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robert_kc

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  1. For folk/blues music (e.g., Eva Cassidy), my 8wpc single-ended pentode amp sounds great driving my Klipsch RF-7II speakers. For big-band music (e.g., Tony Bennett), my 8wpc single-ended pentode amp sounds great when powered subwoofers off-load the deep bass from my SEP amp and main RF-7II speakers. (My Oppo UDP-205 provides “bass management” which off-loads deep bass from the main amp and speakers.) For the music that I mostly listen to – i.e., large-scale orchestral music and opera, in my basement system I prefer a 6L6GC push/pull stereo tube amp driving the main front left & right Klipsch RF-7II speakers, and a second stereo push/pull amp driving the center (RF-7II) and single rear speaker (RF-7). My Oppo UDP-205 provides “bass management” which off-loads deep bass from the main amp and speakers to two powered subwoofers. In my living room system where the main left & right speakers are Snell Type CV (less sensitive than Klipsch), my Oppo universal player off-loads the deep bass to a powered subwoofer, and my McIntosh MC275 is able to deliver large-scale classical music via my Snell Type CV. Bottom line, speaker sensitivity and room size affect amplifier power requirements. And there’s a big difference in playing an LP of a “little girl with a guitar” (no disrespect to Eva Cassidy) in a small listening room, vs. delivering in a large listening room an experience that approximates the live performance of Mahler Symphony 2. This is particularly true for a recording that features uncompromised dynamic range and frequency range such as this modern Blu-ray that features an uncompressed DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track:
  2. My advice for anyone who wants the best audio quality for recorded music, is that they first focus on what types of recordings are available for the music they like. Only then can they make an informed decision about a hi-fi system that supports the best quality recordings that are available for the genres they’re interested in. Garbage-in/garbage-out – a hi-fi system will never sound better than the recordings. The technology of recorded music has come a long way since LPs and CDs. The genre(s) of music determines which of the following formats are relevant: CD (Stereo-only. No multi-channel (e.g., 5.1) capability.) DVD (stereo and 5.1) DVD-Audio (stereo and 5.1) SACD (stereo and 5.1) Blu-ray (DTS-HD MA 5.1, plus stereo track, and sometimes additional audio tracks) Pure Audio Blu-ray (DTS-HD MA 5.1, plus stereo track, and sometimes additional audio tracks) Ultra HD Blu-ray (DTS-HD MA 5.1, plus stereo track, and sometimes additional audio tracks) Hi-res downloads - 24bit/192kHz PCM (IME, stereo), and hi-res DSD (stereo and 5.1) For classical music I prefer modern performances/recordings (i.e., performances recorded in the last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in multi-channel hi-res digital (e.g., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD), and delivered on a disc featuring DTS-HD MA 5.1 (e.g., Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray), or an SACD disc that features multi-channel DSD. Following are just a few examples of resources for hi-res recordings. (FWIW, I often buy Blu-ray and SACD discs from amazon.) On amazon.com, search for: "<genre> Blu-ray", and "<genre> SACD" https://www.prestomusic.com/classical https://concertsondvd.com/ https://hraudio.net/ https://www.nativedsd.com/ https://www.highresaudio.com/en Etc. My advice is to first shop for recordings – and then build a system that supports the recordings you want. Another decision is whether you’re satisfied with stereo, or want multi-channel. (There are many modern hi-res multi-channel classical recordings available, and IMO/IME such recordings excel at recreating the live concert hall experience.) Some DACs are connected via coax or TOSLINK, which are not capable of uncompromised hi-res playback, or multi-channel playback. Uncompromised playback of hi-res multi-channel requires DACs built into a universal player, or an HDMI connected DAC (or AVR). Another possible solution is to stream music from a computer (or NAS) across a high-speed network (ethernet or wi-fi). (I have no experience with this, so I can’t attest to this.) The problem is copying SACDs and Blu-rays to a computer, which is not straightforward. (Copying the SACD layer (vs. CD layer) of a hybrid SACD disc requires arcane “hacking” procedures.) Bottom line: I recommend that an audiophile proceeds carefully when assessing whether an external DAC meets their needs.
