Good article. I remember when 2.1 systems hit the market. Removing the subwoofer from the main speakers was all the rage, and it made sense. Take the subwoofer and move it out of the way, use small satellite speakers but have big sound. Then came 4.1, the first "real" surround with a speaker in each corner. This made sense too. The next big step was 5.1. You just had to have that center speaker as well. This too, made sense and to me this is the best type of surround setup for the home.
6.1 and 7.1 are marketing hypes, and as Fleischmann mentions, not really supported on most DVD's. I hate going over to peoples houses and seeing those systems set up in an environment where no thought has been given to speaker placement or sound reproduction. People automatically think that 6.1 or 7.1 is better because it is *more*. My advice to people has been that they should buy a 5.1 system, deal with less wires and set their living room up to suit a surround system (think about speaker placement, make sure that some carpets and curtains are in the living room to get rid of harsh echoing sounds etc). A correctly set up 5.1 system will sound *much* better than a poorly set up 6.1 or 7.1 system. So I am with Flesichmann on this one (even though his reasoning is a bit different from mine).
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