For now, 5.1 surround isn't going to carry any format to market success

Discussion in 'Music' started by Rachael B, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    More than two channels didn't make Quad a success in the 70's and it has not taken DVD-A and SA-CD too far. Face it, the notion that M/C is the little engine that could is/was wishful thinking. The notion that you need more than one or two speakers to enjoy music is not gonna spread like wildfire any time soon.

    Selling surround music to hardcore audio-vidiots is possible but for everybody else it's like trying to sell them moldy cheese at inflated prices.

    I never believed the myth that 5.1 was the "killer application" of DVD-A and SACD. I thought that was bull and wishful thinking from the start.

    Someday the myth may become real but I think that's a decade down the road... Wish what you want but for now 5.1 is no killer ap.
     
  2. Phil A

    Phil A Producer

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    Rachael, I agree. With modern DSPs, the surround sound taken from a higher quality source than DD like CD can be made to sound more realistic and suited to individual tastes more as one can select the size hall they like and push a button and get a different choice. The DSPs are no harder to select or set-up than setting up the receiver for DD. The notion that a 5.1 mix was going to make products fly off the shelves is overly optimistic. I think much boils to down to price. Consumers often feel that music is overpriced as much as if not more often than quality of sound issues.
     
  3. charles white

    charles white Second Unit

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    In a sense, I agree with you, Rachel. The discussion of poor marketing and the pros and cons of a format war has been discussed to no end. I still believe there's life in 5.1 audio. The music industry didn't place their bets on 5.1 audio being its life jacket in a sea of profit losses. In fact, they're still searching.
     
  4. Kris Deering

    Kris Deering Stunt Coordinator

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    I can't agree at all with this. I haven't met a single person yet that wasn't blown away when comparing MC to stereo on my system, and my system is anything but low end. The stereo performance of my system rivals anything I've heard to date at almost any cost.

    The problem is none of the stores are doing demos to attract people to the idea. Unless they know about it or hear it they don't know what they are missing. I have NEVER been in a specialty audio or big department electronics store that has had a MC music demo on. Plenty of movies, but never stuff like SA-CD or DVD-A. So as long as the general public is unaware, the formats go nowhere.
     
  5. AricB

    AricB Second Unit

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    Kris is right about that, i dont know anyone who wasnt pretty impressed by it on my system, and i'm nowhere near the level he has. Also, I've never been anywhere that was demoing good surround music materil, except a Tweeter, but that was by my request, and the guy knew less about it than i did.

    Kris, how excited are you to here that new NIN album, last I heard it was still supposed to be a day/date release of With Teeth.... and more remixed back catalog down the road...
     
  6. Garrett Lundy

    Garrett Lundy Producer

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    I was never a big fan of Hi-Rez surround. Even if there were a single format, none of the companies seemed to master anything the same way: Chesky records wants 6.0 with 2 front towers at 30 degrees, 2 rear towers at a different 30 degrees, and 2 side channels at 90 degrees. Somebody else doesnt use a center channel, someone else records with bipolar surrounds, another uses dipolar, some use subs, most don't.[​IMG] [​IMG]

    To get the best results you'll need dozens of sets of loudspeakers in a hundred variable positions in your listening room (and what makes a proper listening room? Thats a whole 'nother list of conflicting demands!).

    IE: It was never going to work, and if mankind decides to try another Hi-Rez format in the future they will need to decide specific recording & playback criteria for all recorded music, Not just a single format (but that would be a huge step forward too).


    I personally like 2-channel (and mono) SACD. It works on every pair of stereo speakers that have been manufacured since they made stereo speakers (only need a new player), and you don't even need to move them to different positions in the room. [​IMG]
     
  7. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Kris & Eric, what you say is true for you and a scant few other people. Kris, people are impressed by my systems too, but, and this is the big bUT, it doesn't cause them to spend thousands thousands of dollars the next week to aqquire similar stuff.

