Why go stereo?

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Matthew Will, Apr 7, 2003.

  1. Matthew Will

    Matthew Will Stunt Coordinator

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    I was wondering what one does when they're considering installing an audio system in their basement when they use it for both music and home theater. It's a decent sized room over 15 feet wide and about 30 or so feet long. So if I have people hanging out I dont want poor performance when listening to music. I guess my question is why is the best music reproduction setup only stereo? Yes cd audio signals are only in left and right signals but if you play it through a home theater setup the audio can be played through all 5.1 speakers or whatever you have. So what do I do? Like here is another relating question. How do dance clubs set up their audio systems to get best performance and quality to all areas of the dance floor? Matt
     
  2. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Dance clubs are not worried about accuracy or even distorsion
    figures. No one in a dance club is "Criticaly Listening"
    to the music (rather they are trying to get laid or drunk
    or just dance!) [​IMG]

    Taking a 2 Channel Source (CD) and sending it through the
    HT Processor to 5 or more speakers is anything but accurate.

    Critical Listening is done in direct mode only playing on
    2 speakers unless of course you are listening to SACD or
    DVD-A which are both real multichannel formats and are meant
    to be listened to as such.

    If you want the best of both worlds you will quickly find
    out that an HT Reciever is usualy a comprimise for 2ch music.

    There are some very rare exceptions like the new Aragon
    Sounstage(I believe that's the model name) which essentialy
    has thier best 2 channel preamp integrated into a HT setup.

    I am currently in the process of segregating my 2Ch and HT.
    They will both reside in the same rack but they will be 100%
    seperated.

    I am picking up a Parasound Halo P3 PreAmp to handle source
    switching for 2Ch only (CD, XM, TurnTable) feeding into a
    Behringer Tube Ultra-Q and then out to a pair of ASL Tube
    MonoBlock Amps driving the mains.

    And then on the HT Side I have a Onkyo 787 Reciever, Onkyo
    M-282B 2 Channel Power Amp, DVD Changer and VHS.
     
  3. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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    Matthew, I don't think that evryone agrees that stereo is the only way to listen to music. Many folks, myself included, actually prefer DPL2 for listening to 2-channel CD's. If you do some searches you will find all kinds of debate on this.
     
  4. John Royster

    John Royster Screenwriter

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    Rick,

    There may be some disagreement only because folks who listen to CDs in some kind of processed mode are wrong.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Tom Grooms

    Tom Grooms Second Unit

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    LOL, I couldn't have said it better myself. 2 channel rulz!
     
  6. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    When you listen to 2-channel recordings in DPLII you are going to lose detail and imaging to a large degree ASSUMING you are listening to a well recorded source material in the first place.
    DPLII sounds very nice....don't get me wrong....it is just not the way to do critical listening. Critical listening meaning taking great pleasure in hearing subtle detail and nuances that are virtually eliminated using crappy equipment and /or using processed modes, i.e. DPLII.
    I listen to my jazz CD's using Direct or Stereo mode because there are sounds that are present which are totally obliterated (not present) in 'processed' modes.
    My rock CD's tend to sound better in processed modes probably due to their inferior quality (generally speaking)and general lack of instrumentation...basically drums, bass, guitar (again generally speaking).
    If you listen to jazz , smooth jazz, symphony, classical, etc. you would be missing out by listening in a processed mode. If you listen to mainly pop and rock then DPLII probably sounds better. Although some of my rock/pop CD's like Stevie Ray Vaughn and Kenny Wayne Shepherd seem to be better recordings and sound great in Direct or Stereo. But stuff like Led Zep, Doors, Hendrix, Van Halen, etc. sound like crap. I think decent equipment brings out the deficiencies in many recordings.
     
  7. Matthew Will

    Matthew Will Stunt Coordinator

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    So then how do you set up your stereo system? Does this also mean running a seperate subwoofer would be bad for sound quality? What would be the perfect speaker design for a stereo system? Matt

    P.S. - I realize there will be differences for varying rooms but what is the overall design? Two large floorstanding speakers that have sizes varying from 15" to the smallest of tweeters?
     
  8. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Oops hit submit button to early.
     
  9. Scott Oliver

    Scott Oliver Screenwriter

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    Matthew,

    I think one thing that you are forgetting is that whether you are playing a 2 channel source or a 5.1 channel source you would still be setting up the system for a limited sweet spot somewhere in the room.

    Either way of course you would be getting sound all around the room, but only in the sweet spot will the sound be dialed in to where you could enjoy all the soundstaging, imaging and proper timing of the frequencies no matter how many channels are being reproduced.

    In genral, a 5.1 or 7.1 system like DPLII or Logic7 or Circle Surround is primarily a 2 channel setup with the surrounds adding some ambience cues and the center channel dialing in the center imaging more.

    A lot of receivers used to (or still do?) have selector switch for Front Speakers A, Front Speakers B, or A+B. And A+B of course would play a stereo signal only sound would be coming out of four speakers (2 left, 2 right) instead of 2. This is similar to what dance clubs do.

    Personally, I think before you feel you need to set your system up this way I would try just a 2 channel installation. As long as your speakers and amplification is up to filling your space with the desired sound pressure levels, I think you will be pleasantly surprised as to how well two speakers will do.
     
  10. RobWil

    RobWil Supporting Actor

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    Also, for the environment you are describing, I don't think critical listening is going to be the norm. If you're playing pop/rock/dance, etc. don't worry about what's best because it'll sound great whether you're using stereo, DPLII, whatever. You're not going to worry about very subtle differences like how clear and vibrant that flute or cymbol sounds or how realistic the soundstage is presented. Is everyone going to be sitting auditorium style with dead silence listening for those types of things? Or are they going to be milling about and talking. What stereo and direct mode give you are subtle differences that many people don't care about or don't listen for or certain types of music don't even offer. It's like Hannibal Lector in Red Dragon listening intently during the symphony and hearing the flute player muff the performance, whereas most people in the audience don't even notice. He was doing critical lsitening, and you know what happened to the flute player!
    Give 5 channel stereo a try if that's an option, in addition to DPLII. Those would probably give you what you are after.
     
  11. ron_kolarovic

    ron_kolarovic Auditioning

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    Question for Brett:
    You indicated you will be segragating the HT & audio paths but you have separate amplification points. Are you using the same speakers for both setups? How will you switch them depending on the source>
     
  12. Rick_Brown

    Rick_Brown Second Unit

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  13. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Ron,

    Yep that's correct that I will be using 2 completely
    seperate amplifications schemes. Tube Monoblocks for 2ch
    and solid state for HT.

    Switching will be handled by simply unplugging speaker
    cables [​IMG] lo tec I know.. but what are ya gonna do! [​IMG]
     
  14. Dave Milne

    Dave Milne Supporting Actor

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