Anyone give up on PC Surround sound and just go stereo? Any regrets?

mikeo

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My main home theater setup had a center channel and 4x definitive tech bipolar towers, took the two rear towers and set them up next to my desk with another amp via toslink. Using the odyssey setup mic to calibrate the stereo setup to directly where I sit sounds way better for day to day audio use on my desktop vs the old logitech setup. Only bad part is once you get used to very nice home theater speakers every soundbar and soundsystem you hear out at a bar sounds like trash lol.
 

marshac

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It's interesting that the best audio products are either 30 years old (Sony amp above), or perhaps modern, but based on even older tech (tubes) - WTF happened to the audio industry?
 

xmadror

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Audio gear wasn't built to a price point back until the start of the 80's. Before that they were trying to build the best they could, now they are just trying to make as much money as possible and don't care about anything else.
Some brands never stopped making good product but you can't really buy those on a normal budget unless you are a serious audiophile.
 

Meeho

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It's interesting that the best audio products are either 30 years old (Sony amp above), or perhaps modern, but based on even older tech (tubes) - WTF happened to the audio industry?
Nothing, but there's been a surge in golden ears and audio snake oil pushers.
 

spaceman

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San Diego has some nice craigslist buys eh atari?

Anyway, has anyone mentioned this version of headphone surround? I have yet to hear it but it has been around a few years and has generally been well received. Also is considered to have improved over time.

https://smyth-research.com/
 

atarione

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San Diego has some nice craigslist buys eh atari?

Anyway, has anyone mentioned this version of headphone surround? I have yet to hear it but it has been around a few years and has generally been well received. Also is considered to have improved over time.

https://smyth-research.com/
SD did indeed.. however I have since moved (not super thrilled but it was pretty unavoidable) to Thousand Oaks.. the Sony stack and Yammy 3ways are all T.O. finds

to be honest these are a few years old finds now... it seems that goodwill has caught on.. was in there a week~ or so ago and some pretty "meh" stuff more or less at Ebay prices now... oh well.. I have more or less "retired" from audio shopping mostly because with the Sony Stack and speakers I already have I'm pretty satisfied and I am too lazy / like dealing with selling stuff to little to want to mess with "flipping" anyways.. I have a fair bit of gear I should probably move on but I'm too lazy / hate dealling with selling stuff.
 

NukeDukem

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Nope - still using CMSS-3D via Creative Labs Titanium HD I purchased in 2011. With HD800's it gives me an almost unfair advantage in games like Natural Selection 2 where positional audio is paramount. No onboard solution I've sampled comes close.

Patiently waiting for the AE-9!
 
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xmadror

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I have a fair bit of gear I should probably move on but I'm too lazy / hate dealling with selling stuff.
I'm kinda the same way, most of my unused/unwanted audio gear is either taking place in my home or a friend/family member got a good deal/gift.
One of them got 2 set of speakers and 4 receivers from me!
3-4 months ago another friend was insisting that he wanted to buy my B&W DM-3000 from my main system and that is how I ended with the kef 105.2.
When I realized I needed more amps for the kef he also bought my Bryston 3b. He didn't get a great deal on the speaker since I wasn't looking to sell but I made it up to him with a great deal on the bryston a week later!

I also have some gear that would fetch a good price on the used market but also needs some repair.
I need to find a new tech, the one I was using is about to retire and only works 2 days a week and often refuses to take on more work because he has 2-3months of work lined up.
 

bitgod

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I'm still using my Titanium HD too, though my system is at least as old as the card. :rolleyes: Though I'm putting together a new Ryzen system, I'll give the on-board audio a chance at first. Most likely I'll go back to what I'm used to until they stop making drivers for it.
 
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i have a 7.1 headset for gaming (corsair)
i never. ever. EVER. use the surround and i rarely even use the headset.

i used it more for work at my last job than anything else. now i just have low end altec lansing stereo speakers... not even 2.1... just stereo.
 

cjcox

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Been 2 channel forever. No regrets. Everything works... all the time.
 

