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After having a 5.1 system Intergrated with my main 2 channel system for years, been through many processors, always making sure when I changed my preamp to find one with HT bypass if possible, having my sub do double duty.
Then dealing with all the complications the processor comes with, the none ending hdmi upgrades, now with hdmi control issues that is a pain.
All the extra cables involved , I just got tired of it all.
Most of the time I watched a movie, I just watched in 2.1 anyway, too lazy to go turn on and bother with the extra crap.
So, I ripped it all out like two months ago and don't miss it one bit.
Now I don't even need a preamp much less one with bypass. I am using my new Marantz 30n directly to my amp and the system is now simple, uncluttered and sounds great.
The canter channel thing is worthless too if you have your front left and right speakers precisely dialed-in. Certainly better without a center channel.
Just 2.1 now. Movies still sound superb. But music comes first.
5.1 is a gimmick IMO.
The picture is in front, and stereo audio is more natural and blends better with the picture, when setup properly.
The audio sound field should match the visual image, not fight it.
I recall an editorial in the late lamented Fi Magazine, published in the dawn of the HT age. The main point was that the goals of 2ch and HT were completely different. 2ch evolved to recreate a real live event. HT was developed to recreate an artificial event. What works for one, often does not work for the other. As a practical matter it is difficult to create a solution that does both 2ch and HT equally well.
I am lucky because I have a dedicated 2ch listening space, and a separate HT system. For the later I deliberately chose a simple one box solution. I use a Marantz SR7009 receiver (c2015), that can stream media and perform video switching. It has as source direct function to remove all processing when needed, but I mostly use it in HT mode. My cable box, Roku box, and NAS drive (via ethernet) are connected to the receiver, and I can select any source from a single remote. I programmed my cable remote control to handle basic power/vol/ch selection for my tv and receiver. My wife can pick up a single remote and watch what she wants and we all enjoy the wide variety of choices available from what is essentially a single box.
At the other extreme, I have thought about the ultimate retro HT system:
3 Altec Lansing Valecia speakers, with updated crossovers, across the front, and a pr of Altec 19 for surround channels, each driven by individual Mac 60 mono blocks ! I would use a totl Marantz processor to handle HT decoding and source selection. This system could be used for 2ch playback also. I would need a large room however....
I'm not clear on that.
To 2.1 or 3.1 as I've never had the 4th and 5th rear loudspeakers?
I've found movie soundtracks to be improved with the .1, but other than that, well, I'm conflicted whether the .1 is important for music even unless special attention is paid to the overall sound integration (which is not much of an issue with soundtracks IMO).
The .1 does not designate a center channel, it designate a sub.
So depending on the size of your two main speakers you could use a sub which will help with the sound effects of movies, and if properly Intergrated can be very nice with music also. So that would be your 2.1 system.
You don't really need a center channel for movies if the two main speakers are setup right as they will produce a good center image. You certainly don't want it for music as a center channel speaker will just mess up the stereo imaging.
On movies it can be an improvement, but I never miss anything.
For music I use simple 2CH
If you want to use a center for music, the match has to be on point. 3 identical speakers is in theory ideal IME.
I found it distracting..... I viewed it as a way to sell consumers more speakers, cables etc .....
I have a 2 Channel System (SET amps and Horns)that I have been happily playing movies through for over 20 years...
I went all the way to 7.1
Then sold off my 2 extra speakers, and went to 5.1
Haven't used that for a long time, but when I finally get my new PJ hooked up (hoping this month) I am trying 2CH instead. Kids won't care, and doubt my wife will care or even notice.
I've been having an itch to try MCH playback. Supposedly you are in the actual venue. My problem is my living room area is large and open, no way to put speakers in the side or rear walls. So I would have to go with my current floor standing speakers and all ceiling speakers. I was coming here to see if this was doable.
Now after reading this I think I'll stay put. I've already got a ridiculous amount of cables and power cords behind my credenza. I shudder every time I think about going back there.
Well, if you really want to give it a try just to see if you're missing anything, you could setup two small rear speakers on stands.
They could even be wireless nowadays. But you will also need the dreaded processor.
It's good reading this thread.... now I can stop shopping for an AV processor.
I've been thinking about this for years and couldn't get comfortable with how to do HT in conjunction with an all tube 2 channel. Anyway, I like the two channel AV. The center channel images very nicely. I also use subs which help a lot.
My only complaint is clocking too many hours on my good output tubes. So, I'm going to get an el84 amp to use for AV duties. I can use Russian equivalent output tubes at just a few bucks a piece. The mono amps sit next to the speakers so switching the speaker cables is an easy task. el84's have a punchy and a wonderfully forward mid-range that emphasizes the voice spectrum. Which fixes the problem with having to turn up the volume to hear the dialogue which makes everything else too loud. I think it's the perfect AV tube amp.
