Hate to ask......

Alright I am taking a risk here, but I am curious why sooooo many of you hate(and I am using the word HATE) HT? I asked a question a while back and got the answer "because it makes me happy who cares if it is right", well I among other get joy out of HT and was curious why most of you don't like it. Try to keep it simple and civil, thank you. Tim
Hey, I love HT, too. My system does double duty with audio and HT. I enjoy a great movie as much as a great album any day.
I have a HT and the family enjoys it. As for me, there's about 18,000 other things I'd rather do than watch a movie or TV. Music & reading are on the top of my list. I don't hate HT, just have no use for it myself, a chacunes sons gouts...
Not so, I love HT. Movies and music both have equal playing time at my place !
I don't hate it, I just do not watch movies anymore (maybe three in the last ten years). I recently picked up the two CD set "Critic's Choice, Leonard Maltin's Best Movie Themes, of the 90's" so that I can listen to some of the music that I have missed.
I am also in the camp of those that think HT is great. I don't have quite the passion for it that I do for high-end audio, perhaps because I find serious music listening to be far more engaging that 95% of the movies I see. To me, comparing HT to audio is like my two favorite sports-related activities: Husky football, and scuba diving. Watching Husky football is an extroverted activity that is shared with others. Scuba diving, on the other hand, is an
introverted, very personal sport that one essentially enjoys alone (even if you are diving with a partner). I love both activities, and wouldn't want to give up either of them.
Tally me as one who loves HT (as well as music). Movies and music are both first rate art forms IMO. I've only got one room to use on this stuff, so I've accepted a single-system solution and have either deluded myself or have actually managed to put together a pretty good performer for both tasks.

That said, there isn't anywhere near as many interesting (debateable) topics in the HT arena. As evidence, I get much more enjoyment out of the audio-only mags over the HT mags. Even the reviewers admit that the cheapo DVD players are pretty good, and not very high in the $$$ the performance becomes all but indistinguishable unless you have the highest quality display devices.

I don't know why there's such a strong anti-HT sentiment that swells up in a bunch of threads - I think it definitely inhibits them and keeps this forum fairly inactive. What's interesting (to me anyway) is that I can't engage anybody who's not already hooked on an audio-only conversation, but can hook just about anybody on a HT conversation. Those that buy usually buy the low-to-mid end stuff, but some will gain the appreciation and upgrade over time. Anyway, I'm up for HT talk anytime. -Kirk

Perhaps people don't like it because of the sentiment going around, especially among dealers, that it's "killing hi-end." Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. A lot of dealers are staying above board because of their HT sales. Anyway, I have a dual purpose system as well, though it's pretty damn complicated and annoying (it would be much easier if I could just afford a Casablanca II).
tireguy: the great majority of people who call themselves (or allow others to call them) "audiophiles" have been entranced by two-channel audio-only systems. those who have been into the hobby as long as i, have gone from 45rpm mono singles to ep's to stereo lp's and then, reluctantly, to cd's. for a couple or three decades, we enjoyed watching the two-channel parade pass by, interrupted every now and then by failed "improvements" like quadraphonic sound. manufacturers enticed us with better and better components at higher and higher prices. and it was good.

then came the advent of "home theater." at first, that meant having a big screen tv flanked by a couple of speakers, with a vcr thrown in to watch slightly fuzzy, but pauseable, movies. laser discs gave us improved images, line doublers and processors even better. multi-channel formats emerged like mushrooms after rain. video dvd's caused a mild tide to turn into a sea change. hey, this is fun! watching movies as clear as you might get at the multiplex, and with SURROUND sound. planes zipped by over your heads, engines churning, flying right through the damn wall!. cannon shots shook you in your gut. and the bass. well, you know what it's like to be at a rock concert. sales of HT shot up, rocket-like. sales of two-channel gear declined, confining audiophiles onto an even smaller island, whose beaches were eroding as we watched. our very own manufacturers in the audio highend pantheon did what they had to do in light of shifting tastes. they started turning stereo amps into five and six-channel devices. speakers were designed for "center channels" and rears." we weren't in charge anymore. and it was bad.

