Surround Sound for Stereo Music…Sacrilege??

How Do You Listen to Two-Channel Music?

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

    Votes: 26 53.1%
  • I'm a minamalist. Give me Mono!

    Votes: 1 2.0%
  • 5.1 or beyond using Dolby PLII / DSU, DTS:X, etc.

    Votes: 22 44.9%

  • Total voters
    49
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,743 16 25
#61
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?
I agree that two good channels bests 7 lousy channels any day.

However you are not confined to receiver amps for multi channel listening. A good multichannel system will also be a good 2 channel system



The three two channel amps on the left power the left and right, and are used alone for two channel listening. The four two channel amps on the right power, center, surrounds and backs and can be switched on and off and shut down when not is use.

So there does not have to a conflict in the quality of the two channel and surround systems in the same space.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
888 8 1
#62
As long as one has that kind of space....:D

It's a little tighter inside my NAD or Denon receiver.

I can envy you that. As we become empty nesters (again) I'm aiming for a 13' squarish bedroom to commandeer for a 2-channel room and something a little more modest. Even that will make me happy beyond my dreams.
 
D

Diesel57

Full Audioholic
Ratings
128 1 2
#63
:)
Thank you for your kind comments.

Yes, you are correct about the lobing I'm referring to.

As I have said many times before here center speakers are a huge challenge. Producing a seamless front stage and excellent speech discrimination and really good music reproduction I think is a monumental challenge.

My solution is mains with Joe's MTN layout which gives excellent horizontal dispersion with limited vertical dispersion and good focus.



The center channel is conceived and built round the SEAS prestige coaxial drivers in a TL.



The lower driver is full range, the upper driver just increases power handling in the bass by providing BSC though and active network. These drivers have a slight suck out in the 9 K region and a falling response above 12K. This slightly impairs speech discrimination. I the last revision I used the tweeter in the upper driver to equalize out the suck out and flatten the response to 20 KHz. I know Dennis Murphy has had a lot of trouble with these drivers and they do present a challenge.

This center has a nice coned dispersion pattern over the listening area and helps minimize interference with the mains. In a domestic situation the center is generally place too close to the mains, which is one of the many challenges of centers in home HT.

With a lot of work this front stage is seamless at all listening distances. As opera singers move across the stage their is absolutely no change in the timbre of their voices.

This is unusual but for me it has worked out very well.

So the front stage now looks like this.



These are the surrounds and rears.



These are the speakers now used as surrounds, and are the only speakers not TLs. They are sealed.



These are the rears with the two TL lines biamped with x-over at 180 Hz.



Bob Carver heard those when he was in town helping a colleague with this Carver ribbon speakers. I was in Grand Forks ND then. Bob stayed all afternoon. Those speakers started in 1979 were very difficult to get right. There was extensive revision in 1984 and over 10 years as modelling improved. I started with floppy discs on and Apple IIe! I had a lot of generous help from the good folks at Dynaudio also for which I am very grateful.

With transfer from Grand Forks to Benedict the bass line was rebuilt to take advantage of George Auspurger's work.

Many musicians and composers heard their works in editing on those speakers over the years.

I think it is a valid system for evaluating multi channel reproduction. The whole system is driven by seven dual channel Quad 909 amplifiers.[/QUOt
Thank you for your kind comments.

Yes, you are correct about the lobing I'm referring to.

As I have said many times before here center speakers are a huge challenge. Producing a seamless front stage and excellent speech discrimination and really good music reproduction I think is a monumental challenge.

My solution is mains with Joe's MTN layout which gives excellent horizontal dispersion with limited vertical dispersion and good focus.



The center channel is conceived and built round the SEAS prestige coaxial drivers in a TL.



The lower driver is full range, the upper driver just increases power handling in the bass by providing BSC though and active network. These drivers have a slight suck out in the 9 K region and a falling response above 12K. This slightly impairs speech discrimination. I the last revision I used the tweeter in the upper driver to equalize out the suck out and flatten the response to 20 KHz. I know Dennis Murphy has had a lot of trouble with these drivers and they do present a challenge.

This center has a nice coned dispersion pattern over the listening area and helps minimize interference with the mains. In a domestic situation the center is generally place too close to the mains, which is one of the many challenges of centers in home HT.

