Do You Prefer 2-Channel or Multichannel Music Recordings? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Do You Prefer 2-Channel or Multichannel Music Recordings?
2-channel 181 35.70%
Multichannel, audience perspective 186 36.69%
Multichannel, stage perspective 96 18.93%
I've never heard a multichannel music recording 44 8.68%
Voters: 507. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-03-2014, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
On the other hand, the sweet spot for multichannel is smaller than for 2-channel—a point in the middle of the speaker array instead of a line perpendicular to the plane of two speakers.
Is that really true? I don't see why it should be.

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Old 07-03-2014, 12:36 PM
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No, it's not true. It's just easier to get two speakers working well in a room than lots of speakers.

Hence the existence of various room EQ thingamabob's in everything anymore.

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Old 07-03-2014, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by sjschaff View Post
Multi-channel is the side show at the carnival.
Classic audiophile snobbery...
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I reject your reality and substitute my own.

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Old 07-03-2014, 01:15 PM
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Originally Posted by weekendtoy View Post
Classic audiophile snobbery...
+1

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Old 07-03-2014, 01:20 PM
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I own a modest amount of DTS and SACD multi-channel disks. If I play a 2 channel stereo disk on my 7.1 channel theater, It doesn't have the same depth of sound field as the multi-channel recordings. However with a headset 2 channel recording have a depth of field I don't obtain with my home theater speakers. I was thinking of buying a pair of speakers and place them on each side of the room adjacent to my ears. I would then use the A/B speaker switch in my AVR to use these speakers for 2 channel material. Since I mostly use the dedicated theater room for movies, I haven't implemented this a yet. Just even listening to 2 channel MP3s on my phone gives me the depth of sound field as well even though the sound quality is not as good.

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Old 07-03-2014, 01:32 PM
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I was a multichannel advocate until my purchase of true full range speakers JTR 215RT's (18hz-24Khz +-3db) . Now, 2 channel is my go-to format for music and I attribute this to those specific speakers. BTW, I have a nicely matched 7 channel system and with hirez sources, multichannel music sounds great but 2 channel is my preference.

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Old 07-03-2014, 02:02 PM
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Hopefully Dolby Atomicos will be introduced with 32 speakers all around up and under the sweet spot!
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audioguy View Post
+1
Quote:
Originally Posted by weekendtoy View Post
Classic audiophile snobbery...
And likely from a person who has never actually heard a multichannel recording.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post
No, it's not true. It's just easier to get two speakers working well in a room than lots of speakers.

Hence the existence of various room EQ thingamabob's in everything anymore.
The issue is being greatly overstated.

Things only get funky if you're sitting way off center, and there are the same issues with stereo.

If this is really a concern, then we should all be listening in mono.
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Old 07-03-2014, 03:50 PM
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I ditched Surround Sound for Stereo only, along time ago.

Im a bit too young for Quadraphonic Sound, but had contemplated at one time checking it out...purchasing a Quadraphonic Reciever and 8 Track tape deck, and Turntable....but never got a round tuit, and then ditched surround sound altogether.

Some of my favorite recordings are binaural from audience perspective, made by Telarc. With 2 mics located at the ear positions of a dummy head.

Im strickly stereo these days, with the occassional monoaural soundtrack.

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Old 07-03-2014, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by von Levi View Post
The issue is being greatly overstated.

Things only get funky if you're sitting way off center, and there are the same issues with stereo.

If this is really a concern, then we should all be listening in mono.
The Grateful Dead used to have some really good Spectrum Analyzers to set up sound at their gigs at various venues.

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Old 07-03-2014, 04:05 PM
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As far as I know, Dying Fetus doesn't have any multi channel recordings, so I'm two channel all the way.

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Old 07-03-2014, 04:17 PM
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As far as I know, Dying Fetus doesn't have any multi channel recordings, so I'm two channel all the way.
But not two channel on principle, may we gather?, but just through happenstance.

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Old 07-03-2014, 04:24 PM
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Ive done a lot of Stereo X/Y recording of concerts in and around the soundboard.

My favorite live recordings are Soundboard patches with Audience mics for crowd ambiance.

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Old 07-03-2014, 04:28 PM
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2 channel. It's not worth it to buy an entire album on DVD-A or SACD just to hear it in multichannel. Multichannel audio is more of a gimmick than 3DTV.
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Old 07-03-2014, 04:37 PM
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I voted for 2 channel, because I own over 3,000 lp's that are still played regularly.

But I also enjoy multi-channel; it is a wonderful listening experience if it is well set up, I have over 300 multi-channel SACD's. The greatest problem with multi is the cost of getting the same "quality" of sound that you can experience in 2 channel. Regardless of what it costs to have good sound in stereo, it will cost more to match that 2 channel sound quality; more speakers and more amp's of the same kind simply cost more.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:45 PM
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But not two channel on principle, may we gather?, but just through happenstance.
You could say that.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:55 PM
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I agrre that the the truly vital aspect is quality mastering, that being said I lean more toward 2 channel.