now, we of the two-channel ilk are joined by those in the HT clan with enough interest in the "sound" of their systems to become what i think of as a subset of "audiophiles." cost and space constraints cause many of the HT crowd to build "integrated systems," by which they might enjoy the best of audio and the best of HT in a single set of components (some of which may be bypassed or used for only one application). please believe me when i say i don't regard the "integrated" crowd with disdain; indeed, i thank them for helping preserve what might otherwise be an even more moribund industry. but...............i don't think you can have the best of audio and the best of HT in one system. at any cost. you have to chose, IMO, which way you want to go and then recognize you're gonna' need to compromise whatever your choice.

for myself, i've decided to keep building my two-channel system, keeping it only as such. i've begun to start a modest HT, recently buying a loewe aconda 16:9 and a pioneer elite dvd (very slightly used). i'll be adding a processor, amps and speakers. these purchases, tho, will come after i make my planned upgrade to the analogue half of my two-channel system.

i don't know whether this answers your query, tireguy but its my view of this simultaneously fascinating and disturbing issue. -kelly
I like HT very much. I actually built an HT system three years prior to finishing my music system. But the whole reason for starting into the realm of 2-channel was because I was very dissatisfied with the music reproduction of my HT setup.
Well I am glad to see that I am not alone in enjoying HT, I also have a 2-in-1 system, as stated above there are obvious comprimises regardless of what ever you do, the way I see it as long as it brings me pleasure then there is no comprimise(with all do respect Kelly). But it sounds as though even you(cornfed) have been biten by the HT bug...I need more amps, bigger speakers, etc.....But I am curious where all of the HT antagonists have gone, I would really like to know why you hate HT, and I know some of you are out there, don't be affraid I am just trying to understand where you are coming from.
Sorry to disappoint you Tim, but I'm another HT fan. I had an integrated system, but separated it to try to improve the 2-ch side. I do seem to get much more pleasure from music than movies, but I wouldn't give up the theater. I'll be moving in a week, and will have a 500 sf dedicated theater and/or music room, so there may be more incentive now to reintegrate the systems and kick them both up a notch.
I am an American expatriate living in Taipei, Taiwan. I have spoken to many high-end audio dealers here and they all say that the market trend is overwhelmingly toward HT, rather than 2-channel hi-fi. In fact, of interesting to note is that there are two international high-end audio shows here every year. One is for AV systems and the other is for hi-fi systems. Guess where the hi-fi show is trending heavily - you got it, HT with a great hi-fi.

Dealers told me that most customers have only one room and one budget for one system. Also, many AV processors have been upgrading their preamp to improve audio quality. In the end it seems there will be a convergence where consumers will be able to have both!!

I currently have a HT system with a Lexicon MC-1 processor/Krell 250cd player/Sony DVP-9000ES/Krell KAV-1500 5-channel amp/B&W Nautilus 801s as fronts/HTM-1 as center/Nautilus 805 as surrounds/Magnum Dynalab 101a Etude tuner/PS Audio Power Plant 300.

I can say with confidence that when I play my system on 2-channel sound, it can match or outperform many of the best 2-channel hi-end audio systems in the market. But it has also terrific HT, which none of the Hi-Fi systems out there can put any claims on.

