On the Yamaha, don't use the 5.1 processing modes, just press the "Effects Off" button and it will give standard stereo. Or, you can use the Pro-Logic mode, which is meant for 2-Ch processing and gives a decent sound on 2 speakers. I used to watch X-Files on Pro-logic with 2 speakers and it sound great. Of course now it's broadcast in 5.1 in re-runs, or I watch the DVDs in 5.1. The Yamaha also has a cool way of sending a seudo-surround to headphones.
I'm a college student trying to set up a nice sound system in my apartment. I want to go with an a/v receiver rather than a stereo receiver because I have several components and not enough inputs on my tv. My question is if i were to get a 5.1 receiver would I have to have 5 speakers and a sub? Could I set up a 5.1 receiver to use only two speakers and a sub? I would like to do 5.1 but it's just not practical for my apartment. I'm looking at a Yamaha HTR -5250 receiver or something similar. Thanks in advance for the help.