• 09-21-2008, 08:33 PM
    Turbota
    2 Channel or Home Theater for best HiFi?
    This is my first post on this board, So ... A big hello to everyone here.

    Prior to retireing and moving to the Philippines, I gave away my old 2 channel audio system ... It consisted of a vintage Pioneer Spec 1 pre-amp, Pioneer Spec 4 power amp, Pioneer CD/DVD player, a set of 4 Polk RTi70 floor standing speakers and an Adire Rava subwoofer. The sound was really good, but now I hear so much about Home Theater, I am wondering if this is maybe a better way to get quality sound for just listening to music? (store bought music CDs and homemade MP3 music CDs)

    The thing is, I do own a new Panasonic 42" plasma TV, but about all I ever watch on it is your regular TV shows, to include HBO and Cinemax. I just bought another CD/DVD player, but I don't really watch that many DVD movies on it.

    So, my question is to you is ... Do you think I would be better off buying another set of 4 tower speakers, an integrated audio amp, and maybe another powered subwoofer (I already have a new CD/DVD player) for listening to MP3 music CDs? ... or, should I buy a complete 5.1 Home Theater system and hook it up to my plasma TV and then use this Home Theater system to play my MP3 music CDs?

    Will a 5.1 Home Theater system sound as good as a good quality 2 channel audio system when playing those MP3 music CDs that I like? ... I guess a good sounding hi-fi audio system is more important to me than Theater type sound coming from the TV.

    Thank's for any info you can help me with.

    Ron,


    Oh, here is a couple of photos of my old 2 channel system I had when I lived in the US ... I sure miss it! :nonod:

    http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p.../AudioRack.jpg

    http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p...eSubWoofer.jpg
  • 09-21-2008, 08:41 PM
    02audionoob
    If you get a 5.1 system and use two channels, aren't you wasting the other amplifiers and associated technology? In other words...paying for stuff that you don't need and not getting what you do need? I vote for two-channel technology...emphatically.
  • 09-21-2008, 09:07 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Welcome to the forums.

    You didn't mention a budget. A lot of the HD content is in 5.1, you say you have HBO and many network shows are in 5.1, surround can be fun. However, if there's no interest, then I agree, why bother, just get a decent stereo rig. If you want both HT and stereo there is gear out there that sounds good doing both. Consider the Marantz AV8003/M8003
    components. If just wanting stereo you can get good sound for less money then surround separates.

    Before making a decision you might want to go and listen to a home theater system. I was a 2 channel guy but once I got a HT set up for movies I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Even some of the nature shows in HD is better in surround, you hear the birds and different outdoor sounds, not to mention movies and the extra level of fun surround can bring, bullets whizzing around the room, explosions or just ambient sounds.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is don't discard surround until you try it and if you like it, you can still get good sound. If you aren't really into TV that much and sure you don't want surround your options on good stereo sound are numerous.
  • 09-21-2008, 10:31 PM
    emesbee
    I have stereo and HT. My front speakers are powered by a stereo amplifier. My home theatre amp powers the remaining speakers, and feeds the front L/R signals to the stereo amp via pre-outs. So, when I listen to home theatre, I set the volume control on the stereo amp to the midway position, and use it like a power amp. For music, I switch off the HT components and just run the stereo amp. (My DVD player is connected to the HT amp, and CD player is connected to the stereo amp.)

    This set up works quite well, and sounds pretty good. Home theatre is fun, but I reckon the best sound to be had for music is still stereo.

    It all comes down to how much you are prepared to spend, though, and the quality of the components that you buy.
  • 09-22-2008, 04:16 AM
    emaidel
    I prefer to keep my 2-channel stereo setup and home theatre separate. I used to have (in the house I lived in up until last July) a fairly mundane surround setup which I found most enjoyable when watching DVD's. Even though none of the components was particularly good, the overall effect was pretty exciting. Playing CD's on the system was a different story, as they sounded pretty lame as compared to the fidelity of my superior 2-channel audio setup.

    I'm loathe to mess with my 2-channel setup insofar as adapting it to a surround system (and, I have neither the space nor the finances to duplicate the equipment), but I have heard some truly outstanding (and very expensive) surround systems that all but blew me away.

    So, the situation is still muddy, with no clear path to follow. To each his own...
  • 09-22-2008, 04:48 AM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Turbota
    So, my question is to you is ... Do you think I would be better off buying another set of 4 tower speakers, an integrated audio amp, and maybe another powered subwoofer (I already have a new CD/DVD player) for listening to MP3 music CDs? ... or, should I buy a complete 5.1 Home Theater system and hook it up to my plasma TV and then use this Home Theater system to play my MP3 music CDs?