So there is hope for us who want to have both great HT and great Hi-Fi after all!!!
Avguy, I agree that a comination system can be assembled which does justice for both music and movies. I went with all Proceed source components and amps ( pmdt / avp / hpa's 2/3 )and B&W Nautilus series speakers ( 802's for mains / 803's for surrounds / HTM-1 center / Velodyne HGS-15 sub)with cabling by Transparent. Couldn't be happier, for now !
sorry guys, but you CAN NOT get the best 2-channel sound when you have something, anything between your audio-only speakers. you also CAN NOT expect to get the best sound possible when you have processors or the like in your electronics chain. if you don't believe me, set up your system for 2 channel only. THEN LISTEN. i don't hate HT but i am disturbed by those who think they can have the best of two entirely different worlds with a single, integrated HT/audio system. an analogy: do you think an m-class mercedes can keep up with a 500 sl in a race over independence pass just because they’re both made by the same company? -kelly
For the record I was agreeing with you kelly just trying to justify my system, you know how it goes. And there is a chance that a Brabus tuned ML5.8 can keep up with a SL500, I would like to see the results of that race.
Hi everyone, good to see you posting again Tireguy, well... I hear the best of 2 channel audio frequently, and use it as a benchmark for my HT set-up. I try to attain the best of both worlds because of space and budget constraints. I recently upgraded from a Denon AVR-5700 to a Musical Fidelity HT600 5 channel amp and a B&K pre-pro in order to improve my 2 channel playback. They withstand comparison to any very good dedicated 2 channel system. The line between 2 & 5 channel playback will continue to blur. There will always be a market for the purist and connoisseur, so they really have nothing to be concerned about, but the stereo format is not all that "pure" anyway. Due to various problems with the format, the earliest developers of stereo actually wanted a 3 channel system, but felt that the public was not ready for it, so it took many years of refining to overcome inherent limitations and achieve the quality we have available today. Give the high resolution 5 channel SACD format time, and it might become a new standard. In the future I bet there will be debates between 10.2 channel users, and 5 channel users over which system is best.
I appreciate high end stereo playback very much, but love the combination of home theater and stereo in one system as well. There really is no conflict. The more people who become interested in high quality sound reproduction, whether it be 2 or 5, or 7.1 channels, the better for all of us. Ninety percent of the time more sales equals higher and higher quality at lower costs.
I also have a modest HT and a somewhat more ambitious 2 channel, in separate rooms. I believe that the idea that HT is killing High End comes from a reasonable belief that the economy only has so much discretionary income and that much of what goes into HT is divereted from high end audio. And that techies or early adopters or whatever that are getting into HT are the same people that would be high end buyers. That seems to me to be only partly true. Many HT buyers would be buying mid-fi 2 channel. But to the extent that the HT sales pay the overhead and profit for a high end dealer to indulge his (and our) hobby, then I'm all for it. And I really love movies, and with a son at home, it makes it much easier for my wife and I to watch more current stuff.
I think the HT and High-End audio are a deadly combination. Unfortunately, to get into the high-end home theater, it tends to cut into the high end audio budget. Baby steps is easy to preach, but hard to practice.

With my most recent 2-channel system, I started with NHT 3.3's and a Sunfire stereo amp, Proceed PCD and PDP digital front end, with a BAT VK-3i preamp.

That has since evolved into NHT 2.5i's in the rear (wall-mounted!! I'll send pictures, if you don't believe me), NHT HDP-2's on the sides, and an additional Sunfire Cinema Grand to drive them all. And the preamp is in constant rotation. I'm currently using a Sherwood (Not as bad as you might think) AVP-8090, as I just sold the Acurus ACT3.

I'm also running DUAL Mirage BPS-400's (front and rear).

Sometimes I consider the gear I could own now, if I hadn't bought into the home theater circus. But... No regrets. But upgrading the system requires lots more hardware than it used to.
For the most part, I hate it. I mean, the average $350 receiver yesterday was better than the ones today. A $350 receiver rated at 100*2 or 100*5, they don't even specify frequency resp. anymore. The hundred watts is at only 1khz usually. Why bother making the amp so "powerful"-- to sell it. Specs aren't everything but when they are that bad.... The designers have to squeeze five channels into one box plus the decoders. And inflation isn't such nor is lowered production costs enough to make a decent unit. I still don't see the point of full frequency extension in the surrounds. The luxury of stereo bass in two channel isn't even that great sometimes depending on alot of rooms. (And its hard enough to get one sub in the right position much less four) And marketing has "everyone" thinking they need it these days. Not to mention the big dumb TV screen between the speakers can't help imaging one bit. And who really watches that many movies compared to music anyhow? You can do home theater as good as 2 channel--its just going to cost super-exponentially more get the same quality in a 2 ch when you have to buy all these other speakers, amps, processors. And the only way to alleviate the dumb tv screen is to buy a rear projector with a retractable screen. But if you like your movies. Of course this is coming from someone who doesn't even own a TV.
I somewhat agree with cornfed's comments about the distraction caused by the center channel speaker. However, while I don't have HT in my home (yet), the salient feature for me has always the presence of the rear channels, and not the addition of the center. I have no problems hearing a full soundstage with my 2 channel system, and can't imagine how the presence of a center channel (mixing issues aside) will add anything of significance. However, I can see how the addition of rear channel information could certainly enhance the musical experience, if done properly.

I both rue and look forward to the day when multichannel audio is readily available. Sadly, it'll likely require a center channel, and will certainly burst the seams of my wallet to get the kind of audio quality I've become accustomed to. However, its very likely to open an interesting new bag of musical experiences that I'm dying to have.

I will most likely catch it from Cornfed, but my two channel system is also my HT system, and they occupy the same space.

