Polls: A(n im)Modest Proposal

QuadraphonicQuad

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madship

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While I am not going to suggest eating babies, there are significant changes that could be made to the rating system for surround releases.

Quadraphonic Quad is a forum for lovers of music, particularly multi-channel music. The love of music with an appreciation of audio quality coupled with the often perverse love of the surround experience, creates an often paradoxical rating conundrum. There are so many potential positives and negatives for a release we have purchased because there is a surround component to the release.

In many cases it is an album we love and want to hear in surround, hopefully by a producer/mixer with a love for the music and with a history of producing good surround mixes. Sometimes it is an album we were aware of, or just sounds interesting, and we hope the surround mix will push us over the edge into full blown love or create an avenue for discovering something new.

There are so many parameters in rating a surround mix. You can love the original and love, hate or simply not care about what has been done in surround. The new mix may sound great or be completely blown out. You may love the extravagant box set or just want a stand alone surround disc. There are times when a surround mix does makes you love and album, or despite your hopes, the surround mix doesn’t change anything (Nonsuch and Pet Sounds, for me).

I have two thoughts on the rating system, both of which emphasize the surround component and keep the other three rating components (music, sound quality and package), but changes the emphasis. Since this is a surround forum, my thought is the surround mix, whether quad, 5.1 or 3D (Atmos & Auro) should be the primary rating factor.

The first puts surround significantly in the forefront. The three non-surround components are simple binaries, you like it or you don’t. Zero or one each for music, sound quality, and overall package. The other seven points, with a minimum of 1, are for the surround mix.

The second still keeps the surround mix as the the major contributor to the rating but limits it to half. One to five for the surround mix, zero to two for both music and sound quality, zero or one for the overall package.

I didn’t think of the ratings for Pet Sounds or Nonsuch under either of the proposed methods when I rated them. Pet Sounds I originally rated at one, then revised my rating to a three many years later. Under the first method Pet Sounds would be a five (4,0,1,0) under the second a four (3,0,1,0). Nonsuch, which I rated strictly on the surround mix and sound quality would be a seven under the first method and still a six under the second.

A release like Absolute Universe would suffer under this system. My original rating was a seven. I’d still give the group a point for responding to the fan base by releasing a stand alone blu-ray but they would be significantly docked on the surround mix. First method a five (3,0,1,1); second a 6 (2,1,2,1).

It would be great if we all could use the same rating system, and I am not suggesting redoing all of the existing polls. I personally want a system that more accurately reflects what made me interested in a particular release. As @edisonbaggins in reviews on Life in Surround, a surround release creates new fans.

From comments in threads, the 3,3,3,1 system doesn’t meet everyones needs. I hope my suggestions create a more helpful alternative. Since ratings without a comment are worthless, indicating how you came up with your score in the comments would help those who read the comments make a more informed decision before taking the leap on a new release.
 

Plan9

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The second still keeps the surround mix as the the major contributor to the rating but limits it to half. One to five for the surround mix, zero to two for both music and sound quality, zero or one for the overall package.

I like this as sound quality for me is important. (Some would say the sound quality can't really be separated from the overall appreciation of the surround mix.)
I also like the 0, 1, 2 points parameter as it keeps things simple : 0 = bad, 1 = average, 2 = great
 
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