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
J

Jetpny

Audiophyte
I usually playback in 7.1 stereo. I really like the fullness and the overall depth of the sound.


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Joe B

Joe B

Audioholic Chief
Ratings
445 1
If I'm in the kitchen preparing food, I put my system in the living room on "All Channel" (Anthem AVR). This is great because my bipole surround speakers have drivers that face the kitchen and at least make the task of food prep a lot more fun.
However, when I'm in the living room and listening to 2 channel material, it's 2 channel playback.....unless of course I'm listening to an SACD.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,973 21 47
I usually playback in 7.1 stereo. I really like the fullness and the overall depth of the sound.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
So you prefer the multi-ch stereo mode over a surround mode? Curious, what kind of music are you generally listening to?
 
J

Jetpny

Audiophyte
So you prefer the multi-ch stereo mode over a surround mode? Curious, what kind of music are you generally listening to?
Mainly Jazz. And those which are well recorded. Steely Dan's Everything Must Go to really bring out the capabilities of my gear.


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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Slumlord
Ratings
5,973 21 47
Mainly Jazz. And those which are well recorded. Steely Dan's Everything Must Go to really bring out the capabilities of my gear.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Never liked that mode of playback except for a party or something....Do you use identical speakers all around, too? Sounds better than a surround upmixer?
 
T

Trell

Full Audioholic
Ratings
333 1 1
I generally do not use a surround upmixer for stereo music as I have had mixed results using those modes in my 5.2 system.

I just did an experiment using my 2015 model Denon AVR-X4200W comparing the multi-channel mix on the Roger Waters "Amused to death" SACD with the stereo layer. The surround upmixer (Dolby Surround and DTS Neural:X) is much worse than the multi-channel mix, and even the stereo layer has better surround effects. On the album there is much voice activity in left surround, the first track, as an example, plays back part of an interview with a man. In the multi-channel mix that is very clear, but even the stereo layer has the mains voice appearing to come from the left surround but more muted and not so loud. That surprised me so I actually went to the left surround to check that there where no sound coming out from there and no surround upmixer was active. For the surround upmixer the man's voice position is indistinct as I could not really place it's position in the room.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,442 8 34
The other issue, is that reproduction is about the creation of an illusion. It only takes very minor problems to destroy the illusion. One poor speaker pair will ruin it.
I just read this entire thread and this single quote made it all worthwhile. I wish more people understood the simple phrase "reproduction is about the creation of an illusion". Particularly those who argue over formats or frequency stuff beyond human hearing. Music and reproduction is not about static statistics or superhuman hearing. Reproduction is about creating the illusion of musicians and music.
Its what I love most about listening to music. I can suspend belief for a few moments and just revel in the illusion in front of me. Well said Mark.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,442 8 34
I just did an experiment using my 2015 model Denon AVR-X4200W comparing the multi-channel mix on the Roger Waters "Amused to death" SACD with the stereo layer. T.
Trell
I have the same AVR from about 2016 or so. Love it. Just have to share the love amongst the Denon crowd. There are AVR haters here. Pay them no mind. Unless you get a truck load of cash. Then you can abandon ship and go with the really cool stuff
 
panteragstk

panteragstk

Audioholic Ninja
Ratings
1,537 7 1
I tend to stick with 2.1 for most music. Some stuff sounds decent upmixed, but I've never been one to want 5.1 music even though I do have a few DVD-A discs that are mixed that way. Some sound good, some don't.
 
hemiram

hemiram

Full Audioholic
Ratings
61
The peak of surround sound for music for me was my old Audio Pulse Model 2 with one of my front left and right amps, and using an external surround amp on my wall mounted speakers. That set up sounded great for music as long as you controlled the level and duration of the delay effects. With it at about 20-30msec delay, it was always better than 2 channel was. And it also was very nice, SQ wise, for movies. The surround effects were a joke, except for the movie "Predator" which sounded fantastic on it.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,391 3 6
I started out with 2 channel and that's about where I ended back up again. More so for lack of fuss, and the fact that I listen near field with speakers toed in accordingly. I have not missed the sub woofers. I do use those as a stereo pair with a pair of stand mount speakers they were built for.

