Multi channel much better than stereo?

If done correctly (ie. using the right pre-amp, speakers ),properly set up, multi channel sound completely blows away any stereo sound out there. Anyone that has "Good" audio experience would have to agree. If you don't agree...well, YOUR WRONG. It's ok to be wrong, alot of people "Think" they have alot of audio experience, but they really don't. Any comments ?
Maybe what you say is right maybe it's not but just due to economics stereo makes sense to most of us. That is to say a $50,000 stereo will in most cases sound better then a $50,000 multi channel set up, there is just a lot less equipment needed, IMO:>)Tim
Tireguy, looks like Urban is board and looking for a fight. I'm not playing with him. Apparently he is right cause he says so, Very strongly. Okay Urban YOUR THE MASTER.
Urban,Your in the wrong forum.Your so smart, you can,t read.
Multimedia forum is on the other post.
Tireguy, I agree with you. I'll hate myself in the morning. I have a seperate mid-fi video system in my family room and the DTS DVD of the Eagles Hell Freezes Over concert sound pretty dam good.

I for one am not looking forward to the possibility of adding four more channels. Most of have saved for years to buy our gear. Then theirs the over 1000, 2 channels CD's I have collected. Many of those replacing LP's the X took with her. I am one of those people who got into HiFi when Compact Disc became popular and now it's my turn to feel like the Lp folks felt when CD's started to replace LP's in the stores. The delivery may change but the reason still the same---> MUSIC! Oh well such is life in front of the speakers..
Regardless of cost, I've been incredibly disappointed in multichannel sound. The systems and setups I've heard sound artificial, in terms of where the sound is coming from. I don agree that Hell Freezes Over does sound very good, but for's 2 channel until multichannel really sounds better.
I heard DVD at a dealer who was excited about it. Nice system, room, etc. I found the rear channels to be annoying, reminding me of the car audio ploy of "rear fill" to sell you to two speakers for the rear deck. I later read and article, probably stereophile, describing multichannel as a sledgehammer approach to solve the problem of creating a live space. I couldn't agree more. HiFi loses some aspects that make audio interesting when 5.1 is used, and a good room creates better space than more speakers do. At concerts, how often have you seen speakers at the back of the venue?
Multichannel has its' place, I admit it makes movie watching more enjoyable. But it is not for serious listening. I recently purchased a used Proceed PAV because I thought it handled stereo much better then even the top current preamp/processors. Also I bought separate amps for stereo listening and home theater. For serious listening I use the stereo bypass on the PAV and a Classe CA-200. When I play movies I can just turn on a Classe CAV-75 in bridged mode for the 3 surround channels. I have not been able to find a multi channel amp that sounds as good as a 2 channel stereo amp, that is why I configure it this way. I know I'm probably wrong URBAN, but I'm used to being wrong. You see I've been married for a long time.
Hello Urban:

You are entitled to your opinion however I would respectfully disagree. When you go to hear an orchestra, are the musicians sitting behind you? I thought not. Ah, you say that 5 speakers recreate the ambience of the hall! Ok, my 2 channel system will do the same, however I suspect it's at a much greater level than yours.

