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  1. #1
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    Stereo Receivers Versus 5.1 Receivers for CD Play

    Right now I'm using a Denon 3801 Receiver & listen to CD's via my Pioneer PD-59 CD player connected by optic cable in the 5.1 All Natural Stereo Mode which produces music out of all 5 speakers & the sub without reprocessing anything except the center channel which is a mono combination of the left & right channels- this is not prologic sound & I really like the sound. It does not sound as good in this setup if I connect by analog cables & if I play this in a plain direct 2 channel & sub mode on this receiver, I don't like the sound at all.

    Do you think that CD's will sound much better played on a 2 channel & sub stereo receiver then on a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver or will there be essentially no difference? If you think a stereo receiver is much better are there any you'd recommend (even if they've been delted from the market)?

  2. #2
    Suspended PeruvianSkies's Avatar
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    I have never thought that a CD played in any other configuration aside from 2-channel sounded 'right' to my ears. Receivers come with tons of options these days for altering the sound to use all the speakers (5.1, 6.1, etc) and often times it sounds remixed weird. I have fooled around with mine before just to see what the differences were and the only one that really came close to sounded OK was putting the receiver into 6-track stereo mode, which recreated stereo, but used all the speakers, which I think is similar to what you are experiencing in your setup. I still do not think that this sounds better than playing it the way that it was meant to be played in 2 channels. I suppose it is a matter of preference. I think your best bet would be to play everything in "DIRECT STEREO" mode on your receiver when playing CD's, which is what I do, but my receiver switches to 5.1 when I change the input to DVD and SAT. If I play a SACD or DVD-A I have to put the receiver into MULTICHANNEL mode, which enables the 5.1 analog connection. I will say that CD's sound better played via optical or coax digital cables than basic 2 channel analog.

  3. #3
    Crackhead Extraordinaire Dusty Chalk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Do you think that CD's will sound much better played on a 2 channel & sub stereo receiver then on a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver or will there be essentially no difference?
    The short answer is, it depends. Obviously, you found one sitch in which you prefered the multichannel setup (and there are very good reasons for that). What cables were you using for the analog setup? That could be the clincher. You're using the receivers DAC, rather than the CD players, too, so there's that, too.
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  4. #4
    Audiophile Wireworm5's Avatar
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    I do the exact same thing and my conclusion is the same as yours. In direct stereo mode only the fronts work and for me and my room it sounds like a stereo whereas with multi channel/speakers sounds like a concert.
    Now for me to accomplish a similar thing in direct stereo I would need 3 splitters or 2 stereo pre-amps and 2 splitters. Much simpler to stick with the multi-channel receiver.
    I suppose in an ideal room you could get just 2 speakers in direct stereo to sound better than this. But this hasn't been the case for me and think having mutliple speakers makes up for less than ideal room. I think if I moved to a smaller room upstairs 2 speakers would sound fine but I wouldn't be able to contain the sound, hence the reason for having it in the basement.
    I also found that using optical sounds better than RCA analog cables with either of my cd players. Which got me to thinking that maybe I need a real good cd player with a better dac. Or maybe I should get a better multi-channel pre-amp, dunno.
    And correct me if I'm wrong, in direct stereo a sub is not used unless the signal is in dolby. So if you want a sub you need the processing of your av/receiver. But if you have large tower speakers you won't need a sub.

  5. #5
    I took a headstart... basite's Avatar
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    in my opinion, stereo receivers and other stereo gear will always sound better than surround receivers, when your receiver plays the signal like you say, it doesn't mean it doesn't go thru all the electronic stuff in your receiver, and there is significantly more electronical stuff in your surround receiver than in any stereo receiver, and any electronical stuff will change the sound a little bit.

    note that this is my opinion.
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  6. #6
    Forum Regular N. Abstentia's Avatar
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    I think a real stereo setup would sound better for sure, but not until you upgrade your speakers. It does not matter how much money you spend on electronics, you're still limited by your tiny speakers. This is also why you prefer 'all channel stereo'....your speakers just can't reproduce good 2 channel sound and having them ALL on helps give them the 'bigness' they can't make on their own.
    Last edited by N. Abstentia; 10-09-2006 at 04:59 PM.

