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Dumbest anti-surround argument you've heard

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Dumbest anti-surround argument you've ever heard


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Floyfn

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Jun 11, 2005
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Canada
One argument that really gets on my nerves is the "when its live, its only in front, not behind", which, #1 is wrong if you've ever seen the mighty floyd or roger waters live, and know anything about room accoustics. But why do so many people have the idea that studio recordings are imitations of live performances? its the other damn way around! artists don't go into the studio in hopes of capturing what they did live, and duplicating the process in the studio. they simply record live for that. anyways, my post is preaching to the converted :(
 

tejanoboy

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Well, I can tell you for certain, I have made quad recordings of things that were dead center in front of me, and what little may appear in the rear channels has a huge effect on the total sonic image. Hearing is a pretty complex system, and seemingly small parts of the total picture ARE part of what we interpret in the brain.
It's amazing, I can shut off the front channels, and am surprised at the low level of the rears, yet when the rears are shut off, there is a big reduction in how real the sound in the front is, going from a very "you are there" effect to a much duller image. I have done this time and again with outdoor recordings of bands, trains going by, even conversations, and am convinced it is not an illusion!

I reckon there are two approaches to quad or surround, one is the goal of making the playback experience as realistic as possible, the other is the extra creative possibilities afforded by extra channels. BOTH seem valid to me, and after hearing plenty of both, I could never be happy with only two channels again!
TB
 

scifi

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I never heard any real life surround sound that was like the music I hallucinated under the influence of LSD, so maybe there can be some improvement with the real life systems.
 

Doug G.

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Here's one not in the list: "It's gimmicky".

And the wife factor argument is a legitimate one. In fact, I still insist it was a major factor, if not THE major factor, in why quad failed with the general public. In those days before man caves, etc., a guy was lucky to have a wife who allowed him to have a regular two speaker system in the living room, let alone a four speaker system.

The arguments about the various formats and such causing it are, IMO, nonsense. If it had survived, people would have found a way to have them all. In fact equipment handling all formats was common by the time quad disappeared from the public.

Doug
 

VaughanX

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Oct 14, 2020
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Basildon
The only one that truly annoys me is the "not the way the artist originally wanted it heard" - it's such a myopic viewpoint that also gets leveled against remixes, even if they're only stereo. Worse, it's the kind of argument used to elevate the original Vinyl releases as the be-all and end-all. It's crazy.

When the original recordings were made, mixed, and pressed, they worked under the restrictions of the time. All options weren't available, and time was constrained. The original version will forever be the original, but it's not necessarily how the artist truly wanted it to sound. It's 2020, and we ought to be able to improve on tech from the 1960's and 70's, and in retrospect you can get clarity on how things sound best. For example, listen to two Kiss titles - Hotter than Hell and Dressed to Kill, or Led Zep's In Through the Out Door - surely they could be improved?

Same with remixes, and to an extent remasters. Often I see people comment that it doesn't sound like the original Vinyl - but if you go into the argument thinking that the original vinyl is the be-all and end-all, then there's no way for any remaster or remix to better it. You have to be open to experiencing the music anew. If not, buy the original Vinyl and be done with it.

For me, Surround is a way to hear music that I love in a totally different way. I always hear things I've never heard before. For example, I bought the Talking Heads albums when they were originally released, and have loved them always, but when I heard the Surround mix of Drugs from Fear of Music I was blown away, and was once again "hearing it for the first time". There is no comparing it to the original, in truth, it's like a whole new song.

Of course, much of this is up to debate, but it's the attitude I dislike. As I say, if you go in with a closed mind, holding the original up on a pedestal, then you're probably better off staying away from Surround, imo. Instead, be prepared to a totally new slant on familiar sounds. I won't claim Surround is more immersive, because honestly I fell in love with a lot of music playing it back on a small mono player all those years ago. The lack of fidelity didn't make me love the music any less, but I will say it tends to open things up and allows you to hear a little further, to experience more of what was happening. It breaks things down without losing the cohesiveness.

