Do you use your system for both two-channel and 5.1 or 7.1?

Do you use your system for both two-channel and 5.1 or 7.1?
I've only got a two-channel system
41% (155 votes)
I have one system that does both two- and multi-channel
49% (183 votes)
I have two systems: one for two-channel, one for multi-channel
10% (38 votes)
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 376

Multi-channel music releases may have slowed to a trickle, but with home theater still going strong, reader Greg Abarr is curious: "How many people use their systems for both two-channel and 5.1 or 7.1?"

g99sa's picture

separation takes room and money but for my room and my money this is great

Cesar's picture

One multichannel system (6.1) that does two-channel. Movies, multichannel SACDs, two channel CDs, musical performance live DVDs, it's all good! Klipsch, Pioneer, and Velodyne—not the most expensive system, but works for me. And yes, I'm looking to upgrade the Pioneer.

Pete's picture

I have a 2.1 channel for music and a 5.1 system for both home theater and music.

auidioclash's picture

I find that a good two-channel system with a sub (so ok 2.1) does a great job with TV and movies, A/V effects, etc. If I were a millionaire and could set up a "home theater" the right way, with all great components and a projector, etc, I would, but my 2.1 serves my purposes quite well.

Dismord's picture

I keep the eye-candy system well away from my two-channel only one. That may change if the whole SACD/DVD music surround mess ever settles down and I can justify putting another three electrostatics in my music room, but for now, no thanks.

Paul M's picture

I only listen to multichannel on my Meridian system. Two-channel sounds too artificial now.

JR's picture

My McIntosh system is a true hybrid. In pure two-channel, only the sources, dedicated two-channel preamp, DAC, and just the two mono amps for the two main speakers are powered on. When I switch to multichannel for surround music or movies I power on the surround processor and the amps for the center and surround channels. The preamp automatically switches to PASSTHRU mode, so the signal for the left and right speakers goes from the processor through the preamp and on to the amps. This set-up truly gives me the best of both worlds. Short of a separate, dedicated theater and two-channel rooms, this is a perfect set-up.

Rich, Chicago's picture

I'm fortunate enough to have seperate systems. A 5.1 for movies in the basement and a two-channel for music in the living room. I also have a smaller 2-channel in my bedroom for late-night music, stand-up comedy tapes, and talk radio.

D.A.B., Pacific Palisades, CA's picture

What the heck is 5.1 and 7.1? I was never very good at math.

Jesse T.'s picture

Surround sound is a waste of time.

Tim Bishop's picture

Two ears, two channels!

S.  Chapman's picture

Two systems, one for 5.1 and one for two-channel. Even though I've listened to music on very high-end multichannel systems at audio shows, I still haven't been that impressed by it, so almost all my music listening is on the two-channel system. I use the 5.1 system mainly for movies, you know, explosions and helicopter chases. Which reminds me, I wish Stereophile would review more SACDs as two-channel music, instead of restricting them to Kal's column on multichannel listening.'s picture

Multichannel nothing near my system.

emiser's picture

I have a theater set-up that has been taken over by the kids—it gets some music, but mostly movies. This led to the advent of the two-channel system just for me. Works out great.

Jim McKeehan's picture

For the last seven years, I have used a 5.1 or 7.1 for both two-channel and multichannel. But I recently have acquired a very good two-channel set-up.

Eric Shook / 29 / Raleigh, NC's picture

5.1 is on the way out. This is the future talking.

A/V guy's picture

Best of both worlds!

Oliver's picture

I'm in jazz concerts about one time a week. The band is playing in front of me. Behind me there is only noise (beer glasses, chatting, etc.). At home the band also plays in front of me via my boxes, behind me there is nothing to hear. Should I use 5.1 to get the noise back, so it's live? I don't think so.

Dougy Turigsroc's picture

I tried the one-system approach, but the room acoustics that were OK for video applications were not acceptable for two-channel music, so...I've now got two main rigs: A 7.1 HT built around a 60" Sony rptv, and in another (much better sounding) room, a nice two-channel music rig, anchored by a pair of big ol' Klipsch La Scala II's. Ah, audio bliss!

J from Finland's picture

I've got a two-channel system. I'm planning to get a 7.1 system and use it for two-channel audio, too.

Ole G.'s picture

I've got a two-channel vinyl system and the control panel for digital server co-located. I am totally not interested in movies—and am against multichannel music.

Rob Gold's picture

Sure, the multichannel systems are better in theory. The reality is that the recordings themselves are too variable to reliably deliver the goods. I stick with two-channel stereo, thanks!

ch2's picture

Multichannel is for special effects (like movies) only. I seem to remember similar arguments for stereo a few years back.

daryl from winnipeg's picture

I have a shared system for the past year, once I finished bulding a dedicated room. The cost of having two good quality systems is far too high. It creates problems with the other half when I try to justify doubling the purchase of amps, speakers, cables, etc. I'd rather spend that money on better equipment that has dual use—with some money left over for a good poison to drink.

Denham's picture

I wish I had space for two systems, but I don't.

Michael Schmidt's picture

Movies are as important to me as music. With the new lossless formats on Blu-ray I have implemented a 7.1 system and I am loving every minute of it.

Mark L.'s picture

I'd love to have both but money and space constraints prevent it. I have both an HT processor, Rotel RSP1068, and a 2ch preamp, BAT vK3i. Fortunately, my amp (400 wpc) accomodates balanced inputs for the two-channel audio and unbalanced inputs for HT. All I have to do is hit a switch. The system does both HT and two-channel very well, IMO. I also have three top headphones/amp combos in the house. Does that count as a separate two-channel rig?

Chris V's picture

I was able to build a higher quality single system, than two separate ones. I favor setup geared toward music, but can handle multi-channel (SACD/DVD-A) and video surround as well. The system gets a lot more use as a result. [Bel Canto & Revel] CSIs, LV, MIA, and NY are plenty engaging with high quality audio, and you can hear a lot of unintended "dialog" during live sports.

Tonko Papic F.'s picture

My home theater has five big Cerwin Vega and two subwoofers. It sounds B-I-G. But, my music system has two Quad ESLs and one subwoofer. It sounds as natural as possible.

westcoastman's picture

It's not practical to wire my home for multichannel, plus I enjoy the sound of my two-channel system for music and video. Music is my prime use.