As to HT, I enjoy immensely the effect of 5.1 surround, movies that make proper use of the technology are wonderful.
My HT system uses Infinity RS1's as mains, biamped with stout Levinson amps, and does well at two-channel as well.
However it does not have the same palpability and "you are there" sound of the dedicated two channel system I have using tube cd and preamp, into solid state 33H reference monos.
Urban's respnse:
Ok now we are getting somewhere,thanks for all of good posts. Tireguy I'm sorry about the Adcom stuff (Mis-read an earlier set of posts ) I'm not a jerk who always thinks I'm right. I wanted to make a powerful statement "Your wrong" to get people writing. I would just like the "Stereo only" folks out there to consider this listening approach to music. Truth be told, right now I like my system better in stereo mode because we just moved and I have yet to build my new theater/sound room. (My HT is temporarily set up) My system before I ripped it all apart was, and will be set up soon again I hope, Martin Logans all around, Proceed AVP, Proceed amps, and runco projection. Set in a large room (18'X25') Now gentlemen hear me out, if you try to do both a HT & Audio room, in order to get the HT side to sound right you need to move the front speakers further apart. (About 10' for my system) Once you do this, stereo sound will not image correctly, you must then use the excellent processing ablities of today's newer pre-amps to compensate. Once you switch to the stereo surround mode, the center channel helps to lock down your sound stage, plus with good surrounds ( You should never know they are on while listening to music, so those of you who say the rear channels were annoying were not listening to a properly set up system.) they should add just enough to make the room "Come alive" which to me is exciting, and to all those I've demo the sytem for. If you are trying to listen to a multichannel disc/dvd on a system set up for stereo, of course it will sound terrible. If some of you "Stereo folks" ( I don't mean that badly either ) put as much energy into setting up a multi-channel system as you do with stereo, I think you would be shocked with your results and might just come to the same conclusions I have and will no longer be "Missing out". Now with that said, any further comments?
Hi Urban; after starting such a potentially inflammatory thread (actually two threads), I would think you should at least have the courtesy to follow it with an "IMO" (In My Opinion). But as is, you've sort of set yourself up as the "ultimate authority" on the subject(s), IMHO. That said, I agree with those who've said that multi-channel music does not sound "natural" to them for music. But I feel no need to dwell on this. Further, I'm sure that you're not the only person who has set up "good" stereo or HT systems-- that implication would be insulting to many two channel audiophiles as well as HT enthusiasts, IMO:>) Cheers. Craig.
as a supplement to my 2-channel rig, (completely out of the 2-channel signal-path when not in use, & when it *is* in use), i have set-up in my system an audio-only surround-sound processor - the jvc xpa-1010 digital acoustic processor. this unit has in it 20 programs made from acoustically mapping 20 different venues - concert halls, theatres, clubs, churches, outdoor venues. basically, what was done was to point 4 microfones outwards toward the corners, from a centrally-located position in the venue being mapped. so, what's being played-back is the ambient hall info from the particular venue that was being mapped. there are a multitude of adyustments for reverb, delay, the size of the room the system is set-up in, etc. while initial set-up is time-consuming, once it's done, there's not much fiddling inwolwed, except to switch from one venue to another.

imo, this is the *only* effective type of surround set-up for music. everything else is theatrics, w/no meaningful *real* soundstage info. but, i must say, it is now rarely activated, since i've gotten an excellent tubed preamp into my system - plenty of soundstage/hall info yust running the two main channels! ;~) it is nice for some recordings, like live-recordings, & when recordings were made in a real venue, as opposed to a studio. it is also nice, sometimes, for some less-than optimal fm radio broadcasts.

one persons' opinion, doug s.

I believe the intent of this post was to cause trouble, but I do think the multi-channel if handled well could be of interest. The SACD format has already got some labels recording in six channel DSD. If the SACD format continues, I believe we will begin to see audiophile grade "SOUND" systems on the market. I think video is a whole different application and personally interests me little. The idea of surround has always intrigued me since Quadraphonic systems of the 70's but I never personally pursue it. The six channel if recorded well and run through gear of the ilk that we all use is interesting. The cost of three more speakers, a sub-woofer and added amps would make it difficult for me to ever achieve a competitive system to my two channel, and that I believe will be the ultimate downfall in audio. Thus the market is in video/ multi-media and so I must agree with Stevens post, your on the wrong forum, please see Multi-media. J.D.
Urban, I like you are running Martin Logans for HT(I love Ht) but I also love Music. It took me a while to figure this out and with alot of help I got the best of both worlds. For HT I use my Lexicon DC-1. I also auditioned a BAT 3i tube preamp with my BAT vk200 and I must say my 2channel imo is out of this world, and much better than the surround mode. I believe my ht is setup properly cause when watching the Cell my wife and I had to keep pausing it cause we though someone was in the house. Watching U571 we thought are ht room turned in to a sub and the walls were falling in, kept looking over are heads for water leaks. On the patriot we almost were hit by bullets and cannon balls. So I am just a bit lost with where you were going with it. Not to affend you in anyway and I sincerely mean it, but you may want to look at upgrading your 2ch. Believe me, your ml can do better than what there doing now. Not to affend your amp but ML's like amps that double down to 2ohms. And balanced works great on them. IMHO
Urban's response:
Cause trouble ? Start fights ? Inflammatory ? Did I miss anything ? Just trying to learn here; after all, the only way to truly learn is to question "Smart people" that disaggree with you. Hence, my reasoning for being in the audio forum. An interesting challenge, I just thought of, maybe I'll write to an audio/video magazine and pose this idea. Set up two rooms, one state of the art Reference 2 ch system in one, and have another identical room play the same music on a reference multi-ch system. (Of course use same type of componets) Run 100 people through and find out which system they like best. My money would be on the multi-ch. system. It would be interesting. I know what the "Stereo only" folks would say if more people chose the multi, they would say, yah...the people they used, must have been idiots, they don't have the precise technical ears we do, they don't know how a real system should sound. Alright....alright I know I should not have said that !!! To me part of the fun of this hobby is to see what kind of "Wows" for reactions I get when demoing to others. (I said Part of the fun) Some of the best 2 ch. systems I've heard, which were, I'm sure technically correct, and yet boring. Ok I'll say it, because some of you say I should, IMO.
Writing "IMO" is kinda of redundent, isn't it ? Who else's opinion could it be ?
Comments ? Questions ? Criticisms ?
At this point I feel it is apperant that nothing anyone says will be taken to heart by 'urban', IMO. And feel continuing this thread would be a waste of everyones time, IMO. So I encourage no one else humor this clown, IMO.
urban, yer idea of having two separate systems has too many wariables as presented, to be able to draw any conclusions.

1st of all, what exactly do ya mean by "multi-channel"? a h-t set-up is vastly different than one designed for audio, w/ambient-room info as the only program material used for the *other* channels. and, afaik, the audio unit i have is s.o.t.a. for that type of multi-channel audio-only processing, & it's now almost 10-year-old technology. like it or not, (& i happen *not* to like it), audio-surround has wirtually disappeared from the market-place - anyone know anything different? that said, i'm conwinced that multi-channel optimized for audio will absolutely crush multi-channel optimized for h-t, even tho the h-t processing technology is current technology. i'm talking of listening to *music*, of course.

whether or not audio-designed multi-channel will sound better than 2-channel is wery dependent on the music chosen, imho. for example, my re-mastered winyl copy of little feat's live *waitin' for columbus* sounds great w/my surround-processor engaged, set to "outdoor pawillion". but, patricia barbour's *cafe blue* sounds much better w/the processing off then when set to "yazz club" on the processor. to try & cross-compare, little feat sounds better w/*no* processing than patricia barbour sounds *with* processing. then again, my room, at ~25x38, is *great* for 2-channel; smaller rooms wood prolly benefit more from multi-channel ambient processing...

bottom line for me - if i had to choose between *always* using my processor, or *never* using it, it'd yust have to go away! ;~) as far as h-t surround goes, well, it's not an issue for me, as i don't like watching movies. but there's *no way* i'd *ever* run 2-channel audio thru a multi-channel h-t set-up - i'd either have 2 separate systems, or run my h-t processor thru a bypass loop now so commonly awailable on top-line 2-channel preamps. (gee, if audio is so good thru multi-channel h-t, i wonder why these by-pass loops are becoming so popular on all these audiophile preamps?!?) ;~)

