Have you converted your two-channel system to surround sound?

Have you converted your two-channel system to surround sound?
No! Two-channel forever!
36% (118 votes)
No, but added a separate video system to our house.
22% (70 votes)
Yes, we've added several speakers.
21% (69 votes)
Will wait for new surround audio formats to settle out.
14% (44 votes)
7% (23 votes)
Total votes: 324

With multichannel DVD-Audio and SACD promised and the increasing pressure to add high-quality 5.1 audio to video systems, has the number of channels in your listening room increased?

Jack Lundrigan's picture

I'm very satisfied with my present two speaker system, the music matters. There isn't a TV in the music room, so I don't need surround sound.

Health Nut, Phila./Pittsburgh's picture

YES! Now have five Nautilus 802s with five Bryston 7BST monoblocks for complete symmetry . . . MULTICHANNEL MUSIC WILL BE INCREDIBLE . . . GO DVD-A!!!!

William K.  Wilson's picture

Yes I added surround sound. I can't afford two systems, but I listen to music in two channel. I do have to say that I really enjoy the surround for movies and tv

Bram Hillen (Holland)'s picture

High-end is two-channel, surround is for videos and has nothing to do with critical listening. Have you ever been "surrounded" by an orchestra?

Bruno Bicek,Slovenia's picture


Guido Roemer's picture

Millions and millions of audio recordings are two-channel. And meant to be two-channel! Mixing them to 5.1 audio is something like coloring in black-and-white movies: kitsch. Mixing modern recordings to 5.1 channel will probably mean that the highest quality in 2-channel sound will not be achieved. I find this a depressing thought.

Grosse Fatigue's picture

I have two separate systems that I can use both for music playback. I bought audio quality and identical speakers for my 5.1 rig: two pairs of NHT 3.3 and one 2.9 laying flat under a 4x7 screen (NHT won't sell you just one 3.3). I have also a Velodyne HGS 18 subwoofer. I use a Meridian controller for 5 channels listening to music. The NHTs play unbelievably well together. I like the fact that you don't have to toe them to the listener. They look clean this way and unobtrusive. 5 channels music playback is great and non fatiguing for casual listening. For serious listening, right now (maybe not in the future), I prefer my two channels installation.

Graeme Nattress's picture

I did convert to surround a while back, but didn't like it, so I went back to stereo.

Douglas Frost's picture

I don't mind plugging the video into the stereo system (Krell + JMlab), but surround sound doesn't really interest me.

Bobaloo's picture

The present technology is O K for vidiots but still has a way to go for natural sounding music enjoyment.

Al Marcy's picture

Mono a mono!

Steve Guttenberg's picture

It's a bit premature; they're still "learning" how to do surround. When they've actually figured out what to do with it, Ill check it out. Since surround has been used in movies for more than half a century, I'm not exactly sure what the hang-up is with music. I'm in no hurry; stereo sounds awfully good to my 2.0 ears.

kj's picture

It's difficult enough to get two-channel right. Three or four, or even more additional channels only adds to the confusion of setting up a system properly. Besides when two-channel work, its surround enough for me. And where would I put the other channels?

Matt's picture

Silverline Audio has a complete audiophile speaker line that will add multichannel capabilities without sacrificing an ounce of pure musical nirvana.

Ken's picture

I am keeping the systems separate for as long as possible.

Mike Parenteau's picture

Audio and home-theater systems are separate in our house and probably that's the way it will stay. As for multichannel audio-only, I don't really want to clutter up another room with more speakers and gear. Plus, the cost of a 5.1 processor that has audio performance as good as my Linn Kairn preamp is stratospherically expensive.

