Why Isn't Multichannel Music More Popular? - Page 3 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Why Isn't Multichannel Music More Popular?
Most people prefer 2-channel music 27 8.52%
Most people have never heard multichannel music 138 43.53%
Most people play music in the background 72 22.71%
Most people listen to music on headphones 32 10.09%
Other 48 15.14%
Voters: 317. You may not vote on this poll

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post #61 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 03:19 PM
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The reason most people don't listen to multi channel music is because in reality, most people don't have surround sound. Add that to the fact that only a small fraction of releases are more than just a stereo release then it's obvious. A small cross section of consumers buying a small cross section of releases can only equate to a limited number of sales.
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post #62 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 03:42 PM
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How much more does it cost to make an album multi-channel over Stereo??

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post #63 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 04:43 PM
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By the way Scott, really diggin the Porcupine Tree album cover in the article, that particular cd/concert is excellent.
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post #64 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingcarcas View Post
How much more does it cost to make an album multi-channel over Stereo??
Most likely more.
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post #65 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 04:51 PM
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People have never heard multichannel music, however, I have 2 Bluray concerts and those just didn´t WOW´d me, sorry.
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post #66 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 05:05 PM
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Well the answer to this is very simple. There are two parts. The first is MONEY. Building a very good 2.1 setup is much much cheaper than building a ideal 5.1/7.1. We are going from a few grand to 10k or even more depending on how picky you are. It would be held back by the weakest links witch for most people are the center and rears.

The second part is all about the sound stage. When you go to a concert do you hear instruments behind you and that? You all know what I mean. No, there is a stage with everyone on it and the music is projected toward you.

Okay them two points are kinda moot...we all know that. The BIGGEST issue is no one knows what a proper sound stage is or even how it is supposed to sound. I got my mom and dad a Denon 3313CI last year for Christmas and the first thing he said while playing music is "is the center channel on" in stereo. I had to explain that it wasn't and that is called the center image. The voices are supposed to sound like that when in stereo. He had NO idea that there should be a width, he was under the assumption it was just sound. He hasn't every heard a properly delayed set of speakers.

Every time people drive my truck it is the first thing people say, why does it sound like the voice is above the steering wheel.

How are people going to want multichannel if they have no idea how stereo works....
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post #67 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 07:54 PM
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Herein lies the reason why. Only people like hardcore AVS members care enough. The general public doesn't care enough. If I was to show this thread to my friends, they would think it's some off the wall underground society. Kinda like indie theaters, yeah sounds cool to say you're going to see an indie film, but who really cares.
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post #68 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nodscene View Post
One reason that hasn't been brought up yet is the limited availability of multichannel music. 99.9% of the music I listen to isn't available in multichannel otherwise I'd own a lot more...
+1
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post #69 of 187 Old 08-09-2014, 10:05 PM
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People in general are not sound-educated, most of them have never listened to high-quality multichannel audio, don't know the difference and don't have the money and space to buy and install properly such a system. In fact, they are sound-spoiled by the mp3s...

Speaking of space, personally, I've made the small room where my desk and computer is, 5.1 since a decade ago and I haven't regret it (with oversized DIY main speakers and sub for that room, but the visitors are impressed by the overall sound quality).

I consider the multichannel music perfect for parties as you don't have to be oriented at a certain direction while listening, in fact if you are moving and turning to different directions, you are exploring the sound, just like you were in the middle of a band playing for you.

The bonus of listening to a high quality multichannel setup vs a high quality stereo setup, is pure ecstasy, as the sound fills the room you are in, and is coming from all directions, you feel like each speaker tries to make you enjoy the music better, so the overall experience is far more immersive. The music embraces you, even if you do not embrace the music.

That said, I have also experienced sound-ecstasy and immersion from listening just to 2-channels via my high quality (DIY) direct-drive electrostatic headphones, but for different reasons -amazing sound fidelity, clarity, neutrality, and far wider stereo image, and if the recording is optimized for headphones, an immersive multichannel feel like being there. So for the highest possible sound fidelity for a multichannel system I would use large ES speakers (if I could afford them).

