Surround music R.I.P.

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Ed Hughes, Jul 9, 2018.

  1. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    The thing I love most about multichannel sound is that each speaker is generally required to reproduce fewer instruments or vocals.

    There is a recent trend in pro audio to have more than two main sound systems, putting some instruments in one, some in the other - basically an offshoot and simplification of the Grateful Dead's "Wall of Sound" where each instrument had it's own set of amplifiers and speakers. When Dave Rat of Rat Sound used what he called a "double hung" system with the Red Hot Chili Peppers,

    The outer stereo speakers reproduced guitar, bass, toms and cymbals and the inner speakers reproduced vocals, kick and snare. Since no single instrument or vocal was sent to both systems, comb filtering and interference issues were avoided while system clarity was increased.​

    Rat, along with John Meyer, is actually pushing the envelope in sound reproduction. He was also a pioneer in cardioid subwoofer placement which has dramatically increased clarity in stadiums and arenas.

    By not asking one speaker to reproduce quite as many different sounds, each speaker can do a better job.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 3:59 PM
  2. Ski Bum

    Ski Bum Happy Audiophile

    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Hmmm, interesting. I will investigate this but, at best, the Oppo will convert the SACD to PCM before sending it onto the Datasat (the Datasat cannot handle a multichannel analog input). I suspect a lot of the posters are doing the equivalent. It will be an interesting experiment.
     
    Linger63 likes this.
  3. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    By the way, since this is now in the Audio Hardware part of the Forum, I'd love for some people to watch this video.

    In it, Dave Rat does a very simple experiment that anyone here can reproduce. All it takes is two small speakers, two recordings of pink noise and some way of switching the input of each speaker from one pink noise source to the other - between pink noise source "A" and pink noise source "B".

    Seriously, listen and prepare to have your mind blown.

     
    tootull likes this.
  4. JonUrban

    JonUrban SHF Member #497

    Location:
    Connecticut
    This is a great point that I've tried to make many times before. Think like a network bandwidth issue. The bigger the pipe, the faster the data is transmitted and in a greater quantity. So with 5 speakers reproducing the audio instead of 2, the audio has more room to breath and pass through the air. The sound from a band and vocalist in a studio or on a stage is rarely recorded with two microphones, so why is listening with 2 speakers so damned holy?

    5 outputs gives you more more "bandwidth" than 2. It's up to YOU where you put the speakers. If you don't want to hear a horn solo coming from behind you, move the speakers into a front array. Far Left, Left, Center, Right, Far Right. There you go. There's your stage. There's your front centric audio. WIDE STEREO! Forget the stupid and overused "Sweet Spot" argument. It's crap.

    Put the speakers where they work for you.
     
  5. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    I know! Only in homes, headphones and very small music venues is music heard through only two speakers.

    Wendy Carlos is a huge fan of 180 degree surround.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 5:20 PM
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  6. Yeah but I think Super Furry Animals is one of the only bands who actually had a surround system when I say them several times. Even most large clubs and venues have only front right and left speakers (although multiples).
     
  7. Chris DeVoe

    Chris DeVoe Forum Resident

    As I said, only in a few places are there but a single pair of speakers. Most venues have multiple cabinets on each side of the stage or a line array type of system.
     
  8. jtw

    jtw Forum Resident

    Takes only 2 (1 pair) to make a comb filter....
     
  9. jeffmackwood

    jeffmackwood Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ottawa
    I can understand all the reasons why almost nobody can / does put together all-matching speaker systems. But if you have the ways and means to do so it is very worthwhile. I have many surround recordings where the centre and surround channels are treated as equals in the mix, and not having matched speakers would seriously degrade my listening enjoyment.

    I guess it's equally true that there are even fewer matched systems out there that are dedicated solely to music. Most, like mine, are home theatres where movies and music can be enjoyed equally. The problem in matching speakers (at least capable speakers) in a HT environment is that the "screen" needs to be right where the centre channel speaker needs to be. Any other position is a compromise - of sorts. That's why I have long advocated for projection onto acoustically-transparent screens. Perfect for movies (and concerts) and equally perfect for music.

    Jeff

    ps. I'm still holding out hope for an eventual surround remix / remaster / release of Supertramp's Crime of the Century. Bonus points if Steven Wilson tackles it!
     