Either way, it's an annoying response.
 

ar surround

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One I’ve heard that is not on the list is, “The sounds coming from all around is unnerving.” I’m not going to say that it’s a dumb response, but I had never heard that one before.

Also, I’m not a big fan of watching movies in surround sound...When I do, I always find myself cranking up the dialogue channel as it often gets drowned out by the sound effects.
 

J. PUPSTER

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One I’ve heard that is not on the list is, “The sounds coming from all around is unnerving.” I’m not going to say that it’s a dumb response, but I had never heard that one before.

Also, I’m not a big fan of watching movies in surround sound...When I do, I always find myself cranking up the dialogue channel as it often gets drowned out by the sound effects.
You’re gonna need a bigger center!
Something irritating I noticed about my local PBS channel; is they only broadcast (at least over U-verse) in what seems like stereo. I have to switch to DPLII and the vocals come out more robust from the center. Very important for understanding those Brit. English shows!
Reminds me, I need to check it out with my OTA antenna for sound.
Just another instance where stereo just won’t do!
 

MidiMagic

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"No room for the extra speakers (and other equipment)"

- Put the speakers on upper walls. And with PL-II, you need only a surround amp or receiver.

- I often record live music in surround with only a standard 4-bus mixer, a small box that encodes back channels, a special headphone set for monitoring, and a stereo recorder.

"I only have two ears"

- Grammatically, that should be "I have only two ears."

- So do all of the people who do enjoy surround sound.

- The shapes of the pinnae (outer ears) encode front and back sound so the auditory system can tell them apart.

"Not the way the original artist wanted it to be heard"
"I sit in front of the performance, not in the middle of it"

- What about the Berlioz "requiem". It has 4 brass choirs to the north, east, south, and west (and my copy is in Dynaquad).

- I attended a version of the Handel "Messiah" with small choral groups in a church nave and in balconies on both sides and behind the audience. This was years before quad appeared.

- I have been making recordings intended for surround for at least 50 years. My first was in 1970-1971. If nothing else, I make it so it sounds like you are really there.

"I can't afford it", so therefore it's bad"
"Too complicated"

- If you limit yourself to PL-II, it's neither complicated nor very expensive. You need the decoder and the extra amplifiers and speakers. Your program sources are LPs, cassettes, CDs, and downloads.

- It's only complicated if you use the esoteric formats (e.g. CD-4, SQ, SACD, DVD-A, Blu-Ray, DTS-HD, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby True, flac, and others).

"You have to sit in the "sweet spot" to listen to it"

- Only if you have discrete or SQ. With PL-II, you can hear the effects anywhere in the room.

"Can't tell the difference, why bother?"

- I have heard this condition called "cloth ears".
 

ar surround

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You’re gonna need a bigger center!
Something irritating I noticed about my local PBS channel; is they only broadcast (at least over U-verse) in what seems like stereo. I have to switch to DPLII and the vocals come out more robust from the center. Very important for understanding those Brit. English shows!
Reminds me, I need to check it out with my OTA antenna for sound.
Just another instance where stereo just won’t do!
Bigger center? l‘ve increased the size of the center three times. The current center is a large three-way with a 12” woofer. It’s a 31” tall floor stander and I’m very happy with it. It’s still dwarfed by the fronts which are 53” tall monsters. As for understanding the Brits...subtitles to the rescue when needed! Lol
 

jimfisheye

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Wow, trigger warning on this thread!

How about the ones who actually have a surround array but the 2 fronts, center, and one of the rears are randomly placed in the front of the room (not just poorly aligned but fully random and the other rear is MIA). Oh, and one of the fronts is turned sideways for no reason. Like where they were dropped when first moving boxes into a new place kind of random.

You make a gentle as possible comment that it sure is a shame that all the money has been spent but you can't listen to anything because nothing is set up. And they look at you like you just said something completely nonsensical. Now maybe you try to make an analogy that it's kind of like how trying to watch a screen turned almost 90 deg sideways from you would be. More 12 volt stare...

Then of course you get the "I can't really hear any difference. Isn't that just for movies?"

Yeah, no shit?
 
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