Dan_D

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I just went back to surround sound this weekend. I can't believe what a difference it makes. I had been using some M-Audio AV-40's which were decent enough, but I always felt like I was missing something. Having said that, I've heard some awesome stereo setups. The one Kyle uses is freaking awesome and relatively cheap. I'm now using a 5.1 setup consisting of an old receiver and some Polk bookshelf speakers along with a Sony center and surround speakers. The sub is a Sony as well (unsure of the model) but the sound is actually quite amazing given the equipment I'm using. It's all generally unremarkable. I literally spent no money on this as it was all stuff that was either given to me, or were things I already had on hand which I purchased many years ago.

I'm hardly an audiophile but it sounds pretty damn good for the price. I always ran dedicated computer audio setups for years but was never totally satisfied with them. Years ago I started using old receivers on my PC that were handed down from my home theater setup. In my last house I was too lazy to setup a surround sound configuration and bought the M-Audio MV-40's. They served me well, but it was never as good as my surround setup. I had transitioned to using headphones allot of the time and although I don't mind that, it's not something I like doing all the time. I also watch TV shows and movies on my PC, so the 5.1 setup in my office seemed like something nice to have.
 
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Comixbooks

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Battlefield 5 does surround good but even I just ditched my surround logitechs. The airplanes in BF sound good.
 

DoubleTap

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I think I've come up with a compromise and a way forward.

I found a local Parasound A23 amplifier that I'm picking up today ($500 from a seller with perfect Audiogon feedback - seems like a good deal)

I'm going to use the pre-outs from my AVR to go to the amp and drive my L/R speakers.

Then I'm going to upgrade my L/R speakers from the entry level Q100s to the LS50s (which, at 85db, seem to require a good amp)

My AVR should work as a decent to good 2.1 preamp with bass management and still let me have 7.1 when I want to go there.

I need to pick up one more pair of Q100s (and the LS50s, of course) and then I'll have all Kef speakers that should blend well.

This would also put me in a good position to go to just a 2.1 system if I want to drop the AVR and extra speakers and pick up a 2.1 preamp.

Thoughts?

Edit: Dude sold the amp on Audiogon a few hours before we were to meet. Damn.
 
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DoubleTap

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After a swing and a miss on two local power amps, I decided to just order a pair of LS50s from Amazon.

The Black Edition speakers showed up today and just running them on my AVR, I'm blown away.

These have me saying "surround what?"

I think I can finally see living with a 2.1 + headphones system.
 

Comixbooks

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Found this video the other day on sound fiedelity I want to pick up those One More headphone he's showing off I heard they are really good.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Zeos is my spirit animal...

And out of his list, the Sennheiser x Massdrop HD58x would get my vote. Mostly because they're cheap for what you get, you can tune the sound by removing the foam inserts, you can find cables for them easily, and they take a modmic very well due to the grill shape.

I'll let Dimitri over at HardwareCanucks explain more
 

N4CR

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It's interesting that the best audio products are either 30 years old (Sony amp above), or perhaps modern, but based on even older tech (tubes) - WTF happened to the audio industry?
This is the McLaren F1 of high end audio. Over two decades old and still the yardstick. (I've always wanted to get some and mod them with the diamond tweeter (on that note I held one of those cones recently, sub- gram weight, light as a feather literally...)).
Nautilus_7_1.jpg B&W_Nautilus.jpg

And although surround is great, as a primarily music type, I went all in on a 2.1 Setup a decade ago. Does great and entertains just fine.
This year I want to get my 21" sub finished. 31mm xmax XBL² driver 1500W RMS continuous fed by 2.4kW of Class AB, toroid-driven dual custom monoblocks ;D
 
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Audio gear wasn't built to a price point back until the start of the 80's. Before that they were trying to build the best they could, now they are just trying to make as much money as possible and don't care about anything else.
Some brands never stopped making good product but you can't really buy those on a normal budget unless you are a serious audiophile.
Economic systems are cyclical and usually only last around 35 years or so anyway. We never reckoned with 2008 and just papered over that collapse of the system, this coming recession may finally cause a full reset. Maybe they will make stock buybacks illegal and the system will go back to something like the national economies, full-employment, pro-labor regime of 1945-1980. Then you might get the golden age of products back, heh. Hopefully that reset won't require a world war.
 

