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Who has moved from 5.1 to stereo?

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
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For a very long time now I’ve been contemplating selling all my AV equipment and move to a pure stereo system. I’m thinking something along the lines of ATC / PMC speakers and either Naim XS2/ Rega Elicit-r amplification.

I do not have space to do both but another option is just to add a stereo amplifier. The problem here though is that I’d like to move away from the b&w’s for music, so adding a stereo amp AND replacing 5 speakers with something in the league of ATC or PMC willl be very expensive.

The driver is that I’m really missing my music and even with the significant investment in my current setup I’m not satisfied for music. With films though, it’s awesome and I do like a film...which is the rub.

So the question is this...have any of you completed the same move and if so did you have any regrets?
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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For watching blu rays, which we do a lot, I wouldn't want to move back to a 2.0 system from my 5.0.2 system.

What I have is 2 genuinely good, easy to drive main front speakers. And play music via my AV amp. The AV amp knocks the sound quality down a bit, compared to a world class 2 channel amp, but overall, for 2.0 music it's still a fine sounding system.

It's the pareto effect of the speakers (plus speaker room interaction), whereby speakers (and room) determine 80% of system sound quality.

Anyway, just a suggestion. Keep your AV system and just add the best sounding main front speakers that you can (and preferably pick easy to drive speakers).

Edit:and BTW, mixing speakers with a modern AV amp like your Yamaha a3060 is easy. I have speakers from 3 different manufacturers in my AV system with them ranging in efficiency from 85dbs/2.83v@1m to 97dbs. It takes the same amount of time and effort to set up and calibrate such a system as it does with a set of "matching" speakers.
 

muljao

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Jul 18, 2016
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I had a Yamaha 5.1 system with jamo speakers, went with 2.0. I don't miss the 5.1 at all but truthfully that may be because with a young family the 5.1 sound was never pushed anyway.

In my shed I set up a room. I briefly thought about 5.1 again but went with a big (relatively) set of studio monitors and run them in stereo from the preouts of an av receiver. I'm glad I went with the simpler option, it's not surround but I fend it good enough
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Watching a movie sound track on full 5.1 is so good.
You could get better front speakers and easy to drive or add in a separate power amp on AV bypass and have the best of both worlds.

I did this with Yamaha AV 3050 and Hegel h360 running ATC speakers
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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Thanks everyone.

Looks like there is such a spread of opinions as almost every post is a little different but the message is generally that ill pron regret it.
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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Andrewjvt said:
Watching a movie sound track on full 5.1 is so good. You could get better front speakers and easy to drive or add in a separate power amp on AV bypass and have the best of both worlds.

I did this with Yamaha AV 3050 and Hegel h360 running ATC speakers
This is actually very interesting. Did you ever try the ATCs directly with the Yamaha? If so, how did it sound?
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Sliced Bread said:
Andrewjvt said:
Watching a movie sound track on full 5.1 is so good. You could get better front speakers and easy to drive or add in a separate power amp on AV bypass and have the best of both worlds.

I did this with Yamaha AV 3050 and Hegel h360 running ATC speakers
This is actually very interesting.  Did you ever try the ATCs directly with the Yamaha?  If so, how did it sound?
I never did as I had the Hegel first
And never was bothering with experiments
 

Sliced Bread

Well-known member
Jul 28, 2010
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Andrewjvt said:
Sliced Bread said:
Andrewjvt said:
Watching a movie sound track on full 5.1 is so good. You could get better front speakers and easy to drive or add in a separate power amp on AV bypass and have the best of both worlds.

I did this with Yamaha AV 3050 and Hegel h360 running ATC speakers
This is actually very interesting. Did you ever try the ATCs directly with the Yamaha? If so, how did it sound?
I never did as I had the Hegel first And never was bothering with experiments
ah ok. Do you find the left and right channels integrate?
 

Leeps

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Dec 10, 2012
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I was in a similar situation to you a while back and was contemplating what to do.

Some years ago I had a 2-channel set up that I was very happy for music, but had heard what a decent multi-channel system could do for movies and was tempted to take that route, which is what I did. I was very happy indeed with movies, but only 90% of the way there for music, and that last elusive 10% is the special bit that really brings a smile to your face.

But my system was so good for multi-channel, I just knew I'd miss it too much if I went back to 2-channel only. Listening to music on my old AV receiver may have lost that 10%, but listening to movies on it compared to my former stereo system was 100% better.

I had considered using the pre-outs from my AV receiver into a stereo amp, but a friend of mine who's done this found he missed the total lack of room correction on his stereo amp: it was just too bassy and there was nothing he could do about it. So he just uses the integrated he bought as a power amp.

