Surround Sound for Stereo Music…Sacrilege??

How Do You Listen to Two-Channel Music?

  • Keep it pure. Two-Channel all the way!

    Votes: 28 52.8%
  • I'm a minamalist. Give me Mono!

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • 5.1 or beyond using Dolby PLII / DSU, DTS:X, etc.

    Votes: 24 45.3%

  • Total voters
    53
Paul Scarpelli

Paul Scarpelli

Audio Pragmatist
Didn't the Shure brothers developed prologic before Fosgate?
I have a paper from them or had and that was my 1st prologic processor with a center channel.
Shure had a surround processor, but it wasn't Pro Logic, which was developed at Dolby. Years before Shure's processor, both Audionics of Oregon and Fosgate Research had developed active-matrix surround processors with center channels. And unlike the others, theirs had stereo, full-range rear channels. The Shure unit was still a nice piece.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
Shure had a surround processor, but it wasn't Pro Logic, which was developed at Dolby. Years before Shure's processor, both Audionics of Oregon and Fosgate Research had developed active-matrix surround processors with center channels. And unlike the others, theirs had stereo, full-range rear channels. The Shure unit was still a nice piece.
This is what I had back in 1985 and the Shure AES paper talked about this

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989-07-21/entertainment/8902190320_1_surround-sound-dolby-stereo-theater-sound
Shure Brothers, of Evanston, introduced the first of the supersurround-sound processors four years ago. The HTS-5000 included front center channel and subwoofer outputs two years before Dolby Pro Logic appeared on home processors. The HTS 5000 set the standard for home surround sound processors.

http://shure.custhelp.com/ci/fattach/get/74153/0/filename/27A8102+(EK)+HTS5000.pdf


https://issuu.com/disclord/docs/aes-paper--shure-acra-vector-decoder
 
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David C. Snyder

David C. Snyder

Enthusiast
I've added the Roger Waters album to my cart and will give it a listen both in stereo and simulated surround. I have found that a dedicated 2-channel setup in a good room can generate an incredibly spacious soundstage that completely envelops the listener. With the phase tricks that I expect to find on this album, sounds can appear to come from the far sides and even behind the listener.

The requirement, of course, is a properly setup system and room, and one's head absolutely glued to the sweet-spot, which is not always practical. I think that's where surround sound shines...giving multiple listeners a high percentage of the soundstage and envelopment that the person who has the sweet-spot experiences.

For an excellent example of this, check out Monster Hit from Shpongle's Are You Shpongled? album. Things start to get pretty interesting about four minutes into the track from a "surround-sound" perspective, especially on a quality 2-channel system, but surround sound listeners will be delighted as well.

That said, surround systems are generally at a hopeless disadvantage compared to similarly priced 2-channel systems when it comes to accurately rendering the stereo soundstage, especially width, depth, and height--again, assuming meticulous setup. Six, eight or more channels of entry-level or midrange processing, amplification, and loudspeakers are no match for the same money invested in a high-end 2-channel setup, but which one chooses depends on other priorities. Is the same room and system pulling double-duty for music and movie playback, or are there usually multiple listeners in the room at the same time? If so, the surround setup is probably the best way to go. If it's mostly one listener, one chair, and no movies, the soundstage from a dedicated 2-channel rig will [almost] always crush the prevailing surround-sound technology at the same price-point. At leat that has been my experience.
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
That said, surround systems are generally at a hopeless disadvantage compared to similarly priced 2-channel systems when it comes to accurately rendering the stereo soundstage, especially width, depth, and height--again, assuming meticulous setup. Six, eight or more channels of entry-level or midrange processing, amplification, and loudspeakers are no match for the same money invested in a high-end 2-channel setup, but which one chooses depends on other priorities. Is the same room and system pulling double-duty for music and movie playback, or are there usually multiple listeners in the room at the same time? If so, the surround setup is probably the best way to go. If it's mostly one listener, one chair, and no movies, the soundstage from a dedicated 2-channel rig will always crush the prevailing surround-sound technology at the same price-point. At leat that has been my experience.
Who the heck would spend the same on 2ch as multi-ch? That's just silly. I'd always spend more on multi-ch.
 
mtrycrafts

mtrycrafts

Audioholic Slumlord
... If it's mostly one listener, one chair, and no movies, the soundstage from a dedicated 2-channel rig will always crush the prevailing surround-sound technology at the same price-point. At leat that has been my experience.
Welcome.

