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Advice on system consisting of 2 Genelec 8341 + 6 8320s?

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Hello everyone,

What a wonderful community you have here. I'm a gear head and musician from Germany and am so glad to have found a forum about audio equipment with a scientific/measurement focused outlook to help me navigate the murky seas of online information.

I am going to receive a pair of Genelec 8341 soon, which I am very excited about. Reading through the forum has now given me the brain bug of wanting to set up a surround system, mainly for producing and listening to music. My wallet is unhappy about this as the purchase of the Genelecs has basically broken my bank — so I'll have to find a more affordable option for the rest of the speakers and start saving up. The 8320s seem like a great option as I could use the GLM with them, too, plus they're much more reasonably priced. What I'm wondering about is how much of a problem, if any, the narrower vertical directivity of the 8320s might be. I don't have any experience with the likes of auro 3d, etc., and am wondering if it were a correct assumption that the main work is usually done by the front left and right speakers in common surround setups? This would lead me to believe that if I moved out of the sweet spot of the 8320s, the effect would not be too massive, as I'd mainly still be hearing the 8341s in front of me? I hope I'm making sense. I am planning on a super near field setup, I would usually be sitting somewhere between 50-100cm from the speakers, to reduce volume so as not to upset the neighbours and reduce room interference. I'd be setting up the system via software instead of an AVR.

I'd also be interested in general opinions on whether you'd consider a surround system in a well treated room preferable to a stereo setup in a less treated room. As far as I can gather the former would provide a more immersive experience that stays closer to the intended sound of a recording, while the latter lets the room colour the recording more — is that a fair way of looking at it or am I totally off track here? I know that opinions on this differ quite substantially but I'm very interested in hearing some more views on the matter.

Any and all help is much appreciated — as you can tell I'm not too knowledgable on any of this, so forgive me if my questions might be somewhat naive.

Cheers and have a good one,
Will
 
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srrxr71

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I’m mostly wondering where you get your source music from for surround. Sure there are a few SACDs and DVD-A and Apple is pushing Atmos music.

From reading gearspace it seems a lot of this new pushed atmos music is being produced by people who have never worked with multichannel music. I have heard there are absolutely wonderful 5.1 music mixes out there. But from the limited set of multichannel tracks out there and then picking out ones which are good you would be limited to a few demo pieces I would imagine.

As for auro 3d I have never delved into it.

Your best bet is to check out the genelec experience center in Berlin and sample multichannel music.

I have a pair of 8341s and even though people keep saying they are near field monitors they really need to be set quite far apart to create a nice soundstage. They have no problem filling in 10-12 feet with solid sound.

When I first got them I had them about 6 feet apart and they were nice but I wanted to see how they perform with them 12 feet apart. They play just fine and I wouldn’t put them closer at this point.

I have always wondered about a near field surround system as you have mentioned. I have even imagined creating a cage for such a system. So speaker can be mounted all around me.

After getting the 8341s I feel sometimes we overthink the room’s influence. It does matter but the concept of “hearing through the room” above 500Hz changes the game.

Having the speakers close to you doesn’t really change the room interaction problem below 500Hz and above 500Hz it doesn’t really matter and if anything it creates spaciousness.

Having the mains positioned for smooth mid bass and bass is more optimal and you can have a wonderful wide soundstage. Those frequencies tend to couple with the room and having them out from the front wall will not help. Yes then you will still have the “neighbor” problem and I had them positioned close just for that reason but I didn’t find it to be worth it for that reason alone. Not worth it for the room interaction reason either. My side walls are still pretty far away and further than the monitors to me so that helps.

These sound like perfect headphones beamed to your ears and positioning them too close is still better than drivers sitting on your ears but you may as well take advantage of the fact you can place them pretty far from each other and enjoy the soundstage. You can put them far enough apart to give you space to feel like the the soundstage is life size instead of miniature which is the chief issue with headphones apart from the fact that the soundstage sits between your ears. I would never go back to that except for portable use.

If you must have surround then you could build a cage and mount the surrounds close and have GLM time align and level match them for you. I wouldn’t sacrifice the nice front soundstage for anything.

Also I like your idea of spending less on the surrounds. I can’t imagine they handle anything apart from some ambience effects in music and even atmos specs them lower than mains. For HT they may have to do some special effect stuff but again I can’t really see myself spending too much to have that motorcycle behind me sound accurate. It’s immersive sure, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. The LFE channel is there to cover the bass anyway.

I think the only reason to get those full on perfect multichannel systems is if you produce it. You need a reference.

