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barondla
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Multi channel surround vs stereo.

This was interesting in the Stereophile habits thread. Thought we might discuss it some more here.

Have been stereo for years. This week bought an Yamaha DVD S1800 that plays CD, Mch SACD, Mch DVD-a. Have only played it as stereo. Secondary video game system has Mch receiver. Thinking about hooking up and trying some SACD/DVD-a Mch sound. Don't have great hope for this experiment for many reasons. Equipment isn't good enough for one.

Not sure I believe that Mch is more realistic than stereo. Hearing more of the room sound isn't really hearing more of the music. Composers rarely if ever wrote an exact acoustic into their music.
thanks
barondla

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


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Composers rarely if ever wrote an exact acoustic into their music.

True but they could presume an expectable standard. For example, a symphony orchestra could be expected to perform in a concert hall. A string quartet would be in a smaller hall or, even, a rather large salon. An opera company....................... (Ever notice how strange any of these sound in open air?) It would be even more specific if the work was commissioned by a particular performer or organization.

All of those venues are acoustically quite different from those of a listening room or living room in a modern home.

Now, only you can decide if it is worth the cost/effort to reproduce this.

Kal

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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.

My take on this as I bought one of the first Meridian 565 surround sound processor is that it depends on the processor you have and it depends on the speakers you have.

Actually it is more about having a center channel than surround sound speakers in my opinion. I felt no need to a center channel with my Martin Logan CLSs -ever. With speakers like the the NHT 3.3s sometimes a 3.3 speaker laying flat at the center was helping, sometimes it was not (a 2.9 was not helping). It also depends on the amps really. The surround sound speakers proper are less of a big deal that one may think and will be less and less of a deal in the future as more processing will take over. We wont need surround sound speakers.

ncdrawl
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


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Not sure I believe that Mch is more realistic than stereo.

it isn't. you would be assuming right. it is a gimmick, a ruse, a parlor trick, often very badly done.

Piss on m-ch.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.

I have no desire to sit in the middle of a band with musicians all around me. There's no standard space to replicate for ambiance. I'll stick with 2 channel for music.

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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


Quote:

Quote:
Not sure I believe that Mch is more realistic than stereo.

it isn't. you would be assuming right. it is a gimmick, a ruse, a parlor trick, often very badly done.

Piss on m-ch.

Really. All multichannel is a ruse?

1934. Steinburg and Snow, then 1939, Fletcher and Snow, showed that a center channel is essential to getting the front soundstage right.

We still haven't digested that, and you know, it's true that a lot of producers and such haven't digested that, either. Center channel is NOT just for dialog on a home-theatre or home-listening space mix. (It is for cinema, for reasons related to the annoying acoustics of presenting something in a room that size and trying to avoid pulling the audience out of the picture. See www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ppt.htm for a deck that examines some of the issues. It's far from complete, of course, it's a 1 hour presentation.)

As to side and back, there are reasons to have each of side and back speakers, due to HRTF's (head related transfer functions).

Mixes that put the trombones in your behind, well, yeah, I am quite sympathetic with the idea that's bad.

But if you want to sound like you're in a real by (*&(* concert hall, there's little like GOOD multichannel.

There is, however, scarce little GOOD multichannel, (*&(*&nabit.

What makes good multichannel is a bit more than I want to go into at 11:56 PM, though.

johnn
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.

Yup, Fletcher & Snow, Paul Klipsch, Bell Labs all saw the center as essential. (My screen name does not refer to surround sound, it has to do with my location) The most convincing demo I've heard was at the Stereophile show in NYC a few years ago; AT&T had a seven mike, five speaker (all the same) technique with an acapella group from Cleveland I think. Wide sweet spot, wonderfully realistic and you would swear that the two rear speakers weren't even on-the effect was too subtle to pinpoint, but absolutely effective. That was a fine example of the benefits of multichannel done right.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.

I think JJ would endorse that one.

Kal

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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


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I think JJ would endorse that one.

I think JJ did the recording

That's him behind a clean-shaven JA.

Lick-T
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.

Kal,

Do you have the new Hamonia Mundi release of David Lang's "Little Match Girl Passion?" The work won the Pulitzer in 2008 and a CD has just been released. It is an amazing piece of music that pulls together texts from Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Little Match Girl" and texts from the St. Matthew Passion. I just got it yesterday and listened to it, in stereo, last night. It is an SACD surround disc. I just wanted to put that on your radar because it is truly a great album, superbly recorded. Perhaps you could comment on the surround part of the recording if you hear it.

