How many folks are using their 2-channel set up for movie watching?

Donovan84Donovan84 Posts: 13
edited November 23 in 2 Channel Audio
If things go to plan, I’ll be building a new home next spring. My main area for music and TV will be an open floor plan with a great room about 25’ x 20.’ A surround speaker system would consist of in-ceiling speakers for the surround and Atmos speakers. I realize this is less than ideal, but the back wall would be in the dining area 12’-15’ feet behind the main listening position.

But, I’m now considering just going 2-channel with a pair 707’s and spending extra on the front end. I’m about 40% music, 35% TV (sports, news and a couple shows) and 25% movies. Curious how satisfying 2-channel is for movies. Since the in-ceiling speakers are a compromise and I’m not a movie fanatic, I’m noodling it.
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Comments

  • rpf65rpf65 Posts: 2,083
    I can’t imagine watching any type of sports without surround.
  • NightfallNightfall Posts: 8,616
    I'm fine with 2 channel for video content. The only time I miss surround sound is for video games, but that's another ball game. It's extremely helpful to know when things are behind you when playing games.
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  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,528
    edited November 23
    I have run 3.1 systems off and on for many years. I tried just stereo, but that always seems to be missing the mark. That center channel is really important for movie watching. I have been thinking of going back to a 3.2 system for my main home theater system. To me the surrounds are a nice to have, but not absolutely essential for just movie watching.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A23 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,083
    Always have.
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  • mhardy6647mhardy6647 Posts: 23,564
    well -- on the rare times we watch something on TV, we use a stereo system for the sound. Nothing special, nor particularly nice (dump find receiver & speakers, in fact). Just ain't no big deal (TV/video, that is) to/for us.

    11479977995_21bc24d690_c.jpgDSC_7484_ by Mark Hardy, on Flickr
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,701
    Tried and could not do it. Off center watching movies with the voices coming from left or right just not palatable for me.
    Nothing like 5.1/7.2/9.4/11.4.4 etc.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • delkaldelkal Posts: 608
    edited November 23
    I listen to TV in 3.1. The way my room is set up I don't have a place for the rears. Don't miss them either. The front 3 speakers do 90%+ of the work.

    But IMO......You need a center channel and a receiver that does some kind of Dolby processing for your center. That way dialog is centered over or under the TV and music / accessory sounds come from the front 2 speakers. Like Joecoulson mentioned having dialog coming from different speakers is bad. Sometimes you even get an echo effect.

    One of my favorite shows that demonstrates this is "How its made". The narrator is clearly centered in the direction you watch. But then when he stops talking the background music comes from the front speakers in stereo. Same in a lot of movies. all talking comes from the center but if a car or ambulance comes by you hear them from the sides.

    Once you set up even a modest system you will never listen to the little 1inch speakers in your TV again. When you buy a TV you pay for the video. The audio is more of an afterthought and I doubt it adds more than $10 to the manufacturing cost.
  • bbeachambbeacham Posts: 142
    Stereo in living room. 5.1 HT in another room.
  • Thanks for the replies. Someone mentioned sports without surround speakers, and that’s a good point! I do like that. I’m back to thinking of doing surround in-ceiling speakers. Might as well do it during construction. If anyone has used these, do the tweeters adjust?

    Regarding the center channel speaker. 95% of the time it will be 1 or 2 people on a love seat in the prime sitting area. So, I was thinking phantom center would be fine. Do most disagree?
  • delkaldelkal Posts: 608
    I am not sure how the Dolby processing in an AV receiver works but it is different than sitting in the stereo sweet spot. You get 80-90% of the dialog directly from the center and if you unplug it you just hear muffled dialog from the front stereo speakers. Vice-versa for music. Even if you set up a stereo system with excellent imaging it wouldn't be the same.

    The good news is that Craiglist is full of quality "obsolete" AV receivers and you can get a decent one for $50-150 every week. Look for the ones with no HDMI connectors and since no one wants them anymore plan on paying 10-15% of the new price. You can find some bargains.
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,701
    I just installed these.

