hifi sound from surround system?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Dahuky, Jun 23, 2022.

  1. Dahuky

    Dahuky Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    israel
    hi, i have been asked to design a 5.1/7.1 HT system, trying to get the best stereo sound possible.

    are there and 5\7ch amplifiers the produce good quality sound for music too?
    is there a point investing in the 2 front speakers getting hifi speakers or due to the receiver the won't sound good anyway?
    thanks.
     
  2. Bill Mac

    Bill Mac Forum Resident

    Location:
    So. ME USA
    I have a 5.1 system with a Wyred 4 Sound STP-SE preamp with HT Bypass. I've found that using an analog preamp with HT Bypass in a surround system to really improve stereo SQ.
     
    Audiofan1 likes this.
  3. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    Why stop at five or seven?
    [​IMG]

    Just tell them they need 15 McIntosh monoblocks. Maybe the model MC1.25KW, which should total about 1100kg.
     
    Tim 2 likes this.
  4. ca1ore

    ca1ore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stamford, CT, USA
    Just use higher quality amps for the front two channels with a good quality pre/pro. I use VTL for the three front channels in my system and a Krell Showcase for all the other channels. Not cheap of course …..
     
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  5. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Yes to all the questions with some caveats, some people would not be sufficiently happy with a top receiver but those would NOT ask someone else to design it.

    The most important question is, how much money are you prepared to pour on it? You won't make an omelette without breaking some eggs and perhaps your idea of good sound might not be mine.
     
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  6. Bill Hart

    Bill Hart Forum Resident

    Location:
    Austin
    In the days before home theatre product standards were established, I messed around with derived back channels, using a very good two channel tube/electrostat system at the front, playing vinyl. The rear channels were almost inconsequential in terms of gear- Dynaquad, some early analog processors, eventually various home theatre devices that allowed adjustment of delay and phase. All sort of unpredictable, depending on the out of phase information in a stereo record. It made for a 3d presentation on some records.
    You can probably do better today, depending on sources and mixes. A lot of home theatre gear has been reduced to cheap black boxes, but at the same time, there has been an improvement in dollars/performance- you are getting technology today for the cost of a chip that used to cost multiple thousands as a black box.
    I have never combined home theatre with two channel, though. The experiments I did in the early '80s described above were almost entirely for two channel listening. I kept the HT and two channel systems separate, even if they were in the same room sometimes.
     
    Tim 2 likes this.
  7. HIRES_FAN

    HIRES_FAN Forum Resident

    I have read comments on this forum for a while and it appears to me that no one in this forum has heard a legit multichannel/3D object based sound setup because of the big learning curve and the sheer difficulty of making it work in a room. It has taken me about 8 flippin years of constant tinkering, changing houses, etc to get there. But, I can safely say now that my multichannel setup can run circles around my much more $$$$ 2 channel setup. I can also say that it will beat the living daylights our of anyone's 2 channel setup in this forum. This is not meant to sound like I'm bragging out the hiny...but, dudes need to understand the limitations of what 2 speakers can do for them....it is just science.....and it is no foolery by manufacturers to trick you into buying more speakers and amps (the latter is just a silly thought process that some 2 channel guys live with).
     
  8. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
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  9. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Dear me, the things one have to see!!!:p

    No, it doesn't sound like bragging at all.

    Of course, what else could it be other than science?
     
  10. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Yes. What is the budget for this project?
     
  11. Dahuky

    Dahuky Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    israel
    30K+-
     
  12. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    That should be plenty, but remember that some of it may go towards comfy seating, equipment credenza, room treatments, and video (projector/screen). How big is the room?
     
  13. Dahuky

    Dahuky Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    israel
    seating and video have different balance and room treatments are not an option.
     
  14. Keith Beddard

    Keith Beddard Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Ottawa
    Whether you use a receiver (like an Anthem MRX) or a pre-pro, you can certainly get good quality sound by careful selection of the main LR amps and speakers. Using better amps for the front LR is usually possible in just about any good receiver.
    Couple of things to keep in mind:
    1) forget about that "all speakers need to match" BS, pick speakers that do a good ob for the fronts and fill in the rest. Centre being of similar sound to the fronts is nice, but not as big of a deal as ppl make it out to be IMHO.
    2) if you plan to run a table through this setup, make sure you use a rec/pre that can do pure analog / direct and can have no processing. This allows the pure analog signal to bypass all the a/d/a conversion and remain as an unfettered analog signal.
    3) depending on the other inputs you might want to look for a rec/pre that has lots of balanced ins and outs. If you're designing a system around a room, it gives you some options in where to place components and use longer balanced cables.
    4) don't overlook the convenience features such as 12v trigger ins and outs. More amps / devices to turn on/off can be a pain, so trigger is important.
    5) Consider the control aspect - with the demise of Logitech's remote business, you need to go more to something like a Crestron control system or something running on say an Ipad.
    For that kind of budget, I'd say look for a good pre-/pro, good main amp(s) and main speakers. Find a good Centre and don't sweat the surrouds too much, just make sure they are good quality. And a good sub - even tho you may get to mains that can go quite low for music, you always want a good sub for HT.
     
  15. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Ok, you didn't answer my question about room size but I'll let others deal with that. Is the room dedicated to this function or are you using an area of a larger room? Also, what will be the main music source: CD, SACD, local files, streaming?

