What 5.1 systems start to compare to bookshelf speakers? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-22-2012, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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After thoroughly listening to my Audioengine A5's with movies on my PC. The clarity & tight bass always blows my mind. Im saving for the S8 bass & from what Ive read its tight, clean & delivers authority.

Im thinking that 2 front speakers like these in a medium room is better than 5.1? I just cant see needing a 5.1, these are plenty.

But watching even old TV shows like twilight zone & columbo for example sounds superior with clean 2 speakers stereo. And modern blu-rays like superman returns have such thunderous clarity at high volume its freaky good.

I just cant see a 5.1 system of any kind coming close to this experience, as I understand its 1 centre speaker for dialogue in a 5.1 setup? Id much rather the dialouge coming through 2 speakers.

At reasonable high volumes the A5's are so loud & clear. I cant see being able to make out & need the surround speakers in the pod race of phantom menace for example. or even in the dark knight. I just cant see topping this immersion. Do you agree?

If not than what 5.1 systems start to overtake these? Any examples & price range that one has to spend to get this clarity? These seem loud & clear plus I cant imagine the S8 sub.

Dont you agree with this clarity 2 front speakers is much more immersive than 5 speakers? Unless the 5.1 speakers were worth well over 2K?

I only ask as I haven't owned a top home theatre 5.1 system.
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-22-2012, 02:38 PM
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fwiw,imo 2 channel stereo is great for tv and music listening but if you want to be in a movie or for gaming with all the little sound effects coming from all directions( not just straight at you) from surrounds and to "feeling" and not just hearing gun ,cannon fire, explosions,etc. the 5.1 experience makes a difference and the lower the sub goes the better the feeling. just my 2 cents. a great couple of many examples would be 2 pair of energy rc-10'sfor fronts and rears an energy lcr rc center channel for $690 at vanns and an outlaw lfm ex-1 sub $650 total $1340 or a hsu hybrid 2 package $1440

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-22-2012, 02:58 PM
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A few things:

First, in a nearfield environment where one listener, centered on the screen, is sitting just a few feet fro the speakers, you're right, IMO. There's no need for a center channel speaker and you could get superior results from the phantom-center approach. But these benefits disappear in larger rooms, and with additional people who are not all centered on the screen. That's when center channels with their own amplificatioon and discrete reproduction to anchor the localization and provide headroom for the significant potential peaks come into play.

Next, the surround channels, if they were part of the theatrical experience, need to be reproduced as surround channels if you want to simulate the original theatrical experience. The same is true for a subwoover for the .1 channel. If you don't care about that level of accuracy, then you don't.

This is a hobby, and it's about satisfying your own desires. But IMO it's a mistake to dismiss out-of-hand an experience you've never had. When I was poor and could only afford a black and white TV, back in 1970, I really tried to convince myself that color wasn't important.

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post #4 of 13 Old 07-22-2012, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gav_0 View Post

Dont you agree with this clarity 2 front speakers is much more immersive than 5 speakers? Unless the 5.1 speakers were worth well over 2K?

No, I do not agree - however, to each their own.

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post #5 of 13 Old 07-22-2012, 03:43 PM
 
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5.1 is recorded and encoded with the intent of being decoded and played back on five separate speakers and a sub-woofer. Using two channel stereo compresses this recorded material into two-channels; not good.

Many older TV shows and movies are encoded for stereo as opposed to 5.1 sound. FWIW, our TV speakers sound crazy good when there's nothing to compare them to. Beware and fore warned, once exposed to a quality 5.1 setup, you'll never be happy as continuously you'll "crave" that type of sound quality. The point, yes, 5.1 makes a difference. Money wise, the cost of a system........just for the sound quality one gets, yes it's worth it.

Bookshelf speakers are cool, when used as bookshelf speakers. Things go South fast when one tries to make bookshelf speakers work as surrounds and a center channel unless on a pedestal.
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

5.1 is recorded and encoded with the intent of being decoded and played back on five separate speakers and a sub-woofer. Using two channel stereo compresses this recorded material into two-channels; not good.

