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Poll: How do you primarily listen to audio at home?

Choose your primary listening option

  • Stereo speakers

    Votes: 509 33.5%
  • 2.x speaker system

    Votes: 382 25.1%
  • 3.x speaker system

    Votes: 13 0.9%
  • 5.x speaker system

    Votes: 65 4.3%
  • 7.x or more speaker system

    Votes: 67 4.4%
  • Headphones, IEM or equiv.

    Votes: 238 15.7%
  • Smart speaker(s) (Alexa, Sonos, etc.)

    Votes: 14 0.9%
  • Soundbar or similar

    Votes: 5 0.3%
  • Other (please post detail in thread)

    Votes: 11 0.7%
  • Multiple Systems (Music, Home Theater, etc.)

    Votes: 216 14.2%

  • Total voters
    1,520
  • Poll closed .

JakeK

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A tool that I use is the pause button.

I push the pause button when my sweet wife wants to talk about the plot or the music. As John Gottman says, I turn towards her and give her my full attention.
I agree and I prefer that to having it so quiet all the time. I must remember to do that more even if it seems like a nuisance. Maybe that will lead to more bass becoming more acceptable in our house. :)
 

bluefuzz

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I thought that WE, the asr community, try to get the best of what modern technology has on offer when listening to audio.

But that is assuming that multichannel is 'better' than stereo, which is rather begging the question. I think the poll clearly shows that the ASR community (unsurprisingly) don't really think that is the case ...
 

JakeK

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But that is assuming that multichannel is 'better' than stereo, which is rather begging the question. I think the poll clearly shows that the ASR community (unsurprisingly) don't really think that is the case ...
I think it's safe to say that for video content 3.0 is better than 2.0 for most use cases. For music I tend to agree that anything beyond 2.0 is not always better.

For example $400 sub + a $400 pair of bookshelf speakers + $200 stands is probably not better than a $1000 pair of floor-standing speakers and the sub will take up floor space which you might not have to spare. Put your bookshelf speakers on an actual shelf or in an actual bookcase and they definitely sound much worse and no sub will fix that. I'm speaking from my own experience. When I first got hi-fi the only place in my room I had to put the speakers was on a desk or a shelf and I thought the name means they would sound best on a shelf. Later I got a setup with a sub and wondered why it didn't sound as clear as just the 2.0. More bass but not better overall.

In the case of many channel for music you could say spend say $4000 on a 7.2 setup. There are not that many recordings that support that many channels as far as I know so you will mostly listen to 2.0 material and those extra channels will be wasted. Will that sound better than a $2000 pair of speakers and a $500 amp or a $2000 pair of powered speakers with built in subs? I'm going to say that most of the time it isn't. Go money no object and it may be a different story but at some point it's going to be better value to go to live music all the time or even pay the musicians to come to your mansion and play live on demand!

For AV purposes, beyond 3.0 is also debatable and depends on the speakers used and the room, listening requirements, neighbours etc. etc.. For example my current living (& home theatre) room is open plan so the rear speakers would have to be hanging in mid air or some sub-optimal compromise and we have neighbours so no sub(s). If your front 3 speakers were hypothetically flat in the audible range down to 10hz +/- 1db and room EQ was used that would be arguably better than any *.1, *.2 etc. solution involving a sub could be. Rears, sides etc could be viewed as just garnish and after the first hour or so you don't really notice them. You're definitely better off without the tiny, tinny surrounds you get in lower end surround packages and focussing on the front 3 instead. The realms of money no object home cinemas is perhaps different and something I have no real experience of and YMMV of course!
 
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Rick Sykora

Rick Sykora

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I never met a single person who found downsizing was as good an idea as they imagined it would be. You don't save much money, real estate transactions eat up a bunch of money and most end up with a smaller house, less resources and not that much difference in bills. And if you are downsizing in a big way, you have a ton of stuff to sell, give away and take to the dump. Not a small task. Good luck.

Thanks, we have about 30 years at same location and know moving is a pain. Making slow progress on getting all our kids stuff out but the tougher part is thinning your own.

While I can foresee that issue in some locations, in my case, would get better amenities (swimming pool, workout facilities, party room, etc.) than have even in my current home. My woodshop would be another victim and speaker testing would be over (barely tolerated now). My kids will get first shot at the audio stuff so expect at least one will have a home theater and maybe some of my shop equipment. Along with the wedding, the tight market may slow us down. We are not in any huge hurry.:)
 

rirelien

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2.0 with actives that produce reasonable output down to 33hz, so no subs yet. Want to move to a 4.0 setup for surround or spatial music (running a temp setup now to test this.)
 

Alexanderc

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Thanks for this Rick! Just to clarify my vote for “multiple,” I have a 5.1 (used to have 7.1, could do so again soon) and a 2.1. I consider both equally important, although I probably use the 5.1 twice as often. I’m actually more interested in reviews of stereo gear.
 

mhardy6647

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So, a few days (and 10 pages of banter) in to this interesting poll, I am thinking the current results are either quite surprising or that they are indicative of a fair amount of bias in the population that's responding. I suspect ;) that the latter interpretation is fairly likely, but I am wondering why a poll like this would attract stereophiles ( :facepalm: sorry... sorry!) and not, umm... multichannelites? Home theatricaists? Whatever?!

Thoughts?

1704559353664.png
 

bluefuzz

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I think it's safe to say that for video content 3.0 is better than 2.0 for most use cases
I don't think it's safe to say that at all – or surely more people would be using 3.0 ...

