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Those extra channels come in handy

During his tenure as a Crutchfield staff writer, Marshall Chase wrote about home theater receivers, sound bars, and in-wall and in-ceiling speakers.

More from Marshall Chase

Home Theater Receiver Tip: Three things you can do with those “extra” amplifier channels

A typical surround sound system includes five speakers, but many of today’s home theater receivers offer seven or more channels of amplification. These receivers allow you to "assign" those two extra channels to different tasks quite simply through their setup menus. Here are three things you can do with those additional outputs.

Add more surround speakers

Back surround speakers add a new dimension to your listening enjoyment. Sound effects, music and more take on a heightened level of realism. After all, we normally hear sounds from all directions. The deeper sound field also adds to a fuller experience of music, creating an auditory sense of space.

Some sound processing formats, like Dolby® Pro Logic IIz, enable the use of "height" speakers. These speakers are placed above the front left and right speakers and help to create a taller sound field. This type of placement and effect is of special interest to action film and video gaming fans, as well as those who enjoy a more realistic "concert" feel to their music.

add%20surround%20speakersYou can choose to add either back surround or front "height" speakers to literally add dimensions of realism to your enjoyment of music, films and games.

Bi-amp your front speakers

biampified%20speakerAdding a second set of wire in a bi-amp mode to compatible speakers improves performance.

Sending more power to your speakers has the advantage of delivering improved clarity, dynamic range and volume. Many speakers offer dual sets of binding posts, enabling a "bi-amp” connection. Bi-amping requires running two sets of wires — one for the woofer and one for the tweeter. In addition to better sound quality your speakers will give you a wider soundstage.

Enjoy music in another room

Patio%20speakersLocating speakers outside your main listening area has its advantages.

Many receivers offer “dual zone” capability to let you power a pair of speakers outside your main listening area. You can place a pair of speakers in the kitchen for instance, or even a pair of speakers outdoors. Using a receiver's "dual source" capability, you can listen to music in one room while others continue to enjoy the movie or game in progress in your main area. Learn more about multi-room receivers.

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