Suggestions on where to start with change from 5.1 to 2.1 setup? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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We've moved recently into a larger home. I've now got an additional area designated as a "game room" but it is larger and much more open than the family room in my prior home where I had my home theater setup. The new home isn't particularly conducive to a surround sound set up, plus I find I am watching much less TV these days, so I am contemplating a strategic upgrade of my system over time to focus more on music vs. movies. I am sure I can be perfectly content with 2.1 for movies these days.

My current equipment is a Pioneer Elite VSX-03THX, Boston Acoustics CR95's for the fronts and the PV800 subwoofer (I do still have the CRC center channel and the rears - CR65's I think).

Music sources aside (CD, SACD, internet, iTunes, etc.), I am struggling with what approach to take when looking to upgrade components. I've always had an AVR (since there have been AVR's) or an all-in-one receiver so I've no experience with separates. I think I'd like to move that direction, so I'm not really looking at another AVR at this point.

Is there any value into looking at a 2 channel amp as a first step? Or should I be looking at speakers first? I am sure that this is a somewhat subjective question. However, given my "buy the AVR/speaker combo I think sounds the best within my budget" approach I've always taken with HT equipment, I'm not well-versed enough to know how subjective my questions are.

Am I happy with my current set-up? I was in my old home. Again, I don't have the ability really to put the surround sound back - I'm not loosing sleep over this one at all - and I have a little spare change to put towards incremental improvements in the 2.1 area if possible.

Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 09:34 PM
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Good luck in your new home.

I have a 5.1 in the media room, for movie night. 2.1 in my listening room. 3.1 in living room, with a marantz 1602 which is a 5.1 or 7.1 but has a direct setting for 2 channel listening events, vinyl for me. I really like having the sub and center (for dialogue) in the main family room, where tv is used a lot. I do not miss the rears at all. can you get a center in there? cheers

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post #3 of 14 Old 02-14-2013, 11:24 PM
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I find myself using the 2.1 setup for movies much of the time. I have a hybrid setup so its easy to turn on the multi-channel but unless the movie has a better than average sound track I'm content with 2.1. Most often I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

What pieces of the puzzle do you currently have and what pieces will you need to find?

And most importantly - whats your budget?

When all else fails - RTFM!

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post #4 of 14 Old 02-15-2013, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 View Post


What pieces of the puzzle do you currently have and what pieces will you need to find?

And most importantly - whats your budget?

See my original post for equipment.

Budget? What's that?

Just kidding. Budget though is somewhat relative depending on several factors. However, for a first step, probably $2K or so. Long term, I can spend more but don't like to lay out too much cash at one time. Since I just purchased a 65VT50 and am looking at new a/v furniture, I need to leave a little breathing room for that.
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-15-2013, 07:53 PM
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fwiw,take a look at the focal 814v's at accessories4less $800 and an outlaw lfm-1ex sub $650

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-16-2013, 05:12 AM
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Your current receiver will do a better job with less channels to drive; that should be said first.

Yes, you can get a 2-channel amplifier that will IMO definitely sound better, but they do get expensive.

An Arcam A19 integrated amp, for around $1000, would be one good possibility

For speakers, I suggest the PSB Image T6; that is one of the best-sounding speakers around, and runs $1300 for a pair.

The best sub for under $1000, IMO, is the NHT B12D. It is an acoustic-suspension design which eliminates a lot of the peaks, resonances, and non-linearities common to most subs. Highly recommended.
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post #7 of 14 Old 02-16-2013, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Is there any value into looking at a 2 channel amp as a first step?
No. The sound quality you achieve will be almost entirely a function of the interaction between your speakers and your room. If anything, separates would be a step backward. Modern AVRs give you good room correction, which can make a real difference in sound quality. Plus bass management, for better integration of your sub.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #8 of 14 Old 02-16-2013, 10:28 AM
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with a 2 channel amp there is a lot less going on inside the amp/receiver. personally i think a 2 channel amp processes music allot better than a AVR set to play 2 Channel. at least with the lowere end 5.1 receivers that i have owned or heard, a 2 channel just seems to do something different for listening to music. i would love to have a surround sound system again but i dont watch moves that much and they still sound awesome on my 2 channel set up.

personally i would get a really nice intergrated 2 channel amp first, you can always use the speakers you have now and if you still want speakers later go for it. i have no idea how much you can spend but i would look at NAD, Cambridge or Marantz integrated amps, personally i want at least 75 watts per channel but some of the less expensive 50 watt per channel amps also sound very good, the more wattage the cleaner they seem to sound, i would have loved to go with a 100+ watt per channel intergrated amp but going from a 75-80 watt per channel amp to a 100+ watt per channel is a huge price jump

