reluctant about home theater

I'm moving into a new home and starting a new system...........I am an audiophile first and foremost..what I need to know is will a non compromised audio system work well with video or are there different qualities necessary for the best sound from movies etc..i.e. will the sound of a purist audiophile system be optimum for video?
:), Audiophile first and formeost means what? That you like music more than movies?

What is a non-compromised purist audio system in your mind?

You assume that everyone agrees that these purist systems some how manifest themselves as a monolithic device and yet somepeople think you can use a paper cone 10" for a midrange with a 30 watt amplifier while another sees fit to use a 2" diamond midrange and 500 watts to drive the bass in that system. Some use tube amps at 200watt and some at 2watts, some no tubes at all. So why is adding a few speakers suddenly such a terrible idea, there seems to be a great deal of flexibility in what constitutes an audiophile system, more tubes? why not more speakers?.

Movies are surround sound so if your system cannot do surround it is going to be a pretty lame movie system, no?

So what is your expectations and budget, what system did you own before that you feel is beyond the capacity of a Home theater system to surpass? Do the two really have to be mutually exclusive, or can you imagine a Home theater playing music as well as the monolithic "purist" audiophile system you seem to think exists. Maybe the more relevant question, do you wish a HT could be as good on music as a purist audiophile system?

I have to tell you, I don't think a theater and a "purist" music system are all that different, in my house turning on the video is the only way I define the difference. many here of course would disagree with me on what a "surround music system" is capable of but I have yet to chat with anyone here that can even setup their center channel there is a disconnect on what is possible in my mind. So define yourself and we can discuss what is possible. BTW I'm not interested in your "bad" HT experience with sound, one of the easisst things to get in this world is a bad HT demo time and again.
Imo you can't beat 2.0 or 2.1 for music and movies. I did the 6.1 thing and my wife and I use 2.1 for all movies and most music and Direct TV. Once again I learned the hard way.
A lot of people combine the two using the HT pass-through when they want to go the purist 2-channel route. If you use a projection system instead of putting a big TV between the speakers then the imaging shouldn't be compromised.

Other folks have used Home Theater and transitioned to multi-channel surround sound, although I can't say I've heard any of those sound quite as pure as an excellent, dialed-in, 2-channel system. I allow that multi-channel systems with naturalness and transparency might exist, but I haven't heard one at this juncture. (When I use words like "naturalness," and "transparency," realize there are many levels to such adjectives and it's a matter of which particular levels (or degrees of those qualities) one has personally experienced.)
It is possible. Set up the stereo system as you would and only add the necessary speakers for HT. I prefer to use an analog multichannel preamp which accommodates HT but is not a compromise for stereo.

Well said D. edwards. The "I'm an audiophile" crowd has apparently never heard a well set up 5.1 system, and would probably be stunned if they heard a good (or great) concert DVD - "Gee - I never knew it could sound/look like that", but I keep getting reminded as I read these things that it's about the equipment - not the result or the experience.

Desoto - don't do it - keep yourself clean so you won't have to fret about whether you've compromised your principals. And don't pick up some of the astounding 5.1 concert DVD's that come out constantly.

And Hals den, you're right to do what you did. No need to deal in the present. Just think - if you had come into the hobby 50 years ago, you could still be naysaying the use of two speakers in the front.
A couple of things are required: 1. you must have enough room for correct speaker placement...many people do not. 2. You must have enough knowledge to set the system up...many people do not.

As some of the others mentioned above...If you do things correctly you will be a step ahead (not a step behind), you can have your cake, and eat it to.

I don't know guys, I have a decent 5.1 system and I've watched and listened to MANY great 5.1 concerts on it. It still does not have the transparency and purity of either of my other two-channel systems (although if you just listen to the 5.1 by itself without comparing, it sounds quite impressive and decent enough).

What could be different, hmmm, let me think, maybe it's the extra digital processing required for surround sound....

Anyway, here's a challenge for all the multi-channel afficionados. I live in the Tucson area and can get up to Phoenix as well. If anyone thinks they have an exceptional multi-channel set up that competes with an excellent dedicated 2-channel system, well -- I'm all ears...?!

"I don't know guys, I have a decent 5.1 system and I've watched and listened to MANY great 5.1 concerts on it"

I'm slighty confused...are you saying that: those same recordings sound better when played back in two-channel, rather than multichannel on "that" system?

