Imagine a world without music. Difficult, at best. Music can change a mood, set a tone, deliver a message and transport you into an entirely different setting. The biggest thing that home theater and the iPod has done for the public is to bring an appreciation for involvement and convenience. While these are great things in of themselves, it has also removed the ability to evaluate the importance of an investment in better audio gear. Many times, I have been asked to design a system with a specific budget in mind. Often the primary goal at the onset is a home theater. However, very often when questioned about the percentage of use with music only, the response is usually around 50%. Mind you, there are dedicated theater rooms which will almost never play any music unless it is a concert video. That being said, for those of us with both senses of sight and sound, I challenge you to sit through 2 movies, one with earplugs and watch the movie, the other with a blindfold and listening to the story. Which one do you think you will come away with knowing what happened? My guess is the one that you could hear but not see.
I am not diminishing the importance of good video, just that the weight should be more evenly distributed. It is true that if you build a home theater with no intent of using it for audio purposes, then pretty much anything is fair game. After all, there are few that have been at ground zero during an explosion and lived to tell what it sounded like.
I have always been a proponent of making a significant investment in the audio side of the system. This would include omitting the center channel and the rears during the initial purchase. After all, we know what a piano, guitar and many other musical instruments sound like. If we have a winning solution in the stereo department, the home theater almost invariably HAS to sound good. This is not in any way a suggestion to NOT do surround, just a thought of taking the starting budget and investing in a better 2 channel biased system. Still purchase the surround processor and amplifier or receiver for when you are ready to add the other elements. For more just Google. So, in conclusion you never have to be Home Alone. You can go wherever you want, be whomever you want to be, and be with anyone you want to be with. Just let the music take you there. (sorry, had to go there)