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
craig's picture

Two is good company, any more is a crowd—not to mention more complicated and more expensive.

Mark L.'s picture

If I say "committed," I mean that I have already dished out cash to accomodate multichannel media. I have the multichannel processor, the universal player, an amp that accommodates 6 channels and 5.1 speakers but I do not have many SACDs and DVD-As. I think I've waited long enough to conclude that the only multichannel material my system will play in the future are Blu-ray movies. I'll be putting my Arcam DV137 up for auction on AGon soon.

Bill Richardson's picture

I enjoy a good multichannel setup for my home theater, but I have little interest in multichannel music. It just doesn't sound right and natural to me—most multichannel audio seems to be recorded or mixed for effect more than realism. My two-channel rigs give me much enjoyment, so why change?

Joshua W.  Miles's picture

I run three systems for all of the above. I build and test hand-built drivers in very fine cabinets for all purposes. It is important to have many types of systems in as many enviroments as possible in order to tune one's art.

S.  Chapman's picture

The more I listen, the more I think that I'd be just as happy with "mono-channel" music.

Carter's picture

I have only heard a few multichannel discs which improved the sound over two-channel. They were concert recordings which gave improved depth to the sound. However, many other recordings I have heard have an unreal depth that mars the sound. I don't think multichannel music is ready for prime time just yet.

Jason M's picture

Meh. I don't see myself allocating money toward a quality 5.1 or 7.1 set-up to listen critically to multichannel music. I want to focus my audio investment dollars on proven, core technologies that are going to provide the most cluck for my buck. That is not to say I haven't thoroughly enjoyed a good multichannel setup when I've had the chance to hear one. Given a finite loudspeaker budget of $7500 for example, I'd rather buy a pair of Vandersteen Quatro's than three pairs of speakers and a sub that average $1875 each.

Mark G.'s picture

I don't think I've ever heard a multichannel music system. I've only heard multichannel video systems. I'll continue to upgrade my two-channel system, when I can. That's expensive enough. I can't imagine multichannel sounds much better, anyway, especially considering what I've heard at my local dealer's and what I've heard at Audio Fest. They were two-channel music systems only. High end dealers aren't even trying to sell multichannel.

Bob S.  in Stokesdale, NC's picture

When used sparingly and with some logic that approaches what a piece might sound like live, then I'm all for it. My favorite is "Ball and Chain" by BB&THC which nearly puts you in the audience at that live recording. Gimmicky, put you inside the band, surround sound on Rock and Roll is disconcerting to listen to, but I reserve the right to enjoy "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Dark Side of the Moon in their surround formats, cause they're just fun that way. However, I spend probably 95% of my listening in two channel.

Woody Battle's picture

Since extremely little music is recorded in any form of surround sound, multichannel systems are worthless for music. Besides, given similar care in choosing components and setting up the system, a two-channel system will always beat a multichannel system of the same cost.

Scott Atkinson's picture

I don't really understand the emotional reaction against multichannel. Some stuff works well in 5.1, some doesn't&#151'and to declare oneself stereo only, or multi-channel only, is to deny enjoyment and the way the world works.

Scott's picture

Multichannel music is great but it has requirements such as listener position, more expensive equipment, room for speakers, etc.

df's picture

I love many of multichannel recordings, be they DVD Audio, SACD or DTS. They do demand a bit more of the listener. If not sitting really in the sweet spot (or near it), you really do the music grave disservice—more so than stereo. But for the future, I love hearing new, and old, music in this way.

T.J.  Rhudy's picture

When your listening room is 12' X 13' it's difficult to get enthused about adding rear speakers.

TZ's picture

A musical sonic circus.

Larry(Poor Audiophile)'s picture

For now I'll stick with two-channel as I can't afford a decent multichannel set up. Hi-rez two-channel seems more likely for me.

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JC's picture

I love it, I get completely immersed in the music. It doesn't matter if I'm surrounded by musicians or pretending to be at a venue, it's always fulfilling. It would be an insult to modern man to inform him he can only listen to two channels because he only has two ears, we might as well be told we can't fly because we don't have wings. The technology is out there, I love it and I want it. My multichannel system is my playground, the two-channel system is kept simple and small for the television, wife and kids. Everyone is happy.

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Jack Clark's picture

I don't begrudge anyone having a multichannel system at all. I just don't have a single unit of interest in it.

M.C.'s picture

I tried multichannel for about a year and realized that I spent more time fiddling with the settings than actually enjoying the system. Now that I've returned to stereo (Squeezebox and a good DAC), I've been enjoying movies just as much and music more than ever. If I had the bucks/space for a dedicated HT room I might reconsider it but for now I'm a two-channel guy.

Erik Vermeulen's picture

There is nothing wrong with goold old stereo but when it comes to the ultimate musical involvement multichannel is the way to go.

C.  Healthgut, M.D., FACS's picture

Remember quad....?

Brady's picture

I am only interested if the surround channels are used for the reverberations of the concert hall.

xanthia01@gmail.com's picture

Slight interest. I think it has potential is more to the point - if done correctly I think it could be essential to recreating the effect. But as yet, I'm yet to see or hear a system which cuts the mustard, or hear a recording which is done right. Most are just gimicky. Then there's the fact that who wants a minimum of five speakers in their lounge room? And finally, when you toss up the cost of five audiopile grade speakers and five channels of amplification with which to drive them, it becomes really expensive. Either that, or you have to sacrafice quality, and this is where it all falls apart. Why not spend all that money and have a far superior 2-channel system rather than five channels of crap.

Anonymous's picture

Monitor Audio- far better then the rest...

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