I started out trying to buid a audiophile quality HT system. By that I mean I used the same amps, speaker, cable, etc., that I would use in a two channel system. The only exception being the digital processor which didn't have the by pass option like most do today. IMHO it was exceptional but paled from a strictley music listening perspective. The 5.1 and ADVD's were awsome and I really enjoy watching concerts and music videos. However I ended up building a separate two channel system to enjoy just listening to music (redbook CD's and analog). A lot had to do with having the digital processor in the loop and the rest, room setup wasn't the same because of the TV in the middle and the center speaker not to mention the rear speakers. So I would say that a properly dialed in home theater system with excellent components is certainly capable of producing audiophile quality sound. It just won't give you the holigraphic naturalness of a dialed in two channel system. This is just my opion after having tried it both ways. I must add that I set up a two channel room specifically for listenuing to music, so I am obviously biased. The good news is that I can have my cake and eat it to. My wife can watch movies while I can listen to my jazz collection. Life is GOOD.
I'm an old timer but still have decent audio acuity. I was early to quadraphonic hence began my L.R. H.T. setup w/4 Audio Analyst A-200ax three way speakers. I added a ctr. channel, an HDTV and Pioneer Elite rcvr/
Pioneer Elite DVD Player. I primarily listen to SACDs, DVD Audios and CDs in classical and jazz. Yes, there are "over-boosted" multichannel discs just as there are oppressive sound tracks for "action" movies. In my den I have "Golden Oldie" Bozac B-302Bs, a record player and c.d. player. I can tolerate people who are 2 channel purists but believe that a carefully chosen H.T. system, properly set up, can provide much joy to audiophiles.
WOW!!!! perhaps D_edwards and Snofun3 should be assigned to the remedial reading group...why don't both of you re read my question...the arrogant, smug and judgemental answers both of you have given to a non trick question is both reveal your anger and ignorance to an HONEST question..get off your soapboxes and quit misrepresenting normal questions to fit your sincerest thanks to the rest of you for your well intentioned and hostility free answers.
Plato wrote: "What could be different, hmmm, let me think, maybe it's the extra digital processing required for surround sound...." But there is no additional digital processing required. For DVD-A, there may be the added pass through MLP but that is entirely lossless. For SACD, there is probably less processing than for standard PCM. (Notice, I am not including DD or DTS as they are currently used in this consideration.)

Thus, I believe you are looking for an excuse for a spurious observation. There is simply no reason for multichannel to be any less highly resolving or satisfying than stereo and, in good practice, it is not. It simply has to be done right and, frankly, it will cost more for 5.1 excellent channels than for 2.

I have been struggling with the same questions as Desoto.

I would offer the opinion that a good 2 channel and a good HT system can coexist. At least I hope that's the case since it is what I am in the process of building myself. Since I don't feel wealthy enough to spread my resources over two systems, and since I don't have the room anyway, the practicality of the combination is best for me and perhaps for others.

I think that you should start with a good 2 channel set up, however you define that to be. Perhaps something that you personally think is good would be a good start, rather than what other people say is good. Of course there is lots of good advice available on Audiogon given the breadth of experience of all the members. Once you have your 2 channel in place, you're set for the music side.

The next step is to add the HT. The question now becomes what needs to be added, without detracting from what you have.

I would start by recommending HT bypass. That way you can preserve your 2 channel set-up's qualities. You're not degrading it with the extra circuitry needed for multichannel processing when you're in HT mode.

Now, what do you need to add to the 2 channel for a good HT. You already have a good two speaker set up. So that part should work fine for movies too. What else do you need. Well, movies differ in two major respects. First, there is a lot of dialogue, not just music. So you need a good centre channel, since this is where most of the dialogue is likely to come from. Second, you need a big, honking subwoofer to shake the floor when T.Rex goes stomping by, or when Arnold Schwarzenegger is terminating people. Okay, I'm being a bit silly, but you get the point.

Now if you get right down to it, if you have a good two channel system, you don't need even a centre channel or a sub. You can put your processor on phantom centre mode, and let the magic of stereo imaging put the dialogue in the centre. And if you have a really good sub in your two channel set-up, you don't need to add anything there because it will already be capable of producing the effects. Although if you want to try multichannel music, you will have to go for the full 5.1 set-up.

So in conclusion to my admittedly simple post, I submit that you can have both 2 channel and HT in the same system. They are not mutually exclusive. Start with a good 2 channel system. Make sure you have a good centre channel for dialogue for movies, and a good sub for movie effects. When you want to only listen to two channel, use the HT bypass if you feel that the extra HT circuitry from the processor is detracting from the 2 channel.