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

the probelm with multichannel is that it is too late. When stereo hit we were in the very early years of hifi. So the transition to stereo recording happened pretty quickly and the market for it was eager for the change. Now we have this huge legacy of great recordings of great music that don't translate into multichannel. OTOH home theater is relatively new as was hifi when stereo hit the market and as such it has been an easy transition from home video with mono or stereo sound tracks to DVD and Blu ray with surround sound. I don't think there is any solution for this problem. You can't go back and convert stereo and mono sound recordings to multichannel without making them some gross bastardization of the original material.

as an audiophile with more than a passing interest in our recorded musical legacy what do I do? Do I spend the money on the amazing reissues coming from Analog Productions, Music Matters, ORG, Audio Fidelity, Classics etc etc or do I hold out for the mulitchannel releases of the Miles Davis prestige recordings?

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

For the 3 channel recommenders, wasn't their issue that in that day most formats other than 30ips tape had wandering central images, ie cassette were horrible for this. I think that lps can as well, but that depends up your TT, cart, and phono stage. I doubt that Mr. Fremmer has an issue with this.

I have had fun with MC SACD in 3 channels only and had great results, but would not say that it is night and day different from 2 channel other than I can play with the depth of the center channel in MC mode.

IMHO, if you like it use it. If not listen in 2 channel to your heart's content. If I had a system as resolving as Dr. Kal's, I'd be listening in MC most, if not all, the time.

The only disc that has bothered me that MC SACD fixed was Warren Bernhardt's Ameilia's Song with his piano hard right channel rather than the typical center stage for the main artist. I switched my center and right audio cables, moving Warren to the middle and the bass player to the right, as now all was to MY liking.

Jim

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.

I knew that, of course.

Kal

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


Quote:
Kal,

Do you have the new Hamonia Mundi release of David Lang's "Little Match Girl Passion?" The work won the Pulitzer in 2008 and a CD has just been released. It is an amazing piece of music that pulls together texts from Hans Christian Andersen's story "The Little Match Girl" and texts from the St. Matthew Passion. I just got it yesterday and listened to it, in stereo, last night. It is an SACD surround disc. I just wanted to put that on your radar because it is truly a great album, superbly recorded. Perhaps you could comment on the surround part of the recording if you hear it.

I had heard about it but, somehow, I have not gotten to actually hear it. I will keep an eye out for it. Thanks.

Kal

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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For the 3 channel recommenders, wasn't their issue that in that day most formats other than 30ips tape had wandering central images, ie cassette were horrible for this.

No, it's a fundamental issue of acoustics in regard to a central image and spectral shaping due to the interference between the two speakers at each ear.

The problems with tape skew certainly make the problem worse, needless to say.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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The only disc that has bothered me that MC SACD fixed was Warren Bernhardt's Ameilia's Song with his piano hard right channel rather than the typical center stage for the main artist. I switched my center and right audio cables, moving Warren to the middle and the bass player to the right, as now all was to MY liking.

Jim

Grrr, (no, not at you, Jim) that's a classic example of how not to make a multichannel recording.

Panning should never EVER result in any signal coming from only 1 speaker in a multichannel recording.

This is part of what I mean when I say that most multichannel production is, err, primitive.

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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


Quote:

Quote:
I think JJ would endorse that one.

I think JJ did the recording

That's him behind a clean-shaven JA.

A big greyer now in the beard, but yep.

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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the probelm with multichannel is that it is too late. When stereo hit we were in the very early years of hifi. So the transition to stereo recording happened pretty quickly and the market for it was eager for the change.

Not so much. From the May 2007, Letters I quote (from me):

Quote:
John Curl recently exhumed the following quote from a mid-1960s letter to Stereophile, originally published in Vol. No. 4: "Sirs: I say that stereo is a first class fake and the biggest fraud ever put out by American Mfr. I have never found anyone who knows audio engineering or music that did not agree with this. All those who disagree just don't know enough to know the truth or they are liars engaged in selling stereo equipment. The only reason that most people have gone for stereo is that they have not had time, and will not take the time to get all the facts, so they are victims of advertising, the biggest con game in the world, and I am not so sure that they don't deserve what they get.

At the time, I suggested swapping multichannel SACD for stereo. Not much has changed.


Quote:
Now we have this huge legacy of great recordings of great music that don't translate into multichannel.

Umm. No need. They will continue sound fine in stereo but there's every reason that all new recordings should take advantage of the most advanced technology.

Kal

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


Quote:

Quote:
the probelm with multichannel is that it is too late. When stereo hit we were in the very early years of hifi. So the transition to stereo recording happened pretty quickly and the market for it was eager for the change.

Not so much. From the May 2007, Letters I quote (from me):

Quote:
John Curl recently exhumed the following quote from a mid-1960s letter to Stereophile, originally published in Vol. No. 4: "Sirs: I say that stereo is a first class fake and the biggest fraud ever put out by American Mfr. I have never found anyone who knows audio engineering or music that did not agree with this. All those who disagree just don't know enough to know the truth or they are liars engaged in selling stereo equipment. The only reason that most people have gone for stereo is that they have not had time, and will not take the time to get all the facts, so they are victims of advertising, the biggest con game in the world, and I am not so sure that they don't deserve what they get.

