Do I need Pro Logic IIx?


I have a 5.1 system and am upgrading my Marantz SR7000 to separate components. I've already picked up an amplifier and am looking around for a second hand processor. Systems with Pro Logic IIx are newer and second hand units harder to find and more expensive than those with Pro Logic II. From what I've read, Pro Logic II supports five speakers and Pro Logic IIx supports seven speakers. As my speaker set-up is 5.1 and I'm not interested in 7.1, would I be losing anything if I pass on the Pro Logic IIx and go with Pro Logic II?
raduray
No, Prologic IIx adds two addiional rear speakers aside from the regular two rear ambient speakers. The extra speakers are dispensible INMHO and probably have very little effect on the overall impact, although I use the rear speaker because I have them in my system. You will get virtually all the benefit from a good 5.1 ProLogic II system.
Hello,

You don't need Pro Logic IIx but keep in mind that there are a lot more important issues. The most important thing is matching the right components together. certain pre-amps work better with certain amps and that changes with what else is in the system.

Thanks,
Duane
I would reccomend that you use the processor in the Marantz. The SR7000 sounds very good. I don't know what kind of amplifier you picked up but I would reccomend that you use the surround and middle channel amps in the Marantz and use a nice two channel amp for the fronts. You should be crossing those channels over around 100hz to your sub so the Marantz's amps should easily handle the load. This set up will also eliminate 6 interconnects.
Duane, I have a B&K 200.7 S2 amplifier. Extra two channels can be used for bi-amping. Right now I have B&W DM580's and B&W CC6 in the front and Design Acoustincs PS-55 in the back, but I'll be updating the speakers next.
Rad -

It may be an option to future proof. Although you may not be interested in PLIIx or other 7.1 variations, before long these formats will become more available on forms of media. Besides, you can also use the extra 2 channels for biamping until then.

IMO, If the prices are relatively the same between components you're looking at, then it wouldn't hurt to spend a few extra bucks for the extra channels.

The option is yours.
Hello again,

It would be cost effective to use the Marantz as the pre-amp but don't worry about the extra channels.

If you can sell the Marantz, the first real jump in performance with the B & K amps and B & W speakers would be an Arcam. The Arcam with B & W's along with the B & K amps will sound much better than a B & K pre-amp for example. The B & K pre-amp doesn't sound much better than the Marantz once you’re not using the Marantz amps.

An unbelievable upgrade would be to pick up an older Classe SSP-25 or SSP-30. This would be twice as good as the Arcam and 5 times better than the Marantz or B & K pre-amp.

Good Luck,
Duane
Raduray,

I have a different perspective, and it is that 7.1 has a far superior surround envelopment compared to 5.1, and for me is highly preferrable. I started with 5.1, then expanded to 7.1, and now I have no desire to ever go back to 5.1.

Since there are no 7.1 sources at the present time, AFAIK, you need DPLIIx and / or Logic 7 to drive a 7.1 speaker system. Both do a very creditable job.

Sometimes, there are room layout constraints that make 7.1 an untenable choice, primarily when your listening position is against the back wall and you don't have room to place the pair of rear surround speakers behind the listening area. Other than that, I would urge you to try 7.1.

Bruce
No. I never use all 7.1
Bruce - you hit the nail on the head, but unfortunately Rad's not interested. Not sure if its space issues or what, but if he ever got a taste of 7.1 or 7.2 done rights, he'd never come back to 5.1. I agree with you whole heartedly.

Even though there is no media formated in 7.1, just the soundfield variations of 7.1 are remarkable. Whats even more remarkable is that so many "audiophile" discredit surround for Music and only limit it to movie. But thats another thread in itself.

Rad - what have you experienced in 7.1?
Hello again,

I have to disagree with Cdwallace and Bruce because the only time 7.1 is clearly better are for other reasons.

1. 7.1 can only better 5.1 as long as quality is not cut to pay for 7.1.

2. 7.1 only images better if the speakers chosen for 5.1 were not wide dispersion.

3. 7.1 is better when you have 2 rows of seating to cover.

4. 5.1 in most rooms need to be dipole and a model that doesn't run the woofers out of phase.

5. With dipoles, DON'T sit in the null of the speaker. You should have the speakers slightly behind you. (Lucas is deaf)

I know everyone has an opinion but my qualifications as an audio engineer and a high end system designer for several famous people makes me more opinionated. LOL

Thanks,
Duane
I realize we each have our own preferences and priorities. I've also noticed Audiogon is very 2 channel focused, while sites like AVS Forum have more interest in multichannel listening, independent of whether that is a movie or music.

