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Snood

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How Does this guy have a job writing for Cnet? He seems totally out of touch with the entire spectrum/genre of Surround Sound. Ugggggggggggggh...............his analogy of going to a concert and being able to place where each instrument is...........I wanna reach through and throttle him through my monitor. :mad:@:

Please tell me that was a joke :rolleyes:
 

JonUrban

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The world is clearly moving towards headphones and single box players. Nothing new, really. New cars will lose their CD/DVD-A players any moment now, and streaming, file storing, and instant recall will become the norm.

The days of having a "stereo" in the living room are pretty much gone for the masses. In reality, it's deja vu all over again! I never thought surround music would ever return after it died in the late '70s. Nothing surprised me more than the DTS CDs, followed by SACDs and DVD-As. The fact that we got those is quite remarkable, when you think about it.
 

Failed Muso

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I just read this, like you Scott, over on Synthtopia's FB page. I also left a wordy response ;)

The author of this piece is not only out of touch, but quite contradictory. People have been saying that multi-channel audio is dead since the days of Quad, but it still remains. Judging it to be a failure means you must know what the measure of success was, and he doesn't know that. It's niche, that's for sure, and there are many obstacles to overcome if it is ever to become mainstream, but does he not realise that virtually all the 2.1 soundbar systems he refers to have pseudo surround features because what people REALLY want is multi-channel audio with minimal physical impact.

Articles like this, and some of the responses to it, show how much ignorance and confusion there is out there. A lot of that is the fault of an industry unable to decide on a common, universal delivery system. Much has to change, but multi-channel audio is far from dead :)
 

Quad Linda

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Don't blame the messenger here. I began listening to Quad in '71 and haven't looked back since.

I sold hi-fi in both Quad's heyday and the resurrection of surround music at the turn of the new millennium. It was stillborn both times. The economy tanked both times. In '73 - '74 there was an energy crisis and gas lines. In retrospect, I'm dumbfounded that I was successful in those economic climates. Add in format wars and stillborn technologies like SQ (Sorta Quadraphonic), you clearly have a recipe for disaster. Yes, a great decoder can make SQ sound SPECTACULAR.

People feel they own all the audio gear they need: a PC, an iPod/iPhone/Android, earbuds and perhaps a soundbar. It's all lowtech crap. Few people under 40 have ever heard a quality audio system. They wouldn't know accurate reproduction if it bit them in the ass. There are even a few surroundoholics that are listening through gear that was considered low tech forty years ago. They have yet to hear anything remotely approximating real fidelity. As much as I love multichannel music, I must admit that 4 channels of slop is still slop.

IMHO, the public at large is mostly ignorant about surround music. There was some buzz in the early quad days, but I've seen little or no interest in the public at large since '75. By the time the Tate came around in '78, Quad was dead. The hi-fi business was booming at that time as I've never seen it before or since. At that time, I managed the #2 volume store in the largest chain in the US. We employed over two dozen full time salespeople. We had not a one piece of Quad gear in our store. And we were owned by CBS!! If one customer a month inquired about Quad, it was a lot. No one special ordered a piece of Quad. Dead in the water.

In Quad's heyday and it's resurrection 10-15 years ago, most consumers could have cared less. I demo'ed it until I was blue in the face. "Sure it sounds good, BUT I don't have the room and/or money for it. And besides, my wife/girlfriend wouldn't allow all that stuff in the living room." Let's face it, guys, fondling someone's rear is far more important to most guys than rear channels.

Imagine if CD's were Quad, which was a feature of its original design. I'd own 20,000 surround titles, rather than the 1000 I do own. :yikes

IMHO, Mr. Gutenberg doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground regarding surround music. Has he ever sat down and critically listened to surround music? As many people have voiced over the years, "it's a gimmick!" Are quality sound reproduction and hearing things that were buried in the 2 channel mix gimmick's? These days, it appears that they are. The music and high fidelity industries are doomed.

Don't blame the messenger. I think I'll go have a good cry. Perhaps it's just the hormones.
 

JonUrban

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I really get annoyed when I hear the argument against surround music that goes "When I see a concert, the music is coming from in front of me, not behind me".

So? What does that have to do with a 5.1 system or 5.1 music. IT'S NOT A CONCERT! IT'S AN AUDIO PLAYBACK. I don't have a stage in my room, or in my car, or wherever I choose to listen to surround music. The rears don't even have to be behind the listener, they can be to the sides, or even spread out in front if so desired. It just means that sounds are coming from distinct positions, not matter where you put them, giving them more clarity and exposure.