At the time, I suggested swapping multichannel SACD for stereo. Not much has changed.


Quote:
Now we have this huge legacy of great recordings of great music that don't translate into multichannel.

Umm. No need. They will continue sound fine in stereo but there's every reason that all new recordings should take advantage of the most advanced technology.

Kal

But they won't. That was my point. It has already happened in home theater because both 5.1 and home theater have come into their own around the same time. Just as did stereo and hifi. " At the time, I suggested swapping multichannel SACD for stereo. Not much has changed."
If that were true then we would already have the vast majority of new music recorded in multichannel. But we don't do we? And we won't. That is whay you can't swap them out. despite that guy's protests stereo was embraced by the recording industry and completely took over in a decade. How long have we had 5.1 now? I suspect multichannel in high end audio will take off like direct to disc recordings did in the 70s. It might do a bit better due to the fact that a lot of people will have their home theaters set up to play them back. It's hard enough to get today's recording artists to just back off on the compression. I don't see Springsteen doing his next album in multichannel. If you can persude DG to record the next Yuja Wang album in multichannel I might look into it. Sorry just rambling. But IMO the ship sailed on this one and there will never be enough material done right on multichannel to make it viable. I guess one of the problems is no one is making anything like the Miles Davis Prestige recordings these days. So yeah, I'm spending my money on those ::gasp:: LPs that are brilliantly being remastered rather than spending any money to go multichannel.

j_j
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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But IMO the ship sailed on this one and there will never be enough material done right on multichannel to make it viable.

Like stereo, like electronic (as opposed to acoustic) reproduction, etc.

Yeah, I know the argument. But we're not still listening to gramophones done via acoustic recording.

In multichannel we have the very nearly imbicilic "Quad" to cope with, however, which is just about the worst possible speaker arrangement you can imagine for 4 channels and remain symmetric. 3,1 would make so much more sense.

And we have productions methods carried over from quad, and "dialog only" center channels, and all sorts of theatre production necessities crippling our multichannel home audio.

People will learn, people will learn...

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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But they won't. That was my point. It has already happened in home theater because both 5.1 and home theater have come into their own around the same time. Just as did stereo and hifi. " At the time, I suggested swapping multichannel SACD for stereo. Not much has changed."
If that were true then we would already have the vast majority of new music recorded in multichannel. But we don't do we? And we won't. That is whay you can't swap them out. despite that guy's protests stereo was embraced by the recording industry and completely took over in a decade. How long have we had 5.1 now? I suspect multichannel in high end audio will take off like direct to disc recordings did in the 70s. It might do a bit better due to the fact that a lot of people will have their home theaters set up to play them back. It's hard enough to get today's recording artists to just back off on the compression. I don't see Springsteen doing his next album in multichannel. If you can persude DG to record the next Yuja Wang album in multichannel I might look into it. Sorry just rambling. But IMO the ship sailed on this one and there will never be enough material done right on multichannel to make it viable.

This is a tougher matter now for three reasons. First, resisting hi-end/audiophiles are a more intractable problem today because all audiophiles were a much tinier minority in the mono days. Some of us were there. Second, the mass market is not interested in any of this. Even those with mch HT systems don't give a crap about compression and are mostly concerned with explosions and car crashes. (Yes, there is a small minority of informed audiophile hidden among them.) Third, there is the ubiquitous iPod generation that is as likely to grow additional ears as develop an interest in sedentary listening.


Quote:
I guess one of the problems is no one is making anything like the Miles Davis Prestige recordings these days. So yeah, I'm spending my money on those ::gasp:: LPs that are brilliantly being remastered rather than spending any money to go multichannel.

Yeah, they are great but we've already heard them. Honestly, one of the problems with audiophilia is that it is often akin to necrophilia.

Kal

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Re: Multi channel suround vs stereo.


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Really. All multichannel is a ruse?

]

the vast majority, I am afraid. there are no standards in place, as such no quality control== bad format.

the only instance in which I could see any benefit--having the ambience(and ambience only) coming from the rear channels.

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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But IMO the ship sailed on this one and there will never be enough material done right on multichannel to make it viable.

Like stereo, like electronic (as opposed to acoustic) reproduction, etc.

Yeah, I know the argument. But we're not still listening to gramophones done via acoustic recording.

In multichannel we have the very nearly imbicilic "Quad" to cope with, however, which is just about the worst possible speaker arrangement you can imagine for 4 channels and remain symmetric. 3,1 would make so much more sense.

And we have productions methods carried over from quad, and "dialog only" center channels, and all sorts of theatre production necessities crippling our multichannel home audio.

People will learn, people will learn...

