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Dvd-audio & sacd are true multichannel formats: a DSP is NOT the same thing!


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#1 of 101 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted June 09 2003 - 03:20 PM

Sorry folks, but this misconception is driving me crazy!

I keep reading where people say dvd-audio/sacd multi-channel is no big deal--they'll just punch a button on their receiver/processor & get the same result from a CD, vinyl or radio.

This is NOT going to happen.

No type of DSP will produce true discrete multi-channel music. It's just some software in a chip manipulating 1 & 0's according to some unknown engineer's preconceived notion of what he thinks sounds good--no thank you. And it definitely will not be what the music's original artist desired. True MCH music can only be created from the recording studio's multi-track master tapes.

For some evidence of this, go to this article and read the 7th and 8th paragraphs.

LJ

#2 of 101 OFFLINE   Lewis Besze

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Posted June 09 2003 - 10:01 PM

I consider DPL II a good "alternative",[no one would accuse Jim Fostgate not know anything about music]and some recording greatly benefit from it IMO.Having said that I preffer the real thing myself,but it's not worth to get worked up about it.

#3 of 101 OFFLINE   Alan Pummill

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Posted June 09 2003 - 10:31 PM

I have always enjoyed listening to music in STEREO. I never did go in for any of the DSP modes available.

BUT, now that I have SACD and DVD-A capability due to my Pioneer Elite DV-47Ai and my Outlaw 950, I can tell you that these two MEDIA FORMATS are killer. Dark Side Of The Moon on SACD and Harvest on DVD-A are my only selections so far, but I will be getting more.

But if your speakers are properly setup like mine, and your room is acceptable acoustically, stereo beats DSP every time, IMHO!!
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#4 of 101 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted June 09 2003 - 10:56 PM

I'll stick with stereo...

How do you turn an old stereo recording into a true multi
channel format? (You don't) it's no different than taking
a redbook and running it through a DSP. The only difference
is that the recording studio is remastering into surround
instead of the end user.

Don't get me wrong.. I know the recording quality of DVD-A
and SACD are generaly better.... And new recordings can be
made into true multichannel. But IMHO turning something
stereo into a multichannel format is no different than me
sitting back and "criticaly listening" to a CD via DPL II
or some other processing option.

Thats just my $0.02 and I am sure that YMMV
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#5 of 101 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted June 09 2003 - 11:37 PM

I'm old enough to remember that when stereo came out there was a vocal group that damned stereo and wouldn't listen to anything but mono.

The problem with stereo is that in order capture the ambient information which involves spatial cues you really can't move your head. If you want to move around within the soundfield, there is a signficant increase in the difficulty. Microphones capture an event in stereo however this really doesn't have the information to properly reproduce the original soundfield. It doesn't even come close. There is no "correct" way to listen to stereo as it's all a compromise of some sort.

However, I think we'd all be better served by lettting recordings stand on their own merit. To my mind, a significant reason for all this piracy, apart from the fact that the music sucks and it'd suck even more if they didn't have the gratuitous T&A on MTV, is that the recordings really aren't done very well. If recording is supposed to be an art, then all I can say is I'm a little tired of seeing stuff at those hotel sales being called art. I don't know...maybe it's because recording engineers don't have a good understanding of the importance of time domain. So maybe what we're seeing with this 5.1 > 7.1 >X.Y in part is an attempt to fix the lousy recordings with more speakers. Well I've got great hope the recordings will get better and that I won't need a Benz to get SACD! Yeah, she's still Jennie from the block...my ass she is.

BTW, about a year before PF came out with Dark Side, I'd caught them doing what to my mind was the precursor to it at Carnegie Hall. What I can tell you is that at the end of the concert, people filed out of Carnegie virtually silently. It wasn't because they didn't have vocal cords either. Wish I'd seen them more often...you just never know...you know?

#6 of 101 OFFLINE   Doug_H

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Posted June 09 2003 - 11:44 PM

You are all missing the true magic of these formats... it isn't multi channel... it is the unbelievable clearity of the full bit stereo tracks.

The multi tracks are great but they are as far ahead of multi tracks as CD is from DVD IMHO.
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#7 of 101 OFFLINE   Jerry Klawiter

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Posted June 10 2003 - 01:59 AM

Keep in mind many old recordings were not just recorded in two channel, Many times it was four to eight channels and then mixed into two channel releases.
I can say I love both Posted Image

So the question is not:How do you turn an old stereo recording into a true multi channel format?

I look at it this way
It's how do you turn an old multi channel recording into a true TWO channel format? Posted Image

just my $0.02

#8 of 101 OFFLINE   RichardHOS

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Posted June 10 2003 - 02:02 AM

My thoughts on this topic, clarified by a recent discussion from someone who knows more about this field than I:

A good DSP soundfield will, from this day on, always be better than simple stereo playback system. Why? Allow me to explain.