    There will come a day when enough really good A/V equipment is in the hands of Joe & Jane Sexpack that 5.1 music has a real audience, or maybe not. Processing modes may win out in the battle of/for/about M/C music...? Spinning a dial that let's you pick from a list of processing modes is more the mass market consumer's speed in the end.

    The big 4 seem to be "wal-mart-izing". That seems to be the present trend. Getting these now behemoth entities to give a s*it about about even doing 2-channel well proably isn't going to be easy, much less anything more advanced. When the majors have actually bothered to release hi-rez material it was almost always old stuff, not newly recorded stuff that even took advantage of the new technologies.

    Has Warner created any new state-of-the-art recordings especially for hi-rez? Any? Sony did about 2 all DSD recordings. That's all I know of anyways. These organizations have a commitment to raising prices not quality, despite any guises they might show otherwise, IMO.

    "...money for nothin'..."
     
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    ...I just remembered that Warner did Neil Young's Greendale. I'm up to 1!
     
  9. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Garrett:

    You've hit on something that is near and dear to Gary Reber's (WSR Editor-in-chief) heart.

    Having a consistent, defined standard for surround music mixing and mastering that can be reproduced in the home so that we are listening "as intended".

    This is one area that the music industry could learn from the movie industry on, having defined standards to adhere to, which would allow for consumers to reproduce the environment quite accurately.

    While most won't really care about this, the hardcore enthusiasts would be able to better approximate this without moving speakers all over the place :)

    Cheers,
     
  10. Lewis Besze

    Lewis Besze Producer

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    Rachael, did you forget the tremendous success of music video sales on DVD which are 5.1? The public didn't reject surround music only the Hi-rez carriers.[Your thread title denotes "any format".]
     
  11. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I've tried using my receiver's DSP (Pro Logic II, DTS Neo:6) for two channel music and, sometimes it's as good (to me) as the original, but often not (the exception so far has been Dolby 2.0 music broadcasts from my digital cable box--seems as though it's already encoded with some sort of surround). However, with hi-res discrete MCH recordings (of which I have around 35 or so), in all cases (except one track on one DVD-A) I have preferred the MCH to the two channel, and this despite the lack of standards. It gets more difficult for me to choose something from my CD collection to listen to, even though I have about six times as many CDs as hi-res discs, partly because even the two channel only hi-res discs I have sound better, but in large part because discrete MCH recordings have been so impressive--to me and all others I've made listen to it. They don't go out and buy $$$$$ equipment to replicate what I have at home, but not everyone bought a CD player back in the day when I was a relatively early adopter (first among my friends), and most of my friends liked CD a lot when they heard it in my set up back then. Hi-res has been out a while, but it's still early days yet. I wouldn't write off hi-res or MCH music just yet.
     
  12. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    That would require a consensus with producers, which isn't likely. My preference is to mix full range in quad, with no dedicated sub channel. Others prefer a center channel, and others prefer breaking out the sub. There are arguments all around.

    I think that there will need to be a combination of a killer surround piece that gets people's attention (and not just a reissue of ancient catalogue), AND the format being adopted for the car, which while far from ideal from a sonic perspective, has the advantage of fixed listening positions, and we all know how car audio folks can get carried away with their systems. Why this avenue has not been aggresively marketed is beyond me, it is a no brainer.

    M/C at home is a harder sell without video content to go along with it, since I would assume that most people do not stay in one place while listening to music by itself at home, I know I rarely do.
     
  13. Eddie W.

    Eddie W. Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't think the format is failing because nobody wants 5.1. As was stated above, the DVD community has embraced it & most households already have a 5.1 setup. My overly simplistic take on it is that there just isn't anything to listen to on DVD-A/SACD. I eagerly bought a combo player and a handful of titles that I wanted and then....there's nothing else out there I want. I realized I bought this thing to listen to 10 albums. As I recall, I didn't particularly want a DVD player when there were only a couple of hundred titles out there either. It wasn't until the software became irresistible that it became a must-have.

    As with any technology, the coolest hardware in the world is worthless without software to enjoy on it.
     