Yep, experiences vary. As to always crushing is an absolutist claim only.
 
David C. Snyder

David C. Snyder

Enthusiast
Welcome.

Yep, experiences vary. As to always crushing is an absolutist claim only.
Fair criticism. I should have softened that with almost always. That was how my first draft read, but I just couldn't imagine a case where my statement wouldn't be true. Still can't, but that doesn't mean it's impossible, I suppose. :)
 
David C. Snyder

David C. Snyder

Enthusiast
Who the heck would spend the same on 2ch as multi-ch? That's just silly. I'd always spend more on multi-ch.
Just means that you and I have different priorities. :) I love watching movies and concert videos in surround, but great stereo playback is my true passion in the audio hobby.

When I wrote that, I had in mind someone who had a fixed sum of money to spend on either a 2-channel or a multi-channel system which they would use for listening to music. Obviously a contrived example, but I stand by my recommendation--if such a person and situation exists, a thoughtfully selected and meticulously set up 2-channel system is almost always a better choice for a fully enveloping soundstage at the sweetspot than the same sum spent on a multi-channel setup.

If this still sounds crazy, I encourage you to spend more time sitting in the sweetspot of a good 2-channel system. I hope this does not come across as stuffy audiophile criticism--certainly not how I intend it. It's just easy to miss what's possible with quality stereo playback when one has convenient access to a surround-sound system. Plus, we're all "Audioholics" here--get out there and listen to both formats with an open mind. I hope you'll be amazed by what you hear. Cheers.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Just means that you and I have different priorities. :) I love watching movies and concert videos in surround, but great stereo playback is my true passion in the audio hobby.

When I wrote that, I had in mind someone who had a fixed sum of money to spend on either a 2-channel or a multi-channel system which they would use for listening to music. Obviously a contrived example, but I stand by my recommendation--if such a person and situation exists, a thoughtfully selected and meticulously set up 2-channel system is almost always a better choice for a fully enveloping soundstage at the sweetspot than the same sum spent on a multi-channel setup.

If this still sounds crazy, I encourage you to spend more time sitting in the sweetspot of a good 2-channel system. I hope this does not come across as stuffy audiophile criticism--certainly not how I intend it. It's just easy to miss what's possible with quality stereo playback when one has convenient access to a surround-sound system. Plus, we're all "Audioholics" here--get out there and listen to both formats with an open mind. I hope you'll be amazed by what you hear. Cheers.
I've been listening to 2ch setups for quite a long time. Still use one to use my old gear and even use my multich gear to listen to 2.1 (2.0 isn't sufficient). I wouldn't put the price restriction as you do, that's all, as extra speakers and electronics will cost more than just 2.0 gear of similar quality. IMO. I never started a system with a fixed amount of money, that's the part I found a bit silly; my gear has constantly evolved and grown. You may find the 2.0 experience sufficient...I prefer more.
 
Paul Scarpelli

Paul Scarpelli

Audio Pragmatist
Who the heck would spend the same on 2ch as multi-ch? That's just silly. I'd always spend more on multi-ch.
Agreed, and I'm glad you posted it. Over the years I've suggested to clients and friends on a strict system budget to buy fewer components of higher quality. I'd rather see someone spend $1,000 on a modest 2-channel system than a 7.1 system for a thousand bucks. And even for $5,000, (my opinion here, kids), I'd recommend a 5.1 system, not a big Atmos system with a dozen cheap speakers. Three substantial front speakers with a robust subwoofer and real amplification that can drive a 4 ohm load would be my priority. So, I guess I am agreeing somewhat with both of you. As well as pulling the discussion into the weeds...
 
D

Diesel57

Full Audioholic
Who the heck would spend the same on 2ch as multi-ch? That's just silly. I'd always spend more on multi-ch.
I can't even imagine with a vivid imagination believe that anyone would invest in a 2ch component in the hi-end compared to a multi-ch component in the hi-end would settle for the lesser of the 2...I believe having multiple choices positions one with opportunities or shall I say options...
 
hk2000

hk2000

Junior Audioholic
Well, the mind is wonderful. Certainly evolved over the eons to its present form and state.
But evolution didn't involve reproducing sound with speakers. Nature was it and so it evolved to work with nature, natural sound in it.
But, it also has flaws. Easily confused and misled. One reason we do DBT for credible results.



