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#369206 - 03/09/12 04:38 PM Music In Surround
whippersnapper Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/25/12
Posts: 92
Loc: Montana
I am a big fan of music mixed in surround. Let's talk about it.

I had high hopes for DVD-Audio as a format, and tried to support it as a consumer. I can still remember the thrill of listening to ELP's "Brain Salad Surgery" in surround, with the synthesizer in Karn Eval 9 spinning around my head. I was hooked!

As usual, though, the (mild) format war between SACD and DVD-Audio, coupled with the advent of mp3 and Itunes pretty well killed those efforts.

Still, when I compare the experience of listening to the normal CD of Porcupine Tree's "Fear of a Blank Planet" to the DVD-Audio of the same disk, it's literally a paradigm shift (at least to my ears). I refuse to believe, with all of the home theaters set up around the world, that there isn't a viable market for music in surround.

The advent of blu-ray, with high-fidelity audio in multiple channels, has once again raised my hopes. Releases like Steve Wilson's "Grace for Drowning" reinforce those hopes.

I read eagerly about the recent "Immersion" reissues of disks by Pink Floyd, Rush and others. However, I have no interest in springing for the whole Immersion package just to get my hands on the surround blu-ray version. I just want to be able to buy disks in surround.

Is it hopeless, or does surround have a chance? What's your favorite surround disk? Care to make a recommendation?
What about music in surround?
Only one choice allowed


Votes accepted starting: 03/09/12 04:37 PM
You must vote before you can view the results of this poll.
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#369208 - 03/09/12 05:01 PM Re: Music In Surround [Re: whippersnapper]
Adrian Offline
axiomite

Registered: 12/27/08
Posts: 6878
Loc: It's all about the location.
Since 8-track wasn't on the list, I went with B-ray.
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#369210 - 03/09/12 05:19 PM Re: Music In Surround [Re: Adrian]
whippersnapper Offline
old hand

Registered: 02/25/12
Posts: 92
Loc: Montana
Dang! How could I have forgotten 8-tracks? With that wide tape, it just had to be hi-fi, right?
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#369214 - 03/09/12 05:38 PM Re: Music In Surround [Re: whippersnapper]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Whip, I've had the same thoughts...even as far as the immersion discs. I'm hoping Blu-Ray makes some inroads, but I feel that the overall trend, unfortunately, is towards low-fi packaging.

I'm hoping that, ironic as it would be, studios start supporting multi-channel B-D discs to give them something physical to sell... that might not be as easy to "freely" exchange on the internet.
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#369226 - 03/09/12 09:57 PM Re: Music In Surround [Re: whippersnapper]
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10623
Whip, in one sense(which happens to be the one I most often use)all music with at least two channels was "mixed in surround". Surround ambience from directions other than the front was picked up by the recording microphones and became mixed into the front channels(there was no place else to go). Modes such as DPLII or Neo:6 extract this content and send it to the surrounds where it belongs, making the overall effect more spacious and realistic.

This can't duplicate the total effect of an actual multi-channel recording you'd like where an instrument is discretely placed in a surround channel, but nevertheless, even in pop recordings thought to have little "natural" ambience I've experimented with, the effect was nearly always clearly audible and helpful. For example, I gave a listen now on Amazon to the "Fear of a Blank Planet" sample, using both DPLII and Neo:6, and found both to be effective. Switching the surround off suddenly to stereo mode clearly collapsed the sound field toward the front.

So, if you've listened to this material only in stereo, you might try a surround mode to give you part of what you're looking for.
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#369228 - 03/09/12 10:23 PM Re: Music In Surround [Re: whippersnapper]
SirQuack Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 01/29/04
Posts: 13571
Loc: Iowa
I also enjoy PLIIx M for many of my cds. Don't own any high end audio tracks in the poll.
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#369236 - 03/10/12 12:50 AM Re: Music In Surround [Re: whippersnapper]
Kruncher Offline
devotee

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 484
Loc: Maple Ridge, BC
By far, this is my favorite topic for music format discussions.

At the moment, option number one leads your poll by a wide margin. I'd argue that, as much as I hate to admit it, I don't believe that the format matters. The DVD-A and SACD formats want for nothing when a well mastered multi-channel disc is paired with good speakers.

I have quite a number of both DVD-A and SACD discs, and I'm of the same mind concerning the Floyd Immersion discs. Just give me the opportunity to buy the multi-channel disc, and keep the rest, thanks.

The problem is that, as the major studios/publishers discovered, the market doesn't care enough. Some years ago I read articles that cited something like Soundscan sales results which indicated that multi-channel discs accounted for an infinitesimally small portion of total unit sales.

The typical explanation is along the lines of "times have changed. Nobody wants to stop and sit in one place listen to an album from start to finish now like they did before."

I've got everything from Steely Dan to Porcupine Tree, Queen to Beck, The Beatles to Robert Cray, and wish that I'd bought every disc that I'd hummed and hawed over in the stores when those discs were much more readily available. Asking prices for many of those discs, sold as "new", are now astronomical.

I find the whole thing very disappointing, because new discs from major artists are very rare, and when they do produce them, we "fans" get gouged with needless marketing fluff like the Immersion packages. Just sell the damn disc, will you? And there's no reason to ask three times (or more!) the price of the stereo CD for it either, by the way.

Maybe the rate of adoption of multi-channel recordings if the hardware manufacturers hadn't engaged in rampant profiteering. Seriously, most of the players that handle the formats were sold in the several hundred dollar price range. I bought mine for $150, and it works wonderfully, thank you very much Pioneer.

Now, we all have a second chance, as (now) affordable blu-ray players that easily handle hi-res multi-channel audio have been widely adopted. Now give us the software, and unlike the DVD-A/SACD disaster, let's keep this ball rolling this time.

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#369239 - 03/10/12 08:11 AM Re: Music In Surround [Re: whippersnapper]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11437
Loc: Central NH
Krunch, now you're making me miss the "like" button again. Great post.
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#369240 - 03/10/12 08:21 AM Re: Music In Surround [Re: Kruncher]
Andrew Offline
Axiom Engineer
local

Registered: 12/18/01
Posts: 275
Unfortunately I see the concept of quality music slipping further off the map in the coming years. Multi-channel music is just a blip on the radar for music execs. The real focus is on two-channel headphone listening. Many albums are being mastered to sound good on those terrible iPod earbuds! DVD-A and SACD died because they were niche formats that never had any traction in the mainstream. Who was one of the first companies to pull out of the SACD market? Sony, the people that brought us the SACD! Even more concerning to videophiles should be the fact that movies are starting to go the same way with Apple TV and other products. We are already being told that low-bitrate video is acceptable because it's 1080p. Me? I'll just keep spinning vinyl in stereo. smile

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#369241 - 03/10/12 08:37 AM Re: Music In Surround [Re: Andrew]
a401classic Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/29/06
Posts: 1328
Loc: Alpharetta, GA
I have not heard any blu-ray audio, that I'm aware of, so I didn't vote. I've listened to many of my CD's in every format that my pre-pro offers, and Neo-6 sounds pretty good for some things, but noting quite takes the place of a good stereo image - close your eyes and one can pick out each instrument (voice included) and its location on stage and how it all comes together.

One exception, maybe. I do have one SACD - Pink Floyd DSOTM. Each speaker is playing something different - what a trip.
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