With a lot of work this front stage is seamless at all listening distances. As opera singers move across the stage their is absolutely no change in the timbre of their voices.

This is unusual but for me it has worked out very well.

So the front stage now looks like this.



These are the surrounds and rears.



These are the speakers now used as surrounds, and are the only speakers not TLs. They are sealed.



These are the rears with the two TL lines biamped with x-over at 180 Hz.



Bob Carver heard those when he was in town helping a colleague with this Carver ribbon speakers. I was in Grand Forks ND then. Bob stayed all afternoon. Those speakers started in 1979 were very difficult to get right. There was extensive revision in 1984 and over 10 years as modelling improved. I started with floppy discs on and Apple IIe! I had a lot of generous help from the good folks at Dynaudio also for which I am very grateful.

With transfer from Grand Forks to Benedict the bass line was rebuilt to take advantage of George Auspurger's work.

Many musicians and composers heard their works in editing on those speakers over the years.

I think it is a valid system for evaluating multi channel reproduction. The whole system is driven by seven dual channel Quad 909 amplifiers.
What a nice set up and lay out...I want to be like you when I grow up...:)
 
Last edited:
D

Diesel57

Full Audioholic
Ratings
128 1 2
#64
Thank you for your kind comments.

Yes, you are correct about the lobing I'm referring to.

As I have said many times before here center speakers are a huge challenge. Producing a seamless front stage and excellent speech discrimination and really good music reproduction I think is a monumental challenge.

My solution is mains with Joe's MTN layout which gives excellent horizontal dispersion with limited vertical dispersion and good focus.



The center channel is conceived and built round the SEAS prestige coaxial drivers in a TL.



The lower driver is full range, the upper driver just increases power handling in the bass by providing BSC though and active network. These drivers have a slight suck out in the 9 K region and a falling response above 12K. This slightly impairs speech discrimination. I the last revision I used the tweeter in the upper driver to equalize out the suck out and flatten the response to 20 KHz. I know Dennis Murphy has had a lot of trouble with these drivers and they do present a challenge.

This center has a nice coned dispersion pattern over the listening area and helps minimize interference with the mains. In a domestic situation the center is generally place too close to the mains, which is one of the many challenges of centers in home HT.

With a lot of work this front stage is seamless at all listening distances. As opera singers move across the stage their is absolutely no change in the timbre of their voices.

This is unusual but for me it has worked out very well.

So the front stage now looks like this.



These are the surrounds and rears.



These are the speakers now used as surrounds, and are the only speakers not TLs. They are sealed.



These are the rears with the two TL lines biamped with x-over at 180 Hz.



Bob Carver heard those when he was in town helping a colleague with this Carver ribbon speakers. I was in Grand Forks ND then. Bob stayed all afternoon. Those speakers started in 1979 were very difficult to get right. There was extensive revision in 1984 and over 10 years as modelling improved. I started with floppy discs on and Apple IIe! I had a lot of generous help from the good folks at Dynaudio also for which I am very grateful.

With transfer from Grand Forks to Benedict the bass line was rebuilt to take advantage of George Auspurger's work.

Many musicians and composers heard their works in editing on those speakers over the years.

I think it is a valid system for evaluating multi channel reproduction. The whole system is driven by seven dual channel Quad 909 amplifiers.
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).
That's my point, why would one settle for less when you can have options...I guess it's a preference...
 
Paul Scarpelli

Paul Scarpelli

Audio Pragmatist
Ratings
49 1
#65
As I mentioned in the article, I have a small high-end 2-channel system (Triad monitors, Lyngdorf RoomPerfect, turntable) and I almost always listen to music in there. However, my big theater is also high-end, and I enjoy being able to use surround if I want to, and hit 117 dB if I get a wild hair. (I have dual 1,000 watt Triad 15" subs.) I have options. Options are good.
 
rojo

rojo

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,875 9 4
#66
I play most of my classical 2 channel recordings in Dolby PLIIx music. This gives by far the most realistic sound. As other s have pointed out this works much better on a 7.1 system versus 5.1 and is perhaps the best argument for putting together a 7.1 system.