Some will learn and some will not. But there are two forces working against multichannel for me as an audiophile. One is the state of music and the other is the state of multichannel. You have pointed out the later much better than I could but the former, the state of music, is much more problematic. If you look at the state of pop. jazz, classical and world music we have two issues at work for the music lover. we have the lack of excellence in new music and we have the body of brilliant music already recorded. Are there any great jazz musicans out there recording? Well sure, a few. But they are not just competeing with each other. they are being measured against our great legacy of recorded jazz. When Hifi and records were relatively new this was not an issue. There was an explosion of talent and an explosion of great music being recorded. We had the same thing with rock/pop music. who are today's Beatles? well, nobody. That is not to say there is no good new music but we can't ignore that it is always weighed against the existing catalog that now has a solid fifty years behind it. There certainly are a few very exciting new artists in classical but again we have this amazing body of work already recorded. How many Beethoven piano sonatas do we need in our collections? For me, new releases that warrent a purchase are few and far between. Now if we consider how many of these are available in well recorded multichannel....

And once again I have to point out this extraordinay golden age of audiophile reissues we now enjoying. that is absorbing just about all of my funds that I designate to audio. heck I just got my audio Fidelty LP of J.Geils Band Live full House today in the mail. I'll be rockin out to that tonight (after I get back from the Godzilla movie at the American Cinematheque) funny thing about all this. Here in L.A. live classical music is off the map. Disney Hall is an amazing venue even if it is ugly on the outside (my opinion). Gustavo Dudamel is amazing! and I keep refering to Yuja Wang. I saw her with Charles Dutiot at Disney hall. OMG. check this out and note that it is actual real time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1fgo7hp-Ko&feature=related

sorry for rambling again.

j_j
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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... You have pointed out the later much better than I could but the former, the state of music, is much more problematic. If you look at the state of pop. jazz, classical and world music we have two issues at work for the music lover. we have the lack of excellence in new music and we have the body of brilliant music already recorded.

This kind of trend is cyclic. We had the same issues in the 1960's and 1980s, until something new happened.

It's about time again.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

Realism is probably irrelevant. Going way back to the days of cylinder records, there have been repeated demonstrations in which people could not tell whether there was a live performer or group behind a curtain, or whether they were listening to a recording or a performance piped-in from elsewhere. You read the accounts of these events and wonder, how could they not tell?? So I've concluded that if a multichannel version adds to my involvement in the music, I don't care if it's realistic. So I like the Boulez/NY SACD-only release of Ravel, which puts the listener in the middle of the orchestra with instruments all around, and I also like other multichannel performances where the surround tracks have only ambience info (e.g., Abbado's Mahler DVD-V's containing multichannel DTS sound).

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

To: j j

When I first heard the disc I thought something was wrong with my system. I even got a nice email from Warren B. in that it is how it was recorded in the studio. He and Tom Jung left it as it was. It is his recording and he does not need my permission for anything. I love his piano playing. Most of us are just used to the main performer front and center. Without MCSACD I could not have adjusted this great disc to my liking.

Can you imagine them putting Vladimir Horowitz just outside the left stage curtain! Geez. Hey, thats where the moving guys put the piano. LOL

I have much music on cassettes that I like and listen to on occasion, but what gets me to stop is the ill defined central images due to phasing problems on tape at 1/7/8 and the lack of true clarity. It is (was) a remarkable medium in its day. Our first shot at true portablity.

I think John Marks, on his landmark Miles Davis piece, gave us the heads up about Kind of Blue was a 3 channel tape as well.

Jim

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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Going way back to the days of cylinder records, there have been repeated demonstrations in which people could not tell whether there was a live performer or group behind a curtain, or whether they were listening to a recording or a performance piped-in from elsewhere. You read the accounts of these events and wonder, how could they not tell?

I wondered the same thing, and got the answer from the new book 'Perfecting Sound Forever,' which is a history of recording.

Turns out the singers (especially) and the instruments consciously and unconsciously adjusted their sound to match the recorded sound.


Quote:
If you look at the state of pop. jazz, classical and world music we have two issues at work for the music lover. we have the lack of excellence in new music and we have the body of brilliant music already recorded. Are there any great jazz musicans out there recording? Well sure, a few. But they are not just competeing with each other. they are being measured against our great legacy of recorded jazz.

I don't think I agree. I think what's going on is a general increase in excellence, as Stephen Jay Gould described in 'Wonderful Life.' Because of the increase, you don't get .400 hitters and you don't get Coltranes.

That said, a lot of excellent jazz is being produced.

s.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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There certainly are a few very exciting new artists in classical but again we have this amazing body of work already recorded. How many Beethoven piano sonatas do we need in our collections? For me, new releases that warrent a purchase are few and far between.


Scott, I actually agree with most of what you said in your post, but can't go with your sentiment on the quoted above. I believe there's a remarkable surge of new talents in classical music that hasn't been seen in years, most likely decades. Many theories about this rejuvenation, but that's for another thread.

