What are your thoughts about multichannel music?

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

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?

Walter Woody's picture

I do not consider a center channel to be appropriate in music. If the center of the sound stage can't hold its own with stereo speakers, it is not recorded or mixed properly. I find sound stage errors hard enough to forgive in stereo and it would be impossible to forgive them in multichannel. I admit reservations to having the listening area's characteristics not clashing with the recorded multichannel acoustics and ambiance.

Ethan's picture

I'm happy with my current two-channel setup, but would consider 5.1 with a larger listening area in the future. However, I would not accept any heavily compressed channels. If SACD 5.1 sticks around, I'll probably upgrade to a multichannel setup.

Ear's picture

5.1 adds nothing to my experience of music beyond sound. For extra sound effects and I guess better spatial resolution 5.1 is preferable, but this still leaves me with a gimmicky feeling. The failure among music enthusiasts of SACD and DVD-A can be explained by a lack of added values. These formats have finally become a hegemony for those who take preference for sound prior to music content.

P.  Woodward's picture

I really love hi-rez SACD records in multichannel.

Jose's picture

Multichannel System is OK for action films only. For music, until today, 2008, there is nothing better than the old stereo. Thank you, Mr.Blumlein.

Bob D's picture

Multichannel is awesome if you have big bucks and a dedicated space. I'll consider it when I have the resources, but for now I'm happy with my two channel set-up. I tried 5.1 for a while, but found it was just too fiddly, so I let it go. One day when I have money to burn, maybe.

dlevans's picture

Long live SACD multichannel!

Hartwig Hanser's picture

I prefer multichannel, but a good stereo recording is still fine.

Theo Jager's picture

Recording techniques should be multichannel. "Normal" CD's should be multichannel, natively.

Pete's picture

I played around with it years ago. Too many wires, too much money. It is fun to watch movies sometimes in multichannel, but music? Why?

Mark's picture

Blu-Ray Music disc for stereo and surround. All channels in 192k/24-bit.

Neil Underwood's picture

Multichannel music really took precedence once I started using HDMI/Audyssey calibrated combo. Analog 5.1 was good but HDMI is spectacular for music and movies.

Peder's picture

Unless you are a conductor, the music usually comes from the front of you.

Mike M's picture

Can't wait for audio only Blu Ray in 7.1 Master or True HD.

Sherd's picture

It would be great if we all had a room dedicated to the complexities of multichannel playback and also software recorded properly. Considering most homes can not support the proper set up of a system and the recording of multichannel music is all over the place in regards to the use of the center speaker and surrounds .I say stick to two-channel for music and multi for movies!

steve's picture

I have SACD but two-channel and it really enchance music. I'm sure that multichannel SACD will wow. But I can't afford it

Juan Carlos's picture

Only to improve stereo image and the hall ambiance of music.

Pete's picture

Until there is a multitude of truly high-resolution multichannel music I actually want (and that music must not be mixed in some headache inducing fashion), there is no need to even think about it. Once that threshold is achieved, there is still the cost issue of recreating for the new channels the same high-quality electronics and speakers currently invested in the main two. Talk to me in a decade.

Rick's picture

It just sounds a bit disorienting to hear intruments or vocals coming from behind. I'd prefer higher quality bit rates to increase fidelity

David J's picture

I have a slight interest in it, but no one seems to be promoting it strongly. That said, most of my music listening is done in regular stereo, especially considering the many times I listen to music on some portable device.

Robert's picture

I've spent over 30 years trying to deal with the complexities of two-channel listening. Still some way to go. Give me one good reason, just one, why I would want to add three more channels and increase the complexity exponentially?? I don't have that much time left! Also, what chance do you think the recording and mastering engineers have of getting multichannel right, especially considering their performance with two channels? BTW, I only have two ears.

Poul E's picture

I've managed to get coherent multichannel with no compromise in stereo without too much trouble. Well recorded multichannel SACDs are without a doubt the gold standard for me at this point.

Isaac's picture

I like both two-channel and multichannel. If the source is two-channel it sounds best using two-channel equipment. If you listen to a multichannel source that was recorded for a multichannel system using a properly calibrated HT system, the sound can be amazing. There is just not enough recordings being released in multichannel, unless you just like classical or oldies.

dale's picture

This media puts you somewhere in the middle of the stage and is not where you typically enjoy a live performance

R.  Klute's picture

I can just afford to buy enough quality components for a two-channel system, and my listening room is not big enough to contain 5 speaker cabinets. Plus it is very difficult to purchase SACDs (forget DVD-A), except by mail order, in this area. For the money the mailorder places charge for SACD, I can buy lots of vinyl at local shops for less and get as good or better sound. And used vinyl is even more economical. Leave multichannel for the movie buffs.

G's picture

Nice if you listen a lot to Pink Floyd. The majority of musical experiences can be reproduced from two speakers.

daryl from Winnipeg's picture

Raise your hand if you have sat in the middle of a band or orchestra as they played. (Musicians in a band don't count) Two-channel is realistic listening!

ender21's picture

Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not. Sometimes the music is begging to be mixed in multichannel, sometimes it's better left in stereo. Case-by-case.

EP's picture

Multichannel is fabulous for viewing movies and that's what I have it for. I also have my two-channel setup for music which I will always embrace. I am not against the technology as long as stereo is still available. Live music is in front of you, not on the sides and certainly not behind you.

Good question's picture

Between a well mixed two-channel or a well mixed multichannel recording, I prefer multi. But surely not all multichannel recordings are created equal. So basically, it depends on the material.