I agree with him that you cannot have ANYTHING in between your stereo speakers, so my big screen Pioneer goes away and comes back (on wheels) when it is needed for HT. My center channel is a Vandersteen Dialogue speaker, powered by an Atmasphere OTL. All is wired with Purist Proteous speaker and interconnect cables. My side channels ( were ) Fosgate SD 180 THX bipolars powered by mono bloc Sound Valves with Telefunken tubes. These too were wired with Purist Proteous speaker and interconnect cables.

In anticipation of the new Dolby system ( with rear centers ), I just purchased four B&W surround speakers last week to replace my Fosgates. I plan to install them as the construction/acoustical project in my listening room draws to a close. I have already had the sweep tests run by a recording studio design firm, and know exactly where and how to treat the space.

My movie player is the Sony SACD/DVD 9000, and there are multiple runs of precision video cable from the progressive scan out to an outlet in the floor beside my right channel. These hook up directly to the big screen Pioneer only on Friday and Saturday night when the family groups up for movies.

My stereo speakers are Soundlab Ultimate 1's powered by Wolcott tube mono blocks. These become the right and left channel for the HT when all is fired up. I also have two 15" sub woofers manufactured by Unisphere of Canada which are run exclusively by the sub woofer outputs on my processor. Otherwise it, and all the other HT gear is disconnected from the wall when it is time for the two channel to reign supreme.

My Callisto preamp has one input marked video. I select that input and the signal from the Dolby 5.1 processor ( FRONT channel only ) is fed through that input. My Callisto's preselected volume setting is 12:00 O'clock, and the long run of Dominus RLS cable between it and my Mono blocks remains undisturbed.

At this point, the remote control for the Dolby Digital 5.1 processor becomes the volume control for the entire system. When the movies are done, the HT system is disconnected from the AC supplies, and the stereo system stands alone again until the next family gathering for movies.

Could better HT be had? I have heard many systems demo'ed at stores in various cities, and multiple times at CES over the years. Mine will not play as loud as most of the crash bang demo's I have suffered through, but mine is the lowest distortion and most magic I have ever heard. It is fun enough to enjoy and will still allow you to watch the movie and accept the sound as part of the visual experience rather than the reason for its existence.
To Kjg and some of the others, a center channel works best if you have your mains spread out quite a bit and you are seated a bit away from the screen. There is NO advantage to using a center channel if the mains are only 6' - 10' apart ( depending on their size ) and your sitting on top of the screen. Given a situation like that, it is probably a disadvantage so long as your mains are "decent".

In a wider room and sitting back a reasonable distance from the screen, mains that are spaced a good distance apart add even more "ambience" or "spacial cues" to sound effects and imaging. After all, a plane that buzzes from left to center to right in an 8' distance sounds a LOT different than one that motors across a 13' - 15' distance and slowly blends from left to center to right. Of course, not everyone has the room to accomodate such a system or speakers big enough to work well in a situation like that.

Something else that comes into play in a major way in situations like this is the dispersion patterns for the mains and center. Most people don't even think about the height or angle of the center speaker or take the time to properly aim it. Like anything else, "garbage in equals garbage out". It takes effort and planning to get ANYTHING to work at full potential. Sean
Don't hate it. I have 3 systems. One is HT. I just can't imagine paying big bucks for a sound system to watch movies. Being all digital, and sometimes not very good digital, is it really high end most of the time?? My HT system sounds pretty good and I got it for a song buying mostly store demos.

FYI- My modest HT system is: (4) B&W 302 on Target Stands; CC-3 center; REL Q100E Subwoofer; Toshiba DVD Player; Onkyo AC3/DTS Receiver; Panasonic 32" TV; Audio Power Pack II and Monster conditioners. Synergy S30 Rack. Homebrew cables.