Since you mentioned piano, let's just stick with new pianists & recordings. It's true that there are literally hundreds of Beethoven sonata recordings and one can easily be content with listening to Solomon or Kempff or Schnabel or Brendel or Backhaus, etc etc. Still, even in my limited, small experience of listening, I can't do without Uchida's recent Hammerklavier or some of Paul Lewis's late sonatas. I can't do without Pollini's late sonatas, but I'd much rather have Lewis or Schiff's account of the late sonatas than some of the more 'classic' recordings by the more lionized pianists, i.e. I'd rather have the Lewis' late Beehoven sitting next to the Solomon than Brendel or Kempff.

Another example is Tchaikovsky's 1st Concerto, perhaps the most famous of all piano concertos. Have you heard Yevgeny Sudbin's account of it? I'd much rather have a copy of that than any of the Horowitz's 'legendary' accounts. Much more intelligently considered, without sacrificing virtuosity or poetry.

Also look at these really young kids coming out of nowhere, playing like ARTISTS, and not like some competition warhorse of the 80s, that sewer of a decade for classical music lovers. For every disgusting attention-whore like Lang Lang, there's a Jonathan Biss or Sudbin or Lewis. Can you imagine a pianist like Pierre Laurent Aimard, who came out specializing in Messiaen & Ligeti and now traversing through Bach, Beethoven, et al., thriving in the 80s? No.

I think we classical music lovers have a tendency to canonize the masters with blind love; while reverence is great, what good is it if it keeps us from appreciating newer, interesting offering that keeps coming our way? If we take your quote above at face value, it certainly seems that Art has, or is, reaching its historical end and innovation will stop. But that is just not true, historically speaking and seems more regressive than logical to me. Even if the recent classical recordings are any indication, that is not the case. There are new recordings of the classics which trump the vanguard old masters and are the new references, not only for me, but for many. It'd be a shame if one misses out on these recordings because of a certain entrenched thinking.

These are exciting times for classical music lovers, and I haven't had this much fun buying new classical albums since I was a small kid. I think your comments re: the jazz scene rings true for me, sadly enough; even though I treasure some jazz recordings & artists (Moran, Frisell, etc.), I can't help but feel that their relevance has been moved to the peripheral margins, with the state of jazz being the way it is...

But can't agree with your comments about the classical music scene at all.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


Quote:
I wondered the same thing, and got the answer from the new book 'Perfecting Sound Forever,' which is a history of recording.

Turns out the singers (especially) and the instruments consciously and unconsciously adjusted their sound to match the recorded sound.

I read that book. But if you have heard cylinder recordings or acoustic flat discs played back through the original equipment, as I have, I think you would have to concede that performers could not "adjust the sound" of a string quartet or a soprano or even a piano to sound like a like performer. The audience was persuaded not to detect the differences of live versus recorded/piped in sound for other reasons that were psychological and not auditory.

Try locating a few of the Nimbus reissues of acoustic 78's of opera arias. These were played back in an echoey environment (i.e., a castle) on acoustic reproducing equipment. Although they may be more palatable because of the added "ambience," in no way do they sound like a live human voice.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


Quote:

Quote:
There certainly are a few very exciting new artists in classical but again we have this amazing body of work already recorded. How many Beethoven piano sonatas do we need in our collections? For me, new releases that warrent a purchase are few and far between.


Scott, I actually agree with most of what you said in your post, but can't go with your sentiment on the quoted above. I believe there's a remarkable surge of new talents in classical music that hasn't been seen in years, most likely decades. Many theories about this rejuvenation, but that's for another thread.

Since you mentioned piano, let's just stick with new pianists & recordings. It's true that there are literally hundreds of Beethoven sonata recordings and one can easily be content with listening to Solomon or Kempff or Schnabel or Brendel or Backhaus, etc etc. Still, even in my limited, small experience of listening, I can't do without Uchida's recent Hammerklavier or some of Paul Lewis's late sonatas. I can't do without Pollini's late sonatas, but I'd much rather have Lewis or Schiff's account of the late sonatas than some of the more 'classic' recordings by the more lionized pianists, i.e. I'd rather have the Lewis' late Beehoven sitting next to the Solomon than Brendel or Kempff.

Another example is Tchaikovsky's 1st Concerto, perhaps the most famous of all piano concertos. Have you heard Yevgeny Sudbin's account of it? I'd much rather have a copy of that than any of the Horowitz's 'legendary' accounts. Much more intelligently considered, without sacrificing virtuosity or poetry.

Also look at these really young kids coming out of nowhere, playing like ARTISTS, and not like some competition warhorse of the 80s, that sewer of a decade for classical music lovers. For every disgusting attention-whore like Lang Lang, there's a Jonathan Biss or Sudbin or Lewis. Can you imagine a pianist like Pierre Laurent Aimard, who came out specializing in Messiaen & Ligeti and now traversing through Bach, Beethoven, et al., thriving in the 80s? No.

