Originally Posted by Phrehdd
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.
Over the decades of improving my audio system I'm continually amazed at how good original mono recordings can be. Just listen to some Buddy Holly stuff or some, not all, of the studio work that came from Phil Spector (e.g. the Righteous Brothers, Crystals, Ronettes, etc.). Yes, you don't get a true stereo spread, but my oh my, what sound. Nearly forgot to include the Beatles in mono. Far better result than stereo. And some things from the 50's were meant for playing from the front seat of a Chevy two tone Bel Air.
Guess I recall too many of the experiments in the 80's with bucket-brigade technology, the odd speakers that Amar Bose came up with for reflected sound field recreation (never forget hearing a violin appearing at 120 degrees off).
Don't get me wrong. In the right home theater setup, MC can work quite well. All depends on proper setup and great end to end recording / production. But that's led me to separate environments -- audio room for purely stereo and upstairs video room using a simple, but reasonably effective, 5.1 system. Nice illusion for film based playback that doesn't go overboard. Like good audio, an MC system should never call attention to itself but server the film. And for really well produced live music performance, that's the sweet spot for me.