You are joking, right? Do you know how many vinyl heads are in this forum?
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What do you THINK you're going to do with all those CDs? You're going to listen to them. And they're two-channel. As long as you listen to them, two-channel will live.
You also seem to be worried that in a couple of years, the only things you'll be able to buy will be multichannel something-or-others. But multichannel something-or-others will always be able to play two-channel, for all those boom boxes and Walkmen and such, so you're not going to be shut out of new music. And the odds are CDs will continue to be the primary music medium for years to come. Stop fretting.
If you're in this hobby for the music you are not wasting your time. That you even ask the question makes me wonder. I have no doubt that I will be still listening to vinyl years from now not to mention CDs. It's the music that matters for this audiophile. Generally speaking those who are buying surround sound systems are into videos, not music. Unfortunately it is already true that 2-channel is pretty much dead, but I'm guessing there will always be a small group of music lovers who continue to keep it alive, albeit on a small scale. You can expect a lot of the small companies to go out of business in the near future though. Of course the current state of our economy isn't helping matters much. Lot of great deals on Audiogon right now if you've got the cash.
It's all about the sound, Right? Tell me,,, if it sounds proper to you, if it sounds like the performance is live in your room, if the sounds inspires you fills you with emotion, carries you away to a distant place, gives you that out of body experience... If it does that,,, does it matter if it's coming from one channel or 15 channels. Believe me,, take a trip over to some of these "2 channel" systems that some of these A'gon members have setup. Sit in the chair in front of the TWO speakers in a simple minimalist 2 ch set up with only a couple of watts and only a couple of components. Now go back to your modern big chain electronic store who carries all the latest greatest most up to date digital processing and 7 speakers and you ask to hear the VERY BEST they have to offer in MULTI CHANNEL SOUND and listen,,, than come back here and tell us all which sound most impressed you, which system was the better sounding musical ART FORM. Tell us all if you think 2 channel will ever die to the true music lover. You can come over to my place and have a listen to 2 speakers. I will turn the lights off to where it is pitch black and put on the music and send you off and ask you to find the speakers. I guarentee you that you will be walking into walls and not the speakers. If it sounds good does it matter how many speakers are needed to produce the good sound. It's all about the sound,,,, NOT THE EQUIPMENT and HOW MANY SPEAKERS OR CHANNELS it takes to fill a room full of beautiful music. It's the sound. A properly setup high quality 2 channel system is all that is needed to fill a room with the best sound you ever heard. It's all marketing to get the consumer to keep spending money. We put a man on the moon over 30yrs ago and we have had beautiful sounding music for just as long. If you ask me it has gotten worst. I'll stick with 2 speakers thank you,,, it just sounds right to me. I'm happy and I'm sure many other 2 channel system owners are also happy with their 2 speakers. It's all about the sound not the amount of speakers it takes to create that sound. Anyway I like my music in front of me the way it was originally created. When I go to a concert the players are on a stage in front of me,,, they aren't hiding in all different cornors of the concert hall. It's all marketing to get your money. Even when listening to a multi channel sound track from a DVD movie,,, where does the music come from,,,, it comes from your front speakers doesn't it???? A little food for thought... Listen for your self. 2 channel is FAR FAR from being dead and will never die as I see it... go listen to some of these 2 channel systems that these A'gon members own. It will Knock your socks off and make the hair stand up on your arms & neck, give you goose bumps. That sounds good enough for me,, I don't see why it shouldn't sound good enough to you. Do not be afraid to put your money into STEREO if you love music.
OUCH!! This hobby isn't cheap. I just thought I would ask cuz I was wondering, but you guys have put me in my place. Funny thing is that I remember a friend of mine back in high school that spent the entire salary he made during summer vacation to put in that high dollar 8 track system into his car. Well, do I say more?
2 Channel is still the best bang for the buck, hands down. multichannel music doesn't get interesting unless you have some serious bucks (even to audiogoners) to lay down. And even then your selection of great multichannel music is very small. I'd stick with 2CH for music for that reason alone!
You need to ask yourself, and the net effect of adding addition channels negate the fact of using lesser (SQ-wise) electronics? (Given the same buget for 2CH and MCH). I'd think you'd have to be **pretty far** up the diminishing curve for that to happen (even by audiogon standards). Something to think about....
Mono is still king! As you can see the vast majority of "audiophiles" is adamant about two-channel reproduction. Quite understandable that they are in a quandary when faced with more than two channels. On the one hand, when, for example, your beliefs hold that every last inch of wire will have a dramatic effect on the sound to the extent that you are more than willing to spend $3000.00 or more on a metre of wire, how can you introduce more channels requiring all those goodies and the extra expenditure? On the other hand, you can't expect true believers in the occult side of audio to just give up those beliefs and lower their standards. The question is not whether two-channel is dead, but whether multi-channel SACD can make it. The HT folks don't give a fiddler's fart about ultimate quality of music reproduction and the "true audiophile" is seriously stuck in two-channel with strong gust towards vinyl playback. Who is the long time audio journalist in the multi-channel corner and getting so much flack for it? I agree with him. The future of music reproduction in the home is multi-channel, but the reactionary audiophile core will stick to its guns and the HT folks can't be bothered. Does not bode well.
IMHO: 5.1+ is best suited for movie entertainment. I began upgrding my system over four years ago and went into HT. I found the 5.1 special effects from the satellite or DVD entertaining to some degree. However, I also found myself listening to music in the two channel mode. HT/surround sound in music is not conducive to the live music experience, unless you're sitting in the middle of the stage with the musicians all around you. I found it distracting and unrealistic. Sold all the HT gear, and am happily ever after, a digital and analogue two channel aficionado.
I bought an expensive processor and a 5 channel amp. Only use the processor for movies, and only use the front channels of the amp most of the time. Since upgrading my vinyl rig, I can say that not only is 2 channel NOT dead, analogue and vinyl played on a properly set up system beats 2 channel digital (even SACD), or multichannel anything all to heck every time! Don't get me wrong: I like 5.1 soundtracks on movies through my system as well. Special effects from behind and to the sides are cool, as is the LFE channel through a sub. But any multichannel music I've heard, not only at home, but on other's megabuck setups just doesn't sound natural or "right". There is something pure and palpable about 2 channel. I am enjoying SACD more, but my SACD is all 2 channel as well. My Sony NS500V is handy as it does Redbook/SACD/DVD. I can use it for movies, and get a taste of new formats without spending a fortune.
I'd rather spend my money on LP's. Just my 2 cents... YMMV
I would just like to say: ( For a bunch of smart guy's, you guy's have no idea what your talking about.) Some of the info. that comes off this site is total shit, grow a brain. How in the heck could two speakers out do 5-7 speakers if they were set up right? If the recording has sounds that come out of the wrong speakers,don't blame it on multichannel,blame it on the recording. I can only say that it's a good thing you guy's are so in to two channel because I can tell that some of you are in over your head with that.