But, for the mean time, I use my larger speakers with 12" woofers along with an older, 2 channel amp. The bass from them is righteous and pretty accurate to scale and very little EQ needed. It's all I have hooked up, currently. No more wondering about room modes, or chasing other gremlins. Not so much the "hz" I wanted, but the musical bass notes. Seemed like the latter was compromised or misplaced with subs somehow, for lack of a better explanation.

The idea of me ever worrying upon the remote possibility of hearing a pipe organ's lowest frequencies is not high up on my audio priorities list or enough to build a system around. For a music only system, I am enjoying the minimalistic approach. It sounds very good and I don't want to mess it up by changing stuff again.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,442 8 34
I started out with 2 channel and that's about where I ended back up again. More so for lack of fuss, and the fact that I listen near field with speakers toed in accordingly. I have not missed the sub woofers. I do use those as a stereo pair with a pair of stand mount speakers they were built for.

But, for the mean time, I use my larger speakers with 12" woofers along with an older, 2 channel amp. The bass from them is righteous and pretty accurate to scale and very little EQ needed. It's all I have hooked up, currently. No more wondering about room modes, or chasing other gremlins. Not so much the "hz" I wanted, but the musical bass notes. Seemed like the latter was compromised or misplaced with subs somehow, for lack of a better explanation.

The idea of me ever worrying upon the remote possibility of hearing a pipe organ's lowest frequencies is not high up on my audio priorities list or enough to build a system around. For a music only system, I am enjoying the minimalistic approach. It sounds very good and I don't want to mess it up by changing stuff again.
I am with you in spirit. I'm still doing 2.1 (stereo + sub) but then again my biggest driver is a 6.5" in my mains. I would be hard pressed to call my system minimalist, but, I'm pretty close. Its music only. Its stereo source. I play it straight up. And I sit inside the sound field. And I love every minute of it.

It took a good year or more to solve all the little niggles and small bothers. Got them all flattened. So now I simply enjoy. Simplicity can be very entertaining. Not needing to upgrade is peace of mind. It does change how you participate in the forum. I don't have anything to bitch about.
 
M

MrBoat

Audioholic Samurai
Ratings
1,391 3 6
I am with you in spirit. I'm still doing 2.1 (stereo + sub) but then again my biggest driver is a 6.5" in my mains. I would be hard pressed to call my system minimalist, but, I'm pretty close. Its music only. Its stereo source. I play it straight up. And I sit inside the sound field. And I love every minute of it.

It took a good year or more to solve all the little niggles and small bothers. Got them all flattened. So now I simply enjoy. Simplicity can be very entertaining. Not needing to upgrade is peace of mind. It does change how you participate in the forum. I don't have anything to bitch about.
It helps that your main speakers are Salks. :)

Mine isn't necessarily the right way to do things these days but I found that the music I listen to, is not all that complicated. I can often count the members in the band on one hand, like that trio from Texas. I can hear each's contribution and the cumulative effects as well. I don't need to double duty my system for movies and I think that makes a difference. Like you, I too sit in the early spot, before any reflections and this is something that has not changed over the years. In other words, that spot has always been great, as long as there is enough power, and low enough distortion. I can make it work with subs, but at the cost of a rather substantial amount of real estate. The sub crawl too, puts my subs at some real inconvenient placement, one of which, could second as an ottoman.

The vintage electronics makes a difference too. Perhaps it's the lack of processing, or choices for that matter, but I was also running the AVR in bypass mode too. Still, right out of the old box, it was good without me touching anything and all of the controls set to the middle position. It made me feel kind of silly getting such good results with so little of my personal input. The first thought that came to mind being. . . . "These Japanese guys did all the work and didn't leave much undone." Sillier yet is, the old Hitachi direct drive turn table is as simple as it gets too and it does what it's supposed to without a super-overengineered tonearm and such.

