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  1. #1
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    how big can a 2.1 signal be in a 5.1 system?

    I am in the market for a home theater system.
    I know that 5.1 6.1 7.1 systems offer great surround sound for movies.
    But to listen to music, will the sound be just as good?

    Does a stereo signal come from only two speakers and the sub?
    Or can the sound come out of all speakers?

  2. #2
    Suspended superpanavision70mm's Avatar
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    Stereo is 2 channels and that's all there is to it. However, some receivers enable you to do some advanced functions with the processing of that. For example, a stereo signal coming from a 2 channel source could be replicated into a 6-channel stereo effect through the receiver. In this case all of the speakers are active. You can also have your receiver throw the sound into more of a ProLogic sound, which gives you fake surround activity. There are other settings as well, but these are the most common. Most of them are trying to get the 5.1 effect, but regardless it's still 2 channels of sound just being passed through more speakers.

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Registered Member paul_pci's Avatar
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    If you have good speakers that produce a great soundstage, it doesn't matter how many other speakers you have in your system, two channel music will sound good. As to whether you will like the prologic dsp options to listen to a two channel source passed through 5 speakers is really a matter of taste. Now, die hard two channel enthusiasts will tell you that you'll never get the same quality of music out of a surround sound receiver, but you can still get the best of both worlds from an a/v receiver and probably won't miss any of the nuances that would come with a dedicated two channel system.

  4. #4
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    Good answers. I prefer the all 5.1 Natural Sound. Your biggest concern however should be to have a seperate CD player for CD's instead of using a DVD player for both because you will not get as good a sound on your DVD player for CDs as you would your CD player, no matter how much stores BS you by telling you how advanced DVD players have become.

  5. #5
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Good answers. I prefer the all 5.1 Natural Sound. Your biggest concern however should be to have a seperate CD player for CD's instead of using a DVD player for both because you will not get as good a sound on your DVD player for CDs as you would your CD player, no matter how much stores BS you by telling you how advanced DVD players have become.
    Well, the CD player will have a much smaller impact on the sound than some other components in the chain... speakers immediately come to mind.

    As for the sound of music in a HT rig... just like anything else, the sound is highly dependant on what is producing it. If your HT system is well designed with good components, a two channel stereo signal can sound quite good indeed when played through your front two speakers (and sub if needed). Stereo music can also sound good with multi-channel processing if the rest of the speakers in your system are of high quality too (and you have a good receiver or pre/pro)... just keep in mind that the signal is still really just a two channel signal being processed to come out of the other speakers in your system. I personally don't care for it and stick to two channel only for stereo as I am a firm believer that a good stereo signal when played back on a quality system has no need for the added 5 or 7 channel surround effect, but others love it and I certainly respect their right to disagree and enjoy the effect. Whether you will like the effect is completely dependant on your own tastes and system abilities...

    ---Dave
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  6. #6
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwlam1
    I am in the market for a home theater system.
    I know that 5.1 6.1 7.1 systems offer great surround sound for movies.
    But to listen to music, will the sound be just as good?

    Does a stereo signal come from only two speakers and the sub?
    Or can the sound come out of all speakers?
    You can do just about anything. 2,2.1,3.1 and so on and so on.
    Look & Listen

  7. #7
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwlam1
    I am in the market for a home theater system.
    I know that 5.1 6.1 7.1 systems offer great surround sound for movies.
    But to listen to music, will the sound be just as good?
    As other's have noted, only you can answer this question. It's simply a matter of taste. EdGein likes it is 5.1, others such as Dave and myself much prefer 2 channel music (stereo) played back the way God and the producer intended; in 2 channel. Neither is right or wrong, as long as you enjoy the music is all that matters.

    Now then, if you get a hi-rez system (SACD/DVD-A), you now have multi-channel music that was engineered to be played back through a 5.1 system. This is a whole new ballgame and with certain discs, I can honestly say I prefer the MC mix to the stereo mix.

    Hope this helps.