  3. OP: Do you attend live performances of large-scale classical music performed in a world-class symphony hall where there is no use of a sound reinforcement system? The reason I’m asking is that I’m curious if you’ve experienced the incredible power of a large orchestra when performing in a purpose-built hall. If you are familiar with the potential power of large-scale classical music, is it your goal to come as close as possible to recreating this concert hall experience in your home? Or, is your goal for your in-home experience to be a “small-scale simulacrum” of the live music (i.e., pleasant sounding, but not reproducing the full dynamic range, or deep bass)? FWIW/IMO – the most important first step is to define your goals for your hi-fi system. Only then can you make an informed decision about the equipment required.
  4. Here’s my thoughts about whether single-ended tube amps are “up to the job”: https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/193845-why-flea-power-is-often-enough/&do=findComment&comment=2529684 Regarding imaging, IME when I’m seated mid-hall in the symphony hall, there is no localization of instruments. Rather, the sound from the orchestra is blended by the hall. Therefore, “localization” is not a criterion for me when assessing the sound quality of my hi-fi systems. I care about reproducing the natural timbre of orchestral instruments, and reproducing the full dynamic range and frequency range of large-scale classical music.
  5. OP: I’ll offer a different perspective. Your hi-fi system will never sound better than the recordings. I suggest that you consider state-of-the-art recordings. For classical music I prefer modern performances/recordings (i.e., performances recorded in the last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in multi-channel hi-res digital (e.g., 24bit/192kHz PCM, or DSD), and delivered on a disc featuring DTS-HD MA 5.1 (e.g., Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray), or an SACD disc that features multi-channel DSD. Here’s one of my posts that provides examples of modern hi-res classical recordings: https://community.klipsch.com/index.php?/topic/202102-classical-recordings/&do=findComment&comment=2658804 For classical music, I enjoy RF-7 II driven by tube amps, and augmented by large subwoofers. I suggest that you consider the newer RF-7 III for a speaker capable of delivering large-scale orchestral music, while occupying a relatively small footprint. I also suggest that you consider multi-channel. If you’re interested, I can explain my 4.1 configurations that employ tube amps (i.e., no AVR or pre-processor).
  6. P.S. In case you weren't aware, you can administer the Oppo BDP-103's parameters as follows: Output Volume: Variable Power On Volume: Last, or set a Custom value. (I choose a low Custom value.) You can also adjust trim levels for each channel, if needed.
  7. I’m not sure if I completely understand the Luxman F-114’s inputs and outputs. (Your explanation and a diagram of the back panel helped, but I’m not sure if I understand 100%.) Have you considered the following simple idea? FWIW, in several of my systems that involve multiple amps, and pre-amps, where there are many combinations of connections possible, I employ a very simple solution. For each source, I have short male/female RCA cables (labeled appropriately) that make the outputs more easily accessible at the front of the unit. For each amp I have suitable length male/male cables (appropriately labeled) that are easily accessible at the front of the unit. Simply plug whichever amps’ male cable into whichever source’s female cable. Am I correct that for you, there would be two sources, and one pair of amps that collectively provide 5 channels? Pull the rear and center jumpers on the Luxman F-114 and install cables as follows: • Source 1: Oppo M/F cables labeled: o Oppo right front out o Oppo left front out o Oppo center out o Oppo right rear out o Oppo left rear out • Source 2: Luxman F-114 M/F cables labeled: o Luxman F-114 right front out o Luxman F-114 left front out o Luxman F-114 center out o Luxman F-114 right rear out o Luxman F-114 left rear out • Amp input M/M cables labeled: o Luxman R-115 right front in o Luxman R-115 left front in o Luxman F-114 center main in o Luxman F-114 right rear main in o Luxman F-114 left rear main in Would this work with your Luxman R-115, Luxman F-114, and Oppo BDP-103? Have you tried cabling the Oppo with the Luxman R-115 and F-114 in this manner? If this will work, but the idea of cables hanging loose isn’t appealing, you could employ RCA patch panels, such as this: https://www.vadcon.com/pp/ppd12-rcabgis.html (This company offers many varieties of patch panels. I use their banana plug patch panels for speakers.) Your thoughts?