When you set up a room properly for 2-channel playback, it is crucial that the acoustics of the room be geared for creating the proper reverberant field, lest the room sound dead or lifeless. This is done by damping the early reflection points (to maintain imaging), and leaving a rather large surface area of reflective and diffusive elements. The goal is to bounce sound all around the room, reach the back of the room, and the diffuse back to the listener to create that gorgeous, spacious reverberant soundfield that so many stive for.

So what have you done when you manage to properly set up a room in this manner? You have turned it into a giant surround processor. One that is hardwired, inflexible, and less accurate than what can be done in the digital domain. People seem so resistant to the idea of "artificially" creating the reverberant field, but they are completely ignoring the fact that all rooms "artificially" create a reverberant field based on the source material.

If you're going to have a surround processor, it's more desireable to have a digital surroud processor that can be programmed to correctly remove ambient information from the source material and direct it to the appropriate channels. Lexicon and Meridian processors currently outclass practically all 2-channel "room processors," and the fidelity of DSP will only increase and the price will only drop in the coming years.

DSP is the only method that can produce the reverberant sound of the recording environment. A "room processor" can only produce the reverberant environment of that room.

Of course, recording quality is a very big issue here. Foremost is the problem with the ambience added to studio recordings. DSP will slowly improve that situation as well.

And where does that leave true multichannel formats? For one, it allows the mixing engineer to place the primary source location in any area of the room, as opposed to the front soundstage. While sometimes gimmicky, this is a crucial step towards being able to recreate any arbitrary performance in your home.

And, naturally, I disagree completely with the idea that a good multichannel recording can't be produced from 2-channel masters. Sure, it will never have the flexibility of a multichannel tracking (see above), but it does advantages over the simple 2-channel format. The primary one is that, again, DSP is more capable of correctly processing ambient information than your room is. Second, if that DSP is done in the studio, rather than in your home pre/pro, you stand a much better chance of the DSP being the highest quality and most capable DSP currently available. It doesn't have to be done in real time, so the algorithms can be more complex, more accurate, and more "natural." Again, the result is better than your 2-channel w/ room processing could accomplish.


That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

#9 of 101 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted June 10 2003 - 03:59 AM

Those who think that no DSP based surround mode can possibly improve the sonics on two-channel stereo recordings haven't spent any time listening to the two "top dogs", Meridian's Trifield -- which is based on extensive psychoacoustic research by Michael Gerzon et al, and Lexicon's Logic-7 which is based on extensive psychoacoustic research by David Griesinger.

I can't speak to Logic-7 with tremendous personal authority, rather only on accounts from Lexicon and HK product owners. They are quite fond of L-7, and feel they couldn't live without it.

As for me, my time with the Meridian 568.2 convinced me that a very well implemented DSP algorithm (Trifield) enhances the experience dramatically, to the point that traditional stereo is all but unlistenable.

Of course everyone is entitled to their own personal preferences, and I've just expressed mine Posted Image

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#10 of 101 OFFLINE   Shawn Fogg

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Posted June 10 2003 - 04:13 AM

John,

"convinced me that a very well implemented DSP algorithm (Trifield) enhances the experience dramatically, to the point that traditional stereo is all but unlistenable."

Absolutely, plain two channel listening is just so flat and unrealistic in comparison to well done surround.

Shawn

#11 of 101 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted June 10 2003 - 04:21 AM

I think there's a lot of merit to that Richard. With simply stereo, it becomes a far more difficult process for an individual to deal with 2 speakers and their positioning. The world's moving to multichannel...sometimes awkwardly but simply stereo is gradually being left behind. Couple that with 'unusual' or creative home designs with various openings, vaulted ceilings, spouses that have their own idea about how things are 'supposed' to look and just about the only way to get some decent sound is to move into multi-speaker multi-channel. And you know, it's not just 'some engineer' creating DSP and all that. That makes it sound like some sort of arbitrary thing. There's a lot of very good and very involved research going into this all with the effort of looking to recreate the live experience. Well I'm waiting for when I put on a new version of the "thong song" that the dancers appear in front of me. Brave New World with the feelies is coming boys.

#12 of 101 OFFLINE   Brett DiMichele

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Posted June 10 2003 - 04:33 AM

Yep we all certainly have opionions... If I wanted to DSP
process a signal into something other than what it is on
the disk I would have bought a Yamaha Reciever rather than
a good 2 channel Pre Amp.

For me 2 channel stays 2 channel. I am not agains multi
channel mind you. I am just not for "changing" something
into something else. If it was mastered in numerous
channels and put to disk as such, sure I would play it as
such and I do.. I have some multichannel live music and it
certainly has an ambiance to it and it does sound correct
without instruments being where they shouldn't and what not.

