Alright, Defend Multi-Channel Music for Me

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff D., Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    So I've got this Panasonic RP91 with this nifty DVD-Audio emblem on it. To match, it has 6 outputs on the back just waiting to be hooked up (via some nice interconnects, of course) to the 6 channel input on my receiver.
    What I want to know is - WHY should I do this? Specifically, is multi-channel music really worth it? Before anyone rushes to that reply button, I'm not interested in DVD-Audio vs. SACD discussions, nor do I want to hear about the greater bandwidth of these new formats. Yadda yadda...I know all about that. [​IMG]
    Instead, I want to hear some defensive arguments for multi-channel music. I am a 2-channel person at heart and the concept of multi-channel music has never appealed to me. When I go to see a performer live (and that performance is what I aim to recreate in my listening room), I hear everything in front of me on the stage. There are some echoes and reverberation, of course, that surround me.
    However, when I have read the few multi-channel reviews that I have, I become put-off by talk of mixes with instruments surrounding me in my 5.1 setup. I am not interested in that at all. Is that what all multi-channel mixes are like? The only mix I think I would enjoy is one that uses the centre channel to augment the front soundstage and the surrounds to add that 'atmosphere' you get at a live venue. Anything beyond that is pure gimmicktry, IMHO.
    So, how does everyone feel about this? Am I wrong in my multi-channel thinking? Should I give it a go? If so, which recordings (DVD-Audio only please - its all I have) does everyone recommend?
    /Jeff
     
  2. Paul Boyle

    Paul Boyle Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff - If multi channel mixes arent your cup of tea then just buy the DVD-A for the exceptional stereo mix that
    DVD-A also provides (like Hotel California)
    I also think that when you hear a well mixed DVD-A in multi channel you will be pleasantly suprised (once again Hotel C is one of the best to try - twin lead guitars at the front & acoustics at the rear!)
    Some discs also offer extra tracks / commentaries / video clips which adds to the value
    Regards ... Paul [​IMG]
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    If you have the gear, why not just give it a listen and find out if you like it or not for yourself? Nothing anyone else can tell you will make a bigger difference than your ears.
     
  4. Jon_Stevens

    Jon_Stevens Agent

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    Why is it gimmickry to have instruments coming from all sides? Who says we're supposed to hear music just from the front? I never will understand this argument. DVD-Audio and SACD gives to the artist far more control over how their art is distributed. If Sting wants to immerse you in sound why can't he?

    Multichannel music takes sonic realism to new heights. I listened to the 2 Grateful Dead dvd-a's last night and I heard the James Taylor Hourlass sacd a few days ago and they are simply incredible. You really should check them out they are amazing.

    Jon
     
  5. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Since when multi channel music needs to be defended?

    From whom,why?

    I don't ask people to "defend" their opinion of 2 channel music,if that's what they dig.

    This is personal choice,for whatever reasons they have,I'm fine with it even if I don't "subscribe" to it.

    Not to mention we been down on this road many times[multi vs 2ch].
     
  6. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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    Calm down Lewis. I wasn't aiming to, nor did I, shoot down the concept of multi-channel music or its fans. I just wrote above that I would be open to hearing new multi-channel recordings.
    At the same time, I have not received anything near an overwhelming response saying that multi-channel is anything more than interesting sideline in the pursuit of music reproduction.
    /Jeff
     
  7. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Jeff,
    Rhetorical Question:
    How was 99+% of music recorded?
    A:
    Multi-track monophonic.
    So most recordings have no objective realisty.
    For about 14 or 15 years, I heard instruments all around me as a musician in various groups. Why not hear it from a musicians perspective? The "historical document" presentation is no more or less valid than the "immersive" presentation. Mixing engineers are no longer limited to the two speaker environment. Now they too can be creative.
    I can understand your lack of comfort. It's different than you are used to. For most people, the initial reaction is that different == bad.
    Have you actually sat down and listened critically to any of the mixes, or did you recoil because it wasn't what you were used to?
    I imagine the same reactions came during the transition from monophonic to stereo.
    Regards,
     
  8. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    This is just my opinion..

    If multi-channel surround sound had been available (to the masses) ever since the advent of recorded music, I'm fairly certain it would have been used.

    I don't see 2 channel stereo as some sort of artistic standard. I think it's more of an imposed limitation.