It's very easy to dis surround music with the above argument, the "I don't want speakers all over my room", "I don't have 4 ears", "I never sit in one spot and listen" - those arguments are from the totally clueless. It's like when someone dismisses 5.1 in a car that has never heard 5.1 in a car.

If you tell me that "It's too much work", or "I just listen to music with headphones" - I can buy those arguments. It's the weak arguments like the "Stage", "Two Ears", "Sweet Spot", and other tired bull like these that burn my butt when I hear them.

If you just say "I don't like it", to me, that is the best argument of all. But please, just say THAT, don't come up with all of the used, worn, crappy rhetoric that it doesn't sound like it's on a STAGE.
 

Snood

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." Let's face it, guys, fondling someone's rear is far more important to most guys than rear channels.

All good points..........but this is the main one Snood is in agreement with :banana:

I Used to be one of those guys, until I was accidentally hit in the head with a DVD-A disc............what's great is nice rear channels are now way easier to acquire then actual people rears. :51banana:
 

leevitalone1

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I think, folks like snood, need only to hear it, instead of trying to explain the format. Like the time I suggested QQ to another forum, a member regarding 5.1 music he was interested in, he simply said he wasn't interested in quad. And, shut down on the idea.
When I bought my Integra all those years ago, it had 5.1 inputs, I had no idea what they were for. (there was a button on front labeled MCH). It wasn't until my friend came over soon after raving about dvd audio and I realized I could actually play them.
 

EMB

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The thing is, 'surround sound' is a format that folks don't think about when they're watching movies in a theatre (though I do; you'd be surprised how many indie films claim to have surroudn sound but use it occassionally at best); they've gotten so used to it it's taken for granted, like watching/hearing a DVD film at home. Audio-only sonics still confuse the masses because they don't equate multichannel sound to their favorite recording acts. WE do, but that's we, not THEM. If THEM cared, we'd have a lot more modern music in surround, but you know how limited even that is...

The other day I told somebody that I bought Adele's 21 album on vinyl and she asked, 'why'? Well, if I have to explain why, then there is no point explaining. Sigh....

ED :)
 

Snood

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The other day I told somebody that I bought Adele's 21 album on vinyl and she asked, 'why'? Well, if I have to explain why, then there is no point explaining. Sigh....

ED :)

We still have to try to explain to "them"............we must make headway. We must fight the good fight, even if they roll their eyes at us. Snood used to be one of those people :rolleyes:
 

EMB

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Well, thing is, first they want to know why you still buy vinyl, and then explain why Adele, of all people? The former (I've been a vinyl hound all my life, since eight years old, which is 1963 to now) is easier than why I think Adele is one of the few great singers of this new, strange century we're living in. At least, she's the most successful great singer I've heard and, not being particularly interested in modern pop, she had to be good to get the attention of a guy who grew up with Peggy Lee, Ronnie Bennett/Spector, the Shangri-Las, Aretha, Streisand, Fontella Bass, Etta James, so many others...that the belting or bleating of most women today leaves me cold, with Adele (and Duffy) being rare exceptions. I like to think I know actual talent when I hear it, but others disagree, and y'know, whatever....

ED :)
 

leevitalone1

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The thing is, 'surround sound' is a format that folks don't think about when they're watching movies in a theatre (though I do; you'd be surprised how many indie films claim to have surroudn sound but use it occassionally at best); they've gotten so used to it it's taken for granted, like watching/hearing a DVD film at home. Audio-only sonics still confuse the masses because they don't equate multichannel sound to their favorite recording acts. WE do, but that's we, not THEM. If THEM cared, we'd have a lot more modern music in surround, but you know how limited even that is...

The other day I told somebody that I bought Adele's 21 album on vinyl and she asked, 'why'? Well, if I have to explain why, then there is no point explaining. Sigh....

ED :)

A really good way to get to the point is mention if you liked the movie in 5.1 you'll love music in 5.1, that seems to work pretty well.
 

JonUrban

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I received this in my email today from Dr. AIX.