But I have absolutely no complaints about the imaging qualities
of my current setup, in fact is continues to amaze me to
this day how wide the 2 channel sound stage is, but without
sacrificing pinpoint imaging.
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#13 of 101 OFFLINE   Chu Gai

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Posted June 10 2003 - 04:55 AM

Yeah but it does mean your ability to move around within that 2 channel frame and still maintain spatial information is constrained. Now if we can just get rid of that subwoofer Posted Image

#14 of 101 OFFLINE   JackS

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Posted June 10 2003 - 05:31 AM

Guys- Do this little test- Cue up your favorite artist/group that also has what you would consider a high degree of sonic perfection and apply your favorite DSP or listen in straight analog. If you're still finding critisim in the recording, your're going to be chasing your sonic tail for the rest of your life. There can only be two valid opinions, either it sounds good or it doesn't. Slight imperfections exist in everything including audio. Recording engineers produce the sounds we like by artist we appreciate and good, bad or mediocre, these are the recordings I will continue to buy.

#15 of 101 OFFLINE   RichardHOS

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Posted June 10 2003 - 05:57 AM

Quote:
If I wanted to DSP process a signal into something other than what it is on the disk I would have bought a Yamaha Reciever rather than a good 2 channel Pre Amp.

I hope you also set up your room to be quite dead... otherwise you are "room processing" the signal into something other than what it is on the disk.

I think way too many people overlook that fact.

#16 of 101 OFFLINE   Shawn Fogg

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Posted June 10 2003 - 06:11 AM

" I hope you also set up your room to be quite dead... otherwise you are "room processing" the signal into something other than what it is on the disk. "

If anyone doubts this try bringing your speakers outside and see how you like listening to them in 2 channel without your rooms contribution to the sound.

Shawn

#17 of 101 OFFLINE   Alan Pummill

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Posted June 10 2003 - 07:07 AM

I HAVE treated my room, and 2 channel stereo sounds quite awesome to all that have heard it in my room.

But, like i said earlier, I really liked the sound of SACD and DVD-A.

My father, who has been into stereo since before some of you were born, just bought a new receiver. One of the things he wanted was DPL II, to listen to his 2 channel music with. Maybe I'll give it a listen!!
SLEEPY AL
MAGGIE MAGIC!!

#18 of 101 OFFLINE   RichardHOS

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Posted June 10 2003 - 07:34 AM

To be clear, I think the majority of 2-channel to multichannel DSP algorithms out there are passable at best. Ironically, I have an old "all analog" Rotel pre/pro that has a passable four-channel analog soundfield.

I'm getting sidetracked. My point was going to be that correct room treatment can sound better than most surround processors currently on the market. However, that is quickly changing, and there are already two (Lexicon and Meridian) that are better than anyone can realistically make a home listening environment (and infinitely more flexible).

So... I'm not saying pure 2-channel with a well set up room sounds bad. I'm just saying that 2-channel source w/ DSP in a well set up multichannel room can sound better, and in the not-so-distant future will likely always sound better.

#19 of 101 OFFLINE   LanceJ

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Posted June 10 2003 - 07:51 AM

Hey guys, I never said DSP processing itself sounded bad.

But unless a DSP chip is designed with a psychic link system to the album's musician, the results will be completely random. Some music through a DSP sounds really good, and some sounds like dog-doo. As far as the ambience retrieval systems, these can sound very nice and very realistic (I used a Hafler set-up for years with my old Pioneer stereo receiver that worked great).

Brett: on my Linkin Park dvd-audio (and Bjork's dvd-audio too) there are certain instances where a voice emanates directly from one particular rear channel: it's there to emphasize a specific lyric in the song--this is a very effective "story telling" device. But there is no way a DSP--any DSP--could know this needs to be done. On Yes' "Fragile" dvd-audio, the opening sound effect on Roundabout (that backwards piano note) starts in the rear and rushes up to the front: how would a DSP chip "know" Jon Anderson desired that effect??? It can't. On "The Nightfly" dvd-audio there are certain whisper-level vocals to the right side of me ("sidewall imaging"): again, how would.........?

For surround music enthusiasts (me anyway), calling DSP-derived surround music the same as surround music derived by the original musician is rather upsetting in an artistic manner of speaking.

LJ

#20 of 101 OFFLINE   John Kotches

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Posted June 10 2003 - 08:13 AM

Lance,

It is quite possible to matrix encode two channel sources for intended surround decoding via DPL-2 and Logic-7 decoders.

While not the prevailing practice, it is nevertheless available.

Regards,
Surround Music Enthusiast / Curmudgeon in Training
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