I think Kelly was referring to the TV between the mains, not the center.
Don't you think the mains can be too far apart? I would find it very unnatural to have sounds on the left side of the room (in the program) apparently coming from the next county over. Granted, most people have them too close to the TV, and too far recessed. But it's a huge improvement just to pull them out a couple feet and put the center on a stand in front of the TV. You really have to have a center channel to anchor the dialog for anyone not sitting in the sweet spot.
I needed a new 2 channel system last fall, but thought lets see how I could combine it with a HT set-up. I ended up with an Antheum AVM2 preamp driving Paradigm referance active 40s for mains, center, bipolar surrounds and Servo 15 sub. Everything is connected with XLR balanced lines. I could not be happier with it for both HT and 2 channel sound. The AVM2 even lets you create different enviroments if you like: theater, club, church, hall, statium, etc. or none.
Another thumbs-up for HT. I have both a two channel (~40k retail) and HT system (~20k retail) sharing a dedicated room. The HT system can be broken down and neatly stowed in about 15 minutes, leaving my main two channel speakers with space to breath. I'm using a front projection system, so no problem with a large direct view or RPTV between the speakers. This year I separated my 2 in 1 system based on a Meridian 561 pre/pro. Some of the rationale behind this was to keep the HT system balanced (same cables, speakers, amplification, etc.), and to allow focused upgrades to the two channel system. I derive a lot of pleasure from both systems, but find that the HT system attracts greater participation from both family, and friends. Music reproduction w/my HT system is nothing to scoff at, and I can easily see why many folks choose to stop here.
I have the blessing and curse of two decent size living rooms, one each for theater and two channel. So, having put together the two channel first, I listen continuously to recorded music. I simply never enjoy the level of the sound in the theater(9 seats). I have improved the sound in the HT, but it is secondary to the video, but I simply don't watch more than a few hours of tv/movies weekly. Don't have the time and won't divert my attention from the extroidinary fascination I have for classical music.

Of course, when I'm watching in the theater, I forget all about my BS and love what I'm watching. Someone put it like, "when you see the t..'s you don't think about the music". I think he got it right!

Bill E.
Like others here, I have two separate systems since I have two separate living areas. The HT has a modified Pioneer DVD, Lexicon, Sunfire and Paradigm Reference (v2) speakers. The main system is for stereo only and is a real joy since I upgraded to the Sierra Denali amps. When I watch movies, the sound is important and fun. When I listen to the stereo, the sound is critical and hits a much deeper emotional center. There is no visual distraction.

Perhaps the reason some people hate HT is because so many folks spend a lot of money and then "settle" for a less fulfilling (IMHO) audio experience. But they think they have it all. I dunno. On the other hand, few of these HT fans would probably have sprung for a decent stereo only system. I'm glad I didn't start with HT. I might not have gone further.

Cheers. Guenther (silent first e)
OK Hifiho, I gotta see these pictures of the NHT 2.5s rear wall-mounted. Sounds kooky and kool.
Inscrutable: Of course. What was I thinking (or not thinking).
Inscrutable, surely you CAN have them spread out too much. Like i said, a lot of how they need to be set-up has to do with the size of the speakers, their dispersion pattern and the listening distance. It's the same thing that we run into for 2 channel use. You have to adjust them according to each individual situation design and the room acoustics.

As to having a center to anchor the dialogue for those not sitting in the sweetspot, that comes back to room dimensions and speaker dispersion. If the room is narrow and the speakers have wide dispersion, you would run into a problem with "overlap" between the three channels. Not only does this hurt overall performance, but the imaging is now blurred and channel seperation less distinct.

In a situation like that ( narrow room ), i would probably forego a center and just use good sized mains. One could even have the tv audio turned on at low level just to center the soundstage somewhat while the mains would do the majority of volume and side to side effects. Like anything else, it's a balancing act. Sean
Mid-fi HT sound quality is below hi-end! I mistakenly thought good HT also meant good music. After years of suffering through "bad" music on my Denon AVR 5600, Def Tech BP 2000, and SONY DVD C3000, I added the Classe 150 integrated amp and ARCAM 92 CD to run my Def Tech's and the sound improvement was astounding! Furthermore, I pre-amped out from the Denon to the Classe for the front left & right HT channels and got that same improved sound quality for my HT. Before the Classe/ARCAM I was ready to ax my Def Techs but now I love the newly configured HT/music sound too much. Lesson? If you love music, using mid fi HT gear will not be satisfying so that's why I'm "down" on HT.
I did'nt read all these responses, but has anyone realized that HT has opened the eyes of many WHO WOULD HAVE NEVER FOUND 2CH NIRVANA AT ALL? I feel that HT has helped two channel audio, not kill it. In this post I'm reading about some really impressive home theaters that; reguardless of what some 2ch "only" people say, are capable of producing some wonderful 2ch music. No,.. you will not have "the best" 2ch reproduction with a TV and some componets between your main speakers, but if you pull the mains forward a bit you will have better sound than 99% of the listener out there today. This is a great hobby, and I say the more use you can get out of your hi-end componets, the better!

