I've been a moderate hi-fi person for better than 40 years so I'm not new to the game but one thing has me puzzled, and I don't see very much about this in print. Since I recently went to a surround system I have noticed that all things being equal the sound is "better" in a surround system. Obviously it is a perception thing. Like I found a couple of 15 dollar speakers I had in the garage speakers and hooked them up to my new AV amp as surround , and hoopdeedoo, my system sounded "better." I am not talking just about the surround effect but the sense that the bass was "better," the highs "better," and the all around sound was cleaner and better. Standard wisdom is that adding a couple of crap speakers to a system will degrade it. That the sound is only as good as it's weakest link. I listened to a $99.95(!) surround system at my local Sav-on drugstore sitting next to the ATM machine and was amazed. I flipped the switch to stereo and it sounded like crap. The is quite a perceptual illusion effect to all of this surround business that I don't think is really understood at this point. My take on it is to advise someone to spend $1500.00 on a surround system instead of $3000.00 on a stereo 2ch rig. The former will give more better sound. All things being equal surround is cheaper.