I think we classical music lovers have a tendency to canonize the masters with blind love; while reverence is great, what good is it if it keeps us from appreciating newer, interesting offering that keeps coming our way? If we take your quote above at face value, it certainly seems that Art has, or is, reaching its historical end and innovation will stop. But that is just not true, historically speaking and seems more regressive than logical to me. Even if the recent classical recordings are any indication, that is not the case. There are new recordings of the classics which trump the vanguard old masters and are the new references, not only for me, but for many. It'd be a shame if one misses out on these recordings because of a certain entrenched thinking.

These are exciting times for classical music lovers, and I haven't had this much fun buying new classical albums since I was a small kid. I think your comments re: the jazz scene rings true for me, sadly enough; even though I treasure some jazz recordings & artists (Moran, Frisell, etc.), I can't help but feel that their relevance has been moved to the peripheral margins, with the state of jazz being the way it is...

But can't agree with your comments about the classical music scene at all.

Which begs the question. How much of that is in high quality multichannel?

satkinsn
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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Quote:
I wondered the same thing, and got the answer from the new book 'Perfecting Sound Forever,' which is a history of recording.

Turns out the singers (especially) and the instruments consciously and unconsciously adjusted their sound to match the recorded sound.

I read that book. But if you have heard cylinder recordings or acoustic flat discs played back through the original equipment, as I have, I think you would have to concede that performers could not "adjust the sound" of a string quartet or a soprano or even a piano to sound like a like performer. The audience was persuaded not to detect the differences of live versus recorded/piped in sound for other reasons that were psychological and not auditory.

Oh yeah, absolutely. I skipped over a bunch of reasoning in my first note, but I agree with you - I think the performers did what they could to tuck in their sounds, and the audience - which both wanted to believe and was being encouraged to believe - went along.

Still, until I read the book I never thought of the live performers adjusting what they did.

Also, I've been on an 'old recording' kick lately, buying both a DG set of early 20th Century recordings and one from Naxos.

How much different is the experience of listening off a cd through a modern system, as compared to the original recording and playback chain?

s.

Jim Tavegia
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

quote:
There was an explosion of talent and an explosion of great music being recorded. We had the same thing with rock/pop music. who are today's Beatles? well, nobody. That is not to say there is no good new music but we can't ignore that it is always weighed against the existing catalog that now has a solid fifty years behind it. There certainly are a few very exciting new artists in classical but again we have this amazing body of work already recorded. How many Beethoven piano sonatas do we need in our collections? For me, new releases that warrent a purchase are few and far between. Now if we consider how many of these are available in well recorded multichannel.... end quote.

This is another problem with the music industry as a whole. I give an example.

Yes, how many performances of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas do we need? I have 3 sets that I really love.

A few months back there were a World Premier and 2 U.S. Premiers of three lost Beethoven Piano Trios. They were performed at Murphy Auditorium in Chicago by Pianist George LePeau, Wendy Werner, and Song Mei Lei, both playing 300 year old instruments, a cello and violin. (forgive my mispellings that have probably taken place.)

I recorded the internet streams off WMFT in Chicago of these important works. This was and is a time when MP3 quality is good enough, because the alternative of NOT having the music at all, is not good.

They are excellent pieces and a great find for the classical music world. I wrote WMFT to ask when they might be available for commercial release. NO RESPONSE.

Since the recordings there has been nothing about the performacnes on their website I could find, nor any comments about a repeat airing of the concert itself. They made it clear during the introduction that they were recording the performances, since they were broadcasting them that seems more than obvious to me. How could you not record World and U.S Premiers?

Anyhow, here we have great lost music that would certainly be gobbled up by classical music lovers when made commercially available, plus the possible touring opportunity to go around to every major city in the country (or world for that matter), and perform these great pieces. Yet, not a word from anyone.

When the commercial community drops the ball this is how and why bootlegs get their energy and music gets disseminated. Someone dropped the ball big time here.

Maybe it will happen, but months have gone by from the original performance. I am just glad I still have and enjoy my internet streams of these great and unknown works.

When I was much younger I used to record much off FM. I think my remaining years will be spent recording some great performances off the internet. Sometimes history does repeat itself

Jim

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


Quote:

Quote:

Quote:
There certainly are a few very exciting new artists in classical but again we have this amazing body of work already recorded. How many Beethoven piano sonatas do we need in our collections? For me, new releases that warrent a purchase are few and far between.


Scott, I actually agree with most of what you said in your post, but can't go with your sentiment on the quoted above. I believe there's a remarkable surge of new talents in classical music that hasn't been seen in years, most likely decades. Many theories about this rejuvenation, but that's for another thread.

