Originally Posted by fitzcaraldo215
I have no doubt that the synthesized wide or height channels can make movies sound more spectacular. But, I am primarily a music listener who prefers realism to spectacular effects. So, I want only discretely recorded, not synthesized channels, and I am in favor of more channels if discretely recorded. My reading of all reviews I have seen so far has been negative on the contribution of the synthesized extra channels with music. So, I ain't goin' there.
I appreciate and share your preference for discrete channels over synthesized channels when they are available. However, when discrete channels are not available, I have obtained excellent results with various matrix processes that extract additional channels. However, I concede that for conventionally recorded music, particularly classical music with the orchestra in the front soundstage, the surround back channels are not as important as in some action movies.
With regard to the usefulness of wides when listening to music, there is a body of scientific evidence that demonstrates that strong lateral reflections, particularly coming from approximately 60 degrees, results in an increase in Apparent Source Width (AWS) and that this increase is consistent with an improvement in spatial impression (spaciousness) and Listener Envelopment (LEV). Furthermore, research has shown that this increase in AWS and LEV has been found to correlate with improved sound quality ratings of concert halls. Since this is a characteristic of quality concert halls, attempts to replicate these beneficial reflections may result in improved realism.
While there is no guarantee that Audyssey's implementation of DSX will accurately mimic the lateral reflections of quality concert halls, nevertheless, the underlying science upon which it based was actually derived from music applications.
Here are a relevant excerpt from Dr. Toole's book dealing with the subject:
Spaciousness or spatial impression
can be separated into two components:
Image size and position:
Strong reflections have the ability to shift the apparent position of a source in the direction of the reflection and/or to make the source appear larger. In live classical performances, this is called ASW (apparent source width), and audiences like it. In sound reproduction, there is evidence that the tendency continues.Envelopment and the sense of space:
Also called listener envelopment (LEV), this is the impression of being in a specific acoustical space. It is perhaps the single most important perceived element distinguishing truly good concert halls. In music recordings and movies, it is arguably the greatest improvement contributed by multichannel audio.
Hopefully this background may relieve your concerns regarding the suitability of DSX to music and induce you to perhaps experiment with a temporary setup to test wides for yourself.
In the meantime I am anxious to read Kal's review of the Onkyo PR
-SC5508 and hear what he has to say about wides. I would also be interested in reading the negative reviews that you mention. Can you provide links to them?