Long Live 2 Channel audio......???

5, 10, or even 20 years from now; Will the 2 Channel audio be around and survive? We music lovers, audiophiles use to say; Never would I merge home theater with my dedicated hi-end just audio system. Is it becuse of space, convenience, dollars, or lack of time to relax and close our self in the room and just listen to music. I have both systems and plan to keep it that way. Home theater is great but still nothing can beat a state of the art 2 channel audio system when you want to enjoy the music.
I'm one of those guys who does HT on a pretty grand scale. Jadis 7 mk4 runs the fronts;Music Ref does the center(bi amped/bi wired) Moscode 600 does the rears. The fronts go thru my CAT 3.close to 50 tubes in all;driving Aerial 10 t's. This in not chopped liver. The sound from the DVD medium is just that good,so the music within the movies is 'that' good. Oh,I do vinyl too.Exposure to the music in films will entice some to become audiophiles,we all started somewhere.I belive the two can coexist.The HT boom has helped the mfg's and the dealers.Out of that total,some will want more/better.We keep seeing questions;how to/ from the people who got in at a reciever level,and wanting to move up to better 2'channel So my opinion says,YES,2 channel WILL still be here. I have no choice on 2 levels :#1: I know how good my 2channel sounds & want the best I have doing my HT #2 I only have one room anyway.
Yes, long live 2 channel audio! It amazes me that some typical "surround-for-music" buffs, or their leader J Gordon Holt, seem to look down on the rest of us music lovers, simply for our enjoyment of the two channel format. Personally, I feel that many staunch advocates of surround music, don't even know how to set up a two channel system in a room properly, in the first place...much less a 5 or more channel one.
Long live what sounds best to you! I've got good equipment for both... for me. Krell and Aerial speakers, incl 10Ts. And I do know how to set up 2 ch! 5 ch is a bitch, and I don't think I will ever have it set up right. Well, maybe after some room treatments I will have it right. I know stereo imaging quite well, but how does that translate into 5 ch? Will I ever know which I prefer for rears, bipole, dipole, or monopole. Lots of variables!
You have to use room treatment to set up 2 channel correctly too, IM strongest O.
I think for folks who are serious movie buffs, 5 or even 6 channels do make watching the more recently made movies a more enjoyable experience. However, for those of us who are die-hard classical music fans, the program materials just are not there. I just may convert my system in the living room (the secondary system) to HT just to make my wife happy. But that system will never be my best system. By the way, I have four stereo systems at my house.
Over the next 5 to 10 years multi-channel will replace stereo as the dominate home sound format. However, stereo will not die out, but not because of a vocal audiophile minority, but due to its continued dominance in car and headphone arena. In much the same way the pop/rock music in stereo is mixed to maintain mono compatibility, future multi-channel sound will have stereo compatibility. While stereo can provide a reasonable fascimilie of a concert performance, multi-channel sound can provide even greater realism. It's important when discussing this topic to differentiate between multi-channel music and HT movie sound. Most future systems will by optimized for HT. My comments about greater realism apply to those multi-channel systems optimized for music.
Right now I believe that 2 Channel is experiencing a rebirth of sorts. Certainley it has never caught on with the true audiophiles,and for good reason.Even the best of multi channel sounds absolutely horrid.Way to much exageration on all ends of the audio spectrum. And lets be further candid,the audiophile and music lover that go to live concerts,know what instruments sound like.And to further illustrate the point we sit in front of the musicians or orchestras and the sound is left to right or right to left and center. Not from the sides the back and what have you,as in HT or multi channel. As for me 2 channel is the only serious consideration for music.
Unless you are hearing an outdoor concert, the majority of sound reaching you is reflected. It's in the reproduction of the reflections comprising room sound where multi-channel has the potential to better stereo. Will this potential be realized? Your guess is as good as mine, but the potential is there.
Onhwy, I disagree, multichannel will never replace 2 channel as the dominant music format IMO. It already would have in the 70's with Quadrophonic if it were going to, but it didn't. The CD format would have been 4 channel if multichannel would have been a big seller then, but it wasn't. 2 channel recordings can have ample out of phase information, so long as there are only 2 or 3 microphones, IMO. You and J Gordon Holt are characters...keep up the fight for multi. Most of the pop mixed stuff is just "look at me, I'm over here...now I'm behind you", etc.
Carl, my real argument for multi-channel's future dominance is not due to any sonic superiority, but due to market forces. Today the vast bulk of consumers are not buying 2 channel systems, instead they are buying multi-channel. Like it or not, HT is the dominant driver of non-portable audio systems. To your point about CDs, a format that didn't have the data storage capabilities to be multi-channel, why do you think the manufacturers are trying to get us (consumers) to migrate to DVD? Don't fool yourself and think superior sound quality is at the top of their list. It's the multi-channel sound and video capabilities. A few maunfacturers will take the time and effort to design into HT components high quality music-only capabilities. Check out what Meridian is doing. Unfortunately, most in most systems the music will only be an afterthough to the multi-channel video. BTW, whether or not musicians and audio engineers ever make realistic use of multi-channel's capabilities is a whole other question.
