Why Isn't Multichannel Music More Popular? - Page 5 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Why Isn't Multichannel Music More Popular?
Most people prefer 2-channel music 27 8.65%
Most people have never heard multichannel music 137 43.91%
Most people play music in the background 71 22.76%
Most people listen to music on headphones 31 9.94%
Other 46 14.74%
Voters: 312. You may not vote on this poll

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post #121 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 02:53 PM
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For everyone in this thread, seriously, listen to these two audio clips.

And yes, you must wear stereo headphones for it to work properly.

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post #122 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 02:56 PM
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post #123 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepar View Post

I went to the trouble and expense to set up two sets of "surround" speakers which I manually swap for the two different kinds of mixes. And then I load the corresponding Audyssey Pro calibrations as well. I'd guess that others have the same setups. but I don't recall encountering anyone else.

My point here is that most people with surround systems went the home theater/cinema route and have therefore never really heard MCH music. And that's my answer to the poll.
Fwiw, that was the bulk of my point here:

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Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post
.... Insofar as those that have Home Theaters that don't seem to like Multichannel music, it may be because of the mismatched size of their front soundstage and their surrounds. I have large speakers all of the way around in a 7.1 (actually "9.2" using dual subs and Heights) and still listen primarily Multichannel Music on a nightly basis ....
.
When I started listening to Multichannel Music,the Denon AVR-4802R allowed for 2 sets of side surrounds. I used A) Klipsch's WDST speakers for movies and B) direct firing towers for music...I then found I liked converting 5.1 movies into "7.1" using direct firing speakers in both locations and let the denon matrix the surrounds.

I also remember reading a thread (I believe on here) which described a theory that folks that experienced hallucinogens in their *experimental* years more than likely would like being in the middle of the music than those that didn't...Dunno.
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post #124 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 06:22 PM
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6-channel mic

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Originally Posted by von Levi View Post
In a properly done multichannel mix you will not notice the rears except for ambient sounds from the audience (and assuming you haven't turned up the volume level of the rears too high).

As someone already mentioned. This is completely false! Have you seen a 6-channel mic set up for artists? Google the pics. Anyway, the times that it is done improperly is: When watching a show like American Idol, Voice, X-Factor... What they will do is sometime mix it really badly, and put only the crowd in the rear channels. One year it was quite loud for me on one of these shows, and I had to turn the rear channels way down, because the crowd was mixed so loud it was disturbing. The other time, is when they remix a song into -5.1 and they do a poor job.


Other than that, the rear channels can carry a heavy load of sound, especially if you use good speakers with base even in the rear channels.
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post #125 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 06:28 PM
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By the way Scott W. The Sound bar should be in your poll. It is a cop-out for us. But a good alternative to bridge the gap between the non-audiophile and the audiophile. I have to admit they do sound pretty decent. And they are relatively cheap, and easy to setup.
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post #126 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post
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Primary music listening for younger generations happens on headphones. Headphones can have surround sound with only 2 channels. Therefore multi-channel music is completely pointless and a waste of bandwidth, storage, and software infrastructure for that entire growing market.

Remember, laptop and smart phone speakers are typically even worse than TV speakers, so the use of headphones also makes sense from an audio quality stand point.

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post #127 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 07:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NintendoManiac64 View Post
For everyone in this thread, seriously, listen to these two audio clips.

And yes, you must wear stereo headphones for it to work properly.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5G3HUiscW4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u163wC6mP2A
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It sure does, Jeff. ♫♪♫

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post #128 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post

I also remember reading a thread (I believe on here) which described a theory that folks that experienced hallucinogens in their *experimental* years more than likely would like being in the middle of the music than those that didn't...Dunno.
I have no evidence that would refute that.

Jeff


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post #129 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post
. . .