Since you mentioned piano, let's just stick with new pianists & recordings. It's true that there are literally hundreds of Beethoven sonata recordings and one can easily be content with listening to Solomon or Kempff or Schnabel or Brendel or Backhaus, etc etc. Still, even in my limited, small experience of listening, I can't do without Uchida's recent Hammerklavier or some of Paul Lewis's late sonatas. I can't do without Pollini's late sonatas, but I'd much rather have Lewis or Schiff's account of the late sonatas than some of the more 'classic' recordings by the more lionized pianists, i.e. I'd rather have the Lewis' late Beehoven sitting next to the Solomon than Brendel or Kempff.

Another example is Tchaikovsky's 1st Concerto, perhaps the most famous of all piano concertos. Have you heard Yevgeny Sudbin's account of it? I'd much rather have a copy of that than any of the Horowitz's 'legendary' accounts. Much more intelligently considered, without sacrificing virtuosity or poetry.

Also look at these really young kids coming out of nowhere, playing like ARTISTS, and not like some competition warhorse of the 80s, that sewer of a decade for classical music lovers. For every disgusting attention-whore like Lang Lang, there's a Jonathan Biss or Sudbin or Lewis. Can you imagine a pianist like Pierre Laurent Aimard, who came out specializing in Messiaen & Ligeti and now traversing through Bach, Beethoven, et al., thriving in the 80s? No.

I think we classical music lovers have a tendency to canonize the masters with blind love; while reverence is great, what good is it if it keeps us from appreciating newer, interesting offering that keeps coming our way? If we take your quote above at face value, it certainly seems that Art has, or is, reaching its historical end and innovation will stop. But that is just not true, historically speaking and seems more regressive than logical to me. Even if the recent classical recordings are any indication, that is not the case. There are new recordings of the classics which trump the vanguard old masters and are the new references, not only for me, but for many. It'd be a shame if one misses out on these recordings because of a certain entrenched thinking.

These are exciting times for classical music lovers, and I haven't had this much fun buying new classical albums since I was a small kid. I think your comments re: the jazz scene rings true for me, sadly enough; even though I treasure some jazz recordings & artists (Moran, Frisell, etc.), I can't help but feel that their relevance has been moved to the peripheral margins, with the state of jazz being the way it is...

But can't agree with your comments about the classical music scene at all.

Which begs the question. How much of that is in high quality multichannel?


Well, some of them are hybrid SACDs, but here's the point: you said there were 2 answers why the multichannel is the way it is today: 1. state of the music and 2. state of multichannel. My answer is to illustrate that it is more about the state of multichannel than the state of music which is problematic. Contrary to what you may believe, certain genres which you describe as being in decrepit shape are actually thriving in terms of content.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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Second, the mass market is not interested in any of this. Even those with mch HT systems don't give a crap about compression and are mostly concerned with explosions and car crashes. (Yes, there is a small minority of informed audiophile hidden among them.)

This seems a bit harsh. It

Scott Wheeler
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I don't think I described the state of music as decrepit. I believe I said "There certainly are a few very exciting new artists out there." But the point being that "we already have this amazing body of work already recorded." It is inevitable that as the body increases so the bar goes higher for me to wish to buy yet another recording of some work that I already own (in some cases in multiples). Back when so much of the great stuff in the 50s and 60s was being recorded it was supremely fresh for the hifi enthusiast. As I was discovering classical music, that was the stuff I was mostly getting. These days the rejection rate (for me) goes way up because we are largly talking about music that has already been done very well many times. I certainly don't think classical music is in a decrepit state these days. I do believe I went on a bit of a rant about how good we have it here in L.A. with the live classical music scene. I think I have sung the praises of Yuja Wang a few times here. I am almost certainly not as up to date as you on what is being released these days. Classical is a distant 4th or 5th on my list of favorite genres. Right now I am still on a big 60s/70s U.K. folk psychodelic binge. a lot of stuff there that had very limited releases that is being reissued. Yesterday I just picked up the Rhino reissues of Bad Co and The Genius of Ray Charles. Gotta give them a spin tonight. then i keep getting these amazing reissues from Analog Productions and Music Matters of the great Blue Note catalog. my cup runneth over. And because of my line of work I often spend several months at a time away from home. So when I get here I usually have a stack of great recordings waiting for me. Not to mention the stack I usually bring home from the local music scene from what ever location I was working.

It may be particularly pointed for me but I do think that the maturity of recorded music itself is the greatest force working against multichannel in high end audio. The sparceness of pickings in Jazz and pop/rock certainly make matters worse.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

Again, we're very much in agreement here, Scott. And as someone who claims that classical music is only '4th or 5th' favorite genre and is even cognizant of who Yuja Wang is, you're definitely an atypical music lover. She's pretty special, worth watching out for.