    kabd9gfzi8ci.jpeg

    t32w230shry8.jpeg

    These particular ones (tweeters) do not adjust but they do point at an angle and work perfect for my setup.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 655
    3.1 here, doesn't sound good in stereo. As said above, you need a center channel.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, B&K 4420 Reference, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Technics PD867, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold Power Cable, Signal Power Cables, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 2,671
    edited November 24
    Donovan84 wrote: »
    A surround speaker system would consist of in-ceiling speakers for the surround and Atmos speakers. I realize this is less than ideal, but the back wall would be in the dining area 12’-15’ feet behind the main listening position.
    Every time one makes a compromises, it takes away from the original intent. ATMOS requires 5-7 lower channels as well as 4 upper channels to reach its full effect. Putting everything in the ceiling is a major compromise so who knows what the results will be. Maybe just stick to a 5-7 channel plan? Yet, if you do decide to go all out ATMOS for sure you will have to properly aim the speakers to get the best out of a less than ideal situation. Read all you can on the Dolby page as well as other places. There are some good reads out there.
    https://www.dolby.com/us/en/guide/dolby-atmos-speaker-setup/index.html
    http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/ten-speaker-layout-tips-for-dolby-atmos-dts-x-auro/
    http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/dolby-atmos-speaker-placement-and-home-theater-acoustic-upgrade/
    http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/our-thoughts-on-triad-speakers-7-things-you-must-know-when-designing-an-atmos-system/
    Donovan84 wrote: »
    I’m back to thinking of doing surround in-ceiling speakers. Might as well do it during construction. If anyone has used these, do the tweeters adjust?
    Again, make sure you get the proper speakers and know their aiming pattern. Some are adjustable and some are not!
    http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/dolby-atmos-dispersion-requirements-for-ceiling-speakers/
    Donovan84 wrote: »
    Regarding the center channel speaker. 95% of the time it will be 1 or 2 people on a love seat in the prime sitting area. So, I was thinking phantom center would be fine. Do most disagree?
    A phantom center if just fine if that is all that one has or would rather put money towards better 2 channel gear. It can work out even better if the speakers are toed in a little bit.

    However, a 3.1 with a quality center or a center identical to the LR outpaces stereo in terms of dialog clarity, center anchoring, and side effects regardless of the source. Rather one watches the local news via OTA antenna, the Game of Thrones on cable, or Jack Ryan on Prime Video streaming, or Spider-Man: Far From Home on Blu-Ray. A minimum 3.1 rules 2 channel all day, every day rather it’s just one person dead center or a wide row of six across! Add in more channels and more subs and things just get better from there.
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  • TennManTennMan Posts: 1,073
    Donovan84 wrote: »
    ... Regarding the center channel speaker. 95% of the time it will be 1 or 2 people on a love seat in the prime sitting area. So, I was thinking phantom center would be fine. Do most disagree?
    I disagree. I fought going to a center channel speaker for a long time but once I installed one there was no going back for TV and movies.

    I don't know for sure but I believe Dolby encoded TV and movies must have some center channel information that is lost or misdirected when using a 2 channel system. That may be why the center channel is needed to get the most out of movie and TV sound.

    I use a 3.1 system with a small sub for the same reasons. Even though my 2Bs are capable of producing good bass, it seems like something is missing without a sub when listening to Dolby encoded TV and movies. Especially when listening to a movie that has a lot of dynamic range. If listening to quite dialog in a movie and suddenly there are explosions or gunshots, a sub gives my system more impact than I could get with just the 2bs.

    I don't use the center channel or sub when listening to 2 channel stereo and I get plenty of bass for music. I sit dead center of the sofa to get the best SDA.

    Setting up a system for both 2 channel and TV is going to be a compromise no matter which way you go. You have to decide which is most important to you and go from there.

    SDA 2BTL · Sonicaps · Mills resistors · RDO-198s · New gaskets · H-nuts · Erse inductors · BH5 · Dynamat · Crossover upgrades by westmassguy
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  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 2,671
    edited November 24
    TennMan wrote: »
    I use a 3.1 system with a small sub for the same reasons. Even though my 2Bs are capable of producing good bass, it seems like something is missing without a sub when listening to Dolby encoded TV and movies. Especially when listening to a movie that has a lot of dynamic range. If listening to quite dialog in a movie and suddenly there are explosions or gunshots, a sub gives my system more impact than I could get with just the 2bs.
    OMG yes! I currently have a temporary old HSU VTF-2 mk1 10" ported sub. Even though my Boston speaker have an 8" powered woofer per side, the difference with the single 10" sub LFE channel is dramatic. The added impact and floor rumble makes such a difference that the family does not want to see large 15" subs in the room again. I had a single sealed 15" and want to go to double but they don't want it. They think the 10" is too much when I turn it up.

    FAMILY ROOM
    HDTV - Sharp AQUOS LC-70LE600U 70" | AVR/Streamer - Onkyo TX-NR3008 | Amp - Parasound HCA-1203A
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  • delkaldelkal Posts: 608
    TennMan wrote: »
    I don't use the center channel or sub when listening to 2 channel stereo and I get plenty of bass for music. I sit dead center of the sofa to get the best SDA.