I didn't really want too many extra boxes, the spaghetti around the back of my system is already enough (I have 5.1 with bi-amped fronts, so 7.1's worth of speaker cable). So in the end I just went for a more musical AV receiver, the Anthem MRX710. I have an acoustically difficult room, so I was nervous about spending a wad on a stereo amp with no room correction and having a similar problem to my friend.

So, finally, after a fair bit of box-swapping over the years, I have a system I am TOTALLY content with for music and movies. The quality on both is just awesome. The bass is tight and well-controlled, the Anthem room correction has done wonders with my room - a major improvement over Pioneer's room correction, but the spot-on rhythm and timing is back too that I remember from my stereo set-up of old. So I really feel that I now have my cake and eat it.

The downside of having a more musical AVR however is cost. Anthems and higher-end Arcams which are known for their musicality are expensive. So I went used. My Anthem set me back £750. It has easily been the biggest single improvement to my system in about 8 years: no buyers remorse here.
 

Andrewjvt

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Jun 18, 2014
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Sliced Bread said:
Andrewjvt said:
Sliced Bread said:
Andrewjvt said:
Watching a movie sound track on full 5.1 is so good. You could get better front speakers and easy to drive or add in a separate power amp on AV bypass and have the best of both worlds.

I did this with Yamaha AV 3050 and Hegel h360 running ATC speakers
This is actually very interesting.  Did you ever try the ATCs directly with the Yamaha?  If so, how did it sound?
I never did as I had the Hegel first And never was bothering with experiments
ah ok.  Do you find the left and right channels integrate?
Ja was easy to set up
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
559
337
19,270
I didn’t exactly move from 5.1 to stereo, but about 13 years ago I bought a decent though fairly modest Denon and KEF 5.1 system. I was shocked how quickly it went out of date, being pre HDMI, and then after about four years the amp began ‘rustling’ - some component breaking down, I assumed.

Temporarily, I routed the TV through my main stereo of the time and it was so much better I disconnected the 5.1 and then never bothered with it when we moved - we only connected the left, centre, right and sub. Now we don’t use it at all, but I’m not much of a movie buff, so maybe that explains it?

Never again though.
 

Native_bon

Well-known member
Nov 26, 2008
180
2
18,595
Leeps said:
I was in a similar situation to you a while back and was contemplating what to do.

Some years ago I had a 2-channel set up that I was very happy for music, but had heard what a decent multi-channel system could do for movies and was tempted to take that route, which is what I did. I was very happy indeed with movies, but only 90% of the way there for music, and that last elusive 10% is the special bit that really brings a smile to your face.

But my system was so good for multi-channel, I just knew I'd miss it too much if I went back to 2-channel only. Listening to music on my old AV receiver may have lost that 10%, but listening to movies on it compared to my former stereo system was 100% better.

I had considered using the pre-outs from my AV receiver into a stereo amp, but a friend of mine who's done this found he missed the total lack of room correction on his stereo amp: it was just too bassy and there was nothing he could do about it. So he just uses the integrated he bought as a power amp.

I didn't really want too many extra boxes, the spaghetti around the back of my system is already enough (I have 5.1 with bi-amped fronts, so 7.1's worth of speaker cable). So in the end I just went for a more musical AV receiver, the Anthem MRX710. I have an acoustically difficult room, so I was nervous about spending a wad on a stereo amp with no room correction and having a similar problem to my friend.

So, finally, after a fair bit of box-swapping over the years, I have a system I am TOTALLY content with for music and movies. The quality on both is just awesome. The bass is tight and well-controlled, the Anthem room correction has done wonders with my room - a major improvement over Pioneer's room correction, but the spot-on rhythm and timing is back too that I remember from my stereo set-up of old. So I really feel that I now have my cake and eat it.

The downside of having a more musical AVR however is cost. Anthems and higher-end Arcams which are known for their musicality are expensive. So I went used. My Anthem set me back £750. It has easily been the biggest single improvement to my system in about 8 years: no buyers remorse here.
My experience mirrors yours as well. Already got too many boxes and was not ready to add more. In the end settled for the Arcam AVR 450 which was an opened box for £1,650. Yes still a lot of money but then the 450 was going for £2,200 then. Still enjoying it till today. For an Av amp it really is musical, actually perferred it to some 2 channel amps. Got my eyes on the Arcam 850, when on last leg and last few should be able to pick up at reasonable price. I think the op should try out an Anthem or Arcam first if not satified then go the 2 channel route.
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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I agree with the gentleman above. The Arcam and Anthem AV units tend to be more musical so they could be a genuine option for you. If you listen to music more than you do movies and get a lot more enjoyment from it it is probably better for you to go back to a stereo set up.
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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Thank you everyone. Some great suggestions.