And then for home audio, many people have home theaters, but no nice way to introduce multichannel audio to them outside of the old spinning disk, which is generally only sought out by people who visit this forum and others like it. There isn't a digital download service who makes multichannel a priority. And new recordings are seldom recorded like this, much less distributed.
. . .
If you're referring to streaming services, you're probably right, but there are sites now focused on selling high definition multichannel tracks as downloads. AIX Records, which actually records jazz, blues, folk, rock, and some classical music in 5.1 96/24 (it's owned and run by an audio engineer), and not only sells DVD-A and Blu-ray disks recorded live (and with video!) with no gimmickry - no overdubs, no pumping up the volume - but also has a sister site, iTrax, that sells downloads of the audio from the disks, which always give the choice of stereo and multichannel audience and stage perspectives. There's also 2L, a Nordic site focused on classical music, which sells multichannel downloads and has a library of complete individual tracks available for free download - click on the "2L Brand Store" link in the top right (inside a Flash animation, unfortunately) and choose the "Test Bench" link from the menu that drops down.


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post #130 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen Traveler View Post
. . .

I also remember reading a thread (I believe on here) which described a theory that folks that experienced hallucinogens in their *experimental* years more than likely would like being in the middle of the music than those that didn't...Dunno.
Right Arm! [From a friend's FBI file]

Lots of young adults wanted to pay attention to music 40 to 50 years ago. It was a bond that held that generation together, with a lot of music expressing shared values.

But the chemicals certainly played a role. There was a joke current at the time: A drunk, a stoner, and an acid-head encounter a closed store late at night. The drunk says, "Let's smash down the door," the acid-head says, "Let's float through the keyhole," and the stoner says, "Let's sit here and groove until they open in the morning."

Is it too much to ask for folks to not always be too busy to sit and listen to a great piece of music?

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post #131 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NintendoManiac64 View Post
Primary music listening for younger generations happens on headphones. Headphones can have surround sound with only 2 channels. Therefore multi-channel music is completely pointless and a waste of bandwidth, storage, and software infrastructure for that entire growing market.

Remember, laptop and smart phone speakers are typically even worse than TV speakers, so the use of headphones also makes sense from an audio quality stand point.
I have to respectfully disagree that multichannel music is completely pointless and a waste of bandwidth, storage and infrastructure just because people are using headphones. Have you heard DTS Headphone X, or used a set of headphones with multiple drivers? You can absolutely get a compelling surround experience from headphones, but you need the right technology to master it, deliver it and render it across multiple transport and playback types and yes, even render it over two channels.

The technology exists to make a surround experience just about anywhere, but it's an immense undertaking from all players in the chain from the artist to the listener in order to make it as seamless as MP3s/AAC streaming, broadcast radio or streaming radio.
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post #132 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 09:56 PM
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Um, you did listen to the sound clips I posted above, right?

Again, for headphones, you only need two audio channels for true surround sound. Last time I checked we only have two ears!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kheiden View Post
Have you heard DTS Headphone X
You realize that this is just a technology to downmix multiple audio channels into 2-channel binaural surround audio, right?


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Originally Posted by kheiden View Post
used a set of headphones with multiple drivers?
These are mainly to preserve the quality of pre-existing multi-channel audio. However, as technology and algorithms improve (like said DTS Headphone X) the need for a direct hardware connection for each channel will diminish.

Alternatively the audio could be recorded with binaural surround sound from the beginning, but it's way more difficult to expand and divide this into multi-channel audio for speaker systems.

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post #133 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NintendoManiac64 View Post
Have you listened to the sound clips I posted above?

Everything you just posted tells me that you do not understand that, for headphones, you only need two audio channels for true surround sound (we only have two ears!).
Of course I understand that we only have two ears. But I think it's unreasonable to expect home theater owners to dump their SACD-equipped surround systems to listen to a special file through headphones. I think for multichannel music to be more popular it must be scalable. Let me take an SACD (or something comparable), rip it into something that can be played back on my home theater using discrete speakers, but can also play on a portable device in my earbuds when I'm on a train. Today, you can make a great surround-like file for headphone playback, or play a 7.1 source in a home theater, but they are very likely not going to be the same file played in both places.
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post #134 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 10:24 PM
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Well, you must consider - how many people that listen to music on big multi-channel home theater systems are computer-savvy enough to acquire music purely from the internet, especially from anywhere other than itunes or Amazon? (both services have monetary interest in headphone-based music playback)

Currently the only hardware format capable of multi-channel lossless audio is Blu-ray, and how many Pure Blu-ray audio discs are there? Not only that, how many computers are there with Blu-ray drives?