    If you are going to buy 4 Towers and a sub, then I'd suggest justing getting 5 and a sub and have a HT... But personally, I'd opt for just 2 good towers (no sub) and an integrated amp...

    If, you like to watch movies or HD programs (like Discovery as Mr. Peabody mentioned) then 5.1 would be fun... but if your priority is CDs, then you can't beat a pair of towers and an integrated amp...
  • 09-22-2008, 05:18 AM
    GMichael
    If music is your only concern, then 2 channel is the way to go for cost vs quality return. But HT has it's benefits too. You'd have to decide if you want to be king of music, or jack of both.
  • 09-22-2008, 01:23 PM
    E-Stat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Turbota
    Do you think I would be better off ...

    There are two schools of thought and the best choice would depend upon your circumstances:

    1. Invest your entire budget in one 5.1 multi-channel / HT system. There will be no component overlap and it will take up less space.

    2. Buy separate systems optimized for each environment (where at least one will not be the same quality as choice # 1). While two systems take up more space, it also allows for different placement and independent use by someone else.

    I chose the latter option because frequently the wife watches video while I'm listening to music. Also, I could not afford the same quality multi-channel system as my preferred two channel one.

    rw
  • 09-22-2008, 06:24 PM
    Turbota
    Thank's everyone for all your input into my questions.

    Since I am now living in the Philippines, my choices are not that good as to what's available to me. Shipping components here from the US is really out of the question since the import duty is so crazy expensive. So, I have to look at what components are readily available in the stores here.

    Also, since the majority of the DVD movies that are bought over here are not surround sound ( they are cheap pirated copies) and the TV broadcasts are not surround either, I am just going to opt for a good 2 channel music system and listen to regular ol' MP3 CDs burned off the internet.

    Since imported electronics cost about 50-80% more than what they can be bought for in the US (do to high taxes), I can going to settle for just a very "moderate" priced system.

    The living room that the system will be placed in is not super large, so I don't think I need massive amount of power. The room is actually 18' x 17' with a high vaulted ceiling.

    I think I will use a 100w/ch Onkyo A-9555 integrated amp. Nothing really special, but from the reviews I have read, it has pretty good bang for the buck, and seems to have good musical abilities.

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/images/main...FRONT_1400.jpg


    I already have both a Pioneer DV-393 and a Pioneer DV-563A CD player, so either one of them should work just fine ... That just leaves the speakers ... I am going to keep looking for a set. I still like the idea of using 4 efficient floor standing speakers.

    I will hold off on buying a powered subwoofer as some of you have suggested ... The system may sound just fine without it.

    Thank's again, :)
    Ron
  • 09-22-2008, 06:31 PM
    Mr Peabody
    Why do you want four speakers? Typically, stereo is just two facing you in your listening position. Four may complicate your sound set up and possibly tax your amp more than necessary.
  • 09-22-2008, 07:48 PM
    Turbota
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    Why do you want four speakers? Typically, stereo is just two facing you in your listening position. Four may complicate your sound set up and possibly tax your amp more than necessary.

    When I setup that last 2 channel system I had, I initially used 2 front floor standing speakers. After a couple of months listening to it, I bought 2 more for the rear ... To me, when using the 4 speakers, the sound was more "spacious" (for the lack of a better word). It just sounded so much better. With the 4 speakers, you could really tell the difference when switching between A and then to A/B. Switched to A/B, it really made the sound more "open" ... like you were in a larger listening room. Certainly not discrete 4 channel by any means, but not so "direct" as with just listening to front speakers.

    Of course that Pioneer Spec 1 power amp had no trouble driving all 4 speakers at the same time .... Don't really know if that 100w / channel Onkyo would be up to it, but it might do ok as long as I use 4 efficient 6 Ohm speakers with a recommended amp power rating of between 20-120w / channel, or something close to that. I don't care to have a system that will break the windows ... just something that has nice clean sound at normal listening levels.

    Ron,
  • 09-22-2008, 11:50 PM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Turbota
    When I setup that last 2 channel system I had, I initially used 2 front floor standing speakers. After a couple of months listening to it, I bought 2 more for the rear ... To me, when using the 4 speakers, the sound was more "spacious" (for the lack of a better word). It just sounded so much better. With the 4 speakers, you could really tell the difference when switching between A and then to A/B. Switched to A/B, it really made the sound more "open" ... like you were in a larger listening room. Certainly not discrete 4 channel by any means, but not so "direct" as with just listening to front speakers.