  10. ZenArcher

    ZenArcher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I've been enjoying a renewed interest in surround lately with my Oppo and a USB drive with over 2 TB of SACD, DVD-A and multichannel FLACs etc. for old quad mixes. Some of the old quad mixes are fascinating, with completely different mixes and tracks. And some are horrible, of course. But it's a lot of fun!

    Surround was always going to be a niche market. As mentioned, not many can actually sit down and listen to music, portability is more highly valued.

    But it's a shame there isn't more surround released. In my view, advances in multiple speaker technology to create immersive sound spaces to is the next frontier in audio.
     
  11. ATR

    ATR Forum Resident

    Location:
    Baystate
    Are you saying the Oppo doesn't pass multichannel sound from SACD or DVD-A via HDMI or that you don't like it PCM converted? Granted, my old MX 119 has only analog multichannel inputs but hey.
     
  12. Kal Rubinson

    Kal Rubinson Forum Resident

    The Oppo can do it but the Datasat will not accept DSD via HDMI.
     
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  13. jjhunsecker

    jjhunsecker Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York city
    I'm just sorry I came late to the party, by which point many of the SACD and DVD-As were already out of print, and commanding astronomical prices on the secondary markets
     
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  14. lonelysea

    lonelysea Forum Crustacean

    Ha, no. Most are combined with the two channel disc (the Nick Cave, Jethro Tull remasters, etc.). My surround setup is nice (Sunfire, Triad, etc.), but I always defer to my traditional, two channel setup.
     
    Digital-G likes this.
  15. Kristofa

    Kristofa I dream of wires

    Location:
    Eugene, Oregon
    I hear ya. In the early aughts, I started buying hybrid discs knowing I would one day own an SACD player but still listen to the redbook layer. I missed out on all of the single-layer SACDs for retail price (which weren’t cheap to begin with). Now that CDs are bargains, I am finding many quality classical SACDs for fantastic prices! The used rock/pop/soul SACDs are still rather rare in the wild, it seems.
     
  16. Wingman

    Wingman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Europe
    I think the surround sound boat was missed when they didn't come out with it for cars. Or did they?
     
  17. jjhunsecker

    jjhunsecker Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York city
    What I'm happy I did was buy the Stones and Dylan hybrid discs in the early 2000s, before I had a SACD player, because I wanted the rematered CDs. And I got the Talking Heads Block as a free prize in 2005. So when I finally got an Oppo universal player in 2012, I could fully enjoy those discs.
     
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  18. tootull

    tootull John Norman

    Location:
    Canada
    Ed Hughes and Wingman like this.
  19. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    My experience is the top end, especially the tweeters, help when they are matching all around.

    Bass in different parts of the room will NEVER be matching, even with the same speakers, unless you are listening in a cube and no furniture. Listen to mono on one speaker and then another, it will not sound the same unless they are in the same location. The room is obviously a huge factor. Just something to think about.
     
  20. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    A big problem is that you need at least 6.0 surround sound with the speakers each spaced 60 degrees apart from each other to really do it right. Not everyone wants to spend the money on that equipment, especially this day in age when most people listen to music on their phone, with headphones, or in the car. There’s just never been a high enough of a demand for it.
     
  21. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA

    Although I do use a timbre matching, full range center, my advice to someone just starting to build a multichannel system is don't skimp on the rear channels. The compromise in my opinion would be use a phantom center channel and use that money towards quality rear speakers, and fronts of course.
     
  22. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    4.0 sounds amazing with a good mix. Your post makes it seem more complicated than it has to be. Four full range speakers is simple and it works very well.
     
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  23. acdc7369

    acdc7369 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    4.0 is alright, even when properly setup. You can't move your head otherwise the imaging gets completely destroyed. Not so with 6.0.
     
  24. Hymie the Robot

    Hymie the Robot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    That isn't my experience but thanks for sharing. So 4.0 sounds better when it isn't properly set up?
     
  25. gd0

    gd0 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies

    Location:
    Golden Gate
    Not trying to be snarky, but who has 6.0? (I presume that infers 6 full-range speakers.)

    And where is the source material (or even a decoder/processor) so it can be played precisely?
     

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