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#77529 - 01/17/05 03:46 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Riffman Offline
local

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
Demand for bread? Here, people wolf down millions of subway sandiches using that crappy bread they make. There, they wolf down pre-made baguette sandwiches using good bread. I wonder why. I'm obviously straying a bit far with the analogies. My comments in this thread are mainly regarding the fence sitter - the person who's debating high quality stereo vs lower quality surround. There will always be the mid to hi fi stereo market but its diminishing. Just as there will always be a bose market. One thing I don't see is marketing of the mid to hifi stereo equipment and I'm told things were different 20-30 years ago.

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#77530 - 01/17/05 03:53 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Riffman Offline
local

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
Alan,

Having my Epic 60 system, I fully realize how nice it is to have five speakers. Especially when I'm playing a SACD such as 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road'. I like it better than two channel. Would you agree though, that the fencesitting consumer, who always has a budget limit, must make a choice between allocating that budget to three more speakers and a sub versus a better amp or a better player? By fencesitting, I mean a person who's always loved sweet sounding music but never had five channels but is intrigued by five channels.

Oh, and I concede the issue about recommending components. As you have mentioned, I'm pretty sure your advice comes with information and experience that I do not have.

thanks for your comments



Edited by Riffman (01/17/05 03:56 PM)

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#77531 - 01/17/05 04:00 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3188
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
riffman,
Incidentally, I would agree with you that high-quality 2-channel stereo is preferable to crummy multi-channel surround from tiny satellites and a lousy sub. Provided, of course, that the 2-channel stereo is truly accurate, neutral and transparent, not just expensive (the two do not necessarily correlate).

And 20 to 30 years ago, disc recording and playback technology only permitted quality 2-channel reproduction. The 4-channel attempts with Quad were very compromised. Disc technology at the time could not encode undistorted reproduction of 4 channels. It simply didn't work very well. And music producers in the pop/rock arena didn't know how to utilize the extra channels effectively. (That dilemma still exists for many producers of DVD-A and SACD recordings. Do we really want to feel immersed in the middle of a band? )

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#77532 - 01/17/05 04:09 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
alan Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3188
Loc: Toronto/New York/Dwight
Riffman,

I fear that those of us who want really sweet sounding music are comparatively in the minority. I think that a lot of the mass market, once they combine even a crummy Home Theater in a Box system with an adequate DVD player and a larger screen TV, will opt for the cheap HTIB surround system, because the directional realism plus the video image is very seductive. Even crummy speakers plus Dolby Digital will supply the surround and directional effects. I also believe that when they hear better systems, and their budgets increase, they will eventually upgrade. . .

Regards,
_________________________
Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert

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#77533 - 01/17/05 04:12 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Riffman Offline
local

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
I think I can agree with this - that the seductiveness of directional sound with moving images wins out over better fidelity most of the time.

But sometimes I being thinking about that Apple example. PCs are dominant and many cite "ease of use/windows" but if you're surfing the internet everyday, I believe an Apple is clearly the easier PC to maintain and use. Its much easier to keep the speed up of an Apple.


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#77534 - 01/17/05 04:58 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Capn_Pickard Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Arlington, VA (NOVA)
Having only read some of the posts, I apologize if this has been said above.

But, Isn't stereo's intrinsic flaw that if you move from the sweet spot, the illusion of imaging disappears. Therefore, having a firmly roots center channel for voice and to complement the front section allows the listener more flexibility when it comes to reproducing a believable soundstage.

A purist may claim that the other speakers get in the way. I think that some purists are a little hung up on the "magic" of the stereo image illusion (I admit that I am hung up on this) kind of as a party trick. It's neat to "hear" a voice coming from in between my speakers, even though I nkow that no soudn is actually "coming" from there.

Also, I believe in the 5.1 and 7.1 for movies idea 100%. There's only so much that 2 speakers can do to "fake" an "illusion" of an enveloping surround experience. And again, the tricks fades quite quickly if you move around or are not in the prime spot. 5.1 and 7.1 are really neat "tricks" in themselves, but they hold up better than stereo.

Lastly, I rarely am able to sit and listen to music critically. More often than not, I move around and listen to music whiel cleaning, cooking, talking with friends, etc. I enjoy the 7 channel stereo mode during these times because the sound really fills the room. Any effect caused by a perfectly reproduced stereo sound is lost on me durign those times.