  14. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Lewis, I wasn't thinking about that when I posted but it's fair enough to include that segment in the discussion because it is a factor. You cannot assume all the buyers of these DVD-V's listen to them in 5.1 . Lots of folks use the TV speakers or 2-channel stereos for added fidelity. DVD-V, same as CD's, is another predatory product in relation to SACD & DVD-A. If major 'X' releases Smiley Davis' album Almost Green in say 5 formats, they're all predatory in relation to each other. There's a whole lot of that goin' on.

    It's hard to make sense of the majors predatory marketing patterns. Now, they're sometimes even releasing competing same day, same-title CD's, one with somethin' ex-tree, one without or in cheaper packaging. The same label might also have the same album on LP, SACD, or DVD-A or the new predator, Dual Disc.

    You have to be a bit skeptical of the labels who cry like babies about CD sales being down. There may be a coresponding increase in DVD-V or other...?

    What formats predetate on which others the most is some yarn to untangle, IMO. It looks like the cheapest and most widely available formats are winning by default, virtually. [​IMG]
     
  15. Justin Lane

    Justin Lane Cinematographer

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    Steely Dan -- Everything Must Go
    Fleetwood Mac -- Say You Will

    Both Day and Date releases. I think they did a Bare Naked Ladies as well. But the point remains, that 5.1/Hi-res is still mainly an after thought, or is only thought about once an album reaches a certain level of success.

    J
     
  16. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Yeah Justin, the point does remain that you can take all of Sony's, Warner's, and Universal's newly-recorded, especially for hi-rez releases and proably not even hit or come close to 20. This is after 5+ years of so-called format suppourt, for both formats. It might be 6 years for SACD, if not, it's close. How many exclamation-points are you allowed to put on the word pathetic!-!-!-!-!-! [​IMG]
     
  17. Kris Deering

    Kris Deering Stunt Coordinator

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    There are plenty of high rez DVD-A titles that were made this way from the start. People, DVD-A IS PCM. There is PLENTY of PCM stuff on the market. If the original master was done at 96/24 or higher then you could easily say that it was made specifically for high rez. And there is are lots of those. As long as the master wasn't oversampled to achieve the high resolution content then it was made for a high resolution PCM format. DSD is typically mastered from PCM so that throws a loop in it. If the recording was made in DSD from beginning to end then that is a different story.
     
  18. Darryl

    Darryl Stunt Coordinator

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    That's not true, unless you're calling 10% of US households "most." Something like 80% of DVD players have their audio hooked up to the TV and nothing else.

    IMO the DVD format became popular because it is convenient (small compared to VHS, no rewinding, easier to skip the previews), and because even an idiot can see the improvement in picture quality without buying a new TV. New player, yes, but you use the same TV you used with VHS.

    5.1 sound is nice for those who care, but if DVDs were all just CD-quality stereo I think the format would still be selling about as much as it does today.
     
  19. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I think Darryl is quite right. Almost everyone I know has a DVD player but only one other person has a surround system (HTIB) and one other is planning a HT in his new house (and with his money, it'll likely blow my socks off--if he gets good advice). DVD's obvious improvement over VHS picture quality is what drives most people to get players. I don't think, BTW, that the increase in PQ between hi-def DVD and standard def DVD will be as dramatic, so I anticipate a slower conversion to hi-def DVD. Better than the hi-res audio fiasco, but not the explosion in sales standard DVD has had.
     
  20. John Kotches

    John Kotches Cinematographer

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    Paul:

    I disagree with you on this premise:


    The difference in PQ between the two will be large, and I have a relatively inexpensive FP setup (the PJ cost < $2K new) to make the comparison. The amount of detail with HD vs SD is nothing short of mind boggling to me.

    Now if you want to make the argument that most people won't be willing to pay the price of admission, you're making a different point altogether and one I won't argue with. There's little doubt in my mind that the HD formats will be slow on the uptake, and the existence of rival formats is not going to help matters any.

    That said, I'm very much looking forward to the release of high-definition optical media.

    Cheers,
     

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