View Full Version : Multi vs. Stereo rnd II
In the previous thread below, I failed to take the opportunity to give a response that would do the subject matter justice. With that being said, I will take that opportunity at this moment.
This debate seems simple enough, and as true as it may be we often find ourselves emersed in the complexities of the given issue, which in my opinion takes a natural course of fabrication. I will attempt to keep my view as collective as possible while maintaining on course to the original inqury.
Legitamizing merits of multi-channel audio in context of a versus scenario often stimulates debates simular to non-related subjects such as "why x game for playstation2 is better than y game". At the end of the day its a moot topic as it is the individual who determines that game's value. However, always concluding to such a result would neglect the points of interesting intelectual conversation, which is unavoidable.
In one of my replies I noted that the merits of multi-channel audio are dependant on quite a large assortment of factors. I tend to break them down into two generic sides, the business perspective and the user perspective, each unique in their own right. With such a seemingly symbiotic relationship between the business and customer, what insipres and effects one side, sends an equal if not greater reaction to its respected other.
Change in technology and entertainment has brought about the demand, and subsequent existance of multi-channel audio. Realizing this demand growing in the typical American home, manufactors of audio products knew this was a prospect simply waiting to explode. Ultimately this has lead to where all of us are now, an exciting time where new technologies surface constantly, coming from an expansive list of manufactorers around the world.
Frankly speaking, multi-channel is the new-comer to the audio world. It has come quite a long ways and grown quite a bit since conception and introduction, but still has some obvious hurdles to cross. Along the way its quickly becoming main-stream and cheaper, working its way into the budget of many young people who before now, never had the opportunity to own whats known today as a "home theater in a box". With the growing popularity of such items, the success of multi-channel audio seems expanding further and further- exposing both young and old to quality sound. Looks like Mult-channel is here to stay, and I for one am more then satisfied.
I tend to notice those accustom to two-channel audio tend to believe that multi-channel often serves as a compromise, sacrificing quality through source and sheer out-put..all taking away from the music's realism. This arguement may be valid in many circumstances, but clearly not all. When someone is determining realism and quality you must also consider these factors, just to name a few:
-The deminsions of the listening space
-Speakers being driven
-Positioning of equipment and person
I will use myself as an example. Previously I owned a pair of Polk2000ps on a decent system, positioned to the best of my ears ability. In my incredibly modest 11x8 room, this was more then enough to fill the area with sound. Due to certain events, those speakers are no longer with me. I have as a temp., some Klipsch Quintets. While they perform suprisingly well, the sound is limited enough to where it would take at least 3 more channels to obtain satisfactory and realistic (or as close as that system could manage) sound.
Each factor will influence the "realism" and accuracy of music, none more so then the scrutiny of the owner and where their satisfaction and taste lies. I will always say - I will take a good 2 channel rig over a modest multi-channel rig anyday. However, if I only have a modest 2 channel rig, then I will sway towards the multi-format.
That is just me however, everyone is different. And now, it is time for me to leave the soapbox.
Before I start, nice post. However, and take this as coming from a 40-something, over-the-hill POS who avoids change, I think you're sadly mistaken about the motivations of business.
Realizing this demand growing in the typical American home, manufactors of audio products knew this was a prospect simply waiting to explode. Ultimately this has lead to where all of us are now, an exciting time where new technologies surface constantly, coming from an expansive list of manufactorers around the world.
I claim: Sony, Phillips, et al, realizing that revenue from patents on CD technology were going to evaporate soon, struggled to come up with a replacement format [read: replacement revenue stream] for CD. Sony/Philips came out with SACD - two channel - along with a new encoding process, called DSD. They attempted to sell the market by claiming that the PCM encoding method was inferior, and that 2 channel SACD utilizing DSD would bring you the concert experience you were missing. They went on and on with pseudo-technical babble about how important this was, and embedded the words "high-resolution" onto the cortical stems of every single white male between the ages of 14 and 35.
That wasn't enough to sell the product. Enter the second prong of the attack, multi-channel: a way to clearly show the consumer that SACD was better than CD - here's something that CD just can't do. Crap, there's no chance that anybody can't hear the difference between multi-channel SACD and 2 channel CD.
About this time, other companies - many involved in the patent revenue stream - were pushing for DVD-A. Sony/Philips, hedging their bets, became members of the DVD-A consortium as well, so that they could enjoy royalites if this format took off.
Why I'm not embracing multi-channel audio: right now, there's no titles that interest me.
Secondly, I have zero faith in the recording engineers of today - color me cynical, but the vast majority of CD recording, mastering, and production sucks. There's been a trend, with the introduction of more and more sophisticated tools in the studio, to put more processing in the way of the music, to go for "gee-whiz" out-of-phase effects, and to compress the hell out of it so it will sound OK on compromised gear.