Its such a relief, no clutter, no remembering how to switch from one system to the other, just simplicity.
I also have tube mono blocs which I roll out now and then for a change from my solid state amp, but I have not heard el84s.
I don't think anyone mentioned this but no AV Processor also means one gets to use their DAC of choice. Which ads to a very pleasant and non fatiguing experience. In my case, there's a really nice holographic, clear and dynamic presentation.
But before this thread I kept thinking about missing the bullets coming form behind, or the jet screaming past. I'll get over it pretty quickly when I think about not spending $2g's on the most minimalist, used, "last years" format, Processor and running cable through the walls and adding 4 more speakers and trying to figure out what format to play with what video etc, etc..
I have a separate DAC that I use with my Denon AVR for 2-channel music . If you have one or more digital sources connected to your DAC, there is no reason that you can't use your own DAC with an AVP or AVR.
I don't miss the planes flying overhead either.
I'm going to hook it all up with 2CH, and play some movies. See if I miss the whiz bam boom. In the meantime my surround receiver is on the floor behind my speaker, and the rear speakers are just sitting there...
I really enjoy listening to music in my room, and movies can be fun also.
But setting up the receiver every time was a pain. So I started looking into what it would take to run 2CH only for movies. Pretty much nil!
My Audiolab pre-amp/DAC has multiple digital inputs. So it's as simple as buying an HDMI splitter (got it last night), and then just switching between inputs on the Audiolab unit for audio. I hooked it all up last night, done.
All I have to do is get a box made for my brand new yet 14 month old projector (that's never been hooked up!), build a receiver box for that box... hard to explain... and I'm done. Getting excited.
Will be interesting to see if the wife even notices. Girls won't care (11 & 8) at all.
See how simple life can be with 2.1? Now you should just sell that projector before it's too old and buy a 85" OLED TV. I don't think any projector can beat that.
We have a 75" in our LR for daily watching, the projector is 110"
But the main reason for the PJ is with music (main reason I built the room) it's out of the way.
most of video content out there just don't improve their worth by adding decent home theater audio. In fact, many worsen the already sub-par experience by making the audio even more audible.
I do turn on my HT audio for those rare occasions when it's warranted.
Some years ago I too discarded surround and went back to 2 channel stereo. Hell, most of the best movies are mono anyway.
Even though my music and video systems are in separate rooms, I still only have 2 channels for video. Way too much hassle for me, and I'm not thrilled with multichannel. I'm using a decent and very reliable amp for the video system, but it's old and doesn't have digital inputs. Everything goes through my Oppo player and I dread the day it dies on me, since none of the current BD (4k) players have any inputs.
I looked around alot last week, and the ONLY BR players I could find with analog outs were the Panasonic DP-UB820 and the Sony UBP-X1100ES. Panny has HDMI, optical and analog outs. Sony has HDMI, coaxial, optical and analog, so a bit more complete. Neither near the quality of the OPPO, I'd bet. Used Oppo's are stratospheric now. I think I'll get the Sony if it ever is available again, should cover all the bases for me, but my HT setup will be minimal.
I got on the list for the final Oppo units and got a email offer to buy the the 205. I passed. BIG MISTAKE!
I wound up buying the Sony. It's been fine except it won't play my HDTT CD's. I contacted Sony and they said, "Maybe some day we'll update to read them".
And I guess the days of new universal players is dead.
Just a modest one, mostly for concert Blu Ray/DVD's. Some recent recordings are only available on those formats for some reason, and Medici TV, Berliner Philharmoniker have good video options, even YT has several selections. Right now I'm satisfied with my Blu Ray player attached to the computer through my 2 channel system, but a nice modest sized TV would help the experience and it won't fit where the 2 channel system is located.
I'm looking at small, slim receivers and Blu Ray players. Won't be 5 or 12 or however many channels, probably just a stereo version more or less. For concert performances I don't think a center or a subwoofer would matter, and I don't have the room anyway. Sound quality will be most important in this system, but I won't expect nearly what I get from my 2 channel setup, and it won't be costing nearly as much!
Marantz makes a nice slim line receiver, I had a nr1510 in the system, it's now doing stereo duty in the garage.
My main system still has a Rel sub which blends nicely with the 2 channel, and I keep my Sony UBP-X1100ES bluray player for when I my feel like playing one of my DVD.
It actually came in handy a few weeks ago, as I brought my first DVD-Audio disc to try, thinking that my new Marantz 30N would play it. Well to my surprise it didn't, but the Sony certainly did, and I must say, it sounded really nice, I think I prefer it to SACD, at least that one disc.