I looked at your question again - anything in a well treated room is better than in a poor room. Why would you neglect to treat the stereo room? I would get the stereo pair first. Treat the room second. Then invest in surrounds if enough source material comes into existence one day. If you meant to ask if having surrounds compensates for lacking room treatment I somehow doubt it. It might depending on the recording. In fact the whole multichannel music premise depends on the recording skill. Given how we have seen producers screw up simple stereo and dynamic range compression I don’t have high hopes for multichannel. It seems the push is to get top 40 stuff onto atmos and they will slapdash it into existence and probably throw in a bunch of gimmicky effects. Auro 3d is audiophile oriented but i’m not familiar with that world. Someone else may be able to tell you about that.

For me the 8341s setup properly is about as immersive as I need. It’s like virtual reality but with sounds coming from the front only. I haven’t been to any concert with musicians playing behind me so I don’t feel i’m lacking anything by not having music piped in from behind. Possibly I would need to educate myself about auro 3d as there are many people who are into it.

I suppose if all that Yamaha dsp stuff Where it claims to take your music to various world famous concert halls and venues actually worked we would all be talking about it. I don’t think surround music erases your room and puts you in a concert hall but I could be wrong.

Perhaps one day it would be possible with higher order ambisonics and probably 64 channels mounted around you. That also would be limited to one head position. A seating cage would be ideal for this. That way you could turn your head in any direction and it would sound like you are in the actual place that the recording was made. Most natural spaces don’t have a lot of bass anyway. You will notice most of these demos impress people with stuff like raindrops. This avoids the mid bass, bass and sbir room issues in the demo.


Anyway try the setup in Berlin and see if it doesn’t fix your brain bug or maybe it will make it worse. I don’t know. I have to admit I too get that brain bug at times. If I did atmos for movie watching I would just get a cheap AV receiver and run cheap speakers for the surrounds and keep the mains proper Genelec ones. Maybe I would invest in a proper center channel but placement is a real headache. Maybe above the TV with it angled down? Or below angled up? Or get a real projector and acoustically transparent screen? Somehow I feel the juice isn’t worth the squeeze. I don’t have time for many movies and there isn’t a lot of surround music out there. The stereo genelecs are enough to impress guests seriously.

By the way the best way to try spatial audio is just using AirPods with head tracking. Ultimately it’s a good format for headphone use. Or maybe a foam shell with 64 drivers. How would you air condition that space? Put the compressor and fan far away and pipe it in? Actual studios have to deal with these design issues all the time.

If you are interested in this stuff you can read about high order ambisonics. The trade off is between number of speakers, FR and size of sweet spot. So if you want 2 heads to be in the sweet spot you may need 128 or 256 speakers. This is why binaural gets pushed so much. The format really works best practically for headphones with head tracking.

I’m not discounting traditional HT as a lot of people are fans of it. The music angle could be interesting but it’s probably yet another gimmick and we’ve seen them come and go over the years. It has stuck for movies because it works for movies.
 
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Sancus

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I’m mostly wondering where you get your source music from for surround. Sure there are a few SACDs and DVD-A and Apple is pushing Atmos music.
There are around 8500 multichannel albums listed on hraudio.net although roughly 7500 of them are classical or jazz, and only 500 pop/rock. So if you are fans of those genres it's not actually *that* limited although of course you won't always find things performed by a particular player or orchestra. But multichannel sounds so much better than stereo that I would much rather listen to a good performance in multichannel than an excellent one in stereo. Some sources are Pentatone, 2L store, nativedsd.com

As far as Atmos goes, a lot is being produced right now but it is hit or miss in production quality. One thing I'm noticing is neglect of the center channel, using phantom center far too much. There should be very little phantom center in a good multichannel mix. The best stuff is when the musicians clearly participated and understand the format like with Yello's Point album. That is still rare of course.
 

srrxr71

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There are around 8500 multichannel albums listed on hraudio.net although roughly 7500 of them are classical or jazz, and only 500 pop/rock. So if you are fans of those genres it's not actually *that* limited although of course you won't always find things performed by a particular player or orchestra. But IME multichannel sounds so much better than stereo that I would much rather listen to a good performance in multichannel than an excellent one in stereo. Some sources are Pentatone, 2L store, nativedsd.com

As far as Atmos goes, a lot is being produced right now but it is hit or miss in production quality. One thing I'm noticing is neglect of the center channel, using phantom center far too much. There should be very little phantom center in a good multichannel mix. The best stuff is when the musicians clearly participated and understand the format like with Yello's Point album. That is still rare of course.
I’m not too familiar with the multichannel world apart from the fact that when sacd and dvd-a came out a lot of people were very happy with it. Does it put you in the actual recoding space? The best I got was were those sacd demos at Best Buy. Those didn’t convince me. Jazz I could get behind especially if it sounds like being right there in the jazz club.