Thirdly, what is the projected lifespan of these media? Does anybody know? CD's have a projected life of only 50 years. While I might be in my 40's, there's a chance I'll want to listen to some music when I'm in my 90's, and I'll be one frickin' pissed old man if my discs won't play...except that with LP's, I'm not worried, they'll play fine.
Fourthly, and I *think* I agree with you pretty much: for a given budget and amount of setup time, I can put together a much better two channel system than a 5 channel system. Many of the things that multi-channel promises are delivered today from my 2 channel system: soundstage, imaging, spatial representation. These qualities come at a price, but they come in addition to a sense of ease and a sense of musicality that I can't find in lesser systems.
BTW, while I am 40-something, I have a pretty kick-ass multi-channel system in the HT room: 4 SRT's, HDTV, good electronics...and I love to watch movies in surround. I've had multi-channel for 5 years now, so I was an "early adopter". Occasionally, I'll play some music in surround - mostly during parties. Serious listening, where I want to really follow the music, either by myself or with a couple of fellow music fans, happens on the 2 channel rig.
OK, now I'll get off my soapbox, and go listen to an LP.
10-28-2002, 08:27 PM
I think both of you make good and valid points.And both posts are fantastic.......great job guys.............
Sony and Phillips as far as I know only support there own format..no Phillips or Sony players on the market can play DVD AUDIO.
The rise of home theater does demand the use of all the speakers in the system.This is the wish of the common new owner of home theater.multichannel music....it can be using there old cd colection or the new formats........they just want to hear all there speakers playing......or better or worse......
I get to see this everyday.I meet owner on a regualr basis.From my experience, this is the way of things.
10-28-2002, 08:46 PM
I too have already stated at length why I prefer one over the other and have also said that each person's opinion will control how they listen and thats the way it should be.
Opinions are easy to argue and hard to prove. Economic and business realities are another thing. I'm going to have to agree with rlw on some of his points.
Realizing this demand growing in the typical American home, manufactors of audio products knew this was a prospect simply waiting to explode. If you mean music DVDs I think there is a market demand there. There is a MTV and VH-1 generation that is used to seeing as well as hearing their music. As for DVD-A and SACD there has been no groundswell of public demand for these products. By several people's posts there are comments about if only you will try this format you may like it. This is because only a certain percentage of people on this forum even have DVD-A or SACD or much less have both. And the people that post here are audio and video enthusiasts. DVD-A and SACD capable players make up a tiny percentage of the units sold. The formats are being embraced by the speciallty lables like Telarc and Chesky because they are already marketing to audio enthusiast that will pay for the higher resolution (primarily SACD). How many NEW releases are comming out in DVD-A or SACD? I can think of just a few from Sony off the top of my head (Celiene Dion, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Allison Krause and maybe a few more). Most are reissues of existing titles There is no huge demand from the general public who buys a Bose system or a HT in a box for multichannel music or higher resolution. If they want to use all of their speakers the simply plop in a redbook CD that they play in the car or personal audio player and hit the DSP button of their choice and they are in sonic bliss. They are justifying that all of the speakers they bought are producing sound wheter it be "Rock Arena", "Jazz Club" or RuSs"s favorite "Five Channel Stereo". They can see no reason to to pay more to get a special player and a special disc when the receiver will do the same job.
I believe there are segments of the audio enthusiast market that want multichannel DVD-A and SACD, but the general public doesnt even know what they are much less "demand" them. For this very reason there are serious concerns that DVD-A and SACD will survive. I believe that music on DVD will continue to be viable but high resoultion multichannel may go the way of Beta, Mini discs, Laser Disc or hopefully like vinyl and at least still be available to the people that want it.
I hope the formats survive because of their high resolution and the choice they offer. Hybrid and backward compatable to CD and DVD are critical. I can see the possiblity of music video CDs for the tracks that have video airplay and the rest in some sort of multichannel (but not high rez) but even this is a small segment of what the general public demands. How much of your time do you watch vs listen to music. We can argue the merits and pros and cons of high resolution multichannel music all day long but in the end its fate lies in convincing millions of average consumers that it is what they want. I'l pass the soapbox to someone else
Gentlemen, I have not been in this industry nearly long enough to generate a conclusive belief within the dymanics of audio business. I only carry along with me a shrued concept and theory, that is all.
This SACD vs DVD-A is an issue I will keep my hands clean from. Though interesting, I have nothing to add except that I only hope these formats see new life and usage.