    I like the impression of "being is the band" as opposed to trying to duplicate the "concert feel" with two channel audio. It's done to pretty much perfection with the Eagle's DVD, at it sounds AWESOME. You really need to check it out.

    It is not at all gimmicky when done properly.
     
  9. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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  10. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    Mickey Hart explained it well on the interview portion of the DVD-Audio of American Beauty (Grateful Dead). He said that the reason he mixed Sugar Magnolia with the Bob Weir's rhythem guitars in the surrounds was because in the 60's and 70's the amps would be behind the drummer. He wanted to recreate that feeling of being in the drummers position and it works wonderfully.

    I personally love multi-channel mixes, if done properly. I love the feeling of being in the band, not watching the band.

    -Dean-
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    I think Jeff's contention is that even if the surround mix is to simulate being in the middle of musicians and signers, it only "sounds" right if every single musician and singer is facing the listener in the music within a circle, and that would be a weird place to be. Otherwise, if singers were facing in the same direction as the listener, their vocals would sound muffled or sound like how it would sound to a drummer sitting behind the singer. [​IMG]
     
  12. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Jeff,

    You have told us that you hate multichannel mixes. So don't bother with them.

    I and others like them. That's all the "defense" they need.

    NP: Midnight Oil: 20,000 Watt R.S.L. Live DVD tracks
     
  13. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    I got into SACD for the improved sound quality, not caring much for the surround aspect of it. I was open, of course, but didn't really care much. I still don't: there just aren't that many SACDs with surround mixes. But it's still nice to have the option.

    I only have three multi-channel albums so far, and here's my impression of them:

    1. Steely Dan- Gaucho, DTS CD

    The other Steely Dan surround music piece of software I have is the 2 Against Nature DVD. I am not fond of that surround mix- all the horns in the back, and it's just a little awkward. The DTS, on the other hand, does it much better. The background vocals are, well, in the background. I think that's pretty neat. The lead vocal is in the center, which creates a nice dialogue-ish feel.

    2. Miles Davis- Kind of Blue, SACD

    This one isn't great or terrible. The best thing about it is that Miles' trumpet is on the center channel. Some of the saxes gets thrown to the back, which I don't really dig, though.

    3. Dave Brubeck- Take Five, SACD

    My favorite of the three. Desmond (sax) in the center, rhythm section balanced nicely on the mains, and the rears are used only for some "atmosphere" and hi-hats. Beautiful mix.

    Other multi-channel SACDs I plan on getting are Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and some Mark O'Connor album.

    NP: California Guitar Trio with Tony Levin and Pat Mastelotto, Live At The Key Club, CD
     
  14. Shawn C

    Shawn C Screenwriter

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    To me, it seems more awkward to me to try and squeeze a band's 5-6 different instruments into 2 distinct channels, like stereo.

    If you are at a concert, you really don't have a distinct sense of left/right seperation (depending on position, venue, whatever..), so why split the audio up? It seems to me that the only semi-realistic methods are either mono or "surround sound".

    If you want the concert experience, it seems to me that one large speaker right in front of you or two speakers playing the same mono track would simulate the experience.
     
  15. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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  16. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. Supporting Actor

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  17. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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  18. Jesper

    Jesper Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff,
    It's easy to shoot down 2 channel music with multi channel music! [​IMG]
    Instead of using 2 mic in front of the band (left & right) when recording albums - then they can use 3 mic (left & right and rear)
    When done that, multi channel is much more "correct" if I can say that (my english is not that good to explain it better).. And they don't have to fake the sound as they do with 2 channels - becuse of the third mic..
    I do know some instrument can be heard in the rear channels - but that dosent mean anything as long it's not the main singer or the main instrument.. (hope you understand what I mean) [​IMG]
    Jesper
     
  19. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Jeff, I think one point that some people are making is that music isn't really recorded as "stereo." I don't know the technical details, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it basically boils down to the fact that the stereo masters aren't necessarily the "real" or pure recordings. They are done that way to accomodate the equipment we have had- until now.

    In a sense, I suppose a multi-channel mix can be more true to the spirit of the recording, given the multi-track aspect of recording.

    I do agree that the idea of having each instrument on a seperate speaker would be silly, though.

    I'm glad you're interested in the discs I mentioned, but I thought you said you can play DVD-As. Do you have a SACD player, also? (If so, I'm very jealous and I hate you).

    NP: Miles Davis, On the Corner, CD, which could sound really great on a good multi-channel mix. Columbia, are you listening?
     
  20. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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