What ever happened to stereo amplifiers?

I guess everything now is 7 channel surround sound, home theatre stuff?

Been looking around the paper adds, Fry Electronics,  Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc and nowhere can I find a simple stereo amplifier.  Where have they gone?

My old stereo amplifier has 4 speaker connections.  2 for the left speakers and 2 for the right speakers.  How many connections does a 7 channel amplifier have?  14?  How does the sound get split up into 7 channels?  A big cross-over network?  Heck, I can’t even find anything called an “Amplifier” now???

Before you ask where I’ve been for the last 40 years I’ll say that I worked and had 4 kids and 8 grandkids!  Haven’t had time to keep up with that stuff.  Time to catch up!   Or maybe it doesn’t matter.  My wife doesn’t like loud music and I only have two ears.  I’d like to see an earbud set with 7 earbuds!

ps - I still don’t own any HD television sets.  Hate that new screen format!

@mikeinkaty wrote:

I guess everything now is 7 channel surround sound, home theatre stuff?

 

Been looking around the paper adds, Fry Electronics,  Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc and nowhere can I find a simple stereo amplifier.  Where have they gone?

 

My old stereo amplifier has 4 speaker connections.  2 for the left speakers and 2 for the right speakers.  How many connections does a 7 channel amplifier have?  14?  How does the sound get split up into 7 channels?  A big cross-over network?  Heck, I can’t even find anything called an “Amplifier” now???

 

Before you ask where I’ve been for the last 40 years I’ll say that I worked and had 4 kids and 8 grandkids!  Haven’t had time to keep up with that stuff.  Time to catch up!   Or maybe it doesn’t matter.  My wife doesn’t like loud music and I only have two ears.  I’d like to see an earbud set with 7 earbuds!

 

ps - I still don’t own any HD television sets.  Hate that new screen format!

For music, stereo is still the way to go, I think. My Pioneer receiver is 14 or 15 years old, but thankfully it works flawlessly(with two Jensen speakers about the same age). I used to have a second pair of speakers, but they were about 20 years older than the primary pair, so I gave them away.  And I still think that movies sound pretty good on this setup too…good thing, because I don’t have the cash to buy a movie rig.

@mikeinkaty wrote:

I guess everything now is 7 channel surround sound, home theatre stuff?

 

Been looking around the paper adds, Fry Electronics,  Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc and nowhere can I find a simple stereo amplifier.  Where have they gone?

 

My old stereo amplifier has 4 speaker connections.  2 for the left speakers and 2 for the right speakers.  How many connections does a 7 channel amplifier have?  14?  How does the sound get split up into 7 channels?  A big cross-over network?   Heck, I can’t even find anything called an “Amplifier” now???

 

Before you ask where I’ve been for the last 40 years I’ll say that I worked and had 4 kids and 8 grandkids!  Haven’t had time to keep up with that stuff.  Time to catch up!   Or maybe it doesn’t matter.  My wife doesn’t like loud music and I only have two ears.  I’d like to see an earbud set with 7 earbuds!

 

ps - I still don’t own any HD television sets.  Hate that new screen format!

It depends on the connections used. Some still use two connectors per channel, one per wire, but others combine both wires into a single connection, with an insulating material between them. The audio is actually digitally encoded into 7 discrete channels (8 if you count the subwoofer, the “.1” in 7.1) and the receiver decodes them and directs each channel to the correct speaker.

And do you mind if I ask why you don’t like widescreen?

I guess the stereo cabinets I designed and built 35 years ago with 12" woofers, horns, tweeters, and 3-way crossover wouldn’t stand a chance against the new stuff.  They were designed as corner cabinets with base ports on the sides and rear.  I could only ‘open them up’ when the wife was gone.  It made the windows rattle.

I don’t even know what the good “new stuff” is any more.

Oh yeah, I set everything up in our back yard house here while back so my grandkids could listen to music.  My grand daughter accidentally turned the volume to 100%.  The 35 year old circuit breakers in each cabinet worked great!  First time they had ever been tested.

@mikeinkaty wrote:

I guess everything now is 7 channel surround sound, home theatre stuff?

 

Been looking around the paper adds, Fry Electronics,  Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, etc and nowhere can I find a simple stereo amplifier.  Where have they gone?

 

My old stereo amplifier has 4 speaker connections.  2 for the left speakers and 2 for the right speakers.  How many connections does a 7 channel amplifier have?  14?  How does the sound get split up into 7 channels?  A big cross-over network?  Heck, I can’t even find anything called an “Amplifier” now???