10-29-2002, 04:20 AM
I noted with interest your statment that cd's have a projected lifespan of 50 years and that lp's will last longer. I would like you to explain that. To me, it would seem with the constant wear of a needle on the vinyl that the projected useful lifespan of a lp would be shorter. Since there is no contact with the playing surface of a cd what cause is there for a finite lifespan? Is it thought that the aluminium will corrode? If so, then a gold cd should last indefinitely, yes?
This is not meant to be the start of another pissing match of vinyl vs cd, I'm just interested in what you may know on the subject.
As for the motivation of the recording industry, like any business, make money.
10-29-2002, 08:49 PM
I decided to do some research on the usable lifespan of vinyl and cd's. The results are mixed to say the least and bear in mind this is usable lifespan (played on a regular basis) and not the physical lifespan. For vinyl, a few decades to 40 years. For cd's, from 50 to 200 years. As I suspected the lp is subject to wear from contact with the stylus, but a 100 year old lp will still produce sound, be it degraded. It is thought that the aluminium in a cd may corrode in time and render the cd useless (unable to produce sound), but in this case only time will tell. I was unable to find any specfic info on gold cd's, but as gold doesn't corrode, the lifespan should be longer. I do recall an article in Stereo Review (I believe) many years ago in regard to the life of a cd. They tested cd's by subjecting them to extreme levels of salt water. They found no adverse affects if the outer coating wasn't badly scratched. The physical lifespan of both could be infinite and I doubt if any of us will be around to find out.
On a side note, the usable lifespan of VHS tapes is about 15 years and a color photo is about 50 years, black & white photos last much longer.
Time to listen to a gold cd.
10-29-2002, 09:07 PM
I myself enjoy the SACD multichannel surround sound. I know I will probably get flamed here for not using my SDA's to it's highest potential, but I rarely do use 2 channel stereo. I enjoy the surround sound of all my speakers, so even on regular cd's, I use the dsp processing for surround sound. To each his own I guess. I really like the sounds that eminate from the SDA's in 2 channel mode though. They sound awesome.
I also watch a lot of movies in DD surround. I think my speakers match pretty well, so it sounds seamless to me. I know the SDA's are older, but they are a good match with the cs400 and rt1000i's. I really do wish that they would release a lot more titles in SACD format though.
10-29-2002, 09:52 PM
It's your gear, broham. No one should flame you regardless of what you do with it or your preferences. It's just a debate, that's all. No right or wrong answers, really.
10-29-2002, 10:12 PM
10-29-2002, 10:23 PM
Thanks... I really do enjoy my Polk's though. they are great sounding speakers. I am glad I found this board.
10-29-2002, 10:31 PM
Stick around man........it gets fun in here.........isn't that right Troy..........:p
Yes, New Years is just around the corner...... I can already feel the attraction building between Troy and Mantis. Aff, keep alchohal away from those two. :)
10-29-2002, 11:02 PM
Capitan100 is feeling comfortable now, lets flame him now and he will never know what hit him! Just kidding :)
10-30-2002, 06:23 AM
Pfffft.....who needs alcohol? Dan seems to make it all up as he goes along quite nicely.
10-30-2002, 06:55 AM
You can call me the story teller if you please,Troy(The wrongfully accused).I can see the attraction growing as well........oil and water we are.
pffft......nice sound you make.......
10-30-2002, 08:26 AM
I'm just waiting for you to fill me in on all my transgressions so I can properly apologize to whomever I have insulted.
thats just what they do...they word things that seem like an attack..and then say it's not.
Specifics, man, specifics.
10-30-2002, 07:45 PM
Man let it go......ok?.....alright the next time you do it I will point it out to you, and you can at that point explain what you really mean.
11-08-2002, 05:51 PM
just found this today. www.dtsentertainment.com
11-09-2002, 11:16 AM
I can't waite for sacd/dvd-a capability!
I keep reading and am so anxious!
First of the year is coming fast!
11-09-2002, 05:58 PM
Originally posted by HBombToo
I can't waite for sacd/dvd-a capability!
I keep reading and am so anxious!
First of the year is coming fast!
That's what I want too. As you probabably know there is a difference between resolution and quality. I hope they build the quality in to go with the higher sampling but I'll bet they don't for awhile. Right now they are probably going for the bells and whistles only.
11-09-2002, 06:57 PM
I hear ya Max. From what mantis has stated the dv47a or for that matter the ai is pretty good box with both sacd/dvd-a and progressive. I'm not sure though and I keep diggen for all the info I can get.
I don't think that I'm to concerned about chroma bug at this point because if it does not bother brother mantis I know I won't even phase me.
11-11-2002, 12:02 AM
its like the frist cds that came out they where horrible, it will be the same way for the dvd audio and multi channel sacd, yes you hit it right on the nose madmax001 but i feel that multi-channel is here to stay. its only going to get better and better.
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