For those interested, below is a posting from sdurani at www.avsforum.com, which I think provides a very good explanation of 7.1 versus 5.1. This also correlates very closely with my own listening experiences of 5.1 compared to 7.1:

"7.1 set-ups have a few noticeable advantages in the surround field over 5.1 layouts: more precise directionality (4 hard points vs only 2), better envelopment (4 speakers can literally 'surround' you better than 2 speakers ever could), and greater imaging stability (no matter where you sit, sounds at your sides and sounds from behind you stay locked at those locations because there are speakers there).

It is difficult, if not impossible, to get all that from only 2 surround speakers. Doesn't matter how good they are, one pair of surrounds can't be in two places at once (at your sides and behind you simultaneously). The best and easiest way to get stable rear-vs-side imaging in the surround field is to simply place a pair of surrounds at your sides and another pair spread out behind you. Of course, this assumes you can tell when sounds are coming from your sides vs coming from behind you. If you can't, then stick to a 5.1 set-up.

To deal with a couple of myths in this thread:

Room size or space is not a determining factor for 7.1 layouts. What's more important is seating location. If you're in a large room but your seating is against the back wall, then you're a poor candidate for a 7.1 set-up (no room behind you for the rear speakers). But if you're in a small room and your couch is away from the back wall, then you could probably do a nice 7.1 set-up (where surround-back information really sounds like it's coming from behind you).

Consumer level 7.1 surround processors have been around for almost 20 years, pre-dating 5.1 soundtracks by a solid 8 years. People using those processors haven't been waiting 2 decades for material that takes advantage of the extra speakers. They've been using all 7 speakers since day one. ANY source, no matter how many channels, can take advantage of a 7.1-speaker layout. Surround information contains sounds that will image at your left side, at your right side, and behind you. By sending these specific sounds to their respective speakers (which is what PLIIx does) you get imaging stability, wrap-around envelopment and surround directionality that a 5.1 set-up cannot deliver.

Since you already have a 5.1 set-up, I would move the RS-3 surrounds directly to the sides of the primary listening spot. This will give you stable lateral imaging, which is also important when listening to music in surround. For the rear speakers, I would get a pair of RB-3 bookshelf speakers (which match the sound of your other speakers) and spread them out at least 60 degrees apart on the back wall. The separation will provide you better envelopment and allow you to hear the rears in stereo (sound over your left shoulder vs sound over your right shoulder).

Use the attached 7.1 placement diagram as a starting point for your layout."

Note- the attachment referenced above was the Dolby recommendation for 7.1 speaker placement from their web site.

Thanks
Bruce
Thanks for all the responses. Great discussion. What do you all think about a Rotel 1068 for future 7.1 upgradeability. I do like to listen to multi-speaker music and ProLogic II is a strong preference. I would like to keep it to less than $1500 - second hand is OK.

Radu
Hello Again,

We will agree to disagree, plus I don't feel like typing 30 pages and boring everyone including myself.

I am chiming in again to say that the Rotel is pretty good, the 1068 sounds as good if not better than the 1098. I still think Arcam is a little better and Classe allot better. It is not price related either because the Classe is much better than Lexicon, Theta, Krell, and Levinson which are many times the price.

Thanks,
Duane
Duane - Bore us...Please bore us. Being the system designer to the stars, please enlighten us DIYers.

Bruce only provided the very basics of surround setup, be it 5.1 or 7.1. He hasn't even touched the calibration of the system, which would further establish the fact that 7.1 can outperform 5.1.

Duane - Since you've complete many systems for famous people, can you walk us through your calibration process for these systems?
Hello Again,

After calculating room nodes and finding out how many people will be in the room most often and correcting construction material issues, (mismatched density issues in walls and ceilings), I find out listening levels and habits.

I then match a speaker to the room based on the rooms ability to present frequency extremes and sustained pressure level taking into account the speakers dispersion and the performance limitations it will have in relation to placement.

When I find a speaker that has the right balance of trade offs, I determine the speaker’s character and weaknesses and I choose electronics that will boost up the weaknesses while leaving the strengths alone making the overall performance well balanced.

Examples:

B & W speakers need solid state amps that have a lot of decay in the bass but are clean, have tube like highs above 8 KHz. and have a fast and foreword midrange. (BAT, Symphonic Line, Electrocompenet, Classe, to name a few.) Bad matches would be Krell, Levinson, Bryston, and Conrad Johnson.

After that is chosen, if there are any characteristics that the client loves the most, (Bass power, 3 dimensionality, airy or sparkle), I fine tune that part with the pre-pro and cables.

For set up I place the right speaker against the wall firing into the room and move the left speaker into the room a 1/4" at a time until a bass note in the music I am playing sounds an octave deeper. At that point the speaker is working with the room instead of against it. There will be 3 or 4 points in the room that this will happen and I choose the one that has the best midrange as well or I compromise based on how much room it eats up or if it will be in the way. I then move my head up and down and find the sweet spot with in the speaker and if it is lower than the listening position I add rake to the speaker until it is tonally balanced and smooth without any sizzle or hollow sound.

