The tests Audyssey conducted did not address this, so they do not conflict. Even so, they used those tests to come to that conclusion, and that is where the error was made.
We work a lot with professional mixers at the university because of Tom [Holman]’s connections. So we did a number of experiments with them. In one of them we put them in front of the console and turned down the master fader, and the first reaction they had to their own mixes was, “what happened to my surrounds?” It turns out that loudness perception is spatial—it falls off faster behind us than it does in front of us. And we asked these mixers, “OK, you’re down 10dB, what would you do to the surrounds to maintain the surround impression?” And they would move it up, and at different levels they would move it up by different amounts. So if you do that with enough people you can come up with a set of rules that mimic what they’re doing.
So we integrated that into Dynamic EQ—as you turn the volume down, the surround levels go up a little or a lot, depending on how far down you are, to maintain the impression of surround. And the best way to demo that is to turn the volume down 20dB and turn off Dynamic EQ, and all of the sound collapses to the front.