Mhubbard, what you're saying applies to me. I plunged into the world of 2-channel in search of a musical experience my HT couldn't provide.
Jwong, You can still get excellent 5 channel sound quality from the same companies that make your 2 channel gear. It is a fact that Classe takes as much care with the two channel analogue sections of their 5 channel gear as in their dedicated 2 channel products. Congratulations on getting good results from your new gear, but don't blame the Denon, it's a decent product, it just wasn't high end enough for you, and don't forget your listening skills and taste are always evolving.
I don't hate HT I find it INCREADABLY expesive for premium equipment, requires more space than I have available and will require massive accoustic considerations (usually room reconstuction) and logistic considerations. Most new movies are crap and the sound tracks are even worse (car crashes, squealing tires, and gun shots that can not be reproduced realistically). Current American video standards are a joke when compared with motion picture film and even my high quality projection TV (52") pales with the size an scope of a theater screen. I find that I can listen to a CD or a vinyl album dozens of times and still be enthralled but after a few times of viewing, a movie becomes BORING. I have broken up a decent mid-fi surround-sound system and put the money into hi-end two channel which also sounds much better as a stereo sound system for movies.
Don't HATE it but don't get too obsessed about as much as two channel sound. I did get High end units for HT Set-up. Classe SSP-50, Dunlavy II's for rear and I for Center (mains are Dunlavy V'S), Classe CAV-150 amp driving only center channel, Rears are, now, driven by an extra CLASSE ca-400 I just aquired ( refer 'monoblocks did not work'post).Pioneer Elite 50 16:9 tv.

2 channel configuration I listen for 10-12 hrs week. HT 2 hrs a week, may be.

Don't hate it but Not exactly Crazy about it.
It's pretty much all been said in the above posts. Nice post Kelly, I agree. But I take Swampwalker's approach to the issue. I enjoy TV movies and have a sort of minimalist and half-assed HT set up in our family room. But two channel is where I have chosen to put my main efforts-- and bucks.

My wife does not like the noise of exploding bombs, gun shots etc at realistic levels in the family room. And when you set volume for realistic dialog, then explosions are going to be pretty overwhelming-- well to my wife anyway. But my music listening room is sacrosanct. Cheers. Craig.

You can also put my name in the hat as one of those who DON'T hate home theater. Anything contradicting that couldn't be further from the truth. Each system has purpose in my life. My home theater is used to enhance the my enjoyment of movies, concerts (if any are recorded on either DVD or VHS), and sporting events. But it would be the last thing I would use if I want to listen to music. For that, I have a separate high-end, two channel stereo system in another room. It seems that I can get a natural sounding soundstage and image from a two channel system without instruments leaking into the rear channels (as would be the case if I were to listen to music on my home theater system). I also get a better sense of palpability (don't ask me what that is, I don't know what that is exactly. That was just a term I have picked up from the great Sam Tellig of Stereophile a few years ago) when I am listening to music on a two channel stereo system. But now, if I watch a movie and get the soundtrack from my stereo system, then I am going to be missing a lot of what's going on, and I am going to feel isolated from being part of the action, if you know what I am trying to say. Or to put it another way, if you are going to a formal gathering, are you going to drive same Honda Accord or Toyota Camry to this gathering that you drive to work everyday, or are you going to go for something for something such as an Acura RL or a Lexus LS-430 (if you don't rent a limo first off)?? An interesting analogy, but you get my point. Different systems are used for different purposes.

I happen to love MY home theater VERY MUCH, thank you... :)

albert: and i thought i was compulsive! i'd call your system(s) seperate but equal. BTW, wouldn't it take a lot less effort and save more space to have a projector and pull-down screen. ( i suspect that you have thought of or tried this and have rejected it for valid reasons.) good listening AND watching! -kelly
Kelly, Correct about the quality of the pull down screen. The two problems I have concerning it are money and ambient room light. Being a photographer I love natural light. I had a huge hole cut my living room ceiling about ten years ago. It measures about 14 X 18 feet and is topped with multiple clear Plexiglas skylights. The view out to the blue sky and the big trees hanging over it makes working and listening in the room a pleasure.

With the summer daylight this far South, it is not nightfall until after 9:00 PM at night, I have probably outsmarted myself in getting a projector, unless I buy some expensive mechanized light blocking shades.