Many older TV shows and movies are encoded for stereo as opposed to 5.1 sound. FWIW, our TV speakers sound crazy good when there's nothing to compare them to. Beware and fore warned, once exposed to a quality 5.1 setup, you'll never be happy as continuously you'll "crave" that type of sound quality. The point, yes, 5.1 makes a difference. Money wise, the cost of a system........just for the sound quality one gets, yes it's worth it.

Bookshelf speakers are cool, when used as bookshelf speakers. Things go South fast when one tries to make bookshelf speakers work as surrounds and a center channel unless on a pedestal.

Hi, sorry to bump this, I have since upgraded to higher quality 2.0 & I'm curious with blu-ray playback what you exactly meant by "recorded material into two-channels; not good." Is it like mp3 compression? lack of dynamics & distinction between sounds?

I don't get it, what is it that is bad? the sounds are ridiculously sharp & there is a whole clear enjoyable sound stage coming at me in close near field seating. Ill take this anyday over the centre speaker were you feel the dialogue is coming from the top or bottom of the screen & not the actual screen.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 10:04 AM
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Quote:
Dont you agree with this clarity 2 front speakers is much more immersive than 5 speakers? Unless the 5.1 speakers were worth well over 2K?

Not at all.

If you have listened to a movies on a good 5.1 setup you would not say a good 2.0 setup is better.

5.1 also means you have a subwoofer and a sub is an integral part of the movie experience.

I have a 5.1 system with Energy RC-70 towers and there is no way I'd just listen to those when I have the option of using my subwoofer, center and surround speakers too. A good 2.1 setup is better than a 2.0. setup if you have a decent sub.

Now if you're just watching old movies/tv shows that were recorded in stereo it may not be a big deal. but watching a current blu ray movie recorded in TrueHD or DTS-MA is a major difference. And also like was said above, if you're listening nearfield on a computer setup that's a whole different situation. In a living room environment where you can accommodate a 5.1 setup the comparison is not even close.

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post #8 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gav_0 View Post

Hi, sorry to bump this, I have since upgraded to higher quality 2.0 & I'm curious with blu-ray playback what you exactly meant by "recorded material into two-channels; not good." Is it like mp3 compression? lack of dynamics & distinction between sounds?

I don't get it, what is it that is bad? the sounds are ridiculously sharp & there is a whole clear enjoyable sound stage coming at me in close near field seating. Ill take this anyday over the centre speaker were you feel the dialogue is coming from the top or bottom of the screen & not the actual screen.

The question of the center channel is debatable, as noted previously. As you note, for a single listener/viewer centered on the screen, the phantom center approach has much validity.

The surround channels add a great deal to the experience of watching a movie that was designed for it. Dimensionality, depth, movement, separation... unless you deny that accuracy in reproduction is important, then you must recognize that you lose something when you remove the effects intended by the sound designers and mixers by folding the surround channels into the front. Elements that were intended to be isolated and heard in their own space are now masked or combined with other sounds.

Then there's the whole subwoofer thing.

Sure, I'd rather have two great speakers than six mediocre ones. But six great ones, much better still. The preference for room-independent nearfield clarity (which I share) does not exclude the full 5.1 experience.

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post #9 of 13 Old 08-25-2013, 11:29 AM
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high quality 2.0 is better than mediocre 5.1. But if the movie has a 5.1 mix, it will sound better with 5.1 if using the same speakers as the 2.0 system (all else being equal). I think you would like the Ascend CMB-170SE bookshelf speakers with a 5.1 receiver. Possibly use the larger CMT-340SE for fronts and the bookshelves as rears, it's up to you. But you can switch the receiver to 2.0 for the sources that you think sound better that way. Also 5.1 played on 2.0 speakers does not "compress" the music like MP3. It does compress the number of channels, but not the sample rate or bit-per-sample quality.
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 04:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by afrogt View Post

Not at all.

If you have listened to a movies on a good 5.1 setup you would not say a good 2.0 setup is better.