To benefit from a center channel you would need to be using an AVR that can separate the centre from left and right which adds a lot of complexity and cost for little benefit if you already have a decent stereo setup.
 

bluefuzz

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I am thinking the current results are either quite surprising or that they are indicative of a fair amount of bias
What makes you think that? As I said further up the thread I would guess there are far more multichannelites represented in this poll than in the general population. I find it mildly surprising there are so many ...
 

JakeK

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I don't think it's safe to say that at all – or surely more people would be using 3.0 ...

To benefit from a center channel you would need to be using an AVR that can separate the centre from left and right which adds a lot of complexity and cost for little benefit if you already have a decent stereo setup.
I mean for video content where the dialogue and other core sounds are on the centre channel so you miss out by only having 2.0 for multi-channel media (films & TV) and yes using an AVR.
 

Robbo99999

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The reality of my most used option for all 'Audio' and not just music would be the speakers built into my TV. I spend a couple of hours or more every day watching TV with my wife. She demands that of me and I don't mind. So that might be 'Stereo Speakers' or 'Other' but it's definitely not my preferred option and I have several other sound systems that I use all the time so I chose 'Multiple systems'.

The problem with the 'good' speakers is if I turn on the AVR to get better sound she usually complains it's 'too loud' even though the db will be less than she likes just the TV at and I think that's because of the bass. It's all fine at quite a good volume until any bass kicks in. Sometimes I persuade her to listen to music together or a film (movie) as a 'treat' but it will be a struggle to get the volume up to what I consider to be quiet/moderate volume which is about 45 on the AVR without complaints. She likes it down at about 30 where we both struggle to hear the quiet parts. I like it at about 50 and 55 is quite loud. Last time she said she wanted to be able to talk over the music but I don't normally want to talk at all during a movie or much while listening to an album either. Ironically when she has the TV on or Abba or Duran Duran etc. on in the kitchen or in the bedroom it will be much louder so it can be heard though the whole house and probably next door as well.

Happy wife, happy life though! :)
Ah, yeah, some people just don't understand the dynamic range that a movie should have, basically you want the speech parts to be realistically normal volume, then the loud bits should be surprising & impressive, and then the quiet bits should be just that, but there's a lot of people that just don't understand or appreciate that. One solution that I'm sure you know of is that you can implement some different compression & loudness settings - there's different ones like "Night Mode", some have different names, which reduces the dynamic range so the loud bits aren't as scary, but I think that's a rubbish way of watching a movie - but yeah, some people just don't get it!
 

Robbo99999

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A tool that I use is the pause button.

I push the pause button when my sweet wife wants to talk about the plot or the music. As John Gottman says, I turn towards her and give her my full attention.
I agree and I prefer that to having it so quiet all the time. I must remember to do that more even if it seems like a nuisance. Maybe that will lead to more bass becoming more acceptable in our house. :)
Danger of finding it patronising though!
 

Ron Texas

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I mean for video content where the dialogue and other core sounds are on the centre channel so you miss out by only having 2.0 for multi-channel media (films & TV) and yes using an AVR.
I don't mind having the dialogue at a higher volume on a 2.x system. Chalk that up to old age and decrepitude.
 

BN1

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Almost always for background music via ceiling speakers. I have a 5 zone system using Yamaha MusicCast.
 

anotherhobby

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Thanks, we have about 30 years at same location and know moving is a pain. Making slow progress on getting all our kids stuff out but the tougher part is thinning your own.

While I can foresee that issue in some locations, in my case, would get better amenities (swimming pool, workout facilities, party room, etc.) than have even in my current home. My woodshop would be another victim and speaker testing would be over (barely tolerated now). My kids will get first shot at the audio stuff so expect at least one will have a home theater and maybe some of my shop equipment. Along with the wedding, the tight market may slow us down. We are not in any huge hurry.:)

My wife and I bought a big family home in the suburbs as our first place together, and we never ended up having any kids. It took 13 years for us to figure out the house and neighborhood didn't make sense for us, so we downsized to a luxury 2 bedroom apartment downtown in the city with all the amenities, and then some. We sold/donated/tossed half of what we owned. It felt and was fantastic, for a while. However, as suggested in another post, downsizing was not at all what it was cracked up to be.

For me, any shared walls/floors/hallways were found to be the ultimate killer of joy in this hobby, and it turns out I just don't like sharing space and amenities in with other people that much, and all the stuff that comes with that life. If you don't know this about yourself, I highly recommend renting something first for two years to see if you actually like the lifestyle.

After 2 years we were back in a home, about the same size as the last one, except this time we were way smarter about it and built a house for just the two of us instead of buying a home that was built for the average family. A wood & hobby workshop, a 12x16 yoga space with a built-in sauna at one end, a soundproof theater, and dedicated offices for each of us all take up space that is used quite differently in a typical home in our neighborhood. It turns out it wasn't so much the amount of space the was making us want to "downsize" last time, so much as it was how that space was used.

Something to think about anyway. You have plenty of time. You should start a thread. :)
 
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Rick Sykora

Rick Sykora

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Thanks for all those who have voted so far! Was not expecting so many system posts but consider it an added bonus.:)

Originally thought it might take longer for us to get to 1000 or more responses. Also appears the rate has plateaued so plan to go a couple more days and then will close the poll. The thread will remain open for as long as the staff wants!

Once this poll closes, will summarize and discuss next steps.

Happy New Year!

Rick
 
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