2.0 through a 5.1 amp?

Zigster

Standard Member
My move towards a new set-up is progressing. :)

At the moment, my AV gear (DVD player, Freeview, VCR) is wired into my stereo and I've been trying to persuade the wife to let me have a separate home cinema set-up. I've had limited success so far but, as a concession, she has agreed that I can get some new speakers for my stereo (as I've been feeling for a while that the current speakers don't do it justice) and have my stereo completely separate to the AV gear. However, she has not yet agreed to a 5.1 speaker set-up - negotiations continue but I'm not too hopeful.

That leaves me with a missing link between my old speakers and the rest of my AV gear. My question, as a newbie to the world of home cinema, is what amp should I get - a stereo amp or a many-channelled AV amp? Initially there will only be the two speakers (the left and right speakers at the front) but more may possibly be added at a later date when I think my wife isn't looking ;) , although the rear speakers may be some time yet :( . How do AV amps cope with less than 5.1 speakers? Do they have settings so that I will get the whole soundtrack even with 2 speakers? If I then added (say) a centre speaker, do I just change the settings and it will cope and fill in the gaps? I appreciate I won't get the full surround sound experience but will bits of the soundtrack be missing? With just 2 speakers, will an AV amp sound more cinema like than a hi-fi stereo amp or will there not be any difference?

If the answer is that a stereo amp will be better with just two speaker, I'm happy to get a relatively cheap s/h stereo amplifier on eBay or similar for now until my speaker count increases - I can always sell it at a later date or put it in my study with some other old hi-fi gear.

Hope that makes sense.

Thanks
 

Slimchandi

Novice Member
Most amps have the option to turn surround, sub and even centre speakers off if you don't have them in your system, and compensates automatically. I guess if you were to use a 5.1 amp with just stereo speakers, then any DD/DTS soundtracks would have be mixed down to stereo, as to negate the loss of dialogue through the centre speaker. Also, some will have advanced surround mode to simulate surround sound from a digital source using only two speakers. In my little experience of these options, they help to a degree, but in no way are a substitute for the full thing!
 

Tejstar

Distinguished Member
When I've got the whole family watching i sometimes turn the DD/DTS soundtracks to Stereo (2.0) as others don't like the excessive sound :nono:
 

Zigster

Standard Member
Thanks for the responses. Any suggestions what home cinema amp I should get? This is planned as a temporary measure while I persuade SWMBO of the joys of home cinema so just I want a pretty cheap one for now.

The Denon 1705 and the Yamaha 350 (AV amp not motorbike :) ) seem good bets at less than £200 each. Are there any others even cheaper that are worth looking at? Say around the £100 to £150 mark?
 

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