The family can still watch in this room with the rear projector Pioneer and see the image quite well, even during the day. I had at one time considered having both types of televisions, but there is always something needing my energy and money that keeps me from it.
One point that hasn't been mentioned is the effect of having extra (idle) speakers sitting in the room when trying to enjoy 2-channel sound. I saw a web page once (from a local audio shop) that described the following phenomenon:

Play a 2-channel recording at your standard listening level, and go around to each of your surround speakers and sub. Look at the movement of their cones, or touch the cones and feel the resonance (there will be some). Now, turn on the surrounds and sub only and play them at a volume where their movement/resonance levels match those that you observed in the 2-channel mode. That is the approximately the level of "noise" your extra speakers are creating. Just as rooms have resonances that degrade sound, extra speakers (DESIGNED to make noise!) merely sitting in the room will have the same effect.

I love my combo HT/Music system, but I also know that the extra speakers and the television that sits in between the L/R speakers (distorting their imaging qualities) come with a price. It's one that I'm willing to live with, and one that I've found to be worth it, but the cost exists nonetheless.
Felthove: This has always been my pet peeve about auditioning speakers in shops (which are full of other speakers). Perhaps some sort of speaker covers for the center and surrounds, might help to clear up this problem.
Hey, Tim. The home theatre is where I get to go crazy, do the research, and buy the gear. The audio system is my husband's realm, though I do get a say in things.
We don't have the best room, but it works. Someday.... yeah, we all say that, eh?
anyway,I have been learning alot and meeting nice people and upgrading little by litte and having some fun and feeling some success. Right now, I am negotiating something with Roger at Innersound on a ribbon center channel that he is working on. We have the ISIS ESL's as the main speakers, so I am excited at the prospect of the ribbon panel. It is the journey that brings me such pleasure.
By the way, I found one of your movies on DVD the other day. The surround sound really added to overall experience.
I'm another one in the home theater/stereo camp. I also don't worry about switching my lights on and off for the ultimate sound. I'm not a tweaker, however I do listen to my speakers in the audiophile approved way with the grills off. However I also have my subwoofer between my front speakers because that is where it sounds best in my room. A compromise to be sure but isn't life full of them. I presently have my front speakers wired into my DD processor but with monster dual RCA plugs at my amp inputs. This way I can disconnect the plugs from the processor for stereo using my AI3 outputs and reconnect them for the Terminator I&II. The best of two worlds and pretty darn separate.
Alright Angela100, cough up the name of the DVD. Let us find out what Tim is made of.
Lots of great thoughts here...I read them all and enjoyed the dialogue. I used to have seperate systems, but a move to smaller digs in Europe forced me to combine them. Now I'm back in the good 'ol USA, but space will continue to constrain me to one system.

I agree heartily that trying to have your cake and eat it too isn't possible...but you can still make inteliigent tradeoffs and achieve both a satisfying HT experience (which I enjoy mostly with my wife and family) and a satisfying musical experience (which I often listen to alone).

I tried to get a thread started a few months back about acoustical treatments to achieve that goal. For example, I tried placing tube traps in front of my monitor during listening, to reduce acoustic reflections from the screen. It seemed to work...I recommend others with "traps" to try the same.

Any other ideas out there?

Get a projector! (not trying to crack wise), I think about a projector as the last step towards a more realistic home theater, getting the TV out of the way should improve the soundstage.
home theater?

I think 5 channel is a bunch of hot air

I have an extensive two channel setup that I use with a Proton 36" tv and dvd and I get excellent results, incredible sound and a moving sense. Why does one need to be tickled behind the ear to make the movie experience real?

I watch alot of music concert DVD's on my 2 channel setup and I am very happy with the sound. I've heard a few of these on 5.1 setups and what a joke. First of all, outside of some movies, the sound isn't recorded via a mic technique that truly captures the recording as 5 distinct channels.
And who would want to be sitting in the middle of a jazz combo when one can be out in front of them?

A recent listen to the Steely Dan Plush DVD, the background singers were sometimes in the center channel, sometimes hard in the back etc, whereas the two channel had them nicely balanced to the left like they were visually. And that's a dvd that was cleverly thought out by Roger Nichols no less!

My listening room is long and narrow 27 by 15 and I have the speakers along the far wall, I suppose for those listening in very deep rooms that the rear channels tend to fill things out and add a sense of depth & support instead of hearing the room reverberations.

Anyway great two channel audio with video seamed in correctly is my preference, and I don't like seeing excellent audio manufacturers and dealers go under while the theatre types are spending gobs of money on clearly poorer sounding setups that wow instead of produce music faithfully.