    Of course that Pioneer Spec 1 power amp had no trouble driving all 4 speakers at the same time .... Don't really know if that 100w / channel Onkyo would be up to it, but it might do ok as long as I use 4 efficient 6 Ohm speakers with a recommended amp power rating of between 20-120w / channel, or something close to that. I don't care to have a system that will break the windows ... just something that has nice clean sound at normal listening levels.

    Ron,


    HOLD THE PHONE.
    You might be interested in a HT receiver.
    All of em have prologic II and DTS neo.
    Both have a music mode for enhancing two channel music, and sounds quite good.
    If you like 4 speakers you might really want to think about a 5.1 system,
    prologic II might be something you enjoy:1:
  • 09-23-2008, 05:44 AM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Turbota
    When I setup that last 2 channel system I had, I initially used 2 front floor standing speakers. After a couple of months listening to it, I bought 2 more for the rear ... To me, when using the 4 speakers, the sound was more "spacious" (for the lack of a better word). It just sounded so much better. With the 4 speakers, you could really tell the difference when switching between A and then to A/B. Switched to A/B, it really made the sound more "open" ... like you were in a larger listening room. Certainly not discrete 4 channel by any means, but not so "direct" as with just listening to front speakers.

    Of course that Pioneer Spec 1 power amp had no trouble driving all 4 speakers at the same time .... Don't really know if that 100w / channel Onkyo would be up to it, but it might do ok as long as I use 4 efficient 6 Ohm speakers with a recommended amp power rating of between 20-120w / channel, or something close to that. I don't care to have a system that will break the windows ... just something that has nice clean sound at normal listening levels.

    Ron,



    I'm forced to agree with Pix. (please don't tell anyone) My first thought when I read your comment on 4 speakers sounding more spacious was that you'd like an HT system. Most all HT receiver have a way of taking a 2 channel signal and turning it into a 5.1 sound. That's great for watching TV that is broadcast in 2 channel. It will give you a more spacious and enveloping sound for movies & TV.
  • 09-23-2008, 08:49 AM
    basite
    while Pix makes a valuable point, I don't think it will be the same...

    What you did with you stereo setup was hooking up 4 speakers to a stereo amp, which will still be possible with any decent amp today, and the right speakers.


    You do seem to live in the wrong country though dude :D
    pirated copies in actual music/dvd stores? :D

    (just joking:p)

    Keep them spinning,
    Bert.
  • 09-23-2008, 03:36 PM
    blackraven
    Buy a decent HT AVR like NAD or one of the nicer Onkyo's if you think that you may want HT in the future. (I'm going through the painful process of trying to integrate a 2ch amp and a HT 5.1 AVR with one set of speakers right now and let me tell you, its not an easy task and it has its own set of problems.) You will still get very good sound. You mentioned the Onkyo 9555 which is a very good integrated amp but not high end audiophile. I think that you can acheive the quality of sound of the 9555 with a good AVR. Its all a matter of personal preferences as with any piece of audio equipment.

    By the way, my listening room is 17x17x9 and I run 260wpc for HT and just purchased a 400wpc 2ch amp, although my speakers are difficult to drive and sound better with the hi power.
  • 09-23-2008, 04:22 PM
    Rich-n-Texas
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    I'm forced to agree with Pix. (please don't tell anyone) My first thought when I read your comment on 4 speakers sounding more spacious was that you'd like an HT system. Most all HT receiver have a way of taking a 2 channel signal and turning it into a 5.1 sound. That's great for watching TV that is broadcast in 2 channel. It will give you a more spacious and enveloping sound for movies & TV.

    What did he say?

    Oh okay...

    yer secret's safe with me. :yesnod:
  • 09-23-2008, 04:34 PM
    Turbota
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    You mentioned the Onkyo 9555 which is a very good integrated amp but not high end audiophile. I think that you can acheive the quality of sound of the 9555 with a good AVR. Its all a matter of personal preferences as with any piece of audio equipment.

