5.1 / 7.1 / 7.2.2 etc

I am going through an internal debate. I went to see a friend who has recently bought a 2nd hand Arcam AV888 and his system sounded excellent. I should point out that he is a dirac expert and knows his onions. His system is 5.3, I don’t think he has a ‘height’ speakers.

This got me thinking. I also have 5.3, and I am using my Oppo 105d as my processor.

From my perspective I am going to first hone what I already have, then think about a processor. My biase is, NO.

IF I was to get a stand alone processor it would, of course, offer a plethora of channels, but would I actually use them? If not might I be better off getting an older processor and just accept that I will stick with 5 main channel speakers and ignore 4k/8k; so head down the same route as the av888 or Marantz 8801, for instance.

Any thoughts or experience here?


Hi , M . arcam stuff is just superb but i just cannot face this dirac thing. i am not a techie and it took 6 hours for me and my supersonic IT clever son to set up just an ordinary denon av amp. we have had denon for years . its not as good as arcam but it cost a great deal less . i just use 5 channels and thats good enough for me . i find the sub overpowering sometimes so don`t use it

I bought a Marantz AV Pre new in about 2012 for $1500 retail and returned it due to poor sound, and the remote interfered with my NAC 112. My older Denon AVR-4800 from around 2000 was obviously better sounding. So is my AV2.

New Marantz is probably improved.


@MrUnderhill, Mine was a Marantz AV7005, according to my 2012 post on the old Forum. Very unsatisfactory, but long ago. I am sure the new ones sound better. They would have to! :grin:

Consider that I am now satisfied running 3.0 via AV2/NAP V-175 into Totem Model One Sig. and old KEF center speaker. Oppo 205, TiVo Premier, and 4K AppleTV are my sources.


Thx Nick & Hifinutt,

The AV2 was and is excellent, if overly long in the tooth unfortuneately.

When I bought the Oppo I did the comparison between the AV2 and the Oppo’s decoding. I would still give the edge to the AV2 on non-HiDef music or PCM, but otherwise I was happy to move to the Oppo and reduce box count.

Listening to my friend’s system is was interesting to me how great the right BluRays sounded, but also that standard 5.1 DD & DTS sounded flawed.

I have NO interest in adding yet more speakers to my living room, which is a modest 14’x12’, so many more channels is of no interest; I will be sticking with 5.3. This rules out Atmos and DTS X.

I could be attracted by an older high quality processor, IF it would lead to an improvement in performance, which points at makes such as: Arcam; Marantz; Anthem; and, perhaps Yamaha. Who each use different approaches to speaker setup.

Step 1: Get my current setup properly honed now I am using my rebuild SBLs!



Very sensible, staying with 5.3, IMV.

When I tried the Marantz, I was running 5.1 through a NAC112/NAP 150 and NAP V-175 off of my old Denon AVR4800, and an M&K sub. I ended up with a floor-model Denon AVP-1HDCI pre, which has been excellent, as far as it goes. Currently mothballed.

I looked at Onkyo and Integra, too, but never had a home-demo. I would consider them again if in need.


I love my Arcam AVR360, if buy another Arcam when this dies.

Hi CG,

What configuration do you use it in?
Is this a separate system from your Naim setup?



I ran a 5.1 system until the beginning of this year when I had a 5.1.4 system installed. It is much more discrete than the old 5.1 system as chunky rear surround speakers were replaced by on-wall MK Sound tripoles and MK IW95s in the ceiling.

I held out for a long time because it seemed like a gimmick but the sheer quantity of material now with immersive audio (films, sport, Sky Q, Netflix, Apple TV, etc) and some demos at AV dealers twisted my arm.

I went for an Arcam AV860 which is the processor version of the latest range of receivers (AVR390/550/850), but about to be all replaced this/next month so there may be some tasty deals out there. It sounds good and probably alongside the Anthem AVM60 as good as it gets until you start getting into Acurus, Focal, Lyngdorf, Storm, and Trinnov territory with 5 figure price tags.

Yes Dirac can be a pain but nothing a bit of patience and a competent dealer can’t sort out. I use it sparingly on the front channels (below 500Hz) and Sub only, otherwise it seems to neuter the sound of your speakers too much. There is loads of friendly advice on Dirac/Arcam on the UK AV forums if you need it.

I use in 5.1. I use its preouts for LR to my Atom so I can use my main speakers for 5.1 and music. This works well . One thing mine lacks is dirac as it uses Arcams older EQ tech but it does a good enough job of matching the two amps.

Thx CG,

So the primary difference between our setups is the Arcam vs Oppo processing, and having listened to the AV888 and I can well believe it has the potential to be better.

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Thx Felty,

The quantity of available software is an issue that I was wondering about.

Does your system do some form of matrixing on your older software? Converting 5.1 to give a pseudo form of height?


Yes, there is the option to use either the Dolby or DTS upmixers on native 5.1 audio - these are subtle but pretty effective for things like overhead helicopter and rain effects etc.

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