  7. #7
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    It depends on what unit has the best DAC.In my case my reciever has a good DAC,for a multichannel reciever,but my cd player is much better.Thus 2 channel analog sound is better in my system and this is my preference.I have tried various surround modes for cd music and none of them sound right to me.But to get back to your original question Ed,it has been my experience that 2 channel gear will outperform a reciever of a similar price and not by a little bit.In my opinion of course.

    bill

  8. #8
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Hershon,

    While I know we've beaten the "new speaker" argument to death with you, N-Ab has it exactly right. The reason you prefer two channel material mixed down to 5 channels is because your Orbs simply can't portray a convincing sound stage. It's not their fault. You can't pull a huge soundstage out of single driver tennis balls any more than you can squeeze blood from a turnip. It's physics.

    "Do you think that CD's will sound much better played on a 2 channel & sub stereo receiver then on a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver or will there be essentially no difference?"
    Oh, there will certainly be a difference. Your wallet will be a lot lighter. Seriously tho, when we consider your unwillingness to upgrade your speakers (which is certainly your perogative), the answer to your question is a resounding "No." Any improvements in amplification are ultimately fettered by the limited dynamic envelope of the speakers. Besides, to achieve a discernable difference in amplification, a two channel receiver over a AVR likely won't cut it. You'll need separates for that.

    Stick with what you have and be happy.

  9. #9
    Forum Regular Grandpaw's Avatar
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    With my system I have an Onkyo TX-DS777 receiver. This gives me several options when listening to Cd's.

    DIRECT mode will give me just the front two main speakers and this is what I prefer for music listening. For my mains I have Infinity Kappa 7.1 series II floor standing speakers that provide plenty of bass on their own.

    STEREO mode gives me the two mains and adds the sub. I don't use this option at all with the speakers I have because they just don't need a sub.

    The rest are all 5 channel modes which I use for movies only. I have tried the different five channel options and just prefer two channel for music.

    I am very happy with the sound I hear from my receiver playing in two channel, Jeff
    I decided years ago I was only going to have two types of days...Very Good Days or just Plain Good Days. I just refuse to have bad ones!!!, Jeff

  10. #10
    cvc
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    I have Monitor Audio 9i's for my main speakers. They sound great in 2 channel stereo and that's how I listen to music 95% of the time. I also use my subwoofer with them. Just my preference.

    My Yamaha Integrated amp has all the the different simulated listening envionments, jazz clubs, halls, small theaters, which sound extremely realistic and just takes the music up a notch. Sounds very "live." I'll only listen to music this way at night in the dark when I have time. Music sounds so much better in the dark for whatever reason. However, that's also when I usually choose to watch a movie.

    These music environments add "presence" which adds loads of excitement to the music but there is a slight loss of instrument clarity due to reverb, much like a real concert. Even though you aren't using one of these modes, using all speakers still changes the sound.

    You can change the way your receiver sounds by hooking up a new 2 ch. or multi ch.amp to it instead of purchasing a new stereo receiver. Of course, only if your current receiver will allow you to do this.

  11. #11
    BooBs are elitist jerks shokhead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardGein
    Right now I'm using a Denon 3801 Receiver & listen to CD's via my Pioneer PD-59 CD player connected by optic cable in the 5.1 All Natural Stereo Mode which produces music out of all 5 speakers & the sub without reprocessing anything except the center channel which is a mono combination of the left & right channels- this is not prologic sound & I really like the sound. It does not sound as good in this setup if I connect by analog cables & if I play this in a plain direct 2 channel & sub mode on this receiver, I don't like the sound at all.

    Do you think that CD's will sound much better played on a 2 channel & sub stereo receiver then on a 5.1 or 7.1 receiver or will there be essentially no difference? If you think a stereo receiver is much better are there any you'd recommend (even if they've been delted from the market)?
    I think your about due to upgrade your receiver which is abit long in the tooth. I know its still a good receiver but it is old. 7 years at least,right?
    Look & Listen

  12. #12
    Tyler Acoustics Fan drseid's Avatar
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    Sorry Ed, but I will have to agree with N. Abstentia and Top on this one. Any investment in a two channel receiver would most likely be a waste of money IMO unless you upgrade your speakers too. This is not to put down the Orbs you love, but as I (and many others) have said in the past, they are your system's limiting factor right now. Until you change them, I recommend saving your money on other gear investments and just enjoy the music (in multi-channel if that is what works for you). If you ever change your mind on the speakers, *then* try out a good two-channel system and give it a listen.

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  13. #13
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    I think he is well aware of the limited factors in his Orb speakers and just enjoys the response & or communication from this forum.

    Dave

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