Michael J.  Rodriguez's picture

Two-channel listening is a distinctly different pursuit than multichannel. When I go to a performance, I am not blessed by being in an envelope of sound, as what I hear is coming from a stage in front of me. There are those that would argue that ambient cues can be heard from all around in this situation, and that it is captured on a properly produced multichannel recording. No argument there, if what has been recorded is in a venue that I would like reproduced. I am, however most comfortable at home. That is where I am listening to the music and where I would like the ambience to remain. To have Dianna Krall step into my listening room and serenade me is sublime. The feeling of intimacy and immediacy that such well-recorded stereo produces is what I have been striving for since I signed up for this expensive little joyride we share as a hobby. When I wish to suspend disbelief, such as watching a movie, or closing my eyes and pretending to be at the Met, Then multichannel sound is appropriate. So far, I have needed two distinct systems, as the demands of one cannot be adequately met by the the other. They require distinct acoustic environments (that big honkin' TV really kills the soundstage when it's placed between a pair of floorstanding speakers, don'tcha know). Also I am leery of electronic manipulation of the sound, as in the past such attempts have always added distortion or in some other way have compromised the purity of the sound.

Willis Greenstreet's picture

When the music is well mixed I enjoy it. However most are still learning how to do it. It will be a valuable addition when the skill and technolgy of the software catches up with the hardware and we stop arguing about crossover points.

curtis's picture

since i have a video setup in the same room, i've just been waiting for dvd-audio harware & software.

Joe Hartmann's picture

I have yet to hear a surround system displayed for music. Speaking with shop owner they speak of separate systems with little or no use for my current $30,000 system. They do not recommented an intergration of the video/audio surround but of a separate system. Since there are things I would like to upgrade in my current system; I now only occasionally look at a mag about multi channel systems.

Christopher Gillespie's picture

I added center and rears for Dolby ProLogic 8 years ago and have used the "Hall" mode for music listening on-and-off ever since.

Louie's picture

I just got a 2.5W SET. Not even thinking multichannel. Maybe mono, come to think of it.

James's picture

I have never heard a quality multi-channel music demo.

Orson Orwelles's picture

Not when many of my favorite recordings and most of my favorite movies are recorded in glorious monaural sound. I would consider purchasing a DVD player for the quality of the picture and sound, not for hokey sound effects! As far as music is concerned, I do not understand what additional information a 5.1 mix is supposed to provide the listener. Also, it took a decade for record companies to figure out how to mix and master CDs. How long do you think it will take them to do the same for surroundhead sound? Brian Eno once suggested a three-speaker arrangement to create greater ambience. Maybe. If less is more, then two channels are definitely better than 5.1! Baaah!

D's picture

Not exactly the ideal answer, but two separate rooms are my current answer due to both legacy issues and the presence of my kids (and their friends), who want to watch video while I want to listen to music. If I was starting from ground zero, there would only be one system.

Eric's picture

Since I've never heard music in a surround-sound format, I don't know if I'd like it or not. Just in case, I didn't sell my old Apogee Acoustic ribbon hybrid when I upgraded my speakers the last time. I'll wait and see.

Mike M.'s picture

I am a two-channel man forever! If you spend the equal amount of money on two-channel and 5.1, which one would be better?! Besides, it's just another way for the industry to push new stuff.

Peter Lindstr's picture

I use my system for (two-channel) video along with my stereo listening. The latter is most important to me and I think it will be a very long time (if ever) before a multichannel system outperforms a stereo dito for a given amount of money to spend.

Robert Hamel's picture

I converted by ditching my old electronics for a new receiver that was well-reviewed in SGHT and I could play with for 30 days or exchange if I was not happy. Purchased a new set of speakers, RCL, surrounds, and a subwoofer. I keep my orginal stereo pair and listen in stereo in bypass mode. NO digital processing in the reciever. I am very happy with this setup. I feel I get the best of both. The subwoofer does double duty. I just adjust the level to switch between the two sets of speakers.

Anonymous's picture

I just bought a bunch of speakers, as I'm sure sometime in the near future I'll be able to buy a channel for each one. It's even OK if I have some speakers left over. You see, if you position them properly, the signals are enhanced while the random noise cancels out. Larry Sherwood When my budget permits, I'm going to buy two large screens, one for each eye.