I'm in the 50+ club and grew up listening to vinyl on a belt or direct drive turntable with the typical large 3-way floor standing speakers (12" to 15" woofers) using D3 Discwasher cleaner, a Zerostat Anti-Static gun static remover and Audio Technica stylus cleaner with a turntable pad and then we would diligently record our favorite albums to cassette tape ( via Maxell UDXLII or XLS or Metal tape using a demagnetizer on the tape/recording heads first) in order to conveniently play on our Nakamichi tape deck or a Blaupunkt tape player in our car...and then when the CDs hit the market in 1982 we thought (at the time), the CD will be the "Holy Grail" of recorded music (the sound quality of Digital must be better than Analog, right?) and the CD is more convenient (less work to play an album and NO skips, ticks or pops) but in 1982 the first Sony CD player was $800 and there were virtually no good sounding CDs and the range in sound quality was all over the place, you really didn't know what you were going to get SQ wise until you played the CD (Hmmm...same as today, things really haven't changed in 30 years) you don't know what you're buying SQ wise (MP3s, AAC, PCM, FLAC, ALAC, DSD, DFF etc. SACD, DVD-A, BR).
One of the positive experiences in playing vinyl is; with all the preparation of taking care of your vinyl and placing it on your turntable is that you actually sat back in your favorite chair (or couch with your friends) and marveled at the sound of your speakers. I don't recall ever putting on an album and then leaving the room to do something else. Also, with vinyl was the excitement of going to your favorite record store and seeing the album cover artwork on a new album, let's see what they came up with this time around, remember Roger Dean and the Yes albums.
Anyway, a two speaker set up for playing vinyl has been and continues to be the accepted method using your preferred audio equipment, i.e., what sounds best to you. I have several friends that use two separate audio systems, one system dedicated to vinyl only (amp, turntable and L/R 3-way floor standing speakers (sometimes a separate subwoofer) and one system for surround sound (typically 5.1 but mostly for movies, some music).
However, I really enjoy multichannel SACD, DVD-Audio, Blu-ray and digital music files, (multichannel lossless 96/24 PCM, FLAC) on my 5.1 surround system. It's not a "better" sonic experience than two channel stereo, it's just different. I do agree that some 5.1 recordings are haphazard and distracts from hearing channel separation, confusing the experience and making it less enjoyable. Done "well" (recorded, mixed, engineered and mastered appropriately) and the sonic experience can be sublime, assuming that all of the different variables to capture this sonic bliss have been accounted for e.g., room acoustics (size, dimensions and construction materials), speaker placement, subwoofer(s) placement, speaker distance, speaker specifications (if the speakers specs don't match e.g., watts, crossover or frequency response - a big mistake for surround music) primary listening position SPL speaker measurements (this is where AVR automatic speaker configuration can be helpful, e.g., Audyssey). I use Audyssey for all of my multichannel music and movies and I clearly hear the difference, but, you need to be in the "sweet spot listening position" to hear the subtleties and nuances in high dynamic range recordings (non-compression recordings). It's great if you're the only one listening to surround music in the primary listening position, however, no one else sitting in the room can enjoy the music as intended, they will be "out of place" and the surround music may sound "off". I use my surround system mainly for music. As for movies, I'm less concerned about being in the sweet spot, most of the dialog comes from the center speaker and the ambient sounds come from the surrounds and the LFE track from the subwoofers.
I do think there has been much discussion and acknowledgment that the future of music (SQ wise) is in the recording and engineering realm. I won't address the debate over sample rates and bit depths for digital audio files, there's enough written about the subject on the Web, however, what I will say is; "garbage in, garbage out", and most audiophiles should be able to identify "garbage in" terms of sound quality, (except the record labels..."loudness wars"...LOL). The point that Steve makes about highly compressed "loud" recorded music files is true though, most people that are active when listening to their iPod or MP3 player are not listening for SQ, it's not their primary activity and listening to music on a portable device is essentially a background activity. The record labels match one another in dBs (recordings) so they can be competitive in the marketplace. It's been proven (or at least written about) that humans will perceive a "loud" music file being played sounding better than a "soft" music file, regardless of dynamic range. For the average music listener who is preoccupied with other activities, highly compressed, loud music files will suffice, unfortunately, SQ and dynamic range are superfluous.
Lossy compressed (128 kbps) music files like MP3 and AAC were initially created to save memory (RAM) or hard disk space on the portable music players, basically inducing the record labels to be the low cost provider of loud, compromised SQ songs to the masses, you can fit more songs on your player, therefore, you can buy more songs. Now that storage is essentially no longer an issue cost wise, thus creating and delivering lossless music files (FLAC, ALAC, PCM) and / or disc media (DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD / SACD / DVD-A) for portable music players, smartphones, set top players e.g., Oppo BDP-105, DLNA devices, multi-terabyte Network Storage Devices, is no longer an issue; the artists, the record labels, the recording studio engineers should now be able focus on SQ and dynamic range of the recorded music and set minimum standards for production e.g., 96kHz/24bit as opposed to 44.1/16 for PCM and perhaps one day music will be labeled with an industry standard dynamic range value and/or dBs/SPL range of each recording. Maybe it will make the record labels honest and we as consumers will know what to expect from the recorded music before we purchase. There first needs to be unsatisfied demand for "high definition audio" before the record labels commit to investing the necessary capital to produce it for the masses. There seems to be a confluence of encouraging trends, younger people are discovering and appreciating the sound of vinyl and are acknowledging that SQ and dynamic range are important to the overall sonic experience.
There is a lot to consider when choosing a sound system to match your sonic preference. Today, it's not as simple as it was 40 years ago.