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  1. #1
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    2 Channel or Multichannel-update

    Here is an update on my journey of discovery about the merrits of MC.
    Yesterday out of the blue I got a phone call from a friend (a 2 channel man) to come on over to his as he wanted me to listen to something special. A long drive followed.
    He also used to have a HT in the basement for his son. He has moved out and the HT went with him. So when I got there, my pal showed me what was now in the Basement. A MC system, set up for music only, on 30 day home trial. The kit list is as follows:

    Arcam DV137 Universal Disc Player
    Arcam AV9
    Arcam P1 Mono amp x 7

    KEF Reference 204c x 1
    KEF Reference 205 1 pair
    KEF Reference 203 2 Pair
    KEF Reference PSW400 x 1

    Can't recall the cables.

    I really wanted to experience the viability of genuine high-end performance from a multi-format, multi-channel system - something I had yet to hear. Well, I have now. I enjoyed it - never thought I would say that.
    He had a couple of classical discs there and Peter Gabriels -Play. A recording I know inside out and a tour from which it came I attended. I just wasn't prepared for how good it was. This is one MC system I would be happy to live with but (there had to be a but), when it came to play 2 channel or 2.1 only it didn't sound as good as my dedicated 2 channel set up.
    So if all my records could be in MC I would have no hesitation in investing in such a system. I can only imagine and dream what 7 Tube mono amps and ART Emotion Speakers would sound like.
    On a site note I reckon that many HT/MC system are optimised for movies and that will have a negative effect on the musical experience I am sure.
    Only got back this morning. Listened almost all night there.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hey that's kinda cool.
    Arcam, IMO, makes about the best sounding HT/MC gear out there for reasonable prices. I'd say they're the last point on the diminishing returns curve before the cost spikes exponentially. Their new receivers really challenge the old beliefs about the need separates. If I had to buy a pre-pro now they'd be on my short list for sure.

    Too bad 90% of his music probably isn't in MC format though. Oh well, someday, I'm sure. I have little doubt the planned obsolescence of the CD format will give way to more multi-channel offerings. Either that we're all gonna be listening to MP3's (shudder).

    As for HT/MC alignment. It seems that HT setup convention has been moving towards the MC setup suggestions. I know a lot of us that use their system for HT as well as music tend to follow the ITU. In truth, I find it works better than the old Dolby recommendations for movies as well, especially if 5, direct-radiating speakers are used in stead of bipole/dipole surrounds.

    IMO, the biggest deviance is the subwoofer. Many subs are are sold to boom loud and low, and give transient response, group delay and overall sound quality less consideration. Subs that care less about getting down to 20 Hz or below and booming louder and better tend to cost quite a bit more and aren't easy to find. I suspect a lot of systems might benefit just turning the subs off altogether and going light on the bass music.

    Biggest set-back to MC audio is still lack of knowledge and improper setup. I walk into a lot of hi-fi shops, see half-assed MC setups. Not surprising though. For decades stereo owners used to do things like stack the 2 speakers, place 1 sideways, one vertical, and paid little attention to toe-in and placement proximity. It's a wonder stereo ever replaced mone. History repeats itself.

  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    What keeps me from more MC

    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    ...
    Too bad 90% of his music probably isn't in MC format though. Oh well, someday, I'm sure. I have little doubt the planned obsolescence of the CD format will give way to more multi-channel offerings. Either that we're all gonna be listening to MP3's (shudder).

    As for HT/MC alignment. It seems that HT setup convention has been moving towards the MC setup suggestions. I know a lot of us that use their system for HT as well as music tend to follow the ITU. In truth, I find it works better than the old Dolby recommendations for movies as well, especially if 5, direct-radiating speakers are used in stead of bipole/dipole surrounds.
    ...
    Biggest set-back to MC audio is still lack of knowledge and improper setup. I walk into a lot of hi-fi shops, see half-assed MC setups. Not surprising though. For decades stereo owners used to do things like stack the 2 speakers, place 1 sideways, one vertical, and paid little attention to toe-in and placement proximity. It's a wonder stereo ever replaced mone. History repeats itself.
    What keeps me from moving to a pure MC setup is three things:
    1. Cost: as Bernd is fond of pointing out: better is better. It would run me a lot of money I don't have to create an MC setup of quality comparable to my stereo.
    2. Setup: I haven't tried, e.g., dipoles, but I don't doubt Kex is right that direct radiating is best for music 5.1 recordings. Further, in the absense of time delay, this means rear speakers have to be the same distance from the listener as the fronts: impracticable for the majority, (especially when the fronts have got to be 3+ feet from the wall).
    3. Recordings: perhaps the least important reason in my own case, but still important, is the lack of really good MC recordings the do justice to the potential of the medium.
    Still, I watch and wait.

