I posted this on a British forum but got little reaction (though an earlier debate in that same forum revealed a serious antipathy toward MCH music). I put this to you all and ask for comments. Regardless of preference for two channel vs MCH and the level of equipment one has on hand, I believe the case against multichannel is the same kind of case as was once made against stereo back when mono was king. I've raised this several times here and elsewhere and no one seems to have a comment one way or another, which I find odd. Of course, as an historian, my fascination for things considered out of date (like mono vs stereo) is probably not shared by the majority of gadget-geeks (which I also am). In the early days of stereo, the kinds of complaints I hear/read regularly today about MCH mixes were almost the same. People complained about "gimmicky" mixes that "ping-ponged" across (rather than around, as today's MCH mixes) the soundstage for no good reason. Also, the expanded sense of spaciousness (which I LOVE about well done MCH mixes today) was often criticized as presenting a sonic image out of proproportion to the imagined venue. There just seemed to be a lot of "silliness" that was superfluous and seemed only designed to draw unwarranted attention to itself. And it was true. There were mixes like that in the early days of stereo, just as there are today in the early days of MCH mixes. Stereo grew up, so to speak, and I'm confident MCH will as well. In fact, I'd say the majority of the mixes are already mature in that sense. An additional barrier to acceptance of MCH mixes, again IMO, is it represents a "paradigm shift" in the way we receive the musical experience. 99% of music listeners are not music makers. They've never been in a recording studio during a jam session or onstage with a band or in a choir or orchestra or etc. As such, they've always received music (when purposefully listening, at any rate) from in front. In that sense, the change from mono to stereo represented a change of degree, not kind. Stereo expanded the soundstage, gave it depth as well breadth, but it remained up front. I can understand the conditioning that makes most people more comfortable with the idea of music coming from in front of them--particularly a live recording, as it represents their seating position vis a vis the performers. People who attend concerts, whether rock or classical, will say, "I wasn't surrounded by the music, the players were up front". To that I say: yes and no. It's true that at a live performance, your main source of sound is from the front. But sound reflects all around the room/venue and you are, in effect, "surrounded" by the music. It's just that not all of it is directly radiating at you. The "ambient hall" mixes found on most classical and many live concert recordings are trying to recreate this sense of space--and many do it quite well. A well set up set of stereo speakers and gear can give some impression of this space, but the room in which you listen to your gear is not the same as the recording venue and I think, as good as stereo can be, properly done ambient MCH mixes capture that spaciousness even better. And those mixes are far from "gimmicky". Let's look at the "gimmicky" mixes, or, as I like to call them, "in the band" mixes. I've been in recording studios, choirs and onstage, so I don't find the "in the band" perspective unusual. But even if I didn't have those experiences, I would still like to listen to "in the band" mixes. It's one thing to argue that live performances are "in front" of the audience, and so should be mixed that way to reflect reality. In the studio, however, there is no "front". Most often, the individual tracks are played separately and mixed later. Traditionally, mixes have been directed to the "front", as that was the kind of playback gear available. But now, with the ability to play back DISCRETE MCH mixes, the mixers/artists are no longer bound by that constraint. Does it always make a good mix? No. But the same can be said of stereo. I think it's a question of acclimatization. Perhaps, as others suggest, it will never take off. It's possible, as the masses are generally far less adventurous than they'd like to believe. If true, I'll be sad, as I find the possibilities available to MCH mixers still largely untapped. But I don't think "in the band" mixes deserve the scorn heaped upon them by many "traditionalists", for lack of a better term. Anyway, I've rambled enough, so I'm signing off for now. I know I won't likely convert anyone (MCH vs stereo seems a bit too much like Republicans vs Democrats, these days) but I think MCH deserves more careful consideration than it's getting and this is my little plea for some of that consideration. In the end, though, as I often say and write--no matter what the format or the number of channels--it's about enjoying the tunes.