This depends on how the system is going to be used and what one’s performance expectations are. A dedicated two-channel stereo system will always deliver a more musically satisfying performance and a home theatre will provide a more dramatic and engaging cinema experience.
Ideally one would have two separate systems; in practice, most of our clients require a system that has a level of competence for both music and movies.
The real issue lies with the very different requirements that music and movies have. Movie soundtracks have a very wide dynamic range, dialogue and on-screen effects are mixed to play on a centre channel speaker, surround effects for ambience as well as directional steering, and have a dedicated bass channel. Music recordings are almost always mixed to play in two-channel stereo, are typically dynamically compressed and truly deep bass effects are rare.
In a music system, correct pitch and timbre are absolutely critical for instruments to sound realistic. This is less important in a theatre where speakers which can handle dynamics are necessary. In a theatre, we are also less critical of audio due to our attention often being focused on the screen. Audio in a theatre has a supportive role whereas audio in a stereo system needs to excel on its own.
For a home theatre, a sub woofer’s function is to supply room-shaking effects and for music one requires a tuneful accurate bass that integrates seamlessly with one’s speakers. If the above seems confusing, then the best advice is to come through to our showroom where we can discuss and clarify your requirements and demonstrate different options for you.
Over the years we have had many clients who initially approached us for a theatre but eventually purchased a stereo system and vice versa. Our objective is to supply you with the most balanced and appropriate system.