The sound of a purist audio system, in my opinion, will be great for video too. You just have to add a centre, sub and processor (and surrounds too of course)of a quality level that is commensurate with 2 channel you have.

I don't see 2 channel vs. 5.1 as an "either or" argument like the tubes vs. solid state, or analog versus digital arguments tend to be. The goal of 2 channel and 5.1 is the same, good reproduction. The HT just needs more parts, of which the the good 2 channel will be a component of.

There, I feel better. I've convinced myself that my efforts in building a combo 2 channel and HT system is a good approach after all.

I can only imagine what kind of person would be threatened by a post that simply asks you to be a little clearer about what you mean?

Don't you think your original question needs a little expansion on the details? What is a audiophile purist system to you? What are you looking for when you visualize these words in your mind? And do you believe HT is exclusive of this vision? Would you like your HT to perform as a great music system?

Simple questions, not Dogma, sorry if having to be more specific puts you on the defensive, but I was simply asking why you are seperating the two right from the start?

Right now I can only guess at what your intentions are, so if you want real help get us some real facts about your tastes and budget. It was all I was asking.
I guess I have a little bit of a different experience and advice than some of the above posters. I used to have separate 2-channel and HT systems. The 2-channel system was a "no-compromise" system, with Dynaudio C2's, Atma-Sphere MA2 Mk2.3's monoblocks and MP1 MkIII pre, Sony SCD777ES with Level 5 VSE mod. In all honesty, this would have been an impractical basis for a HT system for the following reasons: too much heat from the MA2's, would have needed more OTL's (read more heat) for system matching for the extra channels, and the C2's aren't a high volume type of speaker.

In my way of thinking, HT speakers need to be able to play loud and handle big swings in dynamic range effortlessly. I use Reimer Tetons as L & R, with a large custom-made Reimer center, and (for now) VMPS 626's for surrounds. Pre/pro is a Proceed AVP2, MC amp is a Plinius Odeon. I still use the modded 777ES for music. Also, while the AVP2 is incredibly good on music on analog bypass (for a pre/pro), I am still looking into a separate high-end 2-channel preamp for use only when listening to music. While the Tetons are not as resolving as the Dynaudio's, they aren't too bad either. Another way to go for mains, and center and surrounds for that matter, would be with Silverline speakers. They make some darn good sounding stuff at real world prices.

Dynaudio Confidence speakers can work in a HT set-up, as I can personally attest. I heard an individual's HT system consisting (speaker-wise) of C4's for L/R, C2's for surrounds, with the matching Confidence center. It was driven with all Sim Audio gear. Unfortunately, his room really sucked; it was way too small for all this gear.

In summary, it still may be a compromise but if done with care, one can come reasonably close in a HT system to an all-out 2-channel system. Also, money doesn't hurt either.

Sorry if I was a little over the top (blame it on the full moon...) but I have heard that properly set up surround sound is excellent....I am somewhat of a dinosaur when it comes to any new equipment..I'm alloting about $8,000 max to a hometheater/audio musical tastes are all over the map and my only request is that the sound be full at moderate volumes....the room its going in is about 23x15..I'm open to all suggestions including the video monitor size and will probably be used about 75% of the time for audio only....btw, I didn't mean I was a "purist" per se...really meant a dedicated audio system...thanks!
Thanks Bob, ill get back to you with some ideas.
$8K will mean a compromise if it must include a decent large screen video display.

If I could, I would separate HT & audio I would buy an Outlaw processor, get a projector screen HT with three Bose 601's in the front and two 901's for surround and be done. My Marantz Esotec Ma-5 class A monoblocks are too good and not powerful enough for HT.

I have an all VMPS speakers...Onkyo amps...Sunfire prepro system I use for hometheater. This multichannel system was my old system, and I have gone back to it's use not long ago.

I did put together a very high quality surround system which consisted of: All Apogee speaker system, all Krell amps, two channel tubed preamp, Sunfire prepro, Sony XA-777 multichannel SACD player, Pioneer DVD Video/DVD audio player, VMPS subwoofers, front projection,dedicated room, dedicated lines, bass traps...ect

The system sounded, (I know it can be done). That said, the main movie watchers in the family (wife/kids) could never quite grasp how to use the system...go get DAD became the standard mode.

The new (old system) has only 3 buttons to push...I never use it for anything other than movies,'s always in the right mode and only needs to be turned on.

I hope your family is smarter than mine, 10 year old Grand Daughter had the best grasp of the bunch (she's kind of a hi-tech kid)...the rest of them have trouble with the Comcast remote control?