What sound mode for music listening - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 08-18-2018, 08:48 AM - Thread Starter
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What sound mode for music listening

Just trying to get some info. I have a 5.1 system. Do you guys use just stereo and enjoy the mains putting out music or do you use Dolby while listening to music ???


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post #2 of 18 Old 08-18-2018, 11:22 AM
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I swap to 2.0. Noticeably better sound quality than using Dolby, which results in my center doing the heavy pulling, and my center is nowhere near as good as my mains.
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post #3 of 18 Old 08-18-2018, 12:28 PM
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I use what I prefer and not worry about what everyone else says I should enjoy.
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post #4 of 18 Old 08-18-2018, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totemtimer View Post
Just trying to get some info. I have a 5.1 system. Do you guys use just stereo and enjoy the mains putting out music or do you use Dolby while listening to music ???


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I prefer stereo, most music Direct or Pure Direct is best. If I am listening to some music that will have heavy bass, (Skate, dance, urban etc) I will use stereo so the subwoofers kick in, but they don't kick in much because my RF7's go low enough for most recorded music, especially when turned up.
I made a playlist of my music that I call Audy Surround, that is Dolby 5.1, it is regular stereo mix stuff that sounds interesting in surround, you have to experiment with what sounds good and what sounds washed out or smeared.
5.1 matrix does some interesting stuff with some music, for example I have a recording of Help Me Rhonda, The Beach Boys, that when played in surround, 90% of the vocal and instruments come out the center channel, but it actually sounds cool, not like an AM radio.
I notice better recorded stuff, example Jennifer Warnes, sounds good mixed.


For my classical music and jazz I prefer stereo, because I have a great soundstage with my towers, and surround classical sounds washed out.

Music, more music.
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post #5 of 18 Old 08-18-2018, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post
I use what I prefer and not worry about what everyone else says I should enjoy.
Exactly. Try all the modes. See which ones you like and use them. This has no right or wrong answer and there's a reason they built in all those modes.

And don't be ashamed when you find you have to change modes - some music may make some modes sound "better" but other music may be better with the other modes.

There is nothing wrong, and there's no charge for using any of the modes, so experiment and try. There is no right or wrong answer. In theory music should be "purer" if you stick it in 2.0 mode, but if you find more enjoyment using a processing mode, then use it. The whole point of all this investment is to enjoy the entertainment it provides.
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post #6 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 07:33 AM
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Every now and then you may find some music that was encoded in Dolby Surround, so trying out PL II may give pleasing results. Many purists prefer to use 2 good speakers and let the “phantom center” suffice. It really depends upon the quality and placement of your speakers, not your 5.1 system per se.

Let your own tastes guide you.

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post #7 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ChromeJob View Post
Every now and then you may find some music that was encoded in Dolby Surround, so trying out PL II may give pleasing results. Many purists prefer to use 2 good speakers and let the “phantom center” suffice. It really depends upon the quality and placement of your speakers, not your 5.1 system per se.

Let your own tastes guide you.
"quality and placement of your speakers"

That's the key. First buy the best fronts you can. Do not compromise, invest in them like you are going to keep them forever. Then before running any kind of room corrections stuff, turn off the surrounds and get them in the right place, it is amazing and critical what a difference it makes depending on how far from the back and side walls speakers are and how they are angled to your seating. This will take hours and days of listening. I had my speakers almost a year before I found out what they could really do. Get that soundstage set up first. Stereo music.
Then turn on the surrounds (and center) and do the room correction. Then you can play around with listening to stereo music matrixes. You'll probably find stereo is best, that's the way it's recorded.


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Music, more music.
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post #8 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 08:29 AM
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For me, 2.1 is better... but I also listen quite frequently to expanded stereo/surround in 5.1

Both formats are awesome.
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post #9 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 10:57 AM
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My understanding is using an alternate number of speakers than what the original recording engineers used to mix and master the sound themselves can audibly change the sound. Since my goal is high fidelity, high truthfulness, I try to alter the sound as little as possible and I attempt (within my room/budget constraints) to faithfully hear the music as accurately and as closely to what they heard in the studio when making the music.

Hence I usually listen to stereo through two speakers (plus a sub because my speakers are compact) and 5.1 through 5.1 speakers in the original, unmodified formats the sound was encoded.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

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post #10 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 11:21 AM
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I prefer Dolby surround from CDs.
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post #11 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 12:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
My understanding is using an alternate number of speakers than what the original recording engineers used to mix and master the sound themselves can audibly change the sound.
I would certainly hope so.
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Since my goal is high fidelity, high truthfulness, I try to alter the sound as little as possible and I attempt (within my room/budget constraints) to faithfully hear the music as accurately and as closely to what they heard in the studio when making the music.
Your speakers, your space, your ears, your tastes and your moods are different -- and likely, quite different -- from those of the source authors. It is an exercise in futility to try and re-create all of that.

My goal is to possibly improve on what they might have been hearing in the mastering room. The goal of any listener should be to understand and master the controls available to them to maximize their listening pleasure. If that involves employing dozens of kilowatt-powered refrigerator-sized subwoofers (not something I would endorse), then more power (necessarily) to you.