 

Before you ask where I’ve been for the last 40 years I’ll say that I worked and had 4 kids and 8 grandkids!  Haven’t had time to keep up with that stuff.  Time to catch up!   Or maybe it doesn’t matter.  My wife doesn’t like loud music and I only have two ears.  I’d like to see an earbud set with 7 earbuds!

 

ps - I still don’t own any HD television sets.  Hate that new screen format!

2 channel gear is still very alive and well; it’s just you are not likely to find that kind of stuff in the local mass-merchant retail outlet.  I never embraced mult-channel myself; even for movies.  Give me a good 2 channel rig anytime over 5.1 or 7.1.

I recently picked up a pretty sweet Harman-Kardon 2 channel receiver and I love the thing.  Onkyo has a highly received receiver that has won rave reviews … and there are a ton of high end companies like Outlaw that have plenty to offer when it comes to 2 channel equipment.

I think you would be surprised to find out how many people really prefer 2 channel sound over multi-channel.

And do you mind if I ask why you don’t like widescreen?

Probably because of watching the old format for 56 years.  Also because I have basic cable here and 6 TV’s.  To get HD TV I’d have to pay more for the digital subsciption and have to get 6 converter boxes or buy new TV’s.  I’ll stick to what I got as long as the cable company keeps providing a signal that my old TV’s can use.

I would imagine that most if not all of the multi-channel surround receivers can be put into a 2 channel mode with full frequency range to two front speakers (with optional subout also). My older JVC 5.1 can do this and 5.1 Sony and Pioneer units that friends have can do it too.

The 5.1 and 7.1 source material is mostly on DVD.  The majority of “just music” on the market is still regular 2 channel stereo.

I do have 5 channel amps on my systems.  Advantages are 1) you can use line-level crossovers and have a separate amp for each driver., and 2) They were so obviously obsolete that they could be bought cheaply.   I think I paid around $100 for a 5x80 watt Parasound amp.

Message Edited by donp on 08-25-2009 11:20 AM

Hey!  I just saw today a 800 watt 2 channel stereo amplifier in the Fry Electronic newspaper add!  $97, but I never heard of the brand name before.  It said it had builtin crossover which kinda makes me leery since I already have 3-way crossover of my own design in each of my cabinets.  I guess these things ain’t totally dead yet.

@mikeinkaty wrote:

 

   Also because I have basic cable here and 6 TV’s.  To get HD TV I’d have to pay more for the digital subsciption 

A classic example of the cable company charging what the market will bear.

 Like when the phone company still charged extra for touchtone long after it actually cost them more to provide pulse dial service.

 

Back in the day, I had fun with the professional Dolby theater equipment before it hit the mass market, the Dolby A and SR units that followed.  Most didn’t realize that the surround information was simply “masked” over the stereo image out of phase, with the center sum signal.

The later digital versions made discrete channels possible.  The old processors are tucked away in the closet.  When I watch a movie, I enjoy simple stereo.

I am sad to see the wee pods that are used in the average “home theater”, as the fidelity is horrendous.  Give me a proper set of monitors any day, so I can enjoy a proper image that actually reminds me of why I’m sitting there- to hear the musicians play.

For jazz, I’d love to set up the big Infinity RSII speakers, but I need to redo the foam surrounds and a damaged ribbon tweeter.  With the earlier poly cone midranges, the saxophone has that genuine blaring presence that grabs you.

Nelson Pass, of Threshold fame, showed me what’s possible, years ago.  There’s nothing quite as nice as a bank of warm MOSFETS, properly biased, filling the room with happy sounds.  Pity, the mass market apparently would rather hear bits and pieces tinkling around the room on teeny surround pods, watching a mindless action movie.

The “high end” imploded about 15 years ago, leaving the enthusiast in the wake of those who wanted bigger and prettier gear, with verbose glossy brochures, prose describing fine wines better than the listening experience.  Come to think of it, the snobbery seemed to reach critical mass in both fields.  Somebody never told them that it’s the table wine that keeps the vintner in business.

Bob  :cry:

Message Edited by neutron_bob on 09-08-2009 10:40 PM

Very well said!  Some day it will be re-discovered by a new generation.

I still enjoy movies in 2 channel stereo, and it’s only partially from being broke. I still like big speakers too. My mid-'90’s Jensens each have two 8-inch drivers (one for mids, one for lows ) and a tweeter. So they’re not huge, but they put out a nice balanced sound. 

I remember years ago, my friend bought one of the early Bose set-ups with the 4 little cubes, and the so-called subwoofer, to go with his LaserDisc player. I asked him, “where’s the bass?” The sub enclosure had , if I remember right, two 5.25 inch drivers in it. He never did admit to me what it cost him, and that was pre-Google. :smiley: