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  1. #1
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    Best Of Both Worlds

    Hello all! Just became a member of this AMAZING community - I just couldn't believe how much GREAT information surfs around this webspace, and wanted to be a part of this!
    Thanks for taking me in! :-)
    Well, my first post is about a question that's been bugging me for quite a while now. First of all, I'm a low budget kinda guy, unfortunately can't invest as much as I'd love to, but man, I LOVE A GREAT SOUND! And that happens to be my problem, now, I HATE my set up and can't wait to change it!
    About 7 years ago, I put together an entry level HT system in my living room. I was so excited with the new sounds I was able to produce when watching my favorite movies that I didn't really care too much about the not-so-good quality of plain music listening. Well, it WAS not-so-good at first, but now I must call it MEDIOCRE at best! Turns out I'm tired of HT, perhaps because I don't have a good setup, perhaps because I don't watch enough movies, but mainly because I really want a system that plays GREAT MUSIC.
    I've been thinking about throwing my HT set up out the window and going to a basic 2 channel system, with 2 nice floorstand speakers. Then I thought: what about the center speaker, isn't it essential for watching movies? And a subwoofer, can I live without one by simply having good bass coming from my floorstands? One thing I know almost for sure, that I could live without satellite surround speakers (or not?)
    Anyways, my question to you guys is: WHAT'S THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS? I think I know what could be acceptabe in terms of good quality for listening to music, but could a system with 2 front floorstand speakers with nice quality bass and 1 matching center speaker produce a good enough HT experience?
    Any replies are welcome!
    Thanks so much to all of you!

  2. #2
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by enthusiast
    [SNIP] First of all, I'm a low budget kinda guy......[SNIP]

    I put together an entry level HT system in my living room. .....[SNIP]


    , but now I must call it MEDIOCRE at best! [SNIP]


    I've been thinking about throwing my HT set up out the window and going to a basic 2 channel system, with 2 nice floorstand speakers. [SNIP]


    Then I thought: what about the center speaker, isn't it essential for watching movies? [SNIP]


    And a subwoofer, can I live without one by simply having good bass coming from my floorstands? [SNIP]


    One thing I know almost for sure, that I could live without satellite surround speakers (or not?) [SNIP]

    Wow, I wish I had time to respond to all the above points. I went the same route as you. Got a HTIB and loved it for 3 month, then hated it. What I am doing is building a good 2 channel system and then using a cheap Denon to power the surround speakers. But now, my 6 and 8 year old are into old B&W Shirley temple movies. So, no need for surround sound for these.

    Do you need a Sub-woofer: IMHO: No. I've got one and leave it off. Get good standing speakers that have lots of bass. (Warning: Others have very opposing opinions).

    Do you need a center: No. I don't use one. Sounds great. But you need good speakers and Amps to do this else the vocals get muddled. But, mine sound very clear. Also, my screen is 106 inches, so with this size you get a really cool feeling of the persons voice following them as they move. With a center it just comes from the center...... (Warning: Others have very opposing opinions).

    And your a low budge guy..... Yeee Haaa. Same here. If I can save a dime I try to push it to 11 cents.......

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  3. #3
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Two channel reproduction is my priority. I put together a two channel system that I'm reasonably satisfied with. I added surround and MC capability to it with a processor, rear speakers and the necessary amplifiers.
    With this approach I feel I've got the best of both worlds. Two ESL's bi-amped with two TL subs sounds wonderful for two channel. Two more biamped ESL's and another subwoofer are added for surround and MC. Explosions sound like explosions with four ESL's and three subs. I don't have a center channel speaker (four ESL's is enough) nor do I use the bass management of my processor. I set all speaker sizes for large and use my external crossovers for sub woofer control.
    I am fortunate to have a dedicated 15' x 38' x 9' room. It used to be my living room and dining room. It's now my "media" (I hate that term) room. It has various room treatment devices including abfusors, difusors, absorbatives and reflectives along with bass traps. I've made use of a number of natural items for various purposes including books, LP's, fabric wall hangings and various tchotchke's. I also have some panels I made with fabric covered Owens Corning fibreglass panels. When you're a bachelor with your own home you can do these kinds of things.
    If you accept advice and help from a ladyfriend (I do) your result can look like and be a comfortable area for multiple activities. By that I mean, females don't make comments about being in a recording studio. They usually get comfortable, pat their feet and enjoy the sound. A few actually ask for more volume! Those are the keepers.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  4. #4
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    Two channel reproduction is my priority. I put together a two channel system that I'm reasonably satisfied with. I added surround and MC capability to it with a processor, rear speakers and the necessary amplifiers.

