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Are two channel amps dead? (1 Viewer)


Feb 19, 2003
It seems like more and more folks are getting into HT and multi channel receivers and amps are becoming the norm. Also companys going more multi-channel. The mainstream electronics stores visited by the masses ala BestBuy, Circuit City, I never see a 2 channel amp for sale. In high end stereo stores visited by the minority the 2 channel amps are there but not as much as previous years. Will the 2 channel amp (one pair of speakers) make a slow death? I guess the 2 channel amp will live on with the few in the high end audio cult perhaps. Thoughts? Any stereo salesmen out there know the sales trends?

Carl Johnson

Senior HTF Member
May 6, 1999
Real Name
Carl III
This is nothing new. I spent a year selling mid-fi audio equipment in '97 and back then 99% of the receivers I sold were surround sound. Even people just looking for a two channel setup would get a multichannel receiver because they were the most economical.

Michael Langdon

Stunt Coordinator
Aug 29, 1998
I just bought Parasound 2 channel and 5 channel amplifiers for a 7.1 HT setup. I previously used a Carver 6 channel amp with a setup that used only 1 surround back or rear center channel speaker. My processor is THX Ultra 2 certified and thus contained some additional THX processing only available when configured for 2 surround back speakers. Of course two amps take up more space but weight is distributed over two units. One 7 channel amp, at least the ones I were looking at, can weigh 95+ pounds. I use the 2 channel amp for the front speakers and the 5 channel amp for the remaining speakers.

Brett DiMichele

Senior HTF Member
Sep 30, 2001
Real Name
Depends on your useage....

If you are Bi Amping a set of speakers a 4 channel amp
comes in handy if precious rack space is an issue..
Otherwise I would go dual 2 channels or even more preferable
4 monoblocks.

2Channel is not even remotely close to "dead" but eventualy
it may be with the J6P crowd and 2Ch will stick around with
the audiophiles or those in the know.


Feb 28, 2001
Real Name
i just sold all my HT stuff to move to a 2-ch system. i just bought a Classe CA-150.

5.1, etc might be big in the mainstream markets (BB, CC), but those stores suck for HT anyway. :) 2-channel is FAR from dead.

Scott Oliver

Aug 30, 2000
Umm... no 2-channel is not dead. In fact, vinyl is going through a golden age these days, and it is the poster child of 2-channel.

Michael Yung

Stunt Coordinator
Mar 15, 2001
Amp configuration is like length of skirts. It goes in and out of fashion depending on the season. Right now, we're seeing a lot more multi-channel (more than 2-channels) amps b/c there's a need for it. This wasn't the case many years ago. So with the new multi-channel amps, comparatively speaking, there seems to be less 2-channel amps. However, 2-channel audio is not going away so sooner or later companies are going to redesign their 2 channel amps w/ the latest and greatest technology for those people who want to replace or get into good 2-channel audio.

In the end, buy what makes sense for you. Don't worry about the configuration as much as the quality of the amp.


May 5, 2002
There are alot of options for a 2 channel.

Add it to a 5 channel to make 7 channel.
Add it to a 3 channel to make it 5 channel.

Maybe you already have a system and just want a seperate nice 2 channel system.
I think it is the upgrade bug that hits...that makes people want to add 2 more channels to there existing system.


Jul 25, 2002
They are very much alive in my opinion. But I do see the trend towards multichannel movie and music.

Kevin C Brown

Senior HTF Member
Aug 3, 2000
2 channel is not dead:

1) Some prefer a separate 2 channel system for audio vs a mutlichannel system for video.

2) 2 + 5 = 7.1.


Stunt Coordinator
Jan 3, 2002

If you enjoy listening to music at all, then I believe your HT system SHOULD be built around a killer 2-channel system. I don't subscribe to the philosophy of "balancing out" a HT system (with expensive pre/pros, expensive 5-channel power amps, and expensive rear/side speakers). This viewpoint, of course, is assuming the buyer doesn't have an unlimited budget.

For example, I just bought my main system last year. In doing so, I replaced electronics (power amp/pre amp) I had bought in 1981, and speakers bought in 1989. I had a fixed budget, and had been saving my pennies for a lot of years. For this system, I spent the following (retail):

$7,000 Overhead Projector
6,000 Main Speakers
6,000 Stereo Power Amp
3,500 Stereo Pre Amp
3,000 Sources
1,500 Cabling
500 Integrated HT Amp/Processor
400 Rear Speakers

Notice how little I spent on Pre/Pro and auxilary speakers (I don't even utilize a subwoofer nor center speaker). Why spend more on "supporting sounds"? If the sounds coming out of my relatively cheap surround speakers (driven by my relatively cheap Pre/Pro) are not absolutely faithful to their source, it's really not that important. After all, we're talking about (sounds/noises/effects) here. While watching a movie, if my inferior surrounds makes a Honda lawn mower sound like a Lawn Boy, I don't think anyone will notice. I'm positive it doesn't detract from the "movie experience". After all, I'm not trying to reproduce the nuances of a pre-war Steinway in this kind of application.

In my "second system", I have a full 5.1 system anchored by Thiel speakers (the mains are CS-3.5). Despite this very nice setup(complete with sub/surrounds/center), it is noticiably outperformed by my main system (which has mains and surrounds only) when it comes to watching movies. When I have people over, they are always amazed that just 4 speakers can sound so good for movies. They've been taught that you MUST have a center speaker to anchor the dialogue across a wide listening area. Hogwash. They've been taught that you MUST have a subwoofer to effectively recreate LFE. Give me a break.

But if you think they are impressed then, you should see (and hear) them when we switch over to stereo music. After all, I put the bulk of my cash into this 2-channel rig, and I really reap those benefits when I put on an album (or CD). My guests get this glassy look and then start elbowing each other.

So, you ask "is 2-channel dead"? Well, don't forget you posed this question on a "Home Theater" site, where a vast majority of patrons are looking for the ultimate bang for their buck for "watching movies". If you spend some time on Audio Asylum or any number of other "Music Sites", you get folks with more of a 2-channel interest. Personally, I spend 60% of my time in my main system listening to albums, 20% listening to CDs, and 20% watching movies.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with being a movie buff. I spend a lot of time on this site (and AVS Forum). My family and I really enjoy the "DVD Experience". Note my wife is also heavy into singing Karaoke with her friends when they come over. I just go about it differently than most.



Jan 27, 2003
Try looking through this audio forum and then tell me 2 channel amps are dead ... actually try telling me tubes are dead ... or vinyl ... or audio lunacy ...


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