Do you think that a change to the amplifier (either musical AV or adding a stereo amp) would be more beneficial than changing the speaker package to something built around say the ATC scm7/11/19 with my existing Yammy?

Thanks
 

lindsayt

New member
Apr 8, 2011
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Changing your 2 main fronts will be more beneficial than an amplification change.

B&W CM8 are not good speakers.

Don't change the whole speaker package. CM1's, whilst being one of the worst speakers I've ever auditioned, are still good enough for rear surround duties.

Small ATC's wouldn't be my choice, but if you really like them, go ahead.
 

newlash09

Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
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In my opinion, a stereo system cannot beat a dedicated HT system when it comes to immersive movie audio. Especially now with atmos, AV setup's have marched a step ahead of stereo. Though the room correction aimed to make them go loud in small spaces robs them off the magic or sparkle or life whatever in music. That is where dedicated stereo systems shine in full glory. Adding a 2 channel amp in front of all that processing will add more power and better control, but might not get that magic back.

Some room corrections are superior to others. Especially ARC and Dirac. If using audessey, better to buy the 20 pound audessey multi EQ app, and then fine tune audessey correction to intervene only below 800hz , as this supposedly restores the life back in music.

In essence neither is a replacement for the other :)
 

Strictly Stereo

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Jan 29, 2018
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I decided some time ago that I preferred two really high quality channels to six or more mediocre ones. There are some trade offs, but it is possible to build a hugely immersive two channel system.
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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Thank you again for your inputs.

Again, so many different experiences I guess I will never know until I try a system out myself. Though it is alot of demoing when I'm not even sure if I'm looking at AV or Stereo :)

The hard part is that Movies do sound particualrly good with the current setup. It's just a shame that it's not musical enough for me.

I might just pickup a stereo amp for a demo to begin with to see what difference that makes.

Strictly Stereo - in your experience how much are you looking to spend to get a decent movie performance out of a stereo system that is also good with music? I'm quite happy to scrifice surround if fidelity makes up for it in other ways. I imagine I would need to go for something like ATC 40's with a capable amp.

Thanks again everyone for your input. There's some interesting feedback here.
 

newlash09

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Aug 28, 2015
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Do you have something like a 'pure direct' mode on the Yamaha 3060. That should disable all the ypao processing in the background, and give you a more musical sound.

In my humble opinion, the reason why the magic in music goes missing in a avr is because of the ypao processing in the background. And sticking a stereo amp won't bring that difference back. Though you could feed your sources directly into your stereo amp, bypassing the Yamaha 3060, and this should bring back the missing bits in music.

Ideally if you are happy with your HT performance, and have room for a dedicated music setup, I would suggest to leave your HT alone and start afresh. I have my HT in my small living room of 11x17 ft. And my stereo sits in my dining room of 12x22ft. I could never fit my stereo inside my living room without sonic compromises.
 

Strictly Stereo

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Jan 29, 2018
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Sliced Bread said:
Strictly Stereo - in your experience how much are you looking to spend to get a decent movie performance out of a stereo system that is also good with music? I'm quite happy to scrifice surround if fidelity makes up for it in other ways. I imagine I would need to go for something like ATC 40's with a capable amp.
I cannot answer that without knowing more about your room, your existing setup and your listening preferences. Pick speakers which suit your room first and then choose an amplifier which is capable of driving those speakers effectively. For the roughly £5.5k cost of the SCM40 plus NAIT XS 2 / Elicit R system, there are plenty of really excellent sounding options available, but some will suit your space and taste better than others.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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I'm sorry if you've answered these before:

- What sort of music do you listen to?
- How much money are you prepared to spend?
- I take it that your 2 channel will be in the same room as your AV
- What way do you like your 2 channel system to sound?

FWIW. I would rather have a good 2 channel system, than an AV system that is very mediocre with music.

The best way to have both, is attach a good Stereo Amp with HT Bypass, to the Pre-Outs of your AV amp.

Something like a Linn Majik DSM allows 2.1 and has HDMI connectivity.
 

Sliced Bread

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Jul 28, 2010
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newlash09 said:
Do you have something like a 'pure direct' mode on the Yamaha 3060. That should disable all the ypao processing in the background, and give you a more musical sound.

In my humble opinion, the reason why the magic in music goes missing in a avr is because of the ypao processing in the background. And sticking a stereo amp won't bring that difference back. Though you could feed your sources directly into your stereo amp, bypassing the Yamaha 3060, and this should bring back the missing bits in music.
Yeah it has a pure direct mode but it’s still not great for music to be honest.

In terms of adding the stereo amp i was going to add one connection to the L&R for the av receiver but my streamer / dac into a separate input. This way the receiver will not be in the chain for stereo music at all.
 

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