Yes the vast bulk of "consumers" are buying HT, but they are not buying high-end HT, they are going to Circuit City and Best Buy. If we are going to include the average consumer in the mix, then 2 channel still wins if we include the consumers who buy Boom Boxes Stereo units which sell in the hundreds of millions world wide.
Back when I was sellinng HiFi most came in looking for surround sound. I asked them, have you ever heard a very good two channel system? Most replied no. So I proceeded to show them a highend two channel system. In most cases the customer was blown away! They did'nt know that two channel could sound that good. LONG LIVE TWO CHANNEL!!
While I too would have agreed that multi-channel audio is only for home theater, this is changing. With modern delivery devices such as DVD-A, we are not constrained to the assumption that our only choice is a 5.1 configuration. At the 109th AES convention (Los Angeles September 22-25) we were able to demonstrate a 6.0 (X-Y-Z) configuration that in everyway left the listener with the impression that simple stereo is no longer good enough. I would urge anyone that is interested in the pursuit of a more realistic listening experience to not out of hand discount multi-channel audio. A follow-up report will be available on the Muse Electronics website next week (www.museelectronics.com). The future of high resolution is coming; don't discount it without giving it a listen first. Kevin Halverson
Let me put it this way Kevin. HT or multi channel,what ever one chooses to call it,will not only have to be better than 2 channel,but vastly better in every shape,form,and fashion. Those of us who were around in the mid 70s when the first attempt at multichannel came on,kow first hand of that disaster. Basically Columbia & RCA couldnt agree of decoding to we had SQ4 and CD4. Coupled to that the absolutely horrid products in the market place. I recently auditioned a high end HT unit. Well no sale here the dynamics were extreme and exagerrated,not even close to what music is suppose to sound like.For movies it might be acceptable,though I would not buy it for that use.Having been in ths hobby since 1957 Ive seen damn near ever fad come and go,but 2 channel.I do not forsee the time when 2 channel will not be viable. Just my opinion.
why does imaging and soundstage improve when you close your eyes? could it be that speakers and audio racks don't give you the visual clues that are as much a part of live music as the audio? sure the engineers measure reflected sound, but unless its the antiphonal trumpets from the choir loft in handel's messiah, you're looking front at the orchestra or group. and your speakers are reflecting off the walls just as the live performers are, albeit with a vastly different delay due to room vs. hall size which effects timbre and pitch. now, if the surround folks could come up with that simulation as well as the visual,holograms, maybe?, then surround for music listening might make sense. let me know when the holo-suite is on line, commander laforge.
i don't know *anything* about surround for home theatre - movies don't interest me, so it's not an issue. but, i feel i have the best of both worlds regarding 2-channel & surround-sound for audio. i have a jvc xpa-1010 surround-sound processor, that's fed from a 2nd main out from my preamp, which means it's *completely* out of the loop when not used, & when it *is* used, the two main channels are not mucked-up by it in any way. this is a very nice unit that has 20 mapped venues which have been installed into it (theatres, churchas, clubs, concert halls, etc). the mapping was very well-done, taking the response from the four *corners* of the venue, from the listening position, and basically only that signal is what gets played back thru the 4 channels. there are a multitude of adjustments for room-size, delay, reverb, etc. when used correctly, it can add an amazing sense of being at a venue, w/o overpowering the two main channels or mucking up the main signal - ewe don't even realize it's on, until ewe turn it off. this was a class-a s'phile rated product when in production; their take on it was that it was sonically far superior to anything similar offered, including lexicon, yamaha, etc. i, for one, don't know why this technology didn't prosper - two-channel software is all that's needed, & it doesn't do unrealistic sonic-mess spectaculars that so much typical 4-channel commercial crap does, which is why i think mamy audiophiles have rejected conventional surround-sound. doug
I recently auditioned an amp that took out (DC) one of my speakers. Living in New Zealand means terrible repair services and so I had a long period where one of my systems had just one speaker. I found that concentrating on the music was much less necessary for musical enjoyment, and that I was in fact a far more relaxed listener. Then I realise that the interest in the stereo gave way to musical enjoyment. I went back to stereo when the other speaker arrived back. But I can't help thinking that multi-channel is a trade-off, between spatial reality and musical sound. By "musical sound", I guess I mean my ear-brain did not have to work so hard with a single sound source and so there was much less in the way between me and what the artist had to say.
Listening in mono is a very severe test for a speaker. Stripped on the majority of spatial information leaves the speaker "naked" and its ability to accurately portray the tonal and rhythmic qualities of music are laid bare. When first introduced 2-channel sound was not universally hailed as an advance. Similar arguments to those expressed above were voiced..."it may be good for movies, but". Maybe we should start a BACK TO MONO movement?