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Wow, I've Discovered Stereo


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48 replies to this topic

#1 of 49 OFFLINE   JeromeS

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Posted July 08 2003 - 06:36 AM

Okay, it hasn't been like I've been living under a rock for all these years. However after years of listening to music through portables, Walkmans and not so good receivers, recent upgrades to the 2 channel reproduction on my stereo/HT system I'm just hearing how great stereo can be. There is so much in those CDs and especially records(Can we say RCA) that I didn't know about. Before I've read about imaging and soundstage and thought what were they talking about, now I know. With my old stuff, there was the left/right separation of course but it was like 'Yes that saxophone is coming from somewhere on the right near the drums'. Now it's like 'The saxophone is coming from that spot right there and the drums are behind him to the left.'

I'm not saying every piece of music I own is like that since a lot of this depends on the mastering of the source material. With multi-channel music it's suppose to give you the feel of being surrounded but with stereo it already does that. Plus for classical music, to be able to distinguish different acoustics for the venue where the recording was done was something totally unexpected. Now that was cool. Posted Image

Don't get me wrong, I still love movies but my music collection outnumbers my DVD collection by a ratio of 6:1 and so I thought I should upgrade that part of my system instead of getting another HT component. I wonder how many here would benefit from upgrading their 2 channel playback instead of getting the latest receiver/processor with 6.1, 7.1 or surround speakers.

#2 of 49 OFFLINE   Scott_N

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Posted July 08 2003 - 07:23 AM

That's why I have seperate HT and 2-channel systems. Welcome to the audiophile world.

#3 of 49 OFFLINE   MarkMaximus

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Posted July 08 2003 - 07:37 AM

What upgrades did you do out of curiosity? Where did you come from/where did you go?

#4 of 49 OFFLINE   Mark Hedges

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Posted July 08 2003 - 07:47 AM

I recently underwent a similar revelation. In fact, I almost regret going with a multichannel system now. I use it probably 75% of the time for 2 channel music. Maybe I should have just gotten a nice stereo integrated amp instead of my 4ES!

Eventually I plan on having seperate systems but for now it has to be one or the other.

My music collection vastly outnumbers my DVD collection and probably always will. Even movies I really like such as LOTR don't get played as often as my favorite CDs.

#5 of 49 OFFLINE   JeromeS

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Posted July 08 2003 - 08:35 AM

Quote:
What upgrades did you do out of curiosity? Where did you come from/where did you go?


Mark,

Before: Yamaha HTR-5250, Cambridge Soundworks Ensemble II L/R, Cambridge Soundworks Center Channel and Surrounds, 90's passive subwoofer, JVC DVD Player that doubled as CD player, Pioneer Laserdisc player.


Now:
Stereo - Bottlehead Foreplay tube preamp w/ various upgrades, Music Hall MMF-5 turntable, Gram Amp 2SE Phono preamp, Pioneer DVD-434 with Modwright Level 1 Transport modification, Perpetual Technologies P-3A DAC, Monolith P3 Power Supply(for DAC)

HT: Yamaha HTR-5250, Panasonic RP-91, Pioneer Laserdisc player

Speakers: PSB Image 5T L/R, PSB Image 9C Center Channel, Ensemble II's are now surround speakers, 90's passive subwoofer

Amp: Outlaw 750 5 channel amp

I have the CD and turntable connected to the Foreplay. Yamaha L/R preouts going into the Foreplay and center preout into the Outlaw. Surrounds are driven by the Yamaha and the passive subwoofer driven by the other 2 channels on the Outlaw.

These aren't even the best components out there but they still did wonders for 2 channel. The biggest upgrade I got was from the cheapest component, the Bottlehead Foreplay. Getting a stereo preamp/integrated in the 2 channel chain is what gets you over the top I think. Running the transport/DAC and turntable throught the Yamaha sounded good but not great. After I added the Foreplay, whoa that's what I've been looking for! Any upgrade I would do now would probably be Mullard or Telefunken tubes for the Foreplay and a stereo amplifier or monoblocks.

Jerome

#6 of 49 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

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Posted July 08 2003 - 08:51 AM

Just a little fine point: "Stereo" means more than one channel. So the word "stereo," technically, can apply to a full-blown HT surround system as much as to a two-channel music (and/or movie) system. FYI.

Two-channel music systems can be terrific.

#7 of 49 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted July 08 2003 - 09:02 AM

As far as I know, the only reason that 2-channel (as opposed to more than 2-channels) became a 'standard' for music playback (including both mono and stereo music playback) was that a vinyl record groove is 2-sided.

Jack is correct: 'stereo' and '2-channel' are not synonyms.

Let me know if I'm way off... Posted Image


#8 of 49 OFFLINE   Jason.Soko

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Posted July 08 2003 - 09:42 AM

stereo

adj : (electronics) designating sound transmission from two sources through two channels
Cambridge Audio D500SE
SimAudio Moon I-5
Totem Acoustics Forest

#9 of 49 OFFLINE   Martin Rendall

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Posted July 08 2003 - 10:12 AM

Isn't the Foreplay just a wonderful pre? As far as a tube change, can I suggest that you look into NOS Mullard Gov't CV4003's? I got a pair, and liked them so much, I acquired another spare pair for when I'll need to replace them 10 years from now. Posted Image

I wasn't clear: are you running the FP into the Yammie Pre in's? If so, you might consider implementing an HT bypass in the FP, so that you can keep the Yammie out of 2 channel entirely. Just a thought.

