How do you feel about DVD-Audio's surround capabilities?

How do you feel about DVD-Audio's surround capabilities?
I want it now!
20% (41 votes)
Sounds like a good idea.
11% (22 votes)
I'll wait and see.
24% (50 votes)
Not so interested.
29% (60 votes)
Never!
16% (32 votes)
Total votes: 205

Almost two years ago we asked for your opinions about DVD-Audio's surround possiblities (see <A HREF="http://www.stereophile.com/showvote.cgi?41">previous vote results</A>). Have your opinions changed? What are your current thoughts about multichannel sound?

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COMMENTS
joel brown's picture

players are more affordable than SACD and support multichannel music

John P.'s picture

Analog depicts music's natural richness, but nearly always adds at least an iota of warmth and sweetness that isn't present in the original physically auditory event. Digital lowers the noise floor and magnifies numerous auditory details, most often with a tinge of artificiality or a sense that somehow something's missing. Likewise, vacuum tubes call up richness of sound and pour a welcome taste of honey into one's ears, whereas most but the best solid-state amplification and D/A processing bring an inkling of dryness or contrivance as the price of magnifying or isolating audible detail. Now comes stereo vs. true multichannel surround. Do we again have a question not of whether a reproduction format or physical technology imposes some sort of distortion or unnatural exaggeration upon treasured sound, but of what sort in particular is imposed? Of course we do! Surely we'd be hard put to describe any music-performance situation we actually perceive as primarily two-channel stereo sound arising semi-three-dimensionally from a frontal plane with a few enjoyable resonances popping unpredicatbly from other angles within the listening space. As surely, damn few music performances in the theater, hall, club, arena, studio, or great outdoors actually sound so well-defined in location and shifts of location of sound as is depicted in surround audio. Again, again, and yet again, each of us gravitates toward whichever exaggerations or distortions appeal most to our individual neurological predisposition and emotional palette. All jolly good fun! Myself, what I prefer in recorded music and the sound of audio equipment is two channels, and blending playback equipment so to experience noticeably both magnification of detail and seduction by sweet dreaminess. Aahhhhhh.

Soren O.  Iversen's picture

Changing from high-end stereo to high-end surround music courtesy of Meridian two years ago was a paradigm shift. There just is no way back. JGH was right.

alexyong's picture

pure multichannel that will create the real pereformance at every home surely will be great

bcurrul@tqos.com's picture

I've yet to attend a concert where any instruments were behind me. As for for hall ambience, I'm already dealing with reflections; why mutiply the problem?

Washington Irving's picture

I have a thousand (or more) two-channel recordings. I think I have three (or less) "surround" recordings. Surround for TV is fine, except that it chews up the dialogue. Other than that, I really don't care about the format. I just saw Queensryche live this weekend (Awesome show! See this band live!), and their speaker setup was . . . (Rockenfield drum solo please) . . . Very Loud Two-Channel!

Federico Cribiore's picture

About two months ago I was at Sony Mastering in NYC with some local musicians and we were given the grand tour. During this, we were shown their DVD-Audio mastering room, which was equipped with five Dunlavy SC-IVa speakers driven by monster Krell amps. I was immediately very interested in hearing the setup, until the engineer in the room asked us not to be too harsh on the sound as they were "having some trouble dialing it in right." Apparently having that many passive cones in a room was causing mass havoc. That made me think: If Sony, after 1.5 years of trying, is having a hard time dialing in a surround-sound system with unlimited budgets, a totally controlled environment, and some of the best ears in the business—How the h*ll am I am supposed to in my living room? That just about killed any enthusiasm I have for surround music. Two channels is hard enough.

Jonathan Shockley's picture

Leave music alone. All the home theater buffs can keep smok'n crack. They need to sit down in front of real audio—then they will see why we don't need more channels. What two speakers, a tube amp, and a good digital source can do is pretty hard to beat.

Jerry.Slavata@exactacorp.com's picture

You'd have to be crazy to even consider it! It takes an audiophile years of trial-and-error auditioning and changing components in his system to arrive at his own personal "nirvana," not to mention thousands of $$$. Now we will need to multiply all this??? Instead of $5k for a pair of speakers, it will be $20k? Instead of one great stereo amp, will we need two . . . or three? Instead of thinking about buying high-resolution (translation: expensive) cabling for a stereo pair, we must double or triple our budget??? This whole thing will spell the doom of high-end, because no one would be able to afford it, and we would have to lower our standards to accepting mid-fi or worse.