Panzer_X

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I went away from a 5.1 system and use just stereo for a few years now and i watch everything on my pc but dont really miss the surround. Most of the time I use a good set of headphones and an O2 usb amp and dac combo from mayflower electronics if im sitting at the desk.
 

Ready4Dis

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I prefer surround sound to headphones for gaming and I have a really nice 7.1 system in my office.

The problem is I can rarely use it.

1. I almost never watch TV/Movies in here
2. I don't always want to let everyone know I'm gaming with speakers
3. A lot of games don't have good surround sound support. By a lot, I mean a few.
4. The whole HDMI audio connection is always a hassle.
5. I don't want my little kids hearing the discord conversation in games.

For me, the best surround sound games are Overwatch and Guild Wars 2 (and Battlefield, but I don't love the last two versions) but I don't play them that much.

I don't really prefer headphones, but I find myself using them more and more.

I'm wondering if it's time to take it down, sell off the parts and roll the cash into a pair of LS50s (for music mostly)

Current speakers:

KEF Q100 L/R
KEF Q200c C
JBL Arena B15 (side and rear surrounds)

Even though it's hard to use, there just isn't anything quite like hearing things clearly in your surround channels - it really puts you in the game...
I used to run fiberoptic to my surround sound, meh, headphones are so much simpler and sound well enough.
 

IdiotInCharge

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headphones are so much simpler and sound well enough.
If you want to reproduce what good headphones can do with speakers, take your basic headphone + amp + DAC setup and multiply by a least ten.

Granted, you'd be blown away, but you're talking 7.2.4 + amps + room treatment + processing + room correction, and that's if you're doing it all cheaply :D
 

cjcox

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Not PC related, though I'm 2-channel there, but all around, I'm 2-channel. It just makes life so much easier.

(I once had a 7.1 setup with a Yamaha receiver, but lightning killed it)
 

OFaceSIG

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Frostbite (battlefield, battlefront) does an excellent job at positional audio with two channels. But very few game engines do anymore unless you explicitly output to 5.1 channels. So if you want "surround" only creative or razer's software implementation seem to do it well at all. The rest literally seem to just add echo which is retarded.
 

Arcygenical

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Stereo all the way for me. Dual 12" ported woofers and stereo 3 ways on top.

Whole setup pulls around 150wdc from a 1kw 24v power supply with Ebay audio amplifier boards at good volume, up to 300w at absolute max from the wall (goes beyond my ammeter panel wattage measure limit) so perhaps 250wdc.
 

Tol

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Tried out the Sound Blaster Katana soundbar at E3 right about the time it came out a couple years ago and decided at that moment that it was time for me to ditch the hand me down home theater gear that I had been using with my computers.

It was relatively poor sounding out of the box but since I already had the powered sub sitting there, I spliced some wire and "fixed" the Katana so that it sounds amazing. The positional audio is certainly not as good as a real 5.1 setup but sounds from the rear definitely sound different than sounds from the front or side.

I'm starting a new job where I'll be working from home in a couple weeks....I'll have to revisit this thread in a year because I already have thoughts of trying out an in-wall/in-ceiling setup. My fear with it is just that I'm going to be using different monitor setups and in-wall speakers could get blocked.
 

B00nie

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This is the McLaren F1 of high end audio. Over two decades old and still the yardstick. (I've always wanted to get some and mod them with the diamond tweeter (on that note I held one of those cones recently, sub- gram weight, light as a feather literally...)).
View attachment 177788 View attachment 177789

And although surround is great, as a primarily music type, I went all in on a 2.1 Setup a decade ago. Does great and entertains just fine.
This year I want to get my 21" sub finished. 31mm xmax XBL² driver 1500W RMS continuous fed by 2.4kW of Class AB, toroid-driven dual custom monoblocks ;D
Have you actually heard the Nautilus? They're technically rather conventional 4-way speakers with a complicated enclosure.
 