There are good reasons why this should be so. Having the hall ambience coming though the front sound stage obscures detail. In a good two channel recording the phase relationships are preserved. The rear hall ambience is out of phase, and so audience noise and response does come from the surround speakers largely. In my large collection of masters that I made the result is as good as discrete. I used either crossed X/Y figure of 8 using a stereo microphone, or matrix m-s with one capsule omni and the other figure of 8 left right. Most often I used the m-s technique, as the recordings were for radio broadcast and those listeners with mono sets including desk top radios automatically got a perfect mono playback, as the figure of 8 capsule cancels. When I play these recordings, they are as good as discrete multi channel with pretty much complete front back separation.

If I play the discrete multi channel discs of the BPO form the Philharmonie, and compare them to the 2 channel stream the perspective is to all intense and purposes identical.

The works for most of my recordings but not all. I suspect it is due to differences in mic technique.

However on the whole the clarity is enhanced not having all the ambience included in the front sound stage, and left right localization remains excellent. Opera playback from streaming sites is markedly improved.

The other bonus is much better perception of depth. For instance orchestral perspective is much enhanced with the brass realistically coming from the back over the orchestra.

Music from cathedral spaces is just uncannily realistic.

I can get the BBC via a tunnel. I have been enjoying the Proms of late. In PLIIx the Royal Albert Hall is captured to perfection. I have watched the Mahler 3rd symphony from this years season and the off stage Flugel horn in the third movement was captured so well it was spooky. You could here the horn reverberating all round the hall.

The one caveat is that I have 7 excellent speaker channels from highly capable speakers. Both surrounds and backs make excellent stereo pairs. Although the speakers have unique designs, I designed them and they all have virtually identical tonal balance with none standing out. The system is also very carefully set up and calibrated. I have to say I have not been able to duplicate these results on systems with much less capable surrounds and rears. I was just lucky when I build my new front set 10 years ago, that I had one of my broadcast monitor pairs to use for the surrounds, and my former reference studio monitors to use as the rears.

So I can attest that Dolby PLIIx music really does deliver. The DTS Neural THX also works, but I think biases the stage too much to the center.
Because of this post, I decided to give Dolby PLII another try with stereo cable TV content. I like it. Our music playlists are vastly different, though, with mine being far less appropriate for surround sound. But I do appreciate your post, as it has increased my enjoyment of my own system. Sincere thanks for reminding me that I still have a lot to learn and experience in my personal audioholic quest.
 
herbu

herbu

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,406 10 36
#67
thanks for reminding me that I still have a lot to learn and experience in my personal audioholic quest.
That's a really good point. We keep telling people that personal preference trumps everything. Yet once I've decided what I like best, I rarely try changes... especially with an open mind. Honest experimentation and reevaluation may be a good idea every once in a while.
 
Good4it

Good4it

Senior Audioholic
Ratings
213 3
#68
I agree that two good channels bests 7 lousy channels any day.

However you are not confined to receiver amps for multi channel listening. A good multichannel system will also be a good 2 channel system



The three two channel amps on the left power the left and right, and are used alone for two channel listening. The four two channel amps on the right power, center, surrounds and backs and can be switched on and off and shut down when not is use.

So there does not have to a conflict in the quality of the two channel and surround systems in the same space.
Can we see the front? I am in awe. Are you married? Hold on to that one if you are.
Must dim the lights for blocks around when you turn everything on.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,743 16 25
#69
Can we see the front? I am in awe. Are you married? Hold on to that one if you are.
Must dim the lights for blocks around when you turn everything on.
You can see the pictures in the link under my system This space was finished a little over 10 years ago now.

I have been married to the same woman for 48 years.

Here are some pictures.







Downstairs.



That is two channel.

The 3.1 system at our Twin Cities town home.



2.0 system at that residence.



Just one 4" driver in those speakers. The depth of the bass is astonishing in that space.



No crossover components required!

I used to have a couple of fairly large TLs in my apartment when I was dating my wife. The equipment was tube back then. She knew what she was getting into and that speakers would always be part of the equation.

She tolerated this until AV, and now she is a huge enthusiast. A picture with the audio was a game changer for her. She now thinks the AV room is her favorite room in the house!

So you can see that I do use a variety of format systems. (7.11, 3.1 and a couple of 2.0). They all can get a picture.
 
herbu

herbu

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,406 10 36
#72
Wow! No wonder you have all that other stuff... trying to make Edison's tech sound good. Do you have "Mary Had a Little Lamb"? You know you can get a Beats wireless speaker that'll make your iPhone sound just as good, right?
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
888 8 1
#73
Wow! No wonder you have all that other stuff... trying to make Edison's tech sound good. Do you have "Mary Had a Little Lamb"? You know you can get a Beats wireless speaker that'll make your iPhone sound just as good, right?
Not a fan of good LP's and the equipment to enjoy them, I take it?