    OT:
    Dave,
    Did you read the glowing review of the Linbrooks in the latest TAS? Nice!
    "If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue

  8. #8
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    OT:
    Dave,
    Did you read the glowing review of the Linbrooks in the latest TAS? Nice!
    Yep, saw it... Those Linbrook System IIs are the "little" brothers of my regular Linbrook System speakers. Their sound is quite similar, with mine going much lower, and having better midrange/midbass integration. The IIs are very nice speakers, IMO. No shocker there considering my moniker. ;-)

    ---Dave
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  9. #9
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    Yeah I agree it all depends on your speakers, receiver & player. In my system I can't stand 2.1 at all. When I switched from my $350 DVD player to my $550 vintage Pioneer CD player, to me the CD sound improved immensely as the DVD player was too bright in comparison with the CD player ut I couldn't put my finger on this problem till I got my CD player. Unfortunately, alot of this stuff is trial & error- thank God for Ebay! I'm not as particular with DVD sound as I am on CD's. The best thing to do, which unfortunately most of us do't have the opportunity to do, is hear a friends system & copy their's if you're knocked out by it.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    played back the way God and the producer intended

    I didn't know God was into the hobby.

    2, 2.1, 3, 5.1, 7.1, 9.1, 5.1 plus effects, whatever. To me it all depends on the recording. The vast majority of my LPs sound best on pure stereo. On the other hand, alot of concert DVDs sound best to me on 7.1 stereo. Then there's all the fancy inbetween stuff, DD, DTS, Pro Logic, II, EX, DSP modes, ect. ect. A good system is going to reveal a lot of deficiencies in the source material. I like having a lot of signal processing options to play around with, even if I end up in good ol' stereo most of the times.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for all your responses. Here's a follow-up to the consensus that
    "it's up to one's own taste"

    Receiver and players being the same.
    If I get a 2.1 speaker system, what would I be looking for?
    I mean, let's say my hypothetical 5.1 system was a set of
    good quality satellites (3.5"midrange drivers, .75" tweeters, and a 8"sub).
    I presume the advantage of the surround system is to physically spread the sound out
    to give a fuller feel to the sound. So if I only had two speakers with a sub,
    what kind of specs would I need to look for to match/beat the surround system?

    What should I be looking for in the 2.1 system?
    Size, number of drivers (woofers? midrange? tweeters?) per speaker.

    Thanks again.
    D

  12. #12
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    "2.1" is a term that is mostly applied to computer speakers. It's basically marketing. For home audio, what your refering to is generally called a "sub/sat system" or subwoofer/satelite. The answer to what you should be looking for has less to do with specs and more to do with budget. What is your budget for speakers?

  13. #13
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    My budget is entry level.
    I'd like to get speakers complete for no more than $300.

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Registered Member paul_pci's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwlam1
    My budget is entry level.
    I'd like to get speakers complete for no more than $300.
    That's a tough order to fill, as quality audio tends to be pricey. But here's some general advice for someone in your position: build slowly. That is, find a 5.1 speaker line, please no satellites, that pleases the ear and begin with the main L/R pair and save for the center speaker and then surrounds, and then sub, which also can be pricey. You may not get it all at once, and that won't satify the instant gratification principle, but I guarantee you that you won't flush money down the toilet on crap because the finished system will be: ah, so sweet!

  15. #15
    Just passing thru topspeed's Avatar
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    If you're serious about your music, I'd recommend you build slowly and take your time. Unfortunately, $300 doesn't buy you much in the world of audio, but it can still buy you excellent sound.

    I'd suggest you go to some local audio shops and audition everything you can. Circuit City and Best Buy will do, but you'd likely be better served at specialty shops. Some of the better speakers in your price range are the Athena B2.2, Paradigm Atom, Wharfedale Diamond 9.1, or Epos ELS3. Forget the sub for now and focus on buying the highest quality monitors you can find within your price range. Save a little more and down the road consider building a Dayton sub ($350 for 10") from partsexpress.com to fill in the bass. Most of us have gone this route and trust me, it is far more satisfying in the long run. Remember, good speakers will give you a lifetime of enjoyment.