    With this approach I feel I've got the best of both worlds.
    I've been thinking about doing this with an older Denon receiver I have lying around, including the three subs. I'm not nearly as anal with "soundtracks" so with a little patience and my trusty meter I should get fairly decent results.
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  5. #5
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    Hello Enthusiast

    Quote Originally Posted by enthusiast
    Hello all! Just became a member of this AMAZING community - I just couldn't believe how much GREAT information surfs around this webspace, and wanted to be a part of this!
    Thanks for taking me in! :-)
    Well, my first post is about a question that's been bugging me for quite a while now. First of all, I'm a low budget kinda guy, unfortunately can't invest as much as I'd love to, but man, I LOVE A GREAT SOUND! And that happens to be my problem, now, I HATE my set up and can't wait to change it!
    About 7 years ago, I put together an entry level HT system in my living room. I was so excited with the new sounds I was able to produce when watching my favorite movies that I didn't really care too much about the not-so-good quality of plain music listening. Well, it WAS not-so-good at first, but now I must call it MEDIOCRE at best! Turns out I'm tired of HT, perhaps because I don't have a good setup, perhaps because I don't watch enough movies, but mainly because I really want a system that plays GREAT MUSIC.
    I've been thinking about throwing my HT set up out the window and going to a basic 2 channel system, with 2 nice floorstand speakers. Then I thought: what about the center speaker, isn't it essential for watching movies? And a subwoofer, can I live without one by simply having good bass coming from my floorstands? One thing I know almost for sure, that I could live without satellite surround speakers (or not?)
    Anyways, my question to you guys is: WHAT'S THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS? I think I know what could be acceptabe in terms of good quality for listening to music, but could a system with 2 front floorstand speakers with nice quality bass and 1 matching center speaker produce a good enough HT experience?
    Any replies are welcome!
    Thanks so much to all of you!
    How much is your budget for what you want to build? My local audio dealer is trying to sell a demo units, Arcam AVR 250 and Arcam DVD player (I forgot the model#) as best as I can recall for about $1K. You can have HT and 2 channel with the AVR 250 but the Arcam DVD player is just that only...in other words no CD capability in that player.

    As for speakers, you can't go wrong with Mordaunt Short speakers for both music and movies. Great deals to be had on the MS speaker on Accessories4less.com.

    Hope this info can help you out.

    LeRoy

  6. #6
    bba5757
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    Just curious, Mr. Miscreant, what older Denon receiver do you have? model number? -- and what do you think of Denon receivers in general? Thx.

  7. #7
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    The DAC in the Arcam receiver would sound great on CD playback. You'd just use the DVD as transport. Same as for movies.

    I like a center channel, it helps keep the dialogue more audible. You don't lose panning from left to right. The audio engineers try to make the sound match what you are seeing on screen. With at least 5.1 there is a potential for some real sound effects fun, so I prefer having rears. Action and horror movies utilize the rears pretty good. Things flying through the room and such.

    What gear are you using now? Some HT receivers have a "bypass" feature that allow stereo sources to bypass the internal processing. This can sometimes improve music playback. If you've never used a SPL meter to set your sub and speakers, or at least used one of the auto set up features, you might be surprised at the improvement with levels and distances properly set. I'd try playing with your system some before throwing money at it.

    If the system just isn't going to sound good you could try upgrading to a new receiver, or speakers, or both. You could try adding a CD player with better playback sound than the receiver. You could keep what you have for HT and put together a 2nd stereo system for music.

    NAD makes some inexpensive integrated amps that get you pretty good sound for the money. You can take a look at www.emotiva.com . Also, on the cheap there is a fair amount of vintage gear available on Craigslist, thrift stores and the like. An old Harmon Kardon or Sansui receiver or integrated might do the trick.

    A lot will depend on your budget, how much room you have and if you are ready to give up on HT altogether. Personally, I'd recommend staying with the HT with Blu-ray around with better picture and sound than ever and great sounding concert videos available.

