Thanks Mickey for your input!
Originally Posted by Dave Carey View Post
1. Is there any major advantage with this 2 channel option?
beside the price here are disadvantages only
From what I can tell the Audiolab amp has a better DAC than the Denon AVR
how can you tell?
I think you make an excellent point here. I personally have a very hard time hearing a difference between DAC's. I use a Dragonfly Red for my Mac and headphones and haven't heard anything else (although I have not auditioned many others) that I could clearly define as better sounding.
Do you think the DAC in the Denon should be fine?
but the Audiolab is only rated at 60W? Power did not seem to be an issue when listening at the store.
power is almost never an issue
I understand. I had heard, however, that speakers run into problems when underpowered rather than over powered. Not an issue here?
2. Would relying on a phantom center channel be good enough for movies? I'm thinking probably not?
that depends on your setup and room acoustics!
why do you think you need a center for the movies but for example a solo flute or clarinet sounds great without it?
if you have a "perfect" setup (acoustic, distances, stereo triangle etc.) you shouldn't hear any difference between real and phantom center. And if you need a center for movies, it's a simple proof for poor stereo/music performance, that simple!
My new room will definitely not be perfect. Given the limitations of the room though, wouldn't having a centre channel make dialogue much clearer with movies and tv? I am not concerned with a centre for music reproduction.
so if you have a setup "suitable for serious music reproduction" you need a center just in case you watch movies with a wider audience outside the ideal listening area.
Most watching will be done from a two seat couch in the best, if not ideal, listening area. I am less concerned with off axis listening.
3. I was only planning to go with a 3 channel setup (possibly 3.1 later on) originally, as I want to eliminate the need for dedicated rear surround speakers. I was hoping to take advantage of the virtual DTS for movies though.
I've never heard a 3.x setup which sounded "good". If you use such virtual tricks for music it destroys anything what makes the difference between a good and a lousy music reproduction.
Could I not simply use the AVR in the stereo mode (Pure Direct or equivalent) for music listening, while using other modes DTS, etc for movies? I'm not looking for fancy effects for music listening.
4. If I decide to go with a centre channel speaker with the AVR, could I substitute the Prestige centre for the less expensive Premier centre by Paradigm? Is this asking for problems?
IF you use a center it becomes the most important speaker in the system!
I understand. So worth the added investment then?
1) the center must match the front speakers (not necessarily the same line or brand but from the sound)
Any guidelines for matching the centre to the front if I look into another brand or line?
2) if you use different models it's worth to spend MORE for the center instead of less!
from my experience a 4.0 system with simple (cheap) rear speakers (ideally they should match the front speakers as well, of course) still sounds much better with movies than a 3.0 with center.
I had not considered that. So here you get actual physical "surround" sound. This would have to be an add-on at a later time, but makes sense.
Once again, thank you for your help! Much appreciated.