5.1 also means you have a subwoofer and a sub is an integral part of the movie experience.

I have a 5.1 system with Energy RC-70 towers and there is no way I'd just listen to those when I have the option of using my subwoofer, center and surround speakers too. A good 2.1 setup is better than a 2.0. setup if you have a decent sub.

Now if you're just watching old movies/tv shows that were recorded in stereo it may not be a big deal. but watching a current blu ray movie recorded in TrueHD or DTS-MA is a major difference. And also like was said above, if you're listening nearfield on a computer setup that's a whole different situation. In a living room environment where you can accommodate a 5.1 setup the comparison is not even close.

I do not agree. Your view implies 5 is better then 2, when it's subjective. I simple think surround sound is only good in 3d environment you can move around to a threat sounding from behind. With movies is a static filmstrip. I do like a sub a little, but always prefer to let the speakers impress me, larger room just means bigger speakers. No need for 5.1. easy to make stands for monitors.
So many movies are not worth 5 speakers for me for the following:

special effect heavy movies just sound fake, I can tell its adr over mic boom, yuk. The mix drowns alot of the music & dilaouge out. I like a natural real feeling movie like Predator. Avatar & new star wars just have too much artificial sounds going on & I cant stand it anymore.

When my fav movies are always 2.35 ratio & cut the actors head off this cripples the experience. too many movies have a digital soft look with bad cg, greenscreen & irritating 24fps camera pans, it losses the immersion for me. So speakers dont help much. PQ is more important for me. Screens are so large where do you fit the center speaker? Basically Id rather stay at 2.0 & move up to 4K. Most blu-rays look like your wearing a pair of almost transparent sunglasses.

A 2.0 setup can also act a decent music setup.
So many TV shows have heavy dialogue I wouldn't get caught dead with centre speaker. Like LOST, it has some good sound effects, but overall its more enjoyable on 2 speakers.

II agree what rdclark says about Dimensionality, depth, movement, separation would be better in 5.1. But 2.0 has its pros & im sticking to it. Larger room means larger speakers. Some of these floor stands are huge & should fill a 10M long room no problems.
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post #11 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 05:56 AM
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post #12 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 07:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gav_0 View Post

I do not agree. Your view implies 5 is better then 2, when it's subjective. I simple think surround sound is only good in 3d environment you can move around to a threat sounding from behind. With movies is a static filmstrip. I do like a sub a little, but always prefer to let the speakers impress me, larger room just means bigger speakers. No need for 5.1. easy to make stands for monitors.
So many movies are not worth 5 speakers for me for the following:

special effect heavy movies just sound fake, I can tell its adr over mic boom, yuk. The mix drowns alot of the music & dilaouge out. I like a natural real feeling movie like Predator. Avatar & new star wars just have too much artificial sounds going on & I cant stand it anymore.

When my fav movies are always 2.35 ratio & cut the actors head off this cripples the experience. too many movies have a digital soft look with bad cg, greenscreen & irritating 24fps camera pans, it losses the immersion for me. So speakers dont help much. PQ is more important for me. Screens are so large where do you fit the center speaker? Basically Id rather stay at 2.0 & move up to 4K. Most blu-rays look like your wearing a pair of almost transparent sunglasses.

A 2.0 setup can also act a decent music setup.
So many TV shows have heavy dialogue I wouldn't get caught dead with centre speaker. Like LOST, it has some good sound effects, but overall its more enjoyable on 2 speakers.

II agree what rdclark says about Dimensionality, depth, movement, separation would be better in 5.1. But 2.0 has its pros & im sticking to it. Larger room means larger speakers. Some of these floor stands are huge & should fill a 10M long room no problems.

Go experience a good 5.1 system and you will see what they are talking about. 2-channel does not even come close, when playing a good 5.1 channel movie.

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post #13 of 13 Old 08-26-2013, 09:15 AM
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If you are happy with your 2.0 set-up and don't believe you could
Benefit from 5.1 why did you post???
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