After I find that spot I move the right speaker into the room until I no longer hear a bass note on one side lead the other in time.

After this is done I do the same thing to the center channel just playing stereo music into the left speaker that will no longer move and the right channel going into the center speaker. I move the center speaker until it locks in. Then I go around the room going between the left front and the left rear, then the right front with the right rear. The rears I move up, down, left, and right with in a range and find where it locks in.

I then integrate the sub or subs by movement, phase, rake, and toe in.

Now are you bored? LOL

This process of speaker setup takes about 5 hours.

Thanks,
Duane
Forgot to say that I run the center chanel .5 db down because most movies are too hot in the center and I adjust the xover on the subs in 2 Hz increments and are usually riding between 24 and 32 Hz.

Thanks,
Duane
Duane...Duane Duane Duane...I'm waiting for you to get to the calibration process. Yes you are boring me...with pamphlet rhetoric. To be perfectly honest, you sound like a Rives Audio brochure. Nothing against Rives...great knowledgeable people. But you have completely and totally tap danced around the question. You've only mentioned the following (put in a nutshell):

1)"After calculating room nodes and finding out how many people will be in the room most often and correcting construction material issues, (mismatched density issues in walls and ceilings), I find out listening levels and habits." "I then match a speaker to the room based on the rooms ability to present frequency extremes and sustained pressure level taking into account the speakers dispersion and the performance limitations it will have in relation to placement."

You've visited one of the many web sites that will calculate possible room modes, nodes, spikes, and dips for you. Then you consult various audio magazines, website reviews and write-ups for products that will "best suite" your clients tastes and wallets.

2)"When I find a speaker that has the right balance of trade offs, I determine the speaker’s character and weaknesses and I choose electronics that will boost up the weaknesses while leaving the strengths alone making the overall performance well balanced."

More audio reviews to consult.

3)"B & W speakers need solid state amps that have a lot of decay in the bass but are clean, have tube like highs above 8 KHz. and have a fast and foreword midrange. (BAT, Symphonic Line, Electrocompenet, Classe, to name a few.) Bad matches would be Krell, Levinson, Bryston, and Conrad Johnson."

You approach surround like 2Ch. Name dropping and such. So, you only recommend the products that you sell. The others are just bad matches. Besides, who needs to know electronics, when all you need to know is the product you wanna sell.

4)"After that is chosen, if there are any characteristics that the client loves the most, (Bass power, 3 dimensionality, airy or sparkle), I fine tune that part with the pre-pro and cables."

Another 2Ch approach.

Before you get up in arms, I am not anti-2Ch. However, let me point out this is surround sound.

The rest is just too much to copy and paste so I won't bother. In so many words, you move speakers for the next 4 of the 5 hours until you "lock in" the "sweet spot."

MC 101 - MC done properly...every spot in the sound field is the sweet spot!

So...that being said... do you at least auto calibrate your pre-pro/receiver?

Ohh..almost forgot

5)"Forgot to say that I run the center channel .5 db down because most movies are too hot in the center and I adjust the xover on the subs in 2 Hz increments and are usually riding between 24 and 32 Hz."

Your center is still too "hot" and you sub xover is too low. Care to explain why?

and of course...

6)"I then integrate the sub or subs by movement, phase, rake, and toe in."

I thought low frequencies, especially those handled by the sub, were omni-directional? From a non-distinguishable standpoint, that is.

I'm being a little tougher on you, yes I know. That’s because you're the professional and this site is dedicated to those who search for the answers in areas to include the pros. Just wondering if you can help us out. ;)
Duane very interesting post:

"B & W speakers need solid state amps that have a lot of decay in the bass but are clean."

How does one determine when an amplifier has alot of decay in the bass?

"For set up I place the right speaker against the wall firing into the room and move the left speaker into the room a 1/4" at a time until a bass note in the music I am playing sounds an octave deeper."

Very thorough, might be the way i'd setup a Sonus Faber speaker,

"This process of speaker setup takes about 5 hours."

Doing it the really hard way by Duane :), people pay you for this time? I need a sales course from you.

"I adjust the xover on the subs in 2 Hz increments and are usually riding between 24 and 32 Hz."

If the processor allows those increments....of course and you're way under utilizing the subs, even with b&W 800's setting the croosver to 50 hz splits 2 typical room modes and increase dynamic range, ps throw sock in the port when you do that..

"I move the center speaker until it locks in. Then I go around the room going between the left front and the left rear, then the right front with the right rear. The rears I move up, down, left, and right with in a range and find where it locks in."

