Do you count 5.1 as stereo or as home cinema?

I count everything that don’t have anything that can show a movie for being a stereo so with other words I count SACDs 5.1 to belonging in my “Stereo-department/room” and are curious how you think of everything that have more than just 2.0 channels. Is it more of a “home cinema audio” for you or do you still think like me, that even a 5.1 system could bee “just a stereo”?

The reason I’m asking this is because some thinks that if you are serious about your sound you should have your “real” stereo in one room and your home cinema in another room but if you’re gonna follow that thought you should have 3 rooms as far as I can see.
One for your 2.0 music, one for your SACDs/multi-channel music and a third for your movies.

I think of stereo as 2ch, I have multichannel back home and consider the 5.1 in that category as I cannot play their full effect on my 2ch system. Just my 2 cents if you enjoy it that’s really all that matters.

Can’t get my head around multi0-channel music (if you’ll excuse the pun) - I like stereo and always did, having music or sounds surrounding me is actually pretty uncomfortable for me.
Each to their owjn.
However building a system that excels for both 2 and 5.1 ch would be a brilliant challenge given sufficient funds :slight_smile:

But how many of us use our 2-channel systems for movies in addition to audio?

I think that depends upon that you have listened to multi-channel music mixed by “half dumb” persons where they put instruments all around you just to try too enhance the “Surround feeling” and get the listener more impressed of how Cool it sounds.

Multi-channel done the right way don’t have any dumb “Sound Effects” just to try to make it sound more cool/fantastic.

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I have no interest in movies/video but I assume one can have both a good two-channel system and a good multi-channel system in the same room sharing many components. For example, one could set up the two front speakers for maximum stereo sound and use the multi-channel processor to correct for speaker positioning when listening to multi-channel.

The biggest issue is placing a large piece of glass between the speakers. Finding a way to address this large reflective surface when listening to stereo would be a challenge.

I have found a simple solution to the reflective glass issue. A large outdoor lounge cushion placed on the tv stand leaning up against the tv (if one has a tv stand). If you angle it just right, will both diffuse and absorb sound.

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I don’t have 2 stereos since I don’t have 2 big rooms in my house but my 7.1 stereo works great for both surround sound and ordinary 2 channel music with its Primare SP33 pre-amp, two bridged Primare A34.2 power-amps for the main-speakers and a Primare A30.7 for the center and my four surround-channels, all connected with Nordost Red Dawn XLR-cables.

My SP33 (connected with XLR-cables to my three power-amps for the analog signal are also connected with a XLR-cable from my Oppo UDP-205 to my SP33 pre-amp for the 2-channel music) don’t do anything else than just work as a “volume button” when I listen to either 2 channel or 5.1 multi-channel SACD music so I don’t get any “Sound Effects” when I listen to music.

Happy anniversary Elk. Mmmm… tasty cake.
I use two channels for everything. Don’t have room for so many speakers. The sound effects are fine with 2 channels. I don’t really need sound to be coming from behind me and above me to enjoy a move. Everything from the front is fine as long as it’s dynamic and real sounding.

Officially stereo is more than one channel so that sound can come from multiple positions - just look at wiki which says that stereo includes 5.1.

There was a period when I was approaching it all as one thing, as I had a big basement room dedicated to it. The glass-between-the-speakers thing is solved with projection (dark basement helps for that) and the wall/screen many feet back from the mains.

Got a lot of surround music and videos. But there are always a lot of compromises and hybridization of the setup in that situation. Jim Smith would not recommend having all those extra passive drivers resonating in the room when you’re listening to stereo ; ). But that’s just one of the smaller issues.

It was fun, but I don’t miss it a whole lot. I could do it in my new place, but it would cost too much to make it worth doing again, as I’d want at least 5 Harbeth P3’s and a better surround amp than the ARCAM AVR600. If I had a basement, I probably would, and It would be separate from the stereo.

I find Neo6 music mode on my processor a good way to listen to modern Pop and or Dance club music that is over compressed and excessively loud. It knocks down the level coming out the front. And applies room correction and gives an in the club feel that is not blasting you out.

Otherwise two channel is the best for other stuff.

I do. It allows me to enjoy both music and movies very much. My TV is in the middle of my speakers. The room is rather small ~15 x 15 ft.

Apart from a very few exceptions from NAD and SimAudio (Moon) or some T+A 23k HV DAC I can only connect my HDMI equipment through the Essence HDACC II-4K to a stereo amp. I now have a Yamaha AV receiver in Stereo BiAmp mode, because apart from my turntable all sources are HDMI. Unfortunately choices are very limited and I hope a lot more stereo DAC or integrates manufacturers start offering HDMI inputs. AV Receivers are just not as great on stereo sound.


That Essence does look cool - I don’t have any HDMI sources but I still want one of those boxes :smiley:

I agree. It has a versatile set of analog and digital outputs. The only downside: although it has balanced out terminals it is not a fully balanced converter.

My HDMI sources are:

  • cable company TV set top box
  • CD/BlueRay player
  • the children’s game console

The most used units are all 3 but the CD/BlueRay. Because it is the family’s living room. Therefore I see no reason to neglect these units when replacing the A/V receiver with a decent stereo amp. Since we listen stereo only no Dolby or other Feature is ever applied, just music direct, anything else sounds way too artificial/crap. The Essence will most probably become the go to unit, as it simply allows me a free choice of amps and I do not need surround or Dolby features, just a decent switch box and good quality music layer extractor.

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Simply switch to a motorized ceiling mounted acoustically transparent screen and a projector for the best of all worlds. A giant screen that makes movies look as they should and makes hi-def sports look awesome. And then when your done it disappears into its housing.

Kindly excuse the mess. The pics were taken in the midst of a revamp. :blush: :blush: :blush:


Very cool!

I count 5.1 not as stereo and I share your problem with not being in the position to have two separate rooms. I also need to share my front L/R speakers in my system for both purposes: music & movies. This means, that your setup will end up in a compromise. The question is: how to get the best for both worlds and how much will you lean to one side with your decisions.

I started with evaluating a set of speakers, that offer a great pair of stereo speakers and also do offer additional speakers based on the same family/concept for home cinema (center & surround). Then I added a power conditioner and mono amps with XLR inputs for the L/R speakers plus a multichannel amp for the additional channels used for home cinema/movies. After that, I selected a AV preamp, which offers balanced XLR connectivity for all channels, including analog stereo inputs and a “stereo reference mode”, that allows to bypass the DSP section of the AV preamp. It will never be as good as a pure stereo preamp, but I try to get as close as possible. This is where I have to make a compromise in order to use the same speakers for stereo and home cinema. Finally, I added a stereo DAC that will be used as a processor for music and connected it to the analog stereo inputs of the AV preamp. I know, it is a huge chain, but mixing stereo & home cinema in one system is the most difficult thing to do, if you want to make it right… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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This is my prior setup where I did have a combo 2 CH/5.1 channel all tube system. I used mostly Decware components, including the very special Decware Ultra 6 channel preamp and very nice speakers all the way around. With well done multi-channel stereo recordings, it was pretty darned great sounding.

And to address the reflections from the TV, I would place these wood Artnovion diffuser panels in front and would simply move them when watching TV/Movies.


The Artnovion diffusers look great. Their website is impressive. They do not list prices so I searched. Interestingly the first hit is a pro audio site which carries them.