That said, I don't think the state of pop/rock is too bad, once you look outside the major labels' offerings. Here, I'm sure Stephen Mejias will be more knowledgeable, but I at least know there's good music being made, a lot of it, which makes me buy the records. (Again, I'm not even thinking about multi-channel, but just the content). Have you heard records by Ceu, Fleet Foxes, Coco Rosie, Lambchop, Will Oldham, etc.? I mean long live The Zombies and Procol Harum & all that, but some of these new kids' records are so great, that they'd perhaps make any nostalgist forget about the past for waaay more than a minute...

Seeing that you are into 60s 70s psych rock, & pop, etc., have you had a chance to listen to the Classic Record's Big Star offerings? I'm mildly disappointed, esp. after reading so much about the purported benefits of the 'black-less' records... this doesn't bode well for those clarity pressings, as this was my 1st experience w/ colorless vinyl... (sorry for taking this discussion off tangent, but Buddha? )

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As far as Jazz goes there is definitely an increase in technical excellence. Some of my musician friends have commented about that. One said, "Everybody's got great chops nowadays. Trouble is, they got all them chops and not much to say".

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.

Scott and selfdivider, check out James Hunter. I would be very surprised if you don't like him. Watch a sample on u-tube.

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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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This seems a bit harsh. It
satkinsn
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


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As far as Jazz goes there is definitely an increase in technical excellence. Some of my musician friends have commented about that. One said, "Everybody's got great chops nowadays. Trouble is, they got all them chops and not much to say".

My take is a little different.

The standard argument is that everything's already been said and that coming up with a way to be 'original' in jazz is damn near impossible.

You're either some kind of post-modern (sorry) recombiner a la John Zorn in 1985, or you're doing what your elders did, just not as well (Wynton).

What strikes me as more likely is that the general spread of excellence and knowledge in jazz makes it harder for a major statement to stand out. You won't get 'Ascension' because we've already had it once, and the best you could do is muster variations on it.

That's sort of true, but mostly false.

I'm no expert in fiction (nor jazz nor anything else, for that matter) but I think it's safe to say most of the formal innovations in the novel have taken place.

Yet people persist in writing novels, even great ones, and using the innovations to good, creative ends.

To put it in an area I know a little about, I just finished Michael Harvey's "The Fifth Floor" without once feeling like I was reading an echo of Chandler or Ross McDonald, or having that "it's all been done before, only better" feeling.

What is different? There is so much more available now in jazz, (for an endangered art form, a whole lot of albums are being made) and all of them are at least decent, and mostly better.

It may be heresy to say it, but I could gather 20 albums at random from a few labels and I'd bet they would come off at least as well as, say, 15 typical Blue Note or Riverside albums from the mid-50s.

So to my mind, we're at a different place, historically, in jazz. Because of the general increase in excellence we're not going to get a dominating figure, a giant - but that's only because so many players are standing tall.

s.

JoeE SP9
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Re: Multi channel surround vs stereo.


Quote:

Quote:
As far as Jazz goes there is definitely an increase in technical excellence. Some of my musician friends have commented about that. One said, "Everybody's got great chops nowadays. Trouble is, they got all them chops and not much to say".

My take is a little different.

The standard argument is that everything's already been said and that coming up with a way to be 'original' in jazz is damn near impossible.

You're either some kind of post-modern (sorry) recombiner a la John Zorn in 1985, or you're doing what your elders did, just not as well (Wynton).

What strikes me as more likely is that the general spread of excellence and knowledge in jazz makes it harder for a major statement to stand out. You won't get 'Ascension' because we've already had it once, and the best you could do is muster variations on it.

That's sort of true, but mostly false.

I'm no expert in fiction (nor jazz nor anything else, for that matter) but I think it's safe to say most of the formal innovations in the novel have taken place.

Yet people persist in writing novels, even great ones, and using the innovations to good, creative ends.

To put it in an area I know a little about, I just finished Michael Harvey's "The Fifth Floor" without once feeling like I was reading an echo of Chandler or Ross McDonald, or having that "it's all been done before, only better" feeling.

What is different? There is so much more available now in jazz, (for an endangered art form, a whole lot of albums are being made) and all of them are at least decent, and mostly better.

It may be heresy to say it, but I could gather 20 albums at random from a few labels and I'd bet they would come off at least as well as, say, 15 typical Blue Note or Riverside albums from the mid-50s.

So to my mind, we're at a different place, historically, in jazz. Because of the general increase in excellence we're not going to get a dominating figure, a giant - but that's only because so many players are standing tall.

s.

There was no intention on my buddies or my part to agree with Wynton. What we think is that talent as far as technical ability, is all over the place. Talent as far as creativity and innovation is concerned is always few and far between. The uniformly high state of technical ability makes it harder to stand out because "everybody" can play Trane's or Sonny Rollins' solos.

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