I had been convinced that I needed the sub bass separation to relieve the mains, in which to gain more detail in the music, but it hasn't been lacking in that department. It's so good in fact, that at the end (or during) of my favorite reference material, that it will force an F-bomb from my core, from having my hat handed to me by the system and this happens a lot. Like after listening to Boston's debut album, Deep Purple's Machine Head, ZZ Top's Fandango etc. All of my favorites are back, without having condemned them to the blanketed, "crappy recording" fault that so many classics get tossed into these days when systems are over-revealing.

In a nutshell, I have just made my playback match what the studio had set up to prove the recordings with in the first place. Too easy.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Ratings
1,442 8 34
It helps that your main speakers are Salks. :)

Mine isn't necessarily the right way to do things these days but I found that the music I listen to, is not all that complicated. I can often count the members in the band on one hand, like that trio from Texas. I can hear each's contribution and the cumulative effects as well. I don't need to double duty my system for movies and I think that makes a difference. Like you, I too sit in the early spot, before any reflections and this is something that has not changed over the years. In other words, that spot has always been great, as long as there is enough power, and low enough distortion. I can make it work with subs, but at the cost of a rather substantial amount of real estate. The sub crawl too, puts my subs at some real inconvenient placement, one of which, could second as an ottoman.

The vintage electronics makes a difference too. Perhaps it's the lack of processing, or choices for that matter, but I was also running the AVR in bypass mode too. Still, right out of the old box, it was good without me touching anything and all of the controls set to the middle position. It made me feel kind of silly getting such good results with so little of my personal input. The first thought that came to mind being. . . . "These Japanese guys did all the work and didn't leave much undone." Sillier yet is, the old Hitachi direct drive turn table is as simple as it gets too and it does what it's supposed to without a super-overengineered tonearm and such.

I had been convinced that I needed the sub bass separation to relieve the mains, in which to gain more detail in the music, but it hasn't been lacking in that department. It's so good in fact, that at the end (or during) of my favorite reference material, that it will force an F-bomb from my core, from having my hat handed to me by the system and this happens a lot. Like after listening to Boston's debut album, Deep Purple's Machine Head, ZZ Top's Fandango etc. All of my favorites are back, without having condemned them to the blanketed, "crappy recording" fault that so many classics get tossed into these days when systems are over-revealing.

In a nutshell, I have just made my playback match what the studio had set up to prove the recordings with in the first place. Too easy.
Dang, now I have to go listen to some ZZ Top. Then maybe some Boston. Finish up with a little Machine Head.
Last night it was Peter Frampton and Frampton comes Alive.
Someone recently turned me on to a good one from Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Its one of my newest favorites.
BLUE ON BLACK KENNY WAYNE SHEPHERD
 
Jon AA

Jon AA

Enthusiast
Ratings
8
Interesting thread. Personally, since I upgraded my system to Atmos/Auro3D capable, I've listened to more Classical and Jazz than I ever have since I played the stuff in High School.

Naturally, the crème de la crème are native Auro recordings which are the epitome of immersion. The "suspension of disbelief" not just making your speakers disappear--but the walls, your room itself--placing you in the venue as if you were there to a level no 2 channel system will ever be able to touch is something every music lover really needs to experience. But alas, there are only so many of those recordings and this thread is specifically addressing stereo music.

For me, it depends much upon the type of music being used. While not the equal of the above, what Auromatic can do with large venue, live recordings (usually classical or jazz of some type) is good enough I have no interest in listening to such recordings in Stereo mode. With some recordings it can sound pretty close to a native recording, enough so it provides a much better experience for me than listening in stereo.

For close-mic'd studio recorded stuff (most popular music),Auromatic or any of the other upmixers are rather "meh" to me. DTS:X often does more harm than good to most music, sometimes putting the lead singer foating around in the middle of the room, DSU can be OK (turn "center spread" ON) with some stuff but often doesn't sound natural, Auromatic won't do much (making it hard to tell if you're upmixing at all) at the default settings, and cranking up the strength sounds unnatural with such recordings. For this kind of music I typically listen in Auromatic with the default settings, though it doesn't do much (adds maybe a bit more depth and texture to the soundstage),it doesn't do any harm. But for that type of recording, I'd be perfectly happy just listening in stereo as well.
 

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