  8. #8
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Peabody
    I like a center channel, it helps keep the dialogue more audible. You don't lose panning from left to right. The audio engineers try to make the sound match what you are seeing on screen.
    Mr. P.,
    I know your right (Because your always on top of this stuff) , but some day I've got to see/hear how one speaker can give a sense of movement.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  9. #9
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    Two ESL's bi-amped with two TL subs sounds wonderful for two channel. Two more biamped ESL's and another subwoofer are added for surround and MC.
    Joe, he probably doesn't have a clue what those abbreviations mean. Keep it clear/simple if it's his first post.
    Last edited by audio amateur; 12-11-2009 at 03:47 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by manlystanley
    Mr. P.,
    I know your right (Because your always on top of this stuff) , but some day I've got to see/hear how one speaker can give a sense of movement.

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    It's the combination of the center and left and right speakers that give you the sense of movement.

  11. #11
    _ Luvin Da Blues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bba5757
    Just curious, Mr. Miscreant, what older Denon receiver do you have? model number? -- and what do you think of Denon receivers in general? Thx.
    I have a Denon AVR2500, this is a non digital unit. This should work for just the surround effects. I had a 2807 for awhile and really liked it then but music (2 channel) is my first priority so I needed a dedicated system for that.

    Cheers,

    LDB
    Back in my day, we had nine planets.

  12. #12
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Well... let me say this on that...

    I was in a similar situation as yours... However I'm not quite the two channel guru as others... I didn't start out with excellent 2 channel and then compromised for HT. I came at it the other way around, my first "decent" sound system was an Onkyo 787 receiver mated to decent, mismatched sets of speakers. As HT progressed I bought better and better receivers which, in turn, had better and better 2 channel reproduction.

    I currently run a former "top of the line" Onky 905 receiver that I use in 2 channel "direct" mode to power 2 ADS 1290's for serious listening. I'm sure that if I had separates and/or a dedicated 2 channel sytem and room I'd be happer, BUT, I ain't got the room nor the money for that so, these are the conditions that pervail.

    Worf

  13. #13
    Sophisticated Red Neck manlystanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    It's the combination of the center and left and right speakers that give you the sense of movement.
    Some day I might get a center. But, for now, I like the sound and verbal clarity I've got for both movies and two channel audio. Besides, I don't want to fork over the money for a decent: 7.1 pre-processor, center speaker etc. I need lots of other stuff. Like I've got 200+ old Jazz 78's collecting dust. I want to get a 78 cartridge and then a new 33 1/2 cartridge as well.

    Great help though. With my Denon 687, vocal's just came out of the cheap center that I had (which I hated).

    Best Regards,
    Stan
    Listening/Movie Room: ADCOM GTP-500, XPA-2, Denon 3930ci, Front: Jamo C809; Surround: Klipsch R-5650-S; Back: R-5650-S; Denon AVR-687,. Projector: Sharp XR-32X.

    Family Room: Denon avr-687, Denon CD player, Klipsch RB-5II

  14. #14
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    Hi enthusiast. audio amateur reminded me about those acronyms. Thanks aa.
    ESL = electrostatic loudspeaker
    TL = transmission line
    MC = multichannel
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  15. #15
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9
    Hi enthusiast. audio amateur reminded me about those acronyms. Thanks aa.
    ESL = electrostatic loudspeaker
    TL = transmission line
    MC = multichannel
    No problem. I just place myself in their shoes and remember that at one time I wouldn't have had a clue. It's funny because E-Stat does just the same thing. He starts talking to a newbie just like he talks to you and me. I guess when you've been into audio all those years, you forget!

  16. #16
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    A certain amount of acronym use may be because of my poor typing skills. Also, sometimes writing "electrostatic loudspeaker" seems a little pretentious.
    I could just call them "stats" although that's nearly as cryptic as ESL.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  17. #17
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    i have always liked being surrounded since

    i discovered DYNAQUAD years ago (sitil in use). that is a passive ambience extraction method that takes a stereo signal and puts the ambience in the rear where it belongs. its not as aggressive as a full surround system but still satisfying on music and video.

    i DO have a preamp/processor that i use but only for its switching capabilities including video sources. i just need to get enough amplifier channels for 5 channel. i already have a center channel speaker for when i do this. all this runs through my stereo preamp and amp for now.

    for the most part i dont need a center channel, the stereo setting still gives good center clarity. but there are some discs out there that are only in multi channel and you cant hear the center dialog without one.

    harman kardon makes some surround receivers that should be adequate for music and video. they even have phono built in.

    i just use my sub as i would in stereo, i never liked the idea of the crossover being in the receiver or processor. the large setting for the speakers will work just fine.

    so the best of both worlds is to NOT have htib but real audio speakers and a respectable surround receiver (or separates which is better). use the sub in stereo mode with the large speaker setting.

    the better surround receivers are B&K, rotel, HK, qnd some of the new onkyo items with the audissey room correction.
    ...regards...tr

  18. #18
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    Tommy is that Dynaquad from Dynavector or is it something else? I read some time back about the founder of Dynavector makes a processor which is ambience based and you use smaller speakers in the front with the larger in the back. It was an interesting concept and I would have liked to have heard one to see how close it came to the way he described it working.