Found a couple of impressions. It seems some recordings sound spectacular and erase the confines of your room. I haven’t heard it done properly so I have no idea.




It seems they complain also about the music not being properly centered. You give some of these producers a bunch of channels and they’ll want to fill them.

I wish there were an easy way to turn 2 channel into 3 channel LCR. But sitting right in the middle of these genelecs I don’t have a problem with the phantom center. Sitting even 12” to either side and it becomes a problem very quickly.
 
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Sancus

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I’m not too familiar with the multichannel world apart from the fact that when sacd and dvd-a came out a lot of people were very happy with it. Does it put you in the actual recoding space? The best I got was were those sacd demos at Best Buy. Those didn’t convince me. Jazz I could get behind especially if it sounds like being right there in the jazz club.
It can put you in the recording space, it really depends how well it is done and how good your setup is. 2L's albums are incredible at doing that. Even when the illusion isn't perfect though it's still much better than stereo. You get much better imaging(I am using the word in the sense of instrument location) and an expanded soundstage especially with material that allows direct sound into the surrounds to a limited extent.

Plus there's the stuff that is just cool, like my favourite organ recording which was recorded in a cathedral with four different organs in different physical locations. You really could not capture that performance with stereo.

Also, it isn't well known for some reason, but phantom center is inherently flawed due to acoustic crosstalk/cancellation and so a real center will always produce clearer vocals in particular and this difference is not small if you actually compare material that was produced with the same multitracks in both formats. Toole's covers all the problems with stereo very well.

P.S. Quadraphonic Quad is a good forum for reading about Mch.
 
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kongwee

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I have many jpop concert DVD, end up listening to stereo. I have tried HT on those concert DVD, not missing anything. Avex and SM Entertainment used to put their concert on cinema, but the presentation is not really good. With Dolby Atmos, I doubt. It is the mixing and mastering that matter. The studio engineer and producer failed to product a convincing presentation to move music into multi channel.
 

Sancus

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I have many jpop concert DVD, end up listening to stereo. I have tried HT on those concert DVD, not missing anything.
Multitrack recorded pop music is a poor candidate for multichannel unless you get creative with the mix because the stereo mixes inherently have little to no spatial information to start with.

And getting creative with multichannel is an art that few audio engineers have mastered.
 

srrxr71

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It can put you in the recording space, it really depends how well it is done and how good your setup is. 2L's albums are incredible at doing that. Even when the illusion isn't perfect though it's still much better than stereo. You get much better imaging(I am using the word in the sense of instrument location) and an expanded soundstage especially with material that allows direct sound into the surrounds to a limited extent.

Plus there's the stuff that is just cool, like my favourite organ recording which was recorded in a cathedral with four different organs in different physical locations. You really could not capture that performance with stereo.

Also, it isn't well known for some reason, but phantom center is inherently flawed due to acoustic crosstalk/cancellation and so a real center will always produce clearer vocals in particular and this difference is not small if you actually compare material that was produced with the same multitracks in both formats. Toole's covers all the problems with stereo very well.

P.S. Quadrophonic Quad is a good forum for reading about Mch.
I see. I picked this up for the day when I have the multichannel system for it: Tumbleweed Connection https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00064X...t_i_7S8PTVCD92NQ8W3GGB23?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1


I wonder if there is a simple way to take anything that is center panned or equally loud in both L and R from L and R and pipe it to the center channel. Early Dolby surround basically just sent L-R to the back. It created a sense of spaciousness. I guess it won’t be as good as a mix made for 3 channel but still anything panned to dead center would come from the center channel.

I did some experiments with HomePods putting a mono HomePod in the center and left and right in their positions. It was actually nice to listen to.

If a system could convert all our massive 2 channel catalog to 3 channel that would be a huge benefit. I need to read up more on Floyd’s perspective on that. I did not know that.

I always thought that crosstalk was necessary for stereo. I guess theoretically you would then have to have your speaker placement geometry match the mixer’s monitoring setup placement geometry for each track. I doubt anyone remembers what that was for each studio and each track.
 

kongwee

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Multitrack recorded pop music is a poor candidate for multichannel unless you get creative with the mix because the stereo mixes inherently have little to no spatial information to start with.

And getting creative with multichannel is an art that few audio engineers have mastered.
How many engineer wanna go into that? The demand is not there. It is very big barrier to break. The market and the people. Plus the customer base to support more project and production. People are really troubled with stereo with all their lifetime.
 

srrxr71

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How many engineer wanna go into that? The demand is not there. It is very big barrier to break. The market and the people. Plus the customer base to support more project and production. People are really troubled with stereo with all their lifetime.
It’s tough. $50k just to get the right monitoring setup and then mounting and acoustic treatment etc. Then for us to recreate the setup at home is very expensive.