  4. #4
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. It was very very good and enjoyable. What keeps me from going down that route is the software issue. Also I would dearly love that MC set-up, but my Study is just not big enough (and my pockets not deep enough) for such a elaborate MC system. Did some research today and may have a scaled down version on home trial.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  5. #5
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Well Bernd...

    ...I certainly wish you (and anyone else) looking to go that route good luck and happy listening...weird thing is I seem to be going backwards...many of my recent CD purchases have been reissues of mono material...much of it 50s jazz, mostly some Rudy Van Gelder editions...the music and artistry is second to none...

    Hardly means I'm going to go the single channel/infinite baffle route, although that might not be a bad idea strictly from a retro-tech POV...I've always been more into the presentation of overall timbral balance and there is certainly a sense of depth even with the mono source material...obviously any sort of soundstage would be non- existent, but since (IMHO) most of that is a studio contrivance anywho.....Lessee, where is that old Bogen...

    jimHJJ(...who says this hobby ain't fun?...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

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    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  6. #6
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    Yes it certainly is fun. And no I will not go wholesale down the MC route. After catching some shut-eye this morning I have just enjoyed some old Vinyl on my 2 channel system- and it is sweet and plays the music how I like it. Lot's of life left in the old dog yet. Have yet to hear a MC set up to play 2 channel convincing.
    However I would consider an MC system (as a second system) for the study as it was very enjoyable, could have been the delicous red wine though.
    You say about retro just now I am listening to a 50 year old Tube radio my wife bought me for my birthday and I love it. One full range speaker but oh so real.
    Have a good one.

    Peace

    Bernd
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  7. #7
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    What I have learned....

    Over the years I have invested in a primary HT setup, but recently have used it for far more music playback. One mistake that I made early on was to modify my settings to make for a better HT/movie playback, which often jeopardizes the music playback in Multi-channel ( I am speaking about DVD-A and SACD here). Because of that fact I have recently starting thinking in opposite terms and have set up my system for optimal music-listening and have realized that it does not dramatically effect the movie playback, which was just the opposite. So my recommendation is this...

    If you are using your system for both Multi-channel music and Multi-channel movie purposes...I would calibrate your setup first to music-only programs instead of setting it up for movie playback.

  8. #8
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    What I have learned....

    Over the years I have invested in a primary HT setup, but recently have used it for far more music playback. One mistake that I made early on was to modify my settings to make for a better HT/movie playback, which often jeopardizes the music playback in Multi-channel ( I am speaking about DVD-A and SACD here). Because of that fact I have recently starting thinking in opposite terms and have set up my system for optimal music-listening and have realized that it does not dramatically effect the movie playback, which was just the opposite. So my recommendation is this...

    If you are using your system for both Multi-channel music and Multi-channel movie purposes...I would calibrate your setup first to music-only programs instead of setting it up for movie playback.
    Can you explain to me why you would do it this way? What would you do differently setting wise differently

    The setting I have for SACD and DVD-A are the same as Dolby digital. The speaker differences don't change, the balances don't change, I do not use bass management. What changes when you go from movies to music?
    Sir Terrence

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  9. #9
    Color me gone... Resident Loser's Avatar
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    Holy macaroni...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Can you explain to me why you would do it this way? What would you do differently setting wise differently

    The setting I have for SACD and DVD-A are the same as Dolby digital. The speaker differences don't change, the balances don't change, I do not use bass management. What changes when you go from movies to music?
    ...we gotta' stop meeting like this...The FR is still 20Hz-20Khz and if you can reproduce wide-range music with authority, I certainly can't see why there would be any diff whatsoever to do a convincing job on HT...

