I am looking for a 2.1 config for listening to music, not very keen on movie surround sound by compromising on stereo music.
I am looking at:
Jamo 606 set (S606 HCS, floorstanders, surround, and centre), available for 40K.
ELAC (marketed by Onkyo in India) FS58 (Floorstanders only), available for 26K.
I am looking for a 2.1 config for listening to music, not very keen on movie surround sound by compromising on stereo music. If I can get the Jamo 606 (floorstanders only) for a similer price as I am getting the Elac FS58 floorstanders, which would sound better? I have listened to the 606, but not to FS58.
Also, what about service back-up for Jamo? For Onkyo products, there is no issue since Onkyo has a full dealer set-up for the same.
Regarding Amp: Should I go for an 2.1 channel amp for music over a 7.1 receiver? Is the difference in sound quality really discernible? Also, pure amps are costlier since they are not manufactured much compared to HT receivers.
I am presently considering Onkyo 505 due to Onkyo's service back-up.
SW: Considering Onkyo (ELAC) SUB 50.
I am presently in Ahmedabad, far away from the showrooms in Bangalore & Mumbai...
You have introduced a lot of confusing terms here some of which are contradictory to each other. You say you don't want to compromise on stereo music and so are looking for a 2.1 system as you don't want movie surround sound. You conclusion about a 2.1 system being good for music is incorrect. Let me explain why by listing and briefly defining the various systems in the market.
1. Stereo System.
This consists of two speakers that are placed slightly to your right and to your left in front of you. These speakers are generally full range - meaning they can handle the full frequency (about 20Hz to 20,000 Hz). These speakers will have three drivers - a woofer, a mid range, and a tweeter to handle this frequency. They will also have internal electronics (called cross over) to send the correct frequency to the correct drivers.
Stereo music usually comes in CDs and has just two channels - right and left. While recording, the sound is captured by two or more isolated mikes and saved individually as single channel sound, usually on high quality tapes. In the mixing studio, these individual sound signals are mixed into the left and right channel by a sound editor. In general, the mixing is done in such a way that the sound of the main singer will seem to come from in between the speakers, and the rest of the instruments come from all over the space.
A stereo system is used ONLY for music.
2. 5.1 System.
This consists of six channels - two fronts (left and right), a center, two surround channels, and a Point One channel. The Point one is a sub channel where all frequencies below 80Hz are sent. Special speakers have been designed for each of these channels. The center channel is used for dialogues, the front left and right for music and such sound, while the surround sound is used for special effects. The surround speakers are usually placed to the right and left of the audience, usually above the ear level.
When movies are shot, the sound is recorded on a large number of isolated channels. In the studio, these sounds are carefully mixed into these 6 channels. To give you an analogy - take the case of a car. You can hear it starting the engine on the center channel, starting to move on the right channel, and then speeding away on your surround right. At this juncture, the sound will fade away making you feel as if the car is driving away from you.
Movies that have Dolby Digital, DTS and such systems can be enjoyed on a 5.1
A 5.1 system is used only for movies. There are new technologies for multi channel music such as SACD and DVD-A, but that is not relevant for this discussion.
3. 7.1 system.
This is an extension of the 5.1 with two addition speakers placed behind you. This needs 8 channels of sound and a player/amplifier that can decode all 8 channels. The 7.1 system became popular with Star War movies. Taking the example of the car, the effect will be intensified with you hearing the car speeding behind you as it moves away from the scene.
There are some extensions to these such as 5.0 (without a sub), a 6.1 (with one speaker behind you), a 5.2 (two subs), and a 7.2 (two subs). But these are not very popular.
So what is a 2.1?
When PC became popular, manufacturers realised there is a large market out there. Most PCs have a CD player, and many have a DVD players. So you can pop a DVD into your PC and see a movie. But what about sound? Can I get good surround sound from the PC speakers? Actually not.
So what is the solution? One is to connect the PC to an AVR and drive 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. In this case, the PC becomes just another player. In many cases the location of the PC will be in a small room such as study where you cannot install a full fledged home theater. So what is to be done.
Companies such as Logitech that made speakers for PC came up with a solution. They introduced the concept of a 2.1 that would simulate a full 5.1 system. How is this done. By special electronics inside. A 2.1 usually consists of a sub woofer that connects to the PC and two satellite speakers that connect to the sub woofer. All the electronics are in the sub. They take a Dolby or DTS signal, and decode in a way to simulate the center and surround speaker. This is done through Virtual Surround Sound (VSS).
A 2.1 is also for movies only.
As far as I am aware there is no independent amplifier for a 2.1 system. The amplification and decoding is built into the sub woofer or a special receiver (and possibly a DVD Player) that comes with the three speaker set.
So if you really want to listen to music and not compromise with surround sound, you have to use a CD Player and a dedicated two channel amplifier, connected to two speakers.
A 2.1 Channel Home Theater System is like a stereo system used for home theater sound. 2.1 Channel sound uses two stereo speakers, a subwoofer and a special surround sound decoder to create an enveloping surround sound listening experience. A 2.1 channel home theater system is a great way to enjoy movies and multi channel music in surround sound without the clutter or hassle of installing rear channel speakers.
How to Get Surround Sound Without Rear Channel Speakers
2.1 Channel systems uses special decoders to create the illusion of a multi channel surround sound effects, commonly known as Virtual Surround Sound (VSS). Although known by different terms, VSS systems all have the same goal - to create an enveloping surround sound effect using two front speakers and a subwoofer. The various 2.1 channel systems use 5.1 channel decoders combined with special digital circuits that simulate the sound of rear channel speakers. VSS is so convincing that you'll turn your head when you hear a 'virtual sound' coming from behind you.
2.1 Channel Home Theater Systems
Most 2.1 Channel Home Theater Systems include everything you need except the television. These systems from Bose, Samsung, Sony and others have a built-in receiver, DVD player, two speakers and a subwoofer for true home theater sound in a compact, easy to use package.
Should You Consider a 2.1 Channel Home Theater?
A 2.1 Channel Home Theater System is ideal for small rooms, apartments, dorms, or in space-limited rooms. 2.1 Channel systems are also a good idea if you don't have a place for surround sound speakers or don't want to hassle with the additional wiring. You can still enjoy the thrill of multi channel sound for music and movies without the clutter of additional surround sound speakers.