    Hope this helps.
    "If you can leave black marks on a straight from the time you exit a corner till the time you brake for the next turn, then you have enough horsepower." Mark Donohue

  16. #16
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwlam1
    My budget is entry level.
    I'd like to get speakers complete for no more than $300.
    $300 like others have said is very tough indeed... I agree with Top in saying that at your budget level it is recommended to stick with just buying mini-monitors for now. To that end, there are some very good ones available from a direct-to-consumer online company I recently recommended in another thread although they are on backorder until mid July, called the X-Series. At $200/pr + S&H I can't think of any others I could recommend that come to mind in your price range that would sound better to my ears... Later on, you can add their matching 8 inch sub (also $200 + S&H) and you will have a very nice sounding "2.1" system for about $400.

    The monitors are here: http://www.av123.com/products_catego...akers&brand=55 and the sub is here: http://www.av123.com/products_catego...ofers&brand=57

    Very good value for the money, IMO.

    ---Dave
    Integra DHC-40.2 Pre/Pro
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    Consonance Droplet CDP-5.0
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    Office:
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  17. #17
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    thanks for all your comments.
    I know that my budget in the realm of audiophiles is laughable.

    As a novice with little money, I have thought about where to start.
    I'm getting the impression that I should get two loudspeakers that are not simply satellites
    INSTEAD of a bunch of sats and a sub. Simplistically, I'd expect the sat/sub combo to allow me to "spread" the sound out, but because of the size of the sats, I'd have poor low-mid range sound quality. The two speaker set up would fill the mid-section out nicely, yes? but will they fill the room the same way?

    How "hefty" must the two speakers be to compare with a bunch of sats and a sub?
    Should the two speakers have drivers of a certain size? Tweeters?
    Are the cone materials important?
    BTW, when referring to "monitors" , is this synonymous with passive bookshelf speaker?
    Or is a monitor amplified?

  18. #18
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    what if I bi-amp'd two bookshelf speakers?

    here's another scenario:
    with a receiver that allows me to bi-amp loudspeakers,
    what kind of improvement if any would I get
    if I hooked up TWO speakers capable of bi-amping vs the 5.1 sub/sat combination?

  19. #19
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwlam1
    thanks for all your comments.
    I know that my budget in the realm of audiophiles is laughable.

    As a novice with little money, I have thought about where to start.
    I'm getting the impression that I should get two loudspeakers that are not simply satellites
    INSTEAD of a bunch of sats and a sub. Simplistically, I'd expect the sat/sub combo to allow me to "spread" the sound out, but because of the size of the sats, I'd have poor low-mid range sound quality. The two speaker set up would fill the mid-section out nicely, yes? but will they fill the room the same way?

    How "hefty" must the two speakers be to compare with a bunch of sats and a sub?
    Should the two speakers have drivers of a certain size? Tweeters?
    Are the cone materials important?
    BTW, when referring to "monitors" , is this synonymous with passive bookshelf speaker?
    Or is a monitor amplified?

    First go around and listen until you find a few you like and then ask us. I wouldnt buy $300 speakers. I'd buy what i thought sounded good and got nice reviews and save for them if needed. They might be $300 or $3000,you'll know when you hear them. I found what i wanted and then saved and waited for a sale.
    Look & Listen

  20. #20
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwlam1
    here's another scenario:
    with a receiver that allows me to bi-amp loudspeakers,
    what kind of improvement if any would I get
    if I hooked up TWO speakers capable of bi-amping vs the 5.1 sub/sat combination?
    I read more -'s then +'s about bi-amping.
    Look & Listen

  21. #21
    Forum Regular Registered Member paul_pci's Avatar
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    Obviously beginning with just two speakers will not fill out rear ambient or effects sounds from a movie, but choosing quality stereo speakers,for now, will give you a much superior sounstage (front obviously) than any sat/speaker package can. It really is a trade off, but around here most of us would rather settle on quality sound from fewer speakers than the kitsch of cheap surround sound. BTW: nobody is going to laugh at your budget, except maybe Florian. But anyway, check out Polk Audio speakers, as I would say you can get a great value/performance from them. Check out what www.crutchfield.com has to offer in the way of Polk and also Infinity.

    Good luck.

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