Did you convert your system to multichannel audio? Has it stuck with you? Why or why not?

Did you convert your system to multichannel audio? Has it stuck with you? Why or why not?
Yes, I've got 6 or more channels going
6% (11 votes)
Yes, I've got a 5 or 5.1 channel system
16% (28 votes)
Yes, I've got a 4 or 4.1 channel system
4% (7 votes)
Kind of, I've got a 3 or 3.1 channel system
2% (3 votes)
No, I'm still at 2 channels
73% (130 votes)
No, I'm still mono
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 179

During the SACD and DVD-Audio heyday, multichannel audio was finding new converts. Did you convert? Has it stuck with you? Why or why not?

David L.  Wyatt jr.'s picture

I like the idea of 5.1 but doing it right would cost a bundle. Better to do two-channel right than half-ass surround.

Bob in Charlotte's picture

Well, I like my movies in surround sound, and I can only afford to use one room and one system, so I have the multichannel thing going, eight channels, I believe. But I'm tweaking my system to have the sound optimized for two channel listening, gonna put an integrated amp in to run the mains with a dedicated CD player and turntable, and when I'm multichanneling, the signal will pass through there. Bit of a compromise, but hafta have both. Well, I do like DSOTM in the surround, but I have it on vinyl for two channel as well. Most other music is not so good in suuround for me. Hmm, "Ball and Chain" by Big Brother & the Holding Company on SACD actually is kinda nice too . . . But basically, going for the best channel sound I can get, and enjoying the movies in surround too, without being too fussy about it.

tad's picture

It's hard enough trying to upgrade my two channel, and I'm still entry-level! Besides, for the number of movies we watch...definitely not worth the money. But, then again, my passion/obsession is music and that's where any (read: not too damn much) money goes. If I ever win the lotto I'll give home theater some consideration...maybe. But each to his own.

Bill Bostancic's picture

No intrest in multchannel, too little room and too expensive to do right. Rather spend more money on a few very good pieces of equipment than spread my budget out on multiple, lesser quality units.

Ed Strand's picture

I had two systems for years, a stereo system and a movie system. In the last four or five years the two-channel system has sprouted about 3.1 extra channels. It's all good.

Travis Klersy's picture

Man, if I had enough mono records I'd set up a "mono" in a heartbeat, probably in the same room as my stereo. I think that's my limit though. More than that and I'll just go read books or something.

Brian Borowiec's picture

I intentionally have not gone multichannel for several reasons. I guess the top reason is that multichannel was developed to spatialize certain aspects of movie soundtracks (baring the '70's multi-movement). Personally, I don't need to hear a helicopter from behind me to better enjoy the movie. Rain doesn't need to envelop me. So two-channel is suffices. Secondly, I like to listen to music as I hear it live—from in front of me with room effects as a part of the experience. I attempt to replicate that at home , albeit with mixed success. Lastly, until recently the multi experience was available utilizing mid-fi equipment and therefore mid-fi accuracy. The savior was via decibels. Now that equipment is available en masse I have personally not justified converting simply because I have too many other expensive hobbies and need to spread with wealth lest one suffer. Fun getting in the way of fun.

JR's picture

When my brand of stereo took their top-of-the-line two-channel amp and made it into a 5.1 channel amp, I traded up immediately. I have never been able to get as good a (leading edge) sound out of the 5.1, in two=channel stereo mode, as my old two-channel amp.

Gordon Calder's picture

Well, I couldn't think of any good reason to change. Multichannel costs much more, requires a new receiver or multiple amps, requires speakers around a living room which looks ugly (even if the speakers themselves look good). Also, what are the 'room effects' when multiple speakers are firing in various directions? It can't be pretty. Even in movie theatres I can understand needing a center channel due to the width of the room, but I tend to find multichannel irritating—why are the voices behind me when the actors are on the screen in front of me? I guess I could just never figure out why it was better.

sam tellig's picture

Multichannel audio is for geeks.

