Five channel has always been tempting, but it might be a bit like finally getting a date with the homecoming queen, just to find out that she looked much better up on stage than from accross the dinner table.
If you check out many of the virtual systems here on Audiogon, the best lean toward 2-channel
Did it myself and haven't looked back since - the power is in the music and that sounds best in 2 channel
If you're "watching" the movie and not just listening to the soundtrack, then 2 channel movies are just as good as surround.
Keep your sub...
As per all the rest -- I am happy with two-channel dvd. BUT, I use full-range bi-amped speakers (get stereo sub) AND speaker positioning has to take into account the screen, as there's no centre speaker (positioning isn't much of a hassle if there's enough room anyway).
Furthermore, for the outlay of 5-6channel HT, one can afford better two-channel equip.
So, until 5+ channels become mandatory, by law or otherwise, we're OK with two...:)
Get rid of the large TV and get a projector, even a cheap projector blows away RPTV and the screen can be fixed wall mounted or retractable. If you've got a large room you can dump the center channel speaker also. Heck, you can dump all the extra speakers and amps and still enjoy a movie every now and then..but get a projector.
I am an avid listener to classical and jazz.Ihave been an addict to audio for close to fifty years.I have two extensive and axpensive 5 channel HT systems.HT is by far superior to two channel for music.However it is very expensive and if you compromise in equipment due to financial constraint stay with two channel.
I am 100% with RAMY
The other day the woofer of one of my surround speakers blew, believe me, something important was missing from even CDs, (I use DPLII always), with stereo it just doesn´t feel like being in the room with the musicians, dull...
Of course the system has to be pretty well matched to make 5.1 worth it, otherwise you better spend your money on a good stereo...
Keep select components from your HT set up, sell the rest and put the money towards your 2 channel system. I did that exact thing a couple years back and could not be happier now, absolutely no desire to go back.
I was tired of trying to keep up with the ever changing surround formats and increasing number of speakers. I kept my receiver, DVD player, 2 bookshelf speakers and sub and moved it to the living room for tv, and movies. It's good enough. I'm getting so much more out of my 2 channel system now than I ever could have with an HT setup.
In my opinion, the few multichannel DVD-A and SACDs I've heard in surround systems (some were rather extravagent) still do not compete with straight 2 channel on a quality system.
Many companies that have, for years, been producing high quality equipment exclusively for 2-channel listening are starting to use their experience in surround products. if you want to keep surround with 2-channel quality (for music I presume) pursue these manufacturers. You don't need to sacrifice one for another. If equipment sounds good in 2-channel and that company also makes surround stuff, it's likely that surround will sound good too.
I dropped 5.1 for 2 ch and have no regrets. Movies still have a dynamic impact as well as pretty good surround effects via soundstage and imaging. I'll probably buy a nice reciever some day for 5.1 and use HT pass through on my preamp.
I dropped 5.1 channel music for 2 channel and have no regrets. I do have a Denon receiver with HT capability for when I feel like playing that occasional movie though. My tube preamp has a unity gain input, so I can run the preamp FR and FL outputs from the Denon receiver through my stereo tube preamp and use my stereo speakers as mains. The Denon receiver only drives the center and surrounds so I only need one good stereo amp. I have 95% of my money into my 2 channel system, which is 90% of my listening. Sell the multi-channel amps and pre/pros, get a decent HT receiver with preamp outs and a stereo preamp with HT throughput and your set for the best of both worlds.
I have also dropped 5-channel for a top of the line 2-channel system. I have since purchased another 5-channel ssytem but it is nothing special. You don't need exceptional quality to hear explosions and people yelling. 2-channel however is another story. Dump the HT or get a cheap system, you will not be sorry.
I love my two channel system, but when I watch movies, I couldn't imagine not having 5.1. The sound is a big part of the movie experience. Fortunately, I've got two seperate systems in adjoining rooms. I don't know what I would do if not for that. I'd have trouble doing without 5.1.
Its expensive to get into multichannel audio and even more difficult to properly balance and dial in . The rewards however are stunning and before you throw the baby out go hear it done properly . Especially at this evolutionary time in our field with the progress being made with the new formats. One common mistake is in the calibration process whereby proper balance is not created. Sound effects from the rear should seamlessly blend if the encoding was created skillfully . Another issue is the delay function. If the mains and surrounds are not equidistant from the center image listening position , perfect delay calibration can make a big difference in the overall balance that can dramatically affect multichannel music and your perception of its effectiveness . Close timbre matching , integration of the subs and room acoustical control are all also critical as is the quality of your gear , epecially the processor. . This is just a few of the daunting tasks that must be controlled to achieve coherency but to me , its well worth it. If I had to make a decision between 2 and multichannel and could put the necessary resorces into doing either CORRECT , I would choose multichannel . But thats just me.
I have a high-end 2 channel system for music upstairs, and a decent 5.1 system for HT downstairs. I have no intention of them meeting one another!
And what an awesome system you do have Dan!! Congrats!
Steve (and all)- Preferred transition path from 2-channel to HT is as simple as LEAVING THE 2-CHANNEL SETUP TOTALLY INTACT, and adding a HT processor, two rear speakers and a stereo amp. The front L and R channels from the processor go to a spare input (HT pass through on most later day preamps) on your 2-channel preamp; the rear channels from the processor go to the additional stero amp which in turn drives the rear speakers. ABSOLUTELY NO COMPRIMISING OF THE 2-CHANNEL SET-UP AND GREAT HT TO BOOT. No center channel necessary; phantom center channel mode in processor performs all duties of center channel speaker (but better). IMHO.