    To my way of thinking, the fi is either hi or it's not...if you need to tweak some part of the FR, something is amiss...

    jimHJJ(...but then again, I'm no HT fan...maybe that's why...)
    Hello, I'm a misanthrope...don't ask me why, just take a good look around.

    "Men would rather believe than know" -Sociobiology: The New Synthesis by Edward O. Wilson

    "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to a great lie than to a small one" -Adolph Hitler

    "We are never deceived, we deceive ourselves" -Goethe

    If you repeat a lie often enough, some will believe it to be the truth...

  10. #10
    nightflier
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    Bernd,

    I have heard very good HT setups also sound very good in 2 channel. A friend of mine has an Arcam receiver connected to Vandersteen speakers. He had a professional installer set this up for movies but also listens to all his music that way (he's not the tinkerer type). But last time I was there, I brought some of my classical CDs and we configured the system for stereo listening. The stereo sound was excellent after a little tweaking. Maybe it was the dual subs, or just the high quality speakers, but it is definitely possible to enjoy both stereo & surround sound. That said, I am not able to get that synergy at home, and this may be the reason why I still go back to my 2 channel system when I really want to listen to music.

    To answer Terence's questions, I do have different setups for SACD and HT. For one, the Axiom VP150 center speaker in my setup seems to overpower the M22Ti L&R speakers, so I always have to decrease it 2-3 db. I also set the sub a touch higher. I should also mention that I also find a noticeable difference between DTS (my preference), DD (most DVDs), and ProLogic (most TV) and they all have their own tweaks (which my preamp fortunately saves) so using the "HT" label throughout this discussion may be misleading.

  11. #11
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Hey Bernd,

    Glad to see yer keeping busy now tha the season's over. It seems like you're putting the time to good use as well. Very cool that you got to experience the other side--now you know why I'm always buyin' them funny SACD thingies...

    Cheers
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  12. #12
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    What I have learned....

    Over the years I have invested in a primary HT setup, but recently have used it for far more music playback. One mistake that I made early on was to modify my settings to make for a better HT/movie playback, which often jeopardizes the music playback in Multi-channel ( I am speaking about DVD-A and SACD here). Because of that fact I have recently starting thinking in opposite terms and have set up my system for optimal music-listening and have realized that it does not dramatically effect the movie playback, which was just the opposite. So my recommendation is this...

    If you are using your system for both Multi-channel music and Multi-channel movie purposes...I would calibrate your setup first to music-only programs instead of setting it up for movie playback.

    Maybe you'll get back into H/T with a matching center. MC music playback may benefit much more from that too.

  13. #13
    Man of the People Forums Moderator bobsticks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrhymeammo
    Maybe you'll get back into H/T with a matching center. MC music playback may benefit much more from that too.
    ...and there's a flag on the play! Ladies and gentlemen, that came out of nowhere...
    So, I broke into the palace
    With a sponge and a rusty spanner
    She said : "Eh, I know you, and you cannot sing"
    I said : "That's nothing - you should hear me play piano"

  14. #14
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobsticks
    ...and there's a flag on the play! Ladies and gentlemen, that came out of nowhere...
    Yes it did.
    But(throwing out the red flag)..... I understood that SV70mm wasnt fully satisfied with his HT setup. Then, I noticed his fronts and center was most likely a mismatch.

    Let's go to the review.....
    What do you have for us SV70mm?

  15. #15
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    How exactly do you figure that my fronts and center are a mismatch? Have you listened to my setup? What is the basis for your conclusions?

    To answer another question...the difference between music and movies mainly has to do with the levels of each channel, which most people have their surrounds cranked up way too much for movies. There are lots of ways to tinker with any system whether it be with speaker distance, crossover, EQ, channel level, etc etc. I like to sample music when I calibrate and use that as a reference point rather than test out movies.

  16. #16
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    How exactly do you figure that my fronts and center are a mismatch? Have you listened to my setup? What is the basis for your conclusions?

