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#77519 - 01/17/05 03:03 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
spiffnme Offline

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5233
Loc: Los Angeles
I look at it this way. People wanted to bring the movie theatre experience into their homes. To accomplish this, you need more than two speakers. 5.1, and 7.1 systems began popping up to fill this consumer demand. Music wasn't really what brought about 5.1 systems. It was movies.

But now people have 5 speakers in their living rooms and wonder why they heck when listening to music are three of them sitting unused. So then we were brought SACD and DVD-A. Surround sound music! It sounds great (when done properly) and uses our systems to their fullest capacity.

There are plenty of us on these boards that have both 5.1 and 2 channel systems. I have 5.1 in my living room and a 2 channel setup in my bedroom.

I think the reason AV recievers are "pushed" is that like was stated before...with an AV reciever you get the option of both 5.1 movies AND 2 channel music if you desire. With a simple 2 channel integrated'll never be able to experience a movie soundtrack in 5.1.

"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

#77520 - 01/17/05 03:03 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
sidvicious02 Offline

Registered: 05/09/03
Posts: 973
Loc: Brandon, Manitoba
In reply to:

Do you agree that Axiom has an obvious motivation for pushing five channel music? When asked, why does Axiom push the A/V receivers, such as Denon, etc.?

I agree with BigJohn in that I don't think Axiom purposely pushes 5 channel setups. I'm sure Alan recommends 5 channel receivers because that is what people on the board have asked about. As I see it, it makes sense to buy a 5 channel receiver vs. a 2 channel because the extra 3 channels doesn't result in a price that is more than double. You can generally get a 5 channel receiver for little more than a 2 channel one, so why not future proof yourself? Just the way I see it.
"Chickens don't clap."

#77521 - 01/17/05 03:05 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Foghorn Offline

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 226
Alan (and others) have said that all receivers "sound" the same - assuming they are all within their power limits, etc. However, he has advocated Denon and HK because they handle the M80s (and possibily QS8s?) better than many other receivers will handle the low resistance of a pair of 4 Ohm (and 6 Ohm?) speakers.

Your point about the computer industry is a valid one (meaning that it applies to audio and many industries). There is a fine line between "consumer demand" being met and "consumer susceptibility" being exploited - and the truth is "all of the above" is what is really going on. That's why we all strive to be intelligent consumers - that's how most of us found Axiom in the first place. For contrast, a friend of mine and his wife decided to get a home theater system for Christmas and went to the Bose factory outlet and got a "great deal" - and are probably happier with their system than I am with mine because (although I love my system and think it is perfect for my room, taste, and budget) they think they have the best home theater system on the planet... and I'm not about to tell them otherwise. So, is Bose using mass marketing/advertising to take a disproportionate share of the marketplace with an inferior product? Most of us here think so. But, the other legitimate question is "Does Bose have a bunch of very satisfied customers that grin, sit around and play with their systems the way most of us grin, sit around and play with ours?" I think the answer to that is "yes" also. So, the bottom line is that while finding the best system for you can be fun and then having it to enjoy can be even more fun, it's not exactly life and death stuff and, in fact, as you can see from all the varied opinions floating around here, there is very little science behind it (in terms of allowing the consumer to compare products).

#77522 - 01/17/05 03:06 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Riffman Offline

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
I'm merely talking about the people who are on the fence. They have to trade off perhaps higher quality components for the price of more speakers. I suspect the fence sitters are the people that the marketers would like to bring in. Hence, an article titled "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw".

#77523 - 01/17/05 03:07 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Foghorn Offline

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 226
Bigjohn - you gotta cut out that "put in a post while Foghorn is typing - and address most of what he is going to say more eloquently than he will" thing you do. It's getting very annoying. :-)

#77524 - 01/17/05 03:08 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
bray Offline

Registered: 06/10/04
Posts: 1805
Loc: Colorado
" So then we were brought SACD and DVD-A. Surround sound music! It sounds great (when done properly) and uses our systems to their fullest capacity."

That makes me wonder why they havent marketed these formats better.
I've introduced these formats to several friends, and they absolutely love them.
If the industry is pushing 5.1/7.1 why arent they pushing these formats?


#77525 - 01/17/05 03:12 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Riffman Offline

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
Foghorn, the latter part of what you just said is exactly why I don't necessarily thing this is a bad thing. But on the other hand, lack of education brings complacency (only for the fence sitter, perhaps). To give you another example, I was recently in Paris. Every place you go to eat lunch or dinner, you get a basket of really good bread. Its just not the same in the US. Somewhere along the line, our desire and forthright demand for high quality bread has diminished. Although people are happy with it, its because precisely that people don't even know what good bread is anymore (I cite Subway as an example).