I'd love to hear a good LP played in that room, on that system. It must sound glorious!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,743 16 25
#74
Not a fan of good LP's and the equipment to enjoy them, I take it?

I'd love to hear a good LP played in that room, on that system. It must sound glorious!
Since you are relatively new to these forums I will link you to the vintage LP equipment.



And yes, it does sound glorious.

To keep on topic, I only play LPs in two channel stereo. I play the mono LPs through the center channel, but with some bass directed to the bass lines.

I also have a decoder that decodes dbx encoded LPs, and I have a few of those LPs. My LP collection was started 63 years ago, and I still have the first LP I ever bought.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
888 8 1
#75
TLS Guy, you addressed that to me but I'm not new to vintage vinyl. I'm 57 soon and grew up listening to it, playing it. My comment was directed at herbu, not you. I was defending LP's and good turntables (and tonearms & cartridges),as I know that's what you have.

The few LP's I have from when I first started buying them in the mid 1970's aren't in great shape because I had a not-so-good Dual CS-503-1 turntable with OM5 cartridge and my kids sometimes used it.

I have a great respect for LP's and know the sound you can get from them with the right equipment. I've got a new entry level turntable (Project RPM1) and an "ok" MM cartridge (Sumiko Pearl) to play my 140-150 LP's...and do. I know I could do better if I wanted to throw more money and time at it, but I'm concentrating on the digital realm.

I've bought a couple newer 180g LP's and do keep my eyes open for a better vintage TT. There's a Thorens TD180 available locally for a reasonable cost, but I can't find much info on what it is. I might be more inclined to buy a newer VPI, Rega, Linn Sondek or other rather than spend time rehabilitating a vintage one.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
7,743 16 25
#76
TLS Guy, you addressed that to me but I'm not new to vintage vinyl. I'm 57 soon and grew up listening to it, playing it. My comment was directed at herbu, not you. I was defending LP's and good turntables (and tonearms & cartridges),as I know that's what you have.

The few LP's I have from when I first started buying them in the mid 1970's aren't in great shape because I had a not-so-good Dual CS-503-1 turntable with OM5 cartridge and my kids sometimes used it.

I have a great respect for LP's and know the sound you can get from them with the right equipment. I've got a new entry level turntable (Project RPM1) and an "ok" MM cartridge (Sumiko Pearl) to play my 140-150 LP's...and do. I know I could do better if I wanted to throw more money and time at it, but I'm concentrating on the digital realm.

I've bought a couple newer 180g LP's and do keep my eyes open for a better vintage TT. There's a Thorens TD180 available locally for a reasonable cost, but I can't find much info on what it is. I might be more inclined to buy a newer VPI, Rega, Linn Sondek or other rather than spend time rehabilitating a vintage one.
I was not suggesting that you were new to LPs, but that you were relatively new on these forums.

I don't think there is anything wrong or substandard about that RPM 1 project turntable. If you want an upgrade fit a cartridge like the Ortofon Black.

I would avoid the Thorens TD 180. That is not really vintage and dates from around 1992. It is a product from a few years before the reorganization. It is semiautomatic, which is not recommended. I generally convert semi automatics to fully manual.

That turntable would be a downgrade from the one you have.

Generally older turntables looked after do not need much in the way of restoration.
 
KenM10759

KenM10759

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
888 8 1
#77
Been here almost a year as a signed-up member TLS Guy, longer than that as a lurker. It's long enough to know a fair bit about you and your system, your history in this passion. I've seen all those photos of your room and equipment, it's divine.

I do appreciate the info on the Thorens TD180, thank you. I agree, I don't want a semi-auto TT. My first one after marriage in the early 1980's was a Dual CS-503-1 which was a semi-auto. After less than a year that mechanism failed and I did rip it all out to make it a manual turntable.

Back on subject, I have my receiver set up so when I select "turntable" it is in stereo mode, with subwoofer. I often change it to "analog bypass" (direct) mode for many LP's that don't need it. Never any surround, it just sounds odd to me.
 

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