    I totally agree. You should always turn off your center when listening to music. Luckily with most AV receivers you just need to hit a button or turn a knob on the front. And if you forget to switch it back to Dolby processing when watching TV you will instantly know something is wrong and there is no question you will turn the center back on.

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 43,074
    Years ago I did TV/movie watching in 2 channel with SDA's. After going 5.1 I'll never go back. The center channel makes a huge difference.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

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  • TennManTennMan Posts: 1,073
    delkal wrote: »
    ... Luckily with most AV receivers you just need to hit a button or turn a knob on the front. And if you forget to switch it back to Dolby processing when watching TV you will instantly know something is wrong and there is no question you will turn the center back on.
    That is what I've found to be true. My Marantz AVR (50 wpc) only powers the center channel. It has pre-outs that go to my Adcom GFA-555 amp to power my Polk SDA 2B main speakers.

    When I want to listen to 2 channel stereo. I push a button on the Marantz remote for "Pure Direct". That turns off the sub and center channel speakers. It also bypasses any AVR processing, including turning off all the LED display and lights on the front panel. In Pure Direct the Marantz is only used as a preamp and my 2Bs still get 200 wpc from the Adcom when listening to 2 channel music. Push a button on the remote that says "Movies" and back to using the sub and the center channel speaker. Not the perfect setup for Home Theater or Stereo but it's a good compromise that works for me.

    SDA 2BTL · Sonicaps · Mills resistors · RDO-198s · New gaskets · H-nuts · Erse inductors · BH5 · Dynamat · Crossover upgrades by westmassguy
    Marantz 1504 AVR (front speaker pre-outs to Adcom 555)
    Adcom GFA-555 amp · Upgrades & speaker protection added by OldmanSRS
    Pioneer DV-610AV DVD/CD player
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  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,701
    edited November 24
    You guys should try a pre with HT bypass (for those of you powering mains with something separate ). Night and day difference with 2ch listening.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • Sorry, now that I’ve decided against a 2-channel set up, this thread is basically similar to my post in the speakers section!

    Thanks for all the posts, I’m convinced to get the center channel. And to be clear in my previous post, the only ceiling speakers would be the rear/surrounds and the Atmos speakers. The main L/R will be the 707’s and the center would be the 706. My great room will be about 25’ x 20’ and if I did rear speakers on the wall, they’d be 12-15 feet behind the main listening position in the dining area (see attached photo). That is why I’m leaning towards ceiling speakers for rears and Atmos. Would folks do 5.1.2 or 5.1.4?

    Joe Coulson, what speakers are those? I realize the 700 LS are timbre matched to the 707’s, but the tweeters don’t adjust and they are a lot of money. I was leaning towards the RC60/80 or MC60/80, thoughts?

    Regarding the HT bypass, I’ll keep that discussion in the other thread in the speaker section.

    .t6xidsfrt7hn.jpeg
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,701
    These are the definitive tech RC III’s and are meant for in ceiling. They work fantastic
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • coolsaxcoolsax Posts: 1,767
    If you don't do full Surround, I too am in the camp for going 3.1 Center Channel helps out a lot for Movie and TV.
    2ch -
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  • mantismantis Posts: 15,446
    People always think going in ceiling is this big compromise but when properly placed and calibrated, it's a fantastic experience.
    My Partner of my business in his Family Room we decided to have one of us live with such a system to see what the real world experience is not just when we install on calibrate and run demo clips. According to my partner it's a real nice way to experience a 5.1 system which he did all of his in the ceiling all 5 main channels are in the ceiling.
    Now we used a point design for the front 3. These are angled in ceiling speakers like the Def Tech's posted above but in a round design. They aim the sound toward the listening area. When watching movies or anything you can't tell the sound is all coming from the ceiling voices seem to come right out of the TV, he has a 4k Sony 65 inch 900 series model.
    We are planning a Atmos upgrade there to also live with the system and not just offer it as a solution to a difficult room. Once we install that he is going to use it for months and then judge it.

    I don't care for 2 channel listening when watching things that are recorded in a surround format. It works but everything is jammed into the front 2 speakers and it's less enjoyable to me anyway. It's just better TV speakers experience.

