Here is the earliest internal review we did by Dave the Bitch in 2009:
Appraisal of listening test of Involve audio.
Firstly, when tested with surround material, the decoder not only pulled all the details out and put them where they should be around the room, but I have never heard it at this level of detail and clarity before. Specifically the surround gunshot track; the track made perfect sense to me for the first time, and more detail and precision was brought out than I’ve heard before.
Likewise listening to material recorded in stereo, the surround image was consistent and natural, the frontal image was not compromised in any way, there was no degradation of the frequency response and no distortion was audible. The quality and detail of the audio that was being extracted to the rear was startling, and I was hearing new things yet again in recordings that I thought I’d all but exhausted in terms of new audio discoveries.
Testing audio that was run through the Involve encoder, everything that went in to one of the four channels into the stereo mix came out of the same channel when decoded from the 2-channel back into four. The numbers show crosstalk attenuation of 30-40db from any channel to any other channel, and the effect of this is quite apparent.
Additionally, just listening to the two-channel down-mix output, the 2 channel signal sounded like pure, precise and pleasant stereo, with perhaps a widening effect. It was in no way detrimental, and could definitely be used as a professional recording format.
Using the Dark Side of the Moon recordings for testing, the 2 channel down-mix decoded to a reasonable surround version of the recording. The 4 channel discreet reference mix shows no difference between listening in discreet, or Involve encode to Involve decode.
This is a remarkable result.
In all of the tests, whenever audio passed from the front to the back, or left to the right it moved smoothly and precisely; there was no sense of shifting or instant change when drifting from the front to the back.
Something else I noticed through the whole listening test is that it didn’t sound unnatural in any way. I wasn’t entertaining the notion of leaving, I didn’t feel uncomfortable, I just enjoyed the natural extension of stereo, and I now have a preference towards it.
There is no breathing, pumping, or drift, and every instrument and vocal is precisely positioned and whole rather than smeared between channels.
The most startling of all was when I finally realized that I had seated myself off-center without thinking about it, and didn’t even realize it. That’s right, the entire time I was listening to total perspective as well and I never once actually noticed. This suits me just fine, the surround image sounded perfect. This was ideal, considering Total Perspective was not intended to be a subject of the listening test.
Appraisal by David Alexandrou – conducted Friday 29/05/09 on digital implementation of Involve Audio.