.2 AVR, Marantz should have included DTS Neo X format which supports front wides/front height/surround back....This will give users maximum flexibility/choice in speaker placement...
 

sidvee

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Re: Dolby Prologic IIz surround mode using front heights in 7.0 setup-Hands on Expere

Good review Elangoas. Can you expand a bit on the level matching? Is there a level matching option available ie; matching the level to the rest of the speakers? If so, do the front heights have to be matched at same level, less or more as the rest of the speakers?
Cheers,
Sid
 

elangoas

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Joined
Nov 4, 2009
Messages
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Location
Madrasapattinam
Re: Dolby Prologic IIz surround mode using front heights in 7.0 setup-Hands on Expere

Good review Elangoas. Can you expand a bit on the level matching? Is there a level matching option available ie; matching the level to the rest of the speakers? If so, do the front heights have to be matched at same level, less or more as the rest of the speakers?
Cheers,
Sid

Thanx sidvee.. I didn't run the Audyssey Auto calibration, but had earlier calibrated for 7.0 with front wides.... So i took the front wides level as reference & set the front heights level to lil more than them....
 
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