I would be very surprised if the answer to the above questions was anything other than "not that many".


Also consider that it's becoming increasingly common for computers to not even have a built-in disc drive (do USB Blu-ray drives even exist? And a desktop drive over eSATAp would pull too much power...)

EDIT: Apparently USB Blu-ray drives do exist, but they're still decently expensive starting at around 50 bucks.

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post #135 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 10:33 PM
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...And Dolby Atmos is coming to Headphones too, from the Theaters.

* 3D 'Elevation' in our spatial two-ears head.

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post #136 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NintendoManiac64 View Post
. . .

Currently the only hardware format capable of multi-channel lossless audio is Blu-ray, and how many Pure Blu-ray audio discs are there? Not only that, how many computers are there with Blu-ray drives?

I would be very surprised if the answer to the above questions was anything other than "not that many".

...
The "Pure Audio" label on a Blu-ray does not denote something extra - it stands for something less. It's not a special kind of disk, just a marketing angle.

If you want to listen to the music in the dark (which I frequently do) - just don't turn on your display!

You don't need a special kind of Blu-ray disk or player, shorn of video capability, for 96/24 or 192/24 multichannel audio - standard Blu-rays can do that too. AIX Records sells 3D live music Blu-rays with 96/24 stereo and two 96/24 5.1 soundtracks for a choice of stage or audience perspective.

The reason why most Blu-ray concerts use 48/24 audio is because that's what most HD video equipment records - it's not the disk that's the choke-point but the video gear.

As to computer Blu-ray drives, they're getting a lot cheaper - I got a Samsung USB 3.0 Blu-ray writer for around $150 this past January.


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post #137 of 187 Old 08-14-2014, 10:49 PM
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I've honestly never heard of Atmos, so I looked it up.

Sounds like it's the audio equivalent of textured polygons in computer graphics, while multi-channel audio would be equivalent to bitmaps on discrete pixels.

Now consider that textured polygons can be rendered at any screen resolution. It's so common nowadays that the technology is even used for 2D games, where the sprite is placed on a flat polygon that faces directly at the camera; heck even Firefox's Direct3D9 works this way.




Quote:
Originally Posted by Philnick View Post
The "Pure Audio" label on a Blu-ray does not denote something extra - it stands for something less. It's not a special kind of disk, just a marketing angle.
Perhaps my wording was poor. I didn't specifically mean the brand, but rather Blu-ray as an audio-focused format.


Still, my point stands - how many people with a Blu-ray player and a multi-channel audio setup use said sound system to listen purely to music? Again, I'm pretty sure it's not that many.



EDIT: Read a bit more and it would seem that Atmos is really just 128-channel audio with a super-fancy algorithm (to the point of using a dedicated DSP) for downmixing the audio to whatever audio setup you need. However, those audio channels are used much more like they are in video games where a single channel is used for a single audio clip, and then software is used to actually move and broadcast that audio channel in 3D space.

Atmos is general seems extremely similar to video game audio middleware like Wwise and AstoundSound, which were demonstrated on AMD's TrueAudio DSP:
http://www.anandtech.com/show/7370/a...-upcoming-gpus

To me it sounds like Dolby is taking an existing idea and just re-purposing it.


EDIT 2: The following article agrees with me about Dolby Atmos essentually doing the same thing that video game audio has been doing:
Quote:
Interestingly, video games have always incorporated a more sophisticated version of Dolby Atmos' procedural sound mapping (ignoring the vertical panning aspect, that is) since the 90s with advanced procedural 3D sound APIs such as Open AL, DirectSound3D, Aureal A3D, FMOD and Miles Sound System

EDIT 3: Got two more articles that also agree with what I said:

Quote:
In fact, the sound design for videogames has employed a version of object-based rendering for years. (Notice the way that the sounds of other characters speaking or explosions near you will swing from channel to channel as you change your own character’s direction and point-of-view.)
Quote:
In a sense, the system resembles the way audio works in a videogame, said Tsingos. “Videogames have been using sound objects like this for a long time, because you have to render all the sound effects basically dynamically. Because the player, the character in the game, can move anywhere.”