I and many others with much higher credibility will say you are totally wrong on that.



Oh, but in in a live presentation, no speakers, each instrument is a speaker and much better quality than any speaker you can buy. So, to have it reproduced, you need a speaker for each instrument in its proper location. Then, you might get closer.
In the meantime, we'll just struggle with as many as we can to assist in getting to the more realistic sound presentation any way we can.


Well, if one accepts science, this is also wrong.


Life is full of mysteries. I guess all others just had a different idea from yours.
Enjoy what you have.
Well I and many others I KNOW seem to disagree with you. A quick glance at the top tells you more of the readers here- let alone at large- seem to agree with me on stereo music versus multi channel- seated smack dab in the middle of the stage- music listening, but to each his own... enjoy what you have as well.
 
herbu

herbu

Audioholic Samurai
I can't even imagine with a vivid imagination believe that anyone would invest in a 2ch component in the hi-end compared to a multi-ch component in the hi-end would settle for the lesser of the 2
Whaaat?
I think you're trying to say you can't imagine someone spending a lot for a 2 channel system. I can... and would. I can absolutely see a room for audio only, ill-suited for 4/5/6/7/8/9 speakers. If I had such a room, I would furnish it w/ high-end components & speakers.
 
D

Diesel57

Full Audioholic
Whaaat?
I think you're trying to say you can't imagine someone spending a lot for a 2 channel system. I can... and would. I can absolutely see a room for audio only, ill-suited for 4/5/6/7/8/9 speakers. If I had such a room, I would furnish it w/ high-end components & speakers.
No, what I'm saying is, provided with a choice where the multi ch's price, quality, sound and performance mirrors the 2 ch, why wouldn't I go with the unit with more options?
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Pretty simple explanation give to me by a good friend, actually. Do you prefer to spend money on 7 small amplifiers of "OK" quality and all the licensing fees for stickers, or would you prefer (spending the same money) to get two higher quality amplifiers with better (straighter, cleaner?) signal paths?
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Pretty simple explanation give to me by a good friend, actually. Do you prefer to spend money on 7 small amplifiers of "OK" quality and all the licensing fees for stickers, or would you prefer (spending the same money) to get two higher quality amplifiers with better (straighter, cleaner?) signal paths?
Who says you have to have 7 small amplifiers? Need the licensing stuff to get the good stuff in av, too. The avrs have plenty clean paths, maybe some are stuck in the past thinking of old gear. I have several of both and use the 2ch gear in my least used rooms....suum cuique
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
AVR's of today use multiple "discrete" amplifiers, one for each amplified channel...don't they? That's how their advertising reads. I admit I don't know enough about them. All I do know is that the most fully featured AVR's cost about the same as a high quality integrated two channel amp. Is it illogical to think that with two channel amps at the same price, you get more power and/or higher quality components since the builder doesn't have to multiply a lot of components by the increased number of channels?
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
AVR's of today use multiple "discrete" amplifiers, one for each amplified channel...don't they? That's how their advertising reads. I admit I don't know enough about them. All I do know is that the most fully featured AVR's cost about the same as a high quality integrated two channel amp. Is it illogical to think that with two channel amps at the same price, you get more power and/or higher quality components since the builder doesn't have to multiply a lot of components by the increased number of channels?
Have you ever looked at mountain bikes vs motorcycles and wondered why bikes cost so much in comparison? Economies of scale. That's the biggest part. I have an avr, a Denon 4520, that has significantly more power than the Yamaha S2000 in 2ch mode and does a lot more and still has 7 amp channels to go...but cost about the same at retail (altho I waited until it was on closeout and got it for half of what the S2000 currently goes for).
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
I certainly do understand economy of scale and know that's part of why an Anthem or NAD receiver costs more than an equivalent Denon/Marantz/Yamaha/Onkyo. I may buy a good two channel integrated or separates someday and know I'm paying for the low volume they make and sell. That's OK with me, and part of why I got out of owning a Suzuki motorcycle and got the Triumph I love.

Everybody is different and has different priorities.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Yep, whatever floats yer boat as the saying goes. I leave my Suzuki unused, keep meaning to get it running, but prefer to ride mountain bikes (and pay more for them).

ps Just because its made in smaller numbers doesn't make it necessarily better, tho, just more expensive, particularly with consumer electronics....
 

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