I would also look at getting a external DAC, unless you get a really good CD player which has a good DAC already built in. usually when you see a 800.00 CD player there going to have a awesome DAC already built in. or you can get a less expensive CD player and figure out which DAC you want to go with

so basically you want a good 2 channel amp

a good set of speakers

and something with a Good DAC to move the audio from the player to the receiver.

anyways that is my 2 cents..
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-16-2013, 02:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgeOfEmpires View Post

We've moved recently into a larger home. I've now got an additional area designated as a "game room" but it is larger and much more open than the family room in my prior home where I had my home theater setup. The new home isn't particularly conducive to a surround sound set up, plus I find I am watching much less TV these days, so I am contemplating a strategic upgrade of my system over time to focus more on music vs. movies. I am sure I can be perfectly content with 2.1 for movies these days.

My current equipment is a Pioneer Elite VSX-03THX, Boston Acoustics CR95's for the fronts and the PV800 subwoofer (I do still have the CRC center channel and the rears - CR65's I think).

Music sources aside (CD, SACD, internet, iTunes, etc.), I am struggling with what approach to take when looking to upgrade components. I've always had an AVR (since there have been AVR's) or an all-in-one receiver so I've no experience with separates. I think I'd like to move that direction, so I'm not really looking at another AVR at this point.

Is there any value into looking at a 2 channel amp as a first step?

As a rule 2 channel amps don't support 2.1 very well. They are usually working antiques. Is there one with Audyssey, MCACC or YPAO? Don't think so! They are also typically missing any kind of support for controlling video. Digital audio support is very thin as well, particularly modern surround formats.
Quote:
Or should I be looking at speakers first? I am sure that this is a somewhat subjective question. However, given my "buy the AVR/speaker combo I think sounds the best within my budget" approach I've always taken with HT equipment, I'm not well-versed enough to know how subjective my questions are.

Am I happy with my current set-up? I was in my old home. Again, I don't have the ability really to put the surround sound back - I'm not loosing sleep over this one at all - and I have a little spare change to put towards incremental improvements in the 2.1 area if possible.

I'd set up the 2.1 system with the components that you have and see what it sounds like before making any far-reaching changes.

It may turn out that room acoustics will be your first best move. Try and listen before you leap, I say!
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post #10 of 14 Old 02-16-2013, 08:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


As a rule 2 channel amps don't support 2.1 very well. They are usually working antiques. Is there one with Audyssey, MCACC or YPAO? Don't think so!
Actually there is a 2 channel amp that does room correction - and it eq's two different subs separately - something that not many AVRs do. The Harman Kardon HK 990 integrated amp does all that and more. And it has internal DACs. I have one.

When all else fails - RTFM!

♫♫♫ Two Channel Rules! ♫♫♫

GO SEAHAWKS!!!
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-17-2013, 07:10 PM
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There's another one much cheaper than the HK 990. The Outlaw RR2150 features bass management and a USB DAC for $699.

"Guns for show, knives for a pro..."
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-17-2013, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
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While I want to focus more on music than movies, I don't want to take the HT out of the equation. It seems the Outlaw RR2150 provides for no video capabilities which would probably (maybe wrongfully so) rule it out.

Thanks for the great suggestions so far. I am still reading/researching/etc. I appreciate the continued input.
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post #13 of 14 Old 02-18-2013, 07:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


I'd set up the 2.1 system with the components that you have and see what it sounds like before making any far-reaching changes.

Well, that's the smart, practical move. But where's the fun in that! smile.gifsmile.gifsmile.gif
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post #14 of 14 Old 02-18-2013, 08:41 AM
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Digital upgrade paths and alternatives:

Logitech Soundman Touch and rip music collection to a hard drive.

Or a NAD C390DD plus cellphone or Ipad to control, again ripped media.

Bryston BDP-1 and external usb hard drive (or usb jumpdrives) with ripped music, IPad or cell phone control.

If source count is low, Oppo 103 or 105 eliminating the. SATA input for hard drive 5.1 and 2 channel ripped music. The hdmi has one hdmi and 105 has two.
Spdif out to a dedicated computer for room eq, then to stereo amp.

Quality soundcard in computer and a hard drive for music.

Purpose built music htpc with touchscreen case like a Monueal.

A usb dac like the Dragonfly
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