Originally Posted by impetigo
Not sure what you mean by "ping pong" effects.
I mean a specific instrument isolated in a specific speaker, particularly when that is an acoustic instrument like drums or piano where the ambience around the instrument is just as important as the instrument itself.
Generally, when a stereo album is tracked, many of the elements are recorded in mono... electric guitar all in one patch, vocals all in a different patch, bass in another track. Drums and acoustic piano, and sometimes acoustic guitar are usually recorded in stereo, or multi-miked at various perspectives and directions. Then all of the elements are placed in the soundstage in a spread from left to right with a stereo reverb on individual mono mix elements and across the whole soundstage. This creates a feeling of space around the music, and that space can be adjusted by adjusting the rerverbs, to simulate as if the band is in rooms of varying sizes. This is what creates depth in a stereo recording.
When stuff that has been tracked in mono for a stereo album and then gets remixed for multichannel, sometimes the mixer is lazy and just takes the mono electric guitar and channels it all to the left chanel, and the mono vocals and put them all in the center channel. Each speaker is treated like an individual track on the master. The result is multiple mono sources coming from all directions. This is what I mean by ping pong... Everything isolated in its own speaker dry, with no envelope of space around and between the individual sound elements.
I prefer when the whole sound field (the rectangle formed by left, right, front and back) is treated as a coherent dimensional space with its own unique ambience and feeling of depth. I don't like it as much when each speaker is a different instrument and the only feature is the directionality, not the space around the sound. To me, that is the multichannel equivalent of the old Beatles re-channelled for stereo records where George was all on the left and John was all on the right. I like the feeling of space you get from synthetic room acoustics, phase differences, and reflected sound. That has more depth to me.
But that approach requires careful level and EQ balances between the five speakers to make the space between them mesh properly... just like if you had a stereo system and the speakers were too far apart, or if one speaker was big and the other small... your soundstage would fall apart.
Does that explain what I mean better?