I love having the soundstage in front of me as if the performers are there in the room. Also the somewhat unique (airy?) sense of a phantom center.

In addition, the stage perspective is not for me but audience perspective for concerts can be quite immersive.

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Old 07-03-2014, 05:57 PM
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As someone who had been a recording engineer in the "quad" days, I can safely say that it depends on the mix as to whether or not the additional channels are actually of benefit. When stereo was new there were many mixes that were done to "gimmick" the speaker placement, such as placing all vocals in one channel and all instruments in the other. Quad had mixes that exploited surround effects, such as spinning instruments or vocals around the listener - IF - one was lucky enough to have enough separation with their system. Having listened to several modern digital surruond mixes, I say not much has changed. There are mixes that utiilize the additional channels to expand the aural stage such as to further refine the definition of the sounds, there are those that "gimmick" the additional channels to just call attention to them, and there are combinations. Nothing really more or less than mixing has ever been, even since mono. It depends on the artistic intent of the producer or artist, and how they are executed by the mix engineer. Although I voted for listening to MC, I'd take a good stereo mix over a "gimmick" surround mix any day! BTW I have been surprised to find some stereo mixes actually are Dolby PL encoded, or maybe something compatible, with little or no notation of being so. (I can hear the phase shifted material in the stereo mix, giving it away and calling for the decoder to be turned on!)
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:28 PM
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:31 PM
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I'll get on the boat with the others who expressed that it really matters how the recording was engineered. For me, I would happily enjoy a multi-channel source that were all front speakers or in an arc in front of me. In the meanwhile, I'll continue to listen to stereo and multi-channel (5.x system) in my home as my system handles it quite nicely.

Since much is a matter of engineering, I pretty much have given up on the notion of "fidelity" as sound is being manipulated in the studios to produce those stereo and multi-channel offerings.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by von Levi View Post
Multichannel. No question.

After all of these years, there's still a lot of factually incorrect beliefs about multichannel sound being spread by people who have never actually heard a multichannel recording. I still see plenty of people who write it off as a gimmick because they assume that all the rear channels do is pump in ambience, or, the rears are used to create a mix that puts you in the center of the musicians (there are certainly a handful of recordings that do this, but the vast majority don't).

On good multichannel recordings the rears help spread the stereo image much wider than you get with just two-channels, and there will be a greater sense of depth perception to the sound (on the latter point, it can take solo piano recordings to a whole new level).

And not to sound too angry, but there are also lots of stereophiles who just scoff at the idea of listening to music using an A/V receiver connected to a transport via HDMI without actually having heard the results.

Lastly, another thing that has hurt the acceptance of multichannel is that you only realize just how superior it can be when you do a listening comparison to the stereo mix.
Agreed - to a point. - a lot of the folks answering the poll here are confusing multi-channel playback, which might or might not be sourced from a multichannel recording, with multichannel recording. They think that, because they listened to their favorite stereo recording in PLII or something else, that this qualifies as listening to a multichannel source - which is really the intent of the question being posed here.

I have been routinely disappointed by simulated multichannel playback of most stereo material (with some exceptions, of course). Well-done TRUE multi-channel recordings and mixes, on the other hand, I have found to be outright fantastic.

My problem with the poll is that it misses an option, and in doing so, really misses an important part of the point - "Multichannel that does not correspond to any actual practical (or even physically possible) reality whatever" is one of the most important options. The wonderful multichannel mix of Dark Side of the Moon, for example, exhibits little if any correspondence to any "Stage" experience at all - on-stage or off-stage. This is not a stage perspective. It is not an audience-listening-to-performers-on-a-stage perspective. It is completely artificial - and immersive. Think "swimming in the music"-immersive.

The other issue is the following question - how many of the folks here have centers and surrounds that are on par with their front speakers? Yes, with a movie or TV show, most of the action is in the front 3 speakers. Your surrounds only need to be so good to be sufficient for movies, and most folks spend far less on their surround speakers than on the other 3. Even a sublime multichannel mix is not going to sound all that great on a system with a $5000 pair of fronts, a $2500 center, and a $1500 pair of surrounds. You can do it for movies - not so much for many multichannel mixes. Spend that $8000-$10000 for speakers on 5x$1500-$2000 matched mains, then listen to the music. For a surround mix to sound great on playback, all of the non-LFE speakers need to be as close to a match as is practical.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:41 PM
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Do You Prefer 2-Channel or Multichannel Music Recordings?

When I first got my first HDTV, I was weirdly fascinated with he SRS settings vs. stereo. Never having had surround at home before, it was kind of a novelty. I still think it's kind of wonky and haven't figured it out. But I'd say it definitely depends on the film too. I admit I have little patience for remixes; if a film was shot in mono, I'd prefer it stays that way, especially given the irritating penchant of studios towards not including it. I think of these days I should find a Dolby Atmos location, see how it sounds. I'm way toy AV illiterate to form to cogent an opinion, but I think that I can say that it would depend on this tending environment, wouldn't it? I listen to so much of my music through my iPod and car stereo that I sometimes wonder if I'm missing out as my CDs collect dust . Obviously, it's a different thing for music or film.

