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Why go stereo?


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13 replies to this topic

#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Matthew Will

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Posted April 07 2003 - 05:42 PM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted April 07 2003 - 07:54 PM

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!) Posted Image

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.
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#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Rick_Brown

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Posted April 08 2003 - 02:39 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   John Royster

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Posted April 08 2003 - 04:51 AM

Rick,

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

Posted Image

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Tom Grooms

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Posted April 08 2003 - 05:42 AM

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

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted April 08 2003 - 06:12 AM

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.
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#7 of 14 OFFLINE   Matthew Will

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Posted April 08 2003 - 07:36 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted April 08 2003 - 07:39 AM

Oops hit submit button to early.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Scott Oliver

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Posted April 08 2003 - 07:49 AM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   RobWil

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Posted April 08 2003 - 08:25 AM

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.
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#11 of 14 OFFLINE   ron_kolarovic

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Posted April 08 2003 - 10:56 PM

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 of 14 OFFLINE   Rick_Brown

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Posted April 09 2003 - 12:29 AM

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

John and Tom, my brain is now fully wired for surround. I have been listening to 2-channel sources in surround now for more than 25 years. I was an early quadraphonic adopter and my listening room has always had rear speakers over all those years.

I have tried to listen in stereo but the image just folds up like a cheap suit. I know I'm "wrong", but it's too late to reprocess my aging brain. Posted Image

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted April 09 2003 - 01:23 AM

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 Posted Image lo tec I know.. but what are ya gonna do! Posted Image
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#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave Milne

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Posted April 09 2003 - 01:39 AM

[quote] I have tried to listen in stereo but the image just folds up like a cheap suit. [quote] Funny, that's what happens when I try to listen to music in surround. Sure, there's sound coming from all directions, but the ability to "reach out and touch" the performers is gone. A really good two-channel system will do things that surround can't match... like being able to tell whether the drums are just to the right of the guitar or three feet to the right... whether the piano is "facing" the listener or the back of the stage... whether the soloist is tapping his left foot or his right...

I've played with most of the gazillion surround modes in my pre-pro (Lexicon MC-12) but when I want to seriously listen to music, I switch to "2-channel".

So, Matthew, with quality components you can have the best of both worlds. You are correct, though, that subs are very difficult (but not impossible) to integrate accurately into a serious music system. I'd recommend full-range main speakers to eliminate this issue. It also avoids the common problem of lack of bass management in pass-through (stereo SACD or DVD-A) modes.




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