I Thought I Was Ahead When I Got 7.1!

When I bought my most recent A/V receiver two years ago 5.1 was the norm.  But my new Yamaha was capable of 7.1 so I thought I had future-proofed myself for the next few years.  Never mind that I am only using 5.1 of it, it was the fact that I COULD do 7.1 that gave me a smug feeling.

Then the other day I learned that some receivers are starting to ship with 9.2 and even 11.2!  Seriously?!  I don’t even know where I would put those extra 2-4 surround speakers.  I have the perfect spot for a second sub-woofer though.  And, yes, I know I can add a second sub now and do 5.2, or 7.2 if I added 2 more surrounds.  Bass is mono so it can be split with a Y-cable.

But, 9.2 and 11.2 intrigued me, so I looked into it.  I tried to find the configuration of where to place the speakers in a 9.2 and 11.2 setup.  Apparently there aren’t too many people doing it though, because diagrams were tough to find.  But I did find a pretty good one from Yamaha for 11.2.

So, the front and rear “presence” speakers are what take 7.x to 9 and 11.  In the picture above I noticed that both subs were placed in front near the left and right speakers.  I could be wrong, but I don’t think that’s a necessary location.  In my experience subs can be moved around.  Their sound is not directional.  As for which speakers (front or rear presence) can be removed to go to 9.x I don’t know and perhaps it doesn’t really matter.  It may be a matter of taste.

So what receivers can pump out this kind of sound?  A quick search turned up one.

The one I found (and not just because I’m a Yamaha fanboy) is the Yamaha RX-Z11BL which can be had from Amazon for a mere $3,298.  For your money you get 4 zones, 1,180 watts (140w x 7 + 50w x 4), HDMi 1.3a, and a LAN port for PC hookup to stream your music.  And that’s just the beginning of the spec sheet.

I didn’t search too far or too deep, but I didn’t find any others.  I’m sure they are out there, though.  I would be shocked if the other big boys weren’t keeping pace with Yamaha.  I checked Harman Kardon, though, without luck.  No luck, either, with Denon (they had 9.3 though), Onkyo, or Pioneer.

So, do I really need one?  Probably not.  Do I want one? Desperately!  I was actually trolling for a new receiver for the past few months.  I was looking at Yamaha and Harman Kardon and leaning towards the HK.  Now I am torn.  As I said, I haven’t even hooked up speakers 6 and 7 or sub .2, but if I could future proof to 11.2 with my next purchase then maybe I should…