Before deciding whether stereo or surround sound equipment is best for your needs, it is vital to define how you intend to use it. Do you prefer listening to music in one room, or do you often entertain with movies and popcorn?


Recorded music is typically designed to be heard in stereo. During two-channel stereo recording, two microphones are placed in strategically chosen locations relative to the sound source; much like our ears function in the real world. These two channels will record distinct time-of-arrival and sound pressure information. During playback, the listener's brain uses those variances in timing and sound level to triangulate the positions of the recorded sounds, such as would happen if you were listening to a live orchestra performance.


In recent decades, movies and television shows have been encoded in multiple channels, allowing the listener to experience cinematic quality “surround sound” in the home. Using multiple speakers in the soundstage, special effects are delivered in a way that immerses the audience in a three dimensional auditory event. You hear the sound all around you, as though you were in the middle of the action.


Many home theater receivers are also capable of operating in “stereo” mode, utilizing only the amplification for two channels of sound reproduction. Although this is not a true two channel system, it proves adequate for the casual music listener who also wishes to have an option for firing up the entire media room. Dedicated stereo listening is often in a class of its own, and the equipment is purpose-built for two channels. Which route you take will depend on how seriously you take your music repertoire. This is akin to different genres of computing. Some machines will perform quite well with games, office applications and other everyday tasks. Others are built specifically with serious gaming in mind.


Cool Home Technology in Minneapolis offers many options for listening to whatever you like, however you want. Our skilled consultants will ensure that you understand the available options and help you select the equipment that you will enjoy for years to come.

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