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#222317 - 09/23/08 08:54 PM re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I
banth99 Offline
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Registered: 09/23/08
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As a stereo devotee I would like to reply to your article Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music In 5.1! I disagree that 5.1 will give you a more realistic sound. When I am at a live concert the music is coming from the front(from the stage in stereo). The room acoustics dictate the actual sound you will hear. The stereo sound bounces off walls and the ceiling and you hear these sounds as well as the sound from the speakers. This is also what happens when you play your music at home with a stereo setup. Of course some rooms will have better accoustics than others but this is the challenge of setting up your stereo to get the most from your listening room. To artificially enhance the sounds that come from the back and sides is just that, artificial. I have heard very nice 5.1 systems and I really enjoy them in a movie setting. But that said I still find listening to music in stereo is more natural. You may call it old fashioned and maybe I am digging in my heels, but for me it will always be stereo.

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#222323 - 09/23/08 09:54 PM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: banth99]
pmbuko Offline
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What Dolby PLIIx, DTS Neo6, and other surround methods do is extract the acoustic signature that a venue adds to the music from the stereo track -- they don't make something from nothing -- and redirect it into the proper channels so your home system can more accurately recreate the acoustic signature of the venue.

That being said, music, as always, is a hobby chock full of personal taste, opinions, and choices. It's not old fashioned to stick with stereo if that's what you prefer. It's a preference -- no more, no less.
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#222333 - 09/23/08 10:42 PM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: pmbuko]
fredk Offline
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Consider also that compared to listening to live non amplified acoustic music, stereo music reproduction is an artificial construct.

In a well set up room, I found the enhancement from 5.1 gave the music, at least the live performance that I listened to, a more 3 dimensional live sound.

In my horribly reflective room, I have not seen the same benefits.

Its a complicated subject and I think that you will find, depending on the type of music, the information that can be extracted from the stereo recording and the room you are listening in, different listening modes will sound better. Like all things, there is probably no "best".


Edited by fredk (09/23/08 10:43 PM)
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#222337 - 09/23/08 10:50 PM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Mus [Re: pmbuko]
ihifi Offline
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I will try to paraphrase the thoughts of Sanjay Durani as they closely match mine on this issue. In a live concert, the singer's voice does not come from two places (left and right). Similarly, music does not come from between two points in the front (the spread of the left & right speakers) but comes from all around as a good deal of what is heard is the room and not the performers. So listening to 2-channel music in surround allows the recorded ambience to come from the proper directions rather than up front. Additional speakers simply help stabilize the soundstage. In the case of a source being recorded in 5.1, you have the additional advantage of listening to the captured ambience of the original soundstage rather than relying on matrixed surround channels from a stereo source. To the extent that additional channels can stabilize the imaging, listening to music in multiple channels seems to offer an advantage.

John


Edited by ihifi (09/23/08 10:51 PM)
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#222339 - 09/23/08 11:17 PM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: banth99]
JohnK Offline
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Banth, welcome. You're apparently referring to one of Alan's articles which discusses using ambience extraction such as DPLII. His analysis is correct. The majority of sound reaching us at a concert doesn't come from the front, bur rather as reflections from other directions. Playing this from the front channels(there's no place else to put it in a two-channel CD recording)simply isn't the same as extracting the ambience and playing it from surround speakers, which more closely corresponds to the reality of the live performance. Nothing "artificial" is involved, which should be obvious when the technology involved is studied sufficiently.

I never use only the front speakers with two-channel source materials when surrounds are available, instead applying a mode such as DPLII. Switching suddenly to straight stereo from surround clearly demonstrates how the sound field collapses toward the front(despite room reflections)and results in less reality.
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#222345 - 09/23/08 11:35 PM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: JohnK]
fredk Offline
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John, how well do modes like DPLII work for studio albums where reflections are minimized and decidedly non-concert hall in nature?
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#222347 - 09/23/08 11:51 PM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: fredk]
JohnK Offline
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The effective of these modes varies depending on how much surround ambience has been recorded and then mixed into the front channels(again of course, no place else to put it). Many classical recordings made in a recording studio nevertheless have microphones situated so as to pick up the reflections, not just direct sound from the front. I've never heard one where there wasn't at least a small benefit; no recordings are that "dead"
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#222350 - 09/24/08 12:00 AM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: JohnK]
fredk Offline
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Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 7786
Loc: Canada
 Quote:
recorded and then mixed into the front channels

So its a deliberate choice as to how much reflected information is included in any given recording? I didn't know that.

I have seen other peoples comments on the variability of the effects of surround modes for stereo music.

I really do think I have so many reflections in my room that it interferes with the sound from my surrounds.
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#222351 - 09/24/08 12:39 AM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: banth99]
grunt Offline
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I believe this is the article to which the OP refers:

http://www.axiomaudio.com/5.1ChannelMusic.html

 Originally Posted By: banth99

To artificially enhance the sounds that come from the back and sides is just that, artificial.


Discrete 5.1 audio is no more artificial than discrete 2.0. I recently picked up Roger Waters “The Wall” Live in Berlin 5.1 SACD. So far it’s the most “real” sounding concert CD I’ve ever heard. There is simply no way my 12x20x8 listening area is going to convincingly reproduce the sound of an arena that big.

 Originally Posted By: banth99

But that said I still find listening to music in stereo is more natural.


For quality stereo recordings I agree with you. I’m finding that except for some classical concerts I prefer stereo 2.0 over PLIIx or DTS Neo6. The added ambiance to the classical concerts generally makes them sound better to me. However, for most other recordings the smearing/muddying of the front soundstage I hear when PLIIx or DTS Neo6 are engaged is a deal killer. One exception to this has been poor quality stereo recording which do generally sound better to me with some form of digital processing.

I was very skeptical of 5.1 audio until I started listening to some good recordings and now I’m hooked. I was even more skeptical of SACD stereo until I started buying some good ones and wow was I impressed. PLIIx or DTS Neo6 is more problematic for me and very dependent on the level of ambiance and quality of the original recording.

In the end enjoy your music the way you like it cause that’s what it’s all about. But coming form a recovering skeptic give 5.1 a chance with some quality recordings.
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#222354 - 09/24/08 03:00 AM Re: re:Stereo Devotees - You Might Just Prefer Music I [Re: grunt]
2x6spds Offline
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There are some movie music tracks which sound spectacular in 5.1+. I used to demo my 5.1 system with the intro music track in DTS from the "Italian Job." Sounds incredibly good.

Nevertheless, for kicking back and listening to music, I personally prefer my 2 channel + subwoofer systems.
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