  8. If I’m understanding the OP’s situation correctly, I tend to agree with this elegantly concise statement. OTOH, following is my long-winded commentary … based largely on my ignorance … OP: I downloaded the User Manual for your Luxman F-114. Am I correct that the F-114 does not have line-level inputs for 3 channels – i.e., it cannot be used as a 3-channel amp? Am I correct that the F-114 decodes a 1980s era surround-sound format called Dolby Pro Logic? I know nothing about this. (I use Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track, which is decoded by the Oppo players. I also use the Oppo players to decode multi-channel SACD.) Am I correct that Dolby Pro Logic is an antiquated attempt at pseudo-surround-sound? Do you have a library of old recordings that employ Dolby Pro Logic that you want to play? Are these VHS tapes? Laser disc? Other? Can these recordings be replaced with more modern versions (e.g., Blu-ray)? Or, do you want to play modern Blu-ray and SACD recordings? My earlier post explains how the Oppo universal players can be used with traditional hi-fi amps that have line-level analog audio inputs to play modern Blu-ray and SACD discs, and support anywhere from stereo to 7.1. It seems to me that you have several options: If you have enough traditional hi-fi amps (i.e., RCA line-level audio inputs) to connect to the Oppo’s 5.1 analog audio outputs, then implement one of the configurations I described earlier. If your Luxman R-115 stereo receiver is your only traditional amplifier (i.e., RCA line-level audio inputs), and you want to use your Luxman R-115 stereo receiver to drive the Front Left and Front Right speakers in a 5.1 implementation to play modern Blu-ray and SACD discs, then buy a modern AVR that has line-level audio outputs so that you can use your existing Luxman R-115 stereo receiver for the front speakers, while the AVR drives the center and rear speakers. (The Luxman F-114 and Technics SH-AC500D wouldn’t be in play.) If your Luxman R-115 stereo receiver is your only traditional amplifier and you don’t want to buy an AVR, then buy more traditional hi-fi amps to connect to the Oppo’s analog outputs, depending on if you want 5.1 or 4.1 (combined rear channels) audio. (The Luxman F-114 and Technics SH-AC500D wouldn’t be in play.) Buy an AVR to do everything. (FWIW, this is not my recommended solution …) The following is ignorance on my part: I don’t know what role the Luxman F-114 would play, unless you have a large library of vintage recordings that employ Dolby Pro Logic (presumably 1980s era), and these recordings aren’t available in modern surround-sound formats. I also don’t understand what role the Technics SH-AC500D Processor would play. Again, ignorance on my part. OTOH, apparently your Luxman R-115 is a traditional stereo receiver that could play a role in a modern audio/video hi-fi system, if you’re enamored with it. There are hobbyists who invest their time and money to play vintage technologies such as 8-track tapes, VHS tapes, Laser Discs, etc. However, that’s a very specialized hobby that isn’t focused on the best audio or video quality. FWIW/IMO, some vintage technologies such as 1950s era McIntosh MC30 tube amps are timeless (i.e., they’ve never been bettered). OTOH/IMO, early surround-sound audio formats, not so much … FWIW, I suggest that you focus on what recordings you want to play (music and movies), and/or what streaming services you want to consume. I also suggest that you be willing to consider newer formats such as Blu-ray (and Ultra HD Blu-ray). $64k question: What genres of music do you like? What movies do you like? I suggest that you focus on building a system that will deliver the art that you love into your home. $64k question #2: How much time and money do you want to invest into being able to play vintage (1980s era?) surround-sound formats, vs. investing in modern (e.g., Blu-ray or SACD) recordings and playback equipment? I’m intrigued by this, but I’m not sure if I’m contributing anything …
  9. I’ll explain my configurations involving Oppo universal players, in case you can glean anything from my experience. I don’t have cable TV. I use an antenna for OTA HDTV broadcasts. In my TV room, I use TOSLINK from my HDTV into my Oppo UDP-205 for the rare occasion when I want to play OTA TV audio (multi-channel) through my hi-fi system. (I don’t think that your BDP-103 has a TOSLINK input.) I have a Chromecast connected to the HDMI input of my UDP-205 that can be used for streaming video. (I seldom stream video. I like Blu-ray discs.) As I said earlier, I own Oppo UDP-205 (x2), BDP-105, and BDP-95, installed in 4 different multi-channel systems (i.e., 4 different listening rooms). No AVR, multi-channel pre-processor, or multi-channel pre-amp is involved in any of these systems. The Oppo units provide the “multi-channel pre-processor functionality” that I need. (The UDP-205 is the most versatile of the Oppo players.) I can connect any combination of traditional hi-fi tube amps, or traditional solid-state hi-fi amps, for configurations that range from 5.1, 4.1 (i.e., combine the Oppo’s surround-left and surround-right analog RCA connections via a Y-cable to form a single rear channel), 4.2 (i.e., 2 subs connected to the Oppo via Y-connector), or 3.1 (no rear