Mark Waldrep has a daily email which is really quite interesting for those who are interested in HiRez stereo and surround. At any rate, with all due reverence, here is the email which addresses this CNET article

Anyone looking to get on the daily email list can register over at the AIX website

The Audiophiliac, aka Steve Guttenberg, wrote an interesting piece over at cnet.com (click here to read the entire article) that in his opinion interest in surround sound is "fading fast". While I do have a great deal of respect for Steve (he called our Goldberg Variations Blu-ray disc "best sounding 3D Blu-ray in the world"!) and he does make some valid points, I can't agree that surround sound is going away.

He's absolutely right that the major labels have essentially abandoned making new 5.1 music albums. The early 2000s did see the release of hundreds of albums recast as 5.1 SACDs or DVD-Audio products but the cost was prohibitive based on limited sales numbers. Steve states, "...there was a large number of households with surround systems, but surround sound without an accompanying image was a non-starter." [NOTE: I'm guess Steve has problems with the recent push by Universal and others for the "High Fidelity Pure Audio Blu-ray" format. I'm also glad that virtually all of my high-resolution audio releases have video.]

Surround sound without pictures is a non-starter? So stereo without pictures is OK but add a few more channels and things go bad? How about the DVD-Audio surround sound systems in automobiles? Lest you think they've gone away, let me share a recent experience at my local Acura dealership. I had to take my 2005 Acura TL (which is equipped with an ELS DVD-Audio premium sound system WITH 5.1 surround speakers) in for routine maintenance and as it happened they had to keep the car overnight. "Would you like a loaner car, Dr. AIX?", asked the service representative. Sure.

I drove out of the dealership in a brand new 2014 Acura ILX luxury sports sedan. As I drove back to the studio I noticed that the audio system includes playback for DVD-Audio discs (which is admittedly not a major market force in the music industry) AND has a built in 5.1 sound system. The website that I looked up actually features the audio system and its enhanced sub woofer. I was honestly surprised but impressed that my DVD-Audio releases still have a home in the Acura product line. And it turns out that there are 14 other models that still support surround sound using DVD-Audio as the format.

"Now, in 2014, multichannel home theater sound is on the wane; today's buyers are opting for single-speaker sound bars in ever increasing numbers. Multichannel sound at home is fading fast, and multichannel over headphones never took hold. The future of home surround for music and movies looks bleak."

Steve, sound bars deliver multichannel sound and are the fastest growing component in audio! This is, in fact, validation that people are enjoying surround sound...even if it's compromised by using a sound bar instead of separate speakers. The emergence of wireless speakers is an important development that will undoubtedly make true 5.1 surround sound easier to do.

And if multichannel over headphones "never took hold" why did over 4,000,000 people download the $1.00 3D Headphones app for their iPhone 5? Why did a major headphones manufacturer book out two days in my studio to carefully measure and analyze the directional characteristics of 9 individual speakers? And what about Headphones [xi], Headphones X, Out of your Head Audio, the Smyth-Realizer, Light Harmonic's 3D technology in the Geek and the Pulse and the 3D app from Astound Sound? The interest in surround delivery at home and on the road has never been higher and I couldn't be more encouraged about its prospects.

He continues by saying that "no one ever really figured out what to do with the extra channels." Every single 5.1 release required the engineers to "figure out" what to put in the additional channels. Some opt to put room ambiance in the rears, while others spread the instruments around the listen. I mix both ways and let the user pick which mix they prefer (most opt for the aggressive mix).

Then Steve falls into the same trap that Robert Harley did in his "definitive" book on high-end audio. He says, "Even if artists and consumers suddenly fell head over heels in love with surround music, I'm far from convinced the engineers could make recordings that would sound better than stereo." He explains that during an acoustic...unamplified...concert most of the sound comes from the stage. This is true if you're sitting in the audience.

But what if you had the rare opportunity to join the musicians on stage after the concert for an intimate jam and the band didn't face the empty seats of the auditorium? Isn't it just as valid to sit amongst the musicians as they sing and play? As a musician, I think so. It's just narrow-minded to think that the ONLY way to listen to music is in stereo.

So how many of you have experienced a great surround playback system and agree that surround can deliver a better "sound" than stereo? Am I wasting my time and disc space providing two 5.1 surround mixes as well as a stereo mix? In all of the hundreds of demos that I've done in my room, I've never had a listener ask me to switch back to the stereo version after hearing the 5.1 presentations.
 

elroy

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Excellent e-mail Dr. AIX! I've really enjoyed the AIX discs I've acquired and appreciate the quality that goes into them.

Jon, thanks for sharing this.
 

dr8track

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Well stated counter point to that moronic CNET article! What sort of music are the AIX discs?
 
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