For music I wish they would start with 3 channel at least. That is something we all could stomach.
 

Sancus

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If a system could convert all our massive 2 channel catalog to 3 channel that would be a huge benefit. I need to read up more on Floyd’s perspective on that.
It is possible, Auro3D does a pretty good job of using the center but of course it requires 5.1.4 at a minimum. I'm very happy with it though and usually leave it on for all stereo music. I actually discovered it because Dr. Toole mentioned how much he likes it.
 

Sancus

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How many engineer wanna go into that? The demand is not there. It is very big barrier to break. The market and the people. Plus the customer base to support more project and production. People are really troubled with stereo with all their lifetime.
Engineers will go where the money is.

You're ignoring the fact that good multichannel on headphones is already a thing and will become more widespread now that the computational power and hardware(head tracking) to do it is not expensive. I am pretty sure Apple is going to get it right eventually and honestly if somebody would just buy the Smyth Realiser software and commercialize it properly we could all have it lol.

That is what the push towards Atmos music is for. It's not for those of us with surround setups, although we will benefit from the content availability.
 

kongwee

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Engineers will go where the money is.

You're ignoring the fact that good multichannel on headphones is already a thing and will become more widespread now that the computational power and hardware(head tracking) to do it is not expensive. I am pretty sure Apple is going to get it right eventually and honestly if somebody would just buy the Smyth Realiser software and commercialize it properly we could all have it lol.

That is what the push towards Atmos music is for. It's not for those of us with surround setups, although we will benefit from the content availability.
I can't describe the magnitude to work with Dolby Atmos. You have M1 MAC and spend $200++ on Logic Pro X, you can play with Dolby Atoms.
 

tifune

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I have a pair of 8341s and even though people keep saying they are near field monitors they really need to be set quite far apart to create a nice soundstage. They have no problem filling in 10-12 feet with solid sound.

When I first got them I had them about 6 feet apart and they were nice but I wanted to see how they perform with them 12 feet apart. They play just fine and I wouldn’t put them closer at this point.

This is interesting; can you elaborate on your setup little more? If you've already posted elsewhere you can just link it. I've been looking closely at the 8361a lately, as it and the D&D 8c seems to be the only 30-20kHz that will sum properly within my listening distance of 1m. But what youre saying definitely gives me pause
 

mkt

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Hello everyone,

What a wonderful community you have here. I'm a gear head and musician from Germany and am so glad to have found a forum about audio equipment with a scientific/measurement focused outlook to help me navigate the murky seas of online information.

I am going to receive a pair of Genelec 8341 soon, which I am very excited about. Reading through the forum has now given me the brain bug of wanting to set up a surround system, mainly for producing and listening to music. My wallet is unhappy about this as the purchase of the Genelecs has basically broken my bank — so I'll have to find a more affordable option for the rest of the speakers and start saving up. The 8320s seem like a great option as I could use the GLM with them, too, plus they're much more reasonably priced. What I'm wondering about is how much of a problem, if any, the narrower vertical directivity of the 8320s might be. I don't have any experience with the likes of auro 3d, etc., and am wondering if it were a correct assumption that the main work is usually done by the front left and right speakers in common surround setups? This would lead me to believe that if I moved out of the sweet spot of the 8320s, the effect would not be too massive, as I'd mainly still be hearing the 8341s in front of me? I hope I'm making sense. I am planning on a super near field setup, I would usually be sitting somewhere between 50-100cm from the speakers, to reduce volume so as not to upset the neighbours and reduce room interference. I'd be setting up the system via software instead of an AVR.

I'd also be interested in general opinions on whether you'd consider a surround system in a well treated room preferable to a stereo setup in a less treated room. As far as I can gather the former would provide a more immersive experience that stays closer to the intended sound of a recording, while the latter lets the room colour the recording more — is that a fair way of looking at it or am I totally off track here? I know that opinions on this differ quite substantially but I'm very interested in hearing some more views on the matter.

Any and all help is much appreciated — as you can tell I'm not too knowledgable on any of this, so forgive me if my questions might be somewhat naive.

Cheers and have a good one,
Will
Multichannel is very good. Most (not all) content is in 5.1. Atmos content seems to be growing very fast because of Apple Spatial, but I am not aware any way to get atmos with a computer only---an AVR seems necessary. Computer-only 5.1 from Apple spatial audio does work with a mac. (I do this).

I have 8320s as left and right surrounds, and 8331s for LRC. You may want another 8341 for the center.

More channels, more better. EDIT I would say, based on Ch. 15 of Toole, this is an objective statement.
 
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