DoubleTap

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Tried out the Sound Blaster Katana soundbar at E3 right about the time it came out a couple years ago and decided at that moment that it was time for me to ditch the hand me down home theater gear that I had been using with my computers.

It was relatively poor sounding out of the box but since I already had the powered sub sitting there, I spliced some wire and "fixed" the Katana so that it sounds amazing. The positional audio is certainly not as good as a real 5.1 setup but sounds from the rear definitely sound different than sounds from the front or side.

I'm starting a new job where I'll be working from home in a couple weeks....I'll have to revisit this thread in a year because I already have thoughts of trying out an in-wall/in-ceiling setup. My fear with it is just that I'm going to be using different monitor setups and in-wall speakers could get blocked.
You really shouldn't have any screen real estate higher than your head, so if you do in wall, maybe put it a couple inches above that. You'll want to use something with decent off axis performance, but that's basically what I do with stands and wall mounts and it works great.
 

chaos4u

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There is some interesting options available to those who want to 'play' With Very good stereo speakers (as in creating a convincing stereo sound stage)
combined with equalizer apo and a decent irs convolver and maybe combined with rearplugs to tweak the soundstage a bit.

one can achieve phantom surround sound that rivals and even surpasses those all in one soundbars that are in the store. (even though they are based on the same principles)

while not a substitution for a true surround setup and i recommend one of those over this but if space is an issue than its hard to beat a properly setup stereo sound system and combined with some processing techniques you would be surprised what 2 speakers can actually do.

may well be worth the effort in playing around and tweaking it to suit your setup as you could just possible achieve decent surround sound with just 2 speakers.

and of course of note, this is very dependent on a sweet spot so dont expect to work outside of that zone.
 
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IdiotInCharge

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may well be worth the effort in playing around and tweaking it to suit your setup as you could just possible achieve decent surround sound with just 2 speakers.

and of course of note, this is very dependent on a sweet spot so dont expect to work outside of that zone.
You can do pretty well with decent speakers, but for me, this is what my Focal Elex are for ;)
 

D-EJ915

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Have you actually heard the Nautilus? They're technically rather conventional 4-way speakers with a complicated enclosure.
Nautilus is just a halo product, there are a lot better speakers for a lot less money. Even when they came out reviewers said the cheaper models sounded better.

Surround on pc is too much effort so I don't really use it. I just use upmix on my processor if I want some easy listening music.

All these posts though about HDMI, noise and SPDIF oh my... just wow lol.
 

MavericK

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Still rocking 5.1 here, just got the Logitech Z906 set not too long ago. Nothing really compares to true surround in my experience.
 

VIC-20

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For anyone that has the space, Klipsch RP-280F towers are discontinued and can be found for rock bottom prices in the US.

Love the bass from my RF-82 IIs but FAR prefer the horns on my RP-260F (seriously you need to hear these horns!). I would imagine the RP-280Fs would therefore be perfect if you love music. They are crazy sensitive, so you need very little power to drive them.

The bookshelf RP-150m/160m are being sold off cheap too to make room for new series, if you can find them. I got some 150s for $150 CAD!

Also, JBL Studio 570/580/590 sales come up all the time, but you need to sit closer to them and feed them a ton of power because they are not sensitive at all. Lucky buggers. Can't get them in Canada.

EDIT: I should note I also own Polk S60 towers. They handle guitar distortion much better than horns and put out ridiculous amounts of bass. Not as tight as the Klipsch towers though, just more of it. There are a better option if you listen to lots of metal. Any genre with powerful female vocals, strings (especially piano), brass, drums and pop music the Klipsch's are incredible. Gives you goosebumps.
 
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5150Joker

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I just use my astro a50 gen 3 and onboard audio in stereo mode which sounds great to me in games and movies.
 

DoubleTap

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Nautilus is just a halo product, there are a lot better speakers for a lot less money. Even when they came out reviewers said the cheaper models sounded better.

