Multichannel sounds better than stereo

I’ve found that upmixing stereo music to 5 channel via software actually sounds better than just 2 speakers.

This is especially true for the center speaker, I’ve found no situations in which stereo sounds better . The center speaker always makes it sound fuller, more immersive, better.

The back surrounds on the other hand are more of a trade off, they add vast amount of immersiveness but can make things sound more blurry. Generally I prefer them than without.

Note I’m not time aligned them, and they are different speakers, so this is a poor match, but even then, wow multichannel sounds so much better....
Coli - I'm of the other camp, but that's just because I was put-off multi channel recordings early on because their "sound engineering" seemed contrived.

Because of that I focused more on my 2 channel system and used my 5.1 setup for movies only.

Having said that, getting to the level of performance of my 2 channel system has taken me years and lots of time auditioning different cables and components.

I could not even contemplate such an endeavor with 5.1  channels.:-)

It would be interesting to know what techniqes/software/components you use -  I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve the performance of my systems - especially for music

I just use MPC-BE’s built in upmixer (I suspect it’s using a matrix like Dolby Pro Logic II). The plugins for foobar sounded wrong to me.

For surround back, I found the best location to be a mirror image of the front speaker. Position them to the left and right of you was the worst location.

The best part? My center speaker is a JBL 305. My left and right speakers are far far far more expensive....

I’m actually temped to just go back to home theater processors at this point (PC -> HDMI), then just xlr out to all active monitors. I probably won’t until they can do NOS mode though.

Right now, my setup is PC -> AES -> multiple DACs -> active monitors. I had a typical audiophile setup before this, still trying to sell them...
I prefer stereo over 5.1.

5.1 sound seems fake. 

There is no BACK in movies and TV. Everything is in front!

Weird sound effects abound in 5.1 IMO.

What is the reason for the front center channel?  Stereo has a center.
Also 5.1 systems do not have depth.

Stereo does, as do movies and TV!

Not all audio on movies and TV is good, but in the last few years there is more realistic audio.

What I’ve found so far is that depth mainly come from room reflections. A closed rectangular room will sound way better than an open irregular room in this regard.

Majority of recording do not have depth, a few have room reverb in them, but most elements are recorded mono and mixed in (some mix are done badly). Also, if a record uses real piano instead of electronic piano, then you can hear more depth.

Surround back speakers helps at a lot at creating depth when positioned properly. Incorrectly positioned, and you are better without them. A few records doesn't work with them at all, but most do.
Video does have depth, and so does the included audio. If you want the video depth to match the audio depth, do not mount the screen on the wall. Mount the screen away from the wall on a stand, and the speakers even further from the front wall. Stereo speakers work best IMO.