Home Theater or stick with 2 channel?

Somebody just gave me a home theater system consisting of an Onkyo TX-SR803 AV Receiver and an Infinity TSS-1100 speaker system. Presently, I use my stereo speakers for TV and movies, but I'm thinking of setting up the home theater and moving my stereo to another room just for music.

Since I'm new to home theater, I'm not sure how it will affect people not in the ideal listening area. In my family room, there is a sofa along a side wall. With the stereo, the sound during movies isn't off that much there but I'm worried it will be with a surround system. Is being outside the "sweet spot" of a surround system more obvious than a 2 channel system? Thanks.

Incorporating my two channel system with HT I lost much of the two channel imaging I worked so hard to get right so I gave up in favor of separate systems.

There is still a sweet spot with HT but it's much more forgiving. I recently upgraded my receiver to a newer 7.1, HDMI 1.3 with the latest codes and room correction and the difference is amazing. My HT area is in an awkward corner and adjusting the simple distance and level settings never came close to what room correction has done.
I think the decision could be easily made based on economics (unless you're 'filthy' rich ;-) Not to oversimplify it, but you could have a great 2ch system and a thrilling separate HT system for far less money than a combined system would cost, if it was all the same quality (as the parts required for just 2ch.)
I built around my 2 ch rig when I went about adding on an HT system. I don't find that either system suffered much if at all as I adjusted the other speakers physically to coorelate to the two ch setup.

I do use only the HT electronics for HT, though. None of my 2 ch audio devices are in play at that time, except some speaker cabling and the main speakers & sub. the pre & amps aren't used then. I am thinking about using the mono blocks though, and relegating the SS amp to the surrounds. But the hooking and unhooking each time has put me off that idea for a while now.

the 'two room' idea is a good one as well. I just feel both can occupy the same space if you want them too, without it being a really big deal or too difficult. It depends on just picky you wanna be I suppose. BTW I use the TX SR 805.
I don't plan on combining any components. I plan on totally replacing my 2 channel system in the family room as long as the surround sound doesn't sound weird to people sitting against the side wall. My wife can't hear the difference in sound quality and I can have the good stuff in a separate room to enjoy in peace. As for being "filthy rich", the HT system, complete with cables and wall mounts, was free. It was never set up and the cables are still in plastic.


Not sure about all AVR's and not sure about your new one but many have an option to switch to 2 channel. In this mode, only the two mains and the sub will operate hence giving you your 2 ch stereo system in the same room and in the same system as your HT system. I have a Rotel AVR and I'm constantly switching back and forth when in music mode !! I believe there is a listening sweet spot in HT systems as is in 2 channel. It may be a bit more forgiving but there is an optimum seating location in a 5.1 or 7.1 HT system. To answer your question, it's probably less obvious when sitting outside the optimum spot when in HT mode watching a movie. Listening to music in surround sound is a different situation. Just my humble opinion.
At least you don't have to decide which speakers to use where if you separate the systems. If the HT sounds good enough, by all means separate the systems. Generally because of the center speaker the sweet spot seems to be bigger in a home theater. When I finally get my man-cave, I'll have to decide which front speakers I will use - either the Maggies or the B&W's. I guess I'll just have to try them. Good luck. Dan
Just a thought here... sitting off center in any regular theater sure isn't as good as being more in the middle. Period. That's simply unavoidable.

Unless other seating arrangements can be made, or perhaps a change o the speaker array can be accomplisjhed, it sure looks like it's one of those, "do the best you can', and be OK with it", sort of things.

BTW... when I had to sitt almost on one wall at the theater I didn't get up and walk out. it was still a good enjoyable event. One can still hear the sound traveling here and there, and the awesome subsonics. I'm thinking it's going to be a fun thing no matter.... just a bit better in a couple spots... so rotate everyone around every other flick. I'm sure you'll find what's best for you and your's.
You need both in different rooms.
A follow up. I set up the home theater and removed my stereo from the family room. Movies, TV, and DVD concerts are much better for everybody no matter where they sit. The CD quality of this equipment is good enough for the family room, and my stereo is archived until my son vacates the bonus room (soon to be listening room). Thanks for all the input.