    Stanly my man, nothing wrong with your set up, that's the way you like it and that's what is important. I'm just weighing in with my preference.

    I would wonder about the origin of a DVD that didn't play 2 channel. Think about it, how would any one watch it on their TV. I thought all DVD had to have a down mix.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    dynaquad was a product of dynaco

    david hafler devised the circuit. it subracts left from right channel at speaker level and sends the difference signal to rear speakers (which actually put out the same (difference) sound. when adjusted so that it is barely perceptible in regular stereo, it is quite convincing. LIVE recordings sound just as that-LIVE.

    one artist's music really benefits from dynaquad and that is tomita. he knew we were out there. also, he released discrete four channel CD4 records for the same reason.

    dolby pro logic is based on that circuit and can be used if one has that option in their receiver or processor. again, adjust so that the rears are barely perceptible on stereo.

    the dynvector p75 has a ciruit that enhances the use of MC cartridges. read the reviews to get an idea of what that does. it does NOT however creat some ambient field such as the quadaptor does.
    ...regards...tr

  20. #20
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    I was talking about this Super Stereo thing: http://www.dynavector.com/essp/eadp3.html

    It looks like it may have changed some from it's original set up. The processor used to have the two small speakers with two more larger in the back. You could even buy the speakers with the processor if you wished.

  21. #21
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I checked the link Mr Peabody. It seems to be an adaptation of the Hafler circuit with variable time delay added. I tried the Hafler circuit in the early 80's and used it for a while. The timbre difference between panels and boxes made me give it up. I didn't try surround sound again until I had four ESL's.
    ARC SP9 MKIII, VPI HW19, Rega RB300
    Marcof PPA1, Shure, Sumiko, Ortofon carts, Yamaha DVD-S1800
    Behringer UCA222, Emotiva XDA-2, HiFimeDIY
    Accuphase T101, Teac V-7010, Nak ZX-7. LX-5, Behringer DSP1124P
    Front: Magnepan 1.7, DBX 223SX, 2 modified Dynaco MK3's, 2, 12" DIY TL subs (Pass El-Pipe-O) 2 bridged Crown XLS-402
    Rear/HT: Emotiva UMC200, Acoustat Model 1/SPW-1, Behringer CX2310, 2 Adcom GFA-545

  22. #22
    Forum Regular hifitommy's Avatar
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    using all neutral speakers

    or identical ones is a real benefit. dyna recommended four a25s, i did for a while. then i put some EVs in the rear. another factor is to adjust the rears so they are almost not there on stereo. as i mentioned before, live music came back alive.

    again, the dynavector and dynaquad are completely different. the pro logic trick uses logic steering to enhance the localization. i never felt i needed that with dynaquad.

    today, i am using maggie MMGs in the front and ratshack minimus 7s in the rear. the 7s are realtively neutral.
    ...regards...tr

  23. #23
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    If I had more room I'd like to try some ESL's. I really like the Martin Logan. ML's seem to have the market share as other ESL brands I've never heard or seen around.

  24. #24
    music whore Happy Camper's Avatar
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    Hello and welcome enthusiast. So many toys, so little money.

    Another ML fan here. Converted a two channel ML to a full estat/sub HT rig. "Saving Private Ryan's" opening scene was like being a kid in a candy factory. The first watching of Jurassic Park was one of those milestone (audio roadside overlook gem) moments in the journey.

    The current road in this audio journey is quality PC headphone rigs. Different tool with their own skillset using a decent component DAC and amp. For environmental or expense issues, headphone listening brings you quality 2 channel sound while you build your frontend.

    Once done, drop your load on a used (better value) pair of quality dynamic full range speakers and don't bother with a sub. They bring on their own set of issues. A good, well driven full range dynamic speaker is the way to go for 2/3 channel listening.

    IMO
    d HC b

  25. #25
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    Subs can be tricky but generally not impossible. SVS is the most incredible subwoofer I've used. Blends beautifully...... www.svsound.com

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