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
stephen w sweigart's picture

Quality is better than quantity!

Johannes Turunen, Sweden's picture

If ambience sound only in the rear (audience, reflections, etc), center channel has informaton from both left and right, subwoofer is cut above 80Hz at recording/mixing procedure. Then live recordings can be very joyful.

Bret Mitchell's picture

I don't like gimmicks, just ambiance, but there is no question in my mind that surround sound can improve the listening experience.

Brett DeVoe's picture

If it's not multichannel, I don't buy it. I have enough stereo albums in my collection that I never listen to anyway.

jere page's picture

There is no comparison. Multichannel brings excitement back to classical music.

Mark W.'s picture

Almost every SACD release is multichannel and they can be wonderful if you know how to properly set up your system.

Jose Freire's picture

Useless, unless you want to simulate unpleasent noises around and behind as in real concert halls. No need to take hi-fi so far towards realism.

Mike Agee's picture

As budding audio heads, my roommate and I and combined our single pairs of speakers on my Hafler for an automotive-like "surround" experience. To our addled sensibilities it was indeed immersive and a blast. But now, having experienced proper immersive two-channel, I can't see both exponentially upping the variables and diluting the resources to achieve a force-fed immersion. I'm looking for magic, not science.

Bill Dodd's picture

I personally don't utilize or recommend a center channel. Trying to have more than 4 good speakers doesn't make sense to me. The phantom center works fine.

Isauro's picture

For me, it's the perfect way to listen to music. Unfortunately there are few DVDs (audio/video) or SACDs in multichannel of the kind of music I like. But I have bought many discs just to support the format. I enjoy so much many of them by the way.

DavidF's picture

For SACD/DVD-A there's no substitute for a solid multichannel setup. The added cost is more than justified.

Andrew Vetter's picture

While I like all recordings, I am committed to buying great music on great multichannel recordings. I won't buy all SACDs. If the recording or performance is below average, I am not interested.

Alex's picture

There are many reasons I dislike multichannel, the biggest being that I much prefer the "audience" perspective when listening to music. I am also of the opinion that the vast majority of multichannel recordings are gimmicky and very badly done, with the engineers using the format as a tool for careless experimentation. I have listened to many a multichannel recording (I had a well-calibrated multichannel setup at home for two years, ended up selling it) but to these ears (from which I make my living, I am a musician) stereo is vastly superior.

David D.'s picture

I held off switching to multichannel for many years. But I switched last month and regret what I have missed. I now find it hard to listen to two-channel.

audioholik's picture

Currently, I have SACD stereo setup, but I hope that one day, when I move to my new apartment, I'll finally build audiophile multichannel setup and be able to play my multichannel DSD recordings, especially classical music.

info@pjotr-images.com Peter's picture

Besides this, stereo SACD reproduction is the best thing since the invention of the wheel.

djl's picture

I used to own Yamaha's revolutionary DSP-1 and it was quite promising for its day. Movies do benefit from multichannel systems. There's not much selection when it comes to music—nearly all of the new releases are still coming out on regular CD or even as only MP3 releases! Eeeks! So why spend the extra for multichannel if there's little to play on it? Come on record labels, get with it already! It has potential, but I guess the installed base of required hardware just isn't there yet. Everyone can afford a CD player or DVD player. Not everyone can afford multichannel systems with all the extra amps and speakers.

Tony's picture

More pop/rock high definition multichannel SACD and DVD-Audio releases now!!

Steve Steckel's picture

I fail to understand why anyone would be against multichannel recordings. It seems to me to be a giant step toward listening to music in a concert hall without going to a concert hall.

Wayne Tunis's picture

I went that route in my theater. Now I'm back to two-channel and loving it!

stardreamer's picture

Multichannel clearly adds a new dimension in music reproduction. It's like being in the concert hall, while stereo is similar to listening to the concert from the lobby.

Nodaker's picture

I don't need no stinkin' multichannel. Not even sure it's necessary for movies—although I have it. For music, my two B&W's cost enough where I'm not thinking of purchasing more. I'm a two-channel kind of guy and I'll live with it. If the recording is up to it you don't need surround.

Adam G's picture

Remember multichannel experimental music in late '60s using 11 channels in a circular setup? What is this discussion about? Hi-rez has both two-channel stereo and multichannel and let everyone decide which works best. Don't create artificial fight two-channel vs multichannel.

Barnes A's picture

Not worth the effort, especially if software is not there for it.

john a hunter's picture

We need far more coverage on multichannel in the magazine.

Laura in Spokane's picture

Two-channel rocks, always has and always will. I want the artist/band playing in fornt of me, not behind me. I could care less about home theater.

Joytoy's picture

I want good and in-phase, 3D stereo recordings/masterings. No other channels, please. Thanks.

Aaron ~NC's picture

In theory, the thought of warm, enveloping fine music sounds heavenly, but just falls short in reality. The goal of the movie makers is to immerse his/her audience like they are a part of the movie, hence gazillion channel theaters and four-story tall screens. The goal of the musical audio engineer should be to replicate a live front row performance minus the faults. Two different goals. Multichannel+Movies=Great. Multichannel+Music=Not so great.

Ralph A.  Mazzeo, Jr.'s picture

Not only are the recordings remastered, usually in high resolution audio, but instruments and vocals which were buried in the original mix suddenly pop out of nowhere: George/Gile Martin's remastering of the Beatles music for Love is a sterling example.

SJF's picture

None of the options above reflects my opinion, I have a great interest in keep experimenting with multichannel, digital procesing, analog and digital recordings, processors, speakers, and a whole lot of things. We will not know until experimenting with things how much room for improvement is still left in audio and everything else. Being a professional in the industry and having experienced almost everything made for the last 120 years, yes I have also listened to Victrolas, I think that a loy can and has to be done to make hearing music or a radio or TV broadcast . . . good enough. Digital is an impressive tool and is the solution to many things. Multichannel is just another very usefull tool. Adjusting to room acoustics, restoring, in your house and for a few dollars, the quality of an old recording made with poor miking and/or or monitoring, and discovering what an astonishing, impressive or interesting recording and/or performance or speech lies in there, and what can be done with new music, performances and interpretations, acoustics, intruments, software, equipment, is very important. The future IS bright, brighter than EVER. It is a broad spectrum in constant flow that must never end. Enjoy, vinil, analog, digital, one speaker or 8 channels, I remember a Robert Meyer/Thomas Dolby presentation of an 8 channel surround system in an AES convention 15 years ago, very good. The consumer is the driver of the industry as much as the equipment designer or artist. Please let us assume our responsability in all this : investigate, buy, sell, borrow, download demos, experiment, enjoy, talk. When digital processing improves a little bit more, every simple TV will have a very sofisticated EQ and room correction, great spekakers, etc., we will all have good analyzers for free, there are a few out there already, and we need all that. Etc.. Audio is not just sitting tied to a chair listening to some stiff " high end " music or system, is something very important for everything in life, is comunications. Enjoy it and make your future better, wether mono or surround, you will need all of them. We have a long way to go yet.

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