With the discussion proceeding regarding whether SACD is dead or alive, I read Keith Howard's article detailing the history of surround formats and the viability of Trifield processing as the next great advancement in multichannel surround. Is it really? First, is the consumer market ready for another surround format? Are the music production and retail industries ready for another multi-million dollar investment? To what end? From KH's writings my impression of the Trifield format is that its best implementation would be with simple microphone and production techniques very much like what made the DynaQuad system work well. With more channels of information now available to the production engineers will they willingly revert to the simplest methods of yersterday when costs are minimized by the current production techniques? If multi-mic'd recordings are the norm (with their attendant phase problems that defeated the old DynaQuad set up), what future does Trifield have in that world? Has Gerzon spent decades perfecting the better horse drawn carriage just when the world is switching to hydrogen? What is the "promise" of surround sound formats? What would Stereophile's readers prefer to hear from multichannel formats? How many channels would be required to reach a level of believability beyond what we now experience? Have any of the present formats truly transported you to the venue or brought the musicians to your listening room more effectively than another recording technique?
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