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post #70 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 12:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
Time is a luxury we can't afford to lose. ...The music simply follows us wherever we go, and whatever we do.

And besides, the only great multichannel music worth listening to is Classical music.
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Originally Posted by audioguy View Post
Seriously??? I have many awesome Bluray concert videos and only ONE is classical. While I think your comments about why most people don't listen to multi-channel are for the most part spot on, I could not possibly disagree more on this point.

Seriously ????
Mostly because it is done realistically/artistically and tastefully, with ambiance in the surrounds.
...And the audience.

Yes too, I have several Multichannel SACDs and Blu-ray video music concerts and DVD Audios multich.
It's fun (Beck - 'Sea Change'), I listened to many of them for many many years (must have over a thousand), in the sweet spot, from a multichannel surround sound setup that is not perfect but good enough.
I simply don't make a big deal out of it because I also got as much satisfaction listening to two-channel stereo music, and even from background music playing on the r.a.d.i.o. (Classical, Jazz, & Blues).
Yeah the audiophile quality is different for sure (sound quality is much better when you're totally serious and dedicated to it and listening from your serious seat), but music is still an emotional chord and you still can get that from your iPod or tablet or smartphone or youtube.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post
This is a somwhat crass, if not snobbish, observation.
Not @ all, I am simply and comfortably numb in my day to day life's simplicity.
For me the essence is the Music, and Classical music is the essence.
Nothing snobbish about that; I simply vibrate better when listening to this type of music over any other genre.

And I am a big Blues lover, always was. And I am also very big on Jazz. But Classical music for me is the real deal, where my soul is totally relaxed and secured.

And Classical music is fine in Stereo and also fine in multichannel. Nowadays I simply listen more in Stereo, and from the far spot; not sitting in the middle of my two speakers but outside of them, to the side, and farther back.

It's the way it is now (not always), and I answered the OP in total honesty @ the time and in the space I'm in now and then.

If that poll would have been done say ten years ago I would most probably voted differently.
I live in the present, not the past; try my best @ it.

I don't hate multichannel music from Jazz, Folk, Pop, Rock, Heavy Metal, Reggae, Blues, World/International, New Age, Alternative, etc.; I am simply more into some' else right now, like Classical, Blues, and Jazz too, and in stereo from a farther perspective, just like young lovers do.
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post #71 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 12:10 AM
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I forgot: Hi audioguy.
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post #72 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 11:01 AM
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It requires a greater monetary investment, more equipment, doesn't work as well for passively consuming, and is very content-limited (with all of that content also being available in a more standard format).

In other words, it's a commercial dud for the same reasons home 3D was, only to an even greater extent.
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post #73 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 02:10 PM
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Many excellent points have been made to support one's argument on the lack of popularity of multi-channel music. I own many multi-ch. discs with varying codecs. DVD-A, SACD, Blu-ray, dTS, & concert DVD's & Blu-ray. When done correctly they are a beautiful listening experience. For instance The Allman Brothers Band 'Live at the Fillmore' is one of my favorite recordings; I own vinyl, CD, dTS 5.1, & the SACD 5.1 versions. It's a hard call as to which I prefer, for critical listening SACD 5.1, for background I would not mind any of them. That said, why is multi-channel music not more popular? In no particular order:

The importance of a center speaker that matches your FL & FR speakers (no place to skimp on $ here).

Surround speakers should (ideally) be the same as your FL & FR speakers, but try to stay with the same mfg. all around & tweeters at ear level is even better.

A subwoofer (or 2), cha-ching, cha-ching!

Amplification: I prefer equal 5 x (only you know W/Ch), if a 5 channel system.

Proper speaker placement, easily found on multi-Ch liner notes.

Wow! This gets expensive, having not addressed processing, other front end gear, room needs, electrical req., a display, & . . .