#77526 - 01/17/05 03:29 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
Foghorn Offline

Registered: 07/17/04
Posts: 226
Riffman, there are so many ways I could go with your comments (and most of them would involve thread hijacking) it makes my mind spin. Some thoughts are:

The French haven't discovered the low-carb diet because most of them just know to eat less.

Americans just want what is fast and easy and don't know food the way the French do.

Getting back to audio - if you hang out here long enough you'll realize that different people have different thresholds for making the purchase. Some of us do weeks of research and go to the same 3 audio stores 5 times each and then get online and call and talk to Alan and then get in touch with our brother-in-law the music PhD and sound engineer (at least that is what I did), etc. before we ultimately are willing to part with the cash. My friend went to one store one time and got his Bose system. The way I see it, we can't all be totally educated on every purchase (including restaurants) that we make - and that tells me two things:

1) For major purchases I should use resources like Consumer Reports and other product review references like this site.

2) We will always be susceptible to some level of marketing - but in general I think that for a company/product to thrive in the marketplace they must be providing a decent product at a decent price before the marketing/advertising stuff will really work.

#77527 - 01/17/05 03:36 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
bigjohn Offline

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 3016
Loc: San Angelo, TX
foghorn- sorry man, not intentional. and i sure wouldnt say that i am more "eloquent".. this is west texas hog slang over here..

riffman- interesting idea with the bread.. heres an example, with a different angle. here in texas, when you go to a mexican restaurant, they automatically bring you a bowl of chips, and some salsa before you order a thing. and its free, just for sitting down. now, most of us will choose what restaurant we go to on how good the salsa is. granted, there are other factors, but i have discussed this with many friends, and most go to the one that has the salsa that they like the best. so, in this example, you are gonna get the chips and salsa FREE, no matter where you go, but the decision is made by which one tastes better to you. i know i started this post with a point, but it got lost somewhere.. basically, i think its human nature to try and get MORE.. whatever it is, MORE.. and if everyone is gonna give me more, then which is gonna give me BETTER.. make sense?



#77528 - 01/17/05 03:44 PM Re: "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw"
alan Offline


Registered: 01/29/02
Posts: 3258
Loc: Toronto/New York/parry Sound

I'll make myself clear on several of these points. I recommend Denon and H/K brands simply because they will drive 4-ohm loads without shutting down, imposing current limiting, or going into a protection mode. That is based on customer experience with various brands of receivers and the 4-ohm M80 tower speakers. H/K also tends to rate the output power of their receivers more honestly and conservatively than many other brands. And the fact that Denon and H/K do not shut down driving 4-ohm loads when operated within reasonable limits (not in giant rooms at extremely loud playback levels or in clipping modes) speaks to somewhat beefier power supplies in the receivers.

I also have some insider info on quality control troubles with some brands, which may or may not apply to current models. Since I edited audio/video magazines for 19 years, and, prior to that, actually did lab tests of equipment for AudioScene Canada, I'm aware of what equipment tends to be reliable and meet their specifications and what brands do not meet their specifications, including some high-priced and overrated darlings of the high-end magazines.

As to "Stereo's Intrinsic Flaw," there is no particular agenda on my part to promote multi-channel home theater systems per se. The limitations of 2-channel sound have been known and documented ever since the 1930s, when Bell Telephone engineers did tests of multichannel sound and concluded that at least 3 channels were necessary to effectively convey the sound of the Philadelphia Orchestra to a hall in a distant location (they used discrete telephone lines and a live orchestra).

As we know, recording technology up until the mid 1950s could only encode one channel--mono. The advent of 2-channel stereo was a huge leap in realism, and adding more channels to better mimic the way our hearing system detects and processes sounds from every direction, simply advances the state of reproduced sound. As I pointed out in the article, the flaw of 2-channel stereo is that it encodes and reproduces all the reflected and ambient sounds from two speakers at the front of the room, a totally unnatural presentation.

We hear sounds, in a concert hall, club, or outside, from every direction. Using multiple discrete channels to record and preserve those directional cues, with ambient sounds reproduced from the sides the way they happen in real life (as well as from the rear and even above), simply increases the level of realism. (By the way, various acoustical studies have shown that our ears/brain are most responsive to sounds from the sides of a hall or space. The time delays of lateral reflected sounds instantly tell our brain the "size" of a space that we are in. We are not nearly as sensitive to reflected sounds from above or to the rear, nor are we as precise in locating sounds from above or to the rear. This is why side-mounted surround speakers are preferable to those directly behind us).

Alan Lofft,
Axiom Resident Expert (Retired)

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