What are your thoughts about multichannel music?

Stereophile's picture
Last week's results demonstrate the diversity of system approaches when it comes to handling both stereo and multichannel sources. But what are your thoughts about multichannel music itself?
What are your thoughts about multichannel music?
I'm committed to multichannel
32% (128 votes)
I'm very interested in it
15% (60 votes)
I have a slight interest in it
18% (74 votes)
I do not like multichannel
23% (94 votes)
I don't care
12% (47 votes)
Total votes: 403
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Comments
Joe Hartmann's picture

I have owned a 5.1 reciever for five years, but integrating it into my video system just has not happened. Locating five speakers, never mind a subwoofer, into my family room just does not fit. I own six speakers which could and may be pulled in for an attempt, but as a long term solution. I do not think so.

Jams R.  Suhre's picture

It is the only thing I play. All dipole, identical speakers. Died and gone to heaven.

Oliver's picture

The band always is playing in front of me in live concerts. Besides and behind me is noise from other visitors or silence. I don't wan't to hear this noise on records so I don't need multi channel.

Zoykey's picture

I had purchased a 5.1, it never really turned me on like my two-channel does.

Dirk De Taey's picture

To really enjoy multichannel music, you really need a room big enough in order for the music to really flow into one coherent mix. I have played with and succeeded only with a small number of records to get it right. A lot of records have multichannel mixes that, in smaller rooms, become completely unnatural.

Jacob's picture

I listen to both two-channel and multichannel. I feel that if this recording mode produces a more life like experience, then there is no compromise.

audio-sleuth@comcast.net's picture

Souround sound is fraud.

Jared Gerlach's picture

I find that multichannel plus video is better than multichannel music alone. David Gilmour's performance at the Robert Whyte Meltdown recorded in 2002 and Peter Gabriel live around 1993-4 both stand out in my mind as great multichannel captures of performances, but they are DVDs, not audio only. Forays into plain-jane multichannel music have included Steely Dan's re-release of Gaucho and a couple of multichannel SACDs on the Chesky label. I was less than impressed with those, although it could have been my system (which has been primarily designed for multichannel HT, not dedicated multichannel music). Overall, I'm interested, just not a follower quite yet.

kiah_V's picture

One focused soundstage. Two great speakers. Three-dimensional music. Stereo—better than multichannel. A friend once told me "less is more."

Jerry's picture

While at present, both my music and movie set-up are teo-channel, my preference is a properly configured multichannel system. To suggest that live music is the same as two-channel stereo, is delusional.

Douglas Bowker's picture

I have a slight interest in it, but I can't see getting into it at this point. Big symphony music would seem to benefit the most, but SACD is on the way out. If Blu-Ray music comes out I'd try it, since I have a player already for movies.

Jerry's picture

It's not always good, that's for sure. Depending on how it's mixed, multichannel SACD or DVD audio can be well done or just awful. And even when it's well done, it's not always great. It has potential, and I still support it, but up to now I prefer two-channel.

Eskil H's picture

If I go to a concert, I don't sit in the middle of the orchestra. If live music can ever be reproduced faithfully, it can be done with two channels.

sam's picture

I've heard few 5.1 mixes that actually provide a better listening experience than 2.0—mostly small-combo jazz performances. However, I adore the Living Stereo series' unedited three-channel SACD reissues.

Rich, Chicago's picture

I've given up on mutichannel music. After the failure of SACD (not the technology, but the lack of titles), anything more than stereo is for movies alone.

Jim G.'s picture

I have never heard a multichannel setup that sounded any good. For any price point, you get higher quality sound from fewer high-quality channels.

Tim's picture

Well-positioned HQ two-channel speakers will give excellent results, both with stereo and with mono recordings. Spreading one's budget over five or more channels will not enhance the preformance or the enjoyment of the recorded arts.

Rob Auld's picture

Who needs "cheap effects"? Why lessen your quality of sound with the compromise of what multichannel offers. Two-channel offers a much higher quality for the same cost.

ever see a digital orchestra?'s picture

I'd rather have two channels of quality than 7.3.2.7/Bw extension 10W + alpha rider wave decoder yada yada bing bing of GARBAGE THAT WILL CHANGE FORMAT EXERY 6 MONTHS...

MDM08033's picture

I recently bought a DVD/SA-CD/DVD-Audio player and plan on buying the Oppo Blu-Ray/DVD/SA-CD/DVD-Audio player when it is available.

Larry Boldt's picture

Two high-quality speakers will always out-perform a bunch of little boxes. The laws of physics are still there. Quality always outperforms quantity.

Michael Lankton's picture

Last time I went to a performance the bassoon was up on stage with all the other musicians, not somewhere off to my left rear.

Marcel's picture

The concept is OK, but most music is on two-channel. Furthermore, it demands a lot of suitable room to place multichannel optimally.

rvance's picture

I started multichannel in the '70's with a vintage Fisher tube integrated amp with a center channel mixdown. I got into DVD-Audio in 2000 after reading an article about Neil Young's disappointment with CD sound (I never abandoned vinyl or two-channel, btw). I am amused by the derogatory comments directed at multichannel. The same was said when stereo arrived. And it's not about "special effects" or gimmicky production. It's about listening to fully dynamic, high resolution music without strain, effort or distortion.

hs's picture

Doubling the size of my system can't possibly match doubling my music collection.

OvenMaster's picture

Multichannel is unnecessary for music. Good movies sometimes benefit from it, though.

Lee's picture

Hi-rez multichannel sounds much better than stereo.

Mike Molinaro's picture

When I get 7.1 ears, then I may consider it.

Joel's picture

Hi, I believe it is sadly misunderstood how 5.1 reproduction properly done can advance the art compared to stereo of natural music reproduction, including the realism of musicians playing in front of you. Many of the responses here reflect this misunderstanding.

ch2's picture

Good for movies, but I'm still not sold on it for great sound reproduction.

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