    In your room I suggest thinking 5.1 or 7.1. Atmos might be tricky but doable. Placement is going to have to be as close to perfect as you can get as far as a flat arrangement in the ceiling . Accuracy in your measuring will greatly help make the experience more ideal and worth the extra cost. Read up on Dolby's website to make sure you do it right. You just will have to forgo the height measurements.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • afterburntafterburnt Posts: 5,868
    edited November 25
    I heard TV will ruin your speakers or was it your mind? Anyway I certainly wouldn't put my speakers at risk. Don't say that I didn't warn you.
  • WillowWillow Posts: 9,740
    2.1 for it all
    2Ch- B&W 703, SVS PB10 NSD, Marantz NR1607, Parasound 1500a, Pro-Ject Debut Carbon (Yellow) with Acrylic platter, Pro-Ject phono pre, MIT AVT 2 speaker cables, MIT AVT 1 and AVT 2 ICs, XLO Jumpers, Signal Dig Coax, Signal Cable Magic Power Cables x3, Samsung 55JS7000, Harmony 1100, Sony BDP-S6200, Marantz DV-4200 (as Transport), Cambridge Audio DAC Magic100, Monster 3600MKII, Android Mi Box3 and Apple TV. - Pool /Gazebo Yamaha RX-A1010, Polk Patio 25x4, Rotel RDV 1045 (as CDP) MIT AVT3 ICs - Work - Spotify Premium or Neutron App to my FiiO Kunlun into my Grado SR125e

  • Donovan84Donovan84 Posts: 13
    edited November 26
    Good point Mantis, 5.1 or 7.1 is an option if I stick with in ceiling for surrounds. Otherwise, the other option is I could run speaker wire inside the sidewalks and hook up surrounds on speaker stands at ear height. The one downside is the right surround would be set up close to the kitchen island during movies (I could move it out of the way when not watching movies).
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 3,701
    In ceiling. Sleek and inconspicuous.

    You don’t want the other
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT/Denon SACD - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AF-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u
  • WLDockWLDock Posts: 2,671
    edited November 26
    mantis wrote: »
    People always think going in ceiling is this big compromise but when properly placed and calibrated, it's a fantastic experience..
    People always think it because it is a compromise from the original guidelines...especially for the front directional speakers. However, it’s done because people want surround in their less than ideal for surround sound living spaces and A/V installation business need to make a living. Everyone understands that part. However, as you and I both stated, the proper speakers have to be properly aimed.
    My own room is a compromise. The left side is open to the kitchen and my couches are about 2 ft. from the rear wall. So I have no provision for side speakers and I had to put the surrounds up a little higher to get them away from my ears some. I've played with the idea of side surrounds, front height, and maybe ATMOS in the ceiling. I temporarily mounted on-wall speakers on the ceiling for several months
    Then, I got another chance to listen to another surround setup. The apartment complex where my Brother-in-law lives has a cool theater in their community center. The professionally installed projection screen system has all of the speakers in the ceiling and I got a chance to site down and watch some movies.
    In both cases I was not that impressed. I’m convinced it will take some serious time and dedication to make ceiling speakers work. Yet, I’m still considering just giving up on having side surrounds and going with back surrounds on the wall and four ATMOS speakers. I started reading more about the proper setup and realized that adjustable or aimed speakers like the Definitive speakers listed above are what I came up with as the best option for the job. Placement and aiming are the key HOWEVER, how the heck does one know what they will sound like unless you cut the wall, install, and listen? Another drawback to ceiling speakers.
    Donovan84 wrote: »
    Good point Mantis, 5.1 or 7.1 is an option if I stick with in ceiling for surrounds. Otherwise, the other option is I could run speaker wire inside the sidewalks and hook up surrounds on speaker stands at ear height. The one downside is the right surround would be set up close to the kitchen island during movies (I could move it out of the way when not watching movies).
    In ceiling is an option but takes some serious work. I say get some decent used adjustable on wall speakers for cheap to play with different placement options. Get a feel for the sound and what’s possible with aiming and tuning before cutting the ceiling to place the permanent speakers. As Mantis and I stated, 5.1 or 7.1 might be the best route for your situation. Either way, if you can dream it, there might be a way to make whatever you desire work.

    FAMILY ROOM
    HDTV - Sharp AQUOS LC-70LE600U 70" | AVR/Streamer - Onkyo TX-NR3008 | Amp - Parasound HCA-1203A
    Blu-Ray/Media/Gaming - Sony PS3-320GB / Microsoft Xbox One | Broadcast - Xfinity X1 Platform
    Front Spkrs - Coming...DIY Statement II | Center Spkrs - Coming...DIY Statement II | Rear Spkrs - Artison Portrait LRS
    Sub - DIY Stereo Integrity HT 15 | Sub Amp - Dayton Audio SA1000
    Wire - Audioquest Type 4, BJC Belden 5000 | HDMI - BJC Belden | Power Cables - Pangea | Surge - Monster
  • jumpindickjumpindick Posts: 321
    Had 7.2 and then went for 9.2. Two channel set up just doesn't cut it for me personally for watching movies or TV. For music, it is a different game all together.
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