Stereo or Home Theater
As you realize, both are very different concepts laying a very different approach to how your soundtrack is rendered. Simply speaking, a stereo is a 2 channel concept that is meant to render the music as it is intended to be. while a home theater is defined by surround sound concept that conveys information from various channels located at front - left, right and center and rear.
However, it will be too simplistic to state that a stereo is merely for music and AVR (amp required for home theater) is just for movies and it is possible to play vice versa as well. what then prompts the buyer to go for either?? Let us examine the 2 concepts in more
While an integrated stereo amplifier has only the most traditional connectivity option - in most cases multiple analog inputs and 2 binding posts for speakers, the AVRs leave you spoilt for choices. There's AirPlay, Bluetooth, UsB, wifi to name a few
apart from the usual connectivity options like HDMI , coaxial, optical and of course the analog. Since movies are decoded with Dolby surround sound , an AVR is supposed to have inputs that can support this concept. In addition one need not buy a separate cd
player or network player for streaming as an AVR is usually equipped with all streaming services currently available. So in a sense, it's a complete package.
So the difference then lies essentially in the quality of sound in 2 channel mode. While the Stereo is meant to convey the purest form of sound wherein every detail, guitar string and artist's vocal vibrations are astonishingly apparent, such intrinsic detailing cannot be expected out of an AVR. But for most people seeking to get the most out of their movie and music in equal measure, an AVR remains the most sought after option.
Also one needs to invest in a really good quality DAC when hooking up a stereo integrated amp otherwise he is better off buying an AVR itself. So it cannot be argued that a stereo is necessarily a cheaper option.
Personally, AVR setup to me is more viable for homes as one cannot just exclude the movies and tv shows which are better enjoyed on AVRs than stereo and the systems available today, particularly Marantz AVRs such as models NR 1506 , SR 5011, SE 6011 leaves nothing lacking even where 2 channel stereo sound is concerned from the AVRs .
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