channels). I like 4.1 (and 4.2) configurations, because IME there is little content in the rear channels of classical music (mostly audience applause). Therefore – for me - not much is lost by combining the rear channels. One vintage stereo tube amp plays the main L&R channels - i.e., the Oppo’s Front Left and Front Right analog audio outputs are connected to analog line-level audio inputs on the stereo amp (e.g., AUX input). A second vintage stereo tube amp plays the center-channel and single rear-channel. The powered subwoofer(s) connect to the Oppo, and Oppo’s bass management feature (e.g., configurable crossover) is employed. You can support 5.1 (or 7.1) with enough traditional hi-fi amps (i.e., amps that have RCA line-level inputs). (The Oppos provide analog audio connections for up to 7.1.) On occasion I directly drive power amps from my Oppo units. (The Oppo’s set-up allows you to adjust the relative volume level of each channel.) The only downside to directly driving power amps from an Oppo is the lack of tone controls. If you want the ability to adjust tonal balance, then connect traditional integrated amps (or receivers) that are equipped with tone controls to the Oppo’s analog outputs. (BTW, the newer Oppos have a parameter that can activate DTS Neo:6 pseudo-surround sound for stereo recordings, but I don’t use it.) I’m very satisfied with the configurations described above. Multi-channel classical recordings sound great, and Hollywood movies sound great. These systems can play Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, hi-res downloads, DVDs, and CDs. (The UDP-205 additionally can play Ultra HD Blu-ray.) In one of my systems, a turntable is directly connected to an integrated amp’s turntable input, in addition to the front L&R audio channels from the Oppo connected to the amp’s AUX input. In this system, I can therefore play LPs, in addition to any digital format. (The subwoofer isn’t employed when LPs are played.) Here’s descriptions of my 4 systems that are capable of multi-channel playback by using Oppo universal players, and traditional hi-fi amps: TV room: Main front left & right speakers are Klipsch Palladium P-37F. Center: Klipsch RC-64III. Single rear: Klipsch RP-502S. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. The source is an Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACD, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. I generally use vintage tube amps for music: Scott 399, McIntosh MC225, Fisher X-1000, Scott 299C, McIntosh MX110Z / McIntosh MC240. I use solid-state amps for movies (and summertime): NAD C375BEE, and an NAD D 3045. A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and Niles AXP-1 RCA selector switches connect the Oppo to the amp. HDTV is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 to play audio from broadcast TV via the hi-fi. Chromecast is connected to the HDMI input of my UDP-205 for streaming video. Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD C375BEE for internet radio. Basement: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch RF-7 II. A single rear speaker is a Klipsch RF-7. Subwoofers: SVS SB16-Ultra, Klipsch R-115SW. Source: Oppo UDP-205 for playing Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. Amps: Scott 272, Inspire “Fire Bottle” SE Stereo Tube Amplifier HO, Scott 222C, Fisher KX-200, Scott 296, Pilot SA-260, Scott LK150, Altec 353A, Kenwood KR-9050. (This system also has a Schiit Loki tone-control. I can connect the power amps direct to the Oppo, or insert the Loki.) A patch panel allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo, and a power amp to the Loki if I choose to do so. Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the UDP-205 for internet radio. Living room: Stereo speakers are Snell Type CV. Center: Klipsch RC-64III. Single rear: RP-502S. Subwoofer: Klipsch P-312W. The source components are Oppo BDP-95 for playing Blu-ray, SACDs, and CDs (and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings), and Dual 1249 with Stanton 681EE equipped with a new Shibata stylus. Amps include a pair of McIntosh MC30s, Scott 296, McIntosh MX110Z / McIntosh MC275, a pair of Pilot HF-56 mono receivers, an NAD pre-amp and Acurus A250 power-amp for movies, and a McIntosh 2155 driving JBL L830s in the kitchen / dining room. A patch panel (banana plugs) allows me to connect the speakers to whichever amp I want, and a F/F RCA cables enable me to connect an amp to the Oppo. Chromecast Audio is connected via analog audio to the NAD pre-amp for internet radio. Bedroom: Front, center, and left speakers are Klipsch WF-35. SVS SB-2000 Pro subwoofer. Source is an Oppo BDP-105 for playing Pure Audio Blu-ray and SACDs, and a USB hard drive containing high-res FLAC recordings. (No TV.) Fisher 500C drives the left & right speakers. Fisher TA 500 (AM/FM mono receiver) drives the center speaker. Chromecast Audio is connected via TOSLINK to the BDP-105 for internet radio. (I also have a stereo-only system in my office.) These configurations involve no automatic software-based room correction. I tune my systems by hear, based on what I remember hearing when I attend live symphony concerts. While these systems work great for me, I’m not sure if these configurations are relevant to what you’re trying to do.