Stan Waddingham's picture

I only have two ears

Craig Ellsworth's picture

I try to think of myself as an openminded person. However, I just can't get over thinking that since record companies really can't get two channels right, how am I to accept the possibility that they will get surround sound right?

Stephen Curling's picture

When i've been to a concert, the sound comes from more than a pair of instruments about 10' apart, so surround sound is a good idea.

Wm.  Garland's picture

I'll keep a wait-and-see attitude about DVD-Audio. The thought of plunking down loads of cash for a music format inferior to SACD does not sit well with me. Industry pundits want consumers to buy into DVD-A because there is a potential for some serious cash flow for them. They don't give a damn about us audiophiles. The bottom line is still, and will always be, the money. And the selling of "all things multichannel" has more potential cash flow than the usual "stereo." I'll hold on to my hard-earned for a while . . .

Joe Hartmann's picture

I think it is important that my opinion of surround sound has not changed. I'm still waiting to hear my first surround sound (audio only). I have read much about what is coming, but I still wonder if I will be able to set up a system in my room. I am even less happy that the few shops that have discussed it with me feel that very little of my $30,000 investment in stereo will be usable in a surround-sound movies-and-audio system.

Al Marcy's picture

Rather use the other tracks for alternate mikes/techniques. In stereo.

Luis Solis's picture

Depending on the execution of it, it might or might not appeal. If they are going to sell music effects à la movies, or you sitting in the middle of the group, that will have one very different value. But extending the soundstage more to your sides and not your front is a different issue.

Mark Warwick's picture

SACD RULES!

Joseph Foo's picture

Always fell surround sound enhance my enjoyment of music (classical, jazz mostly) The unused channels can always be switched off if ine desires

Lord-Coz's picture

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . multichannel ooooooah . . . yeah that's it . . . right there . . .

Doug Cobb's picture

I'm old-fashioned. For real music, the musicians are in front of me and the only thing surrounding me is the sound of the hall. At home, my speakers are the musicians and the listening room is the hall. I don't want additional information.

Disgruntled's picture

Gee, are 5 channels enough? Seems like an arbitrary number to me. What about 7? 9? 15? 500? How many speakers do they have to sell us to be happy? After the sheep are all sucked into 5, someone'll tell us that 9 are really better, and on, and on . . .

Per Johan Persson's picture

Stereo will do fine, thank you!

Mike Marcellas's picture

Considering the many times through the years that this has been attempted and the fact that it has failed miserably each and every time, the question is begged: Why? Give up the ghost already on this issue. I have listened to it personally and it is horrible, to say the least. My SACD player with Beethoven's Symphony 5 is far more involving and lifelike than some engineer's vision of what sound should come shooting across my head. There is no soundstaging or imaging. Surround is good for movies, because when looking at a screen and, for instance, someone comes in a room from a remote corner, the added sound cue makes that experience more "real." I have yet to attend the musical event where people are sneaking up behind my seat with a violin. You may have guessed that I have no love for surround-sound music (outside of a movie setting) or a party atmosphere.

Stephen W.  Sweigart's picture

I sold my surround system and bought a high-quality stereo system. Two instead of five (amps, speakers, etc.).

Jason Paskowitz's picture

When I grow 5.1 ears, I'll be more interested.

Matt Partlow's picture

I just like today's stereo mixes in that some will be good and other will be very bad. I want to hear the good mixes.

Richard's picture

I want a universal player. Sacd,Dvd audio,Dvd video,progressive scan.

Gary Smith's picture

Like many of us, I learned to appreciate music as a member of my high school band. Being part of the music, almost, was half the experience, and definitely more involving. In later years, I enjoyed concerts of all types—but never felt so connected to the music. Surround sound in general is much closer to the "sitting in the pit" feeling of my youth. DVD-Audio promises to be even better.

S.  Davies's picture

From what I heard at CES 2000, I'll wait until the people involved in making the recordings and remixing the old stuff understand what they are trying to do. What I heard at the show was not what I was hoping for; it seems that most of the music I listened to was not even close to the two-channel versions. Everything about the surround-sound versions was blown out of proportion. Imaging was way off and soundstaging was a joke. Let's hope that the recording industry takes the time to fully understand what is right and what is wrong about this new way of reproducing musical events.

PRITHVIRAJ M.  VEDPATHAK's picture

I still prefer pure 2-channel sound, rather than having multi-channel.

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