regards, doug

Actually, Urban may be onto something, though it's going to work against him in a way. In my circle of friends there are those who appreciate my two-channel system and others that don't get it. These exist in varying shades of gray. On one end is the guy who claims to only hear sound coming out of the speakers. He perceives no sound stage, no positioning of performers, no layers, etc. That he lost a portion of his hearing in one ear in an industrial accident is part of the problem. Another, more learned friend, and the one who appreciates the system does almost as much as myself has a hypotheis on this phenomenon. He has suggested that some people simply don't have the capacity to process data from two sources and put it back together to create a whole. Logically this makes sense and seemed pertinent given the nature of this discussion.
Sedond and fpeel have a valid point. And Urban also with the IMO remark(he is right, cause I'm writting this so it is my IMO). You can have your cake and eat it to. By setting up your ht to be 2channel, hence 2 system, being the reason for the by-pass loops that doug mentioned. Not to offend you Urban(which I don't need to say, because my remark may have that affect as offending you but hopeful not; like you said were hear to learn from each other). The ht processor will give you great ht enjoyment and okay music, but by using a preamp with a by-pass loop you get 2 systems in one. A good preamp solid or tube(I prefer tube) gives you great 2ch audio. You get depth, soundstage, clean, clear, dimentional music that a ht processor just can't do. I don't think they make a ht processor that can bring 2ch alive, like the musicans are right in the room with you. A good 2ch and I will say it; preamp tube will just blow the hole multi away. You just have to find one that gives surenegy to those speakers. And the right amp to match with the pre. So the price of a good pre will acomplish this. In 2ch, cause the system is so well balanced, room (which you will be having soon; you said you were building one) room very important and much over looked. Give the speakers room to breath(nothing behind them, check out the website for room setup. With all this setup correctly you 2ch should sound like its playing in surround. So with that said, let 2ch pre's and ht processors do what they are ment to do. If your 2ch pre doesn't do better than your ht proc, than you need to search for that magical pre that will. Good luck Pete
Pcc question? I don't understand, why do I need another pre-amp ? I have read so many reviews that stated, refering to my AVP, that in order to get a better pre-amp for "Stereo" I would need to spend upwards of $15,000. That was the main reason for purchasing the AVP. Maybe I am mis-understanding. Today I sat down for some critical listening, trying to see your point of views, I could never keep track of whether or not I was in 2ch or 5 ch. In two ch. you swear the rears and center are on. If you separate those front speakers by more than 6' it sounds just alittle better in 5 ch. (I always keep the speakers away from back wall, critical with ML's and most speakers.) Listened to Roy Orbison today and could help but thinking wow his new DVD would make all the "Stereo folks" go crazy. The sound on this DVD is astounding !!! I did not feel like I was in the audience, I felt like I was on stage !!! Un-believable !!! I sure wish the non-believers could hear what I'm hearing.
Urban your killing me. First of all your not playing in the band, so get the hell off the stage and have a seat with the rest of us in the audience. Stop believing what you read. That's how I learned for myself. For example there's a place I went to that carries all Martin Logan speaker and yes they even have the statements there. So I go to this place thinking hell these guys got to have the right equipement here for the Martin's (they did carry every speaker of Martin's). But when I listened I was very disappointed. My soga continued, cause I was on a quest to make the martins do what I knew they could do. And for me it was bat gear. Now you can sit in your room and be convinced that you've reached the limit of your system, which is a good idea and less expensive. Or when you get bored you can go out and auditions some stuff at home. Reviews are just a guideline, but the true test is your own ears.
Explain in alittle more detail your system for me, Id be real interested to hear what you have done. I know it is impossible to reach my limit because there isn't one. One of the big improvements I can make is in building the right room. I have already built one room, so I have learned some things. My last room was pretty good but it had "room" for improvements. Just so you don't think (As the Tireguy put it) I'm a "clown", my last home theater was used as a "Reference system" for a speaker manufacturer in our area. They would bring over dozens of new speakers so I could evaluate them ( Took lots of measurements)and in some case's help them with the design, wiring etc.,infact; on one occasion I had a well respected audio critic, whom I'm sure you have read much of his stuff in magazines, doing some "On sight" reviews for this speaker company in my theater/audio room. I say this not to brag, but I just don't want you thinking I'm someone with a new $799.00 Yamaha reciever who heard a "Hall/church/jazz club surround" for the 1st time and said, "Hey this is the future of music!!!" One other thing, I do listen to critic's because they do have more experience than me, I have a job/family that have nothing to do with audio, so it is impossible to have heard as much equip. as they have.
Thanks Pcc,
BTW: Tireguy; my system will blow yours so far out of the water, that it would make your head spin!!!! So don't call me a clown !!! The installer, who set up Gov. Tommy Thompsons system said mine was better and the nicest he had seen in this area (State). (Tommy had a nice system $$$$$)
So Tireguy, what experience do you have, who knows, maybe you have enough experience to be able to call me a clown, but you have not proved it here.
Here it is Urban.

Lexicon DC-1
Bat vk200
Martin Logan Aerius i
Interconnect RCA to Bal analyst plus(dc1 to vk200)
NHT sw2pi sub(works great on music and ht, but always
looking for better/thinking of going with 2
vmps or 2 genesis 928)
Martin Logan Cinema center
Pioneer elite DV F07
B&K amp for rear and center channels
All transparent cables thru out/yes aerius biwired

