Originally Posted by Drew80
My point is that stereo is great if you're wearing headphones or you're sitting close and perfectly positioned between two speakers. If you are not perfectly positioned, then the balance is off. And if you are far away, you don't hear the distinct channels.
I think you have some misconceptions about stereo... Yes, being in the sweet spot is best for imaging, but positioning of sounds in the stereo soundfield will still be audible. "Far" from the speakers isn't really the issue. You can easily test this for yourself by toggling your receiver to mono output from both speakers and hear the difference.
But again, the real issue you're talking about was a single speaker vs. two speakers per room. That's a very different question compared to whether the source feeding those speakers is producing a stereo output or not (or whether the results are audibly different/better/worse).
I'm also installing two speakers around the pool, and I have the opposite problem there. I think the channels won't blend enough. The speakers will be about 40' from each other pointing in toward the pool. So one end of the pool will mostly get the L channel and the other end will mostly get the R channel. It seems like mono is the better solution there too.
Ok, now we're talking mono vs. stereo from 2 or more speakers. Yes, outdoor spaces with very undefined listening positions and challenges for speaker placement, a mono (combined L/R, more likely) signal is probably preferable. If the speakers are planned to be 40' apart, you should be looking at additional speakers for that space, so you don't blast the poor person who walks 2' from one... Same principle as above applies, though, more speakers allows for more uniform sound levels throughout the space.
I do see your point about positioning speakers. There are a few rooms in the house where it will be tricky to put in just 1 speaker, and in those rooms I figured I would put in stereo or double up on the mono. I might even end up with 3 speakers in some rooms.
3 would be a bad idea. 4 would be ok in a larger room. Mostly from a practical standpoint - you'll have difficulty matching levels assuming you're trying to share amp channels among speakers. And 3 becomes just weird, in the "odd, why did he do that?" sense... Best not to be weird in that way.