Yes, I would say money is a huge factor that keeps people away.

The industry is not providing their customers with more media!

2-ch is much more portable.

There are so many more valid arguments that have been brought up, I've got to stop somewhere.

Besides, what is wrong with 2-ch?

Steve
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post #74 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 03:15 PM
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Sometimes I listen to multichannel SACDs @ full range audio mode. ...The five mains set full range, and no subs.

Would love to have the exact same five full range (20Hz) towers all around, ...here's my perfection's lack.

* If someone takes the time, dedication, cash, room's acoustics, proper setup, them exact same five full range loudspeakers, ...bravo!
...How long can you keep @ it till you hit your deck with a cool drink and your iPod?
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post #75 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 06:00 PM
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I really think the answer to the question is much simpler than any of us are stating here. Including me in my post above.

IMO the real answer is because the vast majority of people in the country rent as opposed to owning a living space. And that lifestyle is much more suited to 2 channel listening or headphones.
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post #76 of 187 Old 08-10-2014, 06:29 PM
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I disagree; I know more many people who own their home, and 99.9% of them have a Bose radio, or HTIB system, or listen from their TV's speakers.
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post #77 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 07:14 AM
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All of this discussion about surround vs 2 channel really misses the point. The answer is that the masses really don't care. They are perfectly content with earbuds and an iPhone.

Expose them to a great multi-channel system (or even great 2 channel system)and the answer stays the same. Little to no interest.

There is zero tolerance for sitting down and dedicating time to just listen. Way too many other available options/distractions.
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post #78 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 07:40 AM
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^ +1

Almost my entire multichannel listening is done if I'm watching a game on TV, it is just to nice outside now. . . 2-Ch can be enjoyed anywhere.

Steve
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post #79 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthSky View Post
...Not @ all, I am simply and comfortably numb in my day to day life's simplicity.
For me the essence is the Music, and Classical music is the essence.
Nothing snobbish about that; I simply vibrate better when listening to this type of music over any other genre.

And I am a big Blues lover, always was. And I am also very big on Jazz. But Classical music for me is the real deal, where my soul is totally relaxed and secured.

And Classical music is fine in Stereo and also fine in multichannel. Nowadays I simply listen more in Stereo, and from the far spot; not sitting in the middle of my two speakers but outside of them, to the side, and farther back.

It's the way it is now (not always), and I answered the OP in total honesty @ the time and in the space I'm in now and then.

If that poll would have been done say ten years ago I would most probably voted differently.
I live in the present, not the past; try my best @ it.

I don't hate multichannel music from Jazz, Folk, Pop, Rock, Heavy Metal, Reggae, Blues, World/International, New Age, Alternative, etc.; I am simply more into some' else right now, like Classical, Blues, and Jazz too, and in stereo from a farther perspective, just like young lovers do.
Regardless, to say that classical music is the only great multi-channel music for one to listen to comes across as snobbish in that you are also saying no other music genre is worthy of being listen to in multichannel when in fact, I and many others have multi-channel music in multiple genres that we find musically satisfying.
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post #80 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlalotoani View Post
People have never heard multichannel music, however, I have 2 Bluray concerts and those just didn´t WOW´d me, sorry.
The material on BD is not always up to snuff in the surround dept. I wold highly recommend trying out something by Elliot Scheiner like some of the Steely Dan or Fagen work.
It's the same old issue-poop in poop out.
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post #81 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 08:23 AM
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Just about every possible reason has been stated, and to some degree they all come down to one basic point: convenience. It's convenient to just pop a CD into your stereo and listen to it, or copy it to MP3 or FLAC or whatever and drop it onto your networked or portable media player (or, increasingly, tablet or smartphone) and listen to it, or buy it via digital download and [see previous]. It's not as convenient--either in money and/or time--for the majority of people to set up a proper 5.1-channel audio system, configure it for optimal preferred output, purchase media specifically for it, and sit down and listen to it. It was an uphill battle against that sort of...ennui?...when SACD and DVD-A were new, and it's even more so now.