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#10 of 49 OFFLINE   JeromeS

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Posted July 08 2003 - 10:37 AM

Martin,

Yes I was looking at the Mullard CV4003 for the next set of tubes. Telefunken is a little expensive in comparison to the Mullards from what I can see. As for the connection it's the Yamaha's preouts going into the FP input with the FP outs going into the Outlaw. Use the FP with unity gain for HT listening.

#11 of 49 OFFLINE   Frank_S

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Posted July 08 2003 - 10:36 AM

Congrats Jerome, Great to hear of your success in achieving quality sound. I would recommend going with a tube amp setup and using your Yamaha strictly for HT. This would bring your 2 channel experience to the next level. Posted Image

A couple of questions.
How efficient are your speakers?
Do they go below 4 ohms?
What range of music do you listen to?
A low power tube amp may be all you need.

#12 of 49 OFFLINE   JeromeS

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Posted July 08 2003 - 02:00 PM

Frank,

How efficient are your speakers? I couldn't tell you to save my life. According to PSB's web site the sensitivity is 92db but that isn't the same as efficiency I think.

Do they go below 4 ohms? Nope. 4 ohms is minimum.

What range of music do you listen to? Wide range from classical, jazz, pop/Top 40, Rock/Heavy Metal.

I was looking at tube amps but still have to figure out the differences between SET and push-pull. I don't know if tubes would have enough for HT though or does it? Posted Image Plus I'm out of space as far as separate rooms for HT and 2 channel so right now I have to keep both integrated.

#13 of 49 OFFLINE   JamesHl

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Posted July 08 2003 - 03:11 PM

adj : (electronics) designating sound transmission from two sources through two channels [syn: stereophonic, two-channel] n 1: two microphones feed two or more loudspeakers to give a three-dimensional effect to the sound

The root word means creating a 3d image, not the number two. So in some ways, it would apply even more accurately to a multichannel system, as they are more able to accurately create the illusion of 3 dimensions.

#14 of 49 OFFLINE   Craig_Kg

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Posted July 08 2003 - 03:21 PM

Quote:
Eventually I plan on having seperate systems but for now it has to be one or the other.

Just add an integrated or a pre/power stereo (OK, 2 channel to those who insist on reprocessing their stereo) amp combination between your 4ES and the front main speakers. You don't need separate systems to enjoy fine 2 channel music and HT (even with tube 2 channel systems, you can always just switch the speakers between the separate sets of amps).
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#15 of 49 OFFLINE   Adil M

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Posted July 08 2003 - 04:10 PM

Looks like someones been reading their Stereophile today...

#16 of 49 OFFLINE   Mark Dickerson

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Posted July 09 2003 - 06:31 AM

Jack:

Actually, "stereo" is from a greek word and it means "solid" as in providing a solid image of the sound when played back opposed to the old monophonic sound which made no attempt to sound realistic. Now some 50 years after it was invented, we usually think of stereo as meaning two channel, but when you realize the root of the word, you are correct that any format of more than one channels which attempts to convey a solid image of the sound would be stereo. After listening to a couple of SACDs yesterday (Police and Eagles), I can attest to how wonderful (and solid) their image is.

Angelo:

You are just a bit off. Vinyl records (actually, they were made of bakelite before that) had two side to their grooves before stereo was ever conceived. The technological breakthrough that created stereo sound was the ability to provide a different ridge on either side of the groove that created the ability to offer two channels, i.e., stereo sound. So in a sense you are right that two channel sound became a standard in the very late fifties, early sixties as two channels were all they could do. Ahh, but you have forgotten "quadraphonic sound" which came out about 1969, but degenerated into a format war (a la Beta v. VHS) and it never got very far with consumers because the manufacturers fought over whether the standard should be "matrix quad" or "discrete quad." Nevertheless, they were able to get all four channels onto a vinyl record but they were both proprietary formats and did not inter-change. Today, when I hear some SACD or DVD-Audio disks, it reminds me a lot of the old quad sound, which even then was pretty comparable to the new stuff.

#17 of 49 OFFLINE   Angelo.M

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Posted July 09 2003 - 06:43 AM

Quote:
The technological breakthrough that created stereo sound was the ability to provide a different ridge on either side of the groove...


Quite correct; an important oversight on my part. The key is that the two sides of the groove provided different information.

Okay, I'm off to listen to some 2-sided same-grooved vinyl: The Beatles, in glorious mono.


#18 of 49 OFFLINE   Frank_S

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Posted July 09 2003 - 06:52 AM

Quote:
Okay, I'm off to listen to some 2-sided same-grooved vinyl: The Beatles, in glorious mono.

Angelo, what vintage would that be? Posted Image

#19 of 49 OFFLINE   Mark Hedges

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Posted July 09 2003 - 07:26 AM

Quote:
Just add an integrated or a pre/power stereo (OK, 2 channel to those who insist on reprocessing their stereo) amp combination between your 4ES and the front main speakers. You don't need separate systems to enjoy fine 2 channel music and HT (even with tube 2 channel systems, you can always just switch the speakers between the separate sets of amps).


What I was planning on doing was making use of the 2nd room function and setting up a 2 channel system in another room (when I get a house, that is).

Does anybody know if this would signifigantly harm performance? Would I be much better off just having 2 CD players so the signal doesn't have to go thru the reciever and a long interconnect run?

#20 of 49 OFFLINE   Craig_Kg

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Posted July 09 2003 - 01:35 PM

Yes, having the CD player directly connected to the 2ch system would be much better - the 2nd room stuff is more for background listening. Just use your DVD player in your HT room for CDs.
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