Yeah that doesn't work bud, you're not associating the speakers correctly. Sumiko teach you that too?
I hope a lot of people that know me on here see this thread because they will vouch that

A. I don't read reviews nor use them to sell.

B. I recommend things I don't sell all the time and every week I tell someone that a certain product I carry that they want is not right for them or their system. Read my feedback.

C. Bass is directional except in the frequencies that are the room nodes because the whole room amplifies the sound.

D. I do set up theater systems like an Audiophile because the brain responds to unnatural tonal balance, phase shifts, and electronic and mechanical insufficiencies with listening fatigue.

E. My systems do have a sweet spot as does everything including the RPM on my car but with speakers that are very wide in dispersion you can walk around in the room and hear no holes and have good placement of sound effects.

F. Rives audio is a good company but if there is a problem or character to the sound that they can't verify with measurements then it doesn't exist.

G. I use a Sencore to verify performance to the customer and to record it for changes or service in the future. I cheat though because a flat system to a Mic is not the same as an ear. Even when I do large church sound systems I fine tune by ear.

H. I do follow Sencore and ISF on video calibrations because my eyes are not nearly as good as my ears.

I. If a speakers is well designed, the fronts and sometimes the center can run full range with better dimension and agile body to the bass. If this is the case, a true sub performs much better reproducing the air movement of the event and deep bass that is ambient noise whenever we are outside. This is what makes the walls disappear.

J. I did go to Sumiko but all they did was verify what a lot of us already knew. The 2 things they did teach me was that the movie directors and studios do care about sound quality and making events sound real and they showed me a teachable method for speaker setup that was just instinctive before.

K. My mentors that agree with me have many US patents and even 1 patent is very difficult to get.

Actually I forgot to keep looking back at the post and just rambled on, sorry.

Sound is sound regardless if it is a singer or a gun. The reason theaters can cheat and get away with a non audiophile approach is because everyone knows what a singer sounds like and very few people know what a plane crash sounds like.

In spite of my tone I am still having fun; I just like having these discussions in person or over the phone.

Duane
Well Duane,

To be honest your methods are several steps above average but one of your biggest handicaps is the equipment you choose to use as your reference, to me an expert is going to know what the best equipment is and to use Classe and their limited processors as your sword is to me a bit of a strike against you. They will not allow you to setup your system properly without great difficulty.

You would be shocked at whatI could do to your system after your 5 hours of setup. Your approach is why you don't believe bruceomega's excellent informative totally correct post on 7.1, because you treat every speaker as stereo pair, 7.1 messes you up because it is a three channel matrix like the front speakers.

In surround sound you should be a brand zealot because so few companies make quality surround products. Wide dispersion and quality wide dispersion are two seperate things as you indicate but how many companies actually make a solid center channel?

"Bass is directional except in the frequencies that are the room nodes because the whole room amplifies the sound."

Yeah that's not true, but if i teach you I'll have to charge.

"If a speakers is well designed, the fronts and sometimes the center can run full range with better dimension and agile body to the bass."

Very rare and expensive those speakers are, two subwoofers or 5 which I like personally will always be better because where the mids are great the bass is usually not very good.
This is a problem when the bass driver is attached to the midrange driver. So you might as well accept that reality before you walk in the door. Use your Sencore to measure the difference, my little cheapy system posted here on the gon is +/- 2 DB to 30hz if you ignore 1 very Hi-Q cancellation at 42 hz. No way you get that performance from a fullrange speaker.

Let me close in saying 1. I hope to be teaching a class on how to setup a surround system properly at the local community college this spring and its great to see someone trying hard to do it right!
My recommendation here, is that QUALITY ABOVE QUANTITY!!
Many people are more concered aboust subjects like 5.1 vs. 7.1 (or 6.1), SACD vs. DVDA, HD DVD vs. Blue Ray, Dipoles vs. Direct firing, and so on!!! The problem here is that the vast majority of these people never actually get a system that's setup for quality in the first place, and never get the maximum potential from their system's to begin with!
Give me quality (even 2 channel w/sub) over 7 channels of mediocre quality, poorly setup and un-calibrated system performance, ANY TIME!!!
If I were you, I'd work on the overall integrity of your system, as opposed to what signal tweaks/formats you're trying to get on your next processor purchase. That's my 2 cents anyway.
Infact, if It came down to buying used pre's on the market, I'd buy the likes of old quality sounding pre's WITH OUT DpII or IIx personally, like the krell HTS, before buying any receiver or sonically compromised pre/pro, with more bells and whistles personally. good luck
"Give me quality (even 2 channel w/sub) over 7 channels of mediocre quality, poorly setup and un-calibrated system performance, ANY TIME!!!"

I agree totally! EXCELLENT POINT!! BRAVO!

However, this statment looses it merit EXTREMELY fast when you have a good quality, correctly setup and calibrated 7 channel system. But thanks for your 2 cents anyway, Flrn. ;)