  10. OP: Do you need HDMI switching (e.g., switch between Blu-ray player, cable TV, etc.)? If so, have you considered an AVR with line-level audio outputs vs. a pre-processor? A complete list of your sources (e.g., turntable, Oppo BDP-103, HDMI interface from cable box, etc.) would be helpful in understanding your needs. Do you have a device that can deliver 5.1 analog audio RCA connections for your TV service? Do you own powered subwoofer(s)? FWIW, I own Oppo UDP-205 (x2), BDP-105, and BDP-95, installed in 4 different multi-channel systems (i.e., 4 different listening rooms). No AVR, multi-channel pre-processor, or multi-channel pre-amp is involved in any of these systems. I can provide a description of my implementations if you’d like, however, my use cases are probably different from yours.
  11. Every amp I’ve owned sounded different. I currently have 5 hi-fi systems, involving 28 amps. I currently own hi-fi amps from every decade from the 1950s to now. (Over the years I’ve owned approximately 10 other amps that I’ve sold.) I currently own solid state and tube (push/pull and single ended), including receivers, integrated amps, and separates. I listen mostly to classical music. My goal for the sound quality of recorded classical music played via my home hi-fi systems is to experience the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house where classical music was performed live, with no electronics involved (i.e., no sound reinforcement system), and for inevitable deviations to sound pleasant vs. unpleasant – to my ears. I believe that I have a clear benchmark for how the music that I love “should” sound. (I don’t rely on a technical definition of “accuracy”, or room correction software indicating “flat response”.) I mostly listen to modern hi-res classical recordings, and I greatly prefer multi-channel (i.e., Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1, or SACD). These excellent quality classical recordings make it apparent which recording/amp/speaker combination is doing the best job of reproducing the natural timbre of orchestral instruments. IME/IMO, tube amps generally do a better job of creating the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall. For me, tube amps generally sound more pleasant, and cause less listener fatigue. With that said, the solid-state amps that I’ve kept (including several Class A/B amps, and two NAD Class D amps) sound pretty good. I use the solid-state amps for movies, and sometimes during summertime for music.
  12. I agree – use your mono Fairchild to drive a center channel. I own many modern classical hi-res surround-sound recordings delivered on Blu-ray DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1), and SACD (5.1). In classical recordings, the rear channels contain little content (mostly audience applause). You could use your mono Fairchild tube amp to drive the center channel in a 3.0, or 3.1, or 3.2 system. For example, I use my Oppo UDP-205, BDP-105, and BDP-95 universal players’ internal audiophile grade DACS to provide 5.1 analog audio outputs. You could simply not connect the rear channels (because not much is lost). Have one vintage stereo tube amp drive the main left & right speakers. The vintage Fairchild mono amp could drive the center speaker. My approach may be unorthodox, but it works great in my bedroom system. (A Fisher 500C drives the main L&R speakers, and a Fisher 500 (mono) drives the center speaker.) And – most important – it sounds fabulous for the classical music and opera that I love. Or, one stereo amp driving the main left & right speakers, a second stereo amp driving the two rear surround speakers, and the mono amp driving the center channel. If I didn’t already own “more than enough” vintage tube amps, I’d be interested in a Fairchild 260 ...
  13. If anyone wants examples of modern music performances (last dozen years or so) that were captured and mastered in hi-res surround-sound and delivered via Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) audio track, please see my posts here: As I said earlier, the relevance of Blu-ray and SACD depends on genre of music. For the classical music I love, there are many modern music performances that were captured and mastered in hi-res surround-sound and delivered via Blu-ray's DTS-HD MA 5.0 (or 5.1) audio track, or SACD. IMO such modern hi-res surround-sound recordings deliver audio quality that exceeds any CD or streaming service I've heard. For those touting streaming, I'd be interested in learning about a service provider who streams the classical recordings listed in my post linked above, with no compromise in the quality of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio or high-definition video.