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post #138 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 05:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kheiden View Post
I have to respectfully disagree that multichannel music is completely pointless and a waste of bandwidth, storage and infrastructure just because people are using headphones. Have you heard DTS Headphone X, or used a set of headphones with multiple drivers? You can absolutely get a compelling surround experience from headphones, but you need the right technology to master it, deliver it and render it across multiple transport and playback types and yes, even render it over two channels.

The technology exists to make a surround experience just about anywhere, but it's an immense undertaking from all players in the chain from the artist to the listener in order to make it as seamless as MP3s/AAC streaming, broadcast radio or streaming radio.
Most, though not all, people I see wearing headphones are wearing earbuds. Is there much benefit wearing such small drivers?


A bigger thing I hear going on is the way convenience is taking over all forms of AV technology at the expense of quality. First it was CDs over vinyl, then MP3 players over CD players. Audiophile quality music has been becoming a niche at best (except for the resurgence of Vinyl, oddly enough), and in a day when sales numbers drive everything, it's hard to keep niches going. Smart phones are taking over TVs for some people, and the more they stream movies and TV shows to their tiny smart phone screens, the less they care about a big, expensive TV, buying good quality Blu-ray to watch via their Oppo player.
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post #139 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philnick View Post
Right Arm! [From a friend's FBI file]

Lots of young adults wanted to pay attention to music 40 to 50 years ago. It was a bond that held that generation together, with a lot of music expressing shared values.

But the chemicals certainly played a role. There was a joke current at the time: A drunk, a stoner, and an acid-head encounter a closed store late at night. The drunk says, "Let's smash down the door," the acid-head says, "Let's float through the keyhole," and the stoner says, "Let's sit here and groove until they open in the morning."

Is it too much to ask for folks to not always be too busy to sit and listen to a great piece of music?
Farm out!

Everything you said rings true even if it is disconcerting to think that it's been 50 years since I started listening to music. In the day, we lived for the next album from our favorite artists. And once the first song started, there was no conversation until it was over. (Coughing maybe.) Seamless segues on "concept" albums meant conversation may not happen for 40 minutes. Focused listening revealed the layers of the music, complexities in the arrangement and even subtle lead guitar noodlings. I was amazed that when MFSL and heavy Japanese pressings hit, I was able to listen to familiar songs and hear even more details than I had heard on the standard vinyl. Ditto on some CDs over the virgin audiophile (from when audiophile was all good) records.

And then came hi-res multichannel music ... OMG. Admittedly the first time I REALLY heard it was in my Acura TL (thank you Elliot!), but that opened the floodgate and I purchased DVD-Audio discs every chance I could. Soon SACD's joined the DVD-As on my rack. With 5.1 even more detail is revealed. In addition to layering between two speakers, there are five. The angular separation makes all of the dense mixes easier to peel back revealing even more of the creativity that went into the original sessions ... and the new 5.1 mix itself.

I still enjoy a cough or two when I have time to sit solo in my theater and listen to music.

Jeff


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post #140 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by von Levi View Post
And my original point is that those recordings are part of the minority. How many recordings does Steve Wilson have that fall into that category? 20? 30?

I can say with certainty that labels which regularly output multichannel mixes on SACD, such as BIS, Channel Classics, Pentatone, LSO Live, RCO Live, Chandos, Harmonia Mundi -- which have probably put out a combined total of over 1,000 5.0 SACDs -- always put musicians on a stage and the listener perspective is in front of them.
I wouldn't buy any of them, (they have confused multichannel format with DVD/Blu ray format for watching gigs) but all the titles I have are DVD-A not SACD -is this the norm with SACD -or the labels that support it ?
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post #141 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by SoToS View Post
I wouldn't buy any of them, (they have confused multichannel format with DVD/Blu ray format for watching gigs) but all the titles I have are DVD-A not SACD -is this the norm with SACD -or the labels that support it ?
Live performances seem to sound best with the perspective of an audience experiencing the performance on a stage in front of them. Studio recordings of classical music seem to all be presented from the audience/stage metaphor. Following the thinking that high resolution reveals more of the inner detail of a recording, I am fine with this approach, and let the music shine through! But it is not, per se, "common" to one format or another. It is a more of a genre-related philosophy.