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post #82 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post


Multichannel music is quite popular among AVS members—at least, those who voted in a previous poll. So why isn't it more popular generally?

In a recent poll on AVS, I asked if you prefer 2-channel or multichannel music recordings. Over 57% responded with a preference for multichannel, while less than 33% percent preferred 2-channel, and less than 10% had never heard a multichannel recording. I suspect these numbers do not reflect the general population—after all, I think we're all geeks on this bus! Also, if multichannel music was popular in the general public, more artists would release their music in surround. (One often-cited exception is Porcupine Tree, whose 2005 multichannel DVD release Arriving Somewhere is seen above. And of course, AIX Records releases many music titles in surround.)

Whether or not you prefer multichannel music, why do you think it's not more popular in the general public?

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I don't think "native" multi-channel is popular because I would say only 2/10 of my friends even have surround sound. Of those 2/10 they are all garbage except for mine. Even then, I know very few people who sit on their couch to listen to music... it will be movies or games, with music in the car or working out, basically music is mobile entertainment for most people. I think we tend to forget we are very much an exception and a minority.

The music industry sat on it's butt and tried to find ways to stay the same and squeeze more money out of us for 20 years rather than developing and promoting quality and options. At every point they squeezed artists (unless your a star) and consumers, so people found alternatives and the industry lost direction and control of it's future.

IMO "nobody" is aware of the potential. It's the industry's fault IMO... quality and innovation have never really existed in it... from the "business" side. I don't have the answers but that was never my job either.

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post #83 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishtank View Post

IMO "nobody" is aware of the potential.
Would't make any difference. I can not count the number of folks who have come through my home in the last 20+ years, heard my system, said "WOW" or equivalent, left and went on with life as usual. I know a number of others who also have very high end multi-channel systems and the response is almost identical.

I will say it again: they don't care. From their perspective, more to do in life (and the money it takes to live it) than sit in one spot and listen to music - multi-channel or not.

And I have no problem with that. It's their life, time and money and they get to live it, use it and spend it how they wish. Furthermore, for reasons that are not important, most folks want to be sonically AND visually stimulated.

A long time high end audio (and HT) company in Atlanta went out of business about 3 or 4 years ago after 23 years in business. This is what the owner told me as to the primary reason: "20 years ago, a guy would come into the store (usually alone) with, for example, $10,000 to spend on 2 speakers, turntable/cartridge, speakers wire and interconnects, amplifier/receiver. Today, the same guy comes in only with wife and 2 kids as well and has the same $10,000. Now, he wants FIVE (not 2) speakers, plus a subwoofer plus receiver plus flat screen TV - and NOT for listening to music but watching movies".

In my opinion, the failure of multi-channel audio has nothing to do with lack of content, industry privacy issues, quality of recordings, lack of exposure or anything else. It just doesn't rock their boat.
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post #84 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 07:25 PM
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I have a 7.3 multichannel system and I find SACD / DVD Audio or any multichannel recording just plain weird. Plus most recording were only intended in stereo.

I listen using my headphones mostly.

Just what we are conditioned to I guess.
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post #85 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post
Regardless, to say that classical music is the only great multi-channel music for one to listen to comes across as snobbish in that you are also saying no other music genre is worthy of being listen to in multichannel when in fact, I and many others have multi-channel music in multiple genres that we find musically satisfying.
You would be @ my place and I and you we would get along just fine.
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post #86 of 187 Old 08-11-2014, 09:28 PM
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Since I bought mine first 5.1 system 10 years ago I always loved multichannel stereo. It is why when I decide recently get new Reference II Klipsch speakers system I choice speakers for my system very careful to make sure they will be also good match for multichannel stereo. Sometimes I love listen just regular stereo and sometimes multichannel, it is nice to have options!!!!