Surround on pc is too much effort so I don't really use it. I just use upmix on my processor if I want some easy listening music.

All these posts though about HDMI, noise and SPDIF oh my... just wow lol.
I've found HDMI to be pretty easy and transparent once you get a hardware EDID emulator.

When I play stereo content, the AVR runs in 2.1, when I open a game with surround sound, the AVR kicks into multi channel mode without me doing anything.

If I want to use headphones, I hit the button on my Xonar U7 MkII and it swaps inputs to it's onboard headphone amp.

No audible noise, just easy.
 

IdiotInCharge

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When I play stereo content, the AVR runs in 2.1, when I open a game with surround sound, the AVR kicks into multi channel mode without me doing anything.
The last time I tried this, admittedly six or seven years ago, it worked pretty dang well. I think my main issue was that the receiver added lag to the setup, so video was extremely laggy; I'd also only set it up in the living room, and I just don't game there, so I haven't really messed with it since.

That, and my HT system doesn't come close to the quality of my desktop sound setups, as well as headphones :D
 

D-EJ915

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I've found HDMI to be pretty easy and transparent once you get a hardware EDID emulator.

When I play stereo content, the AVR runs in 2.1, when I open a game with surround sound, the AVR kicks into multi channel mode without me doing anything.

If I want to use headphones, I hit the button on my Xonar U7 MkII and it swaps inputs to it's onboard headphone amp.

No audible noise, just easy.
You got a link to one of those emulators?
 

DoubleTap

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You got a link to one of those emulators?
The one I use is no longer being made: https://www.amazon.com/Gefen-EXT-HDMI-EDIDP-HDmi-Detective-Plus/dp/B001RIMZUW/

Just search for "edid emulator" on Amazon. You want one with input and output. You might also want one that does 4K which mine does not, but for an accessory display, it's fine.

Something worth pointing out although it's less of an issue now than 5 years ago, but Nvidia seems to disable HDMI audio if you use SLI...

Edit: Someone mentioned lag while using HDMI audio - I've never run into that and would be surprised if that's an issue on a modern system - it's just a digital transport, there shouldn't be any processing to slow down or create lag.

However, Nvidia systems with a 144Hz monitor and a 60Hz monitor often have an issue where playing active content (like youtube or netflix) on the 60Hz screen will make the 144Hz screen drop down to 60Hz.
 
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D-EJ915

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The one I use is no longer being made: https://www.amazon.com/Gefen-EXT-HDMI-EDIDP-HDmi-Detective-Plus/dp/B001RIMZUW/

Just search for "edid emulator" on Amazon. You want one with input and output. You might also want one that does 4K which mine does not, but for an accessory display, it's fine.

Something worth pointing out although it's less of an issue now than 5 years ago, but Nvidia seems to disable HDMI audio if you use SLI...

Edit: Someone mentioned lag while using HDMI audio - I've never run into that and would be surprised if that's an issue on a modern system - it's just a digital transport, there shouldn't be any processing to slow down or create lag.

However, Nvidia systems with a 144Hz monitor and a 60Hz monitor often have an issue where playing active content (like youtube or netflix) on the 60Hz screen will make the 144Hz screen drop down to 60Hz.
Alright thanks I might give it a shot again.
 

VIC-20

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I've found HDMI to be pretty easy and transparent once you get a hardware EDID emulator.

When I play stereo content, the AVR runs in 2.1, when I open a game with surround sound, the AVR kicks into multi channel mode without me doing anything.

If I want to use headphones, I hit the button on my Xonar U7 MkII and it swaps inputs to it's onboard headphone amp.

No audible noise, just easy.
I haven't yet heard an AVR that I could stand listening to for music. (Sold my Yamaha RX-V781 as it was horrible. Bought a Denon AVR-X1440H and sold it almost immediately too.) They seem completely lifeless to me, compared to a vintage amp or receiver (especially a 2238/2252 Marantz as a pre out to a power amp, or a Sony TA-3650). Which AVR are you using? There must be something out there that is decent.
 
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