    To answer another question...the difference between music and movies mainly has to do with the levels of each channel, which most people have their surrounds cranked up way too much for movies. There are lots of ways to tinker with any system whether it be with speaker distance, crossover, EQ, channel level, etc etc. I like to sample music when I calibrate and use that as a reference point rather than test out movies.
    Here is what I saw,
    you have PSB Image 7PT for your fronts, unknown Athena for your center. I dont care to find out what type of drivers are used in those spekaers, but assuming you have differnt woofers/tweeters they are mismatched.(my opinion) Drivers material, size, and other orientation will result to differnt tonality. If you think other wise, you shouldn't look any farther than radioshack for your audio needs. Yeah you can adjust output level with your receivers and calibrate all you want. But your Athena and PSB will exhibit accordingly. Have you not noticed this? Your favorite artist/actor will sound like he's starting to catch cold in Athena and diarrhea in PSB. Tell me, what can you do to make all of your speakers produce same sound characteristic besides turning it off?

    If you had modified all of your speakers with same cabinets, drivers, crossover, wires, and others. Then I apologize.

  17. #17
    If you can't run-walk. Bernd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Bernd,

    I have heard very good HT setups also sound very good in 2 channel. A friend of mine has an Arcam receiver connected to Vandersteen speakers. He had a professional installer set this up for movies but also listens to all his music that way (he's not the tinkerer type). But last time I was there, I brought some of my classical CDs and we configured the system for stereo listening. The stereo sound was excellent after a little tweaking. Maybe it was the dual subs, or just the high quality speakers, but it is definitely possible to enjoy both stereo & surround sound. That said, I am not able to get that synergy at home, and this may be the reason why I still go back to my 2 channel system when I really want to listen to music.

    To answer Terence's questions, I do have different setups for SACD and HT. For one, the Axiom VP150 center speaker in my setup seems to overpower the M22Ti L&R speakers, so I always have to decrease it 2-3 db. I also set the sub a touch higher. I should also mention that I also find a noticeable difference between DTS (my preference), DD (most DVDs), and ProLogic (most TV) and they all have their own tweaks (which my preamp fortunately saves) so using the "HT" label throughout this discussion may be misleading.
    Hi,

    I am glad that you have heard good 2 channel through a MC system. That's something I have yet to find. We played the PG-Play disc through the MC sytem and it sounded as I have never experienced it. We then used the red book version of that cd for 2 channel only and not only did the soundstage collapse, the quality of the reproduction got nowhere near what I get at home through Vinyl,tubes and 2 channel. Point taken that my home set up is more expensive (take note Feanor).
    Yesterday I played Peter Gabriels Play through Vinyl at home and it gave me something that even the MC did not provide.
    So the lesson(s) learned for me here are, I don't think you can compare MC (using the correct software) with Vinyl and 2 channel. To me they are both following separate lines. Both give enjoyment, but through different presentations.
    In an ideal world I would run two separate set ups.
    It was fun and I am glad I had the opportunity to experience that.

    Peace

    Bernd
    Last edited by Bernd; 09-26-2006 at 06:13 AM.
    "Let The Earth Bear Witness."

  18. #18
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    I don't think it's possible, at least with either DPL2 or Neo 6, to make a 2 channel recording sound good in MC. Hell, there are plenty of bad mc recordings that were discretely mixed! Combine this with the fact that there aren't many mc recordings to begin with and you can see why people haven't jumped on the bandwagon.

    However, if you liked Peter Gabriel, you should try Floyd's DSOTM, one of the best mc recordings I've heard.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your experience.

  19. #19
    nightflier
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    Bernd,

    When you were listening to the 2-channel tracks, was the receiver still set for some surround mode? If so, that would explain the less-than-ideal sound. I have never been satisfied with the software-generated sound modes built-in to most receivers and thankfully many companies such as Arcam and Outlaw are doing away with them.

  20. #20
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    I purposefully integrated the Athena center channel into my system after listening to many other speakers because they seemed like the best match and balanced out the system best for what I prefer. Apparently some people in here think that I am wrong for doing so, and that is fine since they are not the ones that have to listen to my setup. Instead they can attempt to insult my setup for no known reason and in the meantime probably think that B&W sound better than PSB speakers or that hockey pucks make good vibration controls. Maybe a few pictures of my vacuum will help me out here!