I find the enhancements of Dolby Digital multichannel upmixing often add an extra dimension of depth. And I welcomed the versatility of my Yamaha AVR's parametric equalization to reshape many recordings that obviously wander from any single vision of what recorded music should sound like.

Last edited by PrimeTime; 08-19-2018 at 12:47 PM.
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post #12 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Totemtimer View Post
Just trying to get some info. I have a 5.1 system. Do you guys use just stereo and enjoy the mains putting out music or do you use Dolby while listening to music ???
I find it just depends on the music. Some of it lends itself well to surround, some of it is better off in stereo.

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Originally Posted by 123 View Post
I swap to 2.0. Noticeably better sound quality than using Dolby, which results in my center doing the heavy pulling, and my center is nowhere near as good as my mains.
This is probably one thing I don't like about the Dolby surround - I prefer to leave the center channel out of things for music (and it's a decent center) - so I find that turning on center spread sounds little more tolerable, but even this depends on the content. Sometimes its noticeable, sometimes it doesn't seem to make a difference.

I don't know what other brands offer, I'd imagine similar modes, but I most prefer the Anthem Logic music mode on my processor which uses everything but the center. Sounds better than Dolby surround for most stuff. Not as forward, definitely keeps the front sound stage intact.

BUT - I'll add, music engineered for Dolby Atmos is just something else.

7.2.4 System: Display: Sony XBR-65X930D; Processing: Anthem AVM60
Mains:
Paradigm Prestige 85F and 55C; Side / Rear Surrounds: Totem Acoustic Tribe III / Tribe I; Amplification: D-Sonic M3a-2800-7 (7ch. x 400w)
ATMOS:
Definitive Technology DI8R; Amplification: Class D Audio SDS-470C (4ch. x 300w)
Subwoofers:
2 x SVS-SB13Ultras; Media: Oppo UDP-203, Pioneer CLD-59
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post #13 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 01:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Yea I got 2 quality mains in my Boston VR3s and I like stereo a lot. I’ll try pure direct this evening. I listen to a lot of hip hop and classic rock and they don’t sound pleasant at all in dolby


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post #14 of 18 Old 08-19-2018, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by PrimeTime View Post
Your speakers, your space, your ears, your tastes and your moods are different -- and likely, quite different -- from those of the source authors. It is an exercise in futility to try and re-create all of that.
Same true with setting the image adjustments on a TV monitor? "An excercise in futility" if one attempts to set it to a reference rather than one's preference? If not, explain why, thanks.

In A/V reproduction accuracy, there IS no concept of "accounting for personal taste/preference". As art consumers we don't "pick" the level of bass, nor the tint/brightness of a scene's sky, any more than we pick the ending of a novel or Mona Lisa's type of smile. "High fidelity" means "high truthfulness", faithful to the original artist's intent: an unmodified, neutral, accurate copy of the original master, ideally being exact and with no discernable alterations, aka "transparency".

Last edited by m. zillch; 08-19-2018 at 04:01 PM.
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-20-2018, 03:24 AM
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Personally I like the "5 channel Stereo" that the Yamaha systems have.
I don't think it's quite a good as the "Studio" mode of my old Pioneer system that would delay certain frequencies and play them our of the rear channel, but I like it.
It fills the room with sound at lower volumes, something I like, and my wife likes the lower volume bit.
I personally find that pro-logic modes make music a bit, well, lack-luster.

For watching TV I use the PL II mode. it seems to cope with the ever changing stereo or mono or 5.1 that our TV channels randomly throw at us without having to constantly change modes on the receiver.


I'm a long way from being an expert though. I just know what I like.

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post #16 of 18 Old 08-20-2018, 04:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Same true with setting the image adjustments on a TV monitor? "An excercise in futility" if one attempts to set it to a reference rather than one's preference? If not, explain why, thanks.
Some people don't care about the D65 standard used in video. But those that do can get their monitors calibrated. However, what's the "color" standard for audio? Some may claim you should EQ your room to have perfectly flat response. But how do you EQ your ears? Hmmm, are there "audiophile hearing aids"? Could be a new market. Also, if you hear a band play live more than once, do they always sound the same?
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post #17 of 18 Old 08-20-2018, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post
Some people don't care about the D65 standard used in video. But those that do can get their monitors calibrated. However, what's the "color" standard for audio?
Answer: A neutral frequency response without any major peaks or dips (emphasis or de-emphasis) in any particular color (i.e. frequency), erm, I mean any particular audio frequency, against a standardized reference curve.
---

Interestingly, in audio we even steal a lot of terminology from vision: for example, when all the audio frequencies are used together we call it "white noise" much like all the colors of the visual spectrum of light put together creates white light. Hence white noise (and its relative pink noise) are sometimes used as calibration test signals including in many AVR room calibration tests, and white color, often at varying brightness (intensity) levels we call "grays", is a common calibration test signal used in video production.
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post #18 of 18 Old 08-20-2018, 12:03 PM
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