Sounds like we have similar tastes! That Sony was one of the BR players I was interested in (and it's little brother, the X800M2). Both were out of stock or discontinued, I don't know which. I was looking at that Marantz player awhile ago as well, decided to go with the KI-Ruby instead. And yes, that Marantz receiver is the one I am considering, I don't think I really need much more. I wish Marantz made a BR player, but I guess they gave up the field some time ago.
The sub is the big new thing I have no experience with. I have a couple of pairs of stand mounts I could use, a pair of Kef iQ10's or JM Reynaud Twins, along with my Avalon Symbols. I haven't had Kef's or the Twins hooked up in quite awhile, so not sure how much bass they have. If I could get a SW cheap it would be a nice toy to experiment with. But after the Ruby and a new 2 channel amp...well I guess I've got to cool things down just a bit.
I also wish Marantz still made a bluray player. I had a OPPO 205, I got one from the last batch, but it got little use and I wanted something that could stream and less HT. So I sold it and got the Marantz 30N. and looked around for a bluray player.
The best choice was the Sony, although I hate the minimal display, and I almost sent it back for that reason, but I am glad I didn't because now they seem to be discontinued and there is even less to choose from.
It still gets little use, but I still have lots of DVD, so it's staying.
There was used Marantz DVD players for sale, but I would never buy a used disc player, too many moving parts.
Well, if it is discontinued (likely) then I'll go ahead and get that Marantz receiver and then I can use whatever BR player I can find (ours is a little janky Sony, but it might be good enough). I was hoping that I could just use the NAD 2 Channel amp, but if I can't get hold of a player with analog outs I guess I don't have a choice. Of course these days there's not much available in anything.
Yeah, a used spinner...not for me. There's an "open box" Sony on Ebay for $650 or so, but there's no mfg. warranty (something about bought "in bulk", which must mean gray market, so no thanks.
A subwoofer will likely make a difference, especially for classical music. Unless perhaps you are planning to use full range tower speakers.
SVS and KEF have small subwoofers with dual 8" drivers. There's and 8" REL but I am not sure how low it goes.
Slim pickings on slim AVRs but with a two channel setup you might be able feed the Blu-ray player to the TV and then use the TV hdmi output or digital audio output to feed a BlueSound Node or a DAC to an two channel amplifier.
Home theater can be a simple or as complicated as ones makes it. Simple is a TV, AVR and as few or as many speakers as you want to use.
I might be able to squeeze a small SW in, took a peek at the KEF's, it might just fit. The really small one is pretty pricey, so the little 8 incher might do.
When I was trying to get my MB pro and external BR drive working with limited, at first, success I was looking at them. Marantz has one that has some appeal, Pioneer as well. Problem now is that nobody has anything available due to the chip shortage. I'm not in a hurry, so I can afford to wait. The sub though might be nice to try with my 2 channel. The new amp has a dedicated stereo sub input.
I still have my HT system but almost never turn it on since I don't watch much TV anyway. I put away the center channel speaker long ago too, and always use phantom mode the rare times I do use it. Part of the problem is that the cabling and connectivity gets out of control, another problem is I've switched DVD players and DACs and no two units ever have the same cabling.
Between the cable box, the DVD, the Firestick and the music system, it all just gets too complicated and I always need to look behind to make sure I have throughput. And then when I turn it off I have to make sure that the next person, my wife or kids, can just turn on the tv and watch since they don't care about any of this. I think the last thing I watched with the surround on was Game of Thrones and it's been a few years already.
Oh, and the subwoofer. I never use that at all and it is disconnected. My main speakers go low enough without needing it unless I want a helicopter crashing in my living room or planet Xorb exploding. I can't be bothered anymore.
I remember reading on one of the other forums that if you try to combine your 2 channel with HT, it becomes too difficult to use and they were right. I guess we outgrow our toys.
I can totally relate. Maybe we are just getting too old for all the complications.
In all honesty I have barely used the HT part of my system. How barely? I haven't watched anything for at least 2-3 years.
Got a new PJ as a gift from work, trying to install it... I think I've had it for a year now.
One of the things that makes it less of a want? When I got my previous PJ, our upstairs TV was 35", so watching 110" made sense. Then 50", still made sense. 65"... less need. 75" works fine.
I gave up on HT years ago. I went 2 channel and added a soundbar for video works out great.
I have an Arcam AVR300 for HT duty, it's a pain. Half tempted to sell it and go 2CH for all. Already dropped 7.1, didn't notice a worthwhile improvement, difference...
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