  14. Several manufacturers offer 2.1 HDMI receivers (e.g., Marantz, Onkyo, Denon), so maybe some manufacturer will see the market potential of a 3.1 HDMI receiver. I think that a 3.1 HDMI receiver would make sense for a lot of people – however, I’m not sure how difficult it would be to downmix 5.1 to 3.1 in the receiver. In the meantime, I’m aware of a few options. A quick google search found several 3-channel power amps. (I have no experience with any of these.) Anthem MCA 325 Gen 2 Emotiva XPA-3 Gen3, XPA-DR3 McIntosh MC303 Parasound A31 Et al. The Oppo UDP-205, BDP-105, and BDP-95 that I own have variable output (i.e., volume button on remote control) and 7.1 analog audio outputs. One of my systems is a 3.1 system that I use for multi-channel classical recordings (i.e., SACD and Blu-ray). IME, there is little content in the rear channels of classical music (mostly audience applause), so not much is lost by forgoing the rear channels. (Hollywood movies would be a different case.) On occasion I directly drive power amps from my Oppo units. (The Oppo’s set-up allows you to adjust the relative volume level of each channel.) The only downside to directly driving power amps from an Oppo is the lack of tone controls. (BTW, the newer Oppos have a parameter that can activate DTS Neo:6 pseudo-surround sound for stereo recordings, but I don’t use it.) Or, you could use a multi-channel pre-processor to drive a 3-channel power amp. I have no experience with multi-channel pre-processors. I don’t know if a pre-pro can mix a 5.1 audio track down to 3.1, so that the rear channel content isn’t lost. If not, you could just forgo the rear content. Reportedly you could drive a 3-channel amp from pre-amp (i.e., line-level) audio outputs from some AVRs. I have no experience with this configuration. FWIW, two of my hi-fi systems are 4.1, and one system is 4.2. I combine the Oppo’s surround-left and surround-right analog RCA connections via a Y-cable. (Oppo confirmed that this use of a Y-cable is OK.) One vintage stereo tube amp plays the main L&R channels. A second vintage stereo tube amp plays the center-channel and single rear-channel. The powered subwoofer(s) connect to the Oppo, and Oppo’s bass management (e.g., configurable crossover) is employed. I’m very satisfied with this configuration. Multi-channel classical recordings sound great, and Hollywood movies sound great. (And, of course these systems can play CDs in addition to Blu-ray, Pure Audio Blu-ray, SACD, and hi-res downloads.) I imagine that many AK’ers own more than one amp and pair of speakers, and therefore could experiment with 3.0, 3.1, 4.0 or 4.1 surround-sound fairly easily. This would require SACDs or Blu-rays featuring 5.1, and a multi-channel pre-processor or a universal player with multi-channel analog outputs such as one of numerous Oppo models, or the currently manufactured Reavon UBR-X200 (which appears to be based on the Oppo UDP-205, but different DACs, and fewer connections). If someone wants to play multi-channel SACDs and DVDs, but doesn’t care about Blu-ray, an Oppo DV-980H (SACD/CD/DVD) can be bought used fairly cheap. For Blu-ray, a newer Oppo model would be needed. For Ultra HD Blu-ray, the Oppo UDP-205 (I own 2), and Reavon UBR-X200 are two universal players that I know about that feature 7.1 analog audio outputs and remote volume control.
  15. There are countless modern recordings (i.e., performed/recorded in the last dozen years or so) of classical compositions that were recorded and mastered in modern “hi-res” multi-channel formats, and delivered on multi-channel Blu-ray or SACD. For classical music, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 5.1, and 5.2 hi-fi configurations are relevant. (For classical music, the rear channels contain mostly audience applause, so eliminating them has no material impact on the music. IOW, 3.1 works well for classical music.) OTOH, if you listen only to vintage recordings, YMMV. If you only listen to music that was recorded several decades ago, you are stuck with decades-old technology, and stereo (vs. multi-channel) might be as good as it gets. IMO, equating music with stereo (i.e., 2 channel vs. multi-channel) represents being stuck in a decades-old perspective of technology (e.g., the 40-year-old-CD format, or the older-still LP). As I said in an earlier post, IME/IMO hi-res multi-channel (e.g., Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1) is superior to stereo for the large-scale classical music that I love. Depending on music genre, YMMV …
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