Re: On 8 speakers

Subject: Re: On 8 speakers
From: Richard Zvonar (
Date: Sun Jan 24 1999 - 14:43:04 EST

At 3:05 AM -0800 01/24/99, KEVIN AUSTIN wrote:

>There is currently a discussion going on about the placement of speakers
>in an eight-speaker environment.

At Level Control Systems we've been around and around on this one for the
last few years, particularly as it applies to our demonstration systems for
trade shows and in-office demos. We've generally gone with option 2, with
center speakers on all four walls. This derives from theatrical sound
design, where a center cluster is standard practice.

My preference for 8-channel is:



         1 2

         3 4

         5 6



Once the center channel is established, compatibility with 5.1 and 7.1 is
almost automatic (we derive 7.1 by repatching the Back Center channel to
the subwoofer). This may not be an immediate consideration for you, but in
the long run I expect there will be an increasing amount of material
available on DVD in the 5.1 format (an early example of that is Roger
Reynolds' "Watershed" DVD which includes 5.1 versions of pieces orignally
composed for six, seven, and eight channel surround).

One "small" issue is the numbering of the channels. Once you've got a
center channel you have the question of whether Left, Right corresponds to
Odd, Even. Personally, I find it helpful if I'm not required to mentally
invert bus assignments and pans when setting up signal rounting in a mixer
(this applies to both hardware and software control interfaces). The
recording and broadcast community appears to concur, and there are
currently two standards for track to channel assigments in 5.1.

The DTV broadcast standard is:

1 L
2 R
3 C
4 LFE (Low-frequency effect, or subwoofer)
5 LS (Left surround)
6 RS (Right surround)

The music mastering standard for DTS is:

1 L
2 R
3 LS (Left surround)
4 RS (Right surround)
5 C
6 LFE (Low-frequency effect, or subwoofer)

Richard Zvonar, PhD
(818) 788-2202 voice
(818) 788-2203 fax


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