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Surround Sound

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I remembered when surround sound first came out for the second time, only four speakers were required. Today we have 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, 7.2, and so on. What is the difference and is the industry getting carried away with the number of channels it uses? Training at some of the movie studios want speakers to be placed right at the screen and rooms to be a certain design. If we are working with the masses is this possible, should we not teach and then decide what will work best for the room? How should a room that is design more for multipurpose use be setup?