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post #87 of 187 Old 08-12-2014, 03:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlalotoani View Post
People have never heard multichannel music, however, I have 2 Bluray concerts and those just didn´t WOW´d me, sorry.
Try DVD-AUDIO (since we talk about music). BTW. DVD-AUDIO is NOT the audio of DVD or Blu ray. It's just an idiotic decision from the 'geniuses' who made the standard to give it such a confusing name, but it's different and far better.

Also, proper multichannel audio recording is an art by itself -don't expect to be amazed with the first random recording as you wouldn't expect to be amazed with the first random movie.

And of course it depends on the playback system, proper configuration, multi-speaker match, response, quality etc, to make the multichannel system capable to reproduce the recorded WOW feeling!



Now on the subject, let me add and predict the following:
Since we all admit that listening to multichannel music requires a lot of investment and involvement and (still) is not portable, I bet that multichannel mass-appeal would be a reality when that same experience will be provided via advanced headphones (and advance processing).

Currently, binaural recordings that aim to that direction are still primitive ( =failed) and a lot more research is required, but eventually all the issues will be resolved and everyone would be capable to listen to multichannel music even on the subway.

So, the (true) multichannel music via headphones will be the next revolution in audio. Can't predict when, but definitely then, everyone will listen to multichannel music!



EDIT:
BTW, anyone remember ...this?


It was produced by Sennheiser about 13-15 years ago, I wanted to find some info, but it has literally disappeared from the net, that's the only image I could find (I don't remember the model).

EDIT #2: Just found out it was called Sennheiser Surrounder /Pro (it was at CES 99') http://rockgrotto.proboards.com/thre...r-sb-audigy-nx
I think it was a big commercial failure because it was a mediocre product (bad sound quality, 4ch only, etc).

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post #88 of 187 Old 08-12-2014, 12:47 PM
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I can't believe the results of this survey! Come on people, we are not the current demographic! I am guessing most of us are over 40, didn't grow up with a cell phone glued to our side. Music today is listened to primarily on iphones or on a computer with it' speakers. Sad, but true!

My nephews, for example, in their 20's love music, but they don't even have speakers outside of their computer. I often think we need to start by giving them a nice pair of speakers, a high quality integrated amp, and 20 bit recordings of their favorite music. We are a long way from multi-channel at this point.

All that said, I love my Martin-Logan based surround system! Then again, I am 55
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post #89 of 187 Old 08-12-2014, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by chesterdad View Post
I can't believe the results of this survey! Come on people, we are not the current demographic! I am guessing most of us are over 40, didn't grow up with a cell phone glued to our side. Music today is listened to primarily on iphones or on a computer with it' speakers. Sad, but true!

My nephews, for example, in their 20's love music, but they don't even have speakers outside of their computer. I often think we need to start by giving them a nice pair of speakers, a high quality integrated amp, and 20 bit recordings of their favorite music. We are a long way from multi-channel at this point.
As someone that's only 24 years old, I'd like to point out that the situation is not as bleak as you make it out to be.

For one thing, with headphones you only need two audio channels for surround sound.

Case in point:


Secondly, it's my knowledge that those of us younger go a different way to achieve high quality audio. Rather than home theater with receivers and speakers, we go for computer electronics with headphones and DACs or sound cards. If you want to see how the youth do high-quality audio then you need to go to where they are; here's a forum to start with:
http://www.head-fi.org/f/

Now some AVSforum members feel that head-fi is absolute drivel, but even if that's the case that doesn't eliminate the fact that their demographics skew considerably younger than AVS.

Case in point, even though the thread is almost 10 years old many of the people wouldn't even be 30 today:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/141037/how-old-are-you


Personally, my main music setup is the following:

FLAC/WavPack -> Foobar2000 -> ASIO -> Xonar DS -> LME49990 -> Monoprice 9963 -> LostEarBuds single-flange tips

Last edited by NintendoManiac64; 08-12-2014 at 04:39 PM.
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post #90 of 187 Old 08-12-2014, 04:18 PM
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If Beats came out with a multichannel headphone, a game changer for sure.
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