    Thank's blackraven and everyone else for the comments and info ... I can certainly agree with you that the Onkyo 9555 is not "Audiophile" in performance, but unfortunatly do to 25 years of military flying, neither are my ears Audiophile quality anymore! http://www.xlforum.net/vbportal/foru...smilies/43.gif
  • 09-23-2008, 09:50 PM
    02audionoob
    Perhaps there's no real reason to be, but...I'd be a little concerned about running four 6-Ohm speakers at a time. Maybe 8-Ohm speakers instead?
  • 09-23-2008, 11:55 PM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    I'm forced to agree with Pix. (please don't tell anyone) My first thought when I read your comment on 4 speakers sounding more spacious was that you'd like an HT system. Most all HT receiver have a way of taking a 2 channel signal and turning it into a 5.1 sound. That's great for watching TV that is broadcast in 2 channel. It will give you a more spacious and enveloping sound for movies & TV.

    He likes me! He really likes me!:1:
  • 09-24-2008, 04:28 AM
    Worf101
    Hello...
    Nice meeting you. As a fellow vet I can only say "welcome aboard". I was Army, Combat Engineer. I managed to keep most of my hearing despite demolitions and explosive ordinance disposal duties. I like your current set up. I presently run my main 5.1 set up as double duty. I've not the room or space for a dedicated 2 channel hook up, or I'd have one.

    I've spent many a night and day in the P.I. back when I wore a younger man's clothes. Is the 777 Club still there in Metro Manila?

    Da Worfster
  • 09-24-2008, 05:54 AM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    You mentioned the Onkyo 9555 which is a very good integrated amp but not high end audiophile. I think that you can acheive the quality of sound of the 9555 with a good AVR.

    Decent advice, but I'd add a few disclaimers:

    1) High End Audiophile is pretty much a meaningless term, as it really just depends on who you ask... Some people think High End starts above $2K, others $5K and some only regard SOTA products as real high end (so generally nothing under $20K)... Others could care less about price... the only thing that matters is whether you are happy with the sound...

    2) Yes, you can achieve the sound quality of the 955 with an AVR, but the real question is how much will that AVR cost? Don't think that you can just replace a $700 integrated amp with a $700 AVR and get the same sound quality... that's highly unlikely... you may need to spend $1.5K or more on an AVR to get the same quality...
  • 09-24-2008, 06:11 AM
    Rich-n-Texas
    And sometimes you can get a brand new $1.5K AVR for $400 off list, so yeah, there are too many variables involved when trying to classify equipment into any one specific category. Florian would probably disagree though...
  • 09-24-2008, 09:33 AM
    Turbota
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Worf101
    I've spent many a night and day in the P.I. back when I wore a younger man's clothes. Is the 777 Club still there in Metro Manila?

    Da Worfster

    I haven't gone bar hopping in Manila for a long time, so I really don't know anything about the clubs there. I do know that about 16 years ago, the ex-mayor of Manila (Mr. Lim) shut down all the bars in the Ermita area of Manila. Most of those bars were owned by foreigners.

    But, even though the US military has left the Philippines, the bars in the Angeles City area around the old Clark Airbase are still going strong today! The US Air Force has just been replaced with tourists. And Clark Airbase is now a big industrial park and will someday replace the Manila airport as the gateway into the Philippines.

    Ron,
  • 09-25-2008, 12:30 AM
    RoadRunner6
    1 Attachment(s)
    Ron, from a Vietnam vet, Grateful Thanks for your service flying your 60.

    If you get a chance can you send somethying nice to Pixelthis (one of our mentally challenged members). Perhaps a carton of balut or maybe some nice chocolate coated camel spiders. Something for him to munch on while he is watching his new Vizio LCD.

    I am more for a complete 5.1 system for HT and music (with Onkyo receiver). The midline receivers like the 706 include the Music Optimizer which improves the quality of compressed audio such as MP3. The digital 9555 does not have this. A friend who has a lot of MP3 scratch says the similar circuitry on his Yamaha receiver makes a significant improvement in the sound of MP3. The Onkyo's have a pretty fine amp for a receiver. I'd bet a six pack of San Miguel you couldn't hear any difference from that digital Integrated amp. Just some food for thought. However, it looks like you might already have a decision made. Good luck.

    RR6 :biggrin5:

    (for Pixelthis, is that the singer above they call Pink?)
  • 09-25-2008, 03:59 AM
    Turbota
    RR6 ... Thank's for the advice. There is a high-end audio store up in Manila that I am going to visit on my next trip up there in about 2 weeks. I am not going to make any decisions until then.

    That's one hell of a pic of a couple of oversized camel spiders you have there.

    I have always thought that if those camel spiders were the size of german shepards, they would in fact rule the world! ... There is no doubt in my mind!

    Ron, :)