    Any contemporary A/V system needs to incorporate height channels (e.g. Dolby Atmos). This complicates things as you need to get wiring to the ceiling or upper side walls, or use a main L/R speaker with top-facing height channel. At your budget, the former would be expected. If you aren't familiar with this, here is an excellent guide:

    https://www.dolby.com/siteassets/te...atmos-installation-guidelines-121318_r3.1.pdf

    I'd think you are looking at a 5.1.2 configuration at a minimum, and preferably 7.2.4. Brands I would initially research include Anthem, NAD, Emotiva, SVS, KEF. I'd want CAT 6 wired internet to the equipment and a dedicated power circuit.
     
    woody likes this.
  16. ca1ore

    ca1ore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stamford, CT, USA
    Not to mention cost .... a true hi-end surround sound system is expensive. Mine, bought new today, is well north of $150K.


    I don't doubt that. My system was designed specifically for music (I rarely use it for movie soundtracks) and I listen exclusively in surround.
     
  17. Tim 2

    Tim 2 MORE MUSIC PLEASE

    Location:
    Alberta Canada
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  18. Frank Bisby

    Frank Bisby Well-Known Member

    Absolutely, home theatre gets a bad wrap in audiophile circles and generally for good reason but if you start with a design priority as two channel there is no reason it can’t do both jobs well. Quite simply, build a two channel system you like and just add to it.

    the biggest reason a surround sound set up doesn’t play stereo well is because corners are cut with the mains. It makes sense, if you put all of your speaker budget into two speakers or into seven you get a different level of quality. There are a number of manufactures that make fantastic stereo speakers that have a matching center. Focal, Revel, paradigm, B&W even Polk can fit this description. The problem with speakers that are designed for HT is they are tuned for dialog as the the priority and they tend to sound bright when you listen to music. work this out on the front end by choosing speakers that sound warm or suit your taste when listening to the stereo source of your choice. Turntable, DAC or whatever.

    a separate power amp is critical. Most AVRs claim 150wpc (seven channels) or more in a integrated chassis that weighs about 30lb’s. A proper amp making that kind of power should be closer to 100lbs unless it’s class d and most AVRs are not class d. This spot is a big hit to the budget, I don’t think you can get it done by spending less than $3,000 and more is probably better. Rotel makes a good multi channel power amp for the money.

    The surround sound processing in the pre amp section is where you can run into a bottle neck for sound quality. Even using the “pure direct” or “stereo” setting in an AVR doesn’t compare favorably to a proper line stage preamp. Again, an issue that improves as you look at better equipment but the standard Marantz, Denon, Yamaha and others at that level are questionable for 2ch listening. An “HT bypass” button an a pre amp is the way to go if you can swing it.

    Really, you get what you pay for. 2ch often sounds better because you get more for your money. Spend $5,000 for two speakers and the power to dive them as compared to spending that same about to do the same thing over seven speakers and there is a difference in quality.

    I think most people that go down this path come to the realization that having two systems is the more reasonable choice. watching a football game or a movie with amazing mains is kind of pointless, you aren’t using what you are paying for. And….two channel home theatre can be the right answer if the priority is listening to music.
     
  19. Dahuky

    Dahuky Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    israel
    i don't get it. where does the bypass feature sits?
    it gets non preamped sound that i send into another integrated or seperates? or its already preamped?

    can you mention a specific model?
    source ->sur
     
  20. Dahuky

    Dahuky Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    israel
    when using a pre-out does the pre done in the reciver and i only connect it to pwer amp? or nothing is done and i get the signal as is and i need to pre+power\integrate?
     
  21. Frank Bisby

    Frank Bisby Well-Known Member

    Amplifiers with HT-bypass - update 22. May 2022

    an HT bypass (sometimes called a pass-through, a fixed-gain input, or unity-gain input, among other names), it allows one to more easily combine a stereo integrated amp or stereo preamp, if preferred for stereo music use, with an HT receiver or HT preamp in the same system. To utilize a bypass input, an HT receiver (also known as an audio-video receiver or AVR) must have preamp outputs (also called preouts) for the front left and right channels.

    If one combines an integrated amp with an HT receiver, the integrated amp's power amplifier section will drive the front left and right loudspeakers. For those utilizing a stereo preamp with a separate power amp, the latter powers the front left and right speakers.

    Here is a typical flow chart:

    HT receiver or HT preamp > Integrated amp or stereo preamp with bypass > Separate power amp (if applicable) > Front left and right loudspeakers

    Stereo sources will be connected to the integrated amp or stereo preamp. Multichannel sources will be connected to the HT receiver or HT preamp. If you use an outboard DAC, connect it to a line input (not phono) on the integrated amp or stereo preamp.

    Many stereo preamps that have an HT bypass require the user to power up the component even when you are not utilizing it, such as for surround-sound movies. A few stereo preamps, more conveniently, automatically switch over to bypass mode when the unit is turned off.
     
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  22. woody

    woody Forum Resident

    Location:
    charleston, sc
    Saw where you said there would be no room treatments. I’d make sure to have an AVR or processor with very good room correction software. Anthem is supposed to be good but I’ve not used it. I find the Marantz room correction lacking.
     
  23. The Pinhead

    The Pinhead SUDACA ROÑOSO

    YES !
     
  24. Ham Sandwich

    Ham Sandwich Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sherwood, OR, USA
    By moving a lot of air
     
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  25. gakerty

    gakerty Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    As mentioned before, HT bypass is a good option for quality 2 channel sound in a multichannel setup. My Rogue RP9 preamp has HT bypass (when turned off), so the power amp runs the front speakers as directed by the AV Receiver (Yamaha RX860 4k IIRC). The only problem with this is depleting tube time when watching movies, as I have a tube poweramp, but since I don't watch movies in surround terribly often, it's not a problem. The Yamaha drives the surround speakers obviously, I have a 7.3 system. My 2 channel is 95% of my usage. HT bypass is a nice option to have for those who want quality 2 channel sound. An AV receiver will not be good at all in 2 channel when compared to a proper pre+power or integrated. Edit: I'm sure there are exceptions, maybe some of the pricier Anthems or Mac multichannel units.
     
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