I've listened to the system in surround with the hell freezes over dvd and also in 2 channel. yes the surround sounds great, but the 2 channel kills it. I will be adding a Bat vk30 pre amp (tube). I have auditioned the bat 3i preamp(tubed) at home in the system listed above and I'm here to say that it smokes the surround and the 2 channel I get from the DC-1. The bat pre's have a by-pass loop so I can use the dc-1 for ht and the bat pre for 2 ch... But I know you like this word "Imo", I think the bat combo on the Martins is a perfect balance and creates the surenergy I've been looking for........................ So try some of these 2ch combo's and don't forget cables also play a role in the whole mess of things....
Thanks Pcc,
We do have many things in common when it comes to the front end of a system. I too believe, one of the best stereo's I put together was bi-wiring the Aerius with tube amps. Infact, I had Quest's (Fronts) Logos, Aerius (Surrounds) with the Quest's bi-amped and I've sold my Quests in favor of the Aerius. The Aerius presented a more realistic sound stage, but I think room dimensions and treatments can make the difference as to which way to go. (quest vs aerius) Currently my plan is to use Aerius i bi-amped for front and another set of aerius for the rear, Logos for center, using 2 sunfire mk2's for bass, plus bass shakers in the furniture (I can turn those on when it's late at night so I don't wake others.) More Later, I'm at work.
If you got an extra $1,000 dollars lying around, putting a set of (Used of course) Aerius in the back will really improve an audio sound stage in 5.1 ch. Because I'm still in transition with my system I'm not using ML's in the rear right now and hence would rather listen to just stereo on 2 ch audio. I have yet to have one person say they prefer 2 ch. over 5.1 ch when using ML's all around, it not only sounds better but looks impressive as well. Some stuff that is recorded in 5.1 is done so poorly that I would agree stereo is better, but some of the newer stuff was recorded properly, and stages beautifully. Roy Orbison is not recorded that way, but still is fun. On that recording they put a different instrument in every speaker, and it is a favorite buy far from guest's in our house.
Heh Urban were not in grade school any more and I will not have a pissing contest with you. I have never flaunted how superior my system is, because I have heard better, oh yeah I have heard a better sounding system then my own. Have you? or is your 5.whatever system the *BEST* out there. Now in refrence to me calling you a clown, look at your earlier posts they had no support to what you said in your original post. In case you forgot a clown is one who makes jokes and I took both of your threads as jokes hence you are a clown. But I must admit that your most recent set of posts with Pcc have taken structure and have some basis for what you are saying, why did it take you a few days to become civilized or are you still in grade school? As I said in an earlier post I obviously don't have the kinda money that you do so I make due with what I have. Keep it clean and going in the direction it's going and I'll give my .02 other wise I would appreciate you not making assumptions about who I am with out the facts, Thank You.
Your absolutely right Tireguy, sorry.
Urban I will be adding the ML CLS to my collection, My Aerius 's will have a new home, to the rear channels and my paradigms will vacate the rear and go to the sides, until I purchase the scripts for the sides. going for the 7.1 surround. I understand what your saying with martins all around, and I don't disagree, I sure they sound great. But believe me when I tell you, the 2channel sound with martin logans will surpass the 5.1 setup with the correct 2ch pre and amp combo. Hell I do love my Martins in surround mode, but since listening to the bat pre/bat amp in 2ch on the aerius i, I reached a new level in 2ch which in my IMO surpass the 5.1 setup. My wife approved of me spending the extra $2,000 to get the pre, so she agreed which is not easy. There are some nice pre's/amps combo's that really can make ML shine in 2ch mode. Good luck. Pete
I have lexicon mc1 and with this and other processors i have owened i have noticed IMHO that they are best used for ht. The lexicon IMHO is the best in HT. There are better prosessors for music but i think music sounds better in 2 ch. even with dvd video music. when i go from multichannel to stereo it sounds more dynamic. Multichannel sounds compressed compared to stereo. I think processors are suited for HT. That why i chose lexicon. Now all i need is a good tube preamp with pass thru to processor to mate with Aloia amp.
What type of music do you listen too, normally. Also I value your oppinion in these matters and would love to hear your system. Just curious, did you audition the Proceed AVP before buying the Lexicon ? I will concede after many more hours of listening that I can't decide what I like better, stereo surround or stereo in my set up right now, but again I'm going by memory because as I have said I don't have ML for surround right now but remember how good it was before. Also, I know what it is I liked about my old system, I sat 12' away from each speaker and I think this is one of the most important aspects to a correctly set up 5.1 system. Most systems (5.1)I have listened to don't have them hooked up this way because of room/show room constraints. Yah I know the processors take this into account when you set your speaker distances, but it is just not the same. I guess what I'm trying to say is the room treatments and dimensions are so often overlooked in this hobby, instead people are spending money on cables and wires, which help don't get me wrong, but do very little in comparison to having spent your time,money and energy in building the right room. Anyway, I too, am planning on the ML cls's bi-amped for the front putting the Aerius's back in the rear.
Thank-you Pete, and everyone for their continued input.
Yes I did hear the proceed and I do not recall much about it. A friend of mine has both a DC-1 and a proceed avp. He said the dc-1 was better for ht and the proceed is better on music. But he said the ultimate was 2 separate systems. Which I'm doing by adding a tube pre amp and using the by-pass loop. For music I listen to everything under the sun, except for country and rap. Sorry abit short tonight, I'm on my way out the door. Urban go out and bring some of that 2ch stuff home to try. You got great speakers. Pete