OvenMaster's picture

Still happily at "just" two channels. Reason: I have "just" two ears and a listening room so small that any more than two speakers would be a significant space and financial burden. Also, IMHO more than two channels would exceed my return on investment. I've heard multichannel. I'm not impressed.

Rob's picture

I find musical performances on DVD very enjoyable. Dolby ProLogicII music mode is less indispensable, but also nice.

Ann Wiskow's picture

I only found a couple SACDs worth buying for starters. I didn't find the surround sound enjoyable. So, my listening is primarily two-channel, even music DVDs that are in 5.1 surround.

nvinyl66's picture

My direction was -3.1: went from 5.1 to 2.0. Never looked back!

suits_me's picture

Multichannel might have some advantages but is largely an industry created, "false" consumer need with formats and flavors whose dueling the market still hasn't really settled. No one will ever say it's cost effective.

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

I did convert to a 5.2 channel system (Sonus Faber Cremona) but I'm back to two channels. All the music I listen to is recorded in 2 channels and a big screen is more important to me when watching movies/conserts than a surround system. I also admit that continue building a 5.1 system around my current Wilson speakers and AudioNet monos is too expensive and demanding on space.

Cihangir Güzey's picture

I am still living with my old stereo system which was purchased when I was single and using 12m2 of room. The same system (with Definitive Technology bipolar tower speakers) serve 30m2 room still much more than enough. I am waiting for solar powered, wirelessly operated properly horn loaded (for domestic usage of course) multi channel loudspeakers which doesn't require any cables and power sources at all. Still in stereo, still no iPods...

Doug Bowker's picture

WAY too expensive to do it right and of 1500+ recordings 99% are two-channel. Artificially pushing two channels through a processor makes my skin crawl after about 10 minutes. Don't think it's going to happen for my music system... Movies however are essential to have in surround.

Jim Dandy's picture

Kind of... I use, and have been using a simple Hafler/Dynaco ambience system since the 1970's and I would not want to be without it. Lots of extra effect for about $100 using a pair of Wharfedale Diamond 7 speakers in the rear.

Mullard EL34's picture

Two channels of really high-quality audio easily trumps three or more channels of lesser-quality audio. It's already complicated enough compensating in-room response with two channels; trying to balance 3 or more channels represents too great of a compromise in overall timbral response.

Earl's picture

I have multichannel. But just for movies. For music I use two-channel and sometime I use five-channel stereo. Or Pro logic II to convert a two-channel source

Aden's picture

Never converted, always two channels. Hey, at SACD's release it was two-channel only! Two ears, two channels. Simple

craig's picture

I always try to get the most bang for my audio buck and I have never seen or more specifically heard anything that beats a decent two-channel stereo set up using that criteria. Hey that is pretty humorous to include a mono choice.

Tony P., Arlington, VA's picture

I've never felt that the outrageous amount of money I would have been required to spend on hardware and recordings was worth it.

raymond catapang's picture

I don't and will never believe in the union of audio and video. I have designated system for each.:5.1 for my movies which also serves as the multi-room for the house and stereo system for my music.

Stereo's Fine's picture

I would rather spend my money on two very good channels than five very mediocre ones. If you have unlimited funds, multichannel can be very impressive, but most of us don't.

TRS's picture

Why bother? The source of live music is nearly always in front of you. Ambient detail can be emulated pretty darned well with a good two-channel rig in a good room. To top it off, you get higher resolution through two-channel SACD than through multichannel. 5.1 is well and good for HT, but for the kind of quality music demands, multichannel strikes me at worst as costly and inferior, and at best just costly.

Gunnar Orloff's picture

Two channels, the only thing for me!

DB's picture

It's challenging (and rewarding) enough to get just two channels really right.

wkhanna's picture

The more I upgrade, (I will be going from 4.0 to 4.1 very shortly) the more I listen to, appreciate, and invest in two-channel.