  21. #21
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    or that hockey pucks make good vibration controls. Maybe a few pictures of my vacuum will help me out here!
    LMAO!!!! Thank you I really enjoyed that.

    First of all I never insulted your system. I simply express what I thought would sound like with different LRC speakers. Also, I really think my speakers sound much better than PSB I audtioned. I'm glad I purchased them instead of PSB. I have this intuition that you know PSB sound better than B&W, and that is good for you.
    You sound like you are satisfied with your over-all system. I'm not. That's why I keep posting stupid things that actually work.

  22. #22
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Don't worry 'bout it

    Quote Originally Posted by superpanavision70mm
    I purposefully integrated the Athena center channel into my system after listening to many other speakers because they seemed like the best match and balanced out the system best for what I prefer. Apparently some people in here think that I am wrong for doing so, and that is fine since they are not the ones that have to listen to my setup. ...
    I have "mismatched" center and fronts too -- a DIY Vifa woofer / Bohlender-Graebener planar tweeter center + Paradigm MiniMonitors for fronts. They are fairly close but not an exact timbre match, neverthless they work fine for me.

    IMO, it's at least as important the the fronts and center be in the same horizontal plane.

  23. #23
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    I love how someone attempts to insult your system and then denies it later. Phrases like ...

    "you shouldn't look any farther than radioshack for your audio needs"
    or better yet...

    this person apparently didn't even read enough to understand that I wasn't complaining or having any problems in terms of satisfaction with my system in the first place.

    I love the way my system is set up at the moment...totally fulfilled? Well, I know there are parts that I would love to upgrade, but I am content until I get more funds to upgrade further.

  24. #24
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    "you shouldn't look any farther than radioshack for your audio needs"

    How in the hell is that aninsult to your system? I was talking about the different sound characteristic of speakers. I think you stated that you dont give a F about different tonality of speakers. That;s fine by me. I have spent a dime on it.

    On the orignal post that I replied to, you used the word "mistakes" and "investment/ how you ended up investing" After that sentese you say that investment you committed jeopardized your musical playback. How ta the hell was I supposed to interpret that? That does not sound like you are satisfied with your purchases. Now if that;s your way of expressing certain types of your emotion, then leave me out of it.
    Piss off.

    Also, I like to ask you to stop doing certain thing. Stop asking people how much they spent on their setups. It just makes you look uglier. For that I erased one of my pictures. If you want me to erase my vacuum cleaner that would help others, then keep doing what you do to my photos.


    -JRA

    I'm not going to get into a discussion with you on how you are wrong about your preference.

  25. #25
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    First...please find the spot that I said that I don't care about the tonality of speakers. I'd love to know where I said that, since it never happened.

    Second, don't expect to get negative remarks when you put pictures of vacuum cleaners on a AudioReview site since they have nothing to do with one another. Maybe try a DirtDevil forum instead.

    Third, there is nothing wrong about asking how much a certain piece of equipment costs, especially since most people have no problem telling me and they should be proud to spend money on their system.

    Fourth, you may think that I can't pick up on your sarcasm, but I'm quite aware of it and it's laced all through your comments towards me. What you were implying about the RadioShack or other comments about my speakers were certainly not pleasant responses, but rather jagged remarks that anyone with half-a-brain could figure out were along the insult side of things.

    Fifth, I am satisfied with my setup, what my initial response in this thread was is just a simple and innnocent reply that I confessed a mistake that I made in the past with HOW I set my stuff up, not WHAT I bought. I have since learned a few tricks of the trade to help further improve my setup...I enjoy it. Also, the pictures in my gallery are about 6 months old and for some reason I am unable to update with newer pictures, which the older pictures do not demonstrate a good setup, it was a temporary situation.

    Sixth, this is a classic example of why this site suffers...it's pathetic when the most general of all responses to certain threads turns ugly just because certain people like yourself can't keep things civil and positive. Instead you bring your opinions and preferences into it and try to talk down to others with an elitist attitude.

    HAVE A GREAT DAY!

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