I have rock, pop, jazz and progressive titles on DVD-A and SACD and they are all in-the-band.


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post #142 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 07:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noonin View Post
Most, though not all, people I see wearing headphones are wearing earbuds. Is there much benefit wearing such small drivers?
When it is me and my music, I wear earbuds, but they are earbuds on steroids and are actually called in-ear monitors. They are scaled down from what stage performers have been using for quite a while to save their ears from the high SPLs associated with live performances with stage monitors and side stage fill monitors.

These little babies are usually two-way and sometimes three-way. Yes, tweeters, midranges and woofers. The higher end parts form themselves to your ear canal and the tippy top end parts are custom molded to your ear canals.

Jeff


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post #143 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post
When it is me and my music, I wear earbuds, but they are earbuds on steroids and are actually called in-ear monitors. They are scaled down from what stage performers have been using for quite a while to save their ears from the high SPLs associated with live performances with stage monitors and side stage fill monitors.

These little babies are usually two-way and sometimes three-way. Yes, tweeters, midranges and woofers. The higher end parts form themselves to your ear canal and the tippy top end parts are custom molded to your ear canals.

Jeff
Woah, good to hear they make good earbuds ;-)
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post #144 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonin View Post
Woah, good to hear they make good earbuds ;-)
Sure, and be prepared to plunk down $200, $300 or even as much as $500. I think the $500 models come with someone to punch you in the chest when the kick drum is played.

Jeff


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post #145 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post
Sure, and be prepared to plunk down $200, $300 or even as much as $500. I think the $500 models come with someone to punch you in the chest when the kick drum is played.

Jeff
Which is why most people will never own them, and Multichannel or Audiophile music won't have enough of a following to be more than a niche (I bet 75% of the people out there still use the crap earbuds Apple includes (or used to include) with an iPod. I do see some people with decent looking headphones on occasion though. I was just surprised to hear they make earbuds with multiple drivers, but then again, I don't get out much ;-).
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post #146 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noonin View Post
Which is why most people will never own them, and Multichannel or Audiophile music won't have enough of a following to be more than a niche (I bet 75% of the people out there still use the crap earbuds Apple includes (or used to include) with an iPod. I do see some people with decent looking headphones on occasion though. I was just surprised to hear they make earbuds with multiple drivers, but then again, I don't get out much ;-).
I'm very happy with the Sony MDR-Q68LW on-ear phones about 3/4" thick with 1 1/2" circular foam ear pads (kind of like a miniature version of the old Sennheiser phones in the 60s). (In the winter they keep my ears warm.)

Each earphone has a swiveling hook so they hang on your ears like a pair of glasses, they're connected by a thin retractable cord you can run behind your shirt collar, and there's a thin retractable cord from the left phone that you plug into the jack. (There's no headband.) When I'm not using them, I hook them onto my shirt collar, one on each side, with the plug cord retracted.

The sound is very clear and tonally-balanced. There's a little less bass, because they're not in your ear canals, but you don't lose the ability to hear what's going on around you.

They used to list for about $30, though they're a bit more than that at Amazon ($40 to $55), since they're scarce. Sony has also come out with the MDR-Q38LW, which only retracts one of the cords, but is $30.

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post #147 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Philnick View Post
I'm very happy with the Sony MDR-Q68LW on-ear phones about 3/4" thick with 1 1/2" circular foam ear pads (kind of like a miniature version of the old Sennheiser phones in the 60s). (In the winter they keep my ears warm.)

Each earphone has a swiveling hook so they hang on your ears like a pair of glasses, they're connected by a thin retractable cord you can run behind your shirt collar, and there's a thin retractable cord from the left phone that you plug into the jack. (There's no headband.) When I'm not using them, I hook them onto my shirt collar, one on each side, with the plug cord retracted.

The sound is very clear and tonally-balanced. There's a little less bass, because they're not in your ear canals, but you don't lose the ability to hear what's going on around you.

They used to list for about $30, though they're a bit more than that at Amazon ($40 to $55), since they're scarce. Sony has also come out with the MDR-Q38LW, which only retracts one of the cords, but is $30.
Sony makes nice, affordable headphones. I have a pair of MDRV6s, a little bigger and bulkier than yours. The only thing I don't like is the tangle-prone spiral cord - hate those things!

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post #148 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 01:19 PM
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Well I guess I am going to have to buy a good DVD audio disc and try it out. Any recommendations? I feel like when I'm at a concert I'm not listening to surround sound. I'm listening to stereo. So that's how I want to hear music at home; just like it would sound live. Even with home theater I've always thought it somewhat gimmicky. My brain knows that there isn't a real helicopter flying around behind me when watching a movie. Sometimes I find surround sound distracting. I have a 5.1 theater in my basement but I also have a 2 channel setup upstairs for tv and music. And the occasional DVR movie. And I haven't once thought "damn I wish I had surround sound up here too." But don't get me wrong...when I rent a blu ray I always watch it on the theater setup downstairs!
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post #149 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonin View Post
First it was CDs over vinyl, then MP3 players over CD players. Audiophile quality music has been becoming a niche at best (except for the resurgence of Vinyl, oddly enough)
Actually that's only half of the equation. FLAC and 320kbps MP3 audio has become more and more popular with time. Why? Same reason - convenience. Bandwidth and storage space nowadays has gotten large enough that it's easier to just have the maximum (or close to) quality possible and then be done with it. Heck, did you know even YouTube of all things uses 256kbps AAC and 192kbps Vorbis for their 720p and larger DASH-format video streams? You'd be extremely hard-pressed to hear the difference between that and lossless assuming that the source was a lossless format (which YouTube does accept, PCM and FLAC particularly).


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Originally Posted by pepar View Post
Sure, and be prepared to plunk down $200, $300 or even as much as $500. I think the $500 models come with someone to punch you in the chest when the kick drum is played.
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Originally Posted by Noonin View Post
Which is why most people will never own them.
You guys are clearly not aware of the Monoprice Hi-Fi IEMs, are you?

Considering that this is AVS, surely you're aware of Monoprice's dominence in bang-per-buck for cable quality - well they've done the same with IEMs.

These are the Monoprice IEMs in question (white has a rubberized cord and softer tips):
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=9963

FYI: The "enhanced bass" in this case just means that bass is actually present; the IEMs have a surprisingly neutral frequency response:
http://www.innerfidelity.com/images/Monoprice8320.pdf

While some AVS members call Head-Fi pure drivel, there's a whopping 277-page thread on there purely dedicated to those Monoprice IEMs.

Last edited by NintendoManiac64; 08-15-2014 at 03:27 PM.
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post #150 of 187 Old 08-15-2014, 03:23 PM
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Actually that's only half of the equation. FLAC and 320kbps MP3 audio has become more and more popular with time. Why? Same reason - convenience. Bandwidth and storage space nowadays has gotten large enough that it's easier to just have the maximum (or close to) quality possible and then be done with it. Heck, did you know even YouTube of all things uses 256kbps AAC and 192kbps Vorbis for their 720p and larger DASH-format video streams? You'd be extremely hard-pressed to hear the difference between that and lossless assuming that the source was a lossless format (which YouTube does accept, PCM and FLAC particularly).



You're clearly not aware of the Monoprice Hi-Fi IEMs, are you? Considering that this is AVS, surely you're aware of Monoprice's dominence in bang-per-buck for cable quality - well they've done the same with IEMs.

There are the exact model I personally use:
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?p_id=9963

While some people call Head-Fi pure drivel, there's a whopping 277-page thread on there purely dedicated to those Monoprice IEMs.
Encoding your music is only half the equation...I don't know if all the smart phones out there that a lot of people use to play back music use a good DAC, but the one in my iPod Classic leaves alot to be desired.

As far as Monoprice, yes, I've heard of them ;-). I've bought a few different sets of cables from them over the last couple years. Never looked into their earbuds. I prefer over the ear for everything but working out (my Sonys), and haven't had to replace my gym use Sennheisers for quite a while.
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