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#77535 - 01/17/05 05:14 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
bigjohn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3016
Loc: San Angelo, TX
In reply to:

I move around and listen to music whiel cleaning, cooking



hey, hey.. i could use a good dinner and a clean house.. come on over, i will play whatever you want..

i am with you.. when sitting directly in front of the speakers for music, i use 2.1. but, when roaming(which is 90% of the time), i use 'all channel stereo', and it fills the room, and even the house, with plenty of sound.

bigjohn
_________________________
EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU THE SINGING BUSH??

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#77536 - 01/17/05 07:12 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
joema Offline
local

Registered: 12/21/03
Posts: 273
Loc: Nashville, TN
In reply to:

I find stereo the easiest...without punishing my wallet....Do you agree that Axiom has an obvious motivation for pushing five channel music?...why does Axiom push the A/V receivers, such as Denon, etc.?


There's no question stereo amps are inexpensive. In fact Denon and HK make stereo amps, so by mentioning those brands Axiom is by no means precluding stereo.

However if you go into most A/V stores, it's often hard to FIND a stereo amp. It's not Axiom -- the multichannel transition is already under way, driven primarily by Home Theater. Multichannel music is also ramping up.

Most people can't afford a dedicated audio-only room. They have a TV area, hence their highest audio upgrade priority is typically multichannel HT, not stereo. Again, not Axiom causing this. It's a natural transition, promoted by many different forces.

I agree it can be quite frustrating at most A/V stores to find stereo equipment. It seems like it's non-existant or stuffed into a dust-covered corner.

Whether stereo is better than multichannel depends on the customer's priorities, tastes and preferences.

Consider two M80s vs a 5.1 config of M3/QS4/VP100 and a Hsu STF-1 (sorry, Axiom, no $300 sub).

The two are EXACTLY the same price. For stereo music, most would agree the M80s are superior.

However most customers aren't music only or stereo only. They want "surround sound" and their priorities tilt heavily in favor of HT vs music.

The above multichannel config well satisfies HT, yet is no slouch at music. True the M80s are better at stereo-vs-stereo, but most customers don't want that. Every friend I've spoken to asks about HT, not stereo. If a friend inquired about upgrading an audio-only, stereo-only config, and he wanted to stick with stereo, I'd (a) be shocked, and (b) direct him to stick with stereo and buy a stereo amp, M60s, M80s, etc.

If multichannel music is a factor, I'd argue that Dark Side of the Moon on the above multichannel config would rival downmixed stereo on the M80s in overall acoustic experience.

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#77537 - 01/17/05 08:51 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5417
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I forget the exact percentages, but a high end audio dealer I spoke with last year said that well over 80% of their sales were for home theater systems, maybe 10% for traditional stereo sales.

I think more people watch TV than listen to music ;(

Everyone on the board probably has the same bias to good sound or we wouldn't be here -- add another vote for "stay with stereo until you can afford a decent system and only then start adding speakers".

Having said that, listening to stereo material with a good AV receiver and well matched 5.1 speakers is remarkable -- and generally more enjoyable than the same music on a 2.0 or 2.1 configuration.

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#77538 - 01/17/05 09:26 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10395
Certainly we should be wary of the charlatans in the audio world who try to prey on the gullible, but their favorites are players, receivers and even wires which somehow will mysteriously provide better sound. The "flaw" discussed in Alan's article is simple acoustical fact which has been well-known for decades. All listening in the home has to be flawed as compared with experiencing the live performance, but multi-channel reproduction can bring us a little closer to reality as compared with stereo using otherwise similar equipment. In the concert hall the great majority of sound reaches the listeners from various directions as reflected ambience from walls, floor and ceiling rather than as direct sound from the front. I've previously cited this article, especially fig.10.4.1, which illustrates how quickly indirect sound becomes predominant. For example, the "critical distance" in listening rooms can be as short as about 4' and even in large halls is only about 20'. Surround speakers can reproduce this sound in a way that's a little closer to reality as compared to being launched from in front of us.

So again, the bottom line is that there are many claims in audio which have no factual basis and are marketing-driven, but the superiority of multi-channel reproduction isn't one of them.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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