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Old 07-03-2014, 09:05 PM
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There would be no votes for 2 channel music if you simply heard Depeche Mode Violator album in 5.1. They also have a song called Photographic by Depeche mode that is unbelievable in 5.1. Also most Bollywood movies have great 5.1 in their soundtracks and I make dvd audio discs from the movie songs in it.

No one in their right mind would choose stereo over multichannel if they simply heard the difference and have the equipment to hear it and have the right source that contains the additional channels and resolution.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:32 AM
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I remember quadraphonic LP's in the 70's. My neighbor had a quadraphonic system, but I never got to listen to it.
I wonder if it would be (easily) possible to faithfully reproduce an original quadrophonic recording, the way it was meant to be heard. I grew up a very impressionable child in the 70s and have always wanted to hear a true quadrophonic system.
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Old 07-04-2014, 07:09 AM
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Jezz no-one got my joke

1st off I would never listen to a non-multi channel recording in surround.
Listening to a shaded dog of Scheherazade conducted by the master Fritz Reiner, would be a sin.
The only exceptions are electronica-atmospheric, ambient, trance etc.

IMHO much of the experience comes down to the configuration of your system.
I have 7.2 matched, full-range all around speaker system
Sides and surrounds tweeter/mid at ear level.

It's very easy to get things wrong in terms of source and processor settings.
My goal is to have no processing of the signal other than music specific room correction.
Perfectly balanced levels are also critical.

As many have mentioned its all recording/mixed dependent.
Much of the early multi-channel remixes were way too over the top for me. There are certainly some exceptions.
The Doors DVD-A's come to mind. Riders on the Storm in multi-channel is amazing.
Today's multi-channel recordings are significantly more natural and potentially very enveloping.

Most have native multi-channel mix with an additional stereo track. I listen to both and see what I like.

I also find that if the re-mix was done by the original producer the results are much better.

I do enjoy the DVD-A of Night at the Opera in my car!

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Old 07-04-2014, 07:46 AM
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I'm not sure how you would categorize multichannel albums from Pink Floyd and the like that use all kinds of non-traditional instruments and sound effects that appear and disappear from various directions or even pan around you. Would you consider that as being on the stage or part of the audience? I'm not sure I would classify it as either. With their music, there doesn't really seem to be a stage, performers, or an audience, but rather an experience. In this case, multichannel recordings can be very effective and I would say that I prefer them over your basic stereo recording.
Yeah, love the poll but this is the same problem I had with it. There's isn't an option for this type of multichannel music which, in my opinion be different than the options included in this poll. Another perfect example of the multi-channel music experience is Linkin Park's Reanimation. Flat out AWESOME in 5.1 and makes an already good album better. Instruments, effects and voices are strategically placed to enhance and not distract.
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:56 AM
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One thing that hasn't been mentioned here is that SACD's and DVD-A's have 2 channel tracks recorded at higher bitrates than redbook CD's - up to 192 kb/sec. They sound better in stereo than ordinary CD's - 44 kb/sec. Generally, since my two mains are superior to all my other loudspeakers, that's the way I prefer to listen to music.

If it's an ordinary CD, then multichannel is just an electronic gimmick to involve the other speakers - it muddles the "purity" of the music IMHO. CD's are mixed in stereo, so they sound best in 2-channel. If it's an SACD with a proper multi-channel mix, then that's another story. Those can be quite immersive when you get the other speakers involved.

All that said, my favorite way of listening to music is 200 gram vinyl on my Rega P3 turntable through my 2 Mission Argonaut mains. All analog path, baby - no high pass digital filtering, all the sound, all the time. Talk about a music snob!
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:04 PM
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I much prefer studio recordings in 2 ch. Stereo. Live recordings can be great in multi channel.

Since the majority of my listening is studio recordings I voted for 2 channel.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:16 PM
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I'm going to date myself even more with this comment Scott. But I recently hooked up my old Marantz discrete 4 channel demodulator to my Technics SP10 MK2 and listened to my limited library of discrete 4 channel vinyl through it. In 7.2 format via my HK745 AVR and Luxman Phono amp. I had never done this before. Hadn't connected the Marantz decoder since the 1970's. But I have to say I was flabbergasted by the results. The sound was just absolutely stunning! The natural discrete 4 channel ambiance and sense of space just enveloped me like nothing I had heard. So my answer is I absolutely prefer discrete multichannel recordings. As long as they're not over done. 3.1 to 4.1 is about all you need IMO to put the soundstage and ambiance in the correct perspective. Especially when they get matrixed to 7-11 channels in modern systems. BTW if you vinyl diehards can find that classic Marantz decoder and the 4 channel vinyl to run through it...grab it! Too bad it's analog only. Or I'd run my CD player through it too.
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