Originally Posted by willdao
I don't post a lot. But, when I do, it's sometimes a lengthy post, with at least a little bit of thought behind it. (Such is my rationale for dumping this treatise upon your heads, anyway...) So, here goes:
While it's easy to be a cynic, a naysayer--easy to tear down via pessimism rather than risk disappointment after getting stoked up and excited--with a little thought (and, yes, a dash of hope!), one can see these are truly terrific times to be in this hobby of ours. There are fundamental changes going on in the synchrony of 3D video, 3D audio (11.X), and the convergences of the wirelessly-networked PCs, game consoles, wireless game controllers--and even, with the Xbox Kinect, "controller-less" game controllers!--smart phones, home automation...all also broadband connected to the whole wide "out there" web. After mentioning these synchronistic elements, all converging, finally--and prepared to sweep each other along, again, synchronously, to and for the eventual success of all (sooner than later)--let me stay mostly on topic and just concentrate on the audio thang, and comment only at the end on the burgeoning video 3D revolution.
I'm squarely in the 11.X camp. Tom (Tomlinson) Holman, reputedly the "T and H" in "THX," has long advocated (and demoed) massive surround systems to geat effect and acclaim among those fortunate to hear his arrays (many of them longtime, entrenched 2-channel audiophiles, hidebound industry leaders, "elder satesmen" of the reputedly "jaded" audio press)--and considers the systems we are now moving towards (with an apparent 11-monitor cap, at least for the present) to be a minimum
for truly accurate and enveloping surround sound...(the ideal max apparently being infinite, both humorously and seriously!)...Now, with his new (to most CE consumers) company Audyssey, we can enjoy a significant slice of that ultimate surround experience, provided one's room, and budget (and SO), permit relatively precise placement of high quality speakers and associated amplification, processing and sources.
Yes, Audyssey "only" adds four channels to the 7.X mix (with the "wides" being the most important/least subtle--indeed, said to be even more important than the rears, in say, a 9.1 setup), and these are not discrete channels, but algorithm-derived from the 7.X channels. (And, interestingly, if the source does not offer discrete 7.X channels, the whole will be derived from either 5.1 channels, or even 2 channels (!), piggybacking on Dolby Pro Logic IIx!) Still, the quality of the processing power of new chips/derivation from existing channels--even mere 2-channel stereo--can be stuningly effective in the right room.
Again, with the right source material and associated equipment, ideally placed. For many, this is not possible. But for a hard AVS core, with dedicated rooms (or without spouses or spousal complaints), this is wholly intriguing and desirable. More is more in the best sense: the auditory sense.A la Spinal Tap
: "Turn it up to 11."
That's me. Maybe you! In any event, the upside is that it does NOT take a whole revolution in source media, source playback decks, etc. to enjoy this tech--just a properly-decoding pre-pro or receiver, some more amplification, and some more speakers. There is no format war or dependency upon wide consumer adoption or "chicken/egg media vs. hardware dilemma" to affect the "success" of the 11.X evolutionary surround sound experience. It exists. You can buy into it and experience it for yourself RIGHT NOW. And forevermore, oblivious to the larger market acceptance, or whether discrete 11.X channels are ever supported by the media oligopoly, the Bluray Group (Sony), or anyone else other than some CEA member getting that first 11.X receiver or pre-pro into your grubby little mitts. This ain't gonna be like the video 3D infancy we're also seeing right now. "Success" of the "format" is already assured, no matter what adoption-levels become per capita, as no significant CE industry or media company re-ordering or capital outlays are needed, or have to be recouped. Whomever buys the necessary equipment buys it. Whomever doesn't, doesn't. That is its "success." End of story. Not at all like 3D video...
Which, as an aside, I happen also to see as being spectacuarly effective (ahem, at least as a new technology launch, if not in terms of a lot of first-gen media efforts) and adopted--despite many of the hindrances, as reported above--because of the simple fact, similar to the whole of the limited capital-outlay effect mentioned re:11.X, that 3D adds little to the cost of already advanced-processing displays, and the fact that many of the tweaks required by 3D also enhance 2D viewing, so consumers will be "adopting" 3D equipment quite naturally, as part of the synchrony of the evolutionary process of TV improvement and normal purchasing turnover patterns ...and maybe they'll invest in a few more 3D glasses when the prices drop and more media is available, which won't take long. Relatively. (Relative, say, to HDTV adoption.) And, as first mentioned, there's the whole synchrony of meshed, inegrated, networked tecnologies that will be simultaneously pushing and pulling us all--along with our tech toys--into a totally new 3D communications and entertainment world. The synchrony will both affect and effect--positively--the success of all the new technologies, at least in terms of the larger trends. (The whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.) And, they'll be relatively cheap to implement. According to the natural evolution that has--suprise, surprise!--already brought us to this point (philosophically, in fact, we're already long past "this point," perceived!), and will carry us along even further, quite naturally. To mix metaphors, the stream already